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January 2016

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3 Easy Steps for Ecommerce Success

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There are currently 3.2 billion internet users worldwide – that’s almost HALF of the entire population! So what is it about the internet that has all of these people so intrigued? Most are either scrolling through their social media accounts, watching videos on YouTube or shopping online.

The ecommerce industry is booming.

The temptation to shop online is just too great and who can blame them? The allure lies with the simplicity of it all; no need to carry heavy shopping bags around town, the expedient home delivery system (and it’s even better when it’s free), the large range of products and the validating customer reviews and testimonials to help put our indecisive minds to rest. Shopping online is a blast.

In 2015, 7 out of 10 adults in the UK purchased goods or services online. 80% of these consumers (57% of the UK population) carried out the transaction via their smartphones. These figures are expected to rise in 2016, skyrocketing ecommerce profit margins to figures never thought possible.

With so much potential still to come, ecommerce owners have the opportunity to retain even more customers. All it takes is a few easy steps to implement a simple ecommerce strategy that will increase online sales and yield best possible results.

So here they are, the top 3 steps for ecommerce success:

 

Step 1: Bring it to the Little Screen (Mobile Optimisation)

Four out of five people use their smartphones to shop online. In fact, mobile sales account for over one third of global ecommerce. By adapting your strategy and the usability of your site to accommodate mobile users, you will be able to access this whirlpool of mobile shoppers.

A responsive design will automatically rank higher in search engine result pages, which is an added bonus of going mobile. When we say ‘mobile optimisation’, we aren’t just talking about mobiles. The responsive design must cater to other small screen devices such as tablets and smartphones etc.

A consistent customer experience is essential because over 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a shopping cart if the experience proves to be frustrating, slow or simply not fully optimised. The checkout process must be seamless and simple. Users should be able to purchase from your site just as they would be using a laptop or computer. Alternative payment options will make the experience more pleasing to many users. Some people prefer to shop online with credit cards whilst others prefer to use PayPal. Cater to all possibilities to reach each potential customer.

 

Step 2: Speak to the Individual (User-Focused)

Adopt a user-focused approach. Shoppers aren’t looking for something to suit everyone else. They want something that suits themselves. Speaking to the individual rather than the masses will help to keep your strategies focused and less ‘flimsy’. Connect to your customers on a more personal level and accommodate their shopping experience to reflect their preferences.

According to recent studies, 45% of online shoppers prefer buying from a website that offers them personalised offers. Make your customers feel special and they will reward you for it. So, how is it done effectively without seeming too ‘pushy’?

Tailor content to target the user. This means having dynamic product pages that speaks to the user rather than reading like the back page of an instruction manual. Imagine yourself as the shopper. You’re in need of a brand new handbag but you don’t want just any old handbag, you’re searching for one to take to the beach this summer. So, you come across the perfect product. The images are clear and it all looks perfect until you read over the robotic copy and immediately feel deflated. Personalised product descriptions will generate more interest in the product. Cater to the needs of your customers. If you are selling a beach bag, describe it in a way that will intrigue and entice consumers.

Consider using personalised recommendations to target customers based on location or buying and browsing history. This again is a method of user-focused targeting online and it works exceptionally well. Big ecommerce sites such as Amazon use personalised recommendations throughout the user shopping experience to accumulate even more sales and it works extremely well.

 

Step 3: Bring it Together (Social Customer Experience)

Provide users with a superb customer experience to set your brand apart from your biggest competitors, increase brand loyalty and to encourage customers to return to your site. If you own a small company, customer services should be one of your main priorities. People talk. Stories of disastrous customer service experiences have gone viral in the past. It’s the kind of publicity you definitely DO NOT want to provoke. Treat your customers like they are the most important people in the world and they will be more likely to buy from you.

Social media is an excellent way to establish a consistent brand experience. Many people contact companies via social media channels. It’s a convenient way of communicating with a brand so make sure that you provide fast responses and don’t keep them waiting for too long. Remember that a customer has emotions. You want to solve their problems and do so with courtesy and respect.

Many successful ecommerce sites have embedded a live chat function to allow customers to get in contact whenever they like. The great thing about this is that it provides instant customer service when it is needed most. Communication is important. Listen to your customers and your profit margins will thank you for it!

 

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Want to Boost Conversions? Ask yourself these Questions First!

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What should I do if my website is generating traffic, but visitors aren’t converting? We hear you. It’s a frustrating problem for any business to endure, but an easy one to resolve.

Instead of looking to your competitors for the solution, you should start a little closer to home. You may be surrounded by a dedicated team of intelligent individuals, but how much do they really know about optimising a website?

Are any of them ecommerce specialists?

Do they understand how to fine tune SEO campaigns to adhere to the constant changes of search engine algorithms?

If you’re running an ecommerce business, it helps to seek out professional advice from an ecommerce specialist. Whilst your employees may be geniuses in their own fields, it takes a different kind of genius to optimise an ecommerce website.

Before putting the life of your entire business on the line, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

 

Are your CTA’s Attention Grabbing?

 

A CTA is a Call-to-Action trigger. It can be in the form of a button or a piece of text that provokes a visitor to “click!”

The secret to a stop-what-you’re-doing and pay attention CTA is simple. Use words that ignite interest in your audience and tells them exactly what to do next.

Your words must be action-orientated and concrete.

A direct statement such as “Click the Button Below” or “Buy Now” will encourage visitors to convert.

Give them a little nudge in the right direction and they will respond quicker. You can do this by implementing the fear of missing out. For example, “On Offer for a Limited Time Only” or consider including a countdown clock that will get shoppers reaching for their wallets and purses a lot faster.

 

How Easy is your Product Page to Navigate?

 

Shoppers are busy people. A confusing product page design is frustrating to customers. They want clear direction, not unclear labels and multiple tabs etc.

A poorly navigated product page will encourage shoppers to give up on their will to splurge. Avoid this clutter and stick to a simple design.

Use relevant information and forget excessive blocks of text that don’t explain your service. Make it easy for customers to navigate your product pages and you will see a rise in sales.

 

Can Customers Trust your Website?

 

To improve your site’s credibility, incorporate examples of social proof on your ecommerce website.

You can increase sales by 34% just by including real testimonials for visitors to read. This helps to build trust in your brand and shows that other shoppers have purchased your goods in the past.

Reviews allow customers to gain a deeper insight into the products or services offered. Social proof can do a lot for your ecommerce website, so make sure that you don’t let it slip off the radar.

 

 

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Defining the Perfect Landing Page

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First impressions count. This is true with people and it is true with landing pages. A landing page exists with the intention to maximise conversions, aka SALES.

A high quality landing page will perform each of the following:

 

– Display the core values of the brand.

– Learn more about the site visitor and deliver relevant subsequent marketing communications.

– Succeed in the aim to obtain registration which will lead to a sale.

– Ensure that visitors questions are answered.

– Provide traditional contact details such as a phone number. A landing page should display alternative contact options.

– Provide and allow visitors to ‘take action’. This can be in the form of signing up for an account or engaging with a special offer etc.

 

A good landing page will give its visitors a reason to CONVERT.

 

Visitors to a landing page have derived from various origins. These include sources such as an online ad, an email campaign, an affiliate site or a search engine. This means that prior expectations are established. Therefore, it is critical that your landing page delivers on the referral source’s promise.  For example, if a visitor clicks on an ad offering “50% off Designer Jeans”, your landing page must reinforce this promise.

A landing page must fully integrate with the associated referral sources. Both the landing page and the outside source need to project the same message, otherwise your website will be seen as a waste of time.

 

The 3 types of Landing Pages:

 

1. Integrated: This type of landing page is integrated into the structure of the site. It remains similar and consistent with the sites original templates, architecture and navigation.

 

2. Bespoke: This variation has been specifically designed for the campaign. It holds a unique web design or appearance and feel to it in comparison to the original site.

 

3. Tabbed: This is a micro-site, a “tabbed landing page” created to provide additional information.

 

Landing Page Success Checklist (Get your pen ready!)

 

– Usability

– Accessibility

– Persuasion

– Brand Trust

 

Now we’re going to get our fingernails dirty and dig into the real goldmine of landing page creation! To achieve landing page success, ensure that the following features are used:

 

Compelling Headlines

Headlines are the first thing that people see on a landing page, so make yours stand out. It must define the goal of the page and showcase a strong message that tells a visitor what to expect from the page.

The supporting headline should engage readers. Keep it short and persuasive. People tend to scan a webpage so make sure that your headlines are appealing. You don’t want to bore your viewers, you want to entice them and arouse curiosity for your products or services.

 

Images and Videos

Images can be even more compelling than words. They offer a visual representation of your offers and gives people a clearer understanding of your company. Embedding videos and images into a landing page can reflect positively on viewers.

Visuals help potential customers to better visualise themselves with the associated product. Use clear images and high quality video for ultimate effect.

 

Gripping Content

Content must grab viewers’ attention. Ensure that your landing page includes impeccable grammar. Any mistakes will make your brand seem unprofessional and amateur. Focus your content on showing why your offer will assist the buyer. Your copy needs to speak and answer your visitor’s queries.

Content should be split up to make it easy to read. Consider using bullet points to help with this and detailed feature descriptions. Detailed content will help potential customers to make a more confident decision.

 

Immediate Call-To-Action’s

Use keywords that you know your potential customers will be likely to use. This will ensure that your landing page is visible online. Next, you need to use immediate call-to-action words such as “Download Now”, “Buy Now” and “NEW” etc.

Conversion buttons need to stand out and should be placed directly beneath a call-to-action. The call-to-action itself can also act as the conversion button. The button should be big, bold and “attention grabbing”. Many online retailers use bright colours to provoke a desired reaction in customers.

 

Social Proof

Nobody likes to be the first ever buyer of a product or service. We prefer to know that our money is going into something that is reliable, trustworthy and useful. So, how can your landing page assure visitors that your offers have been well-received?

Use social signals such as customer reviews, testimonials, customer count, trust seals and awards. This will show that other shoppers have bought and engaged with your offerings. People are likely to convert if they have proof that others have done so before them. So make sure that your landing page displays relevant social proof.

 

Need help designing a landing page that converts?

 

Contact us today: 028 9099 8106

 

 

 

 

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Why your Business Needs a Professional Website

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We live in a digital world and in this world, the internet rules. No matter how established your business is offline, without a website it does not fully exist. For a business to reach its greatest potential, it must make the most out of all possible outlets. Having a website ensures that potential customers can find your business. But without an online presence, none of these users will be able to find your business when they need it most. This leads to missed opportunities and missed sales. Below are just a few of the main advantages associated with having a business website:

 

Effective and Cheaper Advertising

 

SEO and social media services have made advertising online both effective and inexpensive. Advertising methods such as television, radio and printed media is quite expensive. On the other hand, online advertising guarantees that your brand reaches your target audience at a fraction of the price. A website makes promoting your company simple. You instantly have a range of advertising options and outlets open to you, including Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. This ensures that your business is shown to the right people at the right time, improving conversion rates and increasing brand awareness.

 

Greater Audience

 

A website gives you instant access to millions of potential customers from around the world. You can target locally or globally, allowing you to reach your most sought after audience. A website can make your company visible, instantly showcasing your best features to the public in a modern and simple format. Another great advantage to this is the fact that the internet will enable you to reach potential customers from further afield.

 

Highly Convenient

 

A website will make life easier for not only you but for your customers. They will be able to make an enquiry or a purchase with just the click of a button. People usually check online for a product or service before visiting the physical location of the desired product. For this reason, a website makes online shopping easier for your customers. Unlimited accessibility is also a huge benefit to having a business website. Instead of closing your doors at your usual hours, your business can live on into the night.

 

Fresh and Informative

 

A website allows you to track everything that goes on. For example, you will be able to track how many people visited your website, what they did while they were there and how many emailed or messaged you etc. This valuable information allows you to better track data that can help you to determine your websites progress. Having a website allows you to build closer relationships with your customers. You can also update your site at any time that you please.

 

The main reason why a business needs a website is of course to gain more sales and important conversions. A professional website design allows you to engage with your customers, reach a larger audience, obtain an increase in sales and expand your company’s profile.

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E-Commerce Mistakes that can Damage your SEO Efforts

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If you thought that optimising your eCommerce site would be a piece of cake, you’re sadly mistaken. It is much more difficult to optimise an eCommerce website than it is for a simple blog or a 3-page website. Yet that’s not to say that it is impossible to achieve – you just need a helping hand.

E-Commerce websites with a large number of product listings require more attention to detail. This is because of the constant shifting of these products on and off the website. Constant changes such as this, can prove to be problematic with regards to SEO.

So, how can you improve the SEO of your eCommerce site?

The first step is to fix any present errors. To help with this, we have compiled a list of the most common SEO mistakes to AVOID (you can thank us later).

 

Mistake #1 – Using Manufacturer Product Descriptions

Manufacturers distribute product descriptions to online retailers who sell their products. It can be tempting to use the descriptions provided, but this won’t do your site any favours. Upon scanning your website, Google is alerted to the presence of duplicate content. This ensures that your site is dragged down the rankings. It might even get banned altogether from search engines if Google sees fit.

The solution? Create unique and compelling content. Yes, it may take some time, but in the end it will be worth it. A website containing unique product descriptions ranks higher. It’s as simple as that.

In some cases, there may be some products for which you are unable to write unique content for. Reasons for this include products that will be exiting your inventory soon. For products like this, it is better to take them out of search engines altogether. You can do this by putting a ‘No Index’ meta tag on these product pages. If you write unique content for only half of your products, search engines may flag your site as spam. It is better to keep your website as search engine friendly as possible.

 

Mistake #2 –  Missing Product Descriptions

This is a major error across a wide range of eCommerce sites. Pictures is a must, but it is also important to include an adjoining product description. Keep in mind that Google is blind to images. Search engines need content to read and analyse. Without content, your website will be swept under the rug. A product page without any text will not have a chance of reaching anywhere near the top 10 results of a search query.

Use descriptive text when writing product descriptions to increase customers interest in the product. Never copy content from another website. Do this and search engines will penalise you.

 

Mistake #3 – Failing to Optimise based on Keywords

Be aware of your target audience and your keywords. Use keywords that people are searching for. Make sure to include these in your product descriptions, title pages and headlines. The more specific your keywords are, the better. A few tips to better optimise product pages is to use brand names and model numbers. Many shoppers know exactly what brand and item that they wish to buy. Give them what they want and make their shopping experience as convenient as possible.

It is also a common mistake among eCommerce websites to neglect the image alt tag. Try not to forget this little golden nugget which helps search engines to see your images. Another big error is to overload your pages with repetitive keywords. Keep them to a minimum!

 

Mistake #4 – Absence of Keyword friendly URLs

Lack of keyword friendly URLs, otherwise known as “speaking” URLs, is a huge eCommerce mistake. It basically refers to the name of the product being present in the URL address. This is extremely important for SEO. A unique URL helps your pages to stand out. It’s advised to create unique URLs for each of your products. One advantage is that it makes finding your products easier for the customer because the URL tells users what to expect before landing on the associated page. This sets your website apart from the rest and makes it appear more reliable and relevant at the same time. You can also get lucky with keywords and anchor links because the chances of another website picking up on your URL and re-posting it increases.

 

Mistake #5 – Missing Product Reviews

Product reviews make a website more trustworthy and credible. 70% of online shoppers read product reviews before deciding to make a purchase. A website missing product reviews will be quickly replaced with one containing honest and useful insights. By having reviews enabled on your website, it will be much easier for you to climb to the top of search results. Reviews also help to create unique content for your online business and it keeps the product page ALIVE.

 

Don’t let simple mistakes like these stop your eCommerce business from climbing the search results ladder.

 

Get in Touch!

Newry  :  028 3026 1861  |  Belfast  :  028 9099 8106

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Top 3 Common SEO Issues Found in Magento Sites and their Solutions

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If truth be told, Magento isn’t the most SEO friendly e-commerce platform available. This is largely due to its complex codebase, its intricate rewrite engine and its requirement for dynamic content. Despite these apparent drawbacks, Magento still holds the crown as being the strongest and most efficient e-commerce CMS in the digital universe.

However, many people are under the misplaced illusion that the SEO issues related to Magento are unresolvable when in fact, the solution is to work with a SEO company that specialise in Magento.

Ryco Marketing are SEO and Magento specialists. We have attended Magento retailers of all sizes and across every sector, solving any technical SEO issues to ensure flawless results.

Where Magento has setbacks, Ryco has the solutions:

 

DILEMMA #1: Filter URLs  

Filters are present to make the shopping experience much more convenient for users. However, a common issue for multiple Magento websites is having duplicated parameter-based pages whenever these attribute filters are in motion.

This is incredibly frustrating, especially since these filter URLs produce duplicate problems for search engines, which can have a negative effect on a websites SEO performance.

 

SOLUTION:

Google may class pages as separate if the category page content varies whilst filters are live. Tackling this issue works best using the Canonical Tag solution. This tag has been built into the latest editions of Magento and it works by assigning canonical tags within your elements.

This encourages Google to turn a blind eye to the current page and instead directs the search engine towards the master version. Since search engines will view duplicated filter URL’s negatively, it’s best to guarantee that similar patterns are canonicalised to category pages.

 

DILEMMA #2: Multiple Categories containing Same Product

Sometimes online retailers want to show a product under more than one category, which results in two different forms of the product URL. While this may not seem like a very big problem at first, two pages containing the same product manifests duplicated issues that search engines will pick up on.

This a huge disadvantage, especially singe Google is coming down harder on sites that publish repetitive content on multiple pages.

 

SOLUTION:

Set canonical tags to prevent Magento from creating duplicate content. This will allow Google and other popular search engines to choose the most desired version in the mix of similar URL’s for the exact same product. This will subsequently banish any duplicated content issues and allow you to display the same product in as many categories as you please.

 

DILEMMA #3: Sort URLs

Sort URL’s are viewed as duplicates by the major search engines which can be a bit of a nuisance. Sort allows users to organise a page of products based on desired attributes such as price, popularity and those most relevant etc. Magento then reorders the products based on this action and automatically produces a new URL which is affixed with a query string parameter. Google then determines this to be duplication, which is bad news for SEO.

 

SOLUTION:

To solve this problem, you need to ensure that variations of your original URL is not indexed by Google. The easiest way to do this is to use the canonical tag once more which will direct Google to the prioritised page.

 

Seek Professional Assistance

The main reason why online businesses experience Search Engine Optimisation difficulties is due to their immense size. Optimising your Magento site can be difficult for someone who is inexperienced with such matters. Your best option is to seek professional help from a SEO company who knows exactly what they are doing.

 

Get your FREE SEO Audit today.

Call us NOW on:

Newry  :  028 3026 1861  |  Belfast  :  028 9099 8106

 

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The Top 8 SEO Trends of 2016

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The new year has begun and with it comes significant shifts in the way SEO influences search engine rankings. As an online business, you must adapt your SEO strategy to better accommodate these changes. Fail to do so and you will be placing the success of your entire company on the line.

So which SEO trends can online businesses expect to see during the course of 2016?

 

1. Internal links

2016 is the year to optimise your link structure and page information to make things easier for users to navigate your content. The use of internal links, particularly on high-ranking webpages, has increased significantly over recent years. Your online business should make the most out of this trend if you want to see a steady climb in conversions.

 

2. Mobile-Friendly

A responsive design is crucial, especially if you intend to reach mobile users on the go. Sites that are optimised for mobile rank higher on search engines than those who have yet to jump on the mobile bandwagon. To benefit from this ‘digital movement’, your site should be responsive in terms of design and interaction. Having an app in place is also extremely awarding, especially where SEO is concerned.

 

3. Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

Where would ecommerce be if it weren’t for CRO?

Whilst the basic SEO tactics reel in the traffic, conversion rate optimisation is needed to convert these visitors into paying customers. 2016 is set to use CRO in a more sophisticated and fine-tuned manner.

Web tracking in Google Analytics will also become a necessary and common procedure to help web managers better understand their customers and learn which CRO tactics are most effective.

 

4. Speedy Loading Times

A slow website will be abandoned by impatient users. Nobody is going to sit around and wait for a site to load when they can simply click on a faster option instead. Not only should your pages load fast on desktops, they should also load quickly on mobile devices. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to learn more about how your loading times compare to others. 2016 is all about speed!

 

5. Keyword Research

Businesses must perform keyword analysis in order to find out what are the best words and phrases that are currently being used by internet users who are actively seeking their specific products or services.

In 2016 the easiest way to carry out such research is to use tools like Google’s Keyword planner that will reveal the most relevant keywords (those most likely to generate traffic). It is also wise to structure your website content around these keywords to help gain further interest in your business. Avoid overloading your content with keywords however and instead slip them into the body of the text as naturally as possible.

 

6. Optimal Content Structure

Providing your users with a good user experience is very important. For this reason, it is advised to ensure that your website’s content is logically structured. Trends in this area include content that has been broken up into more manageable sections by using bullet points, for example. Interactive elements will also play a huge factor towards achieving those top ranking positions in 2016.

 

7. Tidy Mobile Ads

When it comes to ads on mobile-optimized content, less is more. Mobile pages show fewer ads for obvious reasons and it seems to be that sites with few ads rank higher than those overflowing with too many. Keep your ads to a minimum!

 

8. Guest Blogging

Blogging is an effective content strategy for reaching your target audience and improving brand credibility etc. Content marketing is of course extremely important. Content in 2016 will be most successful when it is published in a comprehensive format that provides value and relevant information for its users. It is also worth gaining a proper distribution strategy for your content to achieve additional traffic, links and social shares etc.

 

So there you have it, the most ‘trendiest’ 2016 SEO movements that will have a huge impact on your online business over the next 12 months.

So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today on: 028 3026 1861