Tag Archives: online platforms

Despite the fact that Covid-19 has drastically transformed the world, business can still continue and public relations can still rise from ashes. If you want to learn some new PR models and techniques, check out this article.

Optimize and Work on Your Digital Spaces

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Whether it concerns blogs, websites or any third-party sites, the Covid-19 lockdown provides the right time and opportunity to refine and improve SEO and marketing strategies to increase and boost the visibility of your online content. Old information can be updated and you can look for new ways to improve your SEO performance.

Using keywords and links is one of the most crucial factors for search engines but you can also employ SEO brands such as Yeah! Local. It’s a company that will look at your websites’ or blogs’ SEO, will give suggestions for improvement and will then provide regular updates on your brand’s performance.

Focus On Backburner Projects

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It often happens that PR organizations place some projects on the back burner. However, now is the perfect time to take out these projects and to start working on them. These projects could consist of updating a brand messaging, creating a new website, publishing a new blog, creating a video or posting a picture. As simple as these tasks can be, they still require your full attention.

Think Properly About How to Tell the Story

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The epidemic has resulted in heightened fears all over the world and the level of pessimism has increased too. So, before PR experts hit “send” on any marketing emails and click “post” on any social media platforms, they need to think about whether people would consider them to be profiting from the worldwide crisis.

Increase the Creativity

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Before the Covid-19 crisis, many PR campaigns used creativity and innovation and brought PR strategies to another level. For instance, Paramount Pictures used a PR strategy to promote the horror movie series, The Ring and arrange for a publicity stunt to scare people in a real-life scenario. It is said that the video received more than 10 million views on Facebook.

The Covid-19 crisis may not allow PR organizations to arrange for such publicity stunts, but there is still some place for such creative and innovative online methods to engage and appeal to the audience. For example, after the tragic Paris shooting in 2015, Facebook added a France flag filter where users all over the world could apply this filter to their profile pictures to show their support for France and all those who died in the incident. This is an example of a simple, cost-effective and unique PR strategy.

Think About the Long-Term and Use Online Platforms

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Many PR organizations have been discouraged and affected by the pandemic. As per a research study conducted by the PR Cavalry and Intuit Research, “50 % of PR freelancers have lost at least 60 % of their income while 33% PR workers have seen their incomes decreased by 80 %.” Fear is taking control of the PR sector and many organizations are reducing their budgets, decreasing the number of workers or closing offices.

However, if one looks back in time, history shows that many of the prominent brands have begun and flourished during hard times, such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Square. Hence, these serve as an example to PR companies and practitioners to promote their brand values and strengthen community relations.

“Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, but Live Today.”

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During this crisis, the above line is less of a quote and can be considered more as a PR strategy.

  • Remember yesterday: There are many projects such as a product launch or a new program that were placed on the back burner. However, it is also essential to remember these past projects and create contingency PR plans.
  • Live today: Crisis communications states that one should always move and respond quickly. Similarly, it is essential always to be connected with your clients during this crisis, whether through online communications.
  • And remember: an absence of communication can result in your audience having ambiguities to understand certain things about the brand or product. A lack of proper and immediate communications can also lead to failures.
  • Dream about tomorrow: PR practitioners must also think about what will happen after the crisis is over. It is also essential to think about the future plans and projects as your competitors will still remain your competitors, but the battle will be more challenging compared to before as said by the rule of the jungle, only the strong can survive. Hence, PR experts can start creating future PR strategies and tactics.

Add the Human Touch

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According to a study, 70 % of online customers claimed that they trust the opinions of influencers. For example, many people rely on cultural icons to navigate through online platforms during the pandemic. A great example is how in South Korea, even during the pandemic, the K-pop industry has used the K-pop idols as leading influencers for perfecting their PR campaigns.

Always Monitor the News Cycles Closely

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It is not really a good idea for a PR organization to create messages without monitoring recent news. Thus, it is critical for PR practitioners to stay updated about current news and to always be active on social media platforms. By incorporating social listening, the public relations sector will be able to create impactful stories and pitches.

Show Support for the Community

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How many people are homeless or dying out of starvation during the pandemic?

During these tough times, one way to promote your company and at the same time do something good for the community is by providing help and support to the needy of the society.

What do you think about these PR strategies? If you have some other ideas, why don’t you share them with us in the comment section below?

E-commerce platforms offer unlimited opportunities for small to midsize businesses to increase sales, but they are also prime targets for cybercrime and online fraud, due to their lower probability of having robust online security in place to protect customers’ payment data. Unlike major corporations who enjoy the luxury of having their own in-house IT security providers or consultants, most small and midsize e-commerces are bootstrapping their businesses on limited budgets. To make matters worse, recent studies have shown that hackers are migrating to the new automation malware trend. By automating their threat software, cybercriminals can target large swaths of e-commerces rather than attacking them one at a time.

In this article, we will look at five steps you can take to secure your e-commerce website. Starting with a classic suggestion:

Promote Good Password Hygiene

While passwords are experiencing competition from technologies such as facial recognition and multifactor authentication (MFA), they’re still the standard access keys to most software. We need passwords for every service or website we log onto. For most users, it is common practice to use the same password for multiple services. The problem with this approach is that, once the reused usernames and passwords have been taken by hackers, they can be applied to various services, leading to widespread fraud.

If your sticking to passwords on your site for the time being, remember they should require a minimum number of characters (at least six, preferably eight to 10) and use numbers and symbols. It is also advisable to force users change their passwords regularly. And if you can afford it, look into investing in two-factor authentication (2FA) from users and customers. This can ensure that users don’t rehash potentially compromised credentials, and it goes a long way towards making sure that those requesting access are who they say they are.

Use HTTPS

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the online protocol for secure communications over the internet and one of the easiest ways to help secure your e-commerce website from fraud. Designated by a closed green lock icon on the browser address bar, HTTPS websites are deemed authentic and secure because they’re certified. This means the website really is what it’s claiming to be and not a counterfeit website placed online to fool users so that bad guys can grab access credentials, credit card data, and more.

To enable HTTPS, you will need to acquire a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. Receiving an SSL certificate is the first step, this now needs to be implemented carefully in your e-commerce solution. Certain web designing and hosting companies can handle this step for you.

The advantages of using HTTPS go beyond security and trustworthiness. Google gives secure HTTPS websites a higher search ranking, leading to more visitors. Conversely, Google also labels unencrypted websites as “not secure,” which makes them appear sketchy and unsafe. These days, there’s few faster ways to get a potential customer to skip your website than to not have HTTPS

Choose a Secure E-Commerce Platform

E-commerce platforms are usually picked for their storefront-building convenience, range of design, and functionality, but security features need to be top of mind, too. Look for proven e-commerce solutions that provide encrypted payment gateways, SSL certificates, and solid authentication protocols for sellers and buyers, like Linkeo Ltd.

Don’t Store Sensitive User Data

Consumer privacy is critical in e-commerce. Businesses need customer data to improve their communications and product offerings as well as make it easy to return purchases. The danger is that website hacking, phishing, and other cyberattacks target this user data.

The first rule is to only collect data that’s useful for the purposes of fulfilling the transaction. Businesses should avoid the temptation of collecting more customer data than is absolutely necessary. This applies specifically to customer credit card information. There’s no need to store them on online servers, which can be a violation of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which serves to enforce consumer data protection in the payment card industry.

Cybercriminals and hackers can’t steal what isn’t there, so keeping the valuable personal and financial information of your users should be kept secure and off of online servers. If you have to store certain data, then make sure it’s protected in a safe, online storage repository that observes best practices when it comes to keeping information safe. This should include having stringent access controls, regular audits, and, most importantly, total data encryption.

Maintain a Security-Focused Mindset

E-commerce security is never a one-and-done deal. Threats and hacking methodologies evolve at an alarming rate, and maintaining an awareness and a security-focused mindset is the necessary preventive method. Once your e-commerce website’s security has been compromised, it is often too late. All a business can do at that point is costly and embarrassing damage control.

The real challenge for all businesses is effectively implementing e-commerce authentication and security measures in a frictionless manner so the customer experience is not impacted—and then staying on top of evolving threats without breaking the budget on security.

If you want to know more about these issues, feel free to drop us a comment below and let us know what topics you would like us to cover.

As an e-commerce, it’s almost a given that the bulk of your clients will be making payments online. Ensuring you have a working knowledge of how the payment process works is therefore vital. In this article, we will therefore be looking at a few key topics, namely: how the online payment process works, which parties need to be involved, and how much it will cost to take online payments.

The Basics

In essence, online payments work in much the same way as face-to-face payments, with a few added steps. There are a minimum of six parties involved with all online payments. The first is obviously your customer, and the second is yourself.

The ‘middlemen’, as it were, include: A payment ‘gateway’, which is a piece of software that sits behind your online shop. The gateway handles the online transaction, and then securely sends your customer’s payment information to your payment processing company who, as the name implies, handles all payment processing on your behalf. In most cases this will be your bank, although there are numerous third-party that also offer this service. You will also need to deal with the payment network which the customer’s card is linked to, e.g. Visa or PayPal. This network acts as the go-between for the customer’s and your bank.

Let’s now look at a typical online payment journey:

  1. The customer enters their payment information (e.g. debit card or PayPal details) into an online checkout form, so they can pay for something.

  2. The payment gateway securely sends that data to the payment processing company.

  3. The payment processing company then sends that data to the card scheme.

  4. The card scheme checks with the customer’s bank to see if they have enough money to make the purchase, and that the card isn’t blocked.

  5. If the payment is accepted, the money is taken from the customer’s bank account and held by the merchant’s payment processing company.

  6. The payment gateway confirms the sale to both the customer and the merchant.

  7. At the end of each trading day, the payment processing company sends the money from all the merchant’s sales to their bank account.

  8. The money normally arrives in the merchant’s bank account within 2-3 working days.

  9. The payment processing company’s fees for each sale are added to the merchant statement and are billed at the end of the month. The merchant usually pays these fees by Direct Debit.

This last part leads us quite nicely to our next point:

What Charges are Involved in Online Payment Systems?

On top of costs for setting up your website (e.g. web development, web hosting, shopping cart software and plugins), you’ll also have fees for taking payments online. The cost of taking payments online depends on several factors, including: the volume of transactions, the kinds of transactions you’ll be processing, gateway fees, and the fees your payment processing company charges. The fees and considerations generally come under the following categories:

Contract length and type: The length and type of your contract can vary. Make sure you factor in both costs as well as contract length when you’re choosing a gateway supplier.

Set-up fees: Usually a flat, one-time fee to cover the costs of setting up a new merchant account.

Gateway fees: Usually a fixed, monthly fee; plus a per-transaction fee, which might be fixed or variable. These come from your gateway provider.

Transaction fees: Also known as ‘Merchant Service Charges’, these come from your payment processing company. Each time you take a payment, you get charged a small percentage of the payment’s value. These charges can vary depending on the type of transaction (e.g. debit cards generally cost less to process than credit cards) and the volumes of transactions (higher volumes can get you cheaper rates). Transaction fees normally cover the ‘interchange fee’ that an acquirer pays for using the payment scheme’s network. You’ll also be charged a transaction fee for each refund.

Other fees: May include fees for things like: disputed cardholder transactions (also known as a chargeback), security fees, or early cancellation fees and solution modules (such as extra fraud checkers)

We hope the information in this article has proven useful in helping you understand the basics of online payment processing and what it means for your business. Here at Linkeo Ltd, we can assist you with setting up robust and easy-to-navigate payment portals as part of our web-building and hosting services. Feel free to get in touch if you have any further queries. And if you have anything you’d like to share, feel free to leave us a comment below.

Hello one and all, welcome to part three of our ongoing series on advertising your online platform. We’ve already covered content marketing and influencer marketing in previous articles, and this time, our friendly experts at Linkeo Ltd. will be covering the basics of a few techniques.

How to Promote a New Online Store with Email Marketing

Analysts have noted that email marketing generates a higher ROI than any other acquisition channel, since the algorithms that power social media, Facebook and Google have resulted in an ever-rising cost of doing business and reaching customers for online retailers. Email allows retailers to intimately connect with and address their most loyal customers while enabling budding startups to develop armies of influencers. Something all experts advise is to focus on your database. Emails are the only thing without an algorithm at play.

Even if you don’t focus on social media marketing alongside email marketing, you can start building your email list on day one. Building a database of emails is as simple as including an email subscriptions form somewhere on your website. Capturing the contact information of your earliest visitors lets you engage with those visitors over time and leverage that engagement to drive conversions. It’s a great way to maximize value on a sustainable basis.

How to Promote a New Online Store on Social Media

Right from the beginning, it’s important to go live with your social media marketing efforts. This includes building a following and also making sure you have a presence on all major global platforms. The genius behind social media marketing is that it is designed to spread ideas and news like wildfire. As a result, it should be one of the first channels for new companies to get exposure and bring traffic to their stores.

And while it’s possible to grow your social following organically, you may also want to consider running paid ads.

Tips for Succeeding with Paid Ads on Social Media Channels

Below is a curated selection of tips for succeeding with paid ads on social media.

  • The key to social media advertising is the accuracy of your demographic targeting. You can use interests, hobbies, followed pages, ages, job titles, etc. to get incredibly granular with who you show your ads to.
  • Create an engaging video that educates or entertains your audience. This will allow you to get a gauge for your potential strongest supporters.
  • Retarget the portion of the audience who watched the video past the halfway mark with a promo ad.
  • Retarget the users who didn’t make a purchase with a special offer. Make them enter their email addresses to claim the offer.
  • Send out an email blast towards the end of the campaign with a follow-up message that sends out a separate promo built around social proof and an emotion-tugging CTA.

Even if you don’t hit your sales target after the campaign, you will have developed long-term content resources and generated an email list of interested users to target again in the future.”

However, you may need different approaches for organic and paid social campaigns. For instance, most customers will treat your social media feed like a brochure, going through your wide range of options before inquiring or going to your site. The content for this purpose is very much traditionally styled shoots and flat lays.

However, for paid acquisition campaigns, the content needs to be much more emotive. Re-marketing content, including video and stills, must be more focused on conversion messages regarding your unique selling propositions.

So Which Promotion Tactic Should You Choose?

After exploring the many options presented in our last three articles, you should now hopefully have tons of ideas for new ways to promote your online store. But where should you start?

Building your email list is a great place to start because you can do it on a tight budget, and you can use the email addresses you gather in every other campaign you run in the future.

Plus, email marketing is effective no matter what you’re selling. And that’s key because the best way to promote a new store really depends on your audience and your product—more specifically the cost.

On a budget, we recommend influencers, blogging, and email. Once you’ve hit comfortable numbers and you have the funds to really invest, the best long-term strategy will be dialing into advertising profitability.

Welcome back to our series on advertising your online platform. Our first look was at Content Marketing, where we explored the benefits of creating blog posts and other content to raise awareness for your e-shop. This article looks at a second marketing technique that might help you connect with the younger crowds.

How to Promote a New Online Store with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful ways to promote a new online store, according to the experts at Linkeo Ltd. The best part of influencer marketing is that it’s easy and inexpensive to get started. All you need to do is identify relevant influencers and send them your product to test and review.

Sending your products to influencers leads to two big benefits. First, it helps you gain exposure through the influencer’s audience. Second, it acts as quality assurance for consumers who like to study reviews before making a purchase – as most people do.

This second point is key. In order to start producing online revenue, the most important thing is to build trust with your audience. Having a relevant influencer promote your product not only increases your traffic, but it also helps you start to build a relationship of trust with your audience.

However, when it comes to influencer marketing, bigger isn’t always better. Don’t work with influencers with millions of followers right from the get-go. Start small, with what certain market analysts like to call macro-influencers—those who have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers—in your niche. Make sure their followers are engaged and correspond to your target audience.

Then, build a relationship with the influencer and start building and promoting content together. After that, analyze your campaigns and optimize. Remember, sending your product to a few Instagram influencers isn’t going to be enough. There are three things all successful entrepreneurs do that make their influencer collaborations successful:

  • They have a great product that was unique and new in the market. Influencers were excited to try it out.
  • They emphasize the need for ‘real’ responses from these influencers. All they asked for was feedback and a share on their Instagram page if the product resonates, which it hopefully will. This shows a trend away from ‘polished’ influencer posts and towards a more authentic sharing of our experience with a product.”
  • They combine their influencer campaigns with a customer-focused, user-generated content campaign, leveraging the same hashtags and style for the imagery. This ramps up the believability of the influencer posts.

So, what’s the actionable takeaway? In a nutshell, don’t just aimlessly send out products to influencers and expect to go viral. Focus on those who have influence over your narrow customer group, emphasize the ‘one thing’ that you do better than anyone else, and make the whole experience believable by backing the quality of your product.

How To Choose Influencers to Partner With?

While this in itself will be a subject for a later article in our overarching series on digital marketing and building an effective online presence, there are a few tips we can share about how to choose the right social media influencer for your purposes. The biggest one being: Do your research. Remember that these influencers are individuals, not faceless corporations with PR gurus on speed-dial. Review their existing content to see if they have ever produced content that might affect your own image. Also, check how they interact with their community – do you have a similar approach to your own customers?

Influencer marketing can be an effective method of building a buzz around your products, and also provides you with a relatively constant customer base. We hope the information in this, and future posts will help you harness the power of these techniques to grow your business. Be sure to check back for part 3, where we will look at more methods of online advertising.

I read a statistic recently that said 90 percent of new online businesses fail in the first four months. Four months! The reasons for this? There are many. Having spoken to the experts at Linkeo Ltd recently, here are the top 7 reasons people seem to fail at starting their own online business, and how you can overcome each one.

Lack of commitment

You talk about how much you want to start your own business with your family or friends, but you never really commit to getting started. You keep waiting for the ‘right time’ or continue to ‘think about it’ without ever getting started. The solution to this one is quite simple: decide to do it and commit to doing it.

Poor planning

You finally get started but you didn’t plan well enough for the financial, emotional, mental and physical implications. You didn’t save enough money, you didn’t do enough research. As a result, you run out of money and ideas very quickly with no plan of how to get yourself back on track. Dealing with this issue boils down to planning ahead and doing your research. Connect with other entrepreneurs in the same field and ask them for advice.

Lack of action

You simply don’t take enough (or any) action. Or if you do, because you’re new at business your actions aren’t properly aligned to your business so you waste a lot of time. What you should be doing is taking consistent action that is aligned with your business. Who is your ideal client? Where can you find them? What problem are you trying to solve for them? How can you monetize what you are doing?

Not having an idea who you are marketing to

Feeding off the point about lack of action, if you don’t know who your target clients are, or where to find them, setting up a shiny new website, Facebook page and business cards won’t solve your complete baffled as to why new customers aren’t queuing up out the door (so to speak)). Solving this issue is not that complicated however. You simply need to get clear on who you want to help before you do anything else. Choose your audience, research it and promote yourself accordingly.

No Marketing Skills

If you have no idea about copy, SEO or sales, no matter how fantastic you are at what you do, you won’t be able to sell yourself, and you’ll get very little business. So either learn sales, or partner with people who do. You’ll soon find that marketing and promotions will attract clients to you. Sales is all about matching their problem with a solution. Your solution.

Trying to do it all alone

You decide not to enlist the help of professionals and instead try to figure out everything on your own. You spend hours each week on non-money making tasks, such as fixing annoying tech issues with your website or mailing list. You end up scared, overwhelmed and lost, and frustrated at your lack of results. Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice and support with anything you are struggling with. Sure, money can be tight when you’re in your first year of business, but you can still shop around. Just get started with some sort of support and upgrade things as you can afford to.

Comparison to others

Looking at what everyone else is doing and getting overwhelmed by their results can spell new online business disaster. Comparison crushes your creativity and feeds self-doubt, worry and concern. In the words of that famous Disney song, let it go. Avoid getting caught up in the hype of others peoples success and results. Everyone is on their own path, stay focused on your own journey and keep yourself moving forward step by step.

Being an entrepreneur is tough, mentally and emotionally, especially when the results in the first year are often inconsistent. But you can do it. Learn from your mistakes, try new approaches, and most importantly keep showing up. Sometimes obstacles can slow your progress (sometimes a whole lot at once can really throw you off track) but you’ve just got to deal with each one as it arises, keep coming back and showing up. You can do it. You can make your new online business a success.

As we all know, there are numerous ways that you can spend time and effort trying to promote and grow your online business. However, for more small e-commerces, trying out every method at the same time is a guaranteed waste of resources. After all, it’s hard to do anything really well when you’ve spread yourself too thin.

Instead, you should pick a few methods to focus on at the beginning, then gradually work your way down the list, eliminating the methods that aren’t producing results, and finessing the ones that are proving to drive your sales figures. The question is, where should you start?

In this series of articles, we’ll be exploring various means of promoting an online store, as recommended by the experts at Linkeo Ltd., starting with:

How to Promote a New Online Store with Content Marketing

When it comes to online store success stories, you’ll find that content marketing has the biggest impact, since it gives you the chance to explain what sets you apart from your competition. Also publishing regularly builds a body of content that fuels a stronger social media presence as well. How? Well, producing free, valuable content creates trust in your brand, keeps people informed, and helps you rank in search engines. You’ll see the power of content marketing via social shares, increased visibility in search engines, and increased traffic.

Here are a few tactics you should start with:

Publish More Than Just Blog Posts

While running a blog is one of the best ways to create a loyal fanbase and build your brand awareness, you can and should take it further. Consider producing and giving away valuable and in-depth content pieces like e-books and courses. Another underrated, yet valuable promotion mediums is to create high-quality video content that shows what a certain product does and how it benefits its users. And once you’ve published the video, promote it heavily on social media.

Don’t Neglect SEO

Combining content marketing and SEO is particularly effective when you’re marketing a product that has high search volume for generic terms (e.g. “wedding invitations”).

Here are a few strategies with a proven track record of driving traffic with content and SEO:

Foundational Content: Many customers that come to your site are in the very early stages of the buying process and may need further education on the product or how to use it. Having good foundational content will lead to better time on site and better engagement is one of the signals used by search engines to validate keyword accuracy.

Remarketing: This works like a charm if you have a blog that is geared towards the early-stage researcher. When someone visits your blog, you can track them using remarketing cookies, then serve specific content and messages to them over the following weeks as they browse the web and social. Remarketing is much cheaper than buying the acquisition and offers a return on investment to a factor of 8 – 15 times more.

Outreach: Outreach using content marketing is all about creating brand awareness. If we take the wedding card example from before, contact all the major wedding blogs and magazines with fresh content you’ve produced. Often, sending unsolicited content works, but at other times you need to go further. For example, if you’re contacting a major outlet, you may need to tailor your content to their creative direction.

Rich Snippets: Rich snippets allow search engines to better understand what information is contained on each web page. However, many miss the content marketing opportunity of using snippets. You need to include a clear, concise description of a product, not a keyword-laden signal to the search engines.

Consider Paid Search for Short-Term Growth

It’s important to remember that while the tips above are proven to work, they are still medium to long-term solutions. You still need to create that initial boost, which is where paid advertising comes in. Consider getting Google Ads—Google Shopping ads and some display/video branding ads—set up for the new store immediately to help get the new business name out there.

Then, have these running while implementing ongoing SEO. This strategy will draw attention straight away while also laying the foundations for long-term organic growth. The added benefit of PPC advertising through search engines is that you can choose what specific keywords your ads—and therefore your content—display for.

We hope the information in this article has proven useful to you developing a marketing strategy for your new online store. Be sure to check back soon for the second part of this series.

User experience online is very similar to the user experience you get when going to a grocery store. You want a pleasant time without any hassle. You want to be able to navigate the store quickly, get what you need right away, head to the checkout line without a wait, and get back home.

It may seem a bit corny to think of UX design in terms of going to your local grocery store, but the experiences are similar. Our customers are visitors to the sites we create, and the groceries are the content in which they came to the site for. For those of us who go to the store, it’s easy for us to pinpoint things that irritate us or think should be improved. However, when it comes to our own designs and user interfaces and the creation of them, we may not be able to point out these irritants ahead of time before users do.

At Linkeo Ltd, we fix this by taking a step back and look for these weak points in our design, so that we don’t cause clients unnecessary frustration and keep visitors on our site so they can get to the content they were looking for.

Here are a few tips to follow:

DO: Provide a similar experience regardless of the device

Visitors are coming to your site using many different types of devices. They can visit your site on their desktop or laptop, tablet, phone, music player, game console, or even their watches. A big part of user experience design is ensuring that no matter how the visitor sees your site, they are getting the same experience they would if they were to visit from another device. A seamless experience across all of your devices helps keep your users on your site regardless of the device they are using.

DO: Provide instantly recognizable and easy-to-use navigation

The key to providing a pleasant user experience for users is to understand that they are in search of content. Provide a user-friendly navigation system that is easy to recognize and easy to use. Design your navigation in a way that gets visitors where they want to go with the least amount of clicks as possible while still being easy to scan and locate where they need to go.

DO: Make the most important thing on the screen the focal point

Users are more likely to quickly scan the screen than they are to read everything there. Therefore, if a visitor or user wants to find content or complete a task, they are going to scan until they find where they need to go. You can help them along by designing where they eyes should focus first, second, etc. (also known as visual hierarchy). Make the important things such as screen titles, login forms, navigation items, or other important content a focal point so visitors see it right away.

DO: Let the user control their browsing experience

When you design a website or user interface, you want to let the user control their browsing and movement through the site or application. It’s been known that things such as auto-play videos, taking away a user’s ability to scroll, music or sounds in the background, and opening links in new tabs/windows irritate users. These elements should be used sparingly and only when appropriate and expected.

DON’T: Letting the design of the site hinder the site’s readability

The design of a site or user interface should never interfere with the user’s ability to consume the content on the screen. This includes having busy backgrounds behind content or poor colour schemes that hinder the site’s readability. Focus on the typography of your site to ensure issues such as line length, line height, kerning, and font choice doesn’t pose issues for readability.

DON’T: Hindering a visitor’s ability to scan the screen

As I mentioned above, users and visitors alike often scan the screen quickly before settling in to read any one particular thing with focus. Users often scan for visual cues such as headings, pictures, buttons, and blocks to know where they should focus their attention. Using appropriate headings that are easily seen, pictures to illustrate points, buttons for navigation, and blocks of content that are unique or important help users scan the screen to find what they need.

DON’T: Fill the screen with non-related content

Going back to the grocery store example, if I’m looking for flour and sugar to bake with, I want to be able to go directly to the baking aisle and find those specific things. Users of your site or interface feel the same way. They want the content they came for without any other interference or distractions. If they are shopping for a t-shirt on your site’s store, they don’t want to see ads or recommendations to buy a new phone.

DON’T: Have several things compete for attention

Much like not filling your site with unrelated content, designing elements that have to fight for attention can also cause confusion and some nervousness in your users unnecessarily. Using visual hierarchy to design the user’s flow around the screen reduces the competitive feeling of different elements. Also, not having things pop up at users (i.e. modal boxes) and other things they have to close out to read your content keeps the focus on the content.

Conclusion

Standing back to take an honest look at your site’s user experience will help greatly reduce any possible frustrations or aggravations users may experience while looking through your site or application to find content or complete a task. With these do’s and don’ts, you can help your visitors out and provide a great user experience.

E-commerce has revolutionised the business world, with a lot of small businesses positively influenced by these changes. With the increased availability and accessibility of creating and implementing an e-commerce platform, large companies are no longer the only ones to enjoy the benefits of selling products online. Small businesses have found success online and these companies have been able to grow beyond their expectations. This article aims to show you how, with the help of the experts at Linkeo Ltd, you too can reap the rewards of an online sales platform.

Attracting a Larger Customer Base

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of e-commerce is how it expands your customer base. If you are a small brick-and-mortar store, you can’t really expect to generate customer numbers beyond what is locally possible. On the other hand, when you set up an e-commerce site, your customers are not bound by geography. You can sell to customers around the world. Even if you don’t want to get started with international shipping, you’ll still be able to sell to a broader audience within your country. The benefit for a small business comes from how the increased amount of sales is generated with little to no additional overhead cost.

Access to Commercial Platforms

In order to enjoy growth in sales, small businesses naturally have to be able to get the word out. You need to ensure the customer base is able to find you and your products online. When your business is small, your website might not always be attractive enough to generate enough visitors. But e-commerce doesn’t just happen on single websites – there are plenty of commercial platforms that are open to all, no matter what the size of the business, like Amazon or Etsy. Small businesses can also be on a level playing field on different shopping portals aimed at helping customers to save money.

Free or Cheaper Promotion

As a follow-on to the above point, e-commerce and the Internet have helped provide free or cheaper promotional options for small businesses. Traditional marketing costs always have small businesses at a disadvantage. The cost of advertising in the newspaper or TV has continued to increase and physical advertising elsewhere can cost thousands. The Internet, on the other hand, provides tons of routes on a much more level playing field.

If your business is not yet promoting itself on social media, then you need to get started immediately. Regular posting on sites like Twitter and Instagram can help drive up sales. The great thing about marketing online is how you can use the power of social media and get your customers to advertise for you. If you can get them to post about your business, you reach more people and you didn’t even have to do anything beyond providing a great service and product.

Not to mention how much easier it is to customise the marketing to suit your customers. If you have a wide customer base, you don’t need that one single ad to suit all – you can use different platforms and marketing methods to reach different segments and ensure your promotional material is always appealing to the person in question.

Better and More Personalised Service

E-commerce has also helped drive sales because of the customisation opportunities. This is especially good for small businesses. As you learn about your customers, you can start offering more personalised solutions. Customers of the modern era love to tweak their products and buy something that isn’t available for everyone else – uniqueness and personality are the big words of the decade, if not century.

Easier Way to Shop and Sell

Overall, e-commerce has made the process a lot easier. Not only can it be easier for you to sell as a small business online, but the customer also benefits from the simplicity and ease of shopping this way. The simplicity can help your small business, as customers tend to look for things online before venturing out in the shops. Therefore, if you can provide a niche service, the customer is likely to opt for the ease of online shopping instead of looking around.

If your business is not yet part of the e-commerce revolution, then hopefully the above points will convince you to join up. You’ll experience higher sales and improved growth as a result. Let us know if you have more questions in the comments below.

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