Digital Marketing

13 Features Every E-commerce Website Should Have

e-commerce website

The e-commerce industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world right now. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe due to it, more people have moved on to online shopping. In India, the e-commerce industry was worth $30 billion in 2019 and experts predict that the segment will grow at a rate of 27% CAGR and will reach $99 billion by 2024.

indian e-commerce industry

For an online business, an e-commerce website is one of the most important assets. The quality of your website, the ease of using it, and the design all play a role in deciding the traffic you get and the subsequent sales. What are the features that an e-commerce website should have? What features make the difference between a moderate and a great website? Take a look.

Being User-Friendly

Now, this is a no-brainer, isn’t it? Just like how a brick-and-mortar store has to be designed to look and feel friendly, your website has to be user-friendly too. According to HubSpot, 76% of customers want websites to make it easy for them to find things.

Let’s say you are looking for XL-sized pants on a website. How many steps does it take for you to find the right products? The lesser number of steps it takes, the better it is.

There was a time when websites were designed to be all fancy, sophisticated, and complex. People assumed serious-looking websites were more professional and worthy of their money. That’s not the case now. The process between adding products to the cart and completing a purchase has to be seamless and quick. Most of the top-selling commerce brands have simple, unfussy, and straightforward sites.

If you think your website is lacking the simplicity of good e-commerce websites, then get in touch with a design team who can check your existing website and suggest changes to the UI/UX that can make the site more user-friendly.

Supporting Mobile Users

M-commerce is a term that talks about online purchases through mobile phones via browsers and apps. There has been a steady rise in m-commerce sales volume. In 2020, the volume of e-commerce sales via mobile phones was $38 billion. Thanks to affordable network providers, the number of Indians with internet access on their phones has increased drastically.

Mobile e-commerce storeShopping list

Some websites that look great on a computer’s screen may look very cluttered or unresponsive on smaller mobile screens. As you design your website, it is also very important to ensure it is responsive across different platforms and Operating Systems (OS).

Good quality Photos & Video

Users want a realistic shopping experience when they buy online from eCommerce websites. Bad photos and videos are an instant put-off. Some brands sell really worthy products at affordable prices but are unable to convert traffic into sales, thanks to their sub-par product photos.

It is absolutely necessary that you hire a professional to click product photos and shoot videos for your website. Make sure products are shown at different angles with close-up shots provided too.

While the photos have to be of high resolution, make sure the photos are optimized for the platform they are shown in. Very high-resolution photos may take a long time to load on phones and can be a turn-off.

e-commerce template

Enticing Offers and Deals

Now, this is something that is a deal-breaker! The right offers and deals can mean the difference in your conversion rate.

Customers always love deals that ensure they spend less on a purchase. Your e-commerce website should definitely have offers and deals mentioned. You should not stop at just creating a tab for this and leaving customers to search for the same. Make sure offers and deals are mentioned on the home page, as soon as a customer visits your website.

Create countdowns for epic sale periods and let the counter run live on your website. All these are amazing ways you can promote deals that your customers may be interested in. Such offers and deals help with eCommerce promotion too.

Amazon comes up with lightning deals and limited-time deals that last only for a specific period of time. This timeline pushes people into making a purchase quickly without overthinking.

Amazon

Recommendations for Related Items

Every brand sells products that customers come searching for. Really smart brands manage to sell products/services that the customers had no idea they wanted in the first place!

Let’s say you own a fashion website that sells clothes and accessories. A customer comes searching for a silk saree. You show them all the right options and inside individual product pages, there are recommendations for jewelry pieces that suit the sarees. How cool is that? Customers who did not visit your site for jewelry will end up choosing one just because it suits the saree of their choice.

All top eCommerce websites offer recommendations on their product pages. You can see the ‘Frequently bought together’ sections on Amazon and Flipkart here.

Amazon e-commerce platformAmazon

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All websites have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) tab. Why is this one of the major features of an e-commerce website?

You have to remember that, unlike a physical store, no salesmen and women are standing  to assist when customers shop online. They are only armed with the description and other resources you provide online. It is also not easy for customers to call you or email you for every small query they have. It is hence more practical to arm them with answers to all frequently asked questions that they may have.

Make sure your FAQ section includes details about your brand, your products/services, payment methods, shipping and refund options, and maintenance tips. Check the detailed FAQ section of this website below. Something like this will benefit your customers and also prevent you from having to answer the same queries multiple times.

e-commerce shopping descriptionAmazon description

Well-thought-out Shipping Information

Did you know that a lot of carts are abandoned online because shipping costs are not informed early on?

Let’s assume you search a jewelry website for a long time and end up choosing a neckpiece worth ₹400. You proceed to the payment and that’s when an additional ₹149 is added for shipping. That sounds like a lot doesn’t it? It also adds to the disappointment and irritation of the customer who was not prepared for this extra 37% of the cost price added as shipping!

As a result, carts are abandoned without converting into sales. According to Statista, 63% of people in the USA abandon carts because of shipping costs!

e-commerce stats

Experts suggest that you mention the shipping prices clearly along with the product costs. This way, customers will adjust their budget before adding a product to the cart.

If you sell all over India and shipping rates vary, then have a calculator that determines shipping costs based on the area/zip code.

Easy and Clear Return Policies

You don’t have to offer free returns and instant refunds to customers if you cannot afford to do so. However, having a clean return policy page on your website will help build trust. A lot of small brands require their customers to pay for return shipping. Other brands that sell baby products, lingerie, and food products don’t offer returns and exchanges at all.

All these will work when you tell your customers about this early on. A Simple ‘30-day returns’ or ‘no returns’ or ‘only exchanges’ logo on your product page will do the trick. You can have a detailed returns and exchanges page linked to the home page to provide more details.

e-commerce return policy

Authentic User Reviews

What is the first thing people do when they shop for something on eCommerce websites like Amazon and Flipkart? Look for ratings and reviews!

Ratings and reviews tell customers how popular the product is and how many people have bought and used them. Bad ratings can totally affect sales.

However, you know what else pulls down your sales? Completely positive reviews and five-star ratings throughout! This makes customers assume you have tempered with the review section.

Product review

It is good to have mixed reviews with the graph slightly leaning towards positive comments and ratings. Customers can easily identify if a review is authentic or fabricated. As a seller, one of the features you should strive hard to have in your eCommerce website is authentic reviews from real users.

You can send emails or reminders to your past customers to leave you a review. You can also offer a discount coupon for people who review you on your website. Building this helps your website in the long run.

Social Presence

Social presence does not have to do anything directly with creating and maintaining your website. But it helps a great deal in generating traffic and pulling potential leads into checking your e-commerce page.

  • Have official brand accounts on all social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
  • Keep posting regularly on these pages
  • Make use of influencers to talk about your brand and your products/services
  • Share content that people relate to
  • Share content that people can use

All these help build trust and a better relationship with customers and help you grow organically.

High-End Security Features

All online websites have a payment gateway integrated into their page. This makes it easy for customers to pay for their purchases. Ensure you engage with payment gateways that are reputed and highly trustable. Customers who lose their money or are victims of hacking because they used your website will never come back to you!

Also,

  • Definitely invest in an SSL certificate
  • Prefer using two-factor authentication when customers sign in or paye-commerce website security

Add Find-in-Store options

If you have a physical store or a chain of stores, then ‘Find-in-store’ is a very important option you have to add to your website to make it more user-friendly and practical. Some people may require a product right away and cannot wait for you to ship it.

In that case, adding a list of local stores where the product can be found is a great way to boost sales and help your customers. You can also allow customers to pay online and pick up the product from a nearby store. Check how Walmart offers this feature to customers.

walmart e-commerce website

Conclusion

A website is not just a tool to sell your products and services. It is the heart and soul of any online business. All these 13 points may sound simple but these, together, work in improving user experience and converting traffic into sales.

It does not matter if you are a small home startup or a multibillion-dollar business. Your website has to work for you the right way.

If you are building your website now, make sure you integrate all these 13 features into it before you go live. If you already own a website, check if these 13 features work right. Making small changes to these features can improve the shopping experience on your website.

Shopify vs. WooCommerce – Which eCommerce platform should you choose?

 

Shopify vs. WooCommerce

 

All businesses –big and small, need eCommerce websites. There are no second thoughts about this. However, businesses stall in the process of creating their website. How should they go about the process? Should they make use of established eCommerce applications/platforms to host their website or should they build a website from scratch on their own hosting platform?

The first method is definitely quicker, hassle-free, and effective for businesses that want to start right away.

An eCommerce platform is a software tool or application that you can use to create a website and manage its various processes like marketing, sales, customer support, and other operations.

Two major eCommerce platforms that are quite popular right now are Shopify and WooCommerce. This article will help you compare the various features of Shopify vs WooCommerce and help you decide which platform would work better for you.

What is Shopify?

Shopify

Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that will help you create a website and manage it effortlessly. Based out of Ottawa, Canada, the brand was established as an Application Programming Interface (API) in 2006 and allowed different developers to create applications on the website and sell them.

As of now, Shopify powers about 1,000,000 businesses online around the world and recorded a revenue total of 1.578 billion USD in 2019.

Between 2016 and 2019, the brand helped businesses contribute $319 billion in economic activities.

As of now, the brand aids businesses in setting up their online presence, creating marketing strategies, planning branding, and managing processes like payments, shipping, returns, and customer support.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is also an eCommerce platform that helps businesses build and manage their online websites. This brand makes use of open-source software based on WordPress to create websites and tools. The brand was established in the year 2011 and became very popular because it was simple to use and lots of tools and add-ons were available for free.

As of 2020, it was estimated that WooCommerce had 3.9 million websites that used their application.

What to Look for in Your eCommerce Platform?

Here are some of the features you should look for in an eCommerce platform.

Ease of setup – A good eCommerce platform needs to be simple and easy to set up and use. When there are too many complexities and multiple steps, it will drain you of your excitement and energy. Look for platforms that give you pre-set templates to choose from. This brings down half your work. You shouldn’t be an expert to set up an account and create a website on these platforms.

Platform security – When you have an online website, your end goal is to get customers to pay for your product or service. Payment security is of utmost priority. Look at platforms that offer HTTPS/SSL certification and those that are integrated with well-known and reputable payment gateways.  When it comes to Shopify vs WooCommerce, both platforms are known for their secure checkout processes.

SEO compatibility – When a website is SEO friendly, it lists better on search engine rankings and is also easy to navigate through by customers. Both Shopify and WooCommerce platforms are built to adhere to basic rules of Search Engine Optimization.

When you choose to build a website through these brands, things like Meta title and description, headings, URLs, website structure, crawl ability factor, and speed and uptime are carefully curated to help you rank better.

SEO compatibility

Is it mobile-friendly? – According to Statista, the Indian m-commerce market was worth $38 billion in 2020. This number is only set to increase in the coming years. When you look for an eCommerce platform, make sure it helps you build a mobile-friendly site.

Flexible features and pricing – This is quite important when you look for an eCommerce platform for long-term association.  Your website may be dealing in multiple currencies or running a specific kind of promotion that is not very common. In such cases, the platform should let you customize features and charge you accordingly.

Customer experience – Customer engagement has to be smooth, easy, and friendly. What kind of features do these platforms include to make your customer’s experience better? Check these details before choosing a solution provider.

Pricing-features balance – Pricing always plays a vital role in finalizing a provider. While some platforms may offer solutions at really low prices, their features may not be great. In finding the right balance between affordable pricing and the features, you actually might want to hit the jackpot.

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Pros and Cons

We have made it easy for you to compare Shopify vs WooCommerce. Here is a list of pros and cons that you should be looking at when you are choosing between these popular eCommerce platforms.

Ease of Use: Shopify vs WooCommerce

Shopify – Shopify is a fully-integrated, well-thought-out platform. You do not have to install any of the applications and learn its processes to build and maintain your website. Everything is offered on a silver plate and all you need to do is pick the features you want.

There are a lot of pre-designed themes to choose from. It also has an easy drag-drop interface. With Shopify, you don’t have to be a professional developer or designer to build and manage a website.

WooCommerce – WooCommerce is an open-source software application. This means that there are so many tools and updates available on the website and you may have to spend more time picking what works for you. You may have to browse through hundreds of free and paid plug-ins to narrow down the right choices for you. There are more than 55000 plug-ins available on the website.

You should be using a separate builder app to create your website and there are no easy drag-drop options here.

Shopify is certainly better in terms of ease of use.

Payment Methods

Payment Methods

Shopify – Shopify has its own Shopify Payments tool. With this, you have to neither opt for third-party payment options nor worry about the security of the payment gateway. Everything is pre-set for you and ready to use. All you have to do is turn on the payment mode on the platform. Shopify Payments offers:

  • PCI compliant servers
  • 3D secure checkouts
  • Data encryption for payments

Do know that Shopify Payments charges you transaction fees in addition to the amount charged by your bank. In case you decide to opt for third-party payment gateways, there are more than 100 options to choose from too.

WooCommerce – WooCommerce also has its own payment tool – the WooCommerce Payments. Apart from this, there are more than 100 payment gateways to choose from.

You can also use payment extensions on your WooCommerce-powered website including Amazon Pay, Paypal, Square, Stripe, and PayFast.

Since WooCommerce is a self-hosted eCommerce platform, it does not charge you any transaction fee. All you need to pay is your bank’s transaction charges.

WooCommerce-payment-method

 

Shopify vs WooCommerce Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a trending eCommerce model that is perfect for businesses without warehouses and stocking options. Here, a business has multiple vendors. When an order is placed on the website, the detail is passed on to the vendor who takes charge of the shipping to the customer. Giants like Amazon and Alibaba also have dropshipping modes on their websites.

Shopify – With Shopify, you can integrate a lot of dropshipping apps like Aliexpress and Printify to your account and directly work with these apps. Your customer will see the front-end of your website designed like any other eCommerce website. Once an order is placed, you can seamlessly work backend on the dropshipping processes via Shopify and connect with your vendors.

WooCommerce – The WooCommerce dropshipping management tool is super powerful and does the following.

  • Manages your dropship store from end to end
  • Notifies vendors automatically when their products are ordered
  • Makes relevant changes to inventory
  • Send auto order-notifications to vendors
  • Integrates with dropshipping apps like Aliexpress and Amazon Affiliate Support

When you compare Shopify vs WooCommerce, they both perform equally well with dropshipping.

supplier-order

Scope for growth and expandability

Every business runs with the hope of growing big and expanding in the future. In such a case, is your eCommerce platform equipped to handle your growth? How will your website fare when you suddenly see thousands of people visiting the site every day? What happens when your catalog doubles and triples every month?

Shopify – Shopify is specially created to handle business with rapid expansion plans. The brand offers multiple plans for businesses of different sizes and you can easily upgrade your existing plan as you grow.

You can look at the exact features under each of these plans here. As your business grows, the infrastructure grows too and you can also get help from Shopify’s professional team every step you progress.

shofiy plans

WooCommerce – WooCommerce was mainly created to offer the opportunity for everyone to customize and create a website without having to spend a lot of money. As a result, you cannot expect handholding every step of the way here.

As you grow and expand, you will be responsible for identifying better plug-ins and tools to make your website better. You have to worry about security and hosting plans. Scalability is also something you should invest time and effort in and identify better hosting providers to handle your increased web-load.

When you compare Shopify vs WooCommerce, because of the increased efforts and thoughts that go behind WooCommerce’s websites, Shopify gains a slight advantage here.

Support Options for WooCommerce vs Shopify

Shopify – Shopify has a vast and detailed help center where you will be able to find answers to most questions you have. The help center is well-structured and easy to navigate through. If you cannot find answers to what you were looking for, you can always contact the customer support team. The team responds quickly and is very helpful.

You can reach them via email, chat, phone, and social media platforms. They are available 24X7.

WooCommerce – WooCommerce also has a help center with a lot of basic FAQs answered. They have documented extensive videos, tutorials, and self-help guides for both developers and clients. Since WooCommerce is a self-hosted platform, your developer will be able to answer your queries better instead of the WooCommerce team.

help center

 

You can, however, reach out to the WooCommerce team if you are unsure how to find relevant help. They are usually quick to guide customers.

WooCommerce vs Shopify: Pricing Differences

Shopify – Shopify comes with a basic pricing plan depending on what kind of business you are and there are additional charges and transactional fees involved every step of the way too.

There are no setup fees involved. The basic Shopify plan for smallscale businesses starts at $29 a month. Advanced plans cost $299 a month. Apart from these, you will be charged certain amounts per order if you use Shopify Payments.

If you opt for Shopify POS Pro, a store management tool for physical businesses, that is $89 a month extra.

WooCommerce – WooCommerce is free, open-source software. This means that they don’t charge you anything to set up a website. However, there are other costs involved that you should be aware of.

  • Host and domain fees (Every host charges differently based on features offered)
  • While there are hundreds of free themes, few paid themes are to be paid for
  • Payment gateway costs (transactional fees will be charged for every order)
  • Costs to secure the website (SSL certification costs)

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Which one is right for you?

Have you been able to easily compare Shopify vs WooCommerce now? There is no right or wrong choice here. It all depends on what you are looking for from an eCommerce platform and what you are affording to pay for the same.

If you are a beginner with no basic knowledge of website development or management or don’t have a large team to help you manage your website, Shopify is definitely a better choice for you. It is easy to understand and you can create and manage your website hassle-free. Shopify Plus is an add-on that offers enterprise solutions and dedicated experts who can handle high volume merchants and large business enterprises like a pro and leave you to concentrate on your strength – scaling up your business.

If you want a lot of customizations on your website and are truly interested in what freelance developers offer to your site, then WooCommerce can be a better choice. Shopify is too constricting in terms of tools you can use and customizations you can make. WooCommerce gives you free rein. It is also possible to find free or cheaper tools and plug-ins on WooCommerce that bring down your final cost of running a website.

Still unsure how to go forward? Get in touch with us. Our team will contact you for a free consultation and help answer queries that you may have.

11 Ways to Find New Content Ideas

 

find-content-Ideas

 

Content creation is one of the most important marketing practices. It is now common to take the help of the internet to answer the questions people have, to entertain, and to even diagnose health symptoms.

When you provide quality content to your audience, you build a solid pool of data and information that can and will be used for years together and keep attracting traffic and leads for you.

According to DemandMetric, 60% of people check out a product or a service after reading relevant content about them. Also, businesses can generate 3 times more leads with the right content marketing strategy when compared to other traditional marketing methods.

Finding new content ideas is a common challenge business and content creators have as they grow. How do you consistently find ideas that click with the audience and don’t end up creating redundant content that gets lost in the sea of information available online?

All content creators, even the most experienced ones, need to put time and effort into identifying promising and potentially good leads for new content. Here is a list of 11 top ways to find new content ideas that will help you keep creating valuable, interesting, and high-reaching content for your target audience.

Use Google Image Tags

google-image-tags

Google is one of the best places to find out what people are searching for. A very interesting way of finding new content ideas is to make use of the Google Image Tags. Here is how you go through this.

Step 1: Open ‘Google Images’ and search for a particular keyword or a broad topic you may like to create content in. Let’s search for Artificial Intelligence.

Step 2: Check out the tags on the top. Fifth-generation, deep learning, big data, automation, business are all keywords that are used along with artificial intelligence by people who browse the search engine.

Step 3: Swipe through to look for hundreds of such keywords.

Step 4: Combine your keyword and the suggested ideas to create a new topic. It could be ‘Use of artificial intelligence for businesses’ or ‘Big data in artificial intelligence.

You get the drift.

The Google Image Tags keep changing regularly based on what people search for. Make sure you go through the process fresh every time you are looking for ideas.

Facebook Ad Library

The Facebook ad library is a place you can find what ads your competitors and industry leaders are running on Facebook at any given point.

This is a great place to find what kind of blogs and content that your competitors are promoting. Usually, blogs that do really well are promoted on social media pages to get them more visibility. Find new content ideas from this space and you will get your hands on topics that are already being searched and looked at extensively.

facebook-ad-library

Step 1: Visit the Facebook Ad Library

Step 2: Enter the name of the competitor of your choice

Step 3: Ignore the ads that promote products and services. Pick up ads that promote blogs and topics

Step 4: Pick up possible content from here and curate your own version of the same

Reddit Keyword Research Tool

Reddit is a common discussion forum where people come together to share ideas, discuss issues, and offer solutions as a community. Reddit had 1.73 billion visits to its website in December 2020.

This is one place where you can authentically find what people are looking for and what interests them.

The Reddit Keyword Research tool is a smart free tool that will help you analyze the search patterns on this platform.

Step 1: Visit the Reddit Keyword Research tool and enter a broad keyword of your choice

Step 2: Look through the specific keywords used on the platform, their search volume, and their context in a matter of seconds. The search volume is pulled up from the Google Keyword Planner.

Let’s say you want to create content around the diet plan ‘Keto’. You enter the keyword on the tool and below are the results the tool generates.

keyword-research-tool

When you click on ‘Context’, you will find exact topics that used the keywords. This is a great place to instantly find new content ideas with minimal effort.

Here is a list of other popular keyword research tools you can check out too.

Exploding Topics

Exploding Topics is an advanced technology tool that can be used to find topics that are getting popular and a lot of traction before your competitors identify and make use of them.

There are so many categories to choose from. If you are a skincare brand, here are some upcoming topics that you can choose to create content with. These keywords have had really high search volumes in the past and have high projected growth rates in the future too.

If you click on a particular keyword, you can find out how much it has grown over the past years and its growth projections for the coming months/years. The tool also gives you related topics you can use to create more content.

Read Through Blog Comments

What better way to understand what your readers/users want than by reading through your blog comments? When you start creating genuine blogs that add value to your readers, they will get back to you with additional topics that they want you to work on. Check out Netilly’s blog for instance. We worked more on PPC advertising after people posted about how they kept looking for that topic.

You can go one step further and look at blog comments in the competitor blogs to pick up possible content ideas too.

Blog-Comments

Let’s take up the example of PPC advertising. Check out the blogs of top digital marketing brands like Moz and HubSpot. Check this comment by a user on one of Moz’s blogs.

Your next idea for content could be different software tools to assist in PPC management!

 

Browse Through YouTube Channels

YouTube has become one of the most popular platforms to create new content. This is also a great place to find new content ideas. Here is how you can use the platform to your benefit.

Step 1: Know a broad idea of what you want to focus on

Step 2: Identify bloggers and brands that are popular on YouTube in your area of interest

Step 3: Check out their video listings

Step 4: Sort the ‘most popular videos.

Step 5: Get ideas for new content here.

Let’s see this with an example. Imagine you are a food blogger and you want to know what kind of recipes to post or cooking ideas to take up.

YouTube Channels

Check out channels like ‘The Food Ranger’. Below is a list of videos that have had millions of views in the past.

Look for inspirations here. The topics of the videos can be used to create interesting content that your audience will love.

Google Analytics Landing Pages Report

If you have a Google Analytics account, you can check out the landing pages report here. The landing page report tells you which landing pages of your website or blog get more visitors. It tells you where traffic is coming from and what kind of content your audience prefer on your pages.

Assume a skincare brand posts a lot of content in its blog regularly. Analyzing the Google Analytics landing page report tells the brand that topics with keywords like ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ have more views and traffic. This means the brand should concentrate more on creating content with similar themes.

Related Searches on Google

Almost all brands and marketing teams make use of the Google search engine to find new content ideas. How can you take this a step higher?

Search for a particular keyword or a broad idea on Google.

Scroll down to find ‘Related Searches’. This will give you more idea on what else you can create content on.

If ‘Low Carbohydrate diet’ is a possible topic of interest, you can also consider creating content on the below topics.

 

Check Some of The Potential Low-Competition Keywords

Low competition keywords are those words that are not much used by competitors and are not widely targeted. While most of these keywords may not be very useful, if you can sort low competitor keywords based on high search volumes, you can end up with something that can be valuable as a content idea.

Check out this search for kids’ books on the SEMRUSH keyword magic tool. The ‘Com.’ Is the competitive density here. To make sure the keywords are worth something, the ‘CPC’ (Cost Per Click) has been kept high here.

Low-Competition Keywords

Podcast episodes and descriptions

Podcasts are audio recordings of talk shows, blogs, stories, and other kinds of audio files that are available free for people to listen to. Podcasts are very popular in the United States with a growth rate of 37.5% in the last three years (2017 to 2020). In India too, more people are aware of and using podcast apps.

Download some of the popular podcast apps out there and find shows of your niche. You will be surprised at the wide variety of content people talk about there.

Browse through the popular podcast episodes in this niche and you can find good content ideas here.

Revisit and revive your old content

When none of these ideas take root and you are struggling to meet a deadline to launch something, consider revisiting and using your existing content. Pick up some old content of yours and try tweaking the graphics or updating data for today’s market.

You would be surprised to see that reviving old posts helps improve your organic traffic and views. Readers who don’t make the effort to go back to your earlier posts and blogs can also be exposed to these posts when you re-launch them.

Give this a try.

Take Away

Content isn’t the king anymore, it is the whole kingdom!

Your readers and users are looking for valuable content from you that helps them in some way. Creating such content is like making the right investments. They grow over time and make you rich and prosperous.

You can also ask your social media followers what they want from you. You will be amazed at the number of content ideas you get from your readers directly.

Are you struggling to handle content the right way? Are you not able to build content ideas that help you grow? Let us know. Our team offers free consultations to businesses of all sizes to help them approach content the right way. We will create a customized content management plan for you to build your content value.

Importance of Branding in Digital Marketing

Branding-Digital-Marketing

Branding is one of the most vital features that help you stand out in the online medium. The right branding can mean the difference between a customer buying from you or walking away.

In 2015, Neilsen IQ, a consumer intelligence company conducted a survey asking people what drove their decision to choose one brand over another. 68% of customers mentioned that they prefer buying from a brand they know and associate with.

Let’s go through the idea of branding in digital marketing slowly, understanding what this means for individual companies.

What is Marketing?

“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.”

These are the words of Milan Kundera and they hold true now and forever! Marketing is the process of selling a product or a service that you have.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The process comes with its own set of challenges. Everything starting from understanding your customers, building relationships, and maintaining your customer pool are all parts of marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

 

 

Digital-Marketing

Digital marketing is a term that’s been trending since the late 1990s. Digital marketing started making sense as soon as people started shopping online.

Digital marketing is marketing done online through various digital channels like email, social media platforms, and websites.

Big brands invest in different teams to handle their traditional and digital marketing processes to ensure they get the best results offline and online.

What is Branding?

Branding is a really special term. It is something that converts a business or a company into an actual brand. Branding includes creating a special set of features and attributes to your brand to ensure it stands out from the rest of your competitors.

Over time, your customers will identify, relate and associate you with these features. Branding is a long-term effort and needs to be done right from the beginning.

Check this fact out – About 77% of customers purchase a product solely based on its brand name! How many times have you visited a shop and asked for ‘Maggie’ instead of ‘instant noodles’? That’s the power of branding.

What Is Branding in Digital Marketing?

Branding in digital marketing is also called ‘digital branding’. This is the process of using different digital channels and platforms to create your brand identity and maintain it.

According to Statista, the size of the e-commerce industry in India in 2020 was worth USD 64 billion. The same industry will be valued at USD 200 billion by 2027. If you have not considered investing in digital branding before, this data should encourage you to take the right step ahead.

Statista

Difference between Digital Marketing and Branding

Is digital marketing and branding the same concept? They complement and support each other but both of them offer strikingly different values to the brand.

 

 

Features Digital Marketing Branding
Definition The process of selling using digital platforms Creating values and features that help people associate with your brand
Attention Digital marketing techniques aim at getting a customer’s attention Branding aims at retaining the customer’s attention
Goal To create awareness about your products/services and encourage people to buy them To build long-term relationships with customers, become a recognized brand, improve loyalty
Tools used SEO, SMM, Paid Advertising, Influencers, Word of Mouth, Loyalty, Engagement, one-to-one interaction
Order of implementation Digital marketing after creating strong branding makes better sense Creating strong branding ensures your digital marketing efforts pay

 

Importance of Strong Branding in Digital Marketing

  • Branding helps customers recognize your brand easily on digital platforms
  • The right kind of branding ensures people trust you easily and makes the task of marketing easier
  • A brand with the right brand value is quickly embraced by the audience and marketing strategies work more effectively and reap better benefits
  • Branding ensures organic marketing and advertising happens through word of mouth, natural link building, and brand awareness
  • It is easy to get a newer audience when your branding is strong. More audience means a higher chance to convert them into customers

When you concentrate on building strong branding first, here are advantages you can get while digitally marketing your products/services.

brand

  • Stand out among them with confidence – Let’s assume you have already spent considerable effort creating a brand value. People recognize your brand name, your logo, and your values easily. Now you start with digital marketing strategies. You can target the audience confidently, assuming you are not reaching them out of the blue.
  • Convert Buyers into Loyal Customers – Most brands initially invest a lot of money in paid digital marketing strategies and do get considerable traffic and sales on their site. What next? If you have not invested in branding, the traffic will dwindle slowly. You will have to again pay to get more traffic. This is a vicious and unhealthy cycle. With strong branding, first-time buyers come back to you and end up becoming loyal customers (assuming they like your product and your service).
  • Earn Recognition from Branding – Recognition – Is this not something every brand is after? Brand recognition directly converts to better organic traffic, better reach, and more interest in whatever you have to offer to your customers.

When you are listed on an online marketplace, brand recognition will ensure people choose your products over other similar ones.

In 2014, Consumer Reports organization conducted a country-wide survey and concluded that McDonald’s serves America’s worst food when compared to 21 other fast-food chains. Why is McDonald’s doing so well despite this? – The answer is brand recognition. People recognize the brand so well that they walk into the restaurant easily even though they know the food isn’t that great. That’s how powerful brand recognition is.

Branding in Digital Marketing – How do you go about it?

Every company plans its digital branding differently based on its industry, its values, and its target audience. Here is a list of common steps that make up branding in digital marketing.

Step 1: Get your basics right

The basics of branding remain the same whether you do it for digital platforms or traditional marketing. Design your logo, think about the brand name and tagline, and plan the color themes, orientation, and style of your branding. It would do better if you worked with a branding agency to get this done. Your branding is going to follow you all through your journey. Take time to do this right.

Know more about branding here.

Step 2: Work on your website

 

Work on your website

Just like how a physical store is at the forefront of any offline business, your website is your online forefront. Design your UI/UX with the help of an expert and ensure the website is easy to navigate through and quick and responsive.

It is a smart move to ensure your website works perfectly in all mediums including mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

Concentrate on inbound and outbound links that will encourage people to explore all that you have to offer. Make sure you have an active blog page too.

Step 3: Practice SEO branding

SEO is one of the most vital parts of digital marketing and it is important for your brand image too. SEO branding focuses more on improving brand recognition, creating loyal customers, and helping your brand name reach the masses instead of just focusing on sales.

While you already might be practicing SEO to improve your revenue, consider the same practice for branding in digital marketing too.

Step 4: Get active on social media

active on social media

 

Getting active on social media does not mean bombarding your followers with sales-posts every one hour for 365 days a year. It means practicing the art of connecting with your followers in real-time, with complete conviction, and ensuring you use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to interact with your audience and offer them something interesting and worthwhile.

GoPro is a brand that creates action cameras. The brand was established in 2002 and they took up branding on social media big time. Do you know the number of followers they have on social media now?

All these followers are constantly aware of what the brand is up to, their new products, their endorsements, and offers. It’s not surprising that GoPro is instantly recognized amidst tech enthusiasts now and their revenue percentage keeps increasing every quarter.

Step 5: Build a digital community

Having a community is a great strategy for branding in digital marketing platforms. A community is a group of followers who actively engage with you, share your content, and act as your endorsers, without expecting you to pay them.

All that’s needed is for you to create engaging content, build your followers, and keep them excited about your products and services. Be true to them. Transparency takes you far when it comes to brand loyalty.

Apart from sharing mere product/service posts, make sure you share emotionally strong content, moving stories, great videos, and experiences that pull followers towards you. Use these digital marketing platforms to build your brand value.

Step 6: Maintain a great relationship with your customers – past, present, and future

 

relationship-customers

Once you have established yourself as a recognized brand on digital platforms, you can start practicing digital marketing strategies to get more customers and more sales. Your branding work does not stop here though.

Ensure you keep building new relationships, maintaining past relationships, and scouring potential customers all on different online platforms. Work hard in giving your followers a reason to remain loyal to you.

Branding in digital marketing is a continuously progressing feature and you will have to keep investing time and energy in improving your digital presence.

Conclusion

 

Branding in digital marketing is not just about selling what you have to offer. It is about creating a large group of loyal audience in various online platforms who buys from you but more importantly, believes and trusts you as a brand. Reaching this pinnacle of branding is difficult but not impossible.

It definitely takes time and you will need the patience for it. When you try and do everything yourself, you may have to reroute, go back, start over, and waste precious years that you could have used towards growth.

By starting to work with a digital branding expert, it is easier to take the correct steps ahead and win over your online audience with awesome products/services, great growth strategies, and a lot of right values.

Social Media Marketing Strategies for E-Commerce Websites

social-media-marketing-eCommerce

 

What is Ecommerce Social Media Marketing?

E-Commerce Social Media Marketing (SMM) is an effective way by which eCommerce stores that use social media platforms connect to existing and future customers to increase brand value, attract traffic, and increase sales.

Why is Social Media Marketing important for e-commerce?

According to Statista, India has an e-commerce penetration of 74% and this is only set to grow in the coming years. If you are an eCommerce store owner, this is the time you should start investing time in trying to reach a larger set of audience.

Where would you find a readily available and interested group of audience who will invest in your product or service if you reach them the right way? On social media platforms of course!

There are close to 376 million social media users in India in 2020 and the number will increase to 447 million in the next 3 years.

According to the Social Media Trends report of 2019 by Global Web Index, Indian social media users spend close to 2.4 hours every day on their social media platform. This is 2.4 hours available for eCommerce companies every day to reach out to their customers personally.

Companies that make the right use of this time garner more audience, get popular, and gradually increase their sales.

 

Social-Media-Marketing-ommerce

Social Media Marketing strategies for eCommerce

SMM strategies include a list of carefully planned steps tailor-made for the particular brand to improve its social media presence and target the right audience.

A lot of brands keep posting multiple times a day, every single day, and still see no improvement in their sales and customer base. Other brands post once a day or even less frequently but have thousands of organic reactions and engagements to every post of theirs. It all depends on your eCommerce Social Media Marketing strategies.

Here are the top strategies you can use to improve your sales and drive traffic to your website.

1. Be Consistent

Sound simple? Many brands miss out on this and pay the price. You could be having the best SMM managers and awesome content, but if you are not consistent though, you will not be making a mark.

Consistency does not mean spamming your audience with content every hour. It means following a pattern while posting. You can post just once a day, but be regular about it. Do this every day, 365 days a year.

Over time, your users will know when you post content and will start looking forward to the same. Consistency also means you create content that you know well and don’t post everything under the sun.

If you are a skincare brand, you can engage with dermatologists to create posts that talk meaningfully about skin damage and ways to overcome it. When you do this regularly, you will build an audience who come to check out your posts regularly and engage with you emotionally. Caution to exercise – refrain from talking about random topics on your page and dilute your content value.

2. Sharing, not selling

Now, this is such an important strategy that all brands, big and small, need to understand right. What is the goal behind creating painstaking Social Media Marketing strategies for eCommerce? It is selling your product or your service to the audience. However, you can’t convert your social media pages and posts into a 100% selling medium.

The audience gets disinterested and frustrated if you keep targeting them to buy something from you in every single post you create.

Social Media Marketing is about creating meaningful and worthy relationships first. You consistently share meaningful information with your users and make your posts something that they can make use of. Selling will happen on its own once you build a loyal audience base on social media.

3. Build Trust & Authority Through Your Blog

build-trust

It is recommended that all eCommerce sites have their blog page where they are active and consistent. What do blogs do?

  • They indirectly drive traffic to your website
  • They are powerful tools to create meaningful relationships with customers
  • They build trust and help you become an industry leader
  • They give you a space to share relevant and useful information

Blog pages can talk about anything interesting that readers may want to know of. Relating the content with the products/services offered by the brand makes more sense as you can add links to your eCommerce store here.

If you want to know more about eCommerce in general, we would suggest you check good blogs that offer original and valuable information to their readers.

Do make sure you follow Netilly’s blog page. We update our blogs regularly and write about things that genuinely interest you as an eCommerce merchant.

4. Promotional Offers

Who does not like promotions and offers? In traditional physical stores, weekly offers and promotions are printed out and pasted around the stores to let people know about them. You obviously cannot do that for an online eCommerce store. That’s why you make use of social media for the same.

One of the most important jobs of an eCommerce Social Media Marketing strategy is to take to the audience the current offers and deals. Here are few top SMM promotion types you can try out.

  • Instagram hash contest
  • Referral promotions
  • Contests and coupons
  • Cross-promotions
  • ‘Follow-us’ giveaways
  • Limited-period promotions

All these are ways to help the brand gain more followers, get more interest in their pages, posts and influence people into buying what is offered.

 

5. Leverage the Power of Data

 

power-data

(Sample Facebook Ad Demographics)

Data is the biggest thing as of now. Billion-dollar companies work simply in collecting and distributing data and are hugely successful. Brands are running behind in gathering data that leverages their position in the industry. All social media platforms help you collect data about your visitors and customers. It is your work to analyze the data and understand how better you can target your marketing strategies.

Social analytical data also tells you what is trending, what people are interested in, and what kind of audience likes your brand. All these are critical data you should not miss.

If you are having trouble interpreting these freely available data, get in touch with a social media marketing expert who can help take over this process for you. Your brand is not making use of its full potential if it is not leveraging the power of data.

6. Tap into the power of instant messaging

One of the best things that can happen to improve your brand image and value is to have one-to-one communication with your past, present, and future clients and customers. Instant messaging apps help you achieve this.

Instant messaging apps help people and businesses communicate with one another instantly, over the internet. Google Talk, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, and Skype are few popular examples.

You can use instant messaging in the following ways –

  • Send customized messages to your customers
  • Answer queries and resolves grievances of customers
  • Instantly reach out to people who need you
  • Create groups and share the right content with different segments of the audience
  • Target the right people personally and improve the conversion rate

7. Showcase Social Proof

Social Proof is a very interesting psychological concept that was first coined in the year 1984 by Robert Cialdini in his book called ‘Influence’. According to this concept, people, when they have very little information about something, assume that others around are better equipped with the information and follow their heed.

Celebrity endorsement is a very popular kind of social proof. Consider the brand ‘Too Yumm’ that sells packaged chips and crisps. This brand is a part of Guiltfree Industries Limited. Virat Kholi was signed to endorse the brand in 2018. While people have very little idea about what ingredients are added to the actual product, they pick the pack from supermarkets because they assume the cricketer will not endorse an unhealthy product!

You can also take the example of skincare and cosmetic brands endorsed by flawless-looking celebrities. The idea here is the same.

Here are few ways you can showcase social proof as a part of your eCommerce Social Media Marketing strategy.

  • Get a stamp of approval from a recognized board
  • Get a celebrity to endorse your brand
  • Get social media influencers to endorse/talk about your brand
  • Work on getting quality testimonials

Interested more about Social Proof? Check this article that talks about ‘Social proof in social media shopping’.

8. Building relationships with influencers

building-relationships-influencers

Influencers are people who have built a reputation for themselves on social media and are active and have thousands of followers. Influencers who talk positively about your brand can help build social proof that was discussed above.

All kinds of brands need online influencers to take them closer to the audience. Influencers need to be convinced and satisfied with your product/service to talk about them on their pages. Engaging with the right influencers naturally helps increase your sales.

9. Invest in Social Media Marketing

Now, all the above eight points are effective eCommerce social media marketing strategies. They are not the only strategies available though. SMM is a concept that keeps getting updated every day. Strategies that worked yesterday may not give the right results today.

The only way you can reap the benefits of SMM is by investing time, money, and effort in the same.

Conclusion

Not all business owners are SMM experts. That is why we are here to help. If you have been struggling to make a mark online, we can create the right eCommerce social media marketing plan for your business to help you take leverage of social media.

Even the smallest of brands can benefit by showcasing themselves right online. Get in touch with us to know how effectively you can improve your eCommerce business using SMM. We will schedule a free consultation for you with our experts and help you make the right first step. Contact us right away.

8 Steps to Design a Logo

 

design- logo

 

A logo is the first thing you notice about a brand. A logo is also the first thing that comes to your mind when you try to recollect the brand. It is hence not very surprising that some brands spend months together just to put together the right logo that carries their image.

A logo can be just one or a combination of the below elements.

  • Text
  • Image
  • Shape

Logos are a part of the branding and are closely related to the brand’s image at every point in time. Most brands create their logos once and stick to them until the end. That is why a brand’s logo design process needs time, research, and effort to get it right.

What is the purpose of a logo?

Yes, a logo is usually displayed along with the brand name. Apart from that, what purpose does it serve? You will be surprised at how vital branding experts consider the logo of a brand.

Here are some ways a logo will help its brand.

  • Create a first good impression with leads and potential customers
  • Create a very strong brand identity
  • Breed familiarity
  • Help create a unique symbol/shape through which people can instantly identify you
  • Inspire love and loyalty for the brand
  • Help people understand what your brand does and stands for
  • Act as a common binding bond between the stakeholders
  • Make your brand memorable

For all this to happen, you don’t have to end up with a highly complicated or graphically advanced logo. That is not the goal at all! Most branding experts find the ‘the simpler the better’ rule applicable when it comes to logos. Consider the below logos. How simple yet how absolutely memorable and unique are they?mcd

How does a logo help in branding?

Branding is the measure of how customers and other stakeholders view your brand and its values. Branding is an emotional aspect of the relationship you have with your customers. If you end up with positive branding, your company will keep growing organically.

A logo is a part of the branding strategy. How does a customer feel when looking at your logo? Do the colors, the shape, and the orientation of the logo invite them to check out the brand? What kind of emotions does it bring to the hearts of your customers?

You have to design your logo to match your branding strategy. Do you want to be perceived as a bold brand or a fun brand? Do you want to motivate your customers or make them laugh? The logo design process needs to be aligned accordingly.

Once you do that, every time someone looks at your logo, positive branding happens. You connect with that person the way you wanted to.

list of logos

 

8 Steps to create a logo for your brand

1 Design Brief

The first step to creating a logo is to build the design brief. The design brief is a document that helps the designer understand all the vital elements needed to put together the logo. The design brief usually contains the below items.

  • Preferred style
  • Preferred theme including color combinations, shape, and size
  • Deadlines
  • Budget (if any)
  • A brief about the brand’s ideologies

If you do not give your designer a brief of what is to be expected, then there will be a lot of time wasted in going back and forth with design creation and changes.

There is no set format for the brief. You can add any detail you feel may benefit the designer and take him/her closer to your expectations.

2 Research

Imagine spending weeks together creating the perfect logo for your brand only to find that there is another brand in the market with a closely similar logo. This is not what you want!

Researching the industry includes finding out what kind of logos your competitors and brands in the same industry have. Check what color themes have worked for these brands, what particular shape these logos are designed in, and their styles.

Once the research is complete, you can do two things.

  • Create your logo based on the general theme followed by the rest of the brands in the industry
  • Go in a completely different route and create a unique logo that stands out.

For instance, organic and natural brands usually opt for brown, beige, cream, and other earthly hues for their brand logos and other images. These colors are subtle to the eyes and relate to the words natural and organic. Check out the logos of these natural Indian brands. Few organic brands, however, go away from the usual route and pick up colorful logos like the below. There is nothing right or wrong about this. Both models work depending on what you prefer as a brand.

forest-ayurveda soul-tree organic-tattva khadinatural kama

 

3 Brainstorming

Brainstorming is the process of sitting down as a team and putting together ideas. Such brainstorming happens in a free-thinking environment and can bring out some amazing ideas and thoughts.

Here are few things you can try brainstorming about.

  • What adjectives suit your brand? Write them down
  • How do you want people to feel when they look at your brand?
  • What kind of stories should your logo talk about?
  • Browse through popular logos of competitor brands and identify what you liked about them
  • Sketch rough shapes of how you feel your logo should look

Bring the members of the brand and the designing team together and create a healthy brainstorming session.

team work

4 Sketching

Sketching is the most vital part of the logo design process. Here, you try and bring all the ideas you have generated in the prior steps into visual glory. You could try and sketch the ideas you have on a piece of paper with a pencil. However, designing digitally is easier and you can control different aspects of the logo better.

Professional logo designers can create vectors in the software that can be tweaked multiple times to create the perfect sketch.

It is normal for designers to create multiple (even up to 50) sketches with minute variations and then let the brand choose what works for them.

5 Design Execution

Based on the multiple rough sketches that a designer creates, it is the work of the brand to work hand-in-hand with the designer to execute the final design. The brand has to look through all the sketches and provide feedback and suggestions to help the designer execute the final design.

The execution starts from the creativity phase and ends when the logo design is completed 100%.

6 Presentation

Presentation is the part where the experts will show you the final and completed logo design. If the designer has taken the liberty to add/change few details to the design during the logo design process, this is the time they will try to convince you about the necessity of these details.

These are the basic steps any designer will go through while presenting you the logo

  1. Starts by mentioning what the clients wanted initially from the designer
  2. Mentions the objective and theme of the logo that was discussed
  3. Goes through a couple of sketches that were created for the brand and the feedback that was provided (This helps build excitement and curiosity)
  4. Presents the final design
  5. Explain why the designer had chosen that particular shape, size, color theme and how those relate to the brand’s image

7 Revisions

You may really like the final logo but do know that most designers are open to constructive feedback from the client. Good designers, in fact, prefer knowing how the client felt honestly about the design.

The revision stage may give rise to discussions again on what works and what does not. You can put down your point here and request changes if needed.

Some designers allow unlimited revisions to the final logo while others limit the revisions allowed. Know how your designer works and then plan the revisions accordingly.

8 Delivery

This is the final stage of the logo design process. Once the revisions are done, the logo will be delivered to the client. If your designer has just sent you the JPG version of the logo as an attachment, make sure you request the logo in the below formats too.

 

Delivery

  • .ai file (Adobe Illustrator)
  • PDF file
  • .PNG, .JPG, .JPEG files

Apart from these, you should also be getting the below versions of the logo.

  • 100% vector file
  • Source file
  • Logo on a transparent background
  • Logo in CMYK and RCB colors

Having all these versions will help you use the logo without distortions or loss in quality any time you need in different sizes and pixel ratios.

Conclusion

When you are creating your brand’s logo, you are not just creating any image. You are giving the brand a visual identity that is going to last for decades and even centuries together. Give the process enough time and take help from branding experts and professional logo designers to come up with a unique, mind-blowing, and stunning logo that reaches the hearts of people quickly.

If you are creating a new logo for your brand or want to upgrade the existing design that you have, get in touch with us. Our experts will be happy to schedule a free consultation to help you take the right next step. Our logo design process put together by experts in the field will exceed your expectations and create a logo that defines and embraces your brand ideologies.

6 Simple Steps to Create Your Company’s Brand Guidelines

brand-guidelinessWhat are Brand Guidelines?

Brand guidelines are simple rules or standards written down to help represent your brand correctly. Brand guidelines are also called brand books or style guidelines. These rules help your team and your stakeholders understand how to identify the brand.

These guidelines are usually represented in a document format and are shared with everyone associated with the brand. By checking the guidelines, people can understand how exactly the brand name, the logo, the tagline, and other aspects of the brand should be mentioned.

Why are they Important?

  • Brand guidelines help put across a consistent message to the audience
  • It makes it easier for the audience to relate to the identity of the brand
  • It makes it easy for all your developers, designers, and marketing executives to create consistent and relatable brand content
  • It provides pre-set tools for your team to work with
  • Makes it easy for your customers to differentiate your brand from other similar ones

Who needs brand guidelines?

  1. If you are a new brand waiting to start-up or has just started-up, you will have to spend sometime with experts in creating brand guidelines.
  2. If you are an already existing brand but don’t have a consistent format for using the brand name, logo, and taglines, then you will need to get your guidelines documented right away. This is one of the important ways to add value to your brand.
  3. If you are a company looking to rebrand, then you will need brand guidelines in place to ensure the newer brand identity is created and maintained right.

It takes the help of a branding agency and expert designers to create your brand identity or style book for you. This is a one-time task that is going to bring your brand consistency, reliability, and identity for as long as you exist.

Steps to design your brand guidelines

1. Choose a logo (and think carefully about composition)

One of the most basic and vital steps for creating brand guidelines is to decide on a logo. A logo is the face of your brand. You can recognize many top brands using just their logo without the need to check the brand name. A logo has to be that attractive, simple, and unique.

Logo composition involves the following:

  • Format
  • Color hues used
  • The symmetry of the logo/ typographic brand name
  • Size/proportion of the logo/ typographic brand name
  • Special effects

Your logo should talk about your brand’s personality and the right logo will add positivity to your brand’s identity. Below are some of the simplest yet unique logos you should check out. These brands have managed to reach the minds of the customers with the right composition of their logos.

2. Pick a color palette

The color palette for your brand’s features like name, logo, and tagline determines what kind of a company you are. Your color palette should be documented with the exact hues and shades used.

Take Google’s color scheme for instance. The logo immediately says the brand is fun and exciting. Baskin Robbins is an ice cream brand with a cute pink, blue, and white color theme. The color and the font are attractive and make you feel at home. Coco-Cola has a bright red color palette. The color red is considered powerful, confident, and youthful.

Brand Guidelines
Image credit : Google
brand guidelines
Image Credit : BaskinRobins
brand guidelines
Image credit : Coca-cola

Here is how different color hues are represented emotionally.

Orange – cheerful, young, friendly

Blue – strength, dependability

Green – health, growth

Yellow – optimism, positivity

Black and White – balanced, neutral

3. Decide on the typography

Typography is the art of putting together a group of letters so that they are attractive, legible, and stylish. Typography is not just about identifying the right font for your brand name. It is about details like the spacing between the letters, the color contrast, the font size, and the overall arrangement.

The typography of the brand name plays a role in how people perceive the product or service offered. Here are few things a good typographic service has to achieve.

  • Set the mood
  • Convey a message
  • Create or change perceptions

Do not underestimate what typography can do to your brand name. Clever typography is one reason why you feel an instant connection to the below brands.

Image Credit : Cadbury
Image credit : Barbie
Image credit : Disney

4. Select the perfect brand imagery

There are millions of media content on the internet updated every day. Images are posted on social media platforms, on mobile apps, and blogs by small and big brands. How do you make your content make a mark? Brand imagery includes all the visuals you showcase to your customers and users as a part of your brand image. It is a part of your brand’s aesthetics.

Visual communication is very strong. People can emote more by seeing a visual than by reading a long article. A logo is a part of your brand imagery. There is so much more to this too. Here are some of the items that are a part of brand imagery.

  • Photos
  • Banners
  • GIFs
  • Graphics
  • Videos
  • Animation
  • Charts and graphs
  • Icons

Your brand guidelines should include a list of what kinds of imagery work for you and your brand. Good brands make sure the photos and graphics they share are of high quality and high pixel ratio. Their UI is designed to match the brand’s theme too. Such imagery also becomes part of the stationery used by the brand including letterheads and business cards.

5. Include examples of correct and incorrect usage

Your guidelines should not contain only a list of what’s right. It should also tell people who use the guidelines what should not be done. In many cases, incorrect use of brand imagery, brand name, and other details is considered illegal.

Here are some common incorrect usages of brand details you should add to your guidelines.

  • Reproducing the logo or brand name in different colors
  • Changing the background color of brand names/images
  • Squeezing or stretching the logo or brand name
  • Adding special effects to the brand imagery
  • Adding newer elements to the brand’s name or logo
Correct use of brand guidelines
Incorrect use of brand guidelines

6. Put your brand guidelines together in a brand manual

Once you have a list of all the necessary details of your company’s brand guidelines, it is time to put them together in a brand manual. Most companies have both a physical copy of the manual and a digital version. Share the manual with your stakeholders and make sure they follow the guidelines when they share the brand’s details anywhere.

Encourage your stakeholders to check the manual every time they have to mention the brand officially or unofficially.

One growing trend in creating brand guidelines is to create a one-page sheet that contains the most used guidelines and using that as a quick reference. This helps save time.

7. Update your brand guidelines regularly

Brands and their philosophies keep changing as they grow. People’s expectations about the brand keep changing too. Conduct market research and find out how your customers perceive your brand. Does that align with your goals? If not, you may want to consider updating/changing your brand guidelines.

Have regular discussions with your stakeholders about what works and what doesn’t. Based on that, be ready to make changes to your guidelines regularly.

Conclusion

Brand guidelines are the easiest ways to adhere to the theme/idea behind a brand and maintain consistency and quality in how the brand is perceived outside. Incorrect representations of your brand including different colors, misshapen logos, and wrongly pronounced brand names can all bring down your reputation and create mistrust amongst customers and clients.

Create a guideline manual and adhere to it every time you mention the brand somewhere. This will help build your brand image and help people recognize you easily.

If you have not thought much about brand guidelines, we are here to help. Get in touch with us and we will help you get a free consultation with our branding team. We will understand your business and help you create the best band manual that will help you stay consistent and professional.

10 Steps to Build a Successful Brand

how to create a brand

How to create a brand is a question everyone should ask when they decide to start-up.Company and brand are two completely different terms. You can start a company in a few days. Building a brand takes years of time and effort.

Many business owners underestimate the importance of building a brand.Creating a brand does not just mean naming your company and creating a logo.

A brand is how people perceive your company, your values, and the products/services you sell. A brand is what is going to help people remember you for centuries together, across different generations.

What is a brand?

A brand, in simple terms, is how you identify, relate to, and experience a brand. A brand is created once and lives in the minds of people forever. Successful brands get so popular that even after the brands disappear, their name and presence stay on in the minds of people forever.

Did you know that the concept of branding started as early as 2,700 BCE? The Egyptians then were primarily cattle herders and used to burn a specific symbol on the skin of their animals to differentiate them from cattle of other herders.

How to create a Brand?

How to create a successful brand? If the answer to this was simple, then all brands would be successful. You need to have the right idea at the right time and implement the idea with the right people around to ensure your brand makes a mark in the market.

There are millions of brands active in India. Here are strategies to help you rise in your rank and build a brand that is successful, popular, and worthy.

1. Discover the purpose behind your brand

Why did you want to create a brand? All brands run with the hopes of making money but this is not the purpose of starting-up. The first step to building a successful brand is to understand the purpose behind it. Here are questions you should be asking yourself and your team.

  • What is the idea behind the brand?
  • What do you want to achieve beyond making money?
  • What kind of positive impact will your brand have on society?
  • Does your brand relate to your product/service?

The stronger the purpose behind your brand, the better is your chance of succeeding.

2.  Research competitor brands within your industry

How to create a brand

Competitor analysis is another vital part of building your brand right. If you are entering an industry that is already filled with small and big competitors, you will have to take a lot of effort in making your presence felt and matching the already competitive prices. It will also be hard trying to pry away customers who are already loyal to other brands.

Here are the right steps for an effective competitive analysis strategy.

  • Find your direct competitors (brands that offer similar/exact products and services to the same market)
  • Identify your indirect competitors/ brand substitutes ( brands that offer different products/services but to the same market)
  • Perform a Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis of the market you are entering
  • Rate your competitors based on their market position, features offered, price, customer circle, and reputation
  • Identify the Unique Selling Points (USPs) of these direct and indirect competitors and find out how you can beat their USPs.

3. Determine your target audience

 

target audience

No brand sells for all of the global population.  You might have a great marketing strategy and an awesome product line. However, if you are reaching the wrong set of audience, you will not be closing deals.

Identifying Look for common characteristics and interests in your current customers. What binds them together? Why do they like your brand? Identifying this may help you find out newer groups of audience. The target audience makes a huge difference in generating the right leads and making money.

By targeting the right audience, you reach out to people who are already interested in your product/service, and hence it does not take a lot of effort to convince them to invest in your brand. Here are smart strategies to identify your customer base.

Analyze your current customers –

Look at the customers your competitors have – A very easy way of finding your target audience group is to look for the customers your competitors have. This is a readily available and well-researched target audience for you. All you have to do is woo them towards your brand.

Customer Market Research –

Take the help of market research companies to identify your target audience, their demographics, age groups, interests, and buying power. All good brands invest in market research to help them get a clear idea of who to target and how.

Market mapping –

Market mapping is the process of identifying a gap in the market and using the gap to find out newer and easily available audience to market your brand.

4. Establish a brand mission statement

Mission statements are largely undermined in today’s world. A mission statement tells your investors, your employees, your customers, and your clients what to expect from your brand in the future. Your mission statement will include the purpose of your company and give an idea of what you plan to do over time.

Check out the mission statements of some of the top brands in the world.

Google – ‘Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’

Tata International – ‘To be the most reliable global network for customers and suppliers, that delivers value through products and services. To be a responsible value creator for all our stakeholders.’

Starbucks – ‘Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time.’

Amazon – ‘Our mission is to continually raise the bar of the customer experience by using the internet and technology to help consumers find, discover, and buy anything, and empower businesses and content creators to maximize their success. We aim to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.’

5. Outline the key qualities & benefits your brand offers

Why should a customer buy your product/service? As a brand, you must let your customers know why they should choose you over other competitor brands.

Make a list of your Unique Selling Points (USPs) and mention it on your website, social media pages, and other marketing forums to make it easier for your customers to pick you.

6. Build a brand story and messaging

Brand story and messaging is a great idea for companies looking to tell the audience who they are and what they intend to do.

A brand story is an inspiring version of how you have grown and what you mean to society. A brand story simply does not give out facts. It creates emotions and makes the reader feel closer to the brand.

A brand message, on the other hand, helps you verbally communicate with your audience what your brand promises to do. Some brands keep updating/tweaking their brand message as they grow and give the audience something new to look for.

Brand agencies like us work exclusively on creating awe-inspiring and unique brand stories and messages that change the way people look at your company.

7. Create a brand logo & tagline

These are basic requirements in the list of pointers for how to create a brand. A logo is an identity to the brand.  How do you feel when you look at the logo for McDonald’s? You will start imagining mouth-watering burgers the minute you spot the sign. This is how attractive a logo has to be.

A tagline is one of the first things people notice about a brand. Your tagline can easily tell your audience what you sell and what makes you different. Your brand’s tagline is going to be your sales pitch. Hence, you have to take care to ensure your tag line is catchy and encompasses your brand and product.

Look at some of these popular and to-the-point taglines.

MasterCard – There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard

Nike – Just Do It

BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine

KFC – Finger Lickin’Good

8. Integrate language you can use to connect, advertise

While the basis of languages has remained the same for centuries together, slang, the kind of words used, and the way sentences are built have all changed drastically.

If you have asked ‘What’s up’ in the ‘70s or ‘80s, nobody would have known what to answer back! Right now though, this is a common slang.

Once you decide the group of audience you are going to focus on, tweak your language accordingly.

Imagine you run a resort and you are sending a feedback form on email to a guest who stayed with you recently.

If your guest was older and more formal, the email should go this way – ‘We hope you had a pleasant time at XYZ resorts. We are looking for your valuable feedback to improve our services’.

If you are emailing a young hippy couple, the email should be drafted differently. ‘We are sure you had an epic and fantabulous time at XYZ. Let us know what you think about our services here!’ – This makes more sense.

Integrating language also means making use of local language and getting closer to the audience. A perfect example by Google is below. The user had a complaint about Google Maps written in Hindi and Google managed to reply in Hindi too!

Image Credit: Twitter

9. Use Social Media

Social media branding is a whole area altogether and is a powerful answer to your question of how to create a brand.                 About 3.8 billion people have accounts on social media platforms. Even if one-fourth of them are regularly active on places like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, it is worth making your presence felt here.

Social media experts can help design strategies that build your brand’s name, reputation, and popularity on social platforms. Such platforms are also great places for businesses to have one-on-one relationships with their customers.

All top brands make it a point to stay active and engaged on social media. Here are a couple of examples.

Image Credit: Twitter

 

Image Credit : Twitter

10. Monitor your brand to maintain its brand identity

After you go through all the above steps on how to create a brand, you cannot sit back and relax. You have to monitor the situation and make sure your brand upholds its identity. It is important to constantly look for places you can improve and ways to get closer to your audience. All top brands have separate budgets for brand maintenance. Here are key steps in maintaining your identity in a market where new competitor brands pop up every day.

  • Develop a unique voice for yourself
  • Consistently stay active on social media platforms
  • Engage one-on-one with customers online and identify what they need
  • Keep looking for options to improve your identity
  • Do not hesitate to change your goals and offerings with changing times

Conclusion

Building a brand is a long-term work. You will have to invest time, energy, strategies, and money into creating a name that speaks for itself. Every step a company takes paves way for building a brand. Be patient, be consistent, and add true value to your stakeholders.

If you are looking for professional help and want to know how to create a brand and sustain it, get in touch with us. Our expert branding team will get in touch with you for a free consultation. You need a lot of hands to build a brand. Get us involved too!

 

How to do SEO for an eCommerce website?

 

SEO-ecommerce-website

According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian ecommerce industry is scheduled to grow into the second-largest market in the world by 2034, surpassing the United States. There are millions of ecommerce websites active in the country and consumers are slowly getting used to shopping online for all their basic and luxury needs.

Ecommerce business owners have a lot of potential for growth in today’s scenario. However, you need to have the right approach for this. If you are in a place where you only get considerable website traffic when you opt for paid marketing, you have to seriously rethink your online business strategy.

What is Ecommerce SEO?

Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing traffic to your website organically from search engines by improving the quality of your website and content.

Let’s say you want to buy indoor plants in Bangalore. You enter a search engine like Google or Bing and search using the keywords ‘indoor plants in Bangalore’. You see the below results.

The websites that are listed on the first page of the search engine are the top-ranked ones. They get better traffic and more clicks every day. This will be your aim – to list on the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) without having to pay for the same.

 

google-seo

 

Ecommerce SEO helps you get high-quality traffic by listing you on the top of search engine results. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The process is not as simple though!

SEO trends and strategies keep changing every day. Different search engines have their algorithms by which they decide the rankings of eCommerce websites. These algorithms keep changing too. You will have to invest time, effort, and money in creating a long-term SEO technique to outrun your competitors and reach the right audience.

Ecommerce experts are those who keep following the latest trends in the SEO industry and help businesses be found by the right customers.

Why Is SEO Important for Ecommerce?

It does not matter whether you own a website for a small home business or manage the websites of eCommerce giants like Amazon or Flipkart. SEO should be your priority while building your website and even after that.

  • SEO helps the right customers find you at the right time
  • SEO is the long-term strategy for eCommerce brands to survive and make money
  • SEO strategies are smart investments to improve brand awareness
  • SEO enhances the user experience
  • SEO keeps driving newer low-cost traffic to your site

Ecommerce SEO Strategies

1.     Keyword Research

One of the most practical, beneficial, and challenging eCommerce SEO strategies of all time is keyword research. Keywords are those words people use to search for a particular product or a service on search engines like Google. Every page on your website needs to be optimized to include three kinds of keywords.

  • Informational keywords – Keywords that people use to look for information or details online. Common words used are what, why, and how. (‘What is the best mattress for back pain’)
  • Commercial keywords – These are keywords used when people are testing the waters and trying to decide whether or not to buy something online. Users use keywords like affordable, best, cheap, and so on here. (‘The best back pain mattresses under ₹10,000 or ‘The most affordable mattresses in Delhi’)
  • Transactional keywords – These keywords are used when the user is ready to buy and has already made a decision. The common terms used here are – buy, discounts, deals, and so on. (‘Where to buy memory foam mattresses in Bangalore?’)
keyword-planner
(Image source: Google Keyword Planner)

You can use different keyword research tools to identify the top keywords to use. SEO experts will integrate all three kinds of keywords into the eCommerce website to make sure the site attracts visitors, leads, and serious buyers.

It is beneficial to integrate some long-tail keywords into the website’s content too. Long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases that are very specific. These keywords may not have a lot of search volume but those who search with these keyword phrases are serious buyers with a keen interest in your offering.

Here is an example for you to understand. Let’s say you have a used Ford EcoSport car to sell.

‘used Ford Ecosport’ or ‘second-hand EcoSport’ are regular keywords with high search volume.

‘Buy red-colored used EcoSport car in Bangalore’ is a long term keyword that may not have great search volumes but is very specific to what someone might want.

If a person searches for a red-colored used EcoSport car in Bangalore, your website link will pop-up right away on the search engine and this keyword has a higher chance of getting converted into a sale.

2.     Site Architecture

Site architecture is the simple way of how you design your website and how users navigate through the different pages. A good website architecture will have the most useful pages accessible first and users will not have to spend a lot of clicks in finding what they want.

Experts talk about having flatter site architecture. It means that you can reach from the top to the deepest pages on the website with lesser numbers of clicks. Design your website so that users can reach any page they want in 4 or lesser clicks.

Here are three factors to keep in mind when you plan your site architecture.

Crawlability factor – Search engines like Google and Bing use crawl bots called GoogleBot and BingBot to browse through your website and look for searchable content. Search engines rank websites that they can crawl through quicker higher on their search pages.

site-architecture
(Image Source: Seobility.com)

Responsiveness – Websites that are designed to be responsive to different environments and platforms are usually ranked higher

Duplication – When the same content or page of your website is listed in more than one place online, search engines consider this duplication. Your eCommerce SEO efforts will be affected by duplication because of the following reasons.

  • Search engines don’t know which content to include and which to omit while listing your website
  • Search engines rank websites with multiple duplicate contents lower and this affects your traffic
  • Having duplicates dilutes the visibility of your original intended page(s)

3.     On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual pages in your website to make sure the important ones are visible on search engine results easily. Optimizing your pages is one of the most important strategies of eCommerce SEO and needs to be taken seriously. Here are some of the major factors to work on to optimize your web pages.

(Image Source: Seobility.com)

Content – Content is the king when it comes to SEO. Search engines will prefer your web page when it has the right content in the right format. Your content has to solve the problem or answer the question that a user has. Your content should also be linkable (content that is worthy of being backlinked/shared by other pages).

Title tags, headlines, descriptions, meta descriptions, and URLs – All these factors need to be optimized on all pages of your website. You have to make sure to include keywords in these areas and to format them right to make sure they are clickable. Have unique content in these areas to attract better traffic.

Outbound and inbound links – Outbound and inbound links help people navigate through your website easily and also give them additional information they may need while searching for something on your site. Website pages that have quality inbound and outbound links are preferred by search engines.

4.     Technical SEO

You may have optimized your internal pages well and may have great content to share with users. If the technical SEO aspects are not taken care of, your ranking will still suffer.

Technical eCommerce SEO includes the following aspects.

  • Using a secure and encrypted website (SSL certification). Websites with SSL certification start with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://
  • Using a faster and better hosting service to ensure your website can handle high traffic
  • Creating an XML site map to ensure better crawlability by search engines
  • Making the website mobile friendly
  • Ensuring the website is flexible enough to work on all platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, and so on)
  • Making sure there are no dead links
  • Ensuring the web page images, videos, and content are compressed to improve the loading speed

5.     Link Building

We have already touched base about inbound and outbound links. Link building happens when another website mentions or adds a link to one or more of your pages. Link building is the hardest part of eCommerce SEO but provides amazing results when it comes to search engine ranking.

link-building

 

Let’s say you own a cosmetic brand. Influencers and fashion bloggers write about your product and provide a link to your website on their pages. Search engines like Google find this an important factor to help rank a page. When a page has a lot of quality backlinks, the page is considered trustworthy and popular. Your search engine rankings automatically improve.

Here are few tips to start building quality links.

  • Ask for backlinks from trusted websites
  • Provide links to other websites so that they do the same for you
  • Add your website details to web directories
  • Leave behind worthy comments and posts on web forums and platforms
  • Start a blog and link your important pages here
  • Write guest posts on other websites

Conclusion

There are so many reasons you should concentrate on eCommerce SEO. A good looking website is easy to browse through and attractive. This will ensure you get repeat visitors. SEO helps get organic traffic regularly to the site. Increased traffic gets converted into better sales on the site.

SEO is not a one-time thing though. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing keep changing their ranking algorithm. The strategies that worked last week may not work today. It is hence important to keep updating your SEO techniques too.

Running a business will leave you with no time to spare for other activities. Leave SEO to the experts. Schedule a free consultation with our SEO team today and we will tell you how to improve your search engine ranking and get your website busy and running. Keep working on bettering your products/services and we will ensure your business reaches the right places.

 

7 Tips to Create An SEO Friendly Website

SEO Friendly site

You might have a professional-looking and very useful website. However, if the site is not SEO-friendly, you might not be able to get as much traffic and as many customers as you wanted.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the organic way of improving your website traffic in the form of search engine results. When your website is SEO friendly, people will be easily able to find you through the right keyword searches.

Let’s imagine you sell Christmas trees online. Your products are some of the best in the market and you also offer the cheapest prices. These two factors will not ensure you get customers though. If your website is not SEO friendly, people searching to buy Christmas trees online will not be able to see your website listed in the first few pages on search engines like Google or Bing and will end up buying elsewhere.

Offering good products and services and making your website SEO-friendly are both equally important for small and big businesses.

Benefits of an SEO-friendly website

  • SEO ensures you get traffic without paying for it
  • An SEO-friendly website improves user experience
  • SEO improves your conversion rate (converting traffic into sales)
  • SEO helps your brand stay ahead of the competition

Tips to create an SEO-friendly website

Here are awesome tips to create an SEO-friendly website.

1. Use a responsive design

seo friendly site
Image Credit : pixabay.com

One of the first things that put off both the search engine and the customers is a slow and unresponsive website. All search engines are designed to rank websites that are fast and responsive on top. By simply making your website and its design responsive and quick, you will be helping get more traffic and will be ranking on top of the search engines like Google.

Make sure your website is responsive to the environment it is in. Three factors your website has to be adaptable to are:

  • The platform that it runs in (android, iOS, Windows)
  • The screen size (is the website compatible with mobile phones, tablets, and computers?)

Orientation the site is viewed in (landscape/portrait modes)

2. Create website content to target valuable keywords

Many brands focus on just one keyword that exactly matches their business and rank it high on their website. You are not fully utilizing the power of keywords this way. After you conduct keyword research, choose a small group of highly-relevant keywords and use them in the right places on your website.

Most websites use keywords in the copy but forget other areas. You can incorporate keywords naturally in most places on the website including:

  • Title
  • Headings and subheadings
  • Meta descriptions and meta tags
  • Header and footer links
  • URLs
  • Internal links
  • Images

Use keywords that are usually searched in places like Google. If you are an architect and have a website offering interior designing in Delhi, instead of having a generic keyword like ‘interior designing’, use something specific like ‘interior designing for new homes in Delhi’.

This will improve your chances of getting relevant traffic.

3. Optimize header tags to help search engines better understand your pages

header tags
Image Source : seobility

Header tags are tags that differentiate between titles, headings, and sub-headings in a website. H1, H2, H3, and H4 are the most commonly used tags.

Search engines like Google scan through the header tags first and consider them a priority. Most times, your header will tell the search engine what the content is about and helps it list your content when a specific query is posted.

A study found that 79% of users only scan the contents of a website and don’t read fully the first time? This is why using the right headers and giving your website’s content a clear structure is important.

All your header tags must have the right keywords in them. Here are some other ways to optimize your header tags.

  • Use headers to breakup content into easily-readable forms
  • Use the same case and font size for your headers
  • Make the headers interesting

4. Concentrate on internal linking

Internal linking is providing a link to one page of your website on another page. For instance, you can give the link to a particular product page in your blog. You can add a link to your services offered on the menu.

Google Bot is Google’s crawler program that reaches your home page first and moves through the rest of the website based on the links you have on the page. All search engines have such crawling software. These internal links provide a structure to your site and tell the search engine how pages are related to each other.

Make sure all your pages are internally linked wherever it makes sense. When a page is linked multiple times internally, the search engine assumes the page is more important and ranks it higher.

5. Optimize Meta Description

Meta Description

When you search for something on Google, you see relevant websites with a small summary of the page mentioned below. This summary is called the meta description.

Meta descriptions may not be used by search engines to rank your website. However, it helps users decide whether or not they should click on your site link. Providing a well-created and precise meta description that is to the point will increase your Click Through Rate (CTR).

  • Make sure the description is clear and include keywords if possible
  • Do not add double quotations in meta descriptions
  • Have different meta descriptions for different pages on your website

6. Improve the Page load time

page speed test
Image Credit : (Page load time for Google – Image source: Webpagetest.org)

Page load time is the time taken between clicking a link and the page getting completely loaded. While page load time is an important factor for the users, it is also vital when it comes to search engine rankings.

Page load time is a factor that determines how search engines rank websites. Search engines like Google prioritize websites with faster page load time and show them on top of the search list. Visitors spend lesser time on websites that load slowly.

Google started using site speed as a factor in its search ranking algorithm in 2010. To date, it considers page load time a relevant factor that website owners have to keep in mind if they want to rank higher and get more organic traffic.

7. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

(Mobile vs. desktop vs. tablet usage comparison – Image source: Statcounter)

In 2020, about half of the world’s internet traffic was channeled through mobile phones. About 50% of people looking for something on the internet, use their phones to search. It is hence absolutely important that your website is mobile-friendly. Here are a few smart tips to make your website mobile-friendly.

  • Make the website responsive to different screen sizes
  • Get rid of pop-up ads and banner ads
  • Make use of the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework to improve speed while browsing on mobile phones
  • Make button sizes and Call-To-Action tags bolder and easily accessible on smaller mobile screens
  • Make sure the font sizes are large enough to read on the small screen
  • Test the mobile performance of the site here – https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

In 2015, Google released a statement saying it would now include mobile-friendliness as a factor in ranking websites. If your website is not adaptable to mobile screens, you will not be able to get organic traffic.

Conclusion

To ensure your amazing product or service reaches the right people, SEO is important. Search Engine Optimization is a strategy that will provide you long-term benefits. It is not a one-time solution though. You will have to keep making changes, checking the response, and tweaking your algorithm regularly.

If you don’t have a lot of experience about the latest in the SEO field, outsource it to the experts. Our SEO team lives and breathes website optimization. Get in touch with us for a free consultation right away and we will help you increase your organic traffic, make the website user-friendly, and improve your conversion rate.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a very interesting category of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While SEO strategies are implemented to reach audiences all over the world, local SEO strategies are created to focus on the local area where the business is based.

For instance, if you are a fast-food business based out of Bandra, Mumbai, your local SEO advertisements and marketing efforts will only be targeted towards people living in Bandra.

Local SEO helps make your business visible to communities that are closer to your business location. While most brick and mortar stores (physical shops) benefit from local SEO, a lot of service businesses that offer services in restricted areas also do great by making use of local SEO strategies.

Why is local SEO important?

Local SEO helps build brand visibility and improves footfalls in local brick and mortar stores.  ‘Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior’ is a detailed survey by Google with 4500 participants across 9 verticals. (https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/search/how-advertisers-can-extend-their-relevance-with-search/)

Here are some of the results of the survey.

  • 4 out of 5 smartphone users want the ads shown to them to be customized, based on their zip code and locality.
  • 60% of consumers make use of local SEO information they see online including the direction to a place or the phone number of a business.
  • 50% of people who looked for information about a local store or service visit the place the same day.

Local SEO techniques deliver targeted traffic to your website and increase the chances of closing a sale. Gaining visibility locally helps get more reviews on search engines like Google and Bing and this, in turn, improves business reputation.

Here are tips to improve your local Search Engine Optimization strategies and strengthen your presence among local communities.

1. Keyword Research

Local Search
Image Credit : Google

Imagine having a smartphone in hand and searching for the best Italian restaurant around your house. A majority of folks end up using the voice search button on their search engine. That is why the keywords you choose need to have questions when it comes to local SEO.

Sentences like ‘what is the best pub near me’ or ‘find a lawyer near me’ are all popular question-based keywords when you are implementing local SEO.

Use a good SEO tool to identify top keywords in your niche and tweak them as questions to improve your local SEO efforts.

2. Optimize for Google My Business

Google my Business

‘Google My Business’ (GMB) is a product from Google that helps product and service companies and businesses verify their basic details that are displayed when you do a Google search.

If you have a physical store or space, you are eligible for GMB verification.

There are a few simple steps you have to go through to verify your business. Details like name, phone number, location on the Google map, images of your store, and hours of operation are all to be filled up.

By doing this, you will be listed whenever a user searches for a specific product or service related to your business in the local area on Google’s search engine. You can also start getting local reviews to boost your presence.

3. Improve your internal linking structure

Internal linking is a way of helping users and search engines navigate from one page to another on your website. You can add links to your products/services in your blog posts. You can add links to other posts/pages on content in your homepage, menu, or the about us page.

When you have a good internal linking structure, it helps search engines like Google to know how your content is related and the important/ high ranked pages on your website. Google displays these pages when local users search for you.

4. Optimize your site structure and content

Your website is something your local users will want to check out when they are searching for you. Optimizing your website is important if you want to get business both online and offline.  If you want to list on the top of local searches online, you will have to use the right title tags, headlines, meta descriptions, and content.

Your website has to be free of technical errors and bugs and the site has to be easy to navigate through (crawlability factor).

5. Add location pages to your website

Location

When you are concentrating on local SEO, the location of your business has to be clearly and boldly mentioned on the website. Give details of your business location and contact details in both the header and the footer of the site. This way, whichever page your user lands on, they can see the location and contact details easily.

6. Create local content

Create a lot of local content that users may be interested in. Such content doesn’t always have to be related to your product or service. Such content can be posted in your blogs and should include a lot of local neighborhood names, major locations, and attractions as keywords.

You will also fare great if you can post local news and happenings on your blog pages and provide internal links from these blogs to your website. Be sure you don’t promote yourself blatantly on these local content blogs. They have to only be about things people care about in the locality.

7. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

Local SEO

A large-scale study says that 78% of local searches are made through smartphones. If your website is not mobile-friendly, your users will ignore you and move on to opt for products and services from your mobile-friendly competitor.

8. Ensure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online

This is yet another very important tip that all local businesses have to keep in mind. If you have changed your business location, make sure you update it on every single online platform your business is mentioned in. If you are called ‘ABC & sons’ legally, that should be your name on the Google My Business page, on your website, and in press releases and online mentions.

Consistency is key when it comes to local SEO practices.

9. Optimize online directories and citations

Citations are places your business is mentioned. This could be in local directories, on social media platforms, on your website, or in apps.

There are sites where you can pay to get your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) mentioned to reach local users. JustDial in India is one such paid citation page. Optimizing your presence in such places will make sure you are ranked higher on search engines.

10. Get inbound links with relevance and authority

Image Source : seobility.com

Inbound links or backlinks are links from other sites to your business website or page. When you have several good quality inbound links, Google considers your website authoritative and genuine and lists you higher. Here are certain factors to keep in mind when you create backlinks for local SEO.

  • Inbound links need to come from local relevant blogs and websites
  • Sites that mention the local city name or neighborhood as a keyword along with providing your website linkare authentic and the best inbound links
  • Inbound links from sites that Google trusts are preferred

Pick up relationships with complementary businesses and provide them backlinks on your blogs. This is an easy way to get yourself mentioned on other websites and blogs. You can also take the help of an SEO company to identify the backlink sources for your competitors and connect with these backlinks.

11. Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business

Social media is one of the most active platforms to promote your business to the local audience. You can target local ads and promotions within your neighborhood on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Engage with the local audience and answer their queries.

Join local neighborhood groups on these platforms and introduce your product/service there.

Google My Business has an option to create posts that will be visible to your existing and potential customers. These posts are visible on your business page and help communicate with your customers directly. You can share promotions, discount deals, images, and offers through these posts to the local audience.

Conclusion

Local SEO involves a lot of practices, strategies, and ideas that take you closer to your local audience. If you are a small business offering products and services to a restricted community, adapting to local SEO instead of regular SEO practices will work better for you.

If you are not sure how to rank locally as a business leader, get in touch with one of our local SEO experts. We will get back to you for a free consultation to help improve your local SEO reach.

 

The New WhatsApp Policy – Should you move to other messaging platforms right away?

Whatsapp New Policy

WhatsApp has always taken pride in the fact that it gives utmost importance to security and encryption and has told customers time and again that user information and chats will remain private.

That’s why users and experts are worried about the impending new privacy policy up-gradation that WhatsApp is planning to bring in.

WhatsApp is a cross-messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) free platform that has more than 2 billion active users. After WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, it has turned into one of the most used cross-messaging apps globally.

From January 4th, 2021, WhatsApp users are shown updated privacy policy rules and are asked to accept the same. Users can opt to postpone agreeing to the same until February 8th, 2021, but after that, they will have no choice. They will have to agree to the update or stop using the platform.

whatsapp-updated-privacy-policy

Will WhatsApp be reading your chats and listening to your calls?

WhatsApp has always promised that your chats and your calls will stay private. Chats are encrypted and your messages are stored on your device and not on WhatsApp’s servers. This promise will hold true even after the policy up-gradation. Your chats and your calls will remain encrypted and safe.

Why are people worried about the policy change then?

The problem with WhatsApp’s privacy policy update is how it would be using other personal information available on the messaging platform and how your information will be used when you interact with business accounts on the platform.

whatsapp-com

                                                                                              (Image source: whatsapp.com)

WhatsApp states that it is one of the Facebook Companies and hence will be sharing your information from WhatsApp to other Facebook companies and other third-party services that WhatsApp works with.

Here are some of the details that WhatsApp will be sharing with Facebook whether or not you agree to it from February 8th, 2021.

  • Your phone number
  • If you use WhatsApp payments, your transaction history, and details
  • Mobile IP address and other device-related information
  • Browser information and what mobile network you use
  • Hardware details including battery level, signal strength, and other kinds of device operation information

WhatsApp will also be sharing User information like these with Facebook –

  • How you use WhatsApp and how long you use the app
  • Your WhatsApp settings
  • How long and how often you interact with other users
  • Your profile photo, status, and location

These new privacy policy changes give users no control over their personal, financial, and purchase information.

This policy of WhatsApp will not be applicable in the European region, thanks to its stringent data sharing policy.

India’s updated Data Protection Bill could have helped WhatsApp from sharing your information, but the bill has not been passed yet, so Indian users face vulnerability.

Indian cyber law experts call this move of WhatsApp, a method to try making money out of people’s private data without giving them a choice to refuse.

Recently, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) met the Minister of Information and Technology, to demand the government to restrict WhatsApp from applying the new policy update in the country.

Confederation-India-Traders

                                                                                               (Image source: Twitter.com)

Technology enthusiasts and business leaders from around the world are resorting to social media platforms to talk about this new policy update.

WhatsApp privacy policy

                                                                                                    (Image source: Twitter.com)

WhatsApp privacy policy and its use for business accounts

Business accounts are accounts created by businesses on WhatsApp to communicate with users and send them information about their products, services, and customer orders. Another worrying change in the privacy policy of WhatsApp is about how much of your information is going to reach these business accounts.

There are more than 50 million business accounts on WhatsApp. Once the new privacy policy is updated, business accounts will get more information about the users to target the right product/service/deal for the individual.

Remember that Facebook is offering to act as a host for business accounts and will manage their communications with customers. Facebook will also have most of your user information through the new WhatsApp policy.

This means that Facebook companies will be using such information to offer better services to their business customers.

What’s the alternative if you care about data privacy?

Thankfully, WhatsApp is not the only cross-messaging and voice-over app in the market. If you care about your data privacy and WhatsApp is not ready to make changes to its privacy policy, you can think of switching over smaller but equally good messaging apps like Signal and Telegram.

A comparative analysis between WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram

WhatsApp – WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app. Businesses use the app to get in touch with customers and users send texts, voice messages, images, documents, and videos over this platform.

Top features of WhatsApp

  • Ability to post statuses
  • Can form groups (maximum group size – 256)
  • Group video calls (maximum of 8 members)
  • Can share photos, videos, and documents (maximum size – 16 MB)
  • Messages are backed-up through third-party cloud services
  • No ads

Signal – Signal is a cross-platform non-profit messaging app that was founded in the year 2014. It is available for iOS, Android, and desktop.  Signal offers end-to-end encryption for all texts and voice messages.

Top features of Signal

  • Self-destructing messages (messages can be created to last in the sender and receiver’s screen only for a specific period)
  • Note-to-self feature to jot down things like in a notepad
  • Screen security – Prevents other apps from taking screenshots of your Signal screen
  • No ads
  • Simple user interface

Telegram – Telegram is a non-profit freeware software that also helps with cross-platform messaging and with VoIP. This software was developed in 2013 and already has around 400 million monthly users.

Top features of Telegram

  • Ability to form large groups (200,000 members)
  • Unique features like creation of polls, quizzes, and bots
  • File sharing size limit of 1.5 GB
  • Does not share any information with third-party apps and companies or governments
  • Telegram claims that it delivers messages the fastest
  • Ability to send self-destructing messages

To give you an idea of how invasive WhatsApp and Facebook are when it comes to your ‘personal’ data, check this infographic out. This tells you what information is collected by all three of these messaging apps when you install and use them.

whatsapp plolicy

What does the future hold for WhatsApp?

In India, the choice of whether or not you let the Facebook group of companies use your information depends on individual users. It is going to take a little more time for the government to pass the data privacy bill.

One group of people argue that giants like Google already have most of the personal information of a user and this new privacy policy of WhatsApp is not going to affect them much. Such individuals are going to keep using WhatsApp after agreeing to the privacy policy.

Another larger group of people have already started exploring other safer and private forms of messaging services including Signal and Telegram. These apps are being downloaded in large numbers as you read.

As people start asking questions about WhatsApp and Facebook’s invasion of privacy, more such freeware cross-platform messaging apps are going to be created with stringent and iron-clad privacy policies.

The latest update: What does WhatsApp have to say?

WhatsApp looked like it was caught unaware by all the backlashing it has received in the last couple of weeks. About 25 million new users had signed up for Telegram in just 3 days. People are sharing all kinds of information about WhatsApp and its privacy policy on all social platforms.

The brand was quick to respond though.

WhatsApp recently created an FAQ section on its website with an explanation of what its privacy policy meant. Here are few points from the list.

  1. WhatsApp cannot see your messages or hear your calls
  2. It will not use your shared location or send it to Facebook
  3. WhatsApp groups will be private
  4. It will not share your contacts with Facebook
new whatsapp policy update
Image Credit : Whatsapp

WhatsApp has now announced that it will delay implementing the updated privacy policy by a couple of months from February 8th to May 15th.

The Indian government has for its part sent a questionnaire to WhatsApp that includes questions like what permissions will the app need to function and what categories of data will the company collect and share. The government has also asked WhatsApp to withdraw its privacy policy update in India keeping in mind the data privacy and security aspects of the country.

Conclusion

The internet is already a difficult place to venture into if you want to hold your privacy close to you. With such policy changes, it is going to be even more difficult to keep your activities and interests to yourself.

No one can say Signal or Telegram is 100% effective. You, as a consumer, will have to look through their policies and terms and decide if they are safe for you to create your accounts with.

If you are planning to quit WhatsApp, it is not enough if you delete the app from your phone. You will have to delete your account from the app’s settings.

                                                        <WhatsApp Settings – Account – Delete my account>  

      

Even then, experts say that your past information and texts, images, docs, and videos shared are going to remain in the WhatsApp system.

We will have to wait and see how WhatsApp and Facebook respond to the extreme reactions and displeasure shown at this privacy policy update.

What do you feel about this new policy up-gradation by WhatsApp? Will you continue using the app or switch over to other more secure messaging platforms? Let us know in the comments below.

For more such useful information about digital media , stay tuned to our new blog posts