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Image SEO 101: How To Optimize Your Website’s Visual Content

When it comes to websites, visual content plays a key role in enhancing a user’s experience and their impression of your brand/business. Websites use images for a wide variety of reasons. Studies show us that about 37% of people are visual learners. Images can tell a convincing story, which is the reason brands use imagery to convey their stories and idealism. E-commerce stores have also been growing at an exponential rate, and images obviously play a huge part in their website structure.

Besides this, images pretty much form the core of any website or portfolio that is part of a creative field of work. Additionally, given the fact that there is no actual limit to the number of images that you can use in a single web page, web designers tend to be liberal with the number of images they use. In fact, images make up over 65% of the web content. The result of this can be seen across the internet today, with a lot of websites like this one using stunning visual imagery to guide the user’s journey through their site.

That being said, how many of us actually pay attention to optimizing the images that we use on our website? And why is it important?

Well, first, let me tell you why this is important. I’m sure most of us are aware of the fact that images take up most of a web page’s weight. Consequently, the heavier a web page is, the more time it takes to load. Additionally, statistics show us that the probability of a user leaving a web page increases by 32% if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Images, being one of the heaviest elements on a web page, take up more weight. This causes the webpage to slow down, which might cause an increase in the webpage’s bounce rate. In order to minimize this, we need to take a closer look at optimizing the images that we use.

To help you with this, I’m going to be listing down the five best ways to optimize your website’s images to make your website’s performance and SEO better.

  1. Cropped ImagesCropping the images that you use to optimal dimensions provides value beyond just visual appeal. Since images are made up of pixels, and each individual pixel carries certain image data, they add to the weight of the image. Simply put, the more pixels in your image, the heavier the image will be. By cropping your images, you are eliminating as many pixels as you can, which directly translates to a lighter image weight.

    Additionally, you also need to keep in mind that resizing your images also helps, apart from cropping them. What I mean by this is that you need to resize the original image, according to the display size on your web page. For instance, let’s say that you are using an image with dimensions of 1000*800 pixels. If your display size for that same image on your website is 600*400 pixels, then you need to resize the image accordingly, before uploading it. There are a ton of tools that you can use to do this, such as these.

  2. Image CompressionMost of us are aware that compressing your images is a standard practice before uploading them on a website. However, you also need to pay attention to the type of compression that you use, as this could affect user experience when it comes to certain end uses such as photography.

    There are two main types of compression that are used by every image type out there. They are lossy and lossless compression.

    Lossy compression works by taking advantage of how the human eye perceives images. It does this by eliminating pixel data wherever surrounding pixels have the same or similar composition. The omittance of this data is often almost unnoticeable unless zoomed in to a certain extent.

    On the other hand, lossless compression merely compresses all the image data as it is, and as a result, has a slightly lower compression rate than lossy compression. However, since no pixel data is eliminated, the images are more crisp and detailed, even when zoomed in.

    Images with lossy compression are best suited for websites that primarily use textual content or simple infographics, without much emphasis on visual content. A good example for this would be government websites, blogs (that are not based on creatives), and websites that host research articles.

    On the other hand, images with lossless compression are usually used in visually heavy websites where you need images to remain clear, even when zoomed in. This includes websites such as e-commerce, travel, and social media sites.

    You can even combine these two compression techniques and get a sharper image with a higher compression rate. Image editing software like these can be used for such purposes.

  3. Appropriate File TypeOnce you have edited the images that you will be using for your website, you need to choose the most appropriate file type for the same. The file type that you choose will depend on the type of compression that you need, and the end use of that particular image. There are three image file types that are widely used, and they are JPEGs, PNGs, and GIFs.

    JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is the format that is most commonly used when it comes to images. This is due to the fact that JPEG offers the highest colour depth, and supports both lossy and lossless compression. You can easily adjust the quality and the file size in this format, as you require. JPEGs are normally used for complex images with rich detail.

    PNG, which stands for Portable Network Graphics, is another image type that produces rich and sharp detail. However, this file type uses only lossless compression, due to which it has a considerably higher file size. Therefore, this format is more appropriate for logos and simple imagery.

    GIF, short for Graphics Interchange Format, has very low colour depth, being restricted to just 256 colours. It also uses only lossless compression, but this format can support animation. Hence, it is used for animated loop images. This is used mostly in websites where visual cues are essential to communicate with the viewer, such as websites for digital media businesses and ones that host tutorials online.

  4. Remove Excess DataIn most cases, when a picture is taken, there is a bunch of data that gets saved along with the image. This is called metadata. Metadata is mostly just information such as geolocation, make and model of the camera, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. All this information adds to the weight of the image, and most of the time is completely unnecessary. So it is advisable to remove all this excess metadata, wherever it is redundant. You can use several free online tools to do this.
  5. Raster Vs. VectorJust as choosing the right file type for your images is important, so is choosing the right type of graphics. When working with digital images, you will mostly deal with two basic types of image graphics – raster and vector. Your end users will determine which type of graphic you use for your images.

    Images that use raster graphics are formed by pixels, and hence exhibit a high level of detail regardless of the complexity of the image. However, this tends to leave you with images that have a higher file size, and are susceptible to blurring when zoomed in.

    On the other hand, vector images use paths such as points, lines, and polygons to portray an image. They are resolution independent, meaning these images don’t blur out when zoomed in on. They also have a smaller file size, since they don’t use pixels. Vector graphics are best suited for simple, geometric images such as logos and icons.

These are the five main things that you need to do to ensure that your visual content is optimized for web usage. Apart from this, you should also make sure that you include all the right image tags and alt text, to make it easier for search engines to understand what the image contains.

However, optimizing your images is just a small part of improving your website’s SEO. In order to make the most of it, you need to look at optimizing every aspect of your website, right from the layout to its local schema. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but here’s a downloadable checklist that you can use to do this in a systematic manner. Hope it helps!

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How Page-Level Targeting Helps Improve Customer Conversion Rates

An important element when it comes to the success of a marketing campaign is the way it is targeted. Be it a website, an email newsletter or an Ad campaign, the success lies in the way you’ve targeted and then re-targeted your product. Targeting can be defined as a way to distinguish potential customers from the general visitors and directing your marketing efforts at them.

There are several ways in which we can carry out targeting. In this post, we will be covering page-level targeting for business websites, so that they are able to generate more leads and, in turn, improve the customer conversion rates.

What is Page-Level Targeting?

Page-level targeting is a lead generation technique used to reach your target audience at the very moment when they are interacting with your website or a page on your website. Depending on the type of visitor (either new or returning) you can target them with relevant ads. This is usually done with the help of optins. OptinMonster defines optin as the act of someone granting permission to be added to an email list.

Reasons to implement page-level targeting

Customer conversion is an important aspect as it means the customer is taking the steps you would want them to. If your content doesn’t appeal to customers or they aren’t able to interact with your content and respond to it the way you would like them to, it would mean a drop in sales. Page-level targeting helps resolve this and helps you, the business owner, create a more personalised approach toward your customers.

Let us have a look at the two important reasons to implement page-level targeting:

  • Reduces Shopping Cart Abandonment

    If you’re running an e-commerce website then you must be familiar with customers viewing a product, adding it to their cart and then abandoning it at the last moment instead of purchasing it. One way of reducing this is by implementing page-level targeting by strategically triggering a pop-up that has a discount coupon or a deal on an item they were looking to purchase. This encourages users to complete the purchase, maximising customer conversion and thus, reducing cart abandonment.

  • Increased Subscriber Count

    Subscriber count is proportional to the kind and quality of content your website publishes. If your content is rich, detailed and tailored for your business, then your customers would want to read it as well.

    For example: If your website deals with electronic products but most of your content focuses on a variety of generic content with little or nothing to do with your business, it would mean that most customers do not stay long enough to read and explore.

    Instead, if you use page-level targeting showing an optin or ad relating to the latest technology, etc. it would interest the customer. And if in the middle of this a subscriber window pops-up chances of the customer clicking ‘subscribe’ are high. Page-level targeting thus helps in improving subscriber count as well.

Page-level targeting eventually leads to an increase in the customer sign-ups, as well as, increases your subscriber count which can then indirectly contribute to your email marketing strategy improving the CTR and the open rate of your emails.

How to go about it?

We’ve seen the two key reasons to implement page-level targeting. However, like everything else, it looks easier on paper than in reality. Implementing page-level targeting isn’t tough by any means. Nevertheless, it needs meticulous planning and analyzing.

Let us have a look at the two important things that you should keep in mind when trying to implement page-level targeting for your website.

  1. Understanding your target customer

    One of the most important things when running a website is understanding your customer. This is irrespective of whether you consciously follow page-level targeting or not. If you don’t understand your customer and his/her needs, then you would never be able to cater to them, and this would not contribute to your business in the long run. The more customer oriented content you have, the more it would lead to them interacting with your website eventually, leading to conversion.

    Some of the ways of understanding your customers are by tracking their engagement with your website and products. Tools like Google Analytics can help you measure the time the customers spent on a particular page, the most popular landing pages, the pages that were abandoned sooner than they should have, etc. Another way of understanding your customers is by tracking them socially by means of social analytics, digital interactions, as well as, service and support.

  2. Placement of offers/adverts

    Often times the placement of an offer is far more critical than the offer itself. The page segment where the advert is placed is critical.An important element when it comes to the success of a marketing campaign is the way it is How Page-Level Targeting Helps Improve Customer Conversion Rates

    For example, if you have a blog that publishes content regularly having the ‘Subscribe’ button down below, at the end of the web page might make the button go unseen by several visitors. The best place to put this is on the top corner where it is most likely visible to the reader. Also, if a user is new to your website, then a pop-up window for subscribing helps. This way, even if the customer hadn’t decided to subscribe, he/she might end up subscribing.

    However, if the quality of your content is not good, they might not subscribe no matter how perfect the placement is.

Conclusion

Overall, page-level targeting is an extremely effective way to boost your customer conversions. All you need is patience to chalk out things, keeping the customer as your main focus and you’re sure to succeed.

If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments section below!

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How to Skyrocket Your E-commerce Business Using these 5 WordPress Plugins

Your e-commerce business is eager to process more orders. However, the competition is tough, and every player is trying to stand out from the crowd and attract the attention of their niche audience. Of course, you’re looking for a way to gain some competitive advantage. The solution? Work smarter by leveraging the best e-commerce plugins for WordPress.

Every WordPress user can effectively optimize his/her platform regardless of their designing or web development experience thanks to amazing customized features called WordPress plugins.

These tools, that basically serve as critical resources for e-commerce websites, can change the face of your business. If you’re looking for better solutions for your e-store in 2018, you’ve landed on the right page.

In today’s post, I’ll cover the best e-commerce plugins for WordPress that can provide solutions for e-commerce professionals who are looking for a quick and steady growth. However, before I dive into that, I want you to clearly acknowledge the benefits of having an e-commerce website that acts as an intermediary between your future clients and your e-commerce business.

The Benefits of an E-commerce Website

If you’re not exactly sure why an e-commerce website is necessary for the expansion of your business, here are the primary reasons that will probably trigger your interest:

  1. You’re making your clients’ ordering process more accessible. A domain, a shared or reseller hosting service, which costs a few dollars per month, or perhaps a WordPress Hosting that’ll make your life easier. Compared to a physical space, that’s a really fair price. When people buy something once, they’ll know where to return as long as the previous buying experience was satisfying.
  2. By developing a professional e-commerce website, you’ll improve your brand reputation and look like a real pro. Your prospects will trust you more so their barriers to purchase will disappear.
  3. You can scale your activities and turn into a global brand. Gaining additional traffic, unlike attracting physical customers to your store, is a more flexible and reliable process. Digital marketing isn’t as complicated as it looks – you have to establish the right target audience and market your products well by emphasizing the benefits and the solutions they can bring.
  4. An e-commerce website that runs on WordPress gives you full control over your business promotion and sales process.
  5. You can analyze your customers’ behavior, collect useful feedback, and use it to improve the experience of your future prospects. In time, your optimized brand will be able to scale its operations online and bring additional revenues.
  6. Let’s be honest – every big brand is now present on both Google and on the main social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, etc.). You must be present too, and you’ve got to give a great first impression to your unique online visitors.

Now let’s figure out which e-commerce plugin suits your business needs the best and see how you can effectively leverage it to improve your long-term revenue performance.

  1. MemberPress

    MemberPress is a successful plugin that allows you to offer subscription-based services or digital products on your WordPress site. Simply put, if you’re selling something and demanding a recurring payment, MemberPress helps you do that by providing a simple-to-use interface that charges your visitors securely.Features:

    1. This plugin has been live since 2011 and offers great access rules, which allows you to personalize the permissions of more segments of users and easily create content restrictions based on more criteria
    2. The Basic plan includes over 20 features and add-on integrations, 1-year support and included updates, and allows you to sell unlimited subscriptions
    3. The customizable registration form is extremely user-friendly, helping you create high-converting squeeze pages
    4. Integrated automated emails – keep your list updated with your content & product updates
    5. MemberPress offers Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, French translations (included). However, if you want to translate and implement a different language, you can do so

     

  2. LemonStand

    LemonStand is an e-commerce platform that allows users to develop their own highly-personalized e-commerce stores. Their mission is to help growing retail brands and subscription-based businesses create exceptional digital stores that truly sell.Haley Merlo, CEO at Assignment Geek Essay Services, describes this tool in an enthusiastic manner: “LemonStand is a plugin that allows you to design your user’s experience the way you want by giving you simple yet effective front-end development features and tools. It also includes built-in features that allow you to sell products and recurring subscriptions without having to use an external app. There’s nothing more that a newbie can hope for!”Features:

    1. LemonStand has been offering top-notch quality since 2016 when they effectively entered this niche market.
    2. The plugin is accessible even to the most newbie designers. LemonStand’s easy-to-use features allow you to shape your brand’s design, copy, and unique value proposition
    3. Customizable checkouts and several free open source themes available to premium members
    4. LemonStand offers 95+ payment gateways like Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, Paypal, etc.
    5. It comes with an awesome customer support that does everything to help you in a matter of minutes. Also, they have a strong social community that’s eager to help

    If you’re new to e-commerce, LemonStand should be a great e-commerce plugin for your website!

  3. Easy Digital Downloads

    This is a useful plugin that encourages you to “say hello” to the simplest method of selling and distributing digital products with WordPress.If your business deals only with online products, Easy Digital Downloads can offer you all the features you could possibly use to sell easily and effectively.

    Features:

    1. This plugin has been live since early 2014. It comes with a full shopping cart, allowing your prospects to buy multiple products at once.
    2. Allows you to easily create discount codes and promotions for your customers
    3. Restricted to authorized access to subscribers/customers only, with the option of establishing download limits and link expirations
    4. It features a customer account dashboard page – so only your customers are able to access content/products
    5. Analysis features – everything you need to know about the selling performance of your products
    6. Detailed bookkeeping – you get regular reports of the most important data in the shape of easy-to-read reports

  4. WooCommerce

    WooCommerce is yet another effective all-in-one solution that many e-commerce store owners leverage. Interestingly, WooCommerce has been acquired by the owners behind WordPress, so the two platforms blend extremely well.It’s one of the most recommended e-commerce solutions for WordPress site owners because the features and options in it are exceeding everyone’s expectations.Perceive WooCommerce like the most comprehensive resource that you’ll want to access in order to personalize your web store.

    Features:

    1. WooCommerce has been up and running since early 2012.
    2. It provides a huge number of extensions and themes that WooCommerce users can get access to
    3. You can sell both digital and physical products with much ease, without handling the technicalities of e-commerce selling
    4. You can sell other people’s products through your own e-commerce site
    5. It offers a complete inventory management
    6. Offers all the popular payment gateways and options
    7. It provides a comprehensive documentation and a reliable customer support service

      These were just some of the main features, but to see their entire value proposition, you have to become a member. The value proposition of this e-commerce plugin is huge, and it’s truly worth giving a shot.

  5. Marketpresscommerce business is eager to process more orders How to Skyrocket Your E-commerce Business Using these 5 WordPress PluginsMarketpress is one of the oldest yet most reliable WordPress plugins that serves the needs of e-commerce businesses. Using this tool, you can sell everything from physical goods to online products of all sizes and shapes. You can personalize your users’ experience by delivering product variations and personalized downloads, all from a simple and efficient digital marketplace.A big benefit of Marketpress is the fact that besides the fact that it offers great applicability, it is also free.

    Features:

    1. Marketpress has been launched in 2014. It features 15 payment gateways and 120 currencies.
    2. You can sell digital goods, as well as, customize single-page checkouts.
    3. It comes with a built-in wizard. Also, you don’t have to worry about VAT and Tax because they come ready.
    4. You can implement social media share buttons, coupons and features pricing. Also. you can test infinite product variations.If you can’t afford a premium e-commerce plugin, Marketpress is surely the best solution you can aim to automate and improve your e-commerce business activities.

Takeaways

The performance of your e-commerce business is always influenced by your ability to manage your resources. As you know, WordPress plugins serve as great helpers for anyone who’s eager to indulge in their solutions. Check out the before mentioned plugins as they are the best e-commerce plugins for WordPress and select one or two to test. Once you find a tool that completes or automates your daily work schedule, you’ll be thankful and eager to seek new ones. Good luck!

 

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Strategic Marketing Tactics For Saas Companies

Introduction

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a method of distributing software where the software applications are being centrally hosted by a service provider. It is an incredibly difficult and tricky service to market as it deals with something which is ever-changing but at the same time intangible. SaaS marketing needs to be engaging, as well as, data-driven, and customer-focused.

According to statistics, in 2008, the overall SaaS market was worth $5.5 billion. Now, it is worth $116.4 billion and is expected to reach $164.29 billion by 2022. And with 4 billion people using the Internet as of 2018, the potential customer base is huge and there’s only more success to look ahead to. (Reference)

Three key metrics required to create a successful demand generation model

Marketing metrics are the backbone of every successful SaaS marketing strategy as they not only tell you how effective your marketing strategies are but they also show potential areas of opportunity. The three most important metrics for SaaS companies are:

  1. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Customer Acquisition Cost shows how much it would cost you to convince people to purchase your product. This metric gives a clear idea of the investment outcomes and can be easily calculated by dividing the total number spent on all the marketing expenses in order to gain more customers by the actual number of customers acquired in that time period.
  2. Lifetime Value of a Customer (LTV): If you have managed to retain your customers then it means, they are loyal to you. The lifetime value of a customer is a metric that can help firms to focus on the long-term value they derive from their customers. This metric can serve as a good estimate on how much you can actually spend to acquire new customers. Lifetime Value of a Customer is high if you focus on engaging your customers.
  3. Return On Investment (ROI): ROI is elemental and is best used in combination with metrics like LTV and CAC. It is the benefit of your investments (the amount of return on your investments), relative to the cost of the investment. With the help of this performance measure, you can analyze the efficiency and the profitability of your investment. This helps you decide whether you are on the path of achieving your goals or not.

SaaS marketing strategies

The market is vast but there is still the pressure for growing the customer base before all the funding runs dry. You need proper, efficient, and proven marketing strategies if you want your software to push through and succeed in the huge market with ever-increasing competition and pressure.

Exceptional customer service, proper targeting, giving out freebies, developing and reinforcing user trust, leveraging paid advertisement, recognizing your ideal customer base, building your authority and building your team on an international level are examples of the SaaS marketing strategies which are most effective once you personalize them according to your own needs.

  1. Content marketing is a method of distributing software where the software applications are being centrally  Strategic Marketing Tactics For Saas Companies

    Those SaaS company websites who are leveraging the power of content marketing to increase brand awareness and online presence see a significant increase in their conversion rates as content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional marketing while costing about sixty per cent less at the same time.

    • Content marketing drives SaaS sales

      Content marketing drives traffic and converts leads into customers by combining various tactics such as blogging, landing pages, promotional marketing activities like social media and email marketing, lead nurturing, and conversion offers like freebies, webinars, e-books, etc.

    • Content marketing reduces your SaaS churn rate

      Churn rate is the annual percentage rate at which customers who have made an initial purchase stop subscribing to a service. It is the opposite of retention and you need to decrease it as much as you can by investing in the content generation to show your customers value. Having the right distribution channels in place and not losing sight of email marketing is extremely important. Being mobile-optimized is also very important as not having mobile-optimized content may be the biggest mistake you make.

  2. Product Trials

    It basically means “test-driving” your product and making a sample available via your website. Product trials are an increasingly important source of lead generation for the SaaS industry. It is a cost-effective way of demonstrating product value and increasing leads. As more and more people get to enjoy the smartly tailored product, they understand it better and visualize the profitability of the product. This makes it easier for them to purchase it and utilize the more customized features of the product for their project.

  3. Referral marketing

    One of the most effective types of leads, referral marketing is typically low-cost and closes relatively quickly. It is the method of promoting services through referrals which are usually the words of mouth. The New York Times states that 65% of all the new businesses come via referrals (Reference). This suggests that on an average around 2/3rd of consumers buy a product after getting a recommendation for it. Where do they get the recommendation from? Here comes the role of the employees and marketing personnel. They help the business sell product to the customers who then further recommend it to their friends and relatives. As the word of honour for the product spreads around, the sale of the product increases. This is known as referral marketing.

    Reward incentives for referrals

    You can increase your customer base and conversions simply by asking existing customers to refer you in their social circles to other potential customers. In turn, reward these customers with freebies.

  4. Google AdWords

    Millions of people click on search engine ads per day. Ads are becoming more prominent in Google search results so you should keep investing in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) so as to not miss out on a portion of potential leads. Pay-per-click not only delivers targeted traffic, it is also highly scalable and predictable in terms of cost and results. Through the pay-per-click internet marketing, you can increase the traffic to your official product website. In this, as an advertiser, you get the opportunity to advertise your product on different eCommerce websites. And then, with every single click on the ad, you get to enjoy the increasing number of traffic at a very reasonable and economical price.

  5. Target Review websites

    Business software consumers turn to review websites to read and compare reviews before making a purchase. Online reviews by customers are only growing in influence. Send all relevant information to the editorial team and then encourage people to write reviews and give ratings. For example, if you have a Magento based eCommerce website you may use customer reviews extension to collect reviews and ratings. Popular SaaS review platforms

    Capterra

    G2Crowd

    GetApp

    Trust Radius

  6. Upsell and cross-sell:
    Image source: https://www.smartrmail.com/

    Upselling means encouraging your customers to invest in a comparable higher-end product than the one they’re considering while cross-selling means inviting your customers to buy complementary or related items. The overall point of this tactic is to gradually but surely attract each prospective customer towards the highest package price appropriate to what they’re looking for.

  7. Your SaaS product marketing plan should outline how to increase MRR the smart way

    MRR is the Monthly Recurring Revenue. Increasing MRR should be your ultimate goal so you’re most likely looking for effective marketing tactics to increase your MRR. Some things you can do for your clients are:

    • Acquire new users: New users can be acquired by leveraging channels like social media blogs, industry associations, Google AdWords, forums, etc. Be present at the right events, as well as, get customers through online reviews and referrals.
    • Add new services: Think of products which can create additional revenue like up-sells or add-ons to your core product.
    • Refine and improve your differentiation: Be unique in your selling proposition and be crystal clear about what sets you apart from your key competitors.

  8. Don’t forget customer retention in your SaaS marketing plan

    Even small differences in customer retention rate can create an impact on the money in your bank. It tells you what percentage of customers and revenue you keep getting each month and is also a good benchmark to keep track of how many customers you lose. Don’t forget customer retention, if you want to use your current rate as a benchmark and add your goal about where you want to be a year into the future.

  9. Facebook Retargeting

    Facebook retargeting helps you re-engage those people who have shown interest in your products and compel them to convert. You can retarget them by offering free trials and other freebies, specific product ads, limited time discount offers, and endless other offers to give them a push to sign up and become a customer. There are events where just seven days of Facebook retargeting process has helped some companies achieve an ROI of 1,284%.

Taking your SaaS marketing to the next level

SaaS marketing is tricky for sure but you can optimize your long-term success rate by laying some foundations in place such as:

  • Enhancing your website and using it as a lead generation tool
  • Focusing on business benefits instead of technology
  • Nurturing your prospects by adding value to their every stage when they’re making decisions
  • Marketing regularly to existing customers and increasing customer retention rates
  • Opting for marketing automation once you have an active strategy

Conclusion

Listed here are the strategic marketing tactics which will help you generate leads as well as retain your customers. Increasing the number of leads and the rate of customer retention will doubtlessly make your SaaS business stronger.

 

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Black Hat SEO: And Reasons To Avoid It

Search Engine Optimization commonly referred to as SEO is one of the driving forces of traffic on your website that, in turn, helps your website grow. However, just like everything else in life, there is a code of ethics to be followed. Deviating from them and resorting to unethical means can turn a potentially good thing bad and the same holds true with SEO.

In this post, we will be covering what is unethical SEO, otherwise known as ‘Black Hat SEO’ the common practices and, ways to avoid it.

According to Wikipedia, “Black Hat SEO follows those techniques of which search engines do not approve.” One of the major reasons website owners resort to black hat SEO is so that their website ranks higher in the search engine results. And instead of the website improving its rankings, it ends up receiving a penalty from the search engines affecting rankings for a much longer-term.

Let us now look at 5 techniques that fall under Black Hat SEO and could adversely affect your website should you resort to them:

  1. Keyword Stuffing

    Keyword Stuffing in simple words means adding too many keywords to your article, website post or text. Some of these keywords might be relevant, however, a majority of them are plain clutter. Also, the repetitive use of keywords makes the article monotonous and irrelevant.

    An example of keyword stuffing. Suppose the keyword is ‘WordPress web hosting’ and, this is the paragraph it is used in; “WordPress web hosting is the best web hosting for your WordPress website. With WordPress web hosting your WordPress website performs well. Also, 99.9% uptime is guaranteed with WordPress web hosting. WordPress web hosting is the best hosting.”This repetitive usage of the keywords can frustrate the reader as it doesn’t add any value to the text written and can simply be cut down. Although it is true adding keywords to your post or metadata increases the chances of improving your search engine rankings if you practice keyword stuffing your rankings will be affected adversely, as stated above.

  2. Paid Links

    Just like internal linking on your website helps search engines rank you better, backlinks also help in the same way. They are one of the easiest ways to know whether your content is doing well on the search engine or not. However, unethical means such as buying or purchasing links can lead to a hefty penalty from search engines.

    Google, for instance, has strict rules on this and has banned this practice. As per their link scheme guidelines, “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”Without resorting to Black Hat SEO practices, you can boost your SEO rankings. Here are some tips you can incorporate.

  3. Spam Comments on Blog

    Spam comments on blogs are those comments that contain a backlink to the commenters website or a product page. At times, if you’re new to blogging you may think what is the harm if the comment talks about the article or is an appreciation post. In that case, the comments can still be considered and might be approved instead of marking them as spam. However, most spam comments have nothing to do with the article and are just trying to get a backlink.

    Search Engine Optimization commonly referred to as SEO is one of the driving forces of tra Black Hat SEO: And Reasons To Avoid ItThough this practice has reduced to a considerable extent with Google’s algorithm update aimed to reduce Black Hat SEO practices, as a blog commenter, it is best if you don’t include links in the comments but follow ethical practices of backlinking.

  4. Misusing Structured Data

    Structured data is a type of data that makes your content easily searchable on search engines. It is also known as rich snippets. Structured data helps you gain an edge over your competitors by providing credibility.

    However, there are times when websites resort to unfair means of gaining popularity by modifying the content of the structured data in such a manner that it passes of as authentic. This is an example of abused structured data by CognitiveSEO.Search Engine Optimization commonly referred to as SEO is one of the driving forces of tra Black Hat SEO: And Reasons To Avoid It

    If you don’t know how to add structured data, it is best to follow the guidelines provided by Google as it enables your content to be eligible for incorporation in Google search results. Not resorting to Black Hat SEO may seem like tedious and a painstaking process when it comes to being discovered by search engines. However, it is beneficial in the long run.

  5. Misleading Redirects

    We covered Redirection in detail in one of our earlier posts. In simple words, it means when an individual clicks on a link, they are taken to a different URL instead of the one they intended to visit. Usually, redirects are employed when users have changed their URL or have purchased a new domain name. When it comes to Black Hat SEO, the intent of redirection is malicious and, they purposely redirect users to one page and the search engine crawlers to another page.

    Misleading redirects have only one intention which is to increase their search engine rank which otherwise wouldn’t have grown. The website may or may not have relevant content. However, this is a moot point as unethical means can jeopardize the ranking and indexing of the web pages in the future as it violates search engine guidelines.

 

Why and How to avoid Black Hat SEO

Like all things, the easiest route seems far more tempting. However, the recupressions are not always favourable. Black Hat SEO is one of those tempting routes to increase rankings of your website.

As you have read above, one of the most important reasons Black Hat SEO should be avoided is because it is unethical and can lead to complications for your website as it resorts to violating several search engine guidelines leading to a penalty. If your webpage earns a penalty then recovering the lost rankings is a farfetched dream as you will not only lose your ranking but even your traffic is bound to reduce drastically.

If you run an e-commerce website, resorting to Black Hat SEO tactics can create trust issues with your customer base once the search engine penalizes you, which it would sooner or later. Hence, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Following White Hat SEO practices, on the other hand, results in you respecting the search engine guidelines and also, improving your rankings. Although this might seem like a slow process and definitely requires effort and patience, it is totally worth it. We always recommend that you follow the best practice for SEO and to help you out, here are some ways you can optimize your content for Google.

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Domains

.ME: Flaunt your identity online!

From just a ccTLD to being accepted as a generic domain extension representing family and individuality, .ME has become widely used. Today, the domain name has a large number of registrations. The domain extension is a perfect match for bloggers, freelancers, personal websites and more.

Why .ME domains?

  • Adds a personal touch: A yourname.me feels personal and at the same time, gives you full ownership. It carves out your space on the internet!

  • Exclusively yours: A .ME domain name creates an exclusive space for you and your family. You can book your family name on a .me domain & flaunt your roots!

From just a ccTLD to being accepted as a generic domain extension representing family and  .ME: Flaunt your identity online!

  • Memorable & short: A domain name on the .ME domain extension is guaranteed to be easily recalled & remembered.

The ResellerClub Advantage

With ResellerClub, you can get the .ME domain at a special price of $1.99 till 30th September, 2018. Login now to resell this domain extension to your customers! Make your profits today!

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Marketing

How OTT Content Can Grow Your Brand

Ever since high-speed Internet connections became commonplace in many homes across the globe, on-demand video content has experienced an explosion in popularity in the best possible way. According to a number of sources, the industry has generated more than $15.5 billion in revenue since January 1 2018, alone. 173.3 million people actively engage with this type of on-demand video content on a daily basis, a number that is growing year-over-year at an incredible rate.

 

This, in essence, is why OTT (Over The Top) content is so popular. The term describes content that is delivered via an Internet connection as opposed to something like a cable television provider, but the implications are far deeper than that. Short and long-form narrative content, educational videos, how-to videos, product demonstrations, live marketing events – all of this and more, is the type of OTT content that can grow your brand in critical ways that are certainly worth exploring.

The True Power of OTT Content

If 2018 has taught us anything up to this point, it’s that online video is here to stay. IGTV or “Instagram Television” is perhaps the best example of this.

Earlier this year, Instagram launched its own OTT app to enable its users to watch long-form, vertical videos from all of their favorite creators. Not only is it available both in a standalone app and from within the Instagram platform, it’s also incredibly simple to use. IGTV content literally starts playing as soon as the app is accessed. It offers personalized recommendations, subscriptions and more – all in a way that is easy to engage with and even easier for people to enjoy.

Instagram was already an online community of over a billion people across the globe, but even a brand as big as that one can still see the forest for the trees. Audience tastes are changing and content distribution needs to change with them, which is ultimately what OTT content is all about.

So How Can OTT Content Transform Your Business?

It’s long been written that the key ingredients to any successful online marketing campaign are as follows:

  • You need to create timely, relevant and specific content for your audience.
  • You need to create as much of it as you possibly can.
  • You need to deliver that content to your audience in a way that is easy to access, even easier to engage with and in a format that compels them to keep coming back for more.

Therein lies the power of OTT contents: it can help you accomplish all of these, and more, at the same time. By creating something like an explainer video for your products or services, you can help new customers get to know your products, which in turns, allows them to get the most value out of them! But because your videos live in perpetuity on your website and your YouTube channel, they’re always available for future customers to consume! At that point, your content is the best type of salesperson you can have, the one that never has to eat, sleep or take a vacation and who is always making new and meaningful connections with your audience!

 

But the true power of OTT content comes by way of its natural flexibility. Regardless of how the worlds of video and marketing, in general, continue to change, you’re in a better position than ever to naturally change with it. Depending on the needs of your audience you can open up content in a rental capacity, on a subscription basis, via a one-time purchase model or all of the above – all the while preserving this secondary income stream at the same time. You can even launch your own OTT branded apps using services like Uscreen, and deliver your content directly to your audience!

 

All of this goes a long way towards future-proofing your business so that you can continue to thrive, regardless of how the industry evolves over time!

At this point, it should be clear that the future of branding rests within the larger realm of OTT content. There’s nothing we can do to change this – it’s a trend that shows absolutely no signs of reversing, or even slowing down, anytime soon. Therefore, the only thing that we can do is be prepared for it – the massive shift that is far, far closer to reality than a lot of people seem to think it is.

Therefore, if you truly want to guarantee that your brand thrives within the ever-changing landscape of online marketing – and make no mistake, you should – you need to start thinking of new and innovative ways that you can make this type of on-demand content a core part of the experience you offer your customers. Not next year, not next week, not tomorrow. Today.

Because truth be told, OTT content may very well be the most powerful weapon you have when it comes to future-proofing your business in all the ways that you need when you need them the most.

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Domains

New gTLD Report – August 2018

With .XYZ  back at the top spot to .ICU retaining its second spot, the month of August saw a 24% spike in overall registration numbers. Just like .TOP, .ONLINE also made it to the list of top 5 trending new gTLDs witnessing a 56% increase in its sales numbers. .LIVE continued to be the surprise element during the month of August. Let’s dive in further to know why!

Before that, here’s a peek into the trending domain extensions for the month of August:

New gTLD Report – August 2018

Infogram

*Registration Numbers Facilitated by ResellerClub

.XYZ: It was the global market that sent .XYZ to the top of our trending new gTLDs list for August.  Due to a 507% increase in its sale numbers, .XYZ saw a wild shift in its rank as compared to July. This new gTLD was able to grab a 53% share of the new gTLDs registered in August and was running at a promo price of $0.99

.ICU: Continuing its second spot streak, ICU was able to grab a 8% share of the new gTLDs registered in the month of August. There is no doubt that this new gTLD is gaining popularity in the China market .ICU was being sold at a promo price of $0.99.

.ONLINE: With significant improvements in its registration numbers month on month, it was no surprise that the sales for .ONLINE rose to 56% in August. Not only did it hold on to its spot in the top 5 but also climbed up a rank. .ONLINE was being sold at a discounted price of $3.99.

.LIVE: Registrations for the new gTLD .LIVE increased by 66% in the month of August. The promo price of $1.99 was able to put this new gTLD on the top 5 list for the first time. .LIVE was able to grab a 4% share of the new gTLDs registered in August.

.TOP: Despite an increase in the promo price of this new gTLD to $1.59,  .TOP has been consistently performing well. The month of August did witness a dip in the registration numbers of this new gTLD compared to July, thus bringing it down a few spots.

.SPACE  climbed up to the sixth spot with a 157% increase in its registrations as compared to the month of July. Another Radix gTLD, that witnessed a spike in its sales numbers was .SITE.

Along with .TECH and .OOO making it to the top 15 list, .TODAY was a new entrant that made it on the list with a 117% jump in its registrations. Registrations for .FUN which had secured the fifth spot in July saw a decrease in its numbers that got it down in the list. In case you haven’t noticed there has also been a tie in the registration numbers in August between.GLOBAL and .OOO.

Check out our exciting domain promos coming up during the month of September:

  • Every startup needs a .CO website. Get one for your entrepreneurs at just $8.99.
  • Get your customers local business online with a .ONLINE domain extension at just $3.99.
  • Resell the trend setting new gTLD .XYZ at just $0.99.

Now, that you know what’s trending and what’s not, check out all our domain promos here and get the right one for your customers.

Also follow us on Facebook or Twitter  to get updates about our trending domain promos. Just look out for the posts with #domainpromos. See you there!

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Domains

Domain names and SEO: Everything you need to know!

The two most frequently asked questions that business owners ask in the context of SEO when buying a domain name are:

1.      Do domain names affect SEO?

2.      How do new domains help with search rankings?

In this post, we’ll solve the mystery sans the complicated jargon.

A new website is like a blank slate in the eyes of Google and other search engines. This website is treated the same way as any other new site. According to Google, two newly registered domain names are given equal weight when it comes to search rankings, provided everything else is identical.

For example, www.laptops123-new.com will be considered equal to www.laptop.store as long as both have relevant content, authentic info and credible backlinks.

So, the question still stands…

Do domain names affect SEO?

In a way, yes, they do. A study on the impact of new domains on SEO suggests that choosing a keyword-rich domain name help websites get on-topic backlinks on those keywords. This is good news for those who want to be discovered organically. For example, if www.kindle.store gets backlinks on the anchor text ‘kindle store’, then overtime it helps the website rank for the keywords ‘kindle store’.

However, it is important to note that new domain extensions alone don’t affect SEO. Search engines consider multiple ranking factors to place one website over another in the search results. Moreover, these factors are only going to increase with the incursion of Artificial Intelligence and Voice Search affecting algorithms and search.

How do new domains help with search rankings?

New domain extensions such as .tech, .store, .press, .fun, .space, .website, etc help businesses get keyword-rich domain names that are relevant to the business and the industry they belong to. For instance, domains such as www.emirates.store or www.freedom.press make it easier for the users to guess what the website might have to offer, thus making the domains more memorable and trustworthy.  This further helps them get clicks when they start showing up in organic search results. And as they say, the more web traffic you get, the more web traffic you get.

Let’s take a deeper look at how new domains can actually help a website rank:

1. On-Topic Backlinks

A study from Stone Temple indicates that backlinks from reputed, credible websites help in improving SEO rankings. One of the aspects of backlinks that further helps with the rankings is anchor text (the blue, underlined, clickable text in a hyperlink). The more relevant the anchor text is to the link it is supporting, the better it is for the SEO.

For example, if the anchor text ‘Halloween store’ redirects to www.halloween.store, it sends a positive signal to the search engines about the authenticity of the website.

2. User perception

A web page, even the ones that look like www.smartphone-49.html can rank well in organic search results if the content on the website and other factors affecting SEO are met. However, if www.smartphone-49.html showed up in your search results, would you click on it? Chances are you won’t because it may come across as spammy. On the other hand, a domain name such as www.smartphone.store will seem more credible and will encourage users to click on it.

Keyword rich domain names help in building a positive brand connection with the user. Search engines care about people. So, if people like a website, search engines will like it too.

3. Voice search

We’re slowly moving into the era of voice search, which means it is imperative that domain names are easily understood by virtual search assistants such as Alexa and Siri. New domain extensions give businesses the benefit of having domain names that are short and easy to understand by these artificial assistants.

For instance, if you ask Siri (or Alexa) to visit www.new-bagz.com, they may miss it. But if you ask them to go to www.newbags.store chances of landing on the right website are high. The more searchable the domain name, the easier it will be for customers to find it.  This means that whatever domain name businesses choose, they don’t need to compromise on it by adding extra letters, numerics, hyphens or replacing ss with zz. New domain extensions make this simpler because, unlike legacy domain extensions, a large inventory of brandable, keyword rich domain names on new extensions are easily available.

Conclusion

Building and maintaining SEO wealth for a website is a slow process however new domain extensions can make that process easier. To know more about how new domains help in building a website’s SEO, check out this report: https://newdomains.online/seo/

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Hosting

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

WordPress occupies the largest market share in terms of personal blogging and CMS platforms. This is largely because WordPress is free and easy to setup, very user-friendly and has a plethora of plugins and themes that can help you design and develop a website just the way you want it. The rise in the user-base has led to hosting companies offering WordPress Hosting. The whole objective of this Hosting is to have a hosting environment that is highly compatible with WordPress websites and its development. When we talk about Managed WordPress Hosting, it is more so to provide maximum support for managing and maintaining WordPress for your website.

To understand what is Managed WordPress Hosting, let us first define it:

Definition of Managed WordPress Hosting

It is a web hosting type which is tailored for WP websites and provides support to take-up WordPress specific management and maintenance tasks. Thus, the business owner or the webmaster need not spend time and resources in managing and maintaining WordPress as the hosting company takes care of it.

What are the Features of Managed WP Hosting?

  1. WordPress Instance Maintenance:

    As a default feature of WordPress Hosting, you get WordPress pre-installed on the hosting server. This takes away the need for developers to download and install WordPress on the hosting server. This saves a lot of time and effort. Especially for WordPress developers, when you have to constantly develop new WP-based websites, having WordPress Hosting makes things easier and faster. Moreover, it also ensures automatic updates so that you do not miss out on an update and you always have the latest version is running on the site.Apart from this, the Managed WordPress Hosting team also takes up other WP optimization and maintenance tasks such as optimization of WP-Database. This database contains all the important aspects of the site such as pages, posts, form entries, comments etc. As the website keeps getting bigger, more and more data is added to the WP Database. Because of this, over time, the WP Database becomes slow and sluggish. As the WP-Database becomes sluggish, every data retrieval request from the database becomes slower, thus slowing down the website as a whole. The optimization service offered as part of the managed services help prevent this.

  2. Managing Plugins and Themes:

    Another important feature that Managed WordPress Hosting has to offer is the management of plugins and themes. WP website development depends heavily on the use of various plugins and themes. More often than not, these plugins require maintenance such as updating them regularly, cleaning up the cache so that their performance is not diminished, etc. Moreover, certain Hosting providers also keep a tab on the usage of various plugins. If certain plugins are not being used for a long duration, then they also initiate clean-up of such plugins to save space and keep the WordPress instance lean. Additionally, this Hosting by default also comes with certain pre-installed plugins to make the job easier.Many of the Managed WordPress Hosting providers also offer support in terms of Plugin and Theme suggestion and recommendations. Suppose you want to integrate certain functionality in your website, then the Hosting team will do their own research and provide alternatives as to what can be used.

  3. System and Data Backups:

    Managed WordPress Hosting also includes support to maintain backups of your website. As you know, having backups to the website is essential for disaster recovery processes. However, taking backups requires a lot of time and resources. You also need to make available enough storage space. But in Managed WP Hosting, this task is taken up by the managing team. They not only take care of periodic backups of your website or app but also help in the restoration process in case of disasters. This, I think is a very important feature.When your website is down and you are in the disaster recovery process and when you and your team are scrambling across the workspace to get things in order, having some support from the hosting team who take care of the restore points, migration, and activation of your website in such scenarios is a huge plus.

  4. Better Security and Protection:

    Security is perhaps one of the most important aspects to be considered in the online world. Setting up great security not only depends on the hosting provider, but also on the website owner and the webmaster. This includes setting up a strong firewall, installing security software and constant monitoring of the website to detect security threats. This again is a time consuming and an expensive task. However, with Managed WordPress Hosting, this is again simplified where the managing team does all the heavy lifting. The team ensures that they have all security and anti-malware software up and running, they initiate periodic website scans for threats and malware, they analyze threats detected and share reports on a regular basis with the website owners to take necessary action.

  5. Dedicated Support:

    Everyone who has experience working with the service industry understands how important great customer support is. The primary advantage of Managed WordPress Hosting is that you get a dedicated team to help you with tech and general support. This means lesser wait time, more urgency and a better system understanding of your website as they work more closely with it. Things usually work a lot smoother if you build a rapport with your hosting team and they start working as an extension of your own team.

As you can see from the above points, Managed WordPress hosting provides us a lot of support from the hosting provider’s team to do most of the heavy lifting. Although Managed WP Hosting comes at a higher price than basic WordPress Hosting, it brings with it a lot more peace of mind. The fact that you and your team can focus on the business and not spend time on WordPress maintenance, can actually go a long way.

Hope this helps you get a better understanding of what is Managed WordPress Hosting and if you have any other questions or queries regarding this, please feel free to write about them in the comments section below. We would be more than happy to get back to you on them. Also, while you are at it, you can visit the ResellerClub website to know more about our WP Hosting plans and packages.

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