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Five Pro Tips to Setting Up an Online Shop

Five Pro Tips to Setting Up an Online Shop

With creating a personal website being easier than ever, the trend is still swinging wildly upward when it comes to the “everyday-people” building anything from a personal blog or a small online shop, to even soon-to-be huge companies (we all wish, anyways). No longer is your website just the gateway into your business; it’s a one-stop marketing/buying/publication/customer service shop. In that way, your website really does hold the key to growing the exact kind of business and lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

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    Optimizing your site for conversions is one thing when you’re a web designer or developer, but it’s another thing entirely for the rest of us. While you could certainly learn some basic code to up your game, it’s best to save the landing page design for the designers, and focus on the marketing strategies you can do on your own. Here are five things you can’t afford not to consider.

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    1. Brand Yourself

    With the world open to you via the web, there’s a place for just about every niche, and even among those that are already crowded, there’s always room for one more unique and compelling voice. To really brand yourself, you’ve got to:
    Find a niche and stay there. If you already have expertise in or passion for something, great; start there. For most website owners, however, I can guarantee you that your supposed niche is too broad because, well, that’s just the way newbie entrepreneurs roll. Use the Google keyword tool to find what your audience is searching for, narrowing in on keywords with high search volumes and low competition rates. Then adjust accordingly based on Google Analytics data (see below) or according to the levels of user engagement. And don’t worry, you can always expand your focus later. Better to start narrow and widen from there than to be known (or not known at all) as the Jack of all trades, master of none.
    Establish your distinctive voice. Remember the days when the personal and the professional were to be kept entirely separate? Yeah, not when you’re running a website in a flooded market. If you have a distinctive sense of humor, use it (as long as it’s not too offensive). If you’re great at telling stories, tell them. If you’re an expert in law enforcement issues and work at an ironing board rather than a desk, become the iron desk law officer. Draw comics. Share photos. Get up close and personal with followers on social media. This is one case in which being as distinctively you as possible is more than just a confidence booster.

    2. Make an Editorial Calendar

    editorial cal

      One of the most assured ways to get noticed online is to have an SEO-minded content strategy. Developing an editorial calendar is a great method for keeping your site engaging and keyword rich, while also encouraging conversions. Great content, after all, is just the thing you need to pull casual visitors into a newsletter sales funnel. A few things to think about:
      Establish goals from the get-go. Are you looking to sell products? How about advertising space? Or are you just looking to build an engaged community or establish yourself as an expert so that you can secure better jobs? Clarify it upfront, and let these goals guide your content strategy.

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      Use data to brainstorm. Sure, you can free associate for a while, but most often, the best ideas come out of the data. Look up important dates in the industry to be sure you have something relevant to write around that time. Again, use Google Adwords to get a better sense of what customers are asking, and then use that to brainstorm expertise posts. Build in time for brand-building personal posts, guest posts, experimental or themed posts, and spontaneous posts for whatever comes up during the year. While the monthly and weekly template calendars at the Content Marketing Institute are useful, those a regular calendar can work just as well.

      3. Do Some Market Research

      Before you can target your audience, you have to know who they are and what makes them tick. How else are you going to not only hook them into your site, but also motivate them to answer your calls to action? A good look into demographics and psychographics will be well worth the effort. A few good questions to ask:
      ● Where do my customers live?
      ● What is their level of income?
      ● What level of education do they have?
      ● What are their hobbies, interests, and personalities?
      ● What is their biggest problem?
      ● Do they have kids?
      ● What do they really want to know?
      ● [Insert your questions here, gleaned from your industry expertise].

      Amazon’s Ecommerce Software offers some great case studies for those looking to do a little homework on people who have already gone through the entire process.

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      4. Monitor Bounce Rates with Analytics

      Launching a successful website is like doing a science experiment. Your first launch is for your first set of hypotheses, and then it’s time to do your measurements and adjust accordingly. For a good grounding in analytics, I highly recommend reading this excellent Google Analytics guide, which covers everything from getting going to advanced subjects, like setting up segment reporting.

      While you’ll use your Google Analytics dashboard to adjust your SEO strategies, one of the most important things you can track will be your bounce rate, which is, essentially, when someone visits your page once and never returns. This can indicate a lack of interest in the content on your site, or a deep interest in only that single landing page as opposed to further material or products located deeper in the site. If you’re seeing high bounce rates, you might want to tweak your Calls to Action and make sure they appear above the fold, while also linking to more of your own internal pages throughout your posts. You’ll also want to pay attention to the posts where users spend the most time and consider adding more of similar content.

      5. Test the Speed of Your Site

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      site speed

        Plain and simple: speed matters. If your site doesn’t load in a matter of seconds, that viewer will be out of there. Since many users have outdated modems, you’ll have to account for a wide range of connections, ensuring that your site takes no more than 8 seconds to load on a 56K modem. That’s a tricky thing when you’re simultaneously trying to engage viewers with large photos or videos. Test out your site speed with a site speed tester, and if it’s too slow, consider hosting your site with a Content Distributed Network (CDN), which powers faster site speeds, video encoding, and video streaming.

        Along the same lines, make sure that your site layout is intuitive. Users shouldn’t have to (and won’t) click more than a few times to get to where they want to go. Get ‘em in there quick.

        Take-Away

        There’s a lot to do when you’re marketing a new website, but starting with these five basic tips is a great way to get going. Plus, they’re fun to do, too, as you find your site’s distinctive personality. Explore these various techniques, and see what takes!

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        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

        How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

        How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

        We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

        So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

        While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

        Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

        What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

        How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

        But what does being productive actually entail?

        Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

        Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

        It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

        Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

        9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

        1. Avoid Multitasking

        Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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        Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

        If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

        2. Turn off Notifications

        According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

        Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

        The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

        Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

        3. Manage Interruptions

        There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

        Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

        If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

        By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

        4. Eat the Frog

        Mark Twain once famously said that:

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        “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

        What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

        We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

        Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

        5. Cut Down on Meetings

        Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

        You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

        The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

        But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

        If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

        6. Utilize Tools

        Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

        If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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        And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

        Some examples of tools that could be used:

        Communication
        • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
        • Samepage for video conference software.
        • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
        Task Management
        • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
        • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
        • Wekan for an open source option.
        Database Management
        Time Tracking
        • Clockify for a free tracker.
        • TMetric for workspace integrations.
        • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

        You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

        7. Declutter and Organize

        Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

        Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

        Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

        Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

        8. Take Breaks

        Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

        As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

        Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

        Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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        9. Drink Water

        Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

        Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

        Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

        A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

        If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

        You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

        The Bottom Line

        The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

        After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

        In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

        A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

        Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

        More About Boosting Productivity

        Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

        Reference

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