15 Ways To Grow Your Business on a Budget

As a small business owner, you have a lot going on. There’s a lot you need to focus on, from acquiring new clients, retaining existing ones, to creating new products and services. Focusing on these areas not only requires a devotion of time, but also money, and you may feel you don’t have the budget to grow your business.

But you’d be happy to know you don’t have to spend a fortune to grow your business. In fact, there are ways, means, and tools that can assist you to grow your business on a budget. All it requires from your side is some resourcefulness. Here are 15 ways to grow your business on a budget.

#1 Offer Lots of Free Content

Whether it be blog content, a free seminar, a free webinar or even a free eBook, offering free high-quality content not only establishes you as an expert, but it builds trust among existing and potential new customers. Trust is crucial in the online space. Build trust before you try and push for a sale.

And when you finally offer a paid product, the chances of a sale will be higher because if the free stuff is good, the paid stuff must be out of this world right? Follow influencers like Neil Patel to help you with your content strategy.

#2 Use Social Media

Using social media is a great way to build your online presence by sharing blog content and keeping potential customers updated on what’s happening in your business and industry.

You’re also able to reach a larger target market and interact with your target market. Social media is all about building your presence, establishing conversations, and building trust among your prospects.

Use online tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to automate your social media management.

#3 Use Email Marketing

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Make use of email service providers like MailChimp and ConvertKit to build your eMail List. These email subscribers will be your prospects and potential prospects. Communicate to them via email and offer them immense value. Offer them free guides, content, and specials only available via email.

#4 Speak at Events

Volunteer to speak at events and connect with other businesses and potential customers. Speaking will help establish you as an expert in the industry, allow you to grow your brand and help you get more clients either through their attendance at events or through referrals.

#5 Help Solve Problems by Being Authentic

Setup a blog and provide high-quality content that you give your customers for free. They will thank you for it. Authenticity is of vital importance in today’s age. Being authentic works well for the millennial generation, who value it.

#6 Be Personal

People enjoy the connection and they enjoy doing business with businesses that remember their names. Greet them by their names, send correspondence in simple, easy to understand language. Don’t use unnecessary jargon and big words. It will only make you look like a pompous prick.

#7 Use Small Business Apps

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Make use of small business apps that will help you automate workflow, save you time, and allow you to focus on other revenue generating activities. Many of the apps offer free versions and cater for the small business on a budget. Here are a few apps to get you started:

  1. Trello: the project management tool allowing remote collaboration.
  2. Bablic: do it yourself website translation.
  3. Slack:  the instant messaging app for teams.
  4. Yendo: provides affordable accounting and CRM software for small business.

#8 Recruit Top Talent Wisely

If you recruit top talent you can have peace of mind knowing that these hires know what they’re doing and will look after your customers. Your employees are the lifeblood of your business so recruit wisely.

#9 Offer Loyalty Programs

For the customers that remain loyal and continue to make purchases, encourage them to continue this trend by offering specials and discounts for their loyalty. For example, as a coffee shop owner you can give your customers a free coffee with every 10 coffees.

#10 Send Cards

Send thank you cards when they buy your product. Send cards when it’s their birthday and/or offer them a voucher they can use for a discount on their next purchase. Also, consider doing away with email and send personalized handwritten thank you cards. This shows you care and that you are willing to go the extra mile.

#11 Hire an Intern

This is a win-win as interns are looking to gain valuable experience and you can make use of them to find new clients for a fraction of what a new hire would cost you. Alternatively, they hire interns to focus on other business areas while you focus on landing new clients.

#12 Speak to existing customers to gather feedback on your products and services

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What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong? Where can you improve? Your customers will have valuable insights as they buy your products. They use them. So, listen to them. Consider using SurveyMonkey to create online surveys to gather customer feedback.

#13 Co-creation

Involve your most loyal customers in the creation of products. This works particularly well for the millennial generation who values brand experiences.

And what better way to let them get involved with your brand, than helping them create a new product. You can make use of online research communities, online surveys and even use A/B testing to see what’s working on your site and what isn’t. You can also apply this to beta-testing new products, by letting your most loyal customers have first access to a new product.

#14 Connect With Employees for New Hires

As your business grows, so does the need to hire new top talent. Now, you can approach an agency to handle this process and/or place job ads in classifieds, the newspaper and on the internet, but often the best place to look is internally.

Consider approaching your staff to see if they know of anyone who would be suitable for the job. Better yet, hire internally. Hiring internally has many benefits, one of which is that the person is already knowledgeable about your company and there won’t be a big learning curve.

#15 Pay Attention to What the Competition is Doing

I don’t recommend spending days and days just monitoring and copying competitors products and services. But it helps to track what they’re doing well and then implementing those strategies in your own company. You can only hope to improve and grow if you’re constantly learning, tweaking, and implementing.

For example using SEM rush you can gather insights into your competitor’s strategies in display advertising, organic and paid search, link building, estimated keyword difficulty and much, much more!

The above 15 ways are proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to grow your business. Do you use any of these techniques? How do you grow your business?

How to Effectively Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is common, with people deserting their carts due to several reasons. Sure, there will always online shoppers who abandon their carts. Such is the nature of online shopping. People browse or “window” shop, save items for later purchase, and even compare prices.

A recent article by Baymard Institute – an independent web usability research institute – analyzed 34 studies on the shopping cart abandonment rate. The findings? Well, on average, 68.81% of shoppers abandon their carts.

That’s the reality online.

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But there are also factors like user experience that impact cart abandonment. However, these are factors that you have control over. For example, the Baymart study cites reasons why people leave their carts. Out of 1044 participants, 27% said the checkout process was too complicated.  You will be in a better position to fix them if you understand these problems.

And this is the focus of this article; listing common problems causing cart abandonment and solutions to solve them. By implementing these techniques, you’ll convert more of these shoppers into buyers and repeat customers.

#1 Be Transparent About All Costs Involved.

In the Baymard study, 24% of shoppers abandoned their carts because they were unable to calculate their total order cost up-front. Many shoppers today are also hit with extra charges at checkout.

You must make these costs visible to shoppers before the checkout stage. If you don’t shoppers will feel cheated. It’s really that simple.

Understandably, there are certain variable charges you cannot avoid. But again, you can rectify this problem by adding a sales-tax calculator for people to work out costs before proceeding to checkout. A post on Crazy Egg highlights how Best Buy does this to avoid surprise charges.

#2 Provide Free or Flat Shipping Costs

A study by Forrester highlights that 44% of online shoppers abandon their carts because of shipping or handling.  And 82% of customers want free shipping at checkout. There then is some serious demand and valid reasons for you to offer free shipping.

Free shipping offers the extra benefit of increasing the average order value as shoppers are more inclined to buy more . It also gives you a competitive advantage over stores that don’t offer it, with the potential to attract more online shoppers. So, offer free shipping – and importantly – make it visible for everyone to see.

#3 Build Trust; Include Trust Seals

The study by Baymard highlighted another telling statistic: 18% of people didn’t fill out their credit card information because they didn’t trust the online store with this information. If you want to achieve success online it’s crucial to build trust. Remember, many of the shoppers cannot connect with you. All they see is the store.

Further, credit card fraud is on the rise and many shoppers will be reluctant to give you their card information. Build this trust by including trust seals and guarantees. Be wary of which badges you use, though. According to Baymard, all badges are not made equal. For example, of the people in a survey, more people trust Norton (36%) than Comodo (2.8%).

#4 Make the Checkout Process Simple

For many online shoppers, a lengthy checkout process is an inconvenience.  Customers will be less likely to buy if there are many forms, questions, and pages. People shop online for convenience. For speed! And any process that infringes on those benefits is a hindrance. Make the checkout process simple. Offer an express checkout option to streamline the process.

#5 Provide Multiple Payment Options

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Customers want multiple payment options. If you’re unable to provide different payment methods you will lose customers as they will be unable to pay. The article in Crazy Egg highlighted how Walmart has reached a larger customer base since adopting this strategy. So, offer credit cards. But also offer the likes of PayPal, Apple Pay, and even Google wallet.

#6 Let Users Register an Account After The Sale

Some companies need shoppers to register an account before they buy. For many shoppers, this is an inconvenience and it’s no wonder that so many leave before buying.

As an online retailer, you want to track customer activity as having that data is essential. But, you need to do balance the need for that information vs shopper convenience. Consider employing a tactic that Walmart uses where shoppers are able to register an account at a later date.

#7 Remind Customers of Their Abandoned Carts

While the method we discuss here isn’t to reduce cart abandonment, it will help you recover potential lost sales. Remember: there will always be those customers who abandon carts.  

In such instances consider sending follow up emails to email customers notifying them of their abandoned cart. Or automate the process by using the many apps available on the market. For example, the Shopify App, Beautiful Abandonment Cart Emails,  will pull images of the applicable carts, allows you to customize email templates, and then send a follow-up.

Final Thoughts

Shopping cart abandonment is here to stay. This is the nature of online shopping. So, you will never get rid of it entirely. However, accepting this fact should not cause you to become complacent. You need to focus in on why people aren’t making that sale. Why are they abandoning the carts before checkout? You then need to make changes to your store to reflect the desire of shoppers.

The techniques listed here will help to reduce cart abandonment rates, with a spin-off: increased average order value, customer retention, more money, and ultimately more profits.

What techniques do you use to cut shopping cart abandonment?

11 Ways to Boost Your Average Order Value

Running your small business requires you to have your hands in many different pies. As you juggle the many day-to-day activities, it’s easy to overlook some of the nitty-gritty details that will allow you to become more profitable.

And in the same breathe when you actually get down to it, you find yourself totally overwhelmed by all those little aspects that need attention. The key then is to focus on those things that are really going to turn the needle. The things that are really going to rocket your growth!

One of those important “things” is the average order value (AOV). AOV is an essential metric that’s easy to measure.  The AOV is calculated by taking your total revenue divided by your total orders. And by increasing your average order value (AOV), you drastically increase the chance of becoming more profitable. But how can you increase your AOV? Here are 11 ways to start doing this.

1. Set Your Free Shipping Threshold

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Over 82% of consumers want the option of free shipping at check-out. This is some serious demand. And if you’re questioning whether it works or not consider the following statistics:

  1. In the United States over 40% of shoppers are willing to increase the value of their order to attain free shipping.
  2. There’s also plenty of research suggesting that shoppers abandon carts due to lack of free shipping.

Offering free shipping threshold then as a strategy to increase AOV works. But when doing so, do so with careful consideration. If you offer a free-shipping threshold, it has the potential to increase AOV, whilst decreasing total transactions. This is why you need to calculate free shipping within the overall purchase. Take the average order value and set your threshold 15-20% above this.

What you can also do to test this is to use A/B testing. Offer completely free shipping (no minimum order value or threshold) and free shipping after a minimum order value. Then compare metrics such as AOV, sales, revenue, and cart abandonment.

2. Provide Discounts on Minimum Orders

Another strategy that also works is to offer discounts on a minimum order value e.g. 20% off when you purchase $100 or more. This can be a great strategy to clear any slow moving stock.

3. Offer Available For a Limited Time

Psychology plays a crucial part in online shopping. By offering shoppers deals or discounts for a limited period of time (e.g. 24 hours) you create a sense of urgency and make them feel like they will miss out if they don’t make a purchase now. It could also potentially encourage them to purchase more in one go as the feel they need to make the most of this limited offer.

4. Discounts on Mass Purchases

Crafting a mass-discount or mass volume offer needs to be well thought out. You need to balance your profit margins and an offer that will attract many shoppers. Regardless, if done correctly this has the potential to drastically increase your AOV and profits. Paperstone, a London-based office supplies company successfully employed this strategy to increase AOV by 18.94%.

5. Engage in Up-selling

Through up-selling, you offer a similar, more expensive product or service in the hope that a shopper will purchase it. For example, if a customer is looking at a 16 GB iPad, include a photo of the 32 GB iPad. It needs to be done in a way that’s not intrusive otherwise this could discourage the shopper.

Whilst this is a strategy that works, you should not blindly follow it at every turn, for every customer. Some customers are new. Some haven’t even made a purchase. In these instances, up-selling might not be the best strategy.

6. Engage in Cross Selling

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Cross-selling is another technique that works in boosting your AOV. If someone is purchasing a Laptop, subtly recommend a mouse or a laptop bag as part of the purchase. The key is to recommend items which are relevant and complement one another. It doesn’t help recommending a surfboard when someone is purchasing a laptop. Whilst this is an extreme example, I think you get the point.

7. Offer Discounts on Packages

Whilst similar to cross-selling as similar related items are packaged together, the deal is only available for the package as a whole. For example 15% off when you purchase shoes, jeans, and a T-shirt all as a package.

8. Always Offer Some Form of Incentive

Offering any form of incentive greatly improves the odds of a purchase and the opportunity to increase your AOV. So offer one at every opportunity, whether it take the form of a cash-back, 10% off the next purchase or recurring points – that form part of a loyalty program – that shoppers can use for their next purchase

9. Make Use of Loyalty Programs

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According to research cited in a Weebly article, 70% of customers would prefer to shop at a retailer that offers a loyalty program. Loyalty programs make shoppers feel like they belong. They allow you to gather information about buying habits. This allows you to tailor offers even further to meet their specific needs. Don’t only include rewards for purchases, but also for registration, recommendations, and referrals. A loyalty program has immense potential to increase AOV.

10. Encourage Social Sharing and Customer Reviews

Positive reviews and recommendations from others create positive re-enforcement that the consumer has made the correct purchase.  So, encourage shoppers to share products and purchases, and to leave reviews which other potential shoppers can see. This will assist other shoppers with their purchase decisions.

11. Monitor Spending Patterns

Any decisions you make needs to be based on sound metrics. So monitor those metrics. Keep your eye on your AOV. Monitor spending patterns of shoppers.  See where there are dips. See where there are peaks. And based on this information don’t be scared to play around with the above 11 techniques to see what’s working and what isn’t. Ultimately through refinement, you’ll be well on your way to seeing a marked increase in your AOV.

Have you used any of the techniques outlined above to increase your AOV? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

7 Quick Tips For Blogging With Squarespace

I’m sure those of you that have a blog with Squarespace, can already attest to the improved traffic and leads you’ve received as a result of blogging. But as you know, there are always new things to discover, and I’m also sure you’re always constantly looking for tools, tricks, and techniques to continue to refine your blogging efforts. In today’s blog post we’re simply going to look at 7 Quick Tips for blogging with Squarespace.  These will range from tips to setting up a Google analytics account, SEO tips, writing tips, to tips that will help you manage your content on the go. Let’s jump straight into it.

#1 Create a Google Analytics Account

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While not Squarespace specific – as this is a tip I’d recommend for any blogger – I will include Google Analytics here as it’s easy to overlook especially if you’re a small business owner with lots on the go.

You need to create a Google Analytics account so that you can track your traffic. Where is your traffic coming from? What social media channels? What country? What is the demographics of your traffic? How long do they spend on your site? What is your most popular article? What is your bounce rate? These, and many, many, more metrics can be analyzed with Google Analytics.

While Squarespace offers some stats, Google analytics will allow you to delve deeper. To setup Google Analytics for your Squarespace blog follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for a Google account (if you don’t have one already),
  2. Sign up for Google analytics (it’s free).
  3. Follow the instructions to add your website to Google Analytics
  4. You will be given a tracking code.
  5. Within Squarespace  Home Menu, click Settings, click Advanced, and then finally click External Services.
  6. Paste your unique tracking code in there and you’re good to go.

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#2 Create an SEO Checklist

This is a tip that I read in a post on Red Lantern Creative. It’s a simple, yet an incredibly effective tip for blogging with Squarespace.

As we know, WordPress users have access to a plugin known as the SEO Yoast plugin. This plugin gives you a ton of features. It lets you write your meta-description, insert your keyword, and in turn analyzes your content to let you know what your keyword density is, what it scores on  the Flesch Reading Ease Test and much, much more. Here’s an example of what this looks like in action:

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Squarespace, though as we know doesn’t have this plugin. However, what you can do is mold your Squarespace blog posts around the recommendations made by the plugin. In effect what you’re doing is creating a checklist which you can follow each time you create a blog post. This ensures you optimize your blog posts every time – without fail – when blogging with Squarespace.  Assuming you’ve done your keyword research, here’s a quick checklist you can use to optimize your blog posts on Squarespace:

  1. Keyword inserted into the title?
  2. Keyword inserted into URL?
  3. Keyword in the first paragraph?
  4. Keyword in the body of your post (avoid keyword stuffing)?
  5. Keyword in heading and sub-headings?
  6. Keyword in excerpt/meta description?
  7. Keyword included in your image Alt Tag?
  8. Is post length 300 words or more?

#3 Add “Subscribe to Blog Posts”

You want your readers to comment on your blog posts. This creates engagement and ensures your site doesn’t look like a ghost-town. While it’s all very well to have a ton of comments on your blog, what does it say about your company if you’re not responding to comments? To solve this problem we simply suggest that you subscribe to your own  blog posts.  By subscribing, you’ll get an email every time there’s a comment on your site.

To do this click on Home Menu, Edit Profile, and Subscriptions.


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#4 Classify, Publish, and Schedule Posts

As someone who loves writing, I’m continuously playing around with my writing process. When I started, I found that I would edit as I went along. The problem with this, I find, is that it stifles the creative process. I found I was trying to be perfect the piece as I went along, instead of letting my creative juices flow.

What I now do (or try do) is get it all out on paper in one go. Consider applying this to your blog writing process. Create the first draft and save it in the Needs Review Category. Then come back to it later with a new set of eyes and make the necessary edits. Once edited it is now the final draft and you can either hit publish, or schedule your post to go live at a later stage.

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The schedule feature works particularly well if you’re creating a backlog of articles for scheduling over the next few months. It ensures a constant flow of articles even when you’re not in front of your computer.

#5 Create a Blog Excerpt

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Blog excerpts are teasers of your post. If you don’t enable this, your blog post displays in full. This can be rather annoying for readers, especially when you have long blog posts. So simplify their navigation process by creating blog teasers so they can quickly scan your blog to see what content interests them. Follow these four steps:

  1. Visit your blog page by clicking Home Menu, Pages, and Blog Page.
  2. Choose your post and then click edit.
  3. Add a post excerpt by clicking on Options.

#6 Add a Thumbnail Image

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It’s important to have an image and a suitable image at that, as it grabs the readers attention, improves click-throughs, and increases the chances of more shares. Humans are after all visual beings.

So while you’re creating a blog excerpt, take things further, make your site more social media friendly, and add a thumbnail image. This is the image that will be visible when shared on social media channels like Facebook. This is the image readers will see in addition to the blog title and meta-description.

#7 Download the Squarespace Blog App

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A final tip to blogging with Squarespace is to download the Squarespace Blog App. With the App, you’re able to write, edit, tag, and schedule posts from your smartphone. Managing and responding to blog comments is also possible. This means instant access on the go. And if you find a typo that you missed after publishing, you’re able to immediately fix it.

There we have it – seven quick tips for blogging with Squarespace. Do you have any additional tips? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

How to Take Your E-mail Marketing to The Next Level With Weebly Promote

If you think e-mail Marketing is dead, think again. It was only declared dead with the explosion of social media. In fact, a recent survey for the 2015 State Of Small Business Report revealed that 46% of small businesses use e-mail marketing as a top marketing tactic.
Not only is it very much alive, it’s still one of the most effective marketing techniques.  According to the Direct Marketing Marketing Association, it offers an ROI of around 4,3000%. Research also shows that 70% of consumers prefer e-mail marketing as a form of communication with companies. It’s also 3x more effective than social media at promoting purchases.
Investing in e-mail marketing – which in itself is not a large investment – is worthwhile. E-mail marketing is an essential tool for customer communication and business growth.
If you’re a Weebly user currently using e-mail marketing, you can benefit from the insights offered here. And if you’re not currently using e-mail marketing, hopefully, this post has already provided you with the encouragement to consider devising an e-mail marketing strategy to drive customer engagement and growth for your small business. Before we get into how you can take your e-mail marketing to the next level with Weebly Promote, what exactly is Weebly Promote?

What is Weebly Promote?

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Simply put, Weebly Promote is an integrated e-mail marketing service that allows you – the Weebly user-  to send out e-mails to your subscribers.
It’s currently a separate paid service, where you create a mailing list within Weebly, design the e-mail, and send. You do however have access to many of the templates and designs that you’re used to using in the Weebly website builder.
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With Weebly Promote You’re Able To

  1.  Add custom HTML through activating the embed code element.
  2. Include a map that shows store locations by activating the map element and pinning your store.
  3. Build your e-mail list by importing contacts (via CSV) from Yahoo, G-mail or Mailchimp.
  4. Segment your customer groups after you’ve built your e-mail list.
  5. Customize existing ready-made layouts. Weebly offers templates for different e-mail types e.g. newsletter, promotions, product announcements, and events.
  6. Like a specific template? Save time, by saving it future use and make customizations to it as required.
  7. Preview your e-mail or send a test e-mail before you send it to pick up any mistakes.
  8. Schedule e-mail at a later time.
  9. Measure your stats e.g. open rates.
  10. Have any questions? Personalized help is available from the Weebly e-mail experts.

All e-mails you send are  mobile optimized. This is imperative if you consider that people open 55% of e-mails  via their mobile devices.

Four Plans Are Currently Available

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  1. A free trial  that gives you 2 e-mail campaigns, to 500 recipients, with a quota of 1000 e-mails.
  2. Build Plan that gives you 5 e-mail campaigns to 500 recipients, with a quota of 2500 e-mails. Price is $8/month.
  3. Grow Plan that gives you 20 e-mail campaigns to 2500 recipients, with a quota of 50 000 e-mails. Price is $25/month.
  4. An Accelerate Plan that provides you with unlimited e-mail campaigns to unlimited recipients, with a quota of 250 000 e-mails. Price is $75/month.

For a small business, I would recommend the Build or Grow plan. Now knowing what you know about Weebly Promote,  now let’s look at a few tips to help you get the most out of Weebly Promote and take your e-mail marketing to the next level.

E-mail Marketing Tips

#1 Write enticing and catchy subject lines

No matter how well written your e-mail is or how “cool” the content is, it doesn’t help if the subject line or headline falls flat. With a catchy subject-line, you’ve won well more than half the battle.

This is particularly important if you consider how many e-mail people receive on a daily basis. If you have a headline that falls flat, expect it to disappear in the plethora of e-mails. Here are a few quick tips to help you write catchy and enticing e-mail headlines.

  1. Keep it short and sweet (50 characters or less). E-mails get cut off if too long particularly on mobile. This then is crucial is you consider that most e-mails are opened on mobile.
  2. Use a familiar, personable “sender from” e-mail address. [email protected] does not work!
  3. Give them an idea of what to expect e.g. here’s your free e-book
  4. Start with action verbs – this encourages click-throughs.
  5. Make it personal e.g. address readers as you e.g. e.g. You don’t know what you’ve missed.
  6. Ask questions – this elicits a response and draws readers in
  7. Take it further and ask specific questions that tap into the buyer persona of the individual e.g. Are you making these A/B testing mistakes?
  8. Use numbers – where applicable- in your subject lines – this is e-mail marketing best practice and improves click-throughs.

#2 The use of images

Once you’ve got them to click on your e-mail, you need to draw them into what you have to say, this is where images work so well! Use an enticing and aspirational photo. To add an image to your e-mail with Weebly Promote, you need to activate the

To add an image to your e-mail with Weebly Promote, you need to activate the Add Image Element. I stole the below photo directly from the Weebly Help Center.

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You’re also able to add a gallery of images; particularly useful if you’re advertising and promoting several products. People do after all shop with their eyes.

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#3 Use e-mail segmentation

Once you’ve started building your e-mail list through your sign-up forms on your site, it’s time to start segmenting your list according to certain characteristic’s, such as interest and response.

Make use of a feature known as Smart Groups. With Smart Groups you can target according to people who’ve made purchases from your store, people who have membership access, and people who’ve contacted you via a contact form on your site.

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The more specific you get with your targeting, the higher your potential sales. Please take note this feature is currently only available for the Accelerate and Grow plans.

#4 Share to social media

By sharing your e-mail pitches on social media channels you present additional opportunities to not only grow your e-mail list but spark additional interest in your products and services. Weebly promote provides this function across Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as soon as you’ve sent your e-mail.

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E-mail marketing then is still very much alive. As a Weebly user, there are four plans available with Weebly Promote. Why not test it out with the free trial and then choose a plan that’s most suitable to you. Then take your e-mail marketing to the next level, by focusing on writing compelling subject lines, including catchy images, segmenting your mail list, and finally sharing across social media channels for additional exposure.

Do you use Weebly promote? What techniques do you use to take your e-mail marketing to the next level?

3 Effective Ways to Boost Squarespace Traffic

It’s been a few months since you’ve created your Squarespace Website for your business. Aesthetically your site is an absolute gem and you know your product or service will solve your customers’ problems by providing immense value. But you’ve looked at your Google Analytics stats and your traffic stats are dismal.

You know that to survive and make money you need more website traffic. Hell, this is a given.  How though do you go about this? How do you increase your Squarespace traffic, traffic that ultimately presents an opportunity for a sale?

In this blog post, we highlight 3 effective ways for you to do this, namely: blogging, leveraging social media, and tweaking your SEO.

1. Blogging: Create High-Value Content

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Firstly, create a blog. Blogging is an effective way to achieve more indexed pages in Google. In fact, research has shown that blogging consistently allows businesses to achieve  434% more indexed pages on search engines. More indexed pages for your Squarespace site = more traffic.

The important thing though is to create high-value content. High-value content is content your audience finds so valuable that they share it, talk about it with friends, and happily link back to it. This is content that focuses on the audience, their problems, and offers solutions to these problems. This is content that doesn’t focus on the organization and their achievements.

By blogging and creating this high-value content you improve your search engine visibility and drive more traffic to your site. Here are some blogging pointers:

Consistent Blogging Schedule

Maintain a consistent blogging schedule and stick to it, whether it’s once, twice, three, or more times a week. For example, what would you think about an organization that hasn’t updated their blog in ages? Probably that they aren’t doing too well. A consistent blogging schedule builds trust in your brand and also keeps Google happy from an SEO perspective.

Focus on your audience: it’s not about you

Focus on your audience. Focus on content that solves their problems. For example, if you’re selling laptops you might find that consumers are struggling to decide what laptops are suitable for their needs. With mentions of RAM, processors, hard drives, and all those technical terms reserved for IT gurus, it becomes increasingly difficult.

To solve this you could create a blog post that lists 7 factors to guide them in their laptop purchase decision e.g. If they are traveling and working a lot out of coffee shops, a lighter laptop with more battery power would be more suitable.

Consider Long Form Content

There is an increasing amount of research suggesting you focus on long-form content. BuzzSumo recently analyzed the results of seven independent studies. They found that long-form content, on average, generates the most shares and ranks better in search engines.

And Neil Patel explores this and shows that longer content usually fairs better. Most articles of 2000 words or more are more likely to be searchable, have higher search engine listings, and are more likely to increase the amount of backlinks you receive. Back-links are of course one of the most important aspects of your SEO.

Optimize Your Blog Posts

In a nutshell: set a title with the keyword, create a meta description, include an image, and make use of tags and categories. Once you’ve created and optimized your high-value blog content, share it on social media.

2. Share Content on Social Media

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Share across the various social media channels to boost your Squarespace traffic. You can make use of automated social sharing platforms like Buffer or Hootsuite. These platforms  allow you to schedule content weeks in advance. This means you don’t even have to be in the office!

Each social media channel will have a variety of tools and best practices to get the most out of their platform. For example, a recent post on the Bablic Blog, highlights 8 ways to use Facebook to increase traffic to your Squarespace site. Tips include (to name a few):

  1. Make your images big.
  2. Write short, compelling updates
  3. Include Questions
  4. Make use of short video

And the best times to share social media content? Well, this will vary from business to business and according to the social network. So, there’s no right answer here. However, this blog post on Hubspot should point you in the right direction

3. Improve Your SEO

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Simply put, by improving your Squarespace SEO you increase your visibility in search engines and better visibility leads to higher Squarespace traffic. Aside from blogging and creating high-value content, the following tips will assist in improving your SEO:

  1. Submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. Sitemaps are a list of files that gives hints to Google on how to crawl your site. Click here to find your Squarespace sitemap.
  2. Optimize your search engine descriptions – fill this out correctly in the back-end of Squarespace.
  3. Tweak your site title and descriptions – this is one of the most crucial aspects and appears in search engine result pages, web sites, and browsers.
  4. Customize page title and page descriptions – page titles should be 55 characters and meta descriptions no more than 160 characters.
  5. Focus on keywords – include keywords in your title, page description, and slug.
  6. Conduct keyword research – MOZ highlights five resources you can start using immediately
  7. Create a FAQ page – one of the most underutilized and highly valuable pages on a website. Create a resource of frequently answered questions. But instead of answering all the questions on one page, include hyperlinks to each individual questions/theme. This is better from an SEO perspective.

By blogging, providing content of high value, sharing content across social media platforms, and improving your SEO you should be well on your way to boosting your Squarespace traffic.

What techniques do you use to drive more traffic to your site?

8 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a FAQ Page

FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions) pages are one of the  most underutilized pages. For many businesses, it’s a mere afterthought and many others don’t have even have one.

In short, a FAQ page is where you address common concerns or questions that your customers may be having. It deals with the nitty-gritty relating to your product or service. Depending on your business, common questions may include: What is the cost of shipping? What’s your privacy policy? How can I track my order? Can your solution integrate with [insert name]?

If used strategically and created correctly, with thought and care, a FAQ page can be a powerful addition to your website.  FAQ pages provide needed SEO juice, reduce customer support queries, assist customers in their purchase journey and alleviate purchase anxiety, to name but a few benefits. Here are 8 reasons your small business needs a FAQ page.

1. Saves You Time and Resources

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If you find that you’re always receiving the same question from different customers, perhaps it’s time to consider creating a FAQ page for this information?

Not only will you help your customers by providing this information where it’s accessible, but you’ll be freeing up time for yourself to focus on other pressing issues. No longer will you have to individually respond to these requests. And should a customer contact you with such a FAQ, you can refer them to your FAQ page. This will also alleviate the burden placed on support staff who would have to respond to these requests.

2. Builds Trust and Relationships

A FAQ page is also a signal of transparency. It shows potential customers that you’re willing to address their concerns. This, in turn, builds trust, which is one of the most important building blocks in a solid relationship. Through building such trust you’re also aiding in creating repeat customers.

3. Establishes You as an Expert

FAQ’s also provide the perfect opportunity to showcase your product expertise and industry knowledge. This improves your credibility and brand perception and also aids in building trust.

4. Adds Needed SEO Juice

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By including valuable content and relevant keywords FAQ’s can improve your search engine listings. FAQ’s then are not only valuable in answering customer questions, but they also provide needed SEO juice.

However, search engines prefer pages that contain one theme or keyword. So, if you’re creating one FAQ page -which will have many themes- the quality of the information becomes diluted. From an SEO point of view, this is not optimal. So Scrap that idea!

Rather consider creating individual dedicated pages for each specific answer/theme. This is easier for Google to crawl as it immediately establishes what the page is about. To do this create a landing page with the questions and then hyperlink to the answer on a separate page. Do not write out lengthy answers to the questions all on one page!

Having separately optimized pages is more search engine friendly. Your chances of visitors finding you in search engines is higher,  even when they are searching for answers related to your industry and not your specific brand.

5. Improves Your Site Navigation

Hyperlinking can also form an important part of your site navigation strategy. Provide hyperlinks to relevant products, services or other pages. In doing this you re-direct consumers to solutions that have relevance to their questions. It also presents opportunities for further engagement on your site and the potential for a sale.

6. Presents an Opportunity for Making a Sale

FAQ’s present extra opportunities to make a sale. Once consumers have discovered your site, whether it be by accident or via search engines, why not add hyperlinks to pages and information? This encourages them to take further action.

After all, this is what you want to do every time someone lands on your site. FAQ pages provide you with this opportunity, so use it! Give customers a choice about what action to take rather than leaving it up to chance and hoping they will spend time searching your website. Link to your services, products, sign-up and about page. If the link is relevant, include it!

7. Gathers Key Customer Insights

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Analytics are essential for any business. Through copying and pasting a Google Analytics code in the header of your site, you’re also able to gather key insights on customers. Insights include demographics, country of origin, time spent on the page etc. Your FAQ page presents an opportunity to analyze such analytics. Through this analysis, you can decide what relevant adjustments to make.

For example, if you bounce rate is high, perhaps customers found the page irrelevant or perhaps they got the answer they wanted and then left? You can reduce such bounce rates, by actually hyperlinking to other relevant information and guiding them on their purchase journey.

8. Aids Customers on Their Purchase Journey

By using a FAQ page right, consumers can also benefit by alleviating certain purchase anxieties. For example, a potential customer might be considering your product, but want’s clarification on certain aspects before purchasing it. Questions they might include:

  1. Can it integrate [insert business/product] with [insert business/product]?
  2. Do I have to provide my credit card details for the free trial?

Often they will search Google for such answers. If the answer is not immediately available this might deter potential customers, resulting in a lost sale. People are lazier than you think. They want answers and they want answers now!

So make it easy for them, particularly if you notice an influx of e-mails relating to a certain question. Make answers accessible. Do this and you reduce purchase anxiety and improve the chances of a sale!

Summary

Ultimately, if created correctly, FAQ pages can be extremely effective. Not only will you free up time and resources, but you will build trust, establish yourself as an expert, build relationships, improve your SEO and site navigation, provide extra opportunities for a sale, and perhaps, most importantly you will reduce any purchase anxiety. This all has the potential for more traffic and more sales for your business.

Ready to get started on creating your FAQ page? If you want a head start, consider using the following apps:

  1. Weebly: FAQ
  2. Shopify: Help Center

6 of The Best SEO Tools That Will Boost Your Weebly Site Rankings

If the mere mention of the word SEO gives you feelings of dread, then this post is for you. Perhaps you perceive SEO as a mythical creature that you don’t truly understand? The fact of the matter is, it isn’t as hard as it’s made out to be and you needn’t spend loads of money  and countless hours worrying about it.

The goal of SEO is simple really. The idea is to make your site visible amongst search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc). There are ample SEO tools available on the internet to simplify the process of getting your site ranked on the first few pages of search engines, if not the first page!

Here are 6 of the best SEO tools that will give you piece of mind and help you boost your Weebly site ranking, drive traffic and generate more sales!

#1 Google Webmaster Tools

The first SEO tool we have is Google Webmaster Tools. This should be the first tool you use when you publish your site. Use it to verify your site and allow Google to index your pages through submitting a Site Map.

Verify your website

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  1. Sign into Google, click the “Add Property Button”.
  2. Type in the URL of your website and click continue.
  3. Choose from verification methods. Weebly recommends the HTML tag option. Click this option.
  4. Copy and paste the code provided.
  5. Visit your Weebly editor and locate your homepage.
  6. Click advanced settings where the header code section should appear.
  7. Copy and paste the code from earlier in here.

Submit a Site Map

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Following verification, it’s time to submit a Site Map. Site Maps allows Google to crawl and understand your website. This process is very simple.

  1. Go to your Dashboard.
  2. Click on Site Maps.
  3. Click Add Site Map.
  4. Add “sitemap.XML” into the box
  5. Click submit and you’re done!
  6. You need to wait a couple of days to weeks before this takes full effect.

You can also verify and submit your site using Bing Webmaster Tools.

#2 Verify with Norton and McAfee

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This is not required if you’ve published via a sub-domain of Weebly as your site will use Weebly’s safety rankings.

But why is verifying your website via Norton of Mcafee important?

  1. Increases click -through rates from search results in Google as it’s a trusted source
  2. It also helps in moving your website up the rankings as Google sees your site as safe when crawling it.

To verify with Norton do the following:

  1. Visit Norton Safeweb and sign-in.
  2. Visit your profile and go to “site dispute”.
  3. Click “add site”.
  4. Enter your website’s URL.
  5. Select meta-tag verification.
  6. Paste the code int the header of the site.
  7. Publish your site and lick “verify now”
  8. Then click “rate my site”.
  9. You will wait several weeks.

To rate your site with McAfee visit the Trusted Source login, where you can select your product, enter your URL and submit. This process is a lot faster than Norton.

#3 Use Powr FAQ

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Create a Frequently Answered Question Page by using PowrFAQ. This may be a technique or tool that is completely unknown to you. But it’s incredibly powerful.

Why? Consider the aim of a search engine. It’s there to match what people are searching for with content websites provide. If there are regular questions or problems or choice of words as it relates to your product, chances are that by addressing those problems through a FAQ page and including relevant keywords, you will improve your SEO ranking (dependant on other factors too though).

With PowrFAQ you’re able to create media rich FAQ pages, with images, videos, and links. The App is free, but for $2.99 you can enjoy the full features. Visit the Weebly App center to download it and start using it.

#4 Site Booster

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Site Booster is an SEO tool that allows you to publish your business details in places that matter such as search engines and business directories and review sites e.g. Yelp. This ensures your site shows up in local searches.The app also seamlessly integrates with online Maps, Pinterest, and Whatsapp.

You’re given two free listings with the free plan. For advanced features and premium listings, upgrade at the cost of $6.99/month. It’s available for download within the Weebly App Centre.

#5 Buzz Sumo

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Creating high-value content that solves potential customers problems is essential if you want to improve your SEO. After all, content is the most important aspect of your SEO strategy. So when compiling blog posts, consider using the Buzz Sumo SEO tool. It allows you to investigate what content is performing well across different topics and competitors.

All you need to do is type the keywords you wish to rank for to see which content is the most popular on the web. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, analyze the content. Can you approach it in a different way? What alternative title can you use? For example, if you come across an article titled “10 Websites That Will Blow Your Mind”, make it a larger article and change the title e.g. 25 Websites You Never Knew Existed.

It’s free with a daily search limit, but you’re able to upgrade to a premium plan for $99/month.

#6 Moz

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SEO guru, Rand Fishkin is the founder of Moz. Moz is a powerful SEO tool that will grow your online visibility.It provides keyword research, link building, site audits to see what content is performing well, and information on how to optimize your pages. Start using it with a free 30-day trial and upgrade to a top-tier plan for $99/month.

Whilst SEO may seem daunting, It needn’t be. The above SEO tools should serve as a great starting point to improve your visibility in search engines, ultimately improving the SEO for your Weebly site. Do you use any of these SEO tools?

8 Effective Ways to Update and Optimize Your Shopify Store

While growing your e-commerce business there’s a lot you’re managing; from finances, employees, taxes, website design to marketing, sales and support. It’s easy to neglect certain aspects. In particular, consider your Shopify store since that’s what brings the most important part of your business, sales.

If you fail to conduct regular health check-ups and assessments you’ll find that your store is out of date, poorly optimized and unfortunately not performing at its best. This leads to a noticeable decrease in traffic, conversions and sales. But how do you go about updating and optimizing your Shopify Store? Here are 8 effective ways to optimize your Shopify store in order to increase sales.

#1 Conduct a Store Health Overview

Use the Shopify E-commerce store grader. This tool works even if you don’t have a Shopify site. The grader inspects four elements and highlights areas that need your attention. The four elements are SEO, usability, content and social and technical code.

#2 Examine Current Store Policies

You need to inspect your store policies to ensure they’re favorable for your customers. Your conversions will be negatively affected if they aren’t. Inspect the following five policies and optimize accordingly:

1. Shipping Policy
2. Refund Policy
3. Return Policy
4. Exchange Policy
5. Privacy Policy.

Shopify offers a Privacy Policy Generator and a Refund Policy Generator to ensure your policies are up to date.

#3 Optimize Your Pages

Whilst you should review all your pages, start with the essentials. Your About, FAQ and contact page are generally the most visited pages on your Shopify site. Review the following with each of the pages:

1. Copy & Message

The message you convey on each page needs to be clear, focused and concise. The title and content need to match.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Make sure your page titles, meta descriptions, and URL are complete. This helps with indexing in Google. Focus on these three elements:

  • Titles – The optimal title length is between 50-60 characters. Google cuts off long titles, based on the pixel length. By keeping your titles under 55 characters you can expect 95% of your titles to display properly. Where possible place important keywords to the front of the title tag.
  • Meta Description – This needs to be less than 60 characters. Remember to include one of your keywords in the meta description.
  • URL – Make it short and include relevant keywords. Be cautious when changing URLs to pages. Anyone who has bookmarked your site before a URL change will now visit a broken link. If you need to change URLs, make sure you re-direct visitors. Learn more about that here.

3. Extra Considerations

If you’re shipping information or rates have changed make sure you update them. Also, review common customer questions and include these in your FAQ page. This ensures an up to date page. It also helps to check copy for spelling mistakes. Can you get your message across with less copy?

#4 Optimize Your Product Listings

Optimizing your product listings is arguably the most important aspect. We’ve written a detailed post on this here, but to clarify, we’ll revisit this.

1. Manage your titles and descriptions

  • Make sure your titles and descriptions are clear.
  • They need to contain the necessary information for customers to make an informed purchase decision.
  • Follow this format: Brand > Product Name > Colour > Style > Material > Size > Important Features e.g. Nokia Lumia 435 Cellphone
  • Avoid use of capital letters throughout.
  • Exclude related accessories not included in the price
  • Exclude words consumers are unlikely to search for e.g. adjectives like beautiful.

2. Optimize your product categories

Many consumer shopping engines (Price Check, Google Shopping etc), don’t allow multiple categories. You have to choose one. Test which is suitable by taking two similar products and use a different keyword for each (A/B Testing). Choose the best-performing one.

3. Review your product images

  • Make sure they are of the highest quality. This is particularly important if you consider customers can’t touch or feel a product.
  • Consider taking multiple images from different angles.
  • The White background will always be your best friend.
  • Avoid text that detracts from your image.

4. Ensure your product listing URL is Text; be wary of broken links

  • Avoid having any numbers in your product listing URL.
  • Include relevant keywords.
  • Further be cautious when changing the URL of your products to avoid broken links. If you do this, re-direct traffic as outlined earlier.

5. Check that your account budget is up to date

Your listings run the risk of dropping if you run out of a budget. This leads to decreased visibility. Deposit ad-spend to manage your bid.

6. Regularly update your data feed.

Your data feed typically looks like this:

1. Title
2. Descriptions
3. Category
4. Product Image
5. URL
6. SKU
7. Weight
8. Dimensions
9. Stock Information
10. Price

You don’t want shoppers clicking on a product only to find that you’re out of stock – update regularly.

#5 Review Coupons

Review your coupons to find discount codes that never had an expiry date on them. Delete those that have expired. Failing to do so, means people can use the coupon codes long after the promotion has finished.

#6 Integrate with Pinterest

Pinterest is the second largest traffic source for Shopify sites. Not only that, but Pinners spend an average of $50 per order. Also, Shopify and Pinterest have a partnership which allows you to sell on Pinterest through “buyable pins.” Consider leveraging the power of Pinterest and this unique partnership for increased traffic.

#7 Create a Facebook Store

Add a Facebook store so your fans can buy from you Facebook. Aside from creating an extra channel for revenue you also benefit through a lower cost-per-click. Why? Facebook rewards you for keeping traffic within their social network.

#8 Maintain a Regular Blogging Schedule

Blogging is a powerful tool. Statistics reveal that marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI. Further websites have 434% more indexed pages. Focus on providing regular, high-value content and watch the traffic increase.

Optimizing and updating your Shopify store can initially be a time-consuming process. But with practice, it’ll become a breeze. Conduct regular store checkups. Optimize your product pages, specifically your product listings. And also consider leveraging the power of Facebook, Pinterest, and Blogging for improved optimization. Do this and reap the benefits of increased traffic, conversions, and sales.

Squarespace Owner? How to Improve SEO

Squarespace SEO is a fiercely debated topic. As a Squarespace owner, you’re no doubt aware of this. Consider these three excerpts:

  1. “You may have heard that Squarespace is “bad for SEO,” but is there any truth to that?” – Long Tail Pro
  2. “Many people badmouth Squarespace SEO before researching it, which is a total recipe for disaster. – Nesha Woolery
  3. Out of all of the comments and emails, I receive about Squarespace, SEO is by far the topic that is most frequently asked about. –Elle and Company

The reality is that the myths such as “Squarespace is bad for your SEO” are exactly that, myths. Elle and Company have achieved huge success with Squarespace. Rand Fishkin, SEO Pro, and CEO of Moz Blog has even endorsed Squarespace.

There’s no reason why you cannot effectively improve your SEO using Squarespace. Before we get into the specifics of Squarespace, you need to remember the two most important aspects of your SEO. The first is content or on-page SEO. The second is inbound links or off-page SEO. This holds true for any website platform.

The Two Single Most Important Factors to Improve Your SEO Ranking

1. Content

Content is the single most important thing when it comes to your SEO. Don’t believe me? Well it’s written in Google mission statement:

“The mission of Google is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

But not just any type of content, high-value content that solves customers problems.  Focusing on specific tweaks to your SEO for organic ranking won’t necessarily deliver the desired results.  Google also goes on to say that you should focus on including words in your pages that users will type to find you in the search engine.

Blogging is a superb way to regularly provide high-value content to your readers. Blogging consistently will allow you to achieve 434% more indexed pages in Google. Leverage blogging to provide quality content, increased search visibility, and traffic.

2. Inbound Links

The quality of your links is the second most important factor to consider. Inbound links are links from another site that point back to yours. Quality links come from websites where its hard for you to feature. You can guest post to try and achieve these links. Alternatively, provide quality content consistently. This increases the chance that quality sites will link back to you.

Now let’s delve into the specifics of Squarespace SEO…

Squarespace optimizes your site by default but here are a few tweaks you can make. Bear In mind that Google ranks specific pages and not entire websites.

1. The Power of Sitemaps

Squarespace provides you with a Sitemap, ready to go. Sitemaps are essential. They help Google crawl and understand your website. According to Moz:

“Think of a sitemap as a list of files that give hints to the search engines on how they can crawl your website. Sitemaps help search engines find and classify content on your site that they may not have found on their own.”

For Sitemaps to effectively optimize your site, you need to submit them to Google Webmaster Tools. Click here to find your Sitemap.

2. Search Engine Description

I took a screen shot directly off Elle and Company’s website. It shows how correctly filling out your search engine description in the back-end of Squarespace, has an impact on how you see this in Google.

Elle and Company's website screenshot

Elle and Company's website search engine description

3. Your Site Title & Description

Go to Squarespace Home Menu, click Design – Logo & Title. Through customizing your site title and description you aid search engines in knowing what your sites about. This is one of the most important SEO elements. It appears in browsers, search engine results pages, and external websites.

4. Customize Page Title and Page Descriptions

Make sure your page titles are about 55 characters in length to prevent cut off by Google. The same applies for your description which should not exceed 160 characters.

5. Focus on Keywords

A keyword is something that you search for in Google. For example, “Top things to do in South Africa” is a keyword.

Include keywords in your page title, page description and in the slug. Consider this post I’m writing on Squarespace SEO. The keyword I want to rank for is Squarespace SEO. This is what it looks like:

  1. Title – Squarespace Owner? How to Improve Your Squarespace SEO
  2. Slug – By default, the slug will show up as the full title after the name of your site e.g. https://blog.bablic.com/sqaurespace-owner-how-to-improve-your-sqaurespace-seo/. You can shorten it to the keyword you want to rank for e.g. Squarespace-seo
  3. Description – Despite the many myths about Squarespace SEO it’s highly effective in improving your SEO. Here are several techniques to do this.

Consider creating a FAQ page where you address problems/questions consumers are having. Write a few hundred words to answer those questions, including relevant keywords. Through this, you provide content that solves their problems. Remember content is the most important aspect of your SEO.

6. Keyword Research

Telling you to focus on using Keywords is one thing, but how do you know you’re using the right keywords? Firstly, be cognizant that popular search terms (e.g. shoes) make up less than 30% of the searches on the web.

The remaining 70% are the long-tail of search, which contains hundreds of millions of unique searches. These are the keywords you really want to target. For example, “brown Aldo shoes size 9.”

This person knows what they want and if you can put your website in front of them, you practically have them. Secondly, armed with this knowledge, conduct some keyword research. Here are 5 resources to get you started:

  1. Moz Keyword Explorer
  2. Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool
  3. Google Trends
  4. Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence
  5. Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand

For Example, Moz Keyword Explorer provides monthly search data, ranking difficulty, estimated click-through-rates and much more.

7. Blog Posts

When creating blog posts, you can:

  1. Set the title, which should include your keyword.
  2. Standard URL that shows is ugly, change this to be cleaner.
  3. Include an excerpt – this substitutes the description visitors will see before visiting the site.
  4. Include a thumbnail image.
  5. Make sure to use tags and categories as search engines scan these to understand your site.

Content will always be the most important aspect of your SEO. Focus on providing high-value content, combined with the necessary keywords. Also, consider inbound links.

In Squarespace pay attention to Sitemaps and the site, page and search engine titles and descriptions. Also, focus on keywords conduct keyword research using the tools provided. Blogging consistently and optimizing your blog posts will also contribute greatly to improved SEO.