How many websites do we browse every day? How many websites we know or heard of whenever we search a query in the Google? There are very few people who can answer these questions because whenever we use the internet, we get exposed to thousands of websites trying to get business from us via different methods.
The internet is full of amazing websites and tools, and it is difficult to know each and every one of them. In this article you'll discover some of those websites that we find particularly helpful (and some entertaining, too), even though they are not as famous as some of the big names out there.
Bookmark them, be productive and change your life forever.
Bizrelauncher is a digital marketing agency which help small and medium businesses with their digital transformation to increase their revenues and gain new customers
Codecademy is a collaborating podium for the students that offers free coding classes in 12 different programming languages.
YouTube TV Mode makes it more comfortable to play videos in full-screen mode on big screens without any advertisement.
Is a global marketplace for buying and selling services for as little as $5.
Is a Google product which shortens long URLs that can be easily shared on social media platforms, plus you can monitor the daily clicks on it.
Lets users find out if a website is down for everyone or just them.
Is one of the biggest repositories of free images and graphics that you can use for almost any purpose (no attribution required).
Provides temporary and disposable email addresses to protect you against spam.
Is a social network that helps you to stay with amazing locals, make lifelong travel friends or host travelers.
This site receives over 150 - million visitors per month. The tagline of the Imgur shows their unique selling point i.e “The most awesome images on the internet” which is true because whatever is trending or popular on the internet, either it is a Gif or meme, they have it.
Is the simplest way to send your files around the world, you can send up to 2 GB at a time.
Free online video downloader - allows you to download videos from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and heaps more!
We don't even bother to use online Microsoft products because every windows comes with the Microsoft’s product. That is why most of us always skip the office.com website whenever any browser or ad suggest it to us. However, this website is very useful, and many corporate companies use it and enjoy its features like cloud-based services.
This website may look familiar to you. The reason of its presence on the top position on Google SERP is the neutral, vetted and verifiable answers to the most common questions. Just search any question, and you will find it on the top on Google.
It is a cloud-based storage solution which works on almost every Wi-Fi enabled device. If you are storing the data of 10GB or less, this website is free but if you are uploading more than 10GB than you have to buy their membership.
It is a breeding ground for all the apps and software where you can update or install new apps, software and drivers.
With the Feedly, you can get all the latest information in the form of blogs, commercial publications, newsletters etc. about your field of interest. Whether it is tech or education, Feedly has it.
Never warp your brain with time zone math again. A less confusing view of the world time zones.
Find and see your search history, browsing history, and other activity.
Allows you to create your own board of sticky notes which can be arranged in almost every way which works best for the work management.
Want to see the archive of the internet or a link that's dead? Visit archive.org (wayback machine) and find almost everything because this website has the history of over 286 billion web pages.
Gifs are the latest trend on social media and people are getting crazy over it. For all those crazy people, this is your asylum.
Is a free web-based tool that allows you to send your notes or message over the internet. It's fast, easy, and requires no password or user registration at all.
Is a free online gaming website. It is known for having a large and varied collection of games.
Do you have other favorite websites and tools that you find incredibly useful?
It's a good'un this week. The roundup includes news about brand safety, B2B growth, and Black Friday emails. If that’s not enough, you’ll find lots more to enjoy in the Internet Statistics Compendium, which subscribers can download right here.
Without further ado…
Half of online shoppers abandon a purchase if they don’t like the delivery options
MetaPack’s latest report suggests that delivery has the power to make or break the online shopping experience, often being the difference between a purchase or an abandoned basket.
In a survey of 3577 consumers across Europe and the US, 54% of respondents said delivery defines what retailers they regularly shop with. Half of all shoppers also said they would abandon a purchase if delivery choices were unsatisfactory, while 39% would never use an online retailer again following a negative delivery experience.
Lastly, the report also suggests that expectations are rising, with 54% of survey respondents saying they want online retailers to offer one-hour delivery services in metropolitan areas.
89% of B2B businesses attribute growth to ecommerce
With ecommerce predicted to represent 11% of all B2B sales in the US by the end of this year, CloudCraze has uncovered the value B2B organisations are seeing from digital and online channels.
In a survey of more than 400 B2B decision-makers in the UK and the US, it was revealed that 48% of B2B businesses sell their full line of products online. As a result, 89% of B2B decision-makers attribute expected business growth to the success of digital commerce, and 60% indicate that the growth of digital has caused their sales team to grow along with it.
83% of 18 to 24 year olds have bought an item of physical media in the last year
While the success of digital services like Spotify and Netflix might suggest otherwise, new data from eBay indicates that a large percentage of consumers are choosing physical media.
In a survey of over 2,000 consumers, eBay found that 76% of Brits have bought a book, a DVD or Blu-ray, CD, vinyl record, or video game in the last year, rising to 83% for 18 to 24 year olds or so-called ‘digital natives’.
Insight suggests that this could be due to an increasing desire to connect with the digital world, coupled with the emotional and intellectual appeal of owning physical objects.
CMOs overhaul digital strategy amid brand safety concerns
New research from Teads has revealed that concern over brand safety has risen in the path 12 months, leading many CMOs of large UK brands to make drastic changes to their digital advertising strategies.
In a survey of 100 leading CMOs, 83% said they have become more concerned about brand safety in the past year, with 77% more worried about ad fraud than before. As a result, 95% of CMOs say they’ve overhauled their digital strategy, demanding greater transparency from suppliers and agencies, with 44% questioning their supplier relationships and 43% scrutinising agency relationships.
What’s more, 36% of CMOs say they have boycotted or reduced spend on channels that can’t guarantee brand safety, and 37% of CMOs say they are now directly involved in the execution of digital strategy.
Singles Day results in a 61% increase in mobile traffic
Analysis of Singles Day by Qubit has revealed that this year's shopping event drew 593% more visitors from China to UK retail sites compared to an average Saturday.
There was a 236% increase in overall traffic from Singles Day in 2016, with 59% of visitors to UK retail sites from China coming from mobile.
However, despite this growth, just 16% of revenue came from mobile shoppers, while desktop generated 82% of total revenue.
Strong performance in search correlates to retail success
New research by PI Datametrics suggests that the most successful retailers are those who consider organic performance as a key KPI.
From analysis of the top UK retailers - including ASOS, Boohoo, and Missguided - it was revealed that the most successful all have a strategy focused on customer intent and search data.
ASOS has the strongest share of voice overall, which perhaps correlates to it also generating the most commercial success. Last year, its revenue grew 33% to £1.88bn.
Top retailers by share of voice
Searches for GDPR rise 215%
According to research from i-COM, more than 3x the number of people are searching for information about the GDPR legislation than they were at this time last year.
Searches for terms related to GDPR have risen by 215% in the past 12 months, going from 138,290 in October 2016 to 435,600 searches in October 2017.
Ads failing to represent diversity in Britain
According to a study by the7stars, UK advertising is failing to represent the diversity of life across the UK.
The study – which involved a survey of 1000 Brits plus face-to-face workshops – found that just 11% of people feel advertising truly reflects where they live. In contrast, 55% of respondents say that it does not, and 56% agree that the debate around diversity in advertising is a big issue.
Interestingly, there appears to be a regional split, with 18% of Londoners saying that advertising is reflective of life compared with just 1% of those in the North East.
Emotion is key to Black Friday email success – not deals
From the analysis of email subject lines by 50 UK retailers during Black Friday 2016, Persado found that five key emotions generated greater levels of success.
First, more than 20% of consumers engaged with challenge-focused emails, such as “are you ready?”. Meanwhile intimacy and encouragement also prompted consumers to respond. A third emotion was guilt, instilling in consumers a fear of missing out, as well as fascination – with interest piqued at the promise of trying something new.
Overall, Persado determined that emotional language accounts for as much as 60% of audience response, showing the clear potential for retailers in 2017.
In-app purchases boosted by ‘reward’ ads
A new study by the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) has revealed that ‘reward’ ads in gaming apps - which offer free items to users if they interact – can boost overall in-app purchases.
By studying 1.4m transaction records and in-app behaviour, JAR found that more than 17% of users made subsequent purchases after clicking on a reward ad, compared with just 2.75% of users who did not.
Finally, the study also found that those who spent more time playing gaming apps each day responded better to reward ads in terms of overall spending value.
The digital transformation of business is happening right now and company-executives must be prepared to seize the-opportunities -this change brings or risk being left behind.
The good news is technology consultancy we can help make that digital transformation happen.
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As we reach the fourth quarter of 2017, it’s time to start thinking about the year ahead and what to expect from SEO in 2018.
There are number of search industry trends that we’ve seen the very beginnings of this year and last, which will come into greater prominence in 2018.
Here are seven you should be keeping an eye on in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Voice search and digital assistants
Voice search technology presents a big opportunity for changing the way we communicate and process information. The rise of digital assistants has presented a growing market that can change the way search queries are performed. According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries.
This changes the search market and we’re expecting to see an even bigger shift towards voice search in 2018. When it comes to setting up an SEO strategy, the rise of voice search brings out the need to focus on more long-tail search keywords and a natural language that matches the user’s conversational tone.As accuracy improves in digital assistants, there will be more people using voice search from their mobile devices, seeking for quick and relevant answers. It becomes important to research the voice user intent will provide more accurate results, helping the algorithms provide the best answer.
Moreover, voice search is expected to grow even more with its integration in smart home hubs, helping companies access new data, while users enjoy a seamless experience through everyday devices. As digital assistants go beyond smartphone devices, there is a great opportunity both for SEO and content, taking advantage of a growing market that connects the brand with a user in a unique but still relevant and useful way.
Link building is not expected to disappear in 2018, but it will be more important than ever to create a strategy that seeks out quality links. There’s no need to aim for new links if they don’t add value and help you build an authority in your target niche.
This doesn’t always mean that the best backlinks come from the most popular sites, but it’s still crucial to seek coverage from sites that are relevant to your industry. Referral traffic can still contribute to your site’s organic search rankings, while it is also useful to start thinking of link building as a long-term process.
A successful SEO strategy in 2018 will move towards relationship building, helping a brand develop powerful contacts and links that will be beneficial in a longer term.
A challenge for 2018 will be dealing with guest blogs and how to involve them as an integral part of a link building strategy without hurting a brand’s reputation. Back in May Google warned publishers who rely too much on guest posting for link building that there will be a closer look at guest blogs in an attempt to control spammy and questionable links.
This brings out the need for a more diversified link building strategy, aiming for a complete backlink profile, rather than single links that can bring successful results.
User experience for SEO will become even more important in 2018. Google has made it clear that the focus is on the user and this should make more sites deliver a smooth UX for their visitors.
A good user experience increases the chances of people engaging with the pages that they visit. This helps search engines discover which pages are more useful for people, favoring them over others.
The first step is to monitor a site’s speed, its readability and its navigation structure to examine how these can be improved through the right changes. A closer look at your visitors’ browsing habits can offer helpful insights. For example, if the visits coming directly from search last just 30 seconds, then this probably means that the content or the user experience is hurting your site’s conversions.
Moreover, as more people consume content from their mobile devices, there is a growing need to provide an excellent user experience across all devices.
As SEO heads towards more relevant and personalized experiences, UX will be key to maintaining search traffic by creating an engaged audience. It’s not enough anymore to see a rise in search traffic if it’s not converting or bringing the desired engagement to create a loyal audience.
Featured snippets and Quick Answers
The popularity of featured snippets has increased the competition among companies trying to appear in “position 0” in the SERP. Gaining a featured snippet in search requires catering to a specific combination of factors, which has opened up SEO beyond the traditional race to the top of Google.
According to Stone Temple Consulting, almost 30% of the test Google search queries show Featured Snippets. This brings out the need for a strategy on how to optimize a site’s content to meet Google’s standards for Featured Snippets.
Lists, tables and graphs tend to be popular, while it’s also useful to create content in a Q&A format, making it easier for Google to extract the right content to show up as a featured snippet.
An interesting angle to focus on during the next year is the optimization of featured snippets for voice search. The combination of two growing trends in the search market can create a great opportunity for more companies to show up at the top of the SERPs. This will involve considering the changes in the search queries, focusing more on longer keywords and natural language.
A similar way to reach the top of the SERPs is to create content that serves as a Quick Answer. Google’s Answer Box is an enhanced type of featured snippet that aims to answer a question in a more appealing way.
It usually follows a “how” or “what” structure and is Google’s attempt to use search intent to organize the search results in a more useful way. It has been observed that the results that show up in an Answer Box can see a CTR of 32.3%.
This will bring out the need for more companies to learn more about search intent and how they can optimize their content to show up in an Answer Box. Thus, a carefully crafted Answer Box strategy can increase both a site’s authority, but also a brand’s conversion.
2018 is more than likely to be the year that brands realize the potential of putting mobile first, rather than catering to mobile as an afterthought. This is particularly true if Google decides to make 2018 the year it finally deploys its mobile-first index.
But even if it doesn’t, brands and businesses need to put mobile first anyway: a recent study by BrightEdge found that, 57% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. More than this, there is a significant difference between the way that keywords rank on mobile and the way they rank on desktop – so mobile-first content is needed in order to have the best chance of being visible in mobile search.
As mobile searches are all about context, brands should provide the best possible results for every question, while local SEO is going to become even more popular. Mobile users will seek for more content while they are on the go, which means that brands will face a big opportunity of marketing their business at a local context.
Mobile optimization for local users, along with the rise of voice search, can provide an excellent way to create a successful SEO strategy in 2018 by facilitating the search experience through personalized and relevant answers.
Site speed is critical for search engines and your page’s performance at the SERPs and Accelerated Mobile Pages can make a page load up to four times faster than a standard mobile page. According to Chartbeat, AMP load in a second and they also see a 35% improvement in engagement time.
Google’s focus on AMP has made more publishers consider their use, currently counting more than 2 billion Accelerated Mobile Pages.
The demand is expected to grow in 2018, helping companies improve their engagement and the overall user experience through fast and responsive mobile pages. Brands that want to keep up with the changes in mobile search has to keep up with the trend and experiment whether they need AMP or any other fixes to improve their site speed.
The rise of visual search
Visual search is an exciting area and the combination of technological innovation and user experience can take searching to the next level.
As the internet becomes more visually-focused, there is a great opportunity to explore the power of visual search. Major tech companies including Bing, Pinterest and Google have already invested in developing powerful visual search engines in a bid to capitalize on this new trend.
An SEO strategy in 2018 needs to consider the way we consume visual content and how search engines now go beyond text to explore the changing habits of search. Rich visuals now become more engaging and the use of neuroscience and innovation bring out an interesting and competitive market.
As the competition increases, more companies seem to acknowledge the potential of a successful visual search, while brands need to focus even more on optimizing their visual content for SEO purposes.
AI and machine learning
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already changing the way that search results are ranked. Machine learning can also facilitate the way searches take place, helping users find contextualized results.
This will lead to a more personalized experience, while the rise of voice search and digital assistants can offer the ideal ground to develop artificial intelligence and reward successful SEO strategies that keep up with the trends.
Google’s RankBrain, or else Google’s deep learning algorithm, is also expected to affect the search landscape. Catering to RankBrain often seems like an intimidating prospect to SEOs, and the term “Artificial Intelligence Optimization” has been bandied about a fair amount.
But as Dan Taylor explained in a comprehensive look at RankBrain and SEO, there is no set way to optimize for RankBrain, although certain search practices are now more relevant than ever.
We can expect more changes to come in 2018 where AI and machine learning are concerned, and Google’s determination to develop in this area indicate that there are many more innovations on the horizon.
Improving SEO in 2018
As it seems, 2018 will be an interesting year for SEO. Traditional SEO techniques are still effective, but a number of trends are in the works that could significantly alter the practice of optimizing for search.
What is useful to understand while we proceed towards is 2018 is that SEO is already changing, and the ranking in the first organic spot is not the ultimate goal anymore. As search engines evolve, there are multiple opportunities to increase your search traffic without necessarily focusing on organic SERPs.
The rise of featured snippets, PPC, voice search and local SEO can often yield better results than an organic ranking. That’s why it’s useful to keep up with the latest trends and discover how your brand can maintain a successful SEO strategy for the year ahead by blending established and growing trends.
Everyone wants social media growth, but very few are able to crack the code and experience the viral growth that leads to more brand exposure. You can't simply post content without a strategy and expect to attract followers and convert those followers into customers.
I often discuss social media, and specifically Instagram growth, with Lukas Kurzmann, the founder and CEO of Women's Best. The company's Instagram account, has growth to an impressive 2.2 million followers. As a result, they have been able to create multiple different revenue sources.
A few weeks ago, I decided to focus on growing my personal Instagram account, and the results so far have been great. During our last conversation, Kurzmann and I came up with the following list of six keys that contribute to successful Instagram growth hacking.
1. Focus on quality engagement.
With the launch of Instagram's new algorithm, it has become crucial for accounts to focus on their engagement. Under the new algorithm, content with poor engagement is shown less frequently. If your content is not engaging, it is not doing its job and you need to change something.
The biggest obstacle is developing a content style that builds engagement. Your creative team needs to come up with content that is so unique and high quality that people will want to engage with it over other posts. This is one thing that really turned my personal account around -- I simply started posting content that people wanted to engage with, rather than what I thought they should want to engage with.
2. Listen for feedback.
As you start testing content ideas, listen to your audience and pay attention to the comments on each post. When someone takes the time to comment or send you a message, they are telling you they enjoy what you are posting, so continue that theme and style.
Making personal touches, especially in the beginning, can help you gain solid growth traction. Taking time to like and reply to comments shows people that their engagement matters to you. Now, next time you post content, they are more likely to engage with your account again. Take the time to build a strong relationship with your followers because their engagement will cause more people to be exposed to it, and this can lead to a snowball effect in terms of growth.
3. Stay specific to your brand.
Kurzmann knows exactly what content styles and Instagram posts his company's audience wants to see, and which ones will get the best engagement. This is because he understanding his target audience, and it's no different than knowing what kind of Facebook ads or email marketing they will respond well to. Unless you truly know your audience, you will never find success in any aspect of your business.
Once a successful content strategy is developed, however, many people try to expand and publish general content, thinking it will attract more eyes. You need to resist these temptations, as it will typically lead to pushing away your current audience. As a result, you will lose followers and not gain any new ones.
4. Identify prime posting times.
Statistically, there are peak times when more Instagram users are online than others. Posting during these times leads to better engagement, since more people will immediately see your post. Savvy people recognize these engagement prime times by testing relentlessly, helping their posts hit the mark every time.
Begin experimenting with different posting times until you start to see a pattern emerge, identifying your content prime times. Ideally, you will want to optimize this, giving yourself a clear picture of what content styles work at what times of the day.
5. Always think of your followers.
Kurzmann warns that selling out is one of the biggest mistakes people make on Instagram. Users have all the negotiating power when it comes to unfollowing, so as a content creator, you need to think purely about what your followers want.
Just like an influencer, brands should never post content that their audience might not like. Doing so will push away followers and waste all the time and money it took to attract them in the first place.
6. Be consistent.
At the end of the day, Instagram growth requires content to be posted on a regular schedule and at optimal times for engagement. Establish a strict content calendar and be extremely committed to regularly posting. If you are sporadic, you are going to lose your audience quickly. The more content you publish, the more data and information you can collect and analyze to determine what works and what does not.
A lot of brands will post once every few days, and that just isn't enough. You have to be extremely active and consistent if you want to stand out. The competition on Instagram is at an all-time high, and there is no sign of it slowing down. If you aren't consistent with your posting, don't expect much growth.
It’s that time of the week when we regale you with some glorious digital marketing stats.
This week’s roundup includes news about ecommerce reviews, CRO, AI, and digital payments. Be sure to head on over to the Internet Statistics Compendium for lots more.
Let’s get down to businesss.
Facebook native videos generate 530% more comments than YouTube
Quintly’s latest study involves the analysis of 187,000 Facebook profiles and over 7.5m Facebook posts from January to July 2017.
Alongside the discovery that 92% of these profiles used native video, it was found that Facebook native videos resulted in 530% more comments than YouTube videos.
Cementing the power of the platform, Quintly also found a 477% higher average share rate for Facebook native videos, and a 168% higher average interaction rate compared to YouTube videos.
Majority of consumers think AI in marketing should be regulated
On the back of Blade Runner 2049’s release, a survey by Syzygy has revealed US and UK attitudes about artificial intelligence.
It found that the majority of respondents think AI in marketing should be governed by a key principle from the movie – i.e. that it should be illegal for AI to hide its real identity and impersonate a human. 85% of Brits agree with this sentiment, as do 79% of Americans.
The survey also found that 43% of Americans believe AI poses a threat to the long-term survival of humanity, while 17% feel anxious about the rise of the technology.
Meanwhile, 92% of Brits believe there should be regulation with a legally-binding code of conduct, while 75% think brands should need explicit consent before using AI in their marketing.
Negative reviews rise in November and December due to delivery issues
Trustpilot has analysed data from over a million online reviews left in November and December in both 2015 and 2016.
Results show that delivery was the biggest cause of complaints. The most common two-word phrases in one-star reviews were “customer service,” “days later,” and “still waiting” during October to December 2016. The appearance of “delivery” in one-star reviews rose to more than 19% in December – a 13.27% increase since October.
Finally, there were more negative reviews left on 20th December than any other day of the year.
Conversion rates on desktop more than double that of mobile
A new study by Qubit has found that mobile commerce still lags behind desktop when it comes to discoverability, conversion, and revenue.
In the analysis of data across 35 fashion and cosmetics brands since January of this year, it found traffic to each channel to be about the same – 45.87% on desktop and 44.7% on mobile. However, there are stark differences in other areas.
Conversion rates on desktop were found to be 3.35%, while conversion rates on mobile were 1.61%. Similarly, revenue per visitor (RPV) is more than double on desktop – £6.10 vs. £2.66 on mobile.
Lastly, the average number of products viewed per customer was also far higher on desktop – 17.99 on desktop and 13.65 on mobile.
Music improves the customer experience in-store
A study by Mood Media and Sacem suggests that music can improve the customer experience in-store, even in more ‘serious’ sectors such as banking.
When measuring the difference music makes in locations where it was not previously used, it found that 70% of customers had a more positive perception of a business’s image when music was playing, and 65% agreed that music helped to differentiate the business from its competition.
When sectors like banking and pharmacy were silent, only 33% of customers initially thought adding music would feel appropriate. However, 76% of customers agreed the music was a good addition once it was introduced.
Interestingly, customers in banking felt more comfortable having confidential conversations when music was playing in the background.
Global digital payments predicted to reach 726bn transactions by 2020
Capgemini’s World Payments Report says that global digital payments volumes are predicted to increase by an average of 10.9% in the run up to 2020, reaching approximately 726bn transactions.
This is said to be heavily influenced by retail customers, who are increasingly willing to use online and mobile channels to adopt next-generation payment methods.
The report also revealed that by 2019, it is estimated that around 50% of transactions carried out using a credit or debit card will be made either online or via mobile.
Fewer marketers see CRO as ‘crucial’ to success
Econsultancy’s Conversion Rate Optimization Report, in association with RedEye, has revealed a dip in the perceived importance of CRO.
In a survey of 800 marketers and ecommerce professionals, 38% of respondents said they still see it as ‘important’. However, just 50% now see it as ‘crucial’ – a decline from 55% in 2016.
This percentage has fallen even further since 2013, when 59% of professionals cited CRO as ‘crucial’.
More consumers predicted to shop online this Black Friday
A survey by Market Track suggests that more consumers will choose to make online purchases this Black Friday, favouring digital commerce over traditional brick and mortar stores.
Out of 1,000 people surveyed, 40% of respondents said they expect to shop in physical retail stores on Black Friday. Meanwhile, 30% said the same for Thanksgiving compared with 50% last year.
In contrast, 80% said they are likely to purchases from Amazon this year – an increase of 6% from 2016. And while in-store shopping is likely to decline, Walmart came out on top as the top retail destination for the holiday season.
Snapchat is top social platform for US teens
In a survey of 6,100 US teenagers across 44 states, it found 47% of respondents cite Snapchat as their favourite social media platform – almost twice as many as those who prefer Instagram.
Just 9% of teens said they favour Facebook, while 7% said Twitter, and just 1% said Pinterest.
Interactive video ads boost viewing time by 49%
According to Magna, interactive video ads result in a 47% increase in time spent watching compared to non-interactive ads.
What’s more, when consumers interact with a 15-second ad, brands can reportedly triple their time spent with consumers.
Drop shipping is an extremely popular business model for new entrepreneurs, especially Gen Zers and Millennials, due to internet marketing skills far outweighing financial capacity. Since you don’t need to stock or handle the items you are selling, it’s possible to start a drop shipping business with limited funds.
An e-commerce website that operates a drop shipping model purchases the items it sells from a third-party supplier or manufacturer, who then fulfills the order. This not only cuts operational costs, but it also frees up your time to focus all of your efforts on customer acquisition.
If you are ready to start a business that can compete with retail giants, and do so on a limited budget, then follow the six steps below. While it doesn’t take a lot of startup funds to launch a drop shipping business, it will require an immense amount of hard work.
1. Select a niche
The niche you select needs to be laser-focused and something you are genuinely interested in. A product range that isn’t focused will be difficult to market. If you aren’t passionate about the niche you select, you will be more apt to becoming discouraged, because it takes a lot of work to successfully scale a drop shipping business. Here are some points to consider when selecting your niche:
- Seek attractive profits. When you are running a drop shipping business model, your focus is on marketing and customer acquisition, so the amount of work required to sell a $20 item is essentially the same as it would be to sell a $1,500 item. Select a niche with higher-priced products.
- Low shipping costs are very important. Even though your supplier or manufacturer will handle the shipping, if the cost is too high, it will act as customer repellant. Find something that is inexpensive to ship, as this also gives you the option of offering free shipping to your customers and absorbing that cost as a business expense in order to attract more sales.
- Make sure your product appeals to impulse buyers with disposable income. When you are focused on driving traffic to your website, you want to experience the highest conversion rate possible because most visitors will never return. The products you are selling should trigger impulse buys and appeal to those with the financial ability to make a purchase on the spot.
- Make sure people are actively searching for your product. Use Google’s Keyword Planner and Trends to check some common search terms related to your potential niche. If nobody is searching for what you are planning on selling, you are dead in the water before you even begin.
- Create your own brand. Your drop shipping business will have more value if you can rebrand whatever it is you are selling and pass it off as your own. Look for a product or line you can white label and sell as your own brand with custom packaging and branding.
- Sell something that isn’t readily available locally. Pick something your customer can’t find down the street. That way, you become more attractive to a potential customer.
2. Perform competition research
Remember, you will you be competing with other drop shipping operations as well as retail giants like Walmart and Amazon. This is where a lot of potential drop shippers go wrong, because they look for a product that has little to no competition. That’s a sign there isn’t demand for that particular product.
There are many reasons why a product might not have a lot of competition, like high shipping costs, supplier and manufacturing issues or poor profit margins. Look for products that have competition, as it’s a sign that there is a high demand and the business model is sustainable.
3. Secure a supplier
Partnering with the wrong supplier can ruin your business, so it’s important that you don’t rush this step. Conduct proper due diligence. Most drop shipping suppliers are located overseas, making communication extremely important, both in terms of response speed and the ability to understand each other. If you are not 100 percent confident in the communication abilities of a potential supplier, move on and continue your search.
Alibaba has become one of the largest online resources to identify and communicate with potential manufacturers and suppliers. Make sure to ask a lot of questions and learn what their production capabilities are in the event that your business grows exponentially. You want to be certain they have the ability to scale with you.
Try to learn from other entrepreneurs who have walked this path in the past. There are plenty of information sources available, from business and tech blogs to this subreddit about drop shipping. It’s a popular topic that can help you avoid costly supplier mistakes.
4. Build your e-commerce website
The fastest way to launch a website that supports a drop shipping business model is to use a simple Business Relauncher Dropshipping Service. You don’t need a tech background to get up and running, and it has plenty of apps to help increase sales.
Even if you have a sizeable budget that would allow you to hire a web design and development company to create a custom solution, it’s a much wiser move to use one of the plug-and-play options, especially in the beginning. Once you are established and the revenue is coming in, then you can explore additional website customization.
5. Create a customer acquisition plan
Having a great product and a website is great, but without customers looking to buy, you don’t have a business. There are several ways to attract potential customers, but the most effective option is to start a Facebook ad campaign.
This allows you to generate sales and revenue right from the start, which can contribute to quick scaling. Facebook allows you to place your offer directly in front of a highly targeted audience. This gives you the ability to compete with the largest brands and retailers immediately.
You also have to think long-term, so search engine optimization and email marketing should also be a focus. Collect emails from the start and set up automated email sequences that offer discounts and special offers. It’s an easy way to leverage your existing customer base and generate revenue without additional advertising and marketing spend.
6. Analyze and optimize
You need to track all of the data and metrics available to grow your business. This includes Google Analytics traffic and Facebook conversion pixel data, if that is your main customer acquisition channel. When you are able to track every single conversion -- to know where the customer originated from and what path they took on your website that eventually led to a sale -- it enables you to scale what works and eliminate what doesn’t.
You will never have a set-and-forget advertising or marketing solution. You need to constantly test new opportunities and fine-tune current campaigns, which allows you to know when to optimize or shift campaign spend.
New to local search? Wondering where to start? Columnist Sherry Bonelli offers five tactics to help you kick off your local SEO campaign.
If you’ve followed SEO strategies for any length of time, you know one thing: SEO changes all the time. When it comes to local SEO, it’s more important than ever that you optimize your on-site and off-site SEO strategies for clients and customers who may be searching for your local business. Local competition is heating up, and if you’re not on top of your rankings, you can bet your competitors will be.
Here are five solid local SEO 2017 tactics you can use this year to help your business rank higher for local search terms.
1. Title and meta description tags still matter
Title and meta description tags are HTML elements that you can customize to reflect the content of your web page. The text of your title and description tags is displayed in search results. Think of this text as a “mini-ad” that you need to carefully craft.
Last year, Google increased the width of the main search results area to 600px. In light of this, the generally acceptable length for title tags is approximately 50 to 60 characters, and description tags can be approximately 160 to 200 characters. Take advantage of this space and use it wisely — and make sure you double-check that your titles and descriptions aren’t getting cut off in search results.
If you’re not sure how your title and meta description tags will look or how many characters you can get away with, try using an emulator like the one from SEOmofo or Yoast’s SEO Plugin for WordPress:
Writing titles and descriptions is considered an art in the SEO world. In a sea of competing search results, if this text isn’t unique, compelling and descriptive, then your click-through rate will suffer. Additionally, one extra word or character could cut off your text with the dreaded ellipses (…). This may not be a true tragedy, but it does look unprofessional, especially when it shows up in the middle of a sentence, making your title or description less impactful.
The lesson? This space is precious, and every character counts. Here are some tips:
- Never waste space on page names that don’t provide helpful information.
- If you want to reach local customers, include the name of the city your business is in and/or the area your business serves (e.g., “Serving the Corridor of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids”).
- Focus on using one targeted keyword and carefully place that keyword as close to the beginning of the tag as you can.
Remember, if your business shows up in the search results, you have one shot to get that person to click on your link. Don’t blow it by wasting characters that won’t help convince a searcher you’re worth looking at.
2. Online directories and citations
According to Google, roughly four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. Yet many small businesses have not claimed even a single a local business listing online, which is a huge missed opportunity.
It’s important that you get your business listed correctly and consistently on top online business directories, like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Citysearch and others. You will also want to seek out respectable local directories to get your business listed on. Check with your local newspaper’s website and your Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a local business directory you can get listed on. You can also do a search for keywords like “[your city] directory” to find other local citation sites or directories.
It’s also important to get your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) on the major citation data aggregators like Infogroup, Neustar (aka Localeze), Acxiom and Factual. Always make sure that your company’s NAP is consistent on as many of these directories and citation sites as possible. Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number and wrong phone number can create havoc when Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct. If Google’s not sure, they may display incorrect information — or not show your business at all in search results.
3. Google My Business: Claim and optimize
Google My Business (GMB) is considered a directory, but it’s a biggie, so it deserves its own section. It’s very important for local businesses to claim their Google My Business (and Bing Places for Business) page. It’s free and can get you incredible exposure if you’re optimized enough to show up in Google’s local three-pack:
To claim your Google My Business page, visit google.com/business. There’s a verification process you’ll need to go through where Google will send a postcard with a PIN to your business’s physical location. (No P.O. boxes allowed.) Then you’ll simply log in and enter the PIN to verify your business.
This verification process is necessary because Google wants to confirm that your business is legitimate, and that you are actually the business owner. Please note that according to Google’s terms of service, only the business owner can claim a GMB page. If you’re working with a digital marketing agency on your SEO efforts, you can then grant them permission to be a manager of your page — that way, you remain in control of your listing if you terminate your relationship with the agency.
The next step is to optimize your GMB listing with a solid description, categories, business hours, types of payments accepted and so on. You also want to make sure to upload your logo and photos of your business, products or services. (It’s generally recommended that you upload at least three photos.)
Fully populate each and every relevant section so that your listing is complete. If you’re a service business and don’t have a location customers or clients can visit, don’t worry; you can choose to hide your physical address as you’re setting up your Google My Business listing.
As mentioned above, Bing also has a comparable page for local businesses called Bing Places for Business. The process is very similar to GMB, and you should definitely have your business present on Bing’s local directory, too.
4. Online reviews matter
Businesses are finally starting to realize the importance of online reviews from their customers. According to a recent survey, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and seven out of 10 customers will leave a review for a business if asked by the business.
There are several reputation marketing software and tool options you can use to track, manage and proactively try to get reviews. Here are some to check out:
Additionally, many social media platforms, like Hootsuite and Tiny Torch, allow you to monitor and get alerts any time your brand is mentioned. Whenever a review is left about your business, positive or negative, be sure to respond to it. That shows other people reading the reviews that you, the business owner, care what your customers think.
Two places where you should focus on getting reviews are your business’s Facebook page and Google My Business page. These are big ones. Many people turn to social media to see what their friends and family think about a business, so having good reviews on your business’s Facebook page can help to draw in prospective customers. Getting positive reviews on your Google My Business page is crucial because these reviews show up on Google when someone searches for your business.
Google also notes that “[h]igh-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility,” which implies that reviews might factor into rankings on the local pack.
5. Use local structured data markup
Structured data markup — often referred to as “schema markup” or “schema.org markup” — can be added to your website’s code to provide search engines with more information about your business, like the products you sell, reviews you’ve collected, services you offer and so on.
Only 31.3 percent of websites are using this markup — and most are only using the basics. You can make your local business stand out (and possibly rank higher than your competitors) if you add structured data markup to your site where appropriate.
Google wants you to use structured data markup because it helps their spiders better determine what your site content is about. Google even offers a Structured Data Testing Tool so you can check to see if your markup is properly implemented.
If the thought of coding freaks you out, you can also use Google’s Data Highlighter to mark up content with your mouse. (Note that your website will need to be set up with Google Search Console in order for this to work.)
This is just of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to local SEO. Implementing the five local search tactics above will give you a head start on your competition. Get started today!
There is a big difference between building a dropship business and building a successful dropship business. You want to make sure you’re on the right track from the start, as this will give you the confidence you need to push forward as the days and weeks go by.
Before we discuss some of the finer details of , let’s first examine the basic definition of dropshipping.
“Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn't keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product.”
This alone shows you that there are quite a few benefits of dropshipping, especially when compared to a more traditional setup in which you stock and ship physical products yourself.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s examine some of the many things you can do to build a great dropship business:
1. Choose the Right Industry
There are many steps you can take to find the best products to dropship. There are online guide that can push you in the right direction, as well as industry publications that may lend some insight into which products are hot at the present time.
You don’t want to choose an industry that no one is interested in. You want to choose an industry and products that are hot sellers at the present time, as this ensures that you will have an audience interested in doing business with you.
2. Choose the Right Technology to Power Your Store
Building an online dropshipping business comes down to more than choosing the right products.
Once you have a few products lined up, you need a way to present these to the world. This is where your website comes into play.
It’s imperative that you choose the right technology. For example, you could build your online store on the WordPress platform, which is something that have done before you.
Tip: Choose a platform that you are comfortable using yourself, as you want to be able to make changes to your store as you see fit.
3. Hire Help
It’s easy to believe that you can build a great dropship business on your own, but there may come a point when you don’t have what it takes to handle all the finer details that go into pushing your company forward.
This is why you should think about what type of help you can hire. From a technology expert to a social media genius, you should keep an open mind.
In addition to full and part-time employees, don’t hesitate to search for contractors who can provide the assistance you require on a per-project basis
4. Always be Changing
It would be great if you could implement a successful system and rely on it for many years to come, never having to make a change. Unfortunately, this is very rarely the case in the business world. You must be willing to change with the times if you are going to keep up with your competitors.
When you track everything you do and pay close attention to what is and isn’t working, you can make the necessary adjustments as the weeks turn to months and the months turn to years.
With somewhere in the $370 billion range, there is no wondering why so many people want to launch an online store.
If you don’t like the idea of stocking and shipping your own products, the dropshipping model could be perfect for you. Now that you know how to build a great drop shipping business, the only thing left is to get started.