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Archive for the ‘Ecommerce’ Category

How do you Score Higher on Google?

That is the big question that all Search Engine Optimization experts are wanting to know. No matter what you hear it boils down to this; Google wants its users to find the most relevant site to their search. With that said, Google doesn’t want us to know exactly how they determine that because they know we will find a way to cheat it.

The result of the Google secret sauce is the Google Page rank. Whether page refers to your web page or Larry Page is not certain. What is certain is that Google likes sites with a higher page rank. Some of the factors that give you a higher page rank are links to your site. Google views each link as a vote. Early in the game some smart guys started using link farms, web sites that they set up that had no purpose other than creating links to sites to increase Page Rank. Google got wise to this and stated giving weight to the link by measuring the links to the liking site. On top of that they started to penalize sites that had links from link farms. If your website has a page rank of 0, it is not helping you and could possibly be hurting you.

There are a lot of other ways Google weighs Page Rank. One is by having SSL certificate for your site. This is usually just used on pages where you enter sensitive data, but it may now carry relevance in your page rank if used throughout your site. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private. Google likes this because it shows you are willing to make an investment in your site and you are less likely to be malicious.

Ultimately the thing that Google wants more than anything is for the site it recommends to be relevant to the visitor. They measure this by the time spend on the site and the number of pages visited. For this, you have to give your visitors a reason to stay on your site.

Content is what keeps visitors engaged. Video, blogs, photos, illustrations and stories. Everyone wants an exciting site with lots of pages and gadgets but if your copy does not engage the visitor, you are missing the point.

The most recent major change in Google page ranking affected some businesses dramatically. My company was called to consult on how to save a business that sold cell phone batteries online. They were a 10 year old business that had over $100,000 a month in sales because they were always in the top 3 organic searches for “cell phone battery”, but Google started to put more emphasis on location and overnight, Best Buy and Batteries Plus, brick and mortar stores were on top. His business fell to $30,000 in sales over night.  Within 6 months he had to lay off 12 people and close the business.

Unfortunately, the business owner waited too long to call us, and we were too late to help him, but you can learn from their mistake. Keep your SEO strategies current, your site updated, and your content relevant and engaging, and you will have a great foundation on which to build your business.

Chico Web Design

What makes Google Like your site in California

What to Know Before You Choose a Web Developer.

Planning a website redesign is something most small businesses think about every 3 years or so. And this is primarily because they were never really happy with their current site or it’s because the business has evolved and now wants more from their website. With a little foresight and participation from a point person in your organization the right web design built on the right platform will make future changes simpler and the need for a redesign un necessary.

Introducing new technologies to an established business can be painful. Business owners usually end up trusting the one person in their company that knows the most about the internet. What we find is that most self-proclaimed “experts” don’t know what they don’t know. So while trying to save their bosses some money, they inadvertently end up costing their employer more than needed.

Before you chose the company that you want to work with. You should consider these few issues.

  1. What is the goal of your site? Is it to capture leads or to set as a brochure? Do you want to create transparency or would you like to have an interactive form that educates while collecting data to help you close deals? Will this site be your storefront and main source of income?
  2. How will you be pushing traffic to your site? Are you going to market to potential customers via mass media or are you going to send existing customers to your site.  Do you want people to find you with search engines?
  3. Will your potential website visitor be able to easily fide what they are looking for? Navigation can be fun and highly technical but the simpler route is usually the best.
  4. How much of the site will change frequently? Do you need to be able to change things on your site at a moment’s notice, or will most of what you say on your site be static for a long period of time?

There is a lot more to consider but time spent on these 4 points before you reach out to a web developer will help you determine what kind of platform your site should be built on. Different technologies hide behind your sites design and navigation and have a significant up front cost.

Building your site on an open source CMS platform like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal will cost less up front. These are easy to develop. However, changes in the future can cost more. Please don’t confuse site changes with simple copy or image changes. These CMS’s do that very well. It’s adding a section on a page or a new functionality that create issue.

The most important thing to remember is that the cheapest solution is not always the cheapest in the long run.

What You Need to Know About Mobile Traffic

I am young enough to be considered tech savvy and old enough to remember the pre-internet Bulletin Board Services or BBS. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s not important. What is important is the change in technology and the human interaction I have been witness to.
The grandest change since the beginning 2012 is the growth of the smart phone and tablet devices. As of November 2013 mobile devices consisted of 28% of ALL web traffic. Up 67% in just 1 year. The trend line estimates that as of March 2014 mobile devices are already over 35% of ALL web traffic.

What’s this mean to you? If your website is not mobile compatible, more than 1/3 of your potential customers are NOT buying from you.

The amount of time and money people are spending on mobile devices is growing rapidly and yet most businesses are not serving these people — at what cost?

By the numbers, mobile traffic makes up 10% of global internet traffic and next year more people will use mobile phones than PCs to get online. Purchases made on mobile devices exceeded $6.7 billion in the U.S. last year, or about 8% of total online sales. This is expected to nearly double to $11.6 billion this year. By 2015, U.S. mobile sales are forecast to reach $31 billion.

How much of that could be yours?

If you haven’t optimized your website for mobile, you are frustrating visitors with tricky navigation and slow loading times. If you have an ecommerce site, those figures should help you benchmark what you’re already losing in dollars, but a recent survey from Google underlines the damage you might also be doing to your brand by not having your site optimized for mobile.

The survey, which tallied responses from 1,088 U.S. adult smartphone owners, found that:

• Mobile sites lead to mobile purchases. Well duh! Shoppers are more likely to buy a product or service if your site is optimized for mobile. Three-fourths said they are more likely to return to a site in the future if the experience on mobile is good.

• If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, shoppers will go elsewhere. The majority of participants in the survey said that if they can’t find what they’re looking for on your site, they’ll sooner seek out a competitor’s mobile-friendly site instead of switching to a PC to revisit yours.

• A bad mobile experience can damage a company’s brand. A bad mobile experience can create bad feelings about your company. Yes, a bad feeling about your company! Nearly half of participants in the survey said they feel frustrated and annoyed when they visit a site that’s not mobile-ready. It makes them feel like a you don’t care about your business.

If you need help getting your site mobile ready, we have been doing just that for companies in Sacramento, Chico, Redding and the San Francisco Bay area, plus some recent revisions for Ag websites in Texas.

Angry Birds Tee Shirts – Ecommerce

February 4

Angry Bird Icon

Chico Web Design and Fifth Sun are collaborating on a ecommerce website for their exclusively licensed Angry Bird tee shirt line.  On the new AngyBirdTees.com, you will be able to purchase Angry Bird Tee’s & Tee Shirts for Men, Women, and Juniors.  Look for the Angry Birds ad in the Superbowl!

Recently Launched: My Independent Contractor

Client: My Independent Contractor
Chico, CA
Independent Contractors, Construction
Create a web site which allows independent contractors to create their own website
Technologies used:
PHP, MySQL, HTML & CSS, JavaScript, Flash, XML

Read more about My Independent Contractor

ECommerce 101

June 9

I want to preface this discussion by stating that this topic is for advanced Ecommerce websites with multiple categories and product quantities ranging from 10 – 5,000.

We often get requests to bid Ecommerce websites here at Chico Web Design.  With every inquiry we get, we tell all our potential clients the same thing, “Every web site is different, and the cost is based on your needs, feature set, and business requirements”.  Believe it or not, it’s a true statement! When you’re looking for a car, you can’t pick up the phone and call your local Chevrolet dealer and say, “how much for a blue vehicle”, right?  Just as the car dealer would say, we would also explain, “we need to know more information”!  Below are some common functionality questions that we ask when speaking to a client for the first time about their ECommerce site.

Ecommerce Questions

  1. Site Structure – Do you have any ideas of what you’d like your product catalog to look like?  I.E. If you have a retail store, sample categories would be something along the lines of, Handbags, Hoodies, Pants, Tops, etc.
  2. Shipping – How would you like to handle shipping, flat fee ($6.00 per product), table rate (0-$24.99: $4.95, $24.99-$99.99: $5.95) or anything different? Express shipping?  2 or 3 Day shipping? International shipping?  Free shipping?
  3. Wish list – Would you like to allow users to create a wish list and then send their list of products to a friend or family member?
  4. Recommended products – Recommending products to cross sell with a product of interest is another value added option you may want to think about.
  5. Shop by Brand/Manufacturer – Would you like users to sort by brand or manufacturers?
  6. Tell-a-Friend – Would you like to allow users to send product links to a friend via HTML Email?
  7. Featured Products – Featuring products is a great way to capture interest in specific inventory!  If this is something of interest, where would you like them place?  Rotating on the front page?  Above each category?
  8. Sale products – Would you like a link to sale items?  We can implement sale functionality which would allow you to mark items already in inventory for sale.
  9. Coupons – Do you plan on offering discount coupons?  Do you want to offer gift cards?
  10. Newsletters – How often or do you want to capture emails for newsletters?
  11. Taxes – Does your state have any special tax rates on specific products or product categories?

This is by no means a full list of questions to ask for every Ecommerce web site, but these are some basic questions to ponder when you are searching for a design and development firm to bring your dream business from a thought to reality.