‘Build Businesses for the Cash Flow,’ Says Repeat Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs tend to become emotionally entwined with their businesses. “It’s my baby,” an entrepreneur might say when describing his company. He may speak of “growing his baby” or “protecting his baby.”

But not Rohan Gilkes.

“There’s no emotion,” he told me. “I have no babies. I build businesses for the cash flow. If someone approaches me and says, ‘[Here’s the number] I’ll give you,’ I’ll calculate it. If it works out from a mathematical standpoint, then I sell it. It’s all based on the metrics and the data.”

Gilkes’ success speaks for itself. Wet Shave Club, a subscription business, he founded and then sold. Launch27, a SaaS platform for service businesses, he founded and sold. Maids in Black, an on-demand cleaning provider, he founded with $450 and still owns — with revenue exceeding $15 million.

He and I recently discussed his journey. What follows is our entire audio conversation and a transcript, edited for length and clarity.

Original article here.

SEO How-to, Part 8: Architecture and Internal Linking

This is the eighth installment in my “SEO How-to” series. Previous installments are:

Targeting Shopper Needs

Your site’s architecture impacts organic search performance. The taxonomy — the organization of products and attributes — plays a key role. It determines which pages exist and how they are linked.

SEO performance is strongest when those pages and linking structures reflect the needs of shoppers as expressed in their search queries. Keyword research helps you pinpoint those needs.

For example, you’d expect a jewelry etailer to have categories featuring products by metal type and color, such as yellow and white gold, and platinum. But a look at the top 15 engagement ring keywords below, as reported by Google Keyword Planner, shows that shoppers also want engagement rings by gender, style, cut, and gemstone.

Original Article Here.

International SEO

Is your website available in multiple languages? Do you sell your products internationally? If you have an international website, you have to ensure that Google and other search engines index your web pages correctly. This article helps you to get your web pages into the right local versions of Google.

There are multiple ways to offer international website content. Some ways are better than others.

1. The best way: use local domains for each language

Country specific domains are the best way to serve international content. For example, use yourcompany.com for the USA, yourcompany.de for Germany, yourcompany.fr for France, etc.

It’s much easier to get ranked on German search engines if you have a .de domain. Customers from Germany also tend to trust German website with German content more. If the local website for Germany only contains German content and a German domain then it is very easy to understand for website visitors and search engines.

A website that contains English, German, Spanish and other content is more difficult to understand for both search engines and website visitors.

2. Let your visitors choose which language they want to see

Another way to present international content is to let your website visitors choose the appropriate version. Your homepage contains a country and language selector to let users choose their favorite version.

After the selection, the user should be redirected to a web page that has a unique URL, i.e. each language version should use unique URLs. For example www.example.com/en/pagewww.example.com/fr/pagewww.example.com/de/page, etc.

If you decide to use this method, it is important that your web pages use the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation for the country selector page, which was specifically created for these kinds of pages.

This method is more confusing than the first method. It’s easier to make mistakes that can lead to problems with search engines.

3. Redirect visitors automatically

Instead of letting your website visitors choose, you can also redirect them based on their location and their language settings. You can do this with 302 redirects or by dynamically serving the right HTML content.

This method also requires the x-default rel-alternate-hreflang annotation and you must also make sure that the language pages have individual URLs.

Automatic redirects can be annoying. For example, if a person from the US is on vacation in Europe, it is not good if the US version cannot be accessed then. It’s also easy to make mistakes that can lead to indexing problems if you use this method.

Regardless of the method that you use to present your international content, all of your pages should have rel-alternate-hreflang annotations.

Check your local rankings and check the accessibility of your web pages

The ranking monitor in SEOprofiler enables you to check the rankings of your web pages in 169 countries. You can check your rankings from all 99,000+ locations that are supported by Google. If you want to know how your website is ranked in a particular region, the Ranking Monitor is the right tool for you.

In addition, Googlebot must be able to access the different language versions of your web pages. You can test this with the website audit tool in SEOprofiler.

Improve your website now

Getting high rankings for international websites is even more difficult than getting high rankings for regular websites. If you haven’t done it yet, try SEOprofiler now to improve the Google rankings of your web pages:

Visit https://www.seoprofiler.com

Do Contactless Payments Impact Vulnerable Consumers?

Many brick-and-mortar merchants have implemented tap-to-pay systems during the pandemic. Customers and employees, fearing the spread of the coronavirus, are wary of handling cash and coins.

Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Lululemon have recently banned the receipt of cash. Many other businesses are refusing to accept cash or are pressuring customers to pay by tapping credit cards or smartphones. This shift away from cash is extraordinary. It wasn’t too long ago that merchants complained about the high costs of accepting credit cards.

There are other reasons, beyond Covid-19, why some merchants are eliminating cash receipts. Accepting cash, it turns out, can be more costly than paying interchange and other credit card fees.

But refusing cash payments has societal implications as it assumes all consumers have access to a smartphone or credit card.

Original article here.

SEO How-to, Part 7: Mapping Keywords to Content

Keyword research is the process of identifying the words that consumers use to search for your products on Google and other search engines. Keyword mapping assigns those terms to pages on your site.

This is the seventh installment in my “SEO How-to” series. Previous installments are:

Read entire article here.

13 Easy Tips to Give Your Content More Personality

A fundamental principle of content marketing is that you must keep your readers engaged. You can do this in several ways but writing content full of personality has proven to be one of the most effective.

Creating entertaining content, however, can be a challenge. To make your next content pieces shinier, here are 13 easy-to-implement tips for packing more personality into your writing.

Tip 1: Tell a good story

People love stories. It’s why we’ve been telling them since prehistoric people first gathered around a fire. Any time the piece you’re working on feels drab or gets bogged down in nitty-gritty facts and details, inject a relevant anecdote.

Original and complete article here.

How to Overhaul Your SEO Strategy for Just $50

Long Tail Pro gives you the tools to create an ironclad SEO infrastructure.

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Last year, 61 percent of marketers said improving search engine optimization (SEO) and growing their organic presence was their top inbound marketing priority. Do you know why? Because it’s budget-friendly and impactful.

While platforms like Google and Facebook give your business the ability to reach millions of new and existing users, it may cost you a pretty penny to do so. SEO utilizes the content you already have (or are creating) and search engine algorithms to get people on your site without you having to pay anyone to get them there.

However, SEO is competitive and it’s hard to make your web pages stand out without the proper tools and training. Long Tail Pro will help give you and your business an edge.

Long Tail Pro helps you find less competitive keywords that can still garner tons of high-converting traffic online, regardless of your niche. When you first download the program, it’ll give you a personal domain analysis and customized keyword competitiveness targets to give you an idea of where to start with your SEO strategy.

Then, you can search for keywords manually and get hundreds of suggestions for each keyword search, helping you figure out what people are searching for and how you might get them to your site. Additionally, Long Tail Pro lets you perform search engine result page lookups to understand what’s ranking for a given search term and allow you to do detailed competition analysis for each keyword. It’ll even give you a peek into your competitors’ SEO strategy to see what they’re doing. 

Long Tail Pro also has a Rank Value feature that helps you estimate the monthly value of ranking #1 for each keyword, so you can see where your resources are best spent.

Give your SEO strategy a boost. Right now, you can get lifetime access to Long Tail Pro with up to 10,000 keywords for just $49.99

Prices are subject to change. Original article here.

What It Takes to Launch a Successful Online Clothing Brand in 2020

If you have the right drive, know-how and positioning, you can start a business that will do well for years to come.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Per usual, clothing brands like NikeZaraAdidas, Hermes and H&M were some of the most popular in 2019. What about 2020, though? In spite of new, obvious obstacles, with the right business plan and brand, a new online clothing company could rise to the top of the pack this decade.

Start with a sound business plan

If you look on pretty much any site that offers new business advice, one of the top suggestions listed is to create a business plan.

Original article here.

Why Your Website Needs to be Accessible to Everyone

An accessible website is designed with technology that makes navigation simpler for those with disabilities. The positive impact it can have on users goes far beyond a few features. 

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This article was written by Alex Sixt, an Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble expert. If you are looking to take the NEXT step in your business then we encourage you to check out Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble.

It’s 2020, which means it’s time to make your websiteaccessible. Web accessibility is one of the most important things you can do for the online community and your customers. An accessible website is designed with technology that makes navigation simpler for those with disabilities. The positive impact it can have on users goes far beyond a few features

Accessibility is an important step in building a more inclusive website for the digital community and will make your website an experience that everyone can enjoy. However, not all websites are properly equipped to provide an accessible experience for every person who visits their site. Millions of people use the internet every day and many need accessible technology to enable them to use the web as others do. 

Enhancing accessibility can seem to be a difficult task, but implementing these tools and resources is well worth the work. Before you begin your venture into building an accessible website, let’s discuss why it’s vital to your website and how to easily create an inclusive visit for every user: 

Why is accessibility important? 

Your website is often the first impression a potential customer may have of your business. For users with disabilities, the internet may be the most efficient way to interact with your business and the only impression they receive. By enhancing your website with accessibility features, the customer experience will be smoother and more enjoyable for every user who visits your site. Accommodating everyone’s needs is essential to an inclusive experience for every user. An accessible website provides the ability to engage with web material equally as much as other users. 

Accessibility has many varying aspects to it, as needs for all disabilities should be met to the best of the website’s ability. Fortunately, adding in accessibility tools is much easier than you may think and you likely have the ability to enhance accessibility through your web platform. 

Related: How Accessibility Can Make (or Break) Your Small-Business Website

Where to start with accessibility. 

Creating an accessible website isn’t as difficult a task as you’d think but it is vital to making every user feel welcomed and accommodated. There are many additions you can make to your website that vary in difficulty, but most are simple enough to implement quickly.

Even if you’re not well-versed in web design, there are changes you can make that will help you to take a step in the right direction. For example, some essential elements that can be easily made would be adjusting colors to have high contrast (this helps to make the text more readable) or adding alt-text to pictures and video. While these may feel like small changes, they make a big difference in enhancing the user experience for everyone. 

Original article here.

Site Builders

Choosing a Website Builder

Starting a website is much easier and cheaper than it used to be thanks to the wide variety of user-friendly, DIY web builders that consumers can now choose from. We’ve compiled a list of do-it-yourself website builders above, highlighting the features that each of them offers.

When choosing a website builder, you must first consider what kind of site you want to build and what kind of functionality you require. Below is a list of of key decision-making factors you should consider when picking a website builder to help make the ideal personal or business site for you.

Consider the Software Features

There are a lot of great website builders to compare & choose from, but your best option will depend on the features that matter most to you. For instance, Wix and Squarespace are excellent options for users who desire absolute simplicity. Wix and Web.com both offer excellent stock images and photo editing tools. Squarespace and Shopify are equipped with world-class shopping cart solutions.

If you’re just looking for a quality hosting platform that works with WordPress or another preferred CMS, you might favor iPage or FatCow.

A Great Website Deserves a Great Template

Your template is the backbone of your website. It comprises the entire layout, including your menus, colors, background elements, and photo and text alignment. A worthy website builder will have hundreds of templates to choose from, but the quality of those templates is also critical. For instance, Wix and Network Solutions offer fewer free templates than some of their competitors, but the templates they do offer are among the most beautiful you’ll find. Squarespace is another great choice for quality templates.

To Pay or Not to Pay?

Should you go with a free platform like WordPress or a paid platform like Squarespace? That depends on how much control you want over your website and how big you want to go:

Free website builders are excellent on a budget, but they typically don’t allow you to connect your own domain. Also, you’ll have to keep the company’s ads on each webpage.

Paid builders are definitely an investment, but you get more storage, bandwidth, and tools. Also, you can use your own domain and get rid of those pesky ads.

Here are some additional factors to consider when deciding between free and paid website builders.

The Brand Is Important, Too

We know that trust is important when you’re choosing a website builder. All of the website builders featured & compared on this page are industry leaders, and some of them have been in business for over two decades. Register.com has been around since 1994, Web.com since 1995, and GoDaddy since 1997. Network Solutions has actually been in operation since 1979!

These companies have also received numerous industry accolades. For instance, BigCommerce has received two Stevie awards for Best Overall Business. GoDaddy also received three Stevie awards for their sales and customer service and has been recognized as one of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies two years running.

Industry accolades are another great indicator of a brand’s value. Look at Squarespace, for example, which has taken home myriad Webby Awards over the years for everything from Features & Design to Web Services & Applications and Best Practices.

Looking for Design Services?

Yeah, these website builders offer plenty of stellar designs right out of the box, but sometimes, you need something a bit more custom. If you’re looking to have a professional design a gorgeous website on your behalf, your best bets are WixWeb.com and Network Solutions. These platforms all offer competitively priced DIFM (Do It for Me) web design services. Once your site is built, you can still use their easy content management system to maintain your site.  

If your site includes a storefront, BigCommerce is another excellent option. They can connect you with one of their carefully vetted BigCommerce design partners. Best of all, there are hundreds of partners to choose from, so you can compare rates and portfolios and find the option that works best for you.

Don’t Forget About Google

If you want potential visitors, readers, customers, or groupies to be able to find you, you need a site that is optimized for search engines. SEO (which appropriately stands for “search engine optimization”) refers to all of the techniques and best practices that allow a website to achieve prominent search engine rankings.

If you want to ensure that your website builder is SEO-friendly, look for features such as:

  • The ability to edit title tags, meta descriptions, and alt image attributes
  • Automated XML and HTML sitemaps
  • Search-friendly URLs (good: mysite.com/latest-news; bad: mysite.com/349596)
  • Keyword density tools and conversion tools

Wix and Web.com are two of the best website builders for SEO. They both offer all of the features mentioned above, and Web.com even employs SEO experts who can optimize your site on your behalf (additional rates apply).

And Then There Are the Hosting and Domain Bundles

Your hosting is like your real estate. But instead of paying for five acres and a duplex, you’re paying for a few gigabytes of storage and enough bandwidth to make your site run smoothly. All of the website builders featured on this page offer hosting services for your website, and most of them allow you to connect your own domain for a small fee. Squarespace is one of the few hosting providers that will give you a free domain when you sign up for a yearly contract.

Weebly and Web.com both have hosting plans with unlimited storage and bandwidth. This is a huge advantage for any website owner. BigCommerce offers these perks as well, but if you have an online store with thousands of products and customers, you may be required to upgrade to a costlier enterprise plan.

When comparing your hosting options, just be aware of the difference between “unlimited” and “unmetered” bandwidth. An unmetered plan isn’t truly unlimited. That is, the hosting provider won’t stop you from receiving large influxes of traffic, but it may slow your site down after you reach a certain threshold.

The Advantages of Using a Website Builder

The average cost of a website built by a designer can range between $1,000 – $8,000, but every time you change your mind, your bill can get larger. You also have to wait until your designer is available to make the changes you requested. And in the end, there’s a risk that you’ll end up agreeing to a website that you’re not actually happy with, just because you don’t feel that you can afford to ask them to try something else.

Using a website builder is much less expensive. The best website builders offer plenty of choices and give you complete autonomy over your project. With Wix, for example, you can choose from more than 500 templates across 70 categories, and experiment with fonts, color schemes, slideshows, galleries, and video backgrounds. The much-celebrated Wix App Market is a huge boon to Wix users, who will find more than 300 apps at their fingertips that they can effortlessly integrate into their website.

With a website builder, you are in control of everything, from the placement of the call-to-action button to the font on your homepage.

What to Consider When Choosing a Website Builder Platform

The best website builder is the one that best fits your needs. Ask yourself some of these questions about your new website:

  • What type of site will it be?
  • What key features do you need?
  • Are you running an online store? If so, how big will it be? Some website builders have Ecommerce plans that limit the number of items you can sell per month.
  • What is the vibe of your business?

Ease of Use

The most important feature of a website builder is its usability. Try out the user interface on the 5 best website builders listed above by using their trial site builder. This will give you an idea of which one you find the most intuitive and easiest to use. If you do have some knowledge of coding, check that the website builders give you access to the CSS code, too.

Ecommerce

Hopefully, your business will expand. In this case, you need to ask yourself if you need a website builder that can process more online bookings, reservations, sales, or sales inquiries. Similarly, if you decide to transfer your site to a different hosting option in the future, can you easily download the full site?

Templates

You should also check which templates are available. Take the time to check that they aren’t all just slight variations of the same template. You’ll need templates for your business’ specific category, so a builder with hundreds of blog templates, but none for restaurants won’t be much help if you’re promoting your corner cafe.

Features

All the best website builders offer a number of extra features to make building your website easier and better. Here are some features to look out for:

  • Setup wizards which guide you through the building process
  • Drag-and-drop, intuitive interface to design your site
  • SEO tools such as editing meta tags
  • Marketing tools including email marketing
  • Built-in analytics to track visitors’ demographics, location, interests, and more
  • Ecommerce tools such as multiple payment processor options, inventory tracking tools, product descriptions, etc.
  • Integrated social media buttons to connect your social media networks with your new site
  • Mobile-responsive sites that update at the same time as your main site
  • Mobile-editing tools which permit you to continue tweaking your new website from your mobile phone

Site Speed and Tech Support

Your website loading speed is also important. You don’t want to lose visitors just because your site takes a long time to load. Twenty-four-hour technical support is vital if you’re creating a website yourself and need help when you get stuck, even if that’s the middle of the night. Finally, although pricing shouldn’t be the main yardstick you use to measure a good website builder, you don’t want to pay too much for a mediocre website builder, so compare prices as well.

Is a Free Builder Worth It?

If you just want to build a basic site without an online store, then a free website builder is a solid way to get started. Keep in mind that free plans come with less storage, slower load times, and fewer SEO and marketing tools. If you know that you need Ecommerce facilities, lots of storage space (for high-resolution images, videos, etc.), extra customer support, and/or a lot of webpages, free site builders are unlikely to work for you.

That said, free website builders are ideal for testing the waters and having a ready-made platform to share with contacts and social media followers. And if you decide you’re ready to implement more features, many companies offer easy and cost-efficient upgrades. With Wix, for example, you can choose from 4 premium upgrades that provide increasing amounts of bandwidth, storage, and access to analytics and marketing tools, thereby allowing you to scale up at a rate—and cost—that meets your website’s needs.

Original Article Here.

The 3 Essentials to Retain Online Buyers after the Pandemic

Worldwide consumers have turned to ecommerce during the Covid-19 pandemic, creating new buying habits that may not revert to brick-and-mortar shopping afterward. In this 30-minute webinar, we’ll address three critical tactics to retain the new customers when the coronavirus passes.

3 Essentials to Retain Online Buyers

  • Understanding the opportunity. New shopping habits are forming. For significant portions of spring 2020, non-essential, brick-and-mortar stores were closed and consumers were staying at home. We’ll address the opportunity — examples — to use these new habits to create long-term customer relationships.
  • Prioritizing customers. Purchase data and customer demographics identify retention priorities. We’ll provide a framework to learn more about your new pandemic-driven customers and, also, how to prioritize — to focus on retaining those buyers that are the most valuable to your business.
  • Critical action steps. The increase in ecommerce transactions may be a boon for many online businesses, but the secret to long-term ecommerce growth is customer retention. We’ll review detailed outreach tactics — automated and manual — to convert pandemic-driven buyers into long-term, loyal shoppers.
  • Original article and to signup for seminar are here.

10 Incredible TED Talks About Time Management You Should Watch Right Now

These time-management talks can help improve your productivity.

Just like millions of other people, I’m hooked on TED Talks. They’re innovative, informative and engaging, but these talks are also intentionally short enough to be consumed when you feel like you only have a couple of minutes in the day. You will learn something new or be reminded of a topic that’s essential that you haven’t thought about for a while. TED Talks help to expand your mind to think other thoughts that you may regularly think about. Think something new, hear someone new and change how you relate to the world.

Speaking of time, there are also plenty of TED Talks that can help you step-up your time-management game, or at least change your perspective on this essential skill. The following ten talks that you should watch right now when you have a couple of minutes to spare.

1. Laura Vanderkam: “How to gain control of your free time.”

168 hours. That’s how many hours there are in a week. That’s a lot of time when you view it this way, explains time-management expert Laura Vanderkam during her TEDWomen 2016 presentation.

“If you are working a full-time job, so 40 hours a week, sleeping eight hours a night, so 56 hours a week — that leaves 72 hours for other things,” explains Vanderkam. Even if “you’re working 50 hours a week, maybe the main job and a side hustle,” there’s still free time — 62 hours available. What about putting in 60 hours? “Well, that leaves 52 hours for other things.”

So, why do we keep saying that we don’t have time? Well, according to her research, it comes down to priorities. As one small business owner and mother of six explained it, “Listen, Laura, everything I do, every minute I spend, is my choice.” And instead of saying, “I don’t have time to do x, y or z,” say, “I don’t do x, y or z because it’s not a priority.”

To make this a reality, you need to determine your priorities in life and add them to your calendar. Ideally, this should be done every week, like on a Friday afternoon. As for everything else? Get creative. For example, if you commute to work, use that time to read, listen to a podcast, or clean out your inbox.

2. David Pogue: “10 top time-saving tech tips.”

I think we can all agree technology is often a blessing and a curse. For example, it allows teams to collaborate and communicate with each other, and there is a wide range of productivity-scheduling apps that can help you create a daily routine, develop healthy habits and keep you focused. At the same time, technology can be distracting. In fact, according to RescueTime, on average, we spend three hours and 15 minutes on our phones. However, for top users, daily screen time exceeds four and a half hours.

In this short TED Talk, just over five minutes, tech columnist David Pogue shares tips for saving time on the technology that we use daily. Some of these shortcuts may only shave off milliseconds. But, when put together, these ten keyboard shortcuts and hidden functionalities of your equipment will certainly add-up in saving you time.

Related: How Agile Leaders Help Organizations Thrive

3. Tim Urban: “Inside the mind of the master procrastinator.”

The struggle against procrastination is real, and it’s time management’s greatest foe. But, why do we do this to ourselves? Well, that was a question Tim Urban, founder of the site Wait But Why, wanted to answer.

To better understand his own behavior, Tim went to an MRI Lab. His goal was to study the differences between the minds of a procrastinator and non-procrastinator.

Original article here.