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Archive for September, 2010

The Facebook Application for MiiDuu is Officially Ready for Use!

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Here at MiiDuu we’re very excited to announce that the MiiDuu Shop application for Facebook is ready to use! We’ve put a lot of time into making it as easy to use and professional looking as possible, so we hope you find this new feature as exciting as we do!

Not only did Facebook recently surpass Google as the world’s most visited site, but people who use Facebook do so often and for longer periods of time. Facebook states that “people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook” and that half of their active users (around 250,000,000 people) log on to Facebook on any given day. That means, on average, each user is on Facebook for around one and a half hours a day! Clearly, being able to utilize this social network as a sales tool will reap large rewards, but even better is the fact that being able to fully integrate your store into a Facebook page is still a new phenomenon, so you have the chance to get in on this exciting new feature on the ground floor. If used to it’s full potential, this feature could grow your business farther than you ever thought possible.

Don’t worry, MiiDuu’s commitment to making our site easy to use while providing free, fully functional, professional stores remains strong with our integration into Facebook. Linking up your existing MiiDuu store to a Facebook page can be done in just a few clicks with easy to follow instructions. The MiiDuu team has also designed a professional looking layout and theme optimized for use in Faceook, so you don’t have to worry about anything but expanding your customer base. With such great marketing potential at your fingertips, what are you waiting for? Integrate your store into Facebook now! Don’t have a store? No worries, just head over to MiiDuu.com today and sign up! You’ll be selling on Facebook in no time!

Categories: MiiDuu.com News

Can You Create a Great Website WITHOUT SEO?

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment

I recently came across an article that stood on an ant-SEO soapbox and suggested that you not only could, but should, create a great website with great web traffic without SEO. I have to admit, at first I was quite interested. Not having to worry about SEO would be great! The more I actually read the article, however, the more it avoided one glaring problem with it’s proposed SEO-less method of climbing the search engine rankings: it involves SEO.

The article slams SEO and those who offer  SEO services, even white hat SEO, stating that, “People who do White Hat SEO play by the rules. They don’t break any Google Terms of Service (mostly) and they stick to the techniques which are deemed to be legitimate. The problem is that they go over the top and they entirely miss the point.” This statement is based on the assumption that if you are practicing good SEO, you are ignoring the rest of your site and failing to produce quality content. What it fails to take into account, is that quality content is part of SEO. In fact, the author even touches on the similarities between optimizing a site and creating a quality site without acknowledging that they are similar because building a good site is a very large percentage of your SEO:

A remarkable amount “Pro SEO Strategies for better rankings” actually coincide with what a good web developer would tell you to do in order to have a good website. Using proper heading tags, creating simple and well structured links to navigate through your site, ensuring that relevant content is well presented and has related content easily available, creating content on your site which other people will want to link to and talk about.

Of course they coincide! If you’re doing it correctly, creating a great website and an optimized site should be the same thing. The article does highlight a good point though: if you’re ignoring the content of your website, it doesn’t matter how good your Alexa rank is or how many keywords you’re optimized for. In the end, you want to get people on your site, staying on your site, buying from your site, and coming back to your site. So make sure that you are keeping your content fresh and relevant to your keywords, and that your site is user friendly and enjoyable. If you want to focus your attention on keeping your content up to date, interesting, and relevant instead of constantly reading up on SEO, that’s fine. Just don’t pretend what you’re doing isn’t in and of itself SEO.

To find the full article go to http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/09/create-great-websites-without-any-seo/ and make sure to check out the end of the article. They have a case study/interview that highlight the importance of content in any SEO campaign.

A Fun Way to Get Traffic to Your Site

September 19, 2010 1 comment

For some people, SEO is in and of itself, fun. It’s like a puzzle trying to figure out what does and doesn’t work. For others, SEO is tedious and often slips down the to-do list as a result. There might be a fun way that you haven’t yet thought of yet: Forums!

Finding a dofollow forum that relates to your business is a great way to drum up traffic and create links. This is an important distinction. While nofoloow forums can still lead to more traffic for your website, you will not get a backlink for them. In dofollow forums, just put your store or blog’s url in your signature, and then use the forum as usual. Don’t be spammy or self promoting, just be active. Your link will be there for those who are interested. You might also try using keywords in your posts, as forums often show up at the top of search pages. Most of the dofollow forums require you to make a certain number of posts before you attach links, so use that time to introduce yourself into the forum and build a rapport with the community. then, when you can introduce links, it will seem more organic and people will be more likely to click on them.

There are all kinds of forums out there, with topics covering almost every topic under the sun, so whatever you’re selling there is probably a related forum. If you are already active on forums unrelated to your product, you can still add a link in your signature. For help finding a forum, check out this list of 600 Dofollow Forums and explore a bit to find one that’s suited to your business/interests.

Forums don’t replace the rest of your SEO plan, so make sure to keep updating that blog and refining keywords, but if used correctly they can greatly enhance your web presence and be fun at the same time!

You Might Not Judge a Book by its Cover, But…

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Your customers will most definitely judge your online store by its homepage. Yes, it needs good SEO. Yes, it needs to be clearly organized and easy to navigate. When it comes down to it though, what’s really going to pop out at your customer in the first seconds they are on your site, is what it looks like. Your site needs to be professional and attractive. This will instantly make customers trust it more, as higher quality web design implies a more legitimate, successful company. Wikipedia might get by with plain white and black, but your online store won’t.

Brick and Mortar stores have three main advantages over an online store: customers can see and touch the actual product before deciding whether or not to buy, they get to take it home immediately, and they have salespeople. Have you ever been in a store where the sales people just sat at the register and didn’t say anything to any of the customers? How many customers were shopping in that store? Without the advantage of a good sales person to engage the customer you need to fill this void with an engaging website. There are many aspects to an engaging website. Personally, I love when I’m shopping for clothes online and it suggests what else I might wear to complete the outfit. If the website looks sloppy or like it was programmed by someone dabbling in HTML, however, there is no way I’m going to stay on the site long enough find out what other ways the site might engage me.

I make no claims to being any sort of graphic artist or designer of any sort, but one thing I DO do is shop online. So, from a customer’s perspective here are some tips on how to make a site look more visually engaging:

1) Color
The type of company you’re running will dictate the sorts of colors you might use (jewel tones versus earth tones for example), but your color scheme will be very important. It should be eye-catching, but not distracting from your product. Having a white background is fine, just make sure you use some well placed accent colors to make it pop. If you’re going to have a lot of text on your page (multiple long paragraphs) I suggest using a lighter background with dark text because it’s easier on the eyes, so customers are more likely to read through it.

2) Pictures
People love pictures and people judge pictures. Make sure you have them, and make sure they’re good. Poorly chosen or low quality pictures make it look like you don’t care. And if you don’t care, why should your customer? If you customer thinks you don’t care, he or she is much less likely to trust you. High quality photos add a lot to a site (and I don’t mean high-resolution, I’m talking composition, lighting, color, etc.) and lend an air of credibility. If you have pictures of your products (and you better!), make sure they are GOOD pictures. If you have a bad camera, find someone with a nice one and borrow it. If you’re going to have to take pictures of new products all the time, a good camera is a good investment. You can type as much text as you want in the description, but that picture is selling (or not!) your product.

3) Layout
The layout of your site should be easy to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. I’m not going to dig through your site looking for anything that might interest me. I’m either looking for a specific product and want to get there quickly and easily, or I’m just casually clicking on things that strike my fancy. For the latter, you’ll want to make sure categories are clearly laid out in an obvious place. If I don’t see a link, I’m not going to click on it. It’s that simple.

4) Extra Touches
Details are key. Having nice little touches that tie everything together really add to the professionalism of your website and make it a more enjoyable shopping experience. I think having a site that is shaded to appear sort of 3D (this site, for example) looks 100 times better than a site that looks completely flat. As I mentioned earlier, related products are great. Most of these will be unique to your company so just think about it for a little while, I’m sure you’ll come up with a couple of great ideas!

Anyway, those are just some quick tips to get you started. This will be a major aspect of your online store, so take some time to really brainstorm and decide what you want it to look like. If you’re in a better financial position, you might consider hiring and expert to create something unique and professional for you. If you don’t have the money or time, MiiDuu.com has some great free themes that take care of this for you.

Now that you have some ideas brewing, why not head over to MiiDuu and give it a go? Already have a MiiDuu store? Get some how-to advice from our Design related FAQs!

A quick PS: Your online store may not have sales people, but it is still responsible for customer service. Make sure to respond to all customer e-mails in a timely fashion, and obviously, be as helpful as possible. If a customer has a problem, it is in your best interest to solve it as quickly as possible, even if that means taking a return or two. I, personally, will never buy BCBG clothing again due to an outdated return policy and poor customer service.  I also recently read a blog post dedicated just to discrediting a company for this same reason (Why you shouldn’t buy from Raveready.com OR Beatdropcloset.com). This will be especially hurtful to people with poor SEO as the blog post could show up in searches before your shop!

A Real Life Look at the Impact of SEO

September 15, 2010 1 comment

For those of you who are new to online marketing, it can often be hard to fully realize it’s importance. You hear all these SEO tips and keyword pointers, but when you don’t see immediate, easily identifiable results it’s easy to forget just how important it is. If you need a reminder, just think of the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. Do you know what I’m talking about? If you do, you also know the value of good SEO.

I stumbled up this article today and I think it does a great job of highlighting the importance of SEO without getting caught up in jargon or other boring stuff that non-SEO experts don’t feel like reading 🙂 It’s called SEO lessons from the ‘ground zero mosque’, and it theorizes that SEO is responsible for the ubiquitous usage of the terms “Ground Zero” and “Mosque” when neither was accurate. Because those that started the brouhaha were against the building, they picked a contentious turn of phrase that they knew would incite passionate, emotional responses from many Americans. As reporters started to look into claims of a mosque being built on Ground Zero, it became clear that it was actually a Muslim community center (similar to a JCC) and it was a couple blocks away from Ground Zero, not AT it or ON it. Still, even those reporters and bloggers (and anyone else posting content in hopes of getting views) who wanted to advocate religious freedom found themselves having to use the terms “mosque” and “ground zero” because “muslim community center” and “lower Manhattan” just didn’t get the same exposure. From there, things just continued to snowball.

Clearly there were other factors that contributed to the disproportionate usage of these terms on both sides of the argument. The news media itself would have been drawn to these more attention grabbing words as well. The impact of SEO, however, is still clearly visible in this example. This example is a news story, but just think of what harnessing some of this power for your business could do?

That being said, remember you are not writing for your keywords. You want to create genuinely interesting content, and then adapt it for your keywords. Even if useless posts full of great keywords (or worse, unrelated keywords) get people to your blog or website, it won’t take the average internet browser 10 seconds to get bored with your site and x out of the box without clicking on anything, and if you have an online shop, they certainly aren’t going to buy anything.

So just stick with the golden rules of SEO, quality content and quality keywords, and next time you need a little motivation to do your keyword research, just think about the ground zero mosque.

The Rise of Facebook Integration

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Here at MiiDuu we’ve been working hard to complete an app that will allow users to fully integrate their store into Facebook. Your products, categories, description, and even your theme will be available in a tab on your business’s Facebook page. Users will not only be able to shop, but also “Like” and comment on your products.  We think it’s pretty cool, because it not only allows you grow your customer base and boost sales, but it makes shopping easier for the customer and makes it more social.

We’re really excited about it, so we’ve been busy getting ready for the launch. This means, of course, doing some new keyword research*.  So I went to Google Insights for Search and got the following graph for the search term “Facebook Integration”:

Graph of the Rise of the Search Term "Facebook Integration"

It’s amazing how quickly Facebook has grown over the last two years. Just a year ago the search was only about half as popular! This really drives home how important social media is to your business. Not only do you need to be promoting your business with social media, you need to be fully integrating into them. The other thing I noticed was how this search is only popular in the United States. Facebook started in the US, but it is now a worldwide community. It will be interesting to watch how quickly this Facebook integration craze seeps into the greater online community. Perhaps if you (or your customer base) is  from outside the United States you still have time to get into the integration craze relatively early.

Here’s another (albeit probably much less statistically accurate) example for those of us who  like cartoons more than charts and graphs 🙂 :

According to Wikipedia, a Compete.com study revealed Facebook as the most used social network (based on monthly active users) in January 2009. In comparison, this cartoon from http://xkcd.com is from Spring 2007 which is based on the artist’s research:

xkcd.com Social Network Map

xkcd.com Social Network Map

So there you go. Whether you prefer charts or comics, it’s pretty clear that social networking is here to stay. If you want to be here to stay as well*, you better integrate with Facebook ASAP!

*Speaking of being here to stay: have you done your keyword research for your blog/store?? Have you updated it recently? This is an integral part of getting (and MAINTAINING) your web traffic, so make sure this is a regularly recurring item on your SEO/Marketing to-do list!

Whether You’re an Online Retailer or an Online Shopper, This Privacy Bill Affects YOU.

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment

A few months ago a draft of a bill was released that looks to improve your online privacy. The debate over this bill continues to grow more and more contentious by the day, and the outcome of the bill will have very large implications for everyone on the internet. So, do you know where you stand on it?

The bill basically proposes that all websites would have to notify users what information they collect and how it is used. Additionally, they would need to require an “opt-in” option in regards to third-parties. These third parties are mostly online advertising customers who use the information from your cookies (basically, your online history) to show you targeted ads.  To read a more in-depth description of the bill, along with some commentary from both sides, you can visit this article on Computer World.

Proponents of the bill are hoping to enhance the privacy of online consumers, however, many say this bill simply lets online retailers use their privacy policy as a shield against any and all online privacy complaints. Online retailers and advertisers, however, are also wary of the bill. If a user is asked to opt in every single time they are about to see a targeted ad, both the advertisers and the users would suffer. Advertisers would make much less money because they would have a much smaller audience, and those surfing the internet would quickly get annoyed by constantly being asked to opt-in to various advertisements. A good article explaining the “thread” of this bill can be found at Business Week.

Still, with more and more information being passed around the internet, where is the line drawn? Even those of us who are invested in eCommerce and online advertising still use the internet as individuals and have our own privacy to think about. TG Daily has a short and simple article up about John Kerry’s call for an online privacy bill.

So what do you think? Is an online privacy bill necessary? If so, do you agree with the current draft? How would you change it? This is something that will affect everyone, so if you have a strong opinion, make sure you get your voice heard! Contact your local congressmen today and let them know how you feel!

Categories: eCommerce News
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