Oct 8, 2009

I am NOT Facebook...I swear!

Like most people these days I have a facebook page. I had a strange thing happen recently and I thought it may happen to someone else, so I'm sharing.


View it Here.com - Ring Guards and Ring Wraps
View it Here.com - Ring Guards and Ring Wraps
Promote Your Page Too



Over a course of a month I received a whole lot of phone calls (and posts on the discussion) from people who had issues with FaceBook. At first, I admit - it was kind of funny. People were calling and contacting me asking to grant them access to their accounts, complaining about being harassed, asking to block users (and some of the stories made me bust a gut). However, it wasn't so funny after a month so I had to investigate further.

I started really questioning people where they found our contact information. How were they "searching" for it. What search engine, what links? I took some creative questioning but I found out some interesting things and finally solved my problem!!

People were going to Yahoo Answers and searching "Facebook Contact Information". The returned search was to:

FaceBook | Contact Information


What this means is the "answer" Yahoo gave was on FaceBook - which happened to have a page titled "Contact Information" within one of it's page profiles (my profile).

People did not read the information in that Thread or they just scanned it for a phone number. The thread clearly states what company the page promotes, and when they call our answering box states our company name. Still....the messages came, and came.

I deleted the whole thread and made a new threat titled "Viewithere.com Contact". Problem solved! Now yahoo answers will find the page:

FaceBook | ViewitHere.com Contact


Not a single FB related call since. There are some interesting people on Facebook - I think I know why they do not make their contact information available. *L*

:)

Sep 17, 2009

youtube channel...another great marketing tool

I've had a video on youtube for 3 years now (Since Sept. 19th 2006) and even I can't believe it took me this long to realize I wasn't using it to it's fullest.

I've blogged before about using youtube for marketing and how important it is to understand youtubes insights, but I never even thought about the importance of the video channel! You know...I kicked myself when I saw how easy it was and realized how long I could have been benefiting from it! How easy?

  • Just go to your account settings and click on "profile setup"
Enter your Website Description, Url and any other info you wish to share on your public channel


  • Go to the "My account" tab and click on "my channel"
Here you can add even more information on your site/product.
On the "Channel Info" tab add a search friendly title, more description of your site or product, and keywords for search. You can click on the "channel design" tab to set colors or background images (or add or remove channel features). Organize the videos you want to show on your public channel and get ready to promote it! I set mine up in a few minutes - http://www.youtube.com/viewithere - actually, it took me longer to write this blog then it did to set up my youtube channel.

:)

Aug 22, 2009

Your Best Marketing Tool --> Customers

Here are a few recent examples of why:

Hello Frances,

I received my package today and put on the ring guards. This is one of the most clever, effective products I've used. I would love to write a review for you if you have such a thing. I think both your customer service and your product are exceptional, and would be happy to tell others about my very positive experience. I plan to take these in to my jeweler to see if he might like to sell these. I am wildly impressed.
A very satisfied customer,

Lisa




Hello Frances,

Thank you so much for the information! I really appreciate knowing that they are on their way. Your customer service is amazing. I can't believe how quickly you responded to my request. THANK YOU!! I am greatly impressed.

Have a great weekend,
Lisa



Many thanks for the shipment of ring guards I received this morning-
I am more than pleased with the super products & also super fast service.
I will be more than happy to recommend you to anyone who needs your products.

Sincerely
Tom Russell.



I am so delighted with my ring guards that I am purchasing more for myself and others. I am a half size and many rings I love only come in whole sizes. Your ring guards are perfect – no one even notices them!

My package was shipped securely, well-wrapped and protected, and fit in my locked mailbox! How perfect! You are also much less expensive than my jeweler for the exact same thing. Plus, for putting the ring guard on -- something I can put on myself -- the charges are outrageous!

Thank you for being so honest, for offering a quality product, and for great customer service. You rock! I will check your site often to find great things at great prices!

Sincerely,
Carol Whetstone
Author:
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/All-for-Him/Carol-Whetstone/e/9780595449279/?itm=1



I just received the adjusters (small, medium, large mix) in white gold that my son ordered for me. I just wanted to let you know that I just love it! The only problem we had was that the smallest one you make wasn't small enough for my size 3.5 ring. Other than that, great product!

Thank you!
Cyndi



Hi Frances

I just thought I'd let you know I received the goods today which is fabulous.

I have just completed a fairly extreme weight loss course and I know many other women on the course who have trouble finding these ring adjusters - most of the ones available in the UK are plastic and don't work well.

I am very pleased with the adjusters and If you would like to send me a few leaflets/business cards I am happy to ask if we can display them at the center.

Kind regards
Isabel



No worries there. When I ordered my first one years ago, I bookmarked your page because I didn't want to lose it. I have a lot of friends on Weight Watchers and have spread your name multiple times when they find their jewelry is too large. Your products are great and I guarantee you will get all my recommendations!!!
Kim


Jun 19, 2009

Four ways you lose me

It's a fact that you can use twitter for marketing your product. I, myself, have bought an item from someone who I found during a twitter search. I was searching for "paypal alternatives", they happened to have made a post about paypal. Long story short - I saw her website, liked her product and bought one (using paypal). Enough "twits" have lost my interest lately, for stupid things, I just had to rant.

  • Follow to Unfollow

Sometimes it takes me awhile to process the information on your service. I like to research things, compare, then make a decision - nothing loses my attention more then when someone "follows" and then "unfollows" me just as fast. In the last week I have "tweeted" about my interest in a new web merchant service. A few tweeters who offered (or was affiliated with) this services started following me - and I was actually interested in their info. However, when I went back to find their "twitter name" I saw they had "unfollowed" me within 24 hrs. HUH - well I guess they weren't really interested in my business. It felt....rude. I know who they are and I refuse to entertain their service now. Nor will I recommend them.
  • Auto Direct messaging

I hate when someone acts like they are soooo interested in you. They ask what you do. OK listen, if you were interested in me - well you would have checked out my twitter page. It tells you right there in my bio what I do. HUH Don't act like you want to know if you can't take the second to look at my page. People who respond with my name really impress me - they took the time. I want to be their friend :)

My favorite auto DM was when I followed someone to message them that they were infringing on my image copy rights. I wanted them to immediately to cease and desist before I took legal action. It knocked my socks off why they auto DM'd me "Thank you for following, we appreciate your interest in us and look forward to your business" Are you kidding me?

  • Empty Twitter profiles

I actually check out peoples twitter pages, their blogs too. I enjoy reading others opinions. I'm all for information sharing and learning. I even read the things I don't agree with - just to try to understand. If you have nothing to say I don't want to follow your page. So those using twitter to spam or fill space it feels like an insult. I don't feel like buying anything from someone who insulted me! Sometimes I don't know what your selling even - I don't get it.

  • Fake sharing

This one irks me the most. Someone sends me an interesting tweet. I get excited about how freely they want to share information. Maybe it's from someone who I have some experience to offer back - freely! I follow the link only to find out you want me to buy it! I mean, that's like someone offering you their seat on the bus and then demanding a quarter for it. Offer me something of value will you! Then let me decide if I want to trust your opinions enough to pay for your information. And NO I'm not comfortable "just" providing my email - thanks anyways. I'm on to you.

Jun 17, 2009

Video Insights

I've noticed a positive development this last week - thanks to youtube insights. What did I noticed? The video, embedded on my website, is slowing going down in the percentage of total views.

Your video viewership from your website is going down? And that's a good thing? Let me explain...



Out of the 100% of my videos viewers only 68% were from people viewing it directly on my site. That means a WHOPPING 32% of views came from people who did not even know my website existed! And never visited (yet).

If you looked at the graph above the 32% breaks down as follows;
  • Google Search 8.0% (youtube insights even reports on the keywords that were used to find your video).
  • External Links 8.0% (this includes sites such as twitter, yahoo, bing, blogs, icq search etc.)
  • youtube and related 12 % total
  • Viral 3.6 % (this is when your video link is shared by email and instant messaging).

From the 32% above more than 20% is from some form of social networking. So yes I think it is a very positive development when my web sites percentage of total views is falling. NOT to be confused with the videos traffic declining.

;)




Wake up and smell the...social networking?

click on image to make it larger


I was "catching up" on my friends facebook pages and saw a perfect example of the powers of social networking for those companies who still wonder what it is. I found myself thinking that maybe I'll try this coffee too! 2 of my friends say it's great...I never heard of it before but I TRUST their opinions. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to figure out how to get them to talk about YOUR product.

  • Provide a quality product
  • Provide great customer experience
  • Understand your customers

Jun 6, 2009

"bing - bong" is that opportunity ringing the bell?


I have been hearing (or rather reading) a lot about MSN's re-vamp of it's re-branded search engine "Bing". A lot of what is being said is that Bing can not possibly give Google any grief -as people are loyal to Google and have been for years.

So? If you have been online for the past few years you'll notice many sites popping up and dominating their goals....look at twitter. I'm sure facebook did not foresee the ruckus they would cause.

I hope bing survives - hell I hope it does well! Nothing wrong with a little more competition - it keeps the other guys honest (and keeps their prices down in PPCs).

What do I like about Bing?

  • I love the image search on Bing - all images load into one frame so no clicking to the next page. You can choose the size of image you want to search even (weeds out the small icon-ish images). I found a new copy right infingement of my images that google missed (as the page is not linked to the sites main index).
  • I love the pop up window in search - it scans the site - gives you 2 paragraphs of content - contact info and an idea of what other pages the site has - too kewl. No more clicking to open new windows or tabs (or back peddling to the search page). I Like it!
  • I like that the 3D map program actually runs on my laptop (never could get google earth to work).
  • I even like the daily background images Bing uses on it's main search page. I have heard rumors that you can find easter eggs if you mouse around (I never found any - yet).
I also love that BING.COM now shows up as #10 in my top 10 traffic sources in google analytics a week after the official launch.

Facebook and digg pull their ads from MSN...with the growth in social networking there may be an opportunity to getting higher search volumes (thinking with my ppc cap now). Go Bing GO....or should I say "BING-GO"

:)

May 21, 2009

The Positive of Negative Keywords

Nothing feels worse then paying for traffic...except paying for traffic that you don't want!

Google recently upgraded their AdWords interface and thanks to a recent tweet @jordanlebaron,
"http://twitpic.com/5ks6i - Just figured out I can see raw queries in the new #adwords interface: Campaigns > Keywords > "See search term..."
I was impressed with the importance of this new feature. "Raw queries" are what a searcher actually typed into the search engine which resulted in triggering an ad for one of your keyword bids. Phew, long sentence.


Not only is it interesting (and gives you ideas of content to add to a site) it is important in locating "Negative keywords". Negative keywords can be set for your ad group. They are keywords or phrases that you do not want your ad triggered in the search results. I assure you I have no nipple ring pictures on my site, nor am I really all that interested in my ad showing in the search results. I don't consider it "targeted traffic" and I don't want to pay for it :P

You try to save money where you can! Every little bit counts. If you want even more details then what googles raw queries tell you I found this great post on www.wpromote.com
What they recommend is to employ what they call the “Google Analytics Raw Query Hack”. It is easy, non-technical and completely free! Check out their site for more info on how.

:)

May 18, 2009

Improving your CTR made easy

There are so many things you have to do on a daily basis to succeed with your online business. One of these things is constantly trying to reach - in increasing numbers - the right audience.

If you know your conversion rate is 15% (15 out of 100 targeted visitors purchase) and you know you'll make an average of $150 profit per 100 visitors then of course the laws of averages says "if you had 1000000 viewers you'd be rolling in money!" So... the constant struggle with increasing targeted traffic to your site is a daily ritual.

If you're using Google AdWords one of the things you can do is improve your CTR (click - through - rate)! Also, as an added bonus, Google will charge you less cpc (cost per click) since SO MANY PEOPLE click through your ad! Another reason I love google :) I think they should hire me for praising them so much!

High CTR means more attention from "keyword targeted" searchers. When you capture "targeted" traffic you will notice much better conversion rates. With 1,000,000s of sites out there you must catch the searchers attention better then any one else!

Luckily it's easier to do then you may think (if you are using Google AdWords).

Split ads in a campaign: In your Google account you can make different "ads" within a campaigns "Ad Group". Google will alternate the ads (directing them to the same landing page, the same keywords and using the same budget), while tracking the number of impressions and the number of clicks. You can test different ads to see which results in the highest % of click through rates. Of course some ads will result in lower CTRs (always a pain - but better off knowing I guess).

  • Test Headlines: Each ad headline can use a max of 25 characters. If you have the actually keyword in the title it will be highlighted in BOLD on the Google results page. People are drawn to bold - and if it matches exactly what was typed in the search engine they are more likely to click through. You can use Googles auto headline - which will put the keyword in your title for you - but it is often found to be less targeted traffic and may not convert as well (in my opinion). Try seasonal headlines, mark events, align your product with what's happening now - the idea is to keep testing - get rid of those that don't perform.
  • Test Content: In Google AdWords you have 2 description lines and each only allows for 35 characters max (and tweeters find 140 tough!). This is where you speak to your potential customera -use it wisely! It's not as easy as writting a 70 character (includes spaces remember) sentence. Being forced into using 2 lines may split a word right in half! or worse...waste character spaces! Don't use words like "best" "guaranteed" "in business for x yrs" WASTED CHARACTERS!!! Use your website for that info (too bad not everyone knows computer shorthand ;P) In fact - I'd be as bold as to say do not list any features at all....go 100% benefit (or at least test it out)!
  • Test display URLs: If your landing page URL is long then this is a great feature. You can create any URL in this space (it allows for 35 characters). Make it easy for people to remember. If your URL is long shorten it :)

www.thebesteverurlonline.com/index.php/nowthisdomainwillbesold.html

TheBestEverUrlOnline.com/Sold

Much easier to read no? Notice the capitalization?. You get 1024 characters for your actual destination url (although nobody sees it on the google ad) be sure to always use the actual landing page URL.

Keep an eye on the number of impressions vs the number of clicks. Test Test Test - in with the good - out with the bad. Improving your" click-through-rate" will be one of the easier tasks of your day if you're using Google AdWords.

<3

May 16, 2009

Arm yourself with knowledge of search trends

It's been about a month since I last wrote here. Life has a way of changing direction at any given time. I'm happy to say even if I am not writing - I am doing!

I found some interesting tools to tell you about. I may have touched on them previously but as always on the internet - things just keep getting better!

More reasons to love Google straight from their labs.

  • Google Trends : Here you can compare the search "trend" (popularity) of up to 5 terms since 2004! For example - compare what sport is popular with searchers "golf, tennis, hockey, baseball, basketball".

Interesting no? Looks like "Golf" (even though it has about the same news coverage) is the sport of choice for internet searchers. May be a good target field to conduct business with :) As a marketer I am interested in the trend of say - my top 5 keywords.

Google Trends also tells you what country and city has the highest search volumes for EACH of those keywords. WoW! Talk about being able to "target" regionally. (Google AdWords even has a way to target your ads by region). A wise marketer would use this info ;)

  • Google Insights for Search: While Google Insights for Search and Google Trends use the same data, Insights for Search is geared towards researchers or advertisers who may find some of its advanced reports more useful.

It's great to know what the present top search terms for golf websites are - but it's even better to know the "Rising Searches". Especially if your site is looking to "Break into" a new search volume before the bids on the keyword term gets too high. Just another tool any wise marketer should use ;)

Make the best of your Google Adwords campaign by arming yourself with knowledge of the search trends for YOUR product.



I LOVE Google.

Yes - I will admit. I love Google (I feel as if I should stand as I say it "My name is Frances and I am a Google lover").

Sorry Yahoo.
I tried to make friendly with you - but I found you to be a bit lacking in personality. You don't seem to "know" even a third of the people Google does - and it's all about relationships. You're not clear when communicating with - and you hardly share anything interesting. You may HAVE interesting things to say but...I never seem to hear about it. I have been listening - asking around - no one says much about Yahoo (Other then it's number 2 and Google themselves wants to be their friend). Yes I do have a Yahoo Account too - in case you're wondering.

:)

Apr 25, 2009

Can't paypal and google just get along?

Like anyone I want to be able to track my conversions based on goals I set out. My goal is for people to reach a "thank you for ordering page" right after they submit payment. Simple no? If they reach this page my google analytics "goals" should count that as a conversion.

Google is so off from the sales registered in my paypal account that it's not even funny! I mean huge off. So far, if I believed google, I had 1300 viewers follow through my "funnel" to the purchase page. Google then tells me only 3 people ended the cycle on the thank you page.

Paypal of course tells the real story - the truth is in the bank - as they say. So why isn't paypal bringing people to my thank you page after submiting their order like I asked them to (actually they offered in the button customizations).

  • Why is google obviously counting people who "checkout" as "exits" (from my site to paypal BEFORE the sale).
  • Why is it that I can only customize the header image and background color in paypal buttons?
  • Why can't I put my google tracking code on the paypal payment page...(hmmmmm)?

I could just pull a Bobby McFerrin "...naaa na na na nananaaa dont worry...nannanaaaaaa...be happy" but I really would like to take advantage of googles other tools like "website optimization" where I can create test pages. Find out what converts best - how best to present my Ring Guards to my customers - lots of neat stuff.

If you know I'd love to know.

:)

Apr 23, 2009

Make sure your full message gets across

Awhile back I decided to add a "how to video" to my Ring Guard site to help customers with our product. It was a short video and I decided to use youtube and embed it on my site. There were many reasons why I went with youtube at the time.

  • Youtube offered an easy way to upload my edited video
  • It generated the code to embed the video on my site automatically
  • It tracked the number of viewers so I could easily see if my customers were watching it
  • It also submitted my video to a popular social media tool
  • It was FREE

Youtube also generates insight reports (I've mentioned them before). Wonderful reports full of information that anyone marketing their product wants to know. My favorite insight is "Hot Spots".



This report (to quote youtube) shows you

  • The ups-and-downs of viewership at each moment in your video, compared to videos of similar length.
  • The higher the graph, the hotter your video: fewer viewers are leaving your video and they may also be rewinding to watch that point in the video again.
  • Audience attention score is an overall measure of your video's ability to retain its audience's attention, compared to videos of a similar length.
Your video plays side by side as the graph shows you at which point you're losing viewership. It offers you a chance to edit your video to keep the graph in the "Hot Spot".

Make sure your full message gets across and help people make the decision to purchase.

P.S There is even insights into how much of a "viral" effect your video produces. Don't you love it?

:)

Apr 20, 2009

What Social Networking means for my business...

I've been reading up on tweets lately. Searching for small businesses such as myself - selling a product online - trying to learn something new (and I do all the time) from others.


But...I've been struggling to figure out what social networking means to me, and how I can use all the tools available to increase my business. After all, that's why I was interested in social networking in the first place.

I wasn't looking for a job, or to build an MLM empire, or to convince people I knew all about SEO (search engine optimization) and SMO (social media optimization) like most tweets I found about business were.

I wasn't this new wave of "entrepreneur" that popped up during the recession either, or the "twitter expert" so many claim to be. Could my business really benefit from this platform?


I have been slowly learning that the answer is YES. Here are just some of the things that I have discovered.

  • Social networking is about offering "networks" information they would find interesting or helpful.

You don't have to sell anything to people, just share experiences and resources. If they want what you sell - they will check it out. They would never have known about your product it if they weren't initially interested in what you had to say and visited your site (or blog). Otherwise they would have found you in the search engines. I have a few blogs that I do for my personal interests - parks and dogs. The information I share is totally unrelated to my product - yet I see in my google analytics traffic coming to my main site through those blogs. Ahhhhh!! I get it. So I have to think the work or time I put into it is like the $ I pay per click. A soft or passive sell. I figured I better make blogs about things I was passionate about - otherwise I'd never do it.

  • Social networking is about sharing and contributing.

It's really about the EASE in which you can share ideas, articles, or even products you like. If it was not for reading tweets I would never have found twitter.com/addthis which offers an excellent tool. The tool can be put on any site to allow your audience (or visitor) to easily share it with others they know. So now I can offer people the ability to add my Ring Guard website to their Social Network and guess what..they have! On the "AddThis" website you can track what sites they are sharing with (and what pages).

  • Social Networking is about learning and growing.

I've "stumbled" upon many resources I never knew exisited (and I have been making a very decent living online for over 10 yrs). I found out how to use certain aspects of google more effectively (google goal setting and google base to name 2). I have seen what others are doing to promote themselves. I have had people answer my questions (not many mind you but at least some do). I try to "pay it forward" as much as I can.

Now of course there are idiots out there social networking who THINK they know it all or will not acknowledge your contribution to a thread of interest. AND I have run into a "data mining" link fake out from a tweet ...so you have to weed out the bad and follow those who you value.

After all....it really is about the QUALITY of follows not the QUANTITY.

I look forward to learning more from those I follow - and share their links with others. That is afterall what networking is about.

:P

Apr 19, 2009

How come I'm just learning about google base...

I was reading "tweets" and came across someone mentioning "google base" (yet another google beta). Google Base? Should I use it? What is it?


What is it?

"Google Base is a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content, which they'll make searchable on Google (if your content isn't online yet, they'll put it there). Users may find their results for searches on Google Product Search and even Google web search."

  • Upload a feed or use it's handy "one item" publisher form.
  • Add up to 13 images to your item.
  • The more information you provide, and the more you use attribute details to organize that information, the better your products' chances of being visible when a user is searching for them.

Should I be using it?

Of Course! Why not? It's free and it comes with a reporting and stats page. I added it to my Google account and published and item pronto! It can also be used for sites that are content based. Check it out if your like me and just finding out about it - you may find it useful! GOOGLE BASE BETA

:)

Apr 17, 2009

google makes a game out of improving image search

I was looking through my google "webmaster tools" and saw google was looking for help in better indexing their image searches.

The Image Labeler Beta makes a game out of what I'm sure would be a tedious task. Two online "players" are randomly paired and for 2 minutes are shown the same images. The basic idea of the game is to "name the image" the same as your random partner. You earn points - what for? I'm not sure but you earn them! The site lists the top matches of the day as well as the top all time players.

I have noticed that google image search has been sending me traffic lately. You can add google "webmaster tools" to your account (it is free), verify your site and make sure your images are included in the game (and improve your image indexing).


Apr 11, 2009

Have you noticed google ppc going down?


I try to stay on top of my Google AdWords campaigns, ClickThroughRate (CTR) of my ad variations and of course the amount I spend on bidding. I'm always surprised by the amount of $ I spend a month - the kind of surprise you feel when dropping over that first hump of a roller coaster.

I went today to check on the results of one of my .20 cent keywords. Usually the CTR on this keyword is a good %. I checked the keyword-analysis tool and saw something that kind of pissed me off - but also made me happy (roller coaster happy).

What made me happy?
  1. I saw that the cost to be on the first page of results dropped from .20 to .05
  2. I could lower my top bid and save some $

What pissed me off?
  1. I was being charge on average .13 cpc. hmmmmmm - correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't google say that your "bid" is the MOST you'd pay? So if I was offering .20 but the top bid was .05 I should be charged .06 for the top spot?
  2. You have to know where to look to find the bid to be on the first page. Even then you don't see the top bid amount. hmmmmmmmm


This is why I miss "back in the good ol'days" when .01 cent bids were the norm (I've been online too long?), when you could see not only WHAT the top bid was - but also WHO was bidding it. When you could ACTUALLY track your ROI.

Now I'm left wondering if the drop in bids is due to
  • todays horrid economy or
  • the shift we see to social media as a viable alternative to search engine marketing.

:/

Apr 7, 2009

5 Customer Service Tips


Small home based companies are worrying about their businesses during this recession and are looking for ways to ensure their company remains successful.

Providing Excellent Customer Service -
even when the customer is unhappy with your service or product - can be the easiest, least expensive way of ensuring customers positive experience.

Here are 5 Tips for turning unsatisfied customers into free advertisement for your excellent customer service.
  • Set a Positive Tone. Make it clear to your buyer that you value their business and will work with them to resolve any issues. They’ll usually appreciate your attention to their matter, and be more willing to work out the issue with you.
  • Start a Dialogue. Don't assume your buyer is behaving unreasonably. Problems are often a simple miscommunication. A customer may not have read your website note that “all orders are sent on Mondays” and could be expecting it sooner.
  • Focus on the solution. Talk about the solutions you can offer to resolve any issues – not the tone of the customer’s initial contact. It may be satisfying to "give a piece of your mind" to the buyer if you think they've acted unfairly - but it almost always makes the situation worse and the customer may refuse to work with you to resolve it. Instead, offer different solutions so the customer feels in control. I usually offer at least 3 solutions
  • offer to refund the item
  • offer a similar item as a replacement
  • offer a special price to upgrade.
  • Don’t forget the big picture. Even when a customer is unsatisfied with your product they will appreciate the service and let others know that your company stands behind its product and values its customers.
  • Remember customer service. Keeping all your customers (the good and the bad) satisfied is good business. Word of mouth is your best advertisement!

Apr 2, 2009

Looking for Your Feedback

Hello! Hello!

Thanks for answering my call for feedback :)

I have just completed the design for our new site at ring-size-adjuster.com. If you're not familiar with our previous Ring Guard site please take a look here.

This new site will not replace our old one, rather compliment it :)

  • Our first site has been live for over 10 years now - and any SEO specialist worth a grain will tell you the longer a domain has been around - the better the engines like it.

  • We have been very fortunate to have high rankings in all our best converting keywords organically (natural search results). We have had over 20,000 customers, many who are repeat business, who are familiar with our "Old Face" so we wont be giving it any "face lift" soon.

Our new sites purpose

  • Test different revenue streams.
  • Measure what markets convert best.
  • Capitalize on our paid advertisement campaigns.
  • Provide new customers with an up-to-date experience when shopping at our site.
  • Give us a better format to update and add new pages.
  • Learn more about the conversion rates between natural search results and PPC campaigns.

What feedback am I looking for?

  1. Is the site easy to navigate?
  2. Is there plenty of information provided to help you make a purchase decision?
  3. Are the images helpful?
  4. What is the site missing?
  5. What Improvements would you recommend?
  6. Do you think a new design will increase sales?

Thanks for any help!

and yes I decided to use OpenSource

Mar 27, 2009

OpenSource Content Management...it's a wonderful thing

Ahhhh OpenSource. It makes me smile :)

Now I don't use it for my Ring Guard site, because I like to keep it html simple (it works for me), but OpenSource is great for promoting business (or yourself) to the masses.

OpenSource is pretty much a nice bundle of PHP programming wrapped up with a nice red bow. Just like a BIG Christmas gift to the layman with a website.

A bunch of really nice people, who enjoy doing php programming for fun (errrrr - wow) all got together and worked on providing this gift as if they were little elves working for Santa (or builders with Homes for Humanity) . You gotta love them just for that alone!

How does one use OpenSource?

OH MY GOSH it's so easy you're going to love it.

1. Go to an OpenSource website - my personal favorite is Joomla. Check out what templates they have, do they offer what is important to you? Blog templates? Contact forms? Available feeds...whatever you want.

2. If the available layouts fit your needs, then download the latest version. Make sure your host is PHP compatible. I know mine is BecoTech.

3. Unzip what you downloaded and upload it all to your server. If you can create a database in mysql do it (or ask your host to and have them send you the path, username and password)

4. Go through the online set up (step by step in your browser once uploaded).

5. Set the config file (it'll even give you the code, just save it as the file to upload)

6. Delete the setup file from the server and then log into the Content Management interface and start creating the content for your site! Ta Da! Done

7. If you don't want to customize it (or are a bit shy to try) then you can pay someone. I recently customized this Heir Locator site - now we just have to move the new domain to it (heirtrace.com) and they can start creating new menu items and content themselves.

OpenSource....I love it!


:)

Mar 26, 2009

I hate when my site is down

Really! I hate it! I really really hate it.

I sit there and wonder. How long has it been down? When it will return? Where does it go? Should I panic? Why are my toes cold (easily distracted i know)?

Am I addicted to my website? Do I depend on it too much...This is bad. I flash back to 16 yrs old sitting in my room by the phone - picking it up every 2 minutes to be sure it's still working.

Maybe my site will be back soon. We all need to have hope. Hope has helped me through past "Page Load Error" times.

Sometimes all you can do is go watch a bear mauling on the discovery channel.

*reloads my site page one more time*



[ Ok, In the time it took me to: take that screen shot, crop it, size it, and upload it to blogger - my site came back up!! YAY!! See! All it takes is a bit of Hope and something to occupy your mind.]

:)

Mar 25, 2009

Getting ready for one of our peak times in sales

Spring is here! Yay! Living in Canada, I wait and wait for the first sign of spring. Not that I mind the snow - it has its place - but I have to admit it's really nice that the snow has melted. I can't believe the image you see was just a few weeks ago (my dogs are VERY happy Spring is here)!

Spring means Summer is around the corner and summer is a busy time of year. It's time to make sure I have enough inventory!

Why is summer such a busy time for ring size adjusters?

  • People begin thinking about how they look in a bathing suit - this means weight loss - which usually means rings start to get loose!
  • People are more active in the spring and summer - swimming, biking, hiking and so on...no one wants to lose their rings when out doing activities (especially when sweat makes our ring fingers slick)
  • Spring love brings engagements! A lot of men are unsure of their mates ring size (and asking can ruin the surprise) I find many male customers wanting a ring guard just in case they got the wrong size. They know their mates will not want to wait to wear their new ring and show it off!

Not to mention all the summer holidays, I find a lot of summer travelers want to ensure they do not lose their rings when away. Especially when going to enjoy beaches and oceans (slippery suntan lotion has filled the beaches with those metal detectors searching for lost jewelry). Make sure you take care when enjoying the summer - a lost ring can ruin someones vacation.

And...HAPPY SPRING!

Mar 23, 2009

Looking for all Bloggers who lost weight!


I was reading my previous post about the power of networking and how It can be used for a product like my ring size adjusters. I realized I had not tapped into one of my own recommendations of paying bloggers (or providing a free item) to review your product. hmmmmm silly of me.

What do I know about one of my target groups?

  • Have recently lost weight and find their rings are now too loose
  • They are afraid to size the ring at a jewelry store...just in case (I can say that because I know what it's like)
  • Water retention during the month can cause fingers to swell making rings loose at other times of the month.
  • Some clients have arthritis making rings just "fitting" over knuckles but spin on the finger.

I know this because I have read each customer email and some customers open their lives to you. Especially when they have achieved a goal that they are proud of! I'm glad they email me and let me know how the product has helped them.

Now I'm interested in having people review our Ring Guard product on their blogs. If you're interested pop me an email at info@viewithere.com or tweet me @ http://twitter.com/viewithere

Mar 22, 2009

Social Networking for the Online Business


Social Networking seems to be on every online marketers lips these days. I'm not an online marketer but I do have to agree with them when it comes to the value of social networking. As a small online retail business I'll try to explain what social networking means to me and how I utilize it.
  • The best social networking for your business doesn't even come from you. It comes from blogs, comments on boards, discussions, and shared experiences past customers had with you.
Yes that is right! They are out there sharing information...networking socially you can say :)How do I utilize this for my business? By providing the best customer service, admitting mistakes, providing solutions, giving benefits to repeat business and of course providing the product they bought! It's what marketers may call "creating a buzz" by having others talk about your product. How do you know if this is happening? Search your web url in google and look at some of the links - you'll see people sharing your info. Make sure it's positive buzz.
  • If your product isn't creating the buzz you want (or you want more!), or it's a new company with little history on the internet you could pay bloggers to write about or review your product.
Or you could offer a free product in exchange for a review. For instance, my product is popular in the diet community. I could research diet networking groups and blogs - find one that is popular and has a lot of activity on it and make an offer to the blogs owner or members. Know who your customers are, why they are buying your product. Then, understand what social circles they may utilize.

  • Utilize popular networking sites.
Yes, you can go on digg.com, twitter.com, youtube.com, facebook (running out of breath) and so on. Make your profile share who you are and what you do. Maybe, just maybe one day they will remember you when a friend says....I wish I had a..(your thing here). After all, that is true networking isn't it. And I guess today the internet is the new "Social".

  • I've "dugg" my own site, I admit it :P
  • I use my youtube account to show videos on my site - and benefit from the youtube community
  • Yes I've even written articles on my products, made comments on boards.
  • I even use this blog to link to my site and tell you what I do :)
  • ok ok....I am a errrrr do you call one who tweets? a twit? (I asked but noone responded) Anyways I use twitter, share my online experience with strangers
  • I use facebook pages to offer FAQs and more information on my products.

The results?

  1. 40% of my traffic comes from PPC (pay-per-click marketing),
  2. 40% Natural search results (SEO) and
  3. 20% from refering sites (Social Networks/blogs etc)

The interesting part. The "bounce rate" (number of people who come, and leave from the first page) is lower for social networking then with PPC. That's a good thing. It means those coming do so because it was "recommended" or they were "refered" to me by a contact they had with another site. Half the "sell" is already done for me :)

The other benefit from Social Networking - You're going to learn A LOT from others. So although it is a huge cost in time, the benefits are worth it!

The Birds, The Bees....and the Fly?

Birds do it, Bees do, why can't the flies do it......let's fall in Love!

Beating the Credit Card Crunch!

Credit cards are a necessary evil. 98% of my orders come from Credit Cards and I have to wonder with today's economy how long can that keep up? Luckily some smart consumers are starting to be wise about the cards they use.

I came across a website that is a credit card comparison site that provides users with news, information, and the most comprehensive list of credit card offers on the web. For example if you're concerned about low interest credit cards you can visit this site and compare the rates of the different available credit card companies to find one that suits you best. Be wise about the card you're using and make the most out of the necessary evil we all have in our wallets. Know what's important to you; rewards, air miles, cash back on purchases or instant approvals.

Not only am I concerned about my customers (98% of which use credit cards to purchase from my store) I am also interested in company credit cards and what will benefit me best. Luckily this site also includes articles such as "Best Credit Card for Small Businesses" to provide me with some important "food for thought" when picking a credit card company for my business.

Let's all be smart and beat the credit crunch so we can all stay in business!




Mar 20, 2009

Saturday the NEW Sunday...huh?

If you sell a tangible item online that needs to be shipped then you most likely will join me in changing "The day of Rest" to Saturday.

YES it is true - no more is Sunday considered the day to rest and the day to enjoy your family (or worship your God).

Not if your life revolves around days the post runs. Why? you ask, the post does not run on Sunday? No - but our little shops are running full force prepping orders to go out in Mondays mail. Monday through Friday orders are processed. Saturdays are for rest but on Sunday you play catch up. Such is the life of selling Online. Are you sure you want to do it?

You bring your work every where you go. I recall sitting on a beach in Florida, a big book on my lap, actually MANUALLY hand writing a newsletter I had due for a client the next day. Papers flapping in the ocean breeze, sand stuck to the nib of my pen and a nice square of pale flesh on my lap an hour later (of course the rest of me burnt to a crisp).

Anyways I declare Saturday the day of rest! Take it a lesson from my dogs and just laze about in the sun.

If your selling downloads or memberships then you'll want to visit this site!

When I started selling eGuides on the internet I wondered how I could automate the process without having to learn PHP scripting or understand paypal IPN. I wanted an easy solution to my problem of immediate fulfilment.

I first used a paypal approved firm called payloadz to automate the fulfilment of the file download. FEEs FEEs on top of FEEs! Not only was I paying paypal's typical merchant fees I was also now paying payloadz per download I sold. UGH! Being a small business based from my home meant I had to look at more cost effective ways to achieve my goal.

After much searching and comparing I finally found the perfect solution! A company called Vibralogix. I emailed them to find out more and immediately was answered by Adrian who was able not only to answer all my questions but offered to help if I had any problems with the setup (which they provide an excellent guide that shows you step by step) or hosting issues.

For a ONE TIME cost of $29.95 I was able to set up the php script on my host and fulfill all my orders immediately without paying anything extra (other then paypal's fees of course). for $29.95 you are licensed on one web URL and one paypal account. Additional URLS can be added for a very small fee.

Even when 3 years later I had an issue with the script, all I had to do is email Adrian and he immediately provided me with the help to fix it. Even offering to view the host settings to be sure it was working properly. (THANKS ADRIAN).

They have many scripts that are available for many small online business applications including locking directories for memberships as well as for online business using clickbank or other merchants. Check them out! You won't be sorry!

Mar 19, 2009

Taking the guess work out of file extensions

Have you ever received an email attachment with an extension you never saw before? Or was unsure how to open? I have, and I recently visited a website that offers help to us "file- extension challenged".

Each entry on the site provides information about
  • the file format,
  • its creator,
  • a description of the file,
  • related applications which make use of that file extension,
  • where it is most likely to find this type of file on your computer,
  • as well as what program or editor to view it in.

For example if you receive a file with the extension .ica you can go to the File Extension Library and find out what the file is and how to open it with your Operating System. You can also learn if it is an image or text file.

Most importantly, you can decide if it is an attachment that you may not want to open at all. Some people are still unaware that if an attachment has an ".exe" extension it most likely isn't a picture your granny sent you of her prize rose garden.

The site also offers a free scan if you're unable to open legitimate files, as it may be a result of registry errors or not having the appropriate application installed. Best of all the scan is free (as is the information)!

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