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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 November 5, 2019

        How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

        How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

        Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

        But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

        The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

        Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

        But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

        As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

        Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

        There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

        The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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        • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
        • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
        • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
        • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

        But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

        How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

        When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

        I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

        Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

        However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

        Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

        While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

        Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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        By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

        How to Use Visual Learning for Success

        Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

        1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

        We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

        While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

        I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

        2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

        Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

        Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

        As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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        And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

        3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

        Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

        With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

        Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

        It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

        Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

        Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

        4. Add video streaming to meetings.

        What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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        When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

        For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

        Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

        No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

        You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

        The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

        More About Learning Styles

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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