Web and Hosting Tips
Written by Jeremy Jensen
Thursday, March 5th, 2015
With over half a million businesses on Pinterest, the Social Media platform is becoming a lot more than just recipes and fashion photos. It’s time to prepare yourself to start seeing even more ads now that Pinterest unleashed new tools for businesses back in June. The “do-it-yourself Promoted Pins” feature will allow businesses of any size to promote their pins on a cost-per-click basis in order to reach more people and get more visits back to their homepage.
Pinterest has been testing this program since early May with big brands like Old Navy, Target and Shutterfly, and is offering a sign up for any business to try it when they’re ready to get started.
Competing Against Facebook and Twitter, Subtly
By adopting the same principles as Facebook’s ad promotions and Twitter’s promoted Tweets, Pinterest’s Promoted Pins have been touted as “changing the game one pin at a time.” What’s different about their advertisements is that they won’t appear any different than the other posts that interest you. If, for instance, you’re browsing new cocktail recipes you won’t see an ad for JcPenny’s, instead you’ll see pins from companies that deal in mixology or interesting cocktail glasses.
Many have reported this as a noticeable benefit simply because the ads won’t be pestering potential customers by appearing in random categories. Pinterest is already such a product-and-image driven environment that users have been embracing brands long before any advertising was thrown into the mix.
Building Off Rich Pins
Back in June we talked about standing out on Pinterest with Rich Pins, a change in eCommerce that shared pricing information and availability. Rich Pins also came with analytics and options to receive pricing alerts.
Promoted Pins will only add to these features, with promises that pins will appear first in search results and category feeds on both the web and in mobile apps. If you aren’t on Pinterest already sharing your products, the time has never been better to join. Currently only select businesses are receiving the option to promote but getting started now will prepare you when the time comes.
Your Pinterest Board and Planning Your Pins
While the notion of the promoted pins blending in with the rest is great from an advertisement perspective, the pins you’re choosing to designate as promotional should do anything but. Aim to make the promotional pins to be taller than those around them and really draw the viewer in.
Customers have always found you on your own Pinterest boards and promoted pins will be no different. Some of the most compelling reasons for businesses to start using Pinterest include:
- It’s a great place to promote a contest
- As most users are visually inclined, it’s a great platform to optimize your brand’s image
- You’re allowed to comment and interact with potential customers
- Built in SEO benefits with hashtags and keywords
- Integration of other Social Media sites
So What’s So Promising?
Back in April, the data tracking blog, Shareaholic, dubbed Pinterest as the reigning queen of social referrals. Since December it has seen a growth in traffic of 48% and is second only to Facebook in terms of steering Social referrals.
In three years of operating there have been 30 billion items pinned and 750 million boards created. Even what once was a heavily female dominated user base has now shifted from over 80% females, to 68.2% female and 31.8% men.
It’s become very clear Pinterest has established itself as one of the top marketing tools, and in no time businesses small and large will be benefiting from the use of Promoted Pins. When do you plan on starting?
Written by Brandi Bennett
Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Your e-commerce site is flashy; it loads quickly, and you’re selling a decent amount of product. But no matter how good your site is, it can always be better. There is always room for improvement. This is not meant as a criticism of any site, it is simply a fact. Technologies evolve and with them comes room for additional improvement to any site.
There are certain tips that that will work to ensure that your e-commerce site stays as good as it is, improves drastically, or will serve to benefit your site in some way. As with any suggestion, please don’t take it personally, and remember, I most likely have not been to your site (though I could have!). These suggestions are more like a compilation of different issues I have seen on the e-commerce sites that I frequent and feel that they need addressing so that others can constantly improve. With that in mind – the suggestions:
- Keep it Simple – as I have mentioned in a previous post, simple is better. If customers have additional questions about your products and services, they will ask (as long as you have a place for them to do so). Do not inundate your customers with information. Most online consumers already have a good idea of what they are looking for and have a basic idea as to what those products will entail. Give a basic description and that’s it. Have a place for them to add the item to the cart, a place to ask questions (like an easy to spot customer service email address or chat support) and you’re all set.
- Don’t Make Me Register to See Your Items – Seriously, this is one of my biggest pet peeves (and I’m not alone in this one). If your site makes me register to see what you have for sale, I’m either going to go somewhere else to investigate the product (like Amazon) or if I’m really curious and you’re one of the only places selling it, I will sign up with a completely fake name, fake email address, etc. You won’t get my real information, and I still most likely won’t purchase the item from the site that made me do that. Why? Because you don’t need my information. You’re not mailing me something that I bought from you, you’re trying to preemptively gather information on me, and that’s just not cool.
- Make Your Site Easy to Navigate and Make it Easy to Search – Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Etsy. I dislike trying to navigate through to find the cool stuff. The site is non-intuitive and clunky. I begrudgingly go there anyway, because it’s one of the few places to get handmade items, and I like that. I maybe visit the site once every six months, why? Because it is NOT easy to navigate. If it was easier to find things without having to look through hundreds of pages of stuff, I would absolutely spend way more money there. Thriftbooks.com is another site I would spend more money on if their search was more intuitive. I want to put in a book name or an author and just go. I don’t want to specify half a dozen things to try to find one or the other. Make it easy for me to search, like Amazon or Barnes and Noble and I will spend money all day long. Make it difficult for me and you will get little to no money. This basically goes back to the first point – keep it simple. Don’t over complicate things and you will get more money from consumers.
E-commerce can be rewarding, and it can be frustrating, but the key to making money is, as always, make it easy on your customers to spend money. This is why those little stands next to the checkout line work. Someone sees lip balm or a candy bar or a soda and thinks, man my lips are chapped/something sweet sounds great/I’m thirsty and grabs it. If those items were too difficult to find or too hard to get to, stores wouldn’t make as much on the little items. Your e-commerce website is a virtual store. Make it easy on your customers and they will reward you for making the experience a better one for them.
Image Source: U.S. Media Consulting. (2014). E-Commerce. Retrieved from http://latinlink.usmediaconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Ecommerce-Latam.jpg
Written by Brandi Bennett
Thursday, February 19th, 2015
It is generally understood these days that a domain name is necessary for brand recognition. Domain names also serve many higher purposes as well, including being a primary contributor to the overall user-friendliness of the Internet. Without domain names, we would have to memorize IP addresses in order to visit websites… instead of “Googling” something, we’d “184.108.40.206” it.
Time To Select A Domain Name! ACK!
The truth is that many people fail to consciously think of a domain name that they want, or several alternatives, prior to the signup process. As such, when it comes time to pick a domain name, they panic. This can lead to a host of different issues, as with the case of the now defunct, ill-fated domain name “The pen is mightier” a.k.a. thepenismightier.com. As you can see, while “The pen is mightier” is a pretty nifty name from a very famous quote (and one that worked well for a site that made custom pens, it just doesn’t work so well as a domain name, and can lead to a host of unfortunate situations. The site has long since been taken down. It would be best, however, to learn from their unfortunate mistake.
How Do I Avoid An Awkward/Inappropriate/Unfortunate Domain Name?
It’s quite simple. Open a word document or pull out a pen and notebook and start jotting down potential domain names. See how they look in text and see if they communicate your message properly. From there, circle or highlight the five top choices. You can then check the availability at https://register.hostgator.com.
If your choices are available, you can proceed with the registration process. If none of your choices are available, it’s back to the proverbial drawing board. Remember, you don’t just want to take any old domain name, you want one that will represent your site, convey your business appropriately, and adequately display your professionalism.
Domain names matter. Give them the treatment they deserve and put some time into it. You are naming your site. If you wouldn’t just type in random characters on a child’s birth certificate, don’t do it to your site! Your business is not unlike your child. You are working to nurture and grow your site – your business – don’t put it at a disadvantage from the get-go!
Image Source: Wikipedia. (2014). Domain Name. Retrieved from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/Internet1.jpg
Written by Kevin Wood
Thursday, February 12th, 2015
Have you ever wondered why some websites draw you in and make you want to buy what they’re offering, while other sites leave you with a feeling of wanting more? Much of this has to do with the psychology behind the website.
A lot of designers and business owners build websites according to their specifications, instead of taking the time to strategically build a website that’s engineered for their ideal customer. In an increasingly crowded web space it’s more crucial than ever that your website be clear and on point.
By implementing some basic human psychology principles you’ll be on your way towards creating a website that not only looks good, but converts as well.
Why Implement Psychology Based Design?
By taking the psychology into account you’ll be creating a better experience for your visitors, which will make them more likely to take whatever action you’re nudging them towards: buying what you’re offering, sharing your work, signing up for your newsletter, etc.
Trust is the backbone of any interaction on the web. Without trust you’ll have a very hard time making any sales, or having any kind of success with your website. Trust is a hard thing to build, especially in the online space.
By using design psychology you’ll be able to make your website seem more trustworthy, which will help to bring your visitor into a state of ease. Face it, people at ease are more likely to be receptive to what you’re offering.
Understanding User Website Behavior
The moment a person lands on any website there are certain elements they expect to be there, regardless of the style of site you’re using. If your visitors are confused the moment they land on your website there’s a good chance they’re going to leave.
When a person is exploring your website they expect to see your purpose clearly stated, and some form of navigation to get around your website. Beyond these two elements you’ll need to have certain reinforcements that will act as a support system for your site’s purpose.
These elements can be things like color schemes, font style and use or non-use of images. Your website needs to be communicating on a cohesive level in order to provide your visitors with the best experience possible.
In order to build an effective website you’ll need to understand the way a user scans your website, as well as the intent behind each page. Most readers tend to read in a ‘Z’ pattern across your website, so you’ll want to place the most important elements of your website across those lines.
Make sure you have purposeful pages. There shouldn’t be a single page on your site that doesn’t serve a purpose. When a user lands on any page of your website the reason for that page being there should jump out at them.
Lastly, you need to realize the web is a crowded space and most people will land on your website with a frazzled state of mind. By using intentional white space throughout your website you’ll be allowing your viewer to breathe more deeply and relax a bit.
All of these pieces together will help you craft a better user experience.
Incorporating Psychology Based Design
Now that you have a basic understanding of the power of using psychology to build a better website, it’s time to dive into a few techniques to get you started:
1. Step Into Your User’s Head
Knowing who your actual users or visitors are going to be is the crucial first step in the process. By taking time to map out and understand who your unique visitor is, you’ll be able to build a website based on how they use the web, as well as incorporate some useful emotional triggers into your site.
2. Plan Your Entire Site
Creating a sitemap for your site will help you to determine the purpose for each page. The best way to do this is to create a list of every element you want to have on your site, then break it down page by page. This will also help to ensure you don’t miss anything.
3. Decipher Your Brand
There are certain brand elements you’ll want to include in your design. It can be helpful to make a list of these elements as well, because you don’t want to diminish the overall impact of your brand.
The most common elements include: your site’s logo, your overall color scheme, and sitewide typography. These elements will essentially knit together the rest of your site.
4. Continually Test
Once you have all your elements picked out, your website copy written, and your site built out, it’s important you continually test different elements. This will help to show you what your users like, and what elements are turning them off.
After consistent testing you’ll be left with a stronger site than you could ever have built in the first place.
By implementing some of the basics of customer psychology you’ll have a site that’s literally built to serve your customers. After all wouldn’t you rather have a site that works for you, instead of against you?
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/51735839@N00/15433742780/