Thursday, May 30, 2013

Elements of a Good E-Commerce Business Site

If you are wondering why your competitors are gaining clients at such a fast rate, it is because they have joined the many numbers of companies that are performing business transactions over the Internet. Current statistics have reported that e-commerce expands at a rate of more than 25 percent every year. The segment of e-commerce that refers to companies that transact with different firms (B2B) is expanding at an even greater pace. After realizing the benefits that this can have for your organization, you will be encouraged to set up an official website so you can utilize e-commerce as well. But because you are still getting used to this new method of conducting business, you need to study the parts of those successful e-commerce websites prior to creating one. This study will also show you how you can effectively do business over the Internet.

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Keep in mind that you have to brainstorm and plan your e-commerce business site prior to shopping for instruments that will help build your website. The essential elements in all e-commerce sites include service or product description pages, shopping carts so that customers can choose and temporarily store the merchandise that they want until they are ready to check out or pay, and a payment mechanism that produces an invoice or a purchase order to allow the buyer to make a purchase with or without the Internet.

Here are other significant elements that will demand your attention:

Various Ordering and Payment Options

The main objective of having an e-commerce site is for your business to make a profit via sales. There are people who are not comfortable with paying over the Internet (especially with rampant online fraud or phishing). It is a good idea to provide ordering methods by snail mail, telephone or fax. This will also make the customer comfortable and secure since your company can provide customer service.

Even if paying for items in an e-commerce business site is traditionally done via credit card, it will make your system flexible if you offer other payment options such as Paypal, offline bank transfers, and electronic checks.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Leveraging on Author Rank for Maximum SEO

Over the past years, PageRank has established itself as an important metric in measuring website quality. However this 2013, Google introduced AuthorRank, yet another excellent metric for determining a website’s credibility, along with its authors.

Now, content and site quality no longer rely merely on page authority. With Google Authorship, a domain’s authority is also measured through the reliability and reputation of the content’s author. This score becomes a basis for the author’s Web grade and affects search engine results for his particular site.
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AuthorRank, or Agent Rank, is established when a webmaster links their Google Plus profiles with their generated content. These appear in rich snippets along with the number of people within that person’s Google Plus circles. Authors are ranked based on endorsements in social media communities such as re-tweets, +1’s, Facebook shares and likes; content influence and relevance to such endorsements and to a random commenter; comments from individuals in social networks; and lastly, the relevance and quality of inbound links directed towards that particular content.

The question many webmasters now have is, how do I leverage on authorship for SEO?

This can be done in a myriad of ways. First, you need to scout the Net for authors who already have established their Google Authorship then build a connection with them. Called Author outreach, this involves reaching out to authors who have already established their place in their respective industries.

This may be done by keying in certain keywords that a company or individual is striving to rank for. The number of Google Plus circles an author is in plus the number of related queries with which they are linked to will more or less give you an idea of their authorship standing. The more high ranking authors you engage with, the more marketing opportunities you open for your brand. Forge a close relationship with these individuals and they might even give you fresh, unique content for your website.

Partnering with famous blogs and websites is also vital to enhancing online user engagement, reach and comments – all key recipes for increasing your AuthorRank. As your work’s influence on online communities increase, so does your Google Authorship. In the long term, this will also boost traffic that is directed to your site.

As Search Engine Optimization becomes more content-centric, it is expected that web marketers will find AuthorRank more vital than PageRank. With these in mind, content quality and social media etiquette are crucial now more than ever, and it would be wise for webmasters and content marketers to remember that when generating content.

If you need more information on boosting authorship and page ranking via SEO, feel free to browse our archives and get excellent SEO tips and strategies.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Why Being a Graphic Designer Rocks

Graphic designing is one of those professions that offer great flexibility and fulfillment both in a creative and financial sense. Here we give you nine reasons why being a graphic designer rocks.

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•    More room for creative freedom

Being a design artist allows you to unleash your creative prowess while creating decent revenue. In fact, it is much easier to make a profit out of the graphic design jobs than any other fields in fine art. If you love both fine arts and computers, then this job just might suite you.

•    Choose your medium

There are a variety of art mediums for you to choose from while working, with web and print being the most prominent. Web tools are intensive and using them will allow you to harness programming potentials along the way, including HTML, PHP and CSS – all of which are sought-after skills in both web-based outfits and offices (thus making you more marketable).

•    Wide client reach

Almost every business in the world requires graphics – be it an advertising firm or a clerical office. You’d have wide clientele options, all waiting for someone to fill in their marketing collateral needs.

•    Be able to do work at your own pace and place

There are plenty of online job sites out there like O-Desk and Elance where you can get freelance work from clients who are looking to outsource labor. This allows you to generate revenue within the comfort of home and according to your own timetable.

•    Establish your own operations

If you’re not too keen about being an employee, then you can opt to take the DIY course and run your own graphic art studio. Not only will you be able to extend your customer-base to bigger brands and attain better brand exposure, the ROI is bigger too!

•    An easy career to launch

Contrary to other professions where you’d have to finish a 4- year degree in school and take licensing exams,  it is pretty easy to establish. All you need are a working PC or laptop, the appropriate software tools, stable Internet connection and your bagful of designing and networking skills, and you’re good to go!

•    Can be self-taught

While there are schools offering short courses, this is not really a job requirement for most companies or contractors. In fact, the best ones are completely self- taught. There are tons of tutorials and books available that can help you on learn on your own. Be sure to practice regularly as much as you can, though.

•    Minimal expenditure

Doing freelance work creates huge savings on transportation and gas, clothing expenses, and other things that are required when working in the office. Web expenses such as domain and web hosting are necessary particularly for showcasing your online portfolio, but compared to an average employee’s expense, this comes out as nominal.

•    Greater success for digital marketing

When you have a web-based job, selling your skills to potential employers is easier too. Online communities are vital to establishing your presence and widening your reach, and the Web is brimming with them: forums, blog rolls, organizations, among others.

The Lowdown on Google AdWords Accreditation

If you are an aspiring marketing professional, you might have heard the buzz on Google Adwords for the longest time now and have wondered one time or another, What is Google Accreditation? How can I be accredited?

The AdWords Certification is rewarded to digital marketers who demonstrate extensive knowledge and expertise on Google’s AdWords Program, especially when it comes to AdWords management. These experts are extremely adept at setting up, optimizing and maintaining AdWords accounts and campaigns through tools and strategies that meet Google’s stringent standards.

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To be certified, candidates should be signed up under the Google AdWords program, without any incurred violations or penalties. He must have also managed an AdWords account (either his own or a client’s) for 90 days, with a minimum total spend of 1,000USD during the duration of the time.

Lastly, he must pass a series of examinations in various Google advertising subjects. Taking this professional exam is pretty much like taking any other exam – with more focus on best practice strategies - although the expense is not really that significant. Individuals and companies alike can apply (and thereafter be certified as a Google AdWords Qualified Individual or Google AdWords Qualified Company, respectively).

Qualified applicants are granted a badge (partner companies) or a certificate (individuals); a Google page that showcases their professional profiles; 20 AdWords offers that they can use on future client accounts; and other sales and marketing resource tools to help them acquire new businesses. 

With Google’s evolution to being more than just a search engine, it has become a distinguished and trusted brand that has opened wonderful opportunities particularly in the field of SEO. The benefits of certification on your marketing career and efforts are significant. For hopeful SEO professionals, it can serve as a stepping stone into the SEO industry. It lends more credibility and authority. Add to that the incredible fulfillment and esteem boost it provides.

As an SEO company, you can state your certification in your pamphlets, banner ads or any other promotional and marketing products to gain your prospective clients’ trust and business. It shows that you have in-depth comprehension of the system, and assures existing and future customers that you’re taking all steps possible to provide better service. In addition, Certified Partners are entered into Google’s Partner Search Directory, therefore improving their online visibility and directing more businesses to them. Ultimately, these benefits mean more profit, be it for individuals or companies.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Rand Fishkin

If in Hollywood the most talked celebrity recently is Kim Kardashian (and her upcoming baby), in the SEO world, the hottest nerd to have hit piqued our curiosity is Rand Fishkin. Now if you’ve been to an alien SEO planet, you might be wondering Who is Rand Fishkin?

Fishkin, SEOmoz’s CEO and founder, claims to be crazy about all things tech, including SEO, inbound marketing and entrepreneurship. He is also known as a highly-esteemed speaker at various SEO conferences, a passionate blogger and frequent flyer together with writer wife Geraldine.

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But aside from the obvious (and the frequently published bio), here are ten interesting facts about the nerd of everyone’s dreams:

•    He has never bought a car

With all the money this guy makes and the celebrity status he’s basking in, you’d probably think that he has a limo, or maybe a shiny Porsche or a Ferrari hidden in his garage. Truth is, the only vehicle he’s ever had is a scooter, which he purchased in 2008.

•    He fancies art

Whenever he’s not speaking at conferences, visiting national landmarks or doing work-related stuff, Fishkin muses at visual arts, specifically that of the 19th and 20tth century. His favorites include French impressionist Georges Seurat and American landscape artist Winslow Homer.

•    The guy once dreamed of becoming a dog

He confesses that as a child, one of his lifelong dreams was to be a canine, because of how loyal and friendly dogs are, and well, because everyone adores a dog.

•    He didn’t actually descend from a Fishkin

As an immigrant in America, Rand’s great-grand dad had to adopt his employer’s last name, which is, you guess it right – Fishkin.

•    He dropped out of college

For four years till 2001, he studied at the University of Washington but dropped out to pursue a job in his mother’s PR firm. Not too long after, he founded SEOmoz and became one of the youngest CEOs in SEO history.

•    He used a TV commercial during his proposal to Geraldine

What he did was pay for an entire commercial which aired during Geraldine’s favorite TV show. Talk about creativity!

•    His darling wife might just be cooler than he is

Geraldine is a feisty traveler who blogs about their husband-and-wife travels and gastronomical ventures (and then some) at She describes her blog as a “big, long, cuss-filled love letter” to Rand, whom she follows ‘round the world. If you have been to her site, you’d know how awesome, brilliant, witty and funny this gal is. And if you haven’t, well, it’s time you should.

•    He wears yellow shoes as a trademark

Apparently, the yellow pair of shoes we always see him in is his personal fashion statement. In fact, he has had several pairs of it and is currently on a hunt for one more as they have already been out of production at Puma.

•    He shaved his beard for charity

The SEOmoz team recently raised more than $4,000 for Movember, a fund-raising event dedicated to male health issues. Shaving his beard was part of the program. In addition, he’s also active in other charitable groups such as Vittana.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Creating the Perfect Content Strategy through Optimization

While your website may have tons of viewers, your efforts will definitely fail without good content strategy. Proper planning and optimization of your pages are essential in letting your website reach its maximum potential. Reader engagement and optimization can be achieved in various ways. Below are effective ways on how to do so.
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•    Determine the appropriate strategy to use

Before you can go ahead and apply any technique, you have to know your audience so you can provide content that’s suited for them. These may come in the form of guides, videos, infographics or articles. Knowing which is most effective will help you draw and build more site visitors.

•    Incorporate blogs into your site

Studies show that sites which contain blogs tend to be indexed more by Google than those who don’t have one - up to 434% pages more.

When writing a blog entry, start by drafting a catchy and interesting headline. Your titles and meta description tags should be highly optimized as well. Publish posts consistently, if possible at the same time or day every week. If you can’t, schedule your posts beforehand via CMS. When a reader leaves a comment, respond, and swiftly if you can. This keeps the interest going. Lastly, remember to include social media sharing buttons like Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg and others.

•    Include videos in your pages

Did you know that more than 700 YouTube videos are shared every minute on Twitter alone? That’s how vital videos are to your marketing.

Whenever you are sharing videos on Youtube or other similar platforms, remember to keep the length at an average of two minutes. Anything longer might bore your audience. Put appropriate titles, tags and descriptive phrases, and embed them within blog entries. Follow up on viewer questions as well.

•    Offer free guides

Definitive guides have over 60 percent chance of being shared and utilized in the workplace. You should include backlinks to your site and your social pages, as well as short forms where you can solicit the reader’s name and e-mail for future reference.

•    Develop referential infographics

Web-based infographics allow your readers to better visualize complex information and share these easily with their connections.

When working with infographics, be sure to source them from reliable sites or individuals. To engage readers better, publish it as a blog post with social sharing buttons (embedding functions, if possible).

•    Encourage newsletter sign-up

One of the most effective call-to-action techniques for spreading your content is to encourage viewers to sign-up for an e-mail newsletter. Always remember to incorporate information into your promotions so that they don’t look like they’re created just to sell. Also include backlinks to your site and social media pages. Keep the newsletter succinct and regular, although not too frequently to avoid annoying your audience.

There are other strategies that you can incorporate to your existing ones in order to widen your reach and ensure better pitching of content. Always remember that when developing written material, you have your best reader’s interest in mind.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Basic Elements of a Website

When it comes to setting up a website or blog a first time, one of the most common questions novice webmasters ask – particularly those who do not have technical know-how- is the difference between web hosting and domain hosting.

Basically, a website consists of three elements: the domain name, the server or web hosting, and the website files. Think of the domain as a phone number in a directory listing. Information is relayed from one computer to another via a set of numbers called IP addresses, similar to how one would contact a particular person’s number. For people to find your website, they would need to find your number first in the directory. The directory would indicate that your phone number is, for example, 111-222-333. Similarly, the domain tells the computer that your website – for instance, – can be found on the server 111.222.333.444. If you don’t have domain hosting, your site location would come out as 111.222.333.444/~mywebsite/ instead of the prettier 

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Now, the server or web hosting on the other hand functions as the space you rent to display products or portfolios in. Like most spaces-for-rent, web hosting services can be rented out monthly or yearly, although most web hosting companies offer it on a yearly basis. Sans web hosting, there wouldn’t be a place for you to showcase your item catalogue or your work, and the domain then becomes a useless random number in the listing that’s disconnected from the rest of the world.

Note that server hosting only includes the space; the domain is separately sold, as well as the products or furnishings that would make your space prettier and more functional.
Fortunately, there are many easy-install applications out there that can help you perk up your space.

Website files are the photos, documents and products that are visible to your audience. These are the same things that you use in your day-to-day web browsing: .jpg (photo), .pdf (Adobe file), .mp3 (music),php and .html files (PHP scripts and HTML pages). The server interprets these site files using certain algorithms and computations. Through this process, the server is able to convert these files to what is discernible to the naked eye.

Simply put, whenever a person visits your domain name, a message is translated to your web host’s IP address, and in return, the server sends back site files to the user according to what was instructed. Now the browser transforms into what is known as the web page. Without these three key elements, there won’t be such thing as a website.

It can be quite costly to spend on separate services for all three, so your best bet is to find a reliable company that offers all three in a single budget-friendly package. 9Dot Strategies provides various packages, from the most minimal to pricier customized ones, all ensuring sweat-free domain hosting, web hosting and website services.