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How to Keep Your Ecommerce Site Thriving During a Traffic Spike

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Most days in the world of business and ecommerce are fairly run of the mill; you can expect a typical amount of traffic and standard sales figures. In other words, it’s business as usual. But what about those special days when engagement is off the charts? This can happen as a result of content or promotions going viral, the release of new coupons getting distributed on mega forums or coupon sites or simply a mailing going out to your customer list to increase sales.

However, once you start thinking about holiday promotions and throwing big shopping days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday into the mix, then things can really get crazy! During flash sales and holiday specials (not to mention after successful promotions), your ecommerce store suddenly becomes the go-to destination for online shoppers. With this in mind… do you have the server capabilities and scalability to make sure your site is up and running at all times?

No matter what you know about your site and servers at the moment, this is a good problem to have… you just need to make sure your site can accommodate it before such events actually take place. Unfortunately, only 27 percent of small and medium-sized businesses are currently equipped to handle a 200 percent increase in traffic. Prepping your ecommerce site for a traffic spike now will pay off in spades down the line. Here’s how to get ready for these engagements.

Review Previous Sales

It’s difficult to chart the future of your online store if you don’t know where you’ve been. Analyzing past data (and patterns over time) helps you know what to expect.

Let’s say you’re launching an annual storewide clearance event to help move the remnants of last season’s inventory. Before it goes live, you should review year-over-year sales for said event, not to mention the effectiveness of your previous promotional campaigns. You can also determine whether the sale attracted mostly new or returning customers and how they entered your site. With this information in hand, you’ll know what to expect and how to maximize traffic and sales leading up to the big day in order to host your highest-earning event to date.

Focus on Scalable Servers

The most basic principle of handling a traffic spike is, well, a website that fundamentally works. If your server crashes ten minutes into what was supposed to be your biggest sale of the year, your revenue will take a major hit and your customers’ loyalty will erode. Conducting an enterprise ecommerce platform comparison well before your next big event can help you choose a flexible, cloud-based solution to handle the ups and downs of ecommerce.

In order to accommodate a traffic peak (and each subsequent one after that), consider the benefits of a cloud platform. Why? As one Forbes contributor writes, “Cloud platforms are sometimes called ‘elastic.’ In a nutshell, this means they’re designed for fast scaling. New servers can be deployed quickly, and available resources can be increased to accommodate almost any demand.”

Stock Up on Inventory

Even if shoppers can enter your site during a period of heavy traffic, can they fill their carts with their favorite products? As an eager customer, nothing is more of a letdown than seeing “Out of Stock” printed underneath the very item you wanted to buy. These visitors want to give your store money! In return, you must offer them a plentiful inventory full of products ready to be shipped—not backordered, not “coming soon.”

Just as it’s important to plan your back-end deployment, it’s important to engage in inventory planning before any high-traffic sales event. Beef up the numbers on bestsellers and make sure there’s a quick way to restock if numbers run low. You can even set up automatic reordering below a certain threshold to make sure your store never runs dry.

Run a Trial on Multiple Devices

The last step before you go live is testing your ecommerce site for yourself—on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. It’s not about just making sure your site is responsive and viewable on all devices, its also about making sure your shopping cart and ordering process works correctly as well. Keep in mind, ordering through a desktop and mobile device are two completely different processes. You need to make sure this is set up to be completed as fast and easy as possible. After all, your shoppers will be accessing your online shop from all of these endpoints. Check for laggy graphics, poor user experience (UX) and accessibility issues. By looking at your site through your customers’ eyes, you’ll be able to optimize their shopping experience.

It’s never too early to start prepping your ecommerce site for a traffic spike. This is something many site owners and online busineses won’t find out until it’s too late… often referred to as one of the many pitfalls of running an ecommerce site. A successful online sales event means establishing your expectations, providing a great UX to shoppers, avoiding costly server downtime, carefully managing your inventory and learning from past mistakes.

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11 Features of a Great Law Firm Web Design and SEO

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Lawyers are awesome at what they do — which is legal stuff. If you want to be the best at what you do, it’s often best to focus solely on what you are best at, while outsourcing the rest. This should be true with all services and organizations that want to have an amazing website that not only shows off what a business or agency does but also blows away the competition in the process.

The legal industry is growing rapidly, which means it is important that your law firm stands out from the pack. Your website should be the place where your prospective clients can get a sense of your knowledge and skills in law practice. Hence, they can trust you to win their cases.

In order to make your website stand out, you should call on a professional web design firm that knows how to highlight your strengths. So, let’s see how a great law firm web design should look.

Use Your Firm’s Logo and Name

Use your unique logo to build brand recognition on your website. This will allow clients to identify you immediately and follow you both online and offline. In the same respect, use your law firm’s name in the URL and in the header of the website so that it can be easier for customers to find you.

If you don’t currently have a logo design for your legal firm, this is something you should immediately invest. The good news is that this can be accomplished for a fraction of the cost a traditional design team or agency would charge. Through the power of the internet and artificial intelligence, you can use this design tool to create a legal company brand logo like the one below in a matter of seconds.

Highlight Your Law Firm’s Strengths

Your strengths set you apart from the rest. So, try to stress your practice in a particular area of practice. We can actually point out a perfect example of this from a Seattle-based personal injury lawsuit team below. By highlighting these numbers and success rates, it not only shows off your firm’s legitimacy and success rate but will also keep your clients feel safe and secure in the process. When using this type of content on your site, ensure that this piece of information stands out in the firm’s web design. This is also called the unique selling point and will make your prospective clients want to work with you.

List All the Legal Services You Offer

Make sure that the website lists all the services that you provide and how you can help your clients. Also, mention your skills and your experience and try to place these details on your homepage. Make sure they are informative and helpful.

If you aren’t sure how to best set this up, just take a few minutes to search “top legal firms” on Google, and see the many different site designs and navigation menus being used. The most important thing is to provide your audience with what they are looking for, while also not overloading them with options and distractions in the process.

Use the Firm’s Chosen Colors

Make your website design and company brand stand out by adopting a color combination that is perfectly tailored to convey your message. Use the colors as backgrounds, in the links, in the visual separators, and for the icons. Make sure that these colors are the same as those in your logo so that you can be easily recognizable.

When it comes to building a trustworthy brand and relating to your audience, take a look at the different ways businesses and brand use colors to accomplish this. A perfect example would be the color “Grey”, and how companies like Apple, Wikipedia, Puma and others implement this into their logo design and branding to better relate with their audience and show off their professionalism in the process.

Share Your Work

Share your best case studies and their results on your website. They will show that you have the necessary knowledge and expertise and they also demonstrate that you have had exceptional results in your previous practice. Moreover, link your website to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This way, people can interact with you and this can also be a window to harvest new clients and convert your client base into a great following.

This is something I often discuss when talking about blogging and building out About Me pages. While most people just throw these types of pages together, they are actually going to be one of the most read pages on your site, and definitely a great place to showcase any case studies, testimonials, or customer success stories.

Register Your Firm with Google My Business

This is not a web design feature per say, but it will be of great help to you. List your law firm with Google My Business. It is free and easy to register. All that it requires is your basic information such as the firm’s name, the website information, and the location of your company. Then, you can verify your business with the firm’s code.

After that, you can enter more information such as the hours of operation, your description, and services. You can optimize your presence so that your firm can be identified through Google searches by clients around you. Incorporate a link to the firm’s site and build a great and lasting reputation.

Optimization through SEO

Optimize your website for the search engines so that you can get in the top rankings. It might sound like rocket science, but it’s not difficult at all. For example, WordPress has amazing SEO features built within their themes and plugins.

Also, as far as SEO is concerned, you can keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use proper names for the images on your site as this enhances the results from the search engines and improves the content of the site.
  • Do not choke or stuff your site with too many pages and posts that are not related to your practice. This will have an opposite result and it will be harder for the search engines to find you. Moreover, your website may suffer a penalty as a result of irrelevance.
  • Format your texts properly to make sure that they are easy to read and comprehend. This will make the prospective clients want to return to your website.
  • Contextualize your links as this makes it easier for clients to get the bigger picture and understand the information on your website. Customers can relate when you link to relevant sources and materials.

Share your Results and Testimonials

Share the most important testimonials from past clients. This helps build great confidence, trust, and credibility in your prospective customers. Clients will be more inclined to seek your legal services if they can tell that you’ve been winning related cases.

Research supports the fact that testimonials work to attract customers. It is a marketing tool and you can display it on the lawyer’s profiles.

When adding testimonials to your site, it’s important to make sure you are using ones that are real and authentic. Also, if you have the opportunity to showcase someone famous or well-known within your niche, do that as well. You can see some great examples of testimonial usage on my Blogging University course page. Not only are testimonials and reviews important for legal firms and online courses, they are crucial in the acceptance and usage of local businesses, stores, and resturants as well.

Highlight Your Attorneys’ Successes and use Social Profiles

You may have many lawyers dealing with different law areas. List all their awards and achievements and include a testimonial from each of them. This will make them more approachable. Also, it is a sure-fire way of enhancing and promoting their skills and building the firm’s credibility. It is also a way of winning new clients.

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of social media and profile pages have to offer. To see a perfect example of how to build a personal brand, while showing off your expertise, user reviews, and awards are to check out Michelle Hubbard’s Instagram profile. Not only is this helping her build a personal brand and following, it’s also showing she is the real deal and knows what she is doing when it comes to fighting for animal rights.

List the Areas of Practice

It is a must to list all the practice areas and the contact for each lawyer in your firm. It will be easier for future customers to search for the right specialist for their case. It also helps them reach the attorney directly without going through a lot of hassle with the customer support, toll-free numbers, etc.

Again, this goes back to the practice of making sure you provide your audience with as much information and value as possible, but not overloading them with options in the process. Highlight your expertise and areas of practice through bullet points or visuals to get the most impact.

Make Your Website Fast and Responsive

Many of the clients work online with their desktops, laptops, and smartphones. Make sure that your website is responsive and works perfectly on every device and does not frustrate your customers with various delays. Your site should not take ages to load and display the information. You can always check the site’s speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Also, make the content easy to read because most visitors don’t have the time to go through large blocks of text.

These are the main aspects that will make your law firm’s web design attractive for prospective customers. Also, make sure that you always take your client’s grievances into consideration and implement their recommendations. They are the users and they know best what they are looking for.

Need help making your legal page even better?

Don’t worry if all of these seems too time-consuming and overwhelming… we’ve got you covered! Having been in the industry for well over 20 years now, I’ve been able to work alongside some of the best agencies, freelancers, and designers in the world today. Take a look at our web services page and see how we can help launch your brand or business to that next level.

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How to Create a Unique Logo Design in 60 Seconds with Designhill

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Branding is incredibly important. This is true whether you are running a multinational mega-corporation like Coca-Cola or you’re just a “small time” blogger in some corner of the Internet. You need a recognizable brand that represents what you stand for and what you offer, and this starts with having a logo. And yes, bloggers need to have logos too, because just having your site name sprawled across the top of the default WordPress theme isn’t going to cut it if you want to be taken seriously.

Generate Beautiful Logos Within Seconds

If hiring some high-end design agency is beyond your budget, as would be the case with the vast majority of bloggers, that doesn’t mean you’re without hope. In fact, thanks to amazing advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can have a brand new logo (or ten) in a matter of moments with the Designhill logo maker tool. And it costs you nothing to try it out.

The logo maker is AI-powered and you run through the process through an easy-to-follow, step-by-step wizard. It starts simply with entering your company name. In this case, that’d be the name of your blog, but it could just as easily apply to practically any company.

From there, the wizard can ascertain the general style or approach you want to take for your logo. You can pick five or more design styles from the resulting page. Some are a little more traditional, some are a little more modern, some are a little more complex and so forth. Don’t worry about the colors so much and just focus on the actual designs themselves.

That’s because, on the next page, you’ll have the opportunity to select up to three colors that you’d like to see explored in your logo designs. When you pick “blue,” that doesn’t just give you access to one particular shade of blue, but rather the whole range of blues. The same is true with orange, green, pink and so forth. Keep in mind that just because you pick three colors doesn’t mean all three colors will be included in the final design; it just means these are the colors that may be considered.

Slogans, Categories, Symbols…

Progressing through the AI-powered logo maker tool, the next page will ask you to provide your company name (the field will be pre-populated with what you entered in the first step, but you can adjust it here if you’d like), as well as an optional slogan (which will typically be displayed as a smaller font in the generated logo designs; leave this out if you don’t want to have your slogan in the logo) and your company industry or category.

For the purposes of this example, I went through the process of creating a logo for this blog, ZacJohnson.com. The slogan isn’t really official, but I wanted to see what it would look like in the logo. For the industry, I picked “Business & Consulting.” Some relevant alternatives included Internet, Technology or even the more generic Company. This does impact the kinds of designs that result.

For the next step, you’ll get to pick up to five symbols that may also be integrated as part of the proposed logo designs. Not all the logo designs will feature one of the symbols you select — they may be text only — but a symbol can add a little dash of visual personality. There are lots and lots of symbols here, and you simply start by entering a search term in the provided field.

In this example, I chose some money symbols, since this blog is about making money from blogging, as well as some “king” or “crown” imagery that’s in line with the image in this blog’s header and throughout ZacJohnson.com branding.

AI Generated Logo Examples

After providing a name and email address, you are then presented with a large variety of proposed logo designs.

You can see how professional and varied these logos look, taking on different shapes and dimensions, as well as trying different fonts for the company name and slogan. The examples near the top of the page here all stuck with the “yellow” color scheme I had selected as one of the options during the design process, but scrolling further down the page revealed many more possibilities.

Something that is also important to highlight here, is that users can keep generating new logo designs simply by clicking on the “load more” button at the bottom of the page. Thanks to the powerful AI-driven logo solution by Designhill, the opportunity to create thousands of unique logos design is now just a click away.

It really depends on the kind of “feel” you are trying to achieve with the logo. I find the blue one in the top-right to give off an air of professionalism while also maintaining a casual approachability. The gold logo in the bottom-left, on the other hand, is perhaps a little more boastful of wealth while having fun doing it, “living my best life” as the kids say these days.

Even with pausing to take some of the screenshots along the way, I was done with the process in under five minutes. I probably could have spent more time going through the huge library of symbols and even after the logos are generated, there is the opportunity to edit the resulting logo to change the name, slogan, colors, symbol, and container, as well as settings for text distance, symbol distance and more.

Once you’ve created a logo design that you are happy with, you can also play around with some ideas on how your logo will look on different printed materials. This is a free visual feature that is built right into the Designhill site and makes the logo design and decision process much easier. Nothing makes your logo and brand come to life, like seeing it on a nice t-shirt, business card or even a sign on the street represented whatever it is you have to offer.

All in all, the design process and ease of use is what’s going to stand out for most people. There are many logo design tools online, but Designhill has done an excellent job with their platform in not only making the process easy, but also in creating logos that people would actually want to use — without needing to shell a lot of money out in the process.

You can take as much time as you want to further customize the logo or you can run through the whole process in under 60 seconds. It’s up to you.

How Much Does It Cost?

Once you are satisfied with the logo, you can proceed with the purchase. There are three main packages offered by DesignHill, all of which are a one-time fee.

The cheapest is the $20 basic package. This gets you only a single basic resolution logo file, which would be appropriate for inclusion in your blog header, for example. The most popular option, however, is the $65 premium package. Instead of the basic resolution file, you get a high-resolution logo, including vector EPS and SVG files, as well as a version with a transparent background. Going with the premium package will also include the following benefits.

  • High-resolution logo (SVG, EPS, PNG and JPEG file formats)
  • Vector EPS and SVG files
  • Transparent background
  • Lifetime phone support
  • Black / White versions
  • Full Ownership
  • Print ready
  • Font names & colors

The higher resolution files, particularly the vector files, make the premium package much more appropriate if you have any plans on using your logo in print materials (like a business card) or even having the higher resolution for branding on social media and beyond. These are print-ready files and you are offered the font names and colors too.

At the top of the range is the enterprise package, which starts at $199. This goes beyond the AI-created logo and opens up the design process to dozens of graphic designers who compete in a logo design contest. The net result is that you get to choose from at least 30 different designs in less than 7 days. This comes with a 100% money back guarantee.

Should you ever have any questions about creating a new brand identity or logo design through the site, Designhill offers 24×7 live support, with quick and convenient answers to your questions via priority phone, email and live chat. Click here to get started with your logo design project today.

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11 Ways to Build an Email List That Actually Yields ROI

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Every online business and brand needs to have a mailing list. It’s simply the best way to get subscribers to leave their personal information before they leave your site. Some of the largest websites and blogs on the world today do nearly all of their business through their mailing list.

When used properly, email campaigns can be one of the most effective marketing tactics for any brand. Campaign Monitor reports that email marketing can yield $38 for every dollar spent — but if you’re not targeting the right people, you’ll never see that kind of return on investment.

Building an opt-in email list can be tricky, especially as a website owner, but with the right tactics, you can translate subscribers into profits. Here’s what 11 YEC members had to say about creating an email list with ROI in mind.

1. Consistently Offer Valuable Content, Before and After Signup

You want access to the inboxes of potential leads, and you have to give them something in exchange. You can persuade people to give you that privilege with relevant and valuable content, compelling branding and trust. Bring leads to your site with social media posts, SEO, blog articles and videos; then offer even more valuable content in exchange for that all-important email address.

Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

2. Use Social Media to Target Your Audience

Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn provide brands with a way to create marketing campaigns that can target a specific demographic audience that will most likely buy their products and/or services. Simply create an online form that prompts the user to enter their email address in exchange for a 30-minute consultation or free download.

Codie Sanchez, www.CodieSanchez.com

3. Invest in Content Marketing That Speaks to Customer Needs

What has worked well for us is investing in content marketing and taking blogging seriously. Use sites like Quora and Answer the Public to find out the questions your target customer is asking. Then, come up with catchy titles and hire freelancers to write great articles that answer their questions. Optimize each blog post with opt-in forms and you’ll start forming a highly targeted email list.

Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

4. Build a List From Your Existing Subscribers

Buying a bulk email list is definitely not the way to go. If you’re looking at optimum return on investment, it is important that you focus on building a targeted email list. Your best bet is to turn to people who subscribe to newsletters through your website. Website owners should also consider providing users with relevant top-quality content in the form of e-books, white papers and blogs.

Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

5. Hire an Email Marketer

People assume that once you have a list, it will simply sell itself. You have to make tactful and succinct drip sequences and carefully layer in your offers. If you’re just providing news, it’s important to consistently reiterate good content.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

6. Find Your Company’s Voice

Use your e-blasts to tell a story, and make sure there’s a consistent voice. Emails written by a company look like spam. Emails written by a singular voice with personality have the best chance of survival in this new frontier where social media has highlighted our fascination with the individual. If your Instagram and Facebook pages have a narrative, your e-blasts should too.

Anthony DiFiore, Neverland Events & Artist Management Corp.

7. Include a Short Survey With Email Signup

Ask three to four key questions with your signup form to shape a better email list with a more targeted audience. This will help you sift out the people who may not be as ready to buy from you or who are not interested at all.

Angela Ruth, Calendar

8. Offer Mutually Beneficial Incentives

Incentivization, when handled correctly, is a great way to build an effective (read: profitable) email list. Whether it’s a discount on your most popular product or service, or a link to a valuable resource or white paper, the key is to offer an incentive that is beneficial enough to encourage the sale while ensuring you are still meeting your margins.

John Scheer, Herman-Scheer

9. Use Engaging Pop Ups

Wheelio is an interactive exit-intent pop up that allows users to spin the wheel for a chance to win a prize after entering their email address. A user who is willing to engage with your pop up is clearly interested in receiving a special offer or promotion to use toward their next purchase. Thus, these users are more likely to engage with future emails and convert.

Duran Inci, Optimum7

10. Take Advantage of Pinterest

For us, Pinterest is the most effective way to build an email list. We use it when we publish a new blog post with a content upgrade, offer a freebie or launch a new product/service. We will link to a landing page where people can opt in to receive some type of download. We will then use BoardBooster for automation. Since we’ve started using Pinterest, our email list has grown by 35,000.

Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

11. Focus on Segmented Journeys and User Intent

Simply slapping a form on your site will not work. List-growth magic happens when you identify top traffic sources to your site, then tailor the message and creative in your forms to that visitor journey. For example, if a Facebook ad for a red sweater drove them to your site, don’t show that visitor a generic form. Rather, present a specific form or offer including that same message and creative.

Ben Jabbawy, Privy

Turn Visitors into Customers through Email Marketing

Now that you’ve learned some of the best ways to convert site visitors and social audiences into high-value email subscribers, it’s time to start implementing these methods into your own site or business. Also, remember, it’s all a numbers game. Just 30 new email subscribers per day is more than 10,000 over the course of a year. Think small, to think big.

To see more expert roundups like this one, be sure to view our previous articles on improved Facebook marketing and the best tools for monitoring your brand online.

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