Tag Archives: SEO

Our Gift to You…

13 Oct

Freewebstore is delighted to announce a platform upgrade; we’re giving each and every one of our 500,000+ users an SSL – for free! Better still, you don’t even have to lift a finger!

A lil’ bit more information…

77% of consumers are worried that their personal information could end up in the wrong hands(Global Sign). Having an SSL enabled on your web store will instill buyers confidence and increase sales.

Here’s an example of what your customers will see without you having an SSL enabled:

unprotected

This is an example of what your customers will see with our free SSL feature:

secure

Is it for me?

If you’ve got a web store and want your customers to feel fully secure increasing shoppers confidence then yes, this is for you!

Why are we doing this?

1. Love. We love our store owners and we want to give you EVERY chance of success possible. 💙

2. Added security and buyers confidence. 77% of consumers are worried that atheir personal information could end up in the wrong hands. This feature will reassure your customers this is not the case!

3. Improve your SEO. Google is making changes to their algorithms and this will start to take HTTPS as a ranking signal and, if stores are not SSL protected, this could have an impact on where the store sits on the search engine.

When will I be able to claim my SSL?

Freewebstore started rolling out the SSL feature across the board and this will be available to all of our users.

 

 

How to Write the Perfect Blog

28 Sep

How to write the perfect blog

Having a blog allows you to add crucial content to your store and boost your search engine rankings. It also allows you to add useful content for your shoppers that can keep them coming back for more. Here are tips on writing the perfect blog:

Informative, not ‘sales-y’

Blog posts should be all about providing information to your reader – not about trying to sell them something.  Capture your audience by allowing them behind the scenes. Share “a day in the life” and include photos your readers wouldn’t normally see. Why not blog about recent events or perhaps what it is that inspires you? Get into the mindset of your customers and write about topics that would interest and inspire them.

Be mindful of your SEO

Content on your freewebstore eCommerce website is vital to increasing your Search Engine Optimization which is key to your business. Once you’ve drafted your blog, proofread it to make sure you’re using your keywords. Include tags to your products or previous blog articles you’ve written. The more blog posts you write, the more content and links you’ll build up over time.  For expert tips on SEO why not read our SEO 101 blog?

Post regularly

Keep your readers interested by posting regularly and consistently. If you only post once in a while, your blog will become stale and uninteresting. Get into the habit of setting time aside each week to write content and collect photos for your blog. It may seem like a daunting task at first but once you get into the swing of it you will find it a pleasurable way to reach out to your audience.

Get social

Include social media sharing buttons on each blog post so that your readers can promote your post to a wider audience. Be sure to have a link on your blog back to your website to build up traffic and prevent your reader from becoming lost.

Promote your blog content across social media and be sure to include #hashtags when applicable but be sure to make your social media posts consistent with your brand identity.

Get blogging about your eCommerce website today with our store blog feature. If you’ve not yet signed up for your freewebstore you can sign-up here.

 

Let’s get social: Facebook

7 Feb

Digital media has massively changed the way businesses reach, inform and communicate with their audience, with social media being a ‘key player’ for businesses to engage with their audience. A massive 2.34bn people worldwide have a social media platform of some sort (Statista).

The first section of the ‘Let’s get social’ blog will briefly cover the benefits of having a general social media presence and will look more in-depth into one of the most popular social media platform, Facebook.

What are the benefits of social media?

I’m sure you’ll want to know the benefits of having a social media presence and how it may impact your business. Below are a few key benefits that social media can bring.

Increased Brand Awareness: Social media is a great way of increasing your presence in one single click. Getting a few shares on your post will share your brand to potentially thousands of new customers and allow you to easily monitor the engagement.

Real-time content vs pre-planned, scheduled content:  Unlike traditional marketing methods such as print, you can share and create real-time content and easily adapt your marketing efforts as and when you choose.

Learn about your users: You’ll be able to learn about your customer’s online habits and possibly find out new things about your main demographic. You can target specific demographics with new imaginative content that’s relevant to the right audience.

Feedback: Social media allows for instant dialogue with customers in real-time and helps promote customer service. Again, unlike traditional methods, you’re open to a two- way conversation and not just a one-way conversation.

A lil’ bit of spying: It’s more than likely that your major competitors will have a social media presence, this is a perfect way to monitor your competition and stay ahead of the game. You may notice something that your competition are doing well that may improve your own business or something that they’ve not done quite so well – something you can exploit. You can engage with your rivals audience through targeted ad campaigns to let them know that you’re the better choice!

Gather leads: Connect with your audience on social media and then move the conversation on. Gather email addresses by offering newsletters, contests etc. You can use the email addresses to lead your potential new customers to your website

This is just a snippet of the benefits that social media can offer your business, sounds great, right?!

Facebook

We start our ‘let’s get social’ series with Facebook. According to PEW research, 79% of online adults use Facebook (US) – a huge number! It’s a great platform to connect with new customers and help retain existing relationships.

What can I post on Facebook?

Build up brand loyalty by producing and sharing helpful and entertaining articles to help educate the user, the soft sell approach works best! If you’re seen as being active and engaging with users, you’ll increase your chances of getting custom over someone who has a limited/no presence.  You can also drive users to your web-store and increase your chances of another customer. Post content that has a link back to your site, such as:

  • Informative blog articles.
  • How-to guides.
  • New product launches (as seen below).
  • Entertaining and visual content.
screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-35-45

Your Facebook page is a great way to promote product launches to new and exisiting users.

However, it’s important to know that it’s not all about attracting new custom, retaining current customers is equally, if not more, important. Interact with your users, get involved in discussions and show them that you value their custom! A simple reply to a comment goes a long way to achieving this, as seen below:

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-35-01

Actively engage with your users & show them that they’re valued.

Encourage users to share their experience on Facebook page by comments, reviews and photos and interact with the posts! 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over advertising, so this is important to consider. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your store:

  • Offer an incentive for users to leave their feedback on Facebook, money off for example. (this is a freewebstore premium feature).
  • Inform your customers that you’re active on social media.
  • Encourage previous customers to share their product pictures.

Paid Facebook adverts are becoming the norm with most successful businesses utilising this feature. Now I know you’re thinking ‘what’s the point of spending money when I can post for free?’. The truth is, only 2% of organic posts reach their intended audience (Rob Peterson). So be prepared to splash a little cash to reap the full benefits. However, the costs are much cheaper than traditional marketing channels, such as print or adverts.

With information gained from Google analytics, Facebook analytics you can see who interacts with your content the most – then target Facebook users who fall under this demographic. Build up an audience that’s relevant to your business and are likely to interact and engage with your posts.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-13-56-19

An example of the Facebook custom audience page.

You can create custom adverts via the ‘Adverts Manager’ tab. From there, it’s possible to create a custom audience (so that you know the posts are hitting your intended audience), select your objectives and set the budget you want to stick to.

If you need help on setting up the perfect Facebook business page, have a read of this helpful blog article here.

 A great opportunity

Social media is a great opportunity for businesses to interact online. I’m sure that the majority of you have a social media presence. However, of freewebstore 40,000+ active store’s – only 5.6% (!) have utilised the FREE feature and connected their store to social media platforms. It’s a big opportunity lost in terms of customer engagement. Head over to your freewebstore control panel > Marketing > Social Media and connect your store now and get social!

The next blog in the series will cover Twitter.

Freewebstore High Flyers

5 Dec

Congratulations to the following stores who make up our Top 5 high flyers for the last 30 days.  These stores had a combined total of over 9000 orders between themselves during November !

qualite
1. http://www.qualite.co.uk


2. http://www.meowgang.com/

cigs

3. http://www.safercigs.co.uk/

party

4. http://www.partymusthaves.co.uk/

5.  http://www.prettyessential.com/

SEO 101 – Common Mistakes

23 Sep

seo101

Ok, so you have your shiny new web store set up on the epically good Freewebstore platform. You have added your categories and products with consummate ease. You have chosen your store colors, uploaded your company logo, created your glossy product headers, added a shiny new slideshow and you are ready to make your fortune. So what’s next?

If you have yet to settle on your design or you have not yet finished adding your product inventory then I want you to stop reading right now.  Stop. Full stop. Have you stopped? Please stop! Go back and finish setting up your store.

Let Us Begin – Hungry Anyone?

For those of you still reading this then I am going to assume your store is at an acceptable level and you are ready to start promoting. The biggest mistake our users make is trying to force the store onto Google before it is even finished. This is the worst of all bad ideas. “Put your best foot forward” is a saying for a reason. You do not want Google to start rating your store and deciding what it is about whilst you are still building it. That could be bad. Really bad. Get your store up to a level you are happy and proud of then start thinking about promoting it.

Knives and Forks

In order to be successful at anything, you need the right tools and the right prep work. For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients.

  • 1 x Epic Freewebstore Store
  • 1 x Domain Name
  • 1 x Google Webmaster Tools Account
  • 1 x Google Analytics Account
  • 1 x Chocolate Biscuit

So the most important tool is your Freewebstore store and more accurately the Freewebstore Control Panel. This is the hub of everything you do and controls every aspect of your visible (and invisible!) store. When you first create your store we give you a temporary domain name such as (Freewebstore.org/MyNewShop). This will work fine but if you are serious about getting a lot of shoppers and sales then you are going to need your own domain name. This helps you stand out from the crowd and makes your store much easier to see and find both for shoppers and search engine spiders/bots. It is the single most important thing you can do for your store (beyond choosing Freewebstore as your eCommerce provider!). Domains are cheap as chips and you can pick one up for a few dollars or pounds. If you do not have a domain name yet then click here to go and buy one. It is worth mentioning that you get a free domain name from us with the Professional/Power Seller packages.

The two other tools you will need are both Google related and also happily free. You should set up your free Google Webmaster Tools account as soon as possible.  We submitted a sitemap to Google for you when you created your store, but we recommend you have your own free account to access all the relevant keyword data.   The sitemap is basically a guidebook or index for Google that lets it find every nook and cranny (page, product, and category) in your store. Google will use this to instruct its spiders to crawl your entire store. This, as you can imagine, is very important. The plucky little sitemap, that we submitted on your behalf, absolutely free, is clever enough to keep up with all your latest changes and additions made via the Freewebstore Control Panel. So you set it up once and forget about it. Safe in the knowledge that it will always keep Google in the loop. The last tool you need is the fabulous (and free) Google Analytics product. This is basically the statistics package to end all statistics packages. It gives you every possible bit of visitor information you could ever possibly wish for regarding your store.  Again, if you have not yet installed Google Analytics (don’t worry it is easy!) then do it now by clicking here.

So now you have your store on your own domain name, the Freewebstore Control Panel to make changes, the Google Sitemap to keep Google informed and the Google Analytics account to view your visitor statistics that will help us make decisions later. The chocolate biscuit is for you. We will wait here if you wanna go grab a brew?

Now that you are refreshed, let’s continue.

Eat Your Vegetables!

You are not going to like this but stay with me here. There are no quick fixes or shortcuts when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (hereafter referred to with the much more sexy acronym”SEO”). There are no secrets and no (self-confessed) gurus who have secret knowledge and skills that no mere mortal could ever dream of achieving. If anyone approaches you claiming any different (for a fee!) then they are misleading you. Think about it. It is such an easy sell. No store owner no matter how large and successful thinks they are making enough money. So if some SEO wizard like creature approaches you and says they can magically “fix” your SEO if you cross their palm with enough silver then buyer beware. You have been warned.

The second vegetable I need you to mentally consume ( i will drop this metaphor soon I promise) is that your store is a tool. Brace yourself for another saying. “A poor workman blames his tools”. If you think your store is somehow holding you back then you are mistaken. You have full control over all your SEO from within the Freewebstore Control Panel. Blaming your store for poor SEO performance is like a hapless writer blaming his typewriter because his latest steamy novel flopped. (New metaphor see!). Conversely, it is not the store’s job to do this work for you. It can help – in a huge way but it will need you to do your bit.

Now For Dessert (good news!)

It may not sound like it but the good news is that there is no quick fix. So it is not magic and it is not predicated on the store software. So what now? Simple. Just start doing the right things and be patient. If there is an SEO secret then that is it.

You need to set the store up correctly to give yourself the best possible chance. You then need to leave it well alone for at least a month – preferably two. Only then when the store has matured and the listings have settled can you possibly try to assess the relative success of your store. If you try to do that before 60-90 days then it is useless. Completely useless. Any knee-jerk changes will reset the clock and you will have to wait another 60-90 days to see what the effect of your knee-jerk changes have been. Unless of course you only wait a few days, get frustrated that nothing has changed and made more knee-jerk changes that reset the clock yet again! This is the frustration/SEO cycle that a lot of our customers find themselves in. They blame the software, the store, the domain, our wonderful support team, Google, anything that can explain their lack of assumed ranking success. They are of course wrong and just grasping at straws. They are usually the people who did not stop reading at the end of the first paragraph (you know who you are!).

The Internet Buffet

Another common mistake is that store owners get greedy. They do not target specific keywords or search traffic. They just want as much traffic as they can get. So unless they are very good or very lucky they just get lost in the noise.

You need to pick your battles wisely. If you are a bookstore owner you are not going to compete with Amazon on the keyword “Book”. Good luck to you if you want to try but it is not a battle you are likely to win. So you need to target keywords and searches that are more specific or more niche. Perhaps you sell a certain kind of book? So it would be a much better bet to target “Second world war books” as the traffic here is more specific and the competition will be less. In this case, you would rename your product categories accordingly, so change “WWII” to “World War Two (II) Books”. You could also append “WWII” to the product names of the books contained within the category. Add a long category description to that category, one that mentioned “World War”, “World War Two”, “World War II” etc. Use the SEO title and description features of the products (and the category) to add more references to these terms. Then leave it a month or so and then use your Google Analytics account to see if you have had a marked improvement in hits of those (and related) search terms. That is SEO work in a nutshell. Also, start with only targeting one or a couple of different terms. This will help you hone your skills and keep you focused. Once you have mastered these search terms you can start getting cocky and add more terms to your hit list.

Repeat Until Rich…

You cannot force or rush SEO and traffic. Traffic builds gradually over time. Put a little bit of effort in at the beginning and perhaps, more importantly, be patient and wait to see what the results are. Then make considered decisions based on actual data (from Google Analytics) to see what improvements can be made. Then iteratively improve the SEO of your store over time. Each time giving the changes enough time to mature – look at the stats then re-assess and make the next change. Repeat until successful. That is how to do it properly. Not sexy and not quick but the truth. Of course, some of you may be better than others. Some may just get lucky. What is important to remember is that it is not impossible and anyone can do it. Each store is different, the market you operate in behaves in a unique way to others and the products you sell need to be promoted to that unique group. So SEO is a very personal thing. That is why there is no quick fix or magic plug and play solution. Nobody knows your business and products like you so who better to be in charge of the SEO?

Happiness Comes With Age

How old is your store? If anything less than 12 months then it is brand new in the eyes of Google. Google is understandably wary of new sites as they are subject to wild knee-jerk changes as the ones already discussed. So if you make the small iterative SEO changes as we have suggested Google will certainly like you. If you are patient and the store is online with the same provider for a long enough time then Google will start to trust you. They will be more comfortable ranking you higher for certain search terms. All common sense really. You are a better bet than the people (who are still reading?!?!) who want instant results and get themselves stuck in the frustration/SEO/blame cycle and who are constantly changing the store and jumping from host to host in the vain attempt that the next provider will have that secret SEO wizard chap/product/fix they so desperately crave.

Cheat Sheet

  1. Do not start worrying about traffic until the store is finished
  2. You need your own domain name. SEO without it is going to be difficult
  3. Get your Google Webmaster Tools account set up early.
  4. Get your free Google Analytics Account and attach it to your store. You need stats and lots of them.
  5. Give your store time. Do not assess SEO performance without giving your store at least 60-90 days to mature.
  6. Target specific keywords and search terms and concentrate on them first. Once achieved add more targets.
  7. Never think you are done. SEO is a constant process and the rules change often.
  8. Be patient and don’t blame your tools

That is all for now folks. We will post more blog posts in the near future which will be shorter and have specific advice and how-tos for you to improve your SEO. This was just a cathartic ramble about SEO, users expectations and the pitfalls of wanting too much too soon.

Given the metaphors above I think I must be hungry. So I am off to find a dark corner to eat my pie and give that steamy novel another go. Happy SEO’ing.