Whether you are a product- or service-based business, you will most likely have a website or are in the process of creating one.While I teach California Media LLC how to create their own website, I’ve noticed that once they have mastered the steps, there is always one question that follows:
How do you make money from your website once it’s up?
It can seem like an obvious question. However, I believe that a successful website is broken down into two elements: the visual and the strategic. While having a visually appealing website is important for any entrepreneur, knowing how to have it grow your business is just as essential.
I’m going to share with you four things that you can implement on your own website (even with little traffic) to help generate more income to support your business online.
- Affiliate links
Becoming an affiliate for your favorite products or services (relevant to your business) is a great way to increase revenue while building a trusting relationship with your audience. Not only are you gaining a commission for every purchase that came from your referral but by recommending products that will help your audience get results, you are also increasing your credibility.
One of the best ways to promote these affiliate products is by offering a “Toolkit” or “Resource” page on your website. However, it’s extremely important to be genuine and disclose that you are offering affiliate links. People appreciate honesty and if your recommendations help them, they will likely come back and support you in the future.
- Sequenced opt-ins
If you are offering something of value in exchange for your web visitors’ email addresses, are you clear on your end goal?
While regularly blogging or publishing content for those subscribers is a great way to add value, try to plan out a sequence that can lead to promoting your product or service at the end of it.
- Hold Workshops
It can take people some time to build trust with your business. Rather than simply listing how people can work with you on your website (or purchase your products), why not try giving value first to establish your credibility?
Great ways of doing this can be in the form of webinars and online workshops relating to your business. Some tools that you can use to easily create this include Webinar.
- Stop focusing on numbers
While the concept of building 1,000 true fans is not new, it couldn’t be more relevant today. We can often get sidetracked with the number of people who are following us, but, as Kevin Kelly’s article explains, quality will always beat quantity.The key is focusing on building relationships with your audience and constantly giving value no matter what you do. These true fans will then effortlessly want to start sharing your work and supporting your business.
These are just some ways to help generate more money from your website, but I hope you can see that there is so much more behind it then just a few quick tricks or listing your products online. It may seem like a bit of work initially but the pay off will be much greater in the long run.
Choosing an SEO Agency can be difficult, especially because there are so many agencies out there that give the industry a bad name.
An ethical agency uses SEO techniques that are accepted and advised by search engines such as Google. Agencies using spammy techniques such as over optimising websites could put your business at risk of being penalised by Google. With this in mind, when choosing an SEO agency, it’s important to look out for certain warning signs…
Nobody Should Promise Position #1 on Google
- You should not trust an SEO agency that promises to get you to “position 1″ of Google. Google’s SEO Guidelines state that “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” As this is coming directly from Google, it is strongly advised that you do not choose an agency that claims they can achieve this!
- Some agencies might promise to get you to the top of Google in a short amount of time. Improving visibility in search results will take time, as there are a lot of different factors that are taken into account by search engines, and there is no way of guaranteeing results in any given time period.
- Search engine results are ambiguous. When searching a query at different locations the results can change, and this should be made clear by any respectable agency. Users with Google accounts will also get personalised results.
- Appearing first in a search engine does not reflect the overall performance of a business’s success online. Factors such as conversions and ROI are more important than rankings. If the traffic generated from Google isn’t converting into leads or sales, then your SEO agency isn’t targeting the right keywords.
An Ethical SEO Agency Should Be:
Trustworthy – An agency should deliver what they have promised. They should also not be afraid to admit if they have made a mistake.
A simple step to understand who could potentially be managing your SEO is to look the company up on LinkedIn. Here you can check for personal recommendations on the consultant you have been assigned, and get a feel for the size of the company.
Helpful – An ethical SEO agency will go out of the way to delight customers.
A list of questions should be sent to you prior to the initial meeting. This shows that they are trying to understand your business and its priorities. This is also an opportunity for you to ask the agency questions and gauge their knowledge and experience.
Professional – The use of Twitter is key for SEO professionals.
When researching potential SEO agencies it is useful to assess whether the team members are active on Twitter, and also who members of staff at your potential agency follow on Twitter. This will demonstrate that they are keeping up to date with industry trends.
You’ve probably heard people say we’re living in a “post-PC world.” What does that mean for web developers? It means that 30% to 50% of your website’s traffic now comes from mobile devices. It means that soon, desktop and laptop users will be in a minority on the web.
How do we deal with this tectonic shift in user behavior? We’ve moved beyond the era of m-dot or t-dot hacks, into one where responsive and adaptive design techniques rule the day — what the W3C calls a One Web approach. The key part of the W3C’s recommendation is that “One Web means making, as far as is reasonable, the same information and services available to users irrespective of the device they are using.”
For developers that means that taking a One Web approach ensures that not only does your site work on the smartphones and tablets of today, but it can be future-proofed for the unimagined screens of tomorrow.
There are currently three popular approaches to developing a One Web site: using a responsive design; client-side adaptive designs; and server-side adaptive designs.
One is not better or worse than the other; each has its own strengths and weaknesses and the wise web developer will consider the benefits and drawbacks of each before picking the one that works for their next project.
Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design is the most common One Web approach. The approach uses CSS media queries to modify the presentation of a website based on the size of the device display. The number of responsive sites is rapidly increasing, from the Boston Globe to Disney to Indochino.
A key advantage of this approach is that designers can use a single template for all devices, and just use CSS to determine how content is rendered on different screen sizes. Plus, those designers can still work in HTML and CSS, technologies they’re already familiar with. Additionally, there’s a growing number of responsive-friendly, open-source toolkits like Bootstrap or Foundation which help simplify the process of building responsive sites.
On the other hand, there are few shortcuts to a sound responsive design. To go responsive, organizations often have to undertake a complete site rebuild.
The design and testing phase can be quite fussy, as it can be difficult to customize the user experience for every possible device or context. We’ve all seen responsive site layouts that look like a bunch of puzzle pieces that don’t quite fit together. Responsive web design works best in combination with a mobile-first approach, where the mobile use case is prioritized during development. Progressive enhancement is then used to address tablet and desktop use cases.
Performance can also be a bugbear for responsive sites. At Mobify, we recently completed an analysis of 15 popular responsive e-commerce sites. Among these sites, the home pages loaded an average of 87 resources and 1.9 MB of data. Some responsive pages were as big as 15MB.
The numbers are that high because a responsive approach covers all devices. Your user is only using one device, but they have to wait for all of the page elements and resources to load before they can use it. Put simply, performance affects your bottom line. On smartphones, the conversion rate drops by an extra 3.5 percent when users have to wait just one second. By the three second mark, 57 percent of users will have left your site completely.
While responsive design is fast becoming the de facto standard, it also creates new challenges for online businesses, including how to handle images, how to optimize mobile performance and often means sites need to be rebuilt from the ground up with a mobile first approach.
A client-side adaptive approach means you don’t have to rebuild your site from the ground up. Instead you can build on existing content while still delivering a mobile-responsive layout. For expert developers, this approach also enables you to specifically target particular devices or screen resolutions. For example, for many of Mobify’s online fashion retail clients, 95% of their mobile traffic comes from iPhones. Client-side adaptive means they can optimize specifically for Apple smartphones.
Unlike responsive design, adaptive templates ensure that only the required resources are loaded by the client’s device. Because device and feature detection is shifted to the mobile device itself, CDN networks like Akamai and Edgecast can use most of their caching functionality without disrupting the user experience.
We can achieve the server-side adaptive approach in a variety of ways, through server-side plugins and custom user agent detection. Sites that use server-side adaptive include Etsy, One Kings Lane and OnlineShoes.com.
Why choose server-side adaptive? It typically offers distinct templates for each devices, enabling more customization, and it keeps device-detection logic on the server, enabling smaller mobile pages that load faster. Additionally, there are numerous server-side plugins available for common CMSs and eCommerce systems such as Magento.
This approach isn’t for the faint of heart–it typically requires significant changes to your back-end systems, which can result in a lengthy (and costly) implementation. The requirement to manage multiple templates raises ongoing maintenance costs. Finally, this approach can encounter performance issues when servers are under heavy load. When mobile user agent detection is performed on the server, a lot of common caching mechanisms deployed by CDNs like Akamai need to be turned off. This can result in a slower user experience for mobile and desktop visitors.
Of course, many companies are still wrestling with the basics of responsive, and they’re not ready to confront the more sophisticated flavors of adaptive. Increasingly, competition and mobile traffic, however, will drive more and more organizations to kick the tires on all three approaches, and pick the one that works best for their users.
There are a couple reasons performance can take a hit on your website.Your user rate can increase beyond the scope the site was designed for as multiple companies and users attempt to activate the portal. Or you may have too many scripts and images attempting to load at once.Likely there is some combination of both problems that cause loading time to slow down and your users to get impatient.
This was the case for AllianceTek a while back as one of our client’s sites was taking a huge performance hit.Rather than add to the scope of the website, we addressed the problem by performing website optimization at three levels:
Website Level Optimization
Server Level Optimization
We split the server into two parts – a web part and a database part.We ran a scheduler process to speed up the process of reporting company statistics where live data is not required.By using global content caching to fetch data from cache, it reduced the number of server trips and thus decreased loading time.
Database Level Optimization
Further normalizing the database reduced redundancy. We addressed clustered and non-clustered indexes that ate up valuable performance quality.
As a result of these changes, there was less loading time, improved data retrieval processes, and increased user accessibility.Although results will vary depending on the unique case, in this situation we improved performance by 55% which had the effect of improving work efficiency by approximately 46%. (*These results will vary case to case depending on the optimization done.)
When aiming for conversions, site speed is key. But there are things you can do that go beyond the technical, explains Gene Crawford.
Win clients & work smarter with our FREE ebook: get it now!
Mostly we worry about this sort of thing for business reasons – we want conversions. The faster the website loads in the browser, the faster the user can sign up, or make a purchase. This is one benefit to being fast. But another side of things that I’ve been noticing lately is an aim to ‘look’ fast.
A lot has been written lately about speeding up your website by fine-tuning the backend, as well as tweaking the HTML and CSS for better formatting and performance. This is extremely important for a lot of obvious reasons.
How to find performance
There are things you can do to make a web page appear fast that go beyond the purely technical. For example, the way you align the fields of a sign-up form, or the number of fields, can impact a person’s perception of the form.
The difference between horizontal or vertical alignment can make a form look faster to complete. The strategic utilisation of animation can also sell the idea of something being fast and easy to manipulate.
If the primary element on the page you’re designing also contains the main call to action, the faster someone will notice this, and the faster they can act on it. This technically isn’t faster in the sense of tracked time, but it can seem faster.
Keeping the user’s perception of speed or ease of use in mind as you design can pay dividends. I challenge you to consider this idea of perceived speed as you work through your next design project, and see where it leads you.
With the proliferation and mobile devices and the numerous browsers, it’s more complex than ever trying to build an application that caters to so many different possible users. However, there are a few methodologies that help make sense of this turmoil: responsive website, HTML 5, and cross-platform development. We hope to shine a light on these concepts so you can choose the best way to develop your application and reach the most potential users.
Here are three approaches to development :
Responsive Web Design – RWD refers to a website that adapts to the browser and/or device to provide an optimal viewing experience. It emphasizes easy reading and navigation while minimizing resizing, panning, and scrolling by adapting the layout to the viewing environment by using proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries.
Cross-platform Apps – Cross-platform apps are designed to work with and use a device’s native functionalities. The framework built to use cross-platform apps has a cross compiler which is capable of creating the final executable code for the multiple platforms. Different frameworks are available for developing these cross-platform apps.
Responsive Web Design – When to Use It
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is best suited when the requirements do not go beyond building a website that dynamically changes the layout according to the device used. This is the optimal method when building website architecture for desktops, smartphones, tablets and e-readers. RWD is capable of providing a convenient viewing experience with the myriad of browsers and mobile devices on the market.
HTML5 App – When to Use It
Cross-Platform App – When to Use It
Cross-Platform App development is the way to go when your application demands the use of some native features or API and you want it to run on multiple devices. A cross-platform app increases code reusability since the majority of your code remains the same and only minor changes are required to make it run on the different platforms. Cross-platform apps can be created using various frameworks available on the market today such as Titanium, Xamarin, and Sencha Touch. However, there are a few drawbacks to this approach. Each framework will have a different coding language and coding standards and so it requires a specific skill for that framework. Some of these frameworks will cost you if used for commercial use.
In the end, the requirements, development costs, and time are factors to consider when determining which type of application is the way to go? Obtaining further clarity is important, and it may be beneficial to contact a trusted mobile app development company to help you choose the right strategy that suits your budget, needs, and positions you for business growth. AllianceTek has earned a reputation with helping organizations make wise development decisions and we would be pleased to discuss development strategies with you.