Q: My business has always depended on in-person interactions. Do I need to create a robust digital offering to survive? — Jerry, Rochester, N.Y.
COVID-19 rockedevery aspect of work, life, and the work-life balance. The big question now is how well entrepreneurs can adjust and set up their businesses — not just for survival but also success.
Here’s one big part of that answer: The digital evolution we’ve experienced this year is here to stay. According to a McKinsey survey, 77 percent of consumers will continue using digital channels moving forward. That doesn’t mean your business needs to go fully virtual, or that you need to create online-only offerings, but it does mean you should embrace the opportunity to add digital solutions to your existing offering.
Embracing digital — now and forever — is a simple way to limit your future vulnerabilities and manage new competitors in the space.
This isn’t about going up against tech-savvy competitors or spending big bucks chasing new customers. It’s about doubling down on the folks who already love you. You can use technology to remind your customers what you’re about and why your business is different — and then reward them for their loyalty.
Start by focusing on three different aspects of retention:
1. Satisfaction. Make sure they’re thrilled with your offers.
2.Loyalty. Make them feel that they matter.
3.Advocacy. Make them feel a part of the business and that your existence is essential to their happiness.
Then ask yourself, How can I create a digital touch point that will deliver each emotion?
If you have your customers’ email addresses, send out updates, behind-the-scenes access, new offers, or, at the most basic level, discounts. Don’t have emails? Use social media to build a simple digital bridge to your customers. (Once you have those emails, you can use referral technology and codes, most of it costing less than $100 per month. This is a smart, affordable way to reach new customers through your existing community.)
Promotion and reward, even if just on social media, is a great way to build engagement. If you have the infrastructure, consider setting up a digital Shopify store so that people can buy directly from you online, even if it’s just a few select items. But above all, you want to engage people with stories about your products, the people in your business, and even your customers. This can be through email, blogs, or social media, written or audio. People and stories are the heartbeat of every business; don’t let yours flatline.
Admittedly, you’ll end up with a lot of questions and opportunities. You might not know where to begin, and that’s OK. For clarity, ask yourself one question we learned from a longtime client, author and podcaster Tim Ferriss: If this were easy, what would it look like?
Sometimes the coolest ideas might also be the most complex for your customer. And right now, your customers don’t want complexity. They want simplicity, convenience, and comfort. You don’t need to have the most high-tech option. You just need a way to meet your customers or audience where they are. If you do that, your customers will be willing to stick with you, support you, and help build you back up.
I don’t know what the future looks like, but whether it exists online or in-person, your success will still depend on customer advocacy. Make that your goal, and the rest will work itself out.
Leveraging social media to promote your WordPress site requires only a few simple plugins.
Here is a list of social media plugins for WordPress. There are plugins to display icons from hundreds of social media networks, schedule and automate publication, track engagement, and more. Some of these plugins are standalone, while others are bundled with larger sets of WordPress tools. Nearly all of the plugins are free, though most also have premium plans.
Social Media Plugins for WordPress
Shareaholic provides a comprehensive set of marketing tools to engage with your audience, get found across search and social, and grow your following with access to 40-plus follow buttons. Add share buttons anywhere in your layout. Add smart share buttons to your images. Share and recommend content, analyze performance in a single dashboard, and generate revenue with native ads, affiliate links, and more. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $8 per month.
Revive Old Posts lets you schedule old and newer content to share on social media. Automatically post to social media as soon as you click the publish button or as soon as content is automatically published. Choose the maximum and minimum age of posts eligible for sharing. Create common hashtags for post shares and more. Price: Free. Premium plans start at $75 per year.
NextScripts SNAP automatically publishes new or existing posts from your blog to your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and more. Filters allow you to post only specified categories, tags, and post types. Posts are entirely white-labeled. Price: Free for one account per social network. Pro is $49.95 per year.
Monarch lets you choose from over 20 social sharing networks to display. Add and arrange any number of available networks to create a custom collection of sharing options for your visitors. Use six automatic pop-up and fly-in triggers off unique user interactions. Price: $89 per year.
Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed lets you display Instagram posts from your Instagram accounts, either in the same single feed or in multiple feeds. Customize the width, height, number of photos, number of columns, image size, background color, image spacing, and more. Display thumbnails and medium- or full-size photos from your Instagram feed. Includes a “Follow on Instagram” button at the bottom of your feed. Price: Free. Pro version is $49 per year.
Click To Tweet allows you to create tweetable content easily. Use pull quotes and custom messages inside the body of a blog post to highlight your content for readers and make it simple for them to share on Twitter. Price: Free.
Jetpack is a toolkit to design, secure, and grow your site on WordPress. Jetpack includes a variety of features to promote a site, including social media icons, widgets to display networks, social network distribution tools, and more. Schedule promotions of your content to social media sites. Add additional social shares for previously published posts, and schedule them for the days and times that work best for your audience. Price: Basic is free. Premium starts at $19.95 per month.
Simple Social Icons is an easy to use, customizable way to display icons that link visitors to your various social profiles. Choose which profiles to link to, customize your icons’ color and size, and align them to the left, center, or right, all from the widget form. Price: Free.
MashShare provides social sharing features similar to the layout on Mashable. MashShare lets you display a large total share counter beside three large prominent share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, and the option to place a prominent subscribe button for your news feed and mailing list. Price: Free. Add-ons start at €39.
Blog2Social lets you cross-promote, schedule, and automatically share your blog posts to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google My Business, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Medium, and Telegram. Blog2Social automatically creates social media posts for your content and auto-posts at the best times for each network. Saves the time and hassle of manually sharing and promoting. Price: Free. Pro version is €99 per year.
Social Warfare is a plugin to add social share buttons to your site and promote your social content. Match the buttons to your website’s branding, with over 5,000 potential style combinations. Customize tweets that are populated when a visitor clicks your Twitter button. Upload Pinterest-specific images and descriptions. Display social share counts prominently. Add a custom widget to display your most popular posts. Built with performance in mind, these buttons will not slow your site. Price: Plans start at $29 per year.
Floating Social Media Icon allows icons to appear automatically. Use social media widgets, shortcodes, or PHP code to display social media icons anywhere. The plugin includes over 20 icon themes, icon animation, widget support, and more. The icons will fly from top left to bottom right and will stay there even if the user scrolls the page — thus, it floats. With the power add-on, choose where to start the icon’s fly animation and where to end and stay. Price: Free. Add-on is $24.49.
Nelio Content provides an editorial calendar and content assistant to help schedule, create, and promote your blog. Automatically post on social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, Google My Business, and Pinterest. Nelio Content also includes support for Instagram through Buffer. Focus on the content that works best with built-in analytics. Price: Free. Premium is $99 per year.
WordPress to Buffer will auto-post content to your Buffer account, scheduling publication to social media profiles including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Use Buffer’s default schedule, or set your own schedule with days and times that work best for your audience. Price: Free. Premium plans start at $39 per year.
AddToAny Share Buttons is a plugin to share posts and pages to networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and over 100 sharing and social media sites and apps. It features share counters, floating share buttons, follow buttons for popular social networks, vector icons, analytics integration, and custom icons and placement. Price: Free.
In December 2020, online retailers and B2B sellers can focus their content marketing on getting things done during Covid, launching a YouTube channel, profiling the Nobel Prizes, teaching skills, and raising AIDS awareness.
Content marketing starts with creating or curating content such as articles, videos, graphics, or podcasts. Next, that content is published, distributed, and promoted, all for the sake of attracting, engaging, and retaining an audience of customers.
What follows are five content marketing ideas your business can use in December 2020.
1. Living during Covid
Put aside U.S. presidential elections and political machinations worldwide. Don’t even consider earthquakes (there have been 96 serious quakes by October) and murder hornets. This year, 2020, will be known for the Coronavirus pandemic.
So there is no reason not to create content that includes Covid.
Even if you have a full-time job, there’s nothing wrong with putting a little extra cash in your pocket. It’s not about greed: Having an additional income stream means that you get out of debt or fatten your savings.
But, there’s another possible outcome. You may be able to make this into a bonafide full-time job. That means you can be your own boss or generate a passive income.
If you never thought about this before, 2020 should have opened your eyes — especially if you’re struggling as a business owner or have unfortunately lost your main source of income. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that life can drastically change in the blink of an eye. As such, it makes sense that you have a financial safety-blanket so that you can weather whatever life throws your way.
While the world has definitely changed, there are still ways that you can make extra money. You may even discover the next great business idea during this difficult time. If you need some ideas, then here are 20 suggestions for your side-hustle consideration.
Even prior to Covid-19, delivering food was one of the most popular side hustles. The reason? Third-parties like UberEats and DoorDash have allowed more restaurants to offer takeout. Another perk? The schedules are flexible with peak times being during lunch, dinner rushes and Sundays. And some people have claimed that they’ve made on average $18 an hour.
Besides third-party apps, you could contact local eateries, like pizzerias, to see if they’re in need of part-time drivers.
2. Shop for others
Similarly, you may also consider shopping for others. Instacart is one of the most popular examples of this. Just sign up and work whenever you have the availability. Best of all? You have the option to be only a shopper or to shop and deliver groceries.
Instacart not available in your area? Then check out alternative services like Shipt.
3. Flex your Amazon muscles
According to Statista, Amazon captured 45 percent of all U.S. ecommerce spending in 2019. That figure was expected to rise to 47 percent in 2020, but I suspect that will higher for obvious reasons. As such, Jeff Bezos and Co. need people to deliver these products. And that’s exactly what Amazon Flex is for. Just like with ride sharing or delivering food, you use your own vehicle. You can also set your own schedule, and Amazon claims that drivers make between $18 to $25 per hour.
4. Hop like a (Task)rabbit
Are you handy around the house? Can you assemble that tricky IKEA furniture, set up smart devices, mount TVs or fix simple plumbing or electrical issues? If so, you can sell these skills on TaskRabbit or similar sites like Handy.
If your vehicle meets the requirements and you don’t mind taxiing people around, this is one of the most common side gigs. Mainly because you can do this whenever and wherever you want. Plus, it’s feasible to rake in over a grand each month in supplemental income.
At the same time, Covid may have impacted this side business depending on where you live. You might even have health concerns. If that’s the case, then you can still make money off your vehicle by renting it to others through Turo or Getaround. Some have reported that they’ve been able to make between $500 to $1000 renting out their vehicles.
6. Become a freelancer
How do I love freelancing? Let me count the ways.
First, there are hundreds of marketplaces to land a freelancing gig. Second, it’s incredibly flexible. Third, there is no shortage of ways to make money from this. At the minimum, this includes writing, proofreading, editing videos, graphic design, bookkeeping, virtual assistant and transcription work.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
The sky is the limit when it comes to freelance work. If you have a unique skill to offer, or are willing to learn a new one, there’s a way to capitalize on it.
Are you well versed in a specific subject matter? If so, then why not help others who are struggling with it? You actually might be able to earn $45 to $100 an hour, either in-person or virtually, through platforms like Wyzant.
8. Teach English online
Although you do not have to be a certified teacher, it would be beneficial if you have experience working with children — even if you’re a parent. From there, you can apply to teach English to students on platforms like VIPKid.
If accepted, this is one of the best side hustles you can ask for. It’s flexible, not extremely challenging, and it’s 100 percent virtual. Best of all? You can earn up to $22 per hour.
9. Teach a skill
How you decide to cash in on the skills you possess is totally up to you. For example, you could host music lessons from your home. Are you a talented chef, baker or stylist? Then you could launch your own YouTube channel.
You could even add on to your existing business. For instance, if you owned a gym or yoga studio, then you might want to offer online classes. Or, you could launch a membership site where customers can access exclusive content.
I would be remiss if I didn’t add that unless you already have an audience, these suggestions won’t being-in money overnight. In fact, it might take months or years. So, if you need to make money sooner than later, you might want to look elsewhere.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
You will need to manage your time carefully so that you don’t overextend yourself — especially if you have another full time job. Brush up on time-management skills.
10. Child or companion care
Perhaps one of the oldest side hustles is childcare. Examples would be babysitting for your neighbors when they want to go out or watching your niece or nephew after school. And, because you aren’t actually running a daycare facility, you don’t have to be concerned with any red tape — you’ll probably get paid in cash, too.
What’s more, with parents currently working from home, they may call on you to lend a hand. For instance, if they have a virtual meeting, they may pay you to get the kids out of the house or at least not let them come in during the meetings duration so they won’t get interrupted.
A slight variation of this would be eldercare. Several years ago, I would spend my Friday mornings running errands for my grandparents and making sure they were set up for the weekend. And because my schedule was flexible, I could also take them to their doctor’s appointments.
Many parents are so busy with their own children that they will pay for a couple of hours a day for you to sit with their own parent. Sometimes a quick visit in the evening with an aging individual can be done after work and adds to your cash reserves.
As a dog owner, I can’t stand leaving my baby alone all day. Thankfully, when I’m not working from home, she usually comes with me. However, not everyone is as fortunate. As such, they won’t mind shelling out the money for someone to walk and check-in on their four-legged friend through platforms like Rover.
However, take a look around your neighborhood: there are likely neighbors looking for a familiar face for their furry friends. Check out your local dog park, and you’ll likely find some dog to babysit there, running around, and you could check out the personality before committing to the job.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
If you’re looking to make more and love having dogs around, you can also petsit when their owners go out of town. In some cases, you might be able to fetch at least $70 for an overnight stay.
12. Clean houses or small businesses
There’s nothing like a pandemic to highlight the importance of cleanliness. But, to be honest, this is also a profitable side gig. I know plenty of people who keep up with the day-to-day cleaning. But, they’ll hire someone either once a week or a couple of times a month take care of heavier cleaning — such as windows and dusting.
If you have the cleaning supplies and don’t mind getting a little dirty, there’s definitely potential here. And who knows? Maybe your little business on the side takes off. Maybe eventualy you can hire other people making this a passive-income-stream business idea.
Flipping is basically taking an item and selling it for a profit. The idea is that you already own said items or purchased it cheaply. For instance, you could sell your old electronics on Declutter. Or, you could hit up a yard sale or visit Craigslist free section. From there, you clean up or refurbish the item and try to make a profit off of it.
Years ago, I met a woman who went to the local second-hand clothing stores and purchased items and then spent the day selling them on eBay for a little more, after postage. I couldn’t image that she was making much after the work of it, but she claimed it paid her car payment and side needs.
14. Create stuff to sell
Thanks to platforms like Etsy you can easily sell your creations online. It could anything from candles, jewelry, custom face masks, furniture or green cleaning supplies. You could also sell electronic files, such as teaching plans or blueprints for a treehouse, as well.
15. Referee or ump
If you don’t mind getting some lip, this could be an interesting side gig. According to the Bureau of Labor, “Employment of umpires, referees, and other sports officials is projected to grow eight percent from 2019 to 2029.” That’s much faster than the average payment for all occupations.
Moreover, the median annual wage is $28,550. Not shabby for something that you’ll do either after work or on the weekend. By the way, this doesn’t mean that you’re going to be calling professional sports games — even though that would be awesome. Instead, this would be for more local sporting events, like referring a high school football game or girls volleyball.
During the colder months, you could provide other services. Examples could be raking leaves or removing snow.
17. Go mobile
Obviously, businesses like landscaping and delivering food are mobile. But, what I’m talking about here is taking businesses that typically had a physical location and converting them. For instance, you could go to someone’s home and cut their hair, groom their dog, or detail their automobile.
Sure. The convenience factor is a huge plus. But, you’re offering a service to those who might still be hesitant about going out and doing these simple chores in a post-Covid world.
18. Work the polls
Unless you’ve been completely off the grid, you already know it’s an election year. Hopefully, you’re going to do your civic duty and vote. But, since you’re already registered, you might be able to make some extra cash on election day as well.
Between Covid-19 concerns and the fact that 58 percent of poll workers were 61 or older, there’s certainly a need for poll workers. “In normal circumstances, election officials find it very difficult to have enough poll workers to run elections,” Sylvia Albert, Director of Voting and Elections at the watchdog group Common Cause, told NPR. In 2020, she says, “the problem is exponentially larger.”
Being a great boss means leaving your ego at the door, says documentarian and entrepreneur Soledad O’Brien.
When you’re the boss and writing people’s paychecks, it’s easy to fall into a trap of surrounding yourself with “yes” people. That’s not a good thing, says Soledad O’Brien. “I really had to encourage everyone to give honest feedback and that’s as simple as saying, ‘You have to have ideas, you have to speak in this meeting.’” Explaining her leadership style, Soledad breaks down what she tells her team: “My idea is not the idea. Criticize it, make it better!” This philosophy has resulted in better collaboration, and buy-in from all members of her team, from senior down to junior members. Good ideas can come from anywhere, says Soledad, so leave your ego at the door and listen. Learn more at soledadobrienproductions.com.
Macro-economic uncertainty is creating opportunities entrepreneurs have not seen in decades. Seize this extraordinary moment.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
“I am really concerned about starting a new company right now. I think the world is too unstable and it’s just too risky,” a very close friend of mine was relaying to me the other day. “I have a job. I don’t want to voluntarily quit, have my company fail and then struggle to find something on the other side.”
“You need to look at things differently,” I responded. “You need to look at the extraordinary opportunities and the lower barriers to entry for starting a company right now. You can have access to people and talent that you would not have had previously.”
“Yes, I know, but I am still worried,” my friend immediately responded. “I guess I want to have my cake and eat it.”
Paradoxically, recessions and unstable periods present the best opportunities to start new companies. During the 2008 Financial Crisis, billion dollar startups like Uber, Airbnb, and many others were founded partly as a response to changing market dynamics.
The present day is no exception, offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and unfair advantages to potential entrepreneurs. Among these are increased access to people and talent at lower and negotiable costs, and an environment in which consumers are more willing to try new products and services — often out of necessity.
Increased Access to People and Talent
During boom periods, engineering, design, product and sales talent can be incredibly challenging to recruit and eventually close. Not only is the talent scarce on the market, but the best ones often command fees that can quickly bankrupt a nascent startup if they do not show value from their hires quickly.
Convenience and security increasingly impact online selling. That’s especially the case for the upcoming holiday season, as consumers will likely seek flexible, seamless payment options.
Here are four payment methods to consider for this year’s holiday selling.
4 Payment Methods
Buy now, pay later. Expect this method to gain momentum for the 2020 holidays. Unlike traditional layaway, where consumers make payments on products before taking delivery, BNPL allows customers to pay for purchases over time after receiving the goods. Merchants process these orders like any other.
The latest offering is PayPal’s “Pay in 4,” which lets customers pay for orders from $30 to $600 interest-free over six weeks. Merchants receive the money upfront and pay only the standard PayPal rate. PayPal assumes all the payment-acceptance risks.
There are other BNPL options, such as Afterpay and Klarna. But Pay in 4 brings with it PayPal’s 300 million global users, which dramatically increases the chance of a customer already having an account.
Apple Pay. The number of iOS and macOS devices pales in comparison to Windows and Android OS. Still, on average, Apple users spend more money per transaction — up to three times as much. They’re also more apt to purchase nonessential items and luxury gifts.
Apple Pay is a preferred method for many consumers because of its efficiency and security. Consumers keep their credit card info on file with one source — Apple — and merchants receive the information needed to process the order. Apple Pay can also work on Macs. Thus consumers don’t have to use their iPhones to complete a transaction.
There’s typically no additional charge to merchants to accept Apple Pay. Merchants pay their normal credit-card rates. But merchants do need a shopping cart that supports Apple Pay.
PayPal, Venmo. PayPal and Venmo have been the most-used methods to send money to family and friends during the pandemic. Now, with many of those accounts having positive balances, consumers are more likely to pay with them rather than transfer funds to bank accounts.
While Venmo hasn’t yet rolled out business accounts, consumers can pay with Venmo funds via PayPal. For this to work for ecommerce purchases, merchants should integrate PayPal with their checkout. Instead of a Venmo button, consider making a “Venmo accepted” indicator.
Beyond Venmo, consumers can store credit card details with PayPal, paying merchants with a single tap.
Amazon Pay. Expect to see more shoppers using Amazon Pay this year. The reasons are three-fold: Amazon Pay ensures security and privacy; consumers have Amazon gift card balances to spend; and, for many, it’s convenient as, like Apple Pay and PayPal, their credit info is saved there.
Beyond Credit Cards
Traditional credit card payments require consumers to enter their shipping, billing, and payment information. But the methods discussed here transfer those details automatically. The customer does little more than confirm the shipping address and shipping method before the order is complete.
PayPal and Amazon Pay do more than credit-card providers to protect merchants, which decreases the risk of illegitimate chargebacks. That alone can save merchants time and money, making slightly higher discount rates worthwhile.
Moreover, Apple, PayPal, Venmo, and Amazon come with huge built-in audiences. Some of those users will likely seek out participating stores.
None of these methods will replace credit cards alone. But the benefits to merchants are substantial. Implement the ones you can to gain additional traction this season.
A round up of some of the best budget-friendly tools to help get your business going.
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.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global economy, eCommerce has proven surprisingly resilient. As brick-and-mortar shops close, many people turn online to purchase, putting eCommerce in a promising boom.
If you’re thinking of starting an eCommerce business in these times, technology can be a significant boon for you. We’ve rounded up 10 of the best budget-friendly tools to help you get your business off the ground.
A budget-friendly alternative to the Adobe Creative Cloud, ImageX Ultra gives you design powers, even if you have no idea what you’re doing. With more than 500 customizable graphics templates, you can quickly create a design for your website without any technical expertise needed.
2. SocialBot by ZapApps: Lifetime Subscription – $29.00 (Orig. $1,740.00)
Facebook Messenger can be an excellent tool to improve your customer service and boost your sales. But who has time to constantly monitor messages? With SocialBot, you’ll have dedicated bots for Messenger, SMS, and email marketing to handle any job you program them to.
With 200 examples pages, 500 responsive blocks, more than 30 navigation panels, and many more tools, Blueprints helps you build websites without writing a single line of code. Creating a custom eCommerce site is easy, even if you’ve never coded before.
4. WooCommerce 110+ Premium Plugin Bundle – $39.00 (Orig. $199.00)WordPress is one of the top platforms for building eCommerce websites these days because of plug-ins like WooCommerce. WooCommerce Plugin Bundle makes it extremely easy to build and manage an eCommerce website, and with this massive bundle, you’ll have everything you need to get the most out of your business. With more than 110 plugins, you’ll be able to vary images, analyze site data, and much more.
5. .STORE Domain Name 5 Year Subscription – $39.99 (Orig. $145.00)You’re an eCommerce business, why not have a domain that says what you do? With a .STORE domain, users will know exactly what they’re on your site to do: buy! Plus, you’ll have access to secure, fast hosting and be able to find a domain that more accurately describes your brand.
6. Sellful: All-in-One Business Software for Freelancers & Entrepreneurs – $49.00 (Orig. $840.00)You could invest in a dozen different programs, or you can just use Sellful: All-in-One Business Software for Freelancers & Entrepreneurs. This ingenious platform combines a website builder, CRM, SEO planning, appointment scheduling, and much more in one platform.
7. Botsify Chatbot: 5-Yr Subscription – $49.99 (Orig. $2,940.00)Botsify Chatbot is one of the leading bot builders on the market. With this clever tool, you can build your own chatbots and customize them to help customers answer their questions, complete sales, and much more.
8. Bouncer Bulk Email Verification: Lifetime Subscription – $50.00 (Orig. $100.00)Nobody wants to work hard on an email campaign only to discover that half of your email list is expired or broken. With Bouncer Bulk Email Verification, you’ll be able to verify your entire email list almost instantly. It goes through to verify syntax, check activity, and remove duplicates so your email list is always up to date.
Stock photography is essential for any business that engages in digital marketing. JumpStory™ gives you unlimited access to more than 25 million authentic photos, videos, illustrations, vectors, and icons, as well as an AI tool to edit them instantaneously. You can crop images, insert text, insert your own logo, and much more, allowing you to quickly spruce up marketing campaigns in just minutes.
Every organization needs reliable cloud storage. This seamless tool gives you 2TB of access to secure AES 256-bit encrypted storage as well as a central hub for organizing all of your files. ThunderDrive is the perfect Dropbox cost-effective alternative.
Changes in content, linking, and URL structure can dramatically impact organic search performance. Thus it’s critical to understand the search engine risks and rewards from a new design before you start developing it.
This is the 10th installment in my “SEO How-to” series. Previous installments are:
Search engines crawl sites to determine the relevance and authority of each page: what the content is about and how it is linked. Changes to content, links, structure, URLs, and more impact how search engines crawl a page and then assign the relevance and authority to determine its organic ranking.
Thus redesigns and replatforms carry an organic search risk — and an opportunity.
Brick-and-mortar retail businesses are turning toward ecommerce to generate revenue — online and click-and-collect. As they make this digital transformation, those merchants will likely have questions about ecommerce platforms, themes, and design. While all of these are important, a company’s initial focus should be on products and marketing, in my experience.
The act of merchandising and selling an item in a physical store is fundamentally different than promoting and selling the same product online.
Consider the advantages of physical retailing. In a physical store, a shopper can handle a product before buying it. He can, for example, pick up a new kitchen knife, feel its weight, and gauge how it fits in his hand. In some stores, he could even chop a few carrots before making the buying decision.
Similarly, a mother shopping for kids’ clothing can touch the fabric and have her child try on an outfit or two. For questions, a clerk is not far off.
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.
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.