Tag Archives: business

6 Website Metrics That Truly Matter for your business

Your website is one of the most important assets your business has.

And every top-performing business pays close attention to its most important website metrics.

Obsessing over the details, from big things like your traffic to smaller details like how fast your pages load, can give you the edge over your competitors. Here are some of the most important metrics you should track and share free ways to improve each metric.

1. Website Traffic
2. Traffic Sources
3. Page Load Speeds
4. Search Engine Impressions and Clicks
5. Goal Conversions
6. Top Pages

Why Website Metrics Matter

Website metrics are how you measure your site’s performance. Metrics tell you what’s working, what’s not, and where you can improve.

Without paying attention to your metrics, you’re working off assumptions, and you have no idea how much your website helps your business grow or the opportunities you’re missing.

Honestly, it doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. The metrics we’ll discuss today can all be measured in minutes, using free tools like Google Analytics.

6 Website Metrics You Should Measure

There are so many metrics you can measure — the choices are almost unlimited. But just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you should. In this post, You’re going to see six metrics that matter to your business. Let’s jump in.

1.Website Traffic

Traffic is essential for any website; this metric tells you how many visits your site receives. In many ways, it’s the metric you should measure because without traffic, there is nothing else to measure. 

Traffic tells you how many people visit your website over a given time, and it’s a great way to tell if your website is growing, standing still, or even in decline. 

2.Traffic Sources

Once you’ve learned how many visits your website receives, it’s worth finding where that traffic is coming from. This tells you how people come to your website and helps you determine:

  1. The sources that drive the most traffic.
  2. Ways you can grow your traffic.

This data is available in Google Analytics and, by default, is grouped into six channels:

  1. Direct: Traffic from entering your URL directly into the browser address bar.
  2. Social: Visit from social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 
  3. Email: Clicks from email campaigns, or links within any email message sent (e.g., email signatures).
  4. Organic Search: Traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. 
  5. Referral: A visit to your site from a link on another page.

3.Page Load Speed

The faster your pages load, the better, for two reasons:

  1. People HATE waiting for web pages to load; if your pages don’t load instantly, some visitors will bounce before they consume any of your content.
  2. Faster page speeds help sites rank higher in Google.

4.Search Engine Impressions and Clicks

Search engines are one of the best ways to grow traffic to your website. For example, Sumo generates over 170k clicks each month from Google alone: 

 The great thing about SEO work is that it compounds over time. Look at how the clicks to Sumo from Google have trended upward over the past 12 months: 

 When measuring search performance, focus on two metrics: 

  1. Clicks: The number of times a user has clicked through to your site from Google.
  2. Impressions: The number of times your site has shown in search results.

These two metrics go hand in hand; often, as impressions increase, so will clicks. But if you see impressions increase and clicks stay the same, this gives you some opportunities to improve. 

5.Goal Conversions

What’s the action you want someone to take when they visit your website?

Maybe it’s an email sign-up, making a purchase, or downloading a lead magnet. Whatever it may be, you can often measure your goal with Google Analytics. 

In Google Analytics, you can measure goals in four ways:

  • Destination: Visiting a specific URL on your site.
  • Duration: Sessions that last a specific amount of time or longer, like 1 minute or more spent on your site.
  • Pages/visit: The number of pages you’d like people to visit per session.
  • Events: An action you desire people to take on your website, such as played a video or clicked a CTA.

By measuring goal conversions in Google Analytics, you get a quick snapshot of your site’s performance and the progress you’re making toward your goals. 

6.Top Pages

With most websites, you’ll find that the Pareto principle — AKA the 80/20 rule — rings true, with the most traffic to your website coming from just a few of your top pages.

This is certainly true of the Buffer Library, a hub for SEO-focused content. 

When just a few of your pages account for so much of your traffic or sign-ups, it’s important to keep an eye on how those pages perform.

Why Outsourcing Email Marketing is Important for your business?

Email marketing may seem like it’s just one small aspect of your business that you can DIY. But it carries huge weight because of its return on investment (ROI) potential. According to a survey, email marketing is the leading source of customer acquisition and retention among 80% of small businesses.

Email is a connection you have with customers that can keep them loyal for life, and it takes consistent, high-quality content to keep the connection strong. Businesses that aren’t leveraging expert help from professional email writers won’t benefit from the same competitive edge. 

Here are four reasons to start outsourcing right away:

1.Save Time for Scaling Your Business

Marketing can take up most of the time you spend running your business. To grow, you have to outsource tasks at some point. When you’re not busy with the day-to-day tasks like creating and sending out emails that support your marketing campaigns, you can work on better strategizing your campaigns.

By focusing on your email marketing campaigns at the big-picture level, you can optimize for higher performance on every email you send out. Plus, you’ll have more time for other aspects of your business, knowing your email marketing is in experienced hands.

2.Improve Email Frequency and Consistency 

When you’re doing email marketing on top of all the other tasks in your business, your email list runs the risk of being neglected. If you “ghost” your audience they might forget about you. Email consistency is crucial for building loyalty and trust. 

Outsourcing your email marketing means you aren’t limited to what one person can accomplish. Since you have a team doing the work around the deadlines you set, you can stay consistent no matter what your schedule is like. You’ll be able to plan out your email campaigns for the next several months and have a team member queue emails up to send automatically at scheduled times.

3.Leverage Experienced Email Writers

If you’re not a writer, that alone is a reason to outsource emails. It doesn’t matter if your grammar is impeccable. What it takes to keep readers’ attention is sharp, punchy copy, and writers who write marketing emails for a living have more experience with this. They can improve the written quality of your emails in a way that directly impacts your bottom line.

Besides polishing up your text, a freelance email marketing writer can even make your copy more persuasive, helping you convert more sales through email. All you need to do is provide them the links you need to be included and let them know the goal of each email they’re writing.

4.Make Your Emails Look Professional

Have you ever wondered how to make the beautiful graphics from brand campaigns you’ve seen in your inbox? In addition to having an effective writer, you also want a graphic designer who can put together the best email newsletters. Especially for e-commerce brands, visuals are crucial in email marketing because they can make emails look virtually shoppable.

On Fiverr, some freelancers can design custom-branded email templates. Your team can use these again and again to create more engaging emails that raise your conversion rate. Also, work with email writers who embed media such as GIFs and images into email content to make emails more interesting to read.

Outsourcing Your Email Marketing for Higher Returns

Your job as a business owner is to strategize at a big-picture level. If you’re busy creating content, it’s difficult to see the grand scheme of things and analyze the results of specific strategies. By outsourcing your email content creation, you can focus on creating the most strategic, optimized campaigns. Fiverr Business is a platform that connects you with a virtual talent for your outsourcing needs. Or, to get a quick project done, you can order a gig from the Fiverr marketplace.

Secure Cloud Hosting And Storage For Your Business

When an organization decides to start using secure cloud hosting storage solutions, one of the first questions that usually comes up is how to secure data that is loaded to the cloud. In this post, you’ll know about secure cloud storage for business, and what you should be looking for to keep your data safe.

Secure Cloud Hosting – What To Look For

At a minimum, when shopping for secure cloud storage for business, you should be looking at:

1. How much support the cloud service provider (CSP) can/will provide
2. Levels of encryption
3. Speed (both in terms of accessibility and in upload/download times)
4. Their experience working with companies like yours
5. The cost for the services and support offered

Types Of Secure Cloud Hosting Environments

There are three basic environment types of secure cloud hosting:

1. Private: in-house
2. Public: built and managed via a third-party, and
3. Hybrid: a combination of public and private

The type of secure cloud storage for the business you choose will depend largely on time and resources and the availability of space and personnel to build and maintain storage servers. Because of these factors, many companies choose to partner with third parties to help them with their secure cloud hosting solutions.

Common business models that provide secure cloud hosting include, but aren’t limited to, software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). 

Additional Ways For Keeping Cloud Data Secure

How to secure data is not just about the CSP you’re using, but also how you use it. For example, if you have a single login for everyone on your team to use, that’s not very secure. But, if all of your team members have their credentials, and each person is given only the access they need to specific files, it’s significantly more secure. When using secure cloud hosting it’s a good idea to:

1. Require strong passwords and multi-factor authentication
2. Only give the users that need access the clearance to view the data most relevant to them
3. Utilize a web application firewall (WAF) when accessing your secure cloud hosting to block malicious traffic
4. Encrypt data before you load it
5. Backup data off-site regularly
6. Use website scanning tools

It’s often said that the best defense is a good offense. And, when you have security top of mind, you’re miles ahead of companies who don’t proactively take steps to secure their data.

10 reasons why you may need a digital channel strategy?

Where do you start if you want to develop a digital marketing strategy? It’s still a common challenge since many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels are today for acquiring and retaining customers. Yet they don’t have an integrated plan to support digital transformation and company growth and engage their audiences effectively online.

So, if you don’t yet have a strategy, or maybe you want to review which business issues are important to include within a strategic review, we’ve set out the 10 most common problems, that in our experience arise if you don’t have a strategy.

You’re directionless

Companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have a clear strategic goal for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don’t have goals with SMART digital marketing objectives you likely don’t put enough resources to reach the goals and you don’t evaluate through analytics whether you’re achieving those goals.

You won’t know your online audience or market share

Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven’t researched this. Perhaps, more importantly, you won’t understand your online marketplace. The dynamics will be different from traditional channels with different types of customer profiles and behavior, competitors, propositions, and options for marketing communications.

We’ve got marketing tools to support your research and planning. Our popular competitor analysis module in our RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path is packed with templates and matrixes to review the relative performance of your key competitors. Plus, find out more about your audience’s intent with our Google keyword planning tools.

All our marketing training will support you and your team to build a winning marketing strategy to reach, convert and retain more customers and accelerate your ROI from digital marketing. Sound good? Take your next steps to a winning strategy by getting started today.

Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share

If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital, or you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!

As a member of Smart Insights, we’ll keep you updated on the latest trends and innovations in your sector. So you can stay ahead and not fall behind.

You don’t have a powerful online value proposition

A clearly defined digital value proposition tailored to your different target customer personas will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal. Developing an omnichannel marketing strategy is key to this for many organizations since the content is what engages your audiences through different channels like search, social, email marketing, and on your blog.

You don’t know your online customers well enough

It’s often said that digital is the “most measurable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes of visits, not the sentiment of visitors, what they think. You need to use other forms of website user feedback tools to identify your weak points and then address them.

You’re not integrated 

It’s all too common for digital marketing activities to be completed in silos whether that’s a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT, or a separate digital agency. It’s easier that way to package ‘digital’ into a convenient chunk. But of course, it’s less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.

That’s why we recommend developing an integrated digital marketing strategy, so your digital marketing works hard for you! With your integrated plan in place, digital will become part of your marketing activity and part of business as usual. 

Digital doesn’t have enough people/budget given its importance

Insufficient resources will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing. There is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.

As a member of Smart Insights, you’ll have access to strategy and planning tools including performance and digital maturity benchmarking, and regular marketing data reports, so you can keep track of your position in a competitive landscape.

How To Start An Ecommerce Business (Step-By-Step)

Online retail is a booming business. But I’ve seen too many eCommerce businesses struggle to get traction. Use the information here to set up your eCommerce store, protect yourself legally, get your finances in order, market and sell your product, and start building your store. There’s nothing more rewarding than starting a business from nothing and watching it grow. You build it up and no one can take it from you.

Building an eCommerce business takes more than choosing a brand name, writing product listings, and starting to sell products online. Even the best business ideas can flop if you aren’t driving enough traffic to your site.

Step 1: Research Ecommerce Business Models

Beginning your research is the first critical step. Don’t operate off of a hunch. Growing any online business is an investment. Treat it as such.

There isn’t a single business structure that works for everyone. Service-based business, software, digital product sales, and physical products are just the tip of the iceberg.

Before you can decide on what to sell online, you need to understand the different business models available. It’s not rocket science, but it does impact your business structure. If you want to turn a profit without touching your product or investing heavily at the start, dropshipping or print on demand is a smart choice.

If you like the idea of having your warehouse full of goodies, you’re investing more upfront and working with a wholesaling or warehousing (retail) model. There are subscriptions, where you carefully curate a set of products or a single product to be delivered at regular intervals to your customers.

The eCommerce business model that attracts me the most is a single product category that you supplement with affiliate marketing. You can control the content marketing and branding on a focused product and focus the rest of your energy on driving sales by monetizing traffic.

Step 2: Start Ecommerce Niche Research

Choosing your niche is the most important step in opening your online business. Start this process by identifying successful companies already working in this space. Make sure that the area is competitive – an absence of competition usually indicates that there’s no market, either.

Don’t pick an overly crowded niche, however, and skip anything dominated by major brands. If you’re having trouble with this, drill down further on what you want to do – the more specific you are, the less competition you are likely to face.

Niche-ing down also gives you the benefit of having a lot of “shoulder” niches, related to what you do, but not identical. You can work together with business owners in those niches to cross-promote, become (or acquire) an affiliate, and grow your customer base.

Pick a product category with a minimum of 1000 keywords and focus on a niche that does well in social media, where publishers in the area are affiliates on Amazon. If you can nab a few affiliate marketing opportunities, you won’t have to worry about shipping as much product, but you can still make a profit.

Step 3: Validate Target Market And Product Ideas

Now that you’ve identified a niche and business model, you might be tempted to start hunting for products to sell. Don’t. Before you think about product ideas, think about personas. You can’t expect people to buy your product if you don’t know who you’re selling to.

Who are you? What does the store represent? Who are your ideal customers? You need to project a consistent brand image (a journey that starts with your brand name). An organic seed company that started selling conventional fertilizer wouldn’t last very long.

Fortunately, Facebook makes it relatively easy for us to find your target audience online. Specifically, know exactly how many people you can target. You can drill down to get very focused numbers and detailed demographics.

You’d be surprised to know that most entrepreneurs have no idea how many people are in their target audience online. If you want a brand targeting hardcore triathletes that also enjoy mountain biking, you may have to go a little broader. You can’t build a business if your target audience is only 100K people.

Once you’ve identified the image you want to project and the customer you are catering to, it’s time to come up with product ideas. I suggest starting with one – you’ll invest less at the start, and if you want to offer more you can test the waters with affiliate marketing.

In the example of an organic seed company, you could find popular organic products on Amazon and create content to send traffic to those affiliate products. If something catches fire, you can consider making your brand of that product. If you’re not 100% sure what to sell, you can use affiliate marketing to validate your idea.

Before you invest in the product, though, evaluate it carefully. Even if you choose a dropshipping model, you want to test it carefully and get a feel for the product yourself so you can identify any potential problems and prepare customer service scripts to answer common questions.

Step 4: Register Your Ecommerce Business & Brand Name

If you want to start a successful business, you need a brand that connects with your persona. Identifying your persona makes building an eCommerce brand easier. You might avoid girlie colors and images if you are selling products to corporate businesswomen interested in living a sustainable life.

But before you set up your store and get into the nitty-gritty of building a brand – there are some basic steps you’ll need to take.

Register Your Business.

Choose a business name and register your company. There are legal protections and tax benefits for incorporating, so don’t skip it.

Pick Your Store’s Name

The name of your site and the legal name of your business doesn’t need to be identical, but keeping them consistent has its benefits. Make sure whatever you choose fits your niche – you don’t want to pick a brand name at the last minute.

Get Your Business Licenses

If you’re not familiar with this process, the Small Business Association has plenty of resources to help you get started, including a mentor-protege network and courses on small business basics. Look actively for mentors – their advice can be priceless, even for little things like acquiring business licenses. One of the smartest decisions I ever made was finding someone who could show me the ropes.

Get Your Employer Identification Number

You’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open a business bank account and file your business taxes next April, even if you don’t plan on having any employees. Your EIN is a bit like your business’s social security number: it’s a unique number that identifies your business and helps you file important paperwork.

Apply For Business Licenses And Permits

Operating an online store does not exclude you from needing certain business licenses and permits. Check with your city, county, and state to see what sorts of sales tax licenses or home business licenses you need, and get those approved before you start operating.

Find The Right Vendors

You’ll have a lot of competition selling products online, so it’s in your best interest to find the best quality and best prices for the products you sell or materials you use to create your products. Shop around until you find a vendor you want to do business with long-term – this includes your eCommerce software (your “shopping cart”). Think scalable from the start.

Logo Creation

Don’t fret over it too much, but do make sure that it is not in use by another company in your niche. Logo design doesn’t have to be original, however (and really shouldn’t).

Get Visual

Consider the colors of your brand, the imagery you’ll use, and the typeface or fonts you’ll employ carefully. If you’ve got the budget, you might want to hire a marketing firm to create a design brief for your company. If not, you can create your own. Just keep it consistent and read marketing tips designed to help boost your brand.

Step 5: Finalize Your Ecommerce Business Plan

By now you should have a great idea of what your business will look like. You have your target market, your product niche, and your brand name.

Now is a good time to step back and put your business plan on paper and determine your startup budget, loan needs, and monthly expenses. 

The most important aspect of a business is the financial one. Figure out your break-even point, both in unit sales and duration (in months). Any real business is an investment of resources. That was one of the first things I learned in MBA school. A CEO’s role is to take resources and turn them into a return.

Yet, I am sad to see that many entrepreneurs don’t take the time to project their revenue and expenses. If you can’t figure out your profit margin, you will fail.

The business planning phase is also when you want to iron out details like your staff, product sourcing, logistics, and marketing budget. Make sure you understand all the available financial resources available to you.

Step 6: Create Your Online Store

Once you’re officially an eCommerce business owner, you need to register your domain name and any redirect URLs that might be relevant. You’re going to need the design info you settled on in the last step now, when you finally build your store. Whatever design you chose needs to be compatible with your eCommerce software, too.

There are hundreds of eCommerce shopping cart platforms. Choosing the right eCommerce software is not easy. You need to carefully evaluate things like loading speed, features, compatibility with different payment gateways, compatibility with your business structure, your web developer skills, SEO-friendly features, and more. I’m putting together reviews and comparisons to help you pick the right one. We’ve done a ton of research and the best options are below.

Step 7: Attracting Customers To Your Ecommerce Store

Apologies to any Field of Dreams fans, but if you build it there’s no guarantee they’ll come. You need to market your store. When you chose your cart, I told you to think about search engine-friendly features. They are NOT all the same. The keyword-stuffing days of the early 2000s are long gone, but SEO is alive and well. You need to keep keywords and search terms in mind on each page of your site, in your URLs, and in your ad campaigns. You also need to think about driving traffic to your site.

The best eCommerce sites invest heavily in online marketing. If you don’t have the funds, you better have the elbow grease. Subscribe to marketing newsletters or listen to digital marketing podcasts to keep a pulse on the digital marketing industry and get your fill of marketing tips. Will you use sponsored content, social media, pay-per-click ads, or a combination of strategies? How will you monitor what campaigns are driving traffic to your store? If marketing your site seems overwhelming, will you hire help?

Your site isn’t the only thing you need to drive traffic to. The product(s) you choose also need to be included in your marketing budget. Your mission is to sell products, not drive traffic. To sell products, you have to think beyond your site and look for expansion areas. No matter what and how you decide to sell, the first step is to create an email list. Place an opt-in freebie on your website, launch a social media campaign to gain subscribers, or host a giveaway where the entry ‘fee’ is your customer’s email address.

Running a giveaway is my go-to marketing tactic to get traffic and subscribers quickly. Giveaways have the added benefit of increasing your brand presence and product visibility. Building an email list gives you a group of warm leads to work with, making the sales process much easier. Providing consumers with coupons and content via email helps to keep your brand on their mind, boost sales, and establish credibility. 

Keep your emails interesting – ask for your customers’ input often, including reviews. Also, send them your new blog posts. It’s important to mix in helpful content and not just pummel them with sales offers. Respond quickly to customer service and product quality issues, and work on building relationships. No sales interaction is about the first sale; focus on the next one always.

On your site, look at how and where traffic flows. Are your product pages targeted to your persona? Are you losing potential customers in the same place? If you’re driving traffic to your store but nothing is selling, fix the leaks in your sales funnel by carefully optimizing each page and taking a close look at your product listings. Use Google analytics to help with this task. Some tools can help you monitor and optimize every step of the sales process. Make use of them.

Look into partner and affiliate marketing to boost your brand presence by offering affiliate marketing options and partnering with retailers in your shoulder niches.

You can also offer bloggers in your niche a free sample of your product in exchange for reviews. If you’re selling products on Amazon, one easy way to gain consumer respect and confidence (and reviews) is to ask for feedback. Include a card with each product that asks for an honest review and provides contact information for your company.

What Is Dropshipping and How does it work on Shopify?

Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product using the dropshipping model, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the seller doesn’t have to handle the product directly.

The biggest difference between dropshipping and the standard retail model is that the selling merchant doesn’t stock or own inventory. Instead, the seller purchases inventory as needed from a third party—usually a wholesaler or manufacturer—to fulfill orders.

How does dropshipping work on Shopify?

Two of the most common approaches for dropshipping on Shopify are to seek out a supplier located in North America, or anywhere else in the world, using supplier databases, or to seek out a Shopify app that connects you and your store to thousands of suppliers.

For the latter, we recommend Oberlo, a marketplace developed by Shopify that helps independent business owners find products to sell. With Oberlo, you can browse AliExpress and import the products that pique your interest directly to Oberlo—which is connected to your Shopify store—with the click of a button.

Once a customer buys a product, you’ll be able to fulfill their order in the Oberlo app. Fortunately, Oberlo automates this process. As the store owner, all you have to do is check that the details are correct and click the “‘order”’ button. The product is then sent directly from the AliExpress supplier to the customer—wherever in the world they may be.

Benefits of dropshipping

Dropshipping is a great business model for aspiring entrepreneurs to start with because it’s accessible. With dropshipping, you can quickly test different business ideas with limited downside, which lets you learn a lot about how to choose and market in-demand products. Here are a few other reasons why dropshipping is such a popular model.

Less capital is required

Probably the biggest advantage to dropshipping is that it’s possible to launch an eCommerce store without having to invest thousands of dollars in inventory upfront. Traditionally, retailers have had to tie up huge amounts of capital purchasing inventory.

With the dropshipping model, you don’t have to purchase a product unless you’ve already made the sale and have been paid by the customer. Without significant up-front inventory investments, it’s possible to start sourcing products and launch a successful dropshipping business with very little money. And because you’re not committed to selling through any inventory purchased upfront, like in a traditional retail business, there’s less risk involved in starting a dropshipping store.

Easy to get started

Running an eCommerce business is much easier when you don’t have to deal with physical products. With drop shipping, you don’t have to worry about:

  • Managing or paying for a warehouse
  • Packing and shipping your orders
  • Tracking inventory for accounting reasons
  • Handling returns and inbound shipments
  • Continually ordering products and managing stock level

Low overhead

Because you don’t have to deal with purchasing inventory or managing a warehouse, your overhead expenses are quite low. Many successful dropshipping stores are run as home-based businesses, requiring little more than a laptop and a few recurring expenses to operate. As you grow, these costs will likely increase but will still be low compared to those of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.

Flexible location

A dropshipping business can be run from just about anywhere with an internet connection. As long as you can communicate with suppliers and customers easily, you can run and manage your business.

Wide selection of products to sell

Since you don’t have to pre-purchase the items you sell, you can offer an array of trending products to your potential customers. If suppliers stock an item, you can list it for sale on your online store at no additional cost.

Easier to test

Dropshipping is a useful fulfillment method for both launching a new store and for business owners looking to test the appetite customers have for additional product categories, e.g., accessories or wholly new product lines. The main benefit of dropshipping is, again, the ability to list and potentially sell products before committing to buying a large amount of inventory.

Easier to scale

With a traditional retail business, if you receive three times the number of orders, you’ll usually need to do three times as much work. By leveraging dropshipping suppliers, most of the work to process additional orders will be borne by the suppliers, allowing you to expand with fewer growing pains and less incremental work.

Sales growth will always bring additional work—especially related to customer support—but businesses that utilize dropshipping scale particularly well relative to traditional eCommerce businesses.

Common questions about dropshipping

How much do I need to invest to start dropshipping?

Though it’s hard to predict the exact costs for any individual business, there are a few items every dropshipping business will need to spend money on to get started. Here’s a quick summary of the essential costs. Online store Estimated cost: ~$29/month You’ll need to find an eCommerce platform or website builder to create and host your online store. We recommend starting a Shopify store. 

You’ll be able to effortlessly sync with the Oberlo marketplace to source products, and you’ll get access to our full selection of themes and free branding tools so you can get your business up and running quickly. Domain name Estimated cost: $5-20/year It’s hard to build trust with customers without your domain name. While there are several top-level domains available (e.g., example. shop, example. co).

Online advertising Estimated cost: Scales with your business; we recommend budgeting at least $500 to get started Every e-commerce business should look for ways to reduce their average cost to acquire a customer through organic channels like content marketing, SEO, and word of mouth. But to get started, advertising is usually an essential channel for most product-based businesses. The most common channels include search engine marketing (SEM), display ads, social media ads, and mobile ads.

How do drop shippers make money?

Dropshipping businesses act as product curators, selecting the right mix of products to market to customers. Remember, marketing is a cost you incur, in both time and money, helping potential customers find, evaluate, and buy the right product. You’ll also have to include the cost of providing customer support whenever there’s a product or shipping issue. Last but certainly not least is the original price that your supplier sells the product for. 

With all of these costs to account for, dropshipping businesses mark up individual products in exchange for distribution. This is why suppliers are OK with having drop shippers market their products for them dropshipping stores drive additional sales that the supplier would have otherwise missed out on. To make a profit with your dropshipping business, it’s a good idea to find out how much it costs for you to ‘acquire’ a customer, and price your products with that in mind.

Is dropshipping a legitimate business?

Dropshipping is merely a fulfillment model, one used by many global retailers, and is perfectly legal. Like with any business, satisfying customer expectations and building a brand that resonates with the right audience is still key to long-term success. This question usually comes up due to a misunderstanding of how dropshipping works. Most retail stores you shop in are likely not selling products they manufacture. Dropshipping takes this curated approach and turns it into a fulfillment model fit for an online business. There are, of course, the more fundamental things you need to do to run your business legally. Consult a lawyer who specializes in these matters to ensure you’re conducting business legally in your region.

Why You Should Use GoDaddy to Host Your Business Website?

Is GoDaddy the apt website host for your business?

Choosing a website builder and hosting service is one of the first major decisions for any business owner. If you’re not entirely sold on the benefits of Godaddy, or just overwhelmed by the choices available, you’re not alone. Find your perfect domain for free

GoDaddy is a globally recognized brand, with SuperBowl Ads and top positioning in search results. Their authority with search engines and popularity with users is well established. That being said, negative press and mixed GoDaddy reviews from users can easily be found with a little searching on Google. How do you sort out fact from fiction?

We’ve broken down the essential criteria you should be considering, compared reviews, researched other website hosting services, and here’s what we were able to discover:

GoDaddy Domain Hosting: Highly Competitive

Hands down, GoDaddy is one of the most affordable domain hosting services out there. Registering a domain is super easy and there are frequent deals available. Top-tier domains (.com/.ca) can be purchased for as little as $0.99/month for the first year. Dedicated servers are provided to give users the assurance of reliable hosting, security, and efficient load times.

GoDaddy Website Builder: Highly Competitive

GoDaddy has one of the most user-friendly interfaces for building a website. Their cPanel hosting provides users with an intuitive graphical interface, suited for beginners or experts. You won’t need a high level of expertise to create, publish, and manage your website. Bring your business online with a .com

GoDaddy Design Features: Fairly Competitive

GoDaddy’s website builder is fairly robust. Over 300 professional design templates are available, which can be easily customized using their drag and drop tool. You can upload your images (logo, trademark, etc) straight from your desktop or phone. Music and video can also be embedded.

Data Access: Restrictive

Restrictions on email addresses, databases, and memory can be problematic for web administrators seeking more control. Web forms, wikis, and auto-generated content will take more effort as you try and navigate GoDaddy policies. Other hosting services are less restrictive.

Backup and Restore features are included in most of their hosting plans. Save and backup as many versions of your website as you want, which other services do not offer. GoDaddy also makes it easy to import third-party MySQL files.

Pricing: Highly Competitive

There are four basic plans: personal, business, business plus, and Online Store for eCommerce enterprises. Cost ranges from approximately $100 – $500 annually, which works out to somewhere between $8 – $40 monthly. All of them include 24/7 support, but the features and customization vary with each tier.

Uptime: Needs Improvement

One of the most important criteria for evaluating the quality of a domain hosting service is uptime or the amount of time a server is functioning. A server fulfills millions of requests each day, transmitting billions of bytes to IPs around the world. While Godaddy boasts dedicated servers for your website, the feedback from users has been generally poor when it comes to uptime. Loading issues with mobile and desktop have been experienced widely and continue to be a major source of dissatisfaction for unhappy customers.

GoDaddy Security: Highly Competitive

Your data is in good hands with GoDaddy. They use the latest technology and invest heavily in security to reduce spam and hacker attacks. With the addition of SiteLock and Sucuri, GoDaddy’s web security is a definite plus.

GoDaddy Support: Adequate

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of GoDaddy’s service is its customer service, which many users rate poorly. They offer 24/7 live, phone, and email support, but help desk attendees are often criticized for their lack of expertise in addressing technical issues (i.e. downtime, re-directs, hosting, WP, SQL databases). Web administrators seeking HTML access to their server will run into problems. SSH access is limited. There is SFTP access but you won’t be able to overwrite files.

GoDaddy WordPress Hosting: Competitive

GoDaddy has partnered with WordPress to provide users with three hosting plans for building an affordable WordPress website or blog. Domains are free with an annual subscription. A free image library exists, along with an auto-install Quick Start Wizard to help you launch your website quickly. You won’t find a better deal.

If you have an existing WordPress site, migrating to GoDaddy requires some technical expertise. Some WordPress plug-ins and themes require a tutorial to be integrated smoothly. While there are step-by-step directions for moving your WordPress site to GoDaddy, following the steps can be a challenge even for experts. Correcting errors down the road will cost you around $150 to repair. Small websites with no plug-ins are relatively easier to migrate.

Summary:

GoDaddy has been under fire for unusual marketing tactics, aggressive upselling, and poor customer service, but their affordability, brand recognition, and comprehensive tools make them a popular choice for many start-ups.

If your business is fairly established, involves a lot of eCommerce, and you’re looking to expand, there are better options. Small business owners with little technical expertise can register a domain and launch a website with relative ease, but getting the help and guidance you need from a customer service representative may leave you frustrated and annoyed.

Creatives and professionals working with a hyper-local focus will find GoDaddy is a great bargain, but if you plan on expanding into eCommerce, you might want to look around for a provider with more knowledgeable and responsive customer support.

Bluehost – Hosting Features and Affordable Results

Bluehost is dedicated to getting your idea online. Whether you’re a blogger, a small business, web designer, or developer, Bluehost has something for you. Bluehost enables small businesses to create an online identity by equipping them with the right tools – domain hosting, marketing tools, recommended SEO keywords, analytics dashboards, and more, all at affordable prices, appropriate for small business budgets.

There are lots of hosting providers on the market today. But what makes Bluehost stands out?

More Than Shared Hosting

Bluehost provides nearly every web hosting service that you could need including advanced hosting like VPS, dedicated server, and managed WordPress hosting. They handle the technical details, like updating plugins, updating the core, handling security, and optimizing performance.

Hosting Features

Bluehost provides you with more than what you can normally expect from hosting plans.

Here are the top Bluehost features:

  1. Easy-to-use
  2. Dozens of site tool add-ons
  3. Free site builders
  4. Free domain-specific email addresses
  5. 99.99% uptime
  6. Technology to support fast page load times
  7. Cloudflare integration 
  8. Free SSL certificate.
Affordable Results

The good news is that some critical digital marketing services can be commoditized and delivered at valuable costs. That’s a core part of Bluehost’s strategy.

These are some of their services:

  • Websites: You can use their easy Do it Yourself(DIY) site builder to create your own or you can get their design pros to build a site for you.
  • SEOadvertisingsocial media marketing, and local business visibility: Bluehost provides professional marketing services, including creating content for your site. You can get monthly consultations with a marketing professional. And they measure progress so you can see your Return on Investment(ROI).
  • Technical support: In-house professional experts for 24/7 help and support includes video tutorials, guides, and more.

So, if you have a business website, or need one, Bluehost is a solid web host that’s worth checking out

Leadpages – Best Email Marketing Templates for Your Business

When it comes to email marketing, design can make or break your relationship with your customers. Two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain, and 80% will delete an email immediately if it doesn’t look good on their mobile devices.

On the other hand, a well-designed email can elevate subscriber engagement, getting you higher click-through rates and sales. But creating compelling email content is difficult enough. Signup for free

What is an email template?

An email template is an HTML file that you use to build email campaigns. A good template will let you copy and paste content directly into the file and render well on desktop, mobile, and across various email service providers. You can use the same template again and again for multiple campaigns with different content. And that’s just a basic email template. If you’re looking to upgrade your email competition, try a Leadpages live email template. 

Here are just a few benefits of an email template

The benefits of email templates

Save time

Marketers spend at least two hours per campaign on content and design. But on complex campaigns that require testing and approval from multiple sources, it can take even more time than that. Leadpages email templates offer you to plug your content into an existing template saving the time of designing new templates for every new campaign. That means you get to spend more time creating content and less time on tedious design work.

Stay consistent

Consistency in your branding doesn’t just create a better overall experience for your subscribers, it gives them a reason to stick around longer. Leadpages email templates give you a way to build your brand right into the template itself – your colors, logo, and design aesthetic live within the template. The result is a positive, consistent brand experience that your subscribers want to interact with again and again.

Deliver personalized experiences

One of the key factors in email marketing is how beautifully you can create responsive emails. Leadpages offer a wide range of pre-designed templates so that it’s easy to find and customize the email for your needs. For example, you could customize a newsletter template to go out every week, and you could have another template to promote sales and deals. Or, you may want a template for a welcome email sequence to pull in more lifelong customers and sales. You also want your templates to have a responsive design, so be sure they’re mobile-friendly and accessible. 

Start Emailing With Leadpages Predefined Template 

Leadpages help businesses connect with an audience, collect leads, and close sales. Easily build landing pages, pop-ups, alert bars, and beyond. Leadpages websites and landing pages integrate seamlessly with your Email Service Provider(ESP) to collect leads, designate segments and campaigns, and grow your customer list effectively. We even offer Lead Notification emails that notify you whenever someone opts into your form, letting you know when your ESP will be engaged to automatically send responses and add new leads to the list. Try out a few different trials to see which interface will work best for your business.

What is e-commerce? Types, Examples, and Benefits

What is e-commerce? 

E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods or services through the internet, and the transfer of money and data to finish the sales. It’s also acknowledged as electronic commerce or internet commerce. Presently, questions about e-commerce usually center around which channels are best to execute business online.

Types of e-commerce

Following are the most traditional types of e-commerce models:

  • Business to Consumer (B2C): B2C e-commerce is the most popular e-commerce model. Business to the consumer means that the sale is taking place between a business and a consumer, like when you purchase a carpet from an online retailer.
  • Business to Business (B2B): B2B e-commerce refers to a business selling a good or service to another business, like a manufacturer and wholesaler, or a wholesaler and a retailer. Business-to-business e-commerce isn’t consumer-facing, and usually involves products like raw materials, software, or products that are linked. Manufacturers also sell directly to retailers via B2B e-commerce.
  • Direct to Consumer (D2C): Direct to consumer e-commerce is the newest model of e-commerce. D2C means that a brand is selling directly to its end customer without going through a retailer, distributor, or wholesaler. Subscriptions are a familiar D2C item, and social selling via platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. are famous platforms for direct-to-consumer sales.
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C): C2C e-commerce refers to the sale of a good or service to another consumer. Consumer-to-consumer sales take place on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fivver, etc.
  • Consumer to Business (C2B): Consumer to business is when an individual sells their services or products to a business organization. C2B includes influencers offering exposure, photographers, consultants, freelance writers, etc.

Examples of e-commerce

Retail – Retail is selling the product directly to the consumer without an intermediary.

Dropshipping – Selling the products that are manufactured and shipped to consumers through a third party.

Digital products – Downloadable things like templates, courses, e-books, Tools, software, cloud-based products, or media that must be purchased for use. These represent a high percentage of e-commerce transactions.

Wholesale –  Wholesale products are normally sold to a retailer, who then sells the products to consumers.

Services – These are skills like coaching, writing, marketing, etc., that are purchased and paid for online.

Subscription – A popular Direct-to-Consumer(D2C) model, subscription services are the recurring purchases of products or services regularly.

Benefits of e-commerce

Online commerce offers plenty of benefits. Let’s look at some of them

Convenience

E-commerce offers a simple and faster purchasing experience. Providing 24-hour sales, quick delivery, and easy returns.

Customer experience

E-commerce marketplaces can create valuable user profiles. This enhances the customer experience by making shoppers feel understood on a personal level, improving the chances of brand loyalty.

Global marketplace

Customers from throughout the world can easily shop for e-commerce sites – companies are no longer limited by geography or physical boundaries.

Minimized expenses

Digital sellers can start online stores with minimum cost. So it doesn’t require more investment.

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