Send Bulk Emails, SMS and Web Push with SendPulse

In the movie Field of Dreams, whispers through the field told us that if we build it, they will come. If you’ve spent any time at all trying to attract an audience and make money online, you assuredly know that reality is hardly so simple. Even if the thing you build is the greatest thing ever, no one is going to know about it unless you have powerful channels to tell them about it. So, how do you get there?

More often than not, this all starts with the concept of creating content and showing off your expertise. At the same time, you also need to be providing value to your audience and making sure you are doing it better than the competition. While all of this is going on, you also need to be actively building your mailing and ways to connect with readers after they leave your site.

Helping you overcome many of the common obstacles associated with Internet marketing and staying connected with your audience in this new world of mobile engagement, SendPulse offers multiple solutions to ensure your message gets heard loud and clear by just the right prospects at just the right time.

Marketing Made Simple

The SendPulse suite of products actually consists of multiple solutions meant to help you reach your audience, but they all boil down to the same fundamental objective: to make marketing as simple and as effective for you as possible.

Part of this has to do not only with the basic technology for delivering your message across the Internet, but making sure that your message actually gets read by real people. This is accomplished through a combination of artificial intelligence, hyper-personalization and predictive analysis.

And while there are other components to this package, which we will discuss in just a moment, the heart of the solution here focuses on email marketing. Yes, despite the persistent rise of social media and other communication channels, email marketing has survived the test of time and is still one of the most robust marketing methods available online. You just have to know how to use it effectively.

It Starts with Email Marketing

Two of the greatest challenges you will face with email marketing today is with delivery rates and with open rates. Using some other email marketing providers, you may struggle to have your email newsletter and email messages actually sent to the intended recipients. This is because spam and other filters can be increasingly stringent on what can get through, especially when these messages are inherently sent in bulk.

But even if you get your email into the inboxes of the people who you want to reach, the next challenge is encouraging these people to actually open and read your messages. SendPulse leverages its advanced technology to overcome both of these obstacles, offering the highest delivery rates worldwide with open rates to match.

They say that open rates increase by over 30% for hundreds of their users, including a new feature to resend if the original message is left unopened. This has resulted in a 30-80% increase in open rate too. Expect a high speed service you can rely on with no limits.

Templates and Drag-and-Drop Editor

So, your email got delivered. And the recipient actually opened it. But then they see an ugly plain text email and they quickly unsubscribe from your list. That’s the worst thing that could happen! Thankfully, SendPulse arms you with a growing library of free templates to use for creating your own custom email campaigns.

The professionally-designed templates are easy enough for you to personalize with your own messaging, approaching a broad range of industries and seasonal events. Want to send out a special promo for Valentine’s Day or Christmas? You can do that.

And useful as these ready-made templates may be, you may want to have a more custom solution. That’s where the drag-and-drop email editor comes into play. You can use it to create your own templates that can then be customized again and again.

The interface is straightforward enough that even a beginner can use it, since all you do is insert, move, resize and delete the blocks that you wish to include in your template. Just click and drag. Type in the text and insert your own images at will. Supported elements include pictures, buttons, video, social networks and more, all with the ability to change colors, sizes, fonts, line heights and so on.

Once you think it’s ready to go, you can preview the message by sending a free test message. All emails created using this builder are responsive in design, so they’ll look good on any screen. More advanced users can just as easily utilize a regular HTML editor or import a template from a file (or URL) to create their own email templates too.

SMS, SMTP and Web Push Too

In addition to the email marketing suite, SendPulse also includes a number of other marketing tools for reaching your customers and subscribers in other ways.

The SMS service lets you send text messages all over the world, regardless of where you are physically located. Delivery is fast (up to 500 messages a second to over 200 countries around the world) and you can automate the process by scheduling it in advance.

One of the fastest growing trends in Internet marketing is with web push notifications, which are also included with SendPulse. Better still, it’s completely free to use. The web push notifications pop up in the user’s web browser no matter where they are online and they act in a similar fashion to notifications on a mobile device. This is perfect for news, sales announcements, or order status updates. SendPulse has found that push notification visibility is around 90% and personalization is tremendous.

With SendPulse, you also gain access to a reliable SMTP server and API integration for further flexibility. On the analytics and optimization side, enjoy robust A/B split testing and advanced reporting too.

Pricing Plans and Options

Rather than force you into a pricing structure that doesn’t fit with your needs, SendPulse offers a broad range of flexible pricing options so you can choose what works best for you.

For the core email service, you can send up to 15,000 emails per month to up to 2,500 subscribers for free. Beyond that, you can opt either for a monthly subscription based on the number of subscribers you have (starting at $9.95 for 2500 subscribers) or a pay-as-you-go plan for the number of messages you wish to send (starting at $32 for 10,000 messages). It’s entirely up to you, as the service can grow alongside your business.

A similar paradigm is provided for the SMTP service. The first 12,000 emails are free. Beyond that, the monthly subscription starts at $8.85 for 25,000 messages and the pay-as-you-go plan starts at $15 for 10,000 messages. As mentioned, web push notifications are free. SMS prices vary based on destination.

If you are looking for a comprehensive platform to handle several of your online marketing channels — including email, SMS and web push — SendPulse could be the solution for you. With third-party integration, subscription forms, a powerful email editor, AI to boost open rates and more, it’s robust and expansive at an affordable price.

Case Study: How Shopify Uses White Hat SEO Tactics To Get Customers

Have you had the chance to look at the backlinks for #1 ranked content pages across diverse industries? Well, it’s easier said than done. It’s a lot of hard work.

However, we chose eCommerce and decided to check thousands of links that point to Shopify (the blog).

Here’s what we found:

What we found amazed us. We weren’t looking at these backlinks per se, but at the patterns, the correlations, and essentially, we wanted to know why Shopify ranks #1 for several eCommerce-related keywords.

Going a step further, we uncovered the importance of content and why your choice of a particular content format matters.

For example, for any given keyword, I might write a “how to” post while you write a “case study” post. Given that your domain authority and mine are exactly the same and let’s assume we get the same amount of social shares, truth is, our rankings will vary.

My hope is that after reading this case study, you’ll properly align your SEO tactics and focus more on whitehat – instead of wearing a black or gray hat.

But before we get into the Shopify’s whitehat SEO tactics, let’s get the basics out of the way.

What is white hat SEO?

It simply refers to any practice that improves your search visibility on a search engine’s organic listings page and makes the users happy. In other words, white hat SEO is aimed at obeying search engines guidelines. It puts the users first.

Be it link building, content creation, on-page optimization, and more, you’ve made a choice to do it legitimately — instead of trying to manipulate search results.

Let’s bring it home: For most people who do SEO, the major concern is to improve their rankings. But that may not be the goal of any website that chooses white hat tactics.

For example, Shopify’s search approach isn’t necessarily to boost search rankings. But rather, they create content to help the users have a proper understanding of ecommerce in general, and running a profitable online store business, to be specific.

Similarly, any practice that’s aimed at inducing search rankings isn’t white hat. It must be another type of hat, and I’m sure Google doesn’t like it.

An overview of Shopify’s SEO tactics

More than 350,000 businesses use Shopify to power their online stores. How do you think Shopify acquires these customers? Is there a secret to their SEO strategy?

Well, it’s not really a secret, except you don’t know it. But we do because we invested 29 hours of our time to study their strategy.

When using SEMRush, the first thing we notice is that Shopify currently ranks for more than 717,000 keywords in the organic search in the US:

But in the Uk, the number of keywords that brings organic traffic is about 70,000.

Why am I showing you these results?

Well, there are two reasons;

  1. First, Shopify has more users in the US than Uk. Obviously, there are more users who share their content and link to them in the US.
  2. Second, you have the opportunity to dominate some of the keywords that Shopify isn’t ranking for in the Uk if you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur. But even if you’re not, you can see patterns that your competitors are using and loopholes to exploit.

Moving on, let’s see the internal structure at Shopify.

Internal page linking

Of course, there are several factors that contribute to a sustainable ranking in Google but internal linking is pivotal.

During our analysis, we noticed that for every post that Shopify publishes on its blog, there’s a minimum of 7 internal links (these are links that points to internal pages; articles that were previously published on the site).

This screenshot is only a section of Shopify’s post. Can you see the seven internal links?

I’m sure you’re used to internal linking. But are you aware of its impact on search performance?

According to Graham Charlton from Search Engine Watch, internal links sends a clear signal to Google that this page is relevant to search users typing in that keyword.

Since an internal link is any link from one page of your domain to another page on the same domain, it becomes clear that if you’re looking to rank an older post that you published, interlinking it with new pages could improve its rankings.

And more importantly, it will help users get access to your older posts and benefit from them.

This is in line with Google’s objective: To build an interconnected web, where users can find exactly what they’re looking for in the search engine.

So from our analysis of Shopify’s white hat SEO technique, which the company may not be deliberate about, we found that internal linking helped a lot.

To make it clearer, one of the keywords that Shopify ranks #1 for in Google is “dropshipping guide.”

That particular page has 16 internal links.

It’s detailed and rich, which brings us to the next phase.

Rich and evergreen content

I don’t have an online store, neither do I promote one. But one thing I observed while analyzing Shopify’s SEO strategy is that they publish only rich and evergreen content.

In fact, when you visit their blog page, you’ll hardly see any post on generic topics. You will either see a case study, an ultimate guide, an interview, or an analysis. Take a look:

This Shopify’s dropshipping guide, for example, contains 11 chapters (i.e., pages). I think it’s the most detailed guide on this topic ever. No wonder the page ranks #1 for that high-volume keyword.

If I tell you that Google is scouring the entire web looking for rich and comprehensive content, would you argue it?

I don’t think so. When you do a search for any random keyword (as long as they’re not question-based), what you’ll see is a comprehensive content.

Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz in his whiteboard friday teachings a few months ago gave an overview of what to include in your content to make it richer and more useful for your audience.

Most importantly, Google will deem your page more relevant and invaluable to searchers who search for that keyword or related keywords.

Comprehensive content is the best way to beat your competitors and 10x your content.

When you create such a content, you’ll intimidate your competitors and cause them to only envision creating such content, but the discipline to pull a seat and do it will not be there. That’s exactly what Shopify does with each content they create.

If you want to dominate organic search results with your content, the first thing that you have to do is change your mindset about link building. Here’s how it works:

  • Create compelling content first
  • Then build/earn links to it

Most website owners do it the wrong way. They first learn all the link building strategies, but they suck at content creation.

It’s not going to work that way. You’re either going to create 10x content than your competitors that are already ranking higher in the organic listings or you’ll not see results.

How to make your content better than your competitors

a). Write irresistible headlines: Brian Clark said that 8 out of 10 people will click on your headline. Obviously, he’s not lying. But before you write your headlines, take a look at the top 10 rankings for your keyword, see what they did and then craft a better headline.

For example, here are some of the headlines in Google for the search term “influencer marketing tips”:

At a glance, you can see that the headlines are compelling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve yours. You could make yours much more beneficial and inviting.

Here are some examples:

  • 25 Powerful Influencer Marketing Tips You Can Implement Now
  • 7 Best Influencer Marketing Tips That I Used To Grow My Startup
  • Influencer Marketing Tips: How to Connect with Influencer Quickly

These are headlines that I created without much research. If I had more time, I’d make something more compelling. But you get the point?

b). Improve your meta description: Search users read your meta description. Data from KISSmetrics proves it. In short, you should think less about SEO and more about click-throughs. Ask questions in your descriptions, and tell users to click and find out more.

c). Go in-depth: If your competitors merely touched the surface of a very important topic/subject, you’ve got an opportunity to do better. You should go in-depth; explain every detail. Touch every aspect of the topic.

For example, if you want to create a post on Google AdWords ads, don’t be surprised if you found that most of the pages that are ranking very high in Google at the moment are not in-depth.

In-depth content is relative. But as a rule of thumb, you need to break down your topic step-by-step.

If searchers are looking to start a consulting business, for example, your article should help them in every way possible. I used this strategy in my recent SEO case study – I found that most of the case studies aren’t detailed and the focus is on one company.

But I changed all of that. I conducted my research, asked questions, and compiled 21 companies and their SEO strategies.

If you’re detailed in your content, then you can’t expect a 1000-word post at the end of the day. It should be between 2,000 – 10,000 words. No fluffs. But real value.

Such type of content is a natural search engine magnet – give it 60 – 90 days and you’ll be amazed at its organic positioning. And guess what? You don’t even have to build hundreds of links to it.

When we analyzed 3,236 Shopify’s posts, we found that 73% of them contains more than 2,000 words.

And of course, an in-depth content isn’t complete without visuals. You need to use your own data (you can always get these visual charts and screenshots from the SEO tools and platforms) that you’re using.

To get even better results from your content, create a relevant infographic and embed into the post.

This would help website visitors trust you more — because you’ve given them the choice to either read the lengthy article or learn from your infographic.

As you can tell, creating comprehensive content is difficult, but that’s what Shopify does every other week and the results are obvious for all to see.

Editorial links powerhouse

Shopify has a great strategy for earning editorial links. Interestingly, we’ve covered how they create comprehensive content on virtually every eCommerce-related topic. This has earned them natural links to rank higher in Google.

Here’s how WordStream defines an editorial link:

“An editorial link is a link that results from a site having good content and marketing techniques. An editorial link is not paid for or directly requested, as is the case with acquired links. Editorial links are part of a strong link profile.”

I’m not aware that Shopify has a team of guest bloggers who pitch other authority blogs to get them published. I’m also not aware of the links the company has purchased to boost their rankings.

It was all editorial. Shopify has great content and as a result of that, people link to them. This has made their link profile stronger than ever. Their dropshipping guide in particular has earned more than 1220 backlinks from 189 referring domains.

Note: Majority of the websites that link to Shopify’s guide are eCommerce-related, while others are media websites, such as Mashable, Lifehacker.com, and more.

Trending keywords selection strategy

Before we concluded our Shopify analysis, we also examined their keyword strategy and found that the company follows a different approach.

Yes, they capitalize on trending keywords (topics).

Why is this important?

Well, you’ve got to know that Google Keywords Planner is outdated. Or to put it mildly, Google uses past data to gauge popularity.

But you and I know that web users are dynamic and needs change over time. So, instead of using Keywords Planner or any third-party research tool to find keyword, you’re better of creating content around trending keywords.

As an example, when Shopify created their dropshipping guide, how to start online store, and several other popular guides that generate a large percentage of its traffic, they used trends.

As of 2012/2013, the keyword “dropshipping guide” wasn’t popular at all. But that notwithstanding, Shopify plunged in, researched on it and created one of the best guides ever. Look at the trend.

Prior to 2015/2016, most dropshipping-related and online store business keywords were fluctuating. Why? Because it was difficult to run a profitable online store in the past. People would get excited about it and later give up. But it’s a lot easier now.

In 2017 and beyond, the right way to do keyword research is by getting into the conversation. Hang out with your target audience, listen to them, and find patterns in their questions and opinions.

If you’ve not been using Quora to find relevant questions you need to start today.

Some topics might not be as popular today as they would in 1 – 10 years time, don’t ignore them. But create rich content and become the authority on that topic — when it eventually grows.

Because by the time the competition begins, your web page would have become stronger. More so, competitors will either link to you or they’ll have no real substance to add to their own content.

But don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to ignore Keywords Planner or any keyword research tool for that matter, but use the insights to research real-time questions from Quora, and follow the trends.

Conclusion

Whitehat SEO tactics might not work for everyone because it takes time.

But if you decide to invest time and resources in creating comprehensive content while capitalizing on topical trends, you’ll not only drive targeted traffic and social shares but earning editorial links to your web pages will be easier.

Yes, Shopify is an authority website and its domain authority is a major determining factor to its search visibility, but the whole essence of this case study is to guide you — and show you opportunities that you can leverage for your own business.

This article was contributed by Michael Chibuzor, who is an SEO consultant for SaaS companies. If you’re looking to improve your search visibility, drive targeted traffic, and grow your revenue, you can reach him directly at http://Saasbrand.com

How to Create Explainer Videos in Minutes with mysimpleshow

When it comes to online marketing, few things work better than video. This can clearly be seen every time you log into a social network like Facebook and see hundreds of advertisements from different brands and guru’s, all trying to get you to watch their sponsored posts and videos. The same can be said for leading affiliate landing pages and selling big ticket items with whiteboard explainer videos. Heck, I’ve even used them when creating videos for my own sites.

The bottom line is, more people are choosing video over traditional text and image content. Throw the whiteboard and explainer video concept into the mix and you then have the ability to combat against the quickly diminishing lack of attention that so many of us today.

With all of that being said, today I wanted to highlight a fun and exciting new tool for creating whiteboard explainer videos in a matter of minutes, while also just at a fraction of the cost an original concept would cost you. The service is called mysimpleshow, and below we will walk through the process of how you can start creating your own videos without the need to be an artist, designer or even a video professional.

mysimpleshow

As mentioned earlier, you’ve likely already seen explainer videos being used on landing pages and other sites through your daily browsing. The reason why so many people and brands are using these videos is because they work extremely well. Once that hand starts drawing and the voice over is in full effect, it’s quite hard to pull your attention away from the video and seeing what they draw and explain next. Now the question is… how can you start using this type of content creation and marketing for your own brand or business?

The good news is that you can pretty much create these types of videos for any type of product, service or marketing you can think of. Thanks to mysimpleshow, the process is also quite easy and straight forward — to the tune of simply selecting the best images and clip art for your videos, then adding the necessary text, music, and audio. There are also many built-in features that allow you to customize all videos to match the look and feel of your own brand or message.

In addition to everything else mentioned, mysimpleshow makes the concept of video creation and editing easy because there is no software to download, and it’s 100% run through your browser… which means there is literally no technical experience required. You can see a preview of the easy 4-step video creation process below.

Explainer_Videos_in_4_Simple_Steps

Creating Your First Explainer Video with mysimpleshow

To get started with creating your own explainer videos, the first thing you will need to do is create a free account at mysimpleshow. After this is set up, you can then log into your account and walk through the easy to follow wizard creation process for your first video. And as previously mentioned… it is actually free to create, download and use any videos that you create (even for commercial use), as long as you don’t alter the 1080p MP4 video file after you download it. From within your account, you can also upload all videos directly to video platforms like YouTube, Vimeo and more.

Now let’s walk through the actual video creation process.

The first thing you will need to do is choose what type of explainer video you would like to create and how. You have two options for this, which are to upload a PowerPoint presentation, or simply write up a script of your own. If you don’t have a PowerPoint slide to work off of, then the script writing is your best option.

From there, you will then want to select a storyline for your video. This will help with the actual set up, content and flow of your video. Professional, Educational and Personal are the three storyline categories you can choose from. The option is also there to start with a blank template and let your imagination go to work.

mysimpleshow storyline

After selecting your storyline, you will then need to start creating your slide pages. These would be your “title pages”, “introductions” and various other processes and call to actions you might want to add in your video. Depending on the storyline you select, there will be draft content for you to start working with, that you can edit to fit your needs and marketing message. The actual text that is written up within this section would be your “voice over” audio, to go along with any images and action going on within your explainer video.

mysimpleshow text pages

Once you get passed the basics of your explainer video, then you get to start having some fun with your content, images, and animation — this is where the magic of mysimpleshow really comes into play. Going back to the text write that you provided in the previous step, mysimpleshow will then show images related to those keywords. You can go with the images provided, or scan through their library to see what better images might be available.

mysimpleshow text to images

After completing this process, you can also play with your audio options — which includes the ability to use Text2Speech (which will automatically convert your storyline text into audio), adding/removing subtitles and also playing around with the speed of your video. It will likely take some time to play around with the video settings to make it perfect, but the process is quite exciting and once you get started with your first video, you will likely become a master in no time. Once perfected, you can click the “finalize video” button and watch the finished product from right within your browser.

To see a complete visual of this process, be sure to check out the video below.

Now that you’ve seen a video of the actual video creation process, you should have a better understanding of how it all works. While the average explainer video might be around 30-60 seconds, it will likely take you several minutes to actually create the real content and meat of your video. The good news is that after watching your video, you can easily go back and make any improvements that you see fit, then save it and watch it again.

Taking a Look at the Final Video Product

All in all, mysimpleshow is a pretty impressive tool for creating explainer videos. While there is still room for improvement in different areas of the site (such as text to voice options, image selection, color and background customization), it’s definitely more than enough for most bloggers, brands or business working with a small budget and can’t create a 100% custom explainer video of their own. Either way, I’m sure these improvements will be made soon enough as more users voice their thoughts on the platform.

Taking everything into account from the information above, the following video was created to explain the process of writing a blog post. The video took around 30 minutes to create, which was mostly spent on the script writing, and the remainder was on the actual processing of the video to go live. The final two-minute video is rendered in full HD 1080p and was only about 8.75 MB in size.

The video above is a quick and dirty example of what can be done with mysimpleshow. However, if you were to spend more time on the customization of the script and images being used, you can pretty much create an explainer video for anything you wanted. To provide an example of how mysimpleshow matches up text to images, we left the video as is (based on their recommendation). I recommend you try making a video of your own and seeing how easy the process is, while also comparing your own results on the finished product.

The real magic of explainer videos is when custom or unique audio is used with the finished project. I highly recommend you take a look at the sample videos on mysimpleshow’s website to see what really is possible through their video creation tool — and again, crazy enough… it’s still 100% free to use!

Create your free account on mysimpleshow today and see how whiteboard explainer videos can help improve your online marketing and branding efforts.

10 Predictions for the Next Big Digital Trend

It’s no secret that nostalgia is a powerful tool, and the recent Pokemon Go craze among millennials proves that. But if you didn’t jump on the Pokemon Go train early on, don’t worry. Trends are constantly changing, and the next huge digital trend could be just around the corner.

So what other trends have the potential to appeal to millennials through nostalgia? From classic 90s toys like Tamagotchi to the revival of Star Wars, there are countless fads from previous decades that are primed and ready to be made new again.

These 10 entrepreneurs from YEC share their predictions for the big digital trends we may see in 2017.

trends_predictions

1. Personal Robots

brennan-whiteIn the next 12-18 months, we’ll see a rise of robots that have the ability to autonomously follow us around — on the ground or in the air. These will be supported by a home that can be controlled via voice like the deck of the Enterprise. The coolest parts of the entertainment of our youth are coming true now and appealing via nostalgia.

Brennan White, Cortex

 

2. Seinfeld References

jason-kulpaWith the era of nostalgic digital crazes upon us, I think there is the potential for many more fond millennial memories to become trends. With both Friends and Seinfeld being cult-favorites during the ’90s, I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Kramergeddon” or something of that sort becoming the next big thing.

Jason Kulpa, Underground Elephant

 

3. Star Wars VR App

kristopher-jonesMillions of millennials became hooked by the phenomenon of Star Wars with the release of “The Force Awakens” in 2015. While most millennials were born decades after the release of the first episode of Star Wars, they were able to connect with the series and many went back and watched the initial episodes. There is an extraordinary opportunity for Star Wars to release all prior episodes through a VR app.

Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

 

4. I Spy With Geolocation

john-ramptonI Spy is one of those great games that we all played as kids. With the focus on geolocation and the social aspect that drives much of our communication, it would be great to add an I Spy app that brings this together. It could even be a way for brands to insert themselves into the game and tie promotions to specific contests.

John Rampton, Due

 

5. Health and Wellness Sharing

nicole-munozMillennials are very interested in health and wellness as part of their daily activities. If you could capture the fun that millennials used to have in gym class at school, playing dodgeball or capture the flag, and tie that into a social sharing app, you might create a new craze. The key is to make it a social sharing experience.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

 

6. Scavenger Hunts

murray-newlandsScavenger and treasure hunts may become a popular way to incorporate a timeless classic contest into an app that delivers lists of things to find. It can be tied back to your brand with prizes for winners competing in different cities. Teams could be formed with friends or with those met online who share similar interests.

Murray Newlands, Due

 

7. Augmented Reality Dungeons and Dragons

daniele-gallardoI’m sure many of us spent nights playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) in garages and basements with friends. Now, imagine if the playground of an AR D&D were the actual world. You’re walking in Central Park with your band of friends and you just defeated a band of ogres near the Met to get a magic sword that will help you kill a dragon waiting for you at the zoo. Cool, right?

– Daniele Gallardo, Actasys

 

8. Music Videos on Native Mobile

obinna-ekezieThere was a time when MTV was the place to watch new artists launch careers through videos. The debut of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video was a defining moment in the pop star’s career. I believe that the millennial generation would embrace a native mobile platform that used video to help launch the careers of new artists.

Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

 

9. “POG” Branding

christopher-swenorIt’s the year 1995 and the playground is like an underground black market for POG trading; tiny little cardboard circles were treated like prized possessions because they had some scene from Star Wars or Animaniacs on them. Now, if you could create a similar experience of collecting, trading and battling brands with a touch of nostalgia, you could bring back POGs and brand marketers would rejoice.

Christopher Swenor, East Coast Product

 

10. Tamagotchi Digital Bots

adelyn-zhouTamagotchis took school playgrounds by storm in the 1990s. Soon, we will be playing with modern-day equivalents in the form of “chatbots” that are accessed through messaging platforms. Rather than using physical buttons, we will feed and play with our digital pets through conversational text, gifs, video and emoticons.

Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

 

How to Grow Your Brand with Upcoming Digital Trends

There you have it, an expert glimpse of what future trends and areas of interest could be the next big thing in your niche. No matter what your current brand or business is, it could be a huge benefit to cover each of these elements and figure out how you could possibly integrate them within your business. This could be a simple as running a social contest and giving away a prize from any of the categories, or simply writing a blog post that intertwines any of these upcoming trends with your audience or business.

We already know there is going to be a massive demand for content in this new upcoming trends in the coming months. How are you going to take advantage of them?

3 Steps to Creating a Trustworthy eCommerce Website

Have you ever been to a website or online store where you wanted to purchase something, but you were second guessing whether the site was legit or not? This is the absolute worth thing an online business or brand can be associated with — not having the full trust and confidence from their audience. Not only will this destroy your conversions and sales, it’s also just bad for business and the overall brand and reputation of your business.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to improve a would-be customer’s experience on your site and allow them to complete their purchase with ease. Some of the most common ways to accomplish this are, to have a fast loading website, display trust badges through your site, have a short and sweet checkout process and also using customer reviews and testimonials to further gain trust from your audience.

Today we are going to walk through the many steps of what it takes to build a trustworthy e-commerce site, while also gaining business from your site audience. To make this a much easier to follow and visual process, we are going to use the “Road Map for a Trustworthy E-Commerce Website” infographic (shown below) from KissMetrics. Along the way, I’ll also be sharing plenty of additional ideas and reference links as well to help with this process.

Let’s get started!

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Road Map for a Trustworthy E-Commerce Website

Every time a visitor comes to your website or online store, it’s a new opportunity for a sale or transaction to take place. Without the proper introduction or content in place, the relationship won’t be able to move forward. Some of the most obvious things that need to take place during this initial visit are a professional looking site design, SSL certificates in place, trusted payment methods, and also having FAQs and contact information readily available on your site. This is all key, as more than half of the world’s shopping and purchase made are now done online.

If you came across this article in the search results because you are looking for guidance on building an ecommerce site, good news, as there are plenty of options to choose from. Website and ecommerce solutions like Shopify make the process of going live with an online store quite easy. While more customized solutions like WordPress also offer the tools, themes, and integrations to get started as well. No matter what option you choose, just be sure to implement each of the trustworthy tips and methods we are about to discuss below.

Now for all of this to actually happen, you must have a checklist of actions to take, and the follow-through to act on them. This resource guide and infographic below will help walk you through all of these steps, while also keeping your focus on point at all times.

1 – When They First Hear About You

As mentioned earlier, the most important time to gain the trust of your audience is when they fist hit your site. Most people will be hesitant to buy online in the first place, so you want to make the process as easy and trusting for them as possible. Here are a few quick tips for how to best accomplish this.

  • Mention the total number of orders shipped from your site. Include customer service hours on all pages.
  • List the best phone numbers for contact and support. Mention how many customers your site has served.
  • Use a solid and professional domain name. Include “Trusted since XXXX” in your logo or design.
  • If you’re a verified seller of a brand, include this fact.
  • If you take Paypal as a payment, be sure to mention it throughout your site.
  • If you’ve been quoted or featured on a credible publication, show it to your audience.
  • If you’re on Stella Service, mention your ranking and a link to your profile page.

Not all of these methods will apply to every business, brand or e-commerce, however, adding the ones that do can greatly improve trust, engagement and overall conversions for your online store.

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1 – When They Enter and Browse Your Website

Most site visitors aren’t going to make a purchase they first time they visit your site. However, they will remember the experience and price of purchase for when they are ready to complete the transaction. Here are a few useful tips to help gain the trust of your audience, by making their time on your site the most enjoyable as possible.

  • IMAGERY – Use only the highest of quality images on your e-commerce site.
  • REVIEWS – Highlight reviews from other people that have shopped on your site.
  • TESTIMONIALS – If you are going to use customer testimonials, be sure to provide a real photo with it. Also get creative by adding Twitter and social media updates from shopping on their experience while at your site.
  • CONTACT – Make your contact info clear and easy to find. No one wants to purchase from a site that hides their contact or support information.
  • POLICIES – If your site has a specific return policy, make sure it’s visible to all audiences.
  • THOUGHT LEADER – Offer additional value and customer experience by adding a blog to your site.
  • ABOUT / STAFF – Seeing the real people behind an online store or brand is important. Also be sure to include real photos and the story behind each individual.
  • CREDIBILITY –  If you’re a member of the BBB post your grade on your website for all to see. This is a huge trust factor contributor.
  • LIVE CHAT – Build a relationship and gain trust with your audience by adding a live chat feature to your site.

The actual site experience your site visitors will have, is one of the most important factors in gaining trust and also resulting in further sales. Not all of these design options might fit within your e-commerce budget, but be sure to fit in as many as you can.

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1 – When They Put the Items in the Cart

It’s not enough to get your audience to add items to the shopping cart, they also need to complete and pay for their purchase as well. Shopping cart abandonment is something many of the largest e-tailers in the world continually struggle with. Be sure to implement these tips to help improve the checkout process.

  • Get an SSL certificate to make sure you have the trusted HTTPS at the begging of your site URL
  • List the contact and support phone numbers at the top of the page
  • Mention the number of items currently in the visitors shopping cart
  • Show where your shipping facility is, as some people like to know where products are from
  • Show a delivery date and not just the shipping date
  • Security badges like McAfee Secure or Verisign and big trust indicators

Of all the components on your e-commerce site, the checkout page and process is definitely the most important. Be sure to implement each of these methods into your site and watch conversion soar across the board.

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If you already have an existing online store or ecommerce business, we sure to check out these holiday sales tips and also where e-commerce and online shopping is headed in the coming years. Each of these resources will provide you with the necessary tools and resources for the coming months and years ahead.

The Risks and Costs of Cyber Security in Business Today

It is positively undeniable that the continuing advances in the Internet have had a profound impact on both our personal and our professional lives. It has become easier and more convenient than ever to connect with people all around the globe in new and innovative ways, from social media to live video and everything in between. From a business standpoint, this has also yielded remarkable opportunities to serve your existing customers better and to reach new customers more effectively.

However, as you are likely very keenly aware, there is always a price to be paid. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about yet another malicious virus circulating around the web or yet another hacker group attempting a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack. Cyber attacks are everywhere and businesses of all sizes need to be paying more attention to their cyber security efforts.

The Growing Threat of Cyber Attacks

A great report and infographic were posted on Business Insider earlier this year, explaining why cyber security is so important and why it will continue to be such a pivotal area of focus in the years to come.

The infographic, which was put together by BI Intelligence Senior Research Analyst John Greenough, explores several areas related to cybersecurity now and moving forward.

cybersecurity-inforgraphic

Think about it this way. As we put more data up on the web and as we get more devices that connect to the Internet, cyber criminals will have even more incentive to perform their nefarious acts. There may have been a bit of a leveling off of total US data breaches between 2014 and 2015, but the upward trend is obvious enough. For this reason and more, organizations and brands around the world are investing more time, money and resources into cyber coverage than ever before, to make sure they are protected from not only future attacks but also liabilities as well.

Remember that everyone is at risk here. If you use Dropbox, Facebook, and Gmail on your smartphone, you are at risk. If you receive payments from your small business customers over the Internet, you are at risk. If you are a government organization or an international mega-corporation, your data centers are at risk.

If you’ve ever had a concern about your online browsing history and personal data getting released, it might also be a good time for you to consider any of these top VPN service providers.

The Five Biggest Risks

According to the BI Intelligence report, which cites information from Raytheon’s Ponemon Institute, the five biggest risks to cyber security and the most threatened by cyber attacks are as follows:

  1. Zero Day Attacks: Whenever any service provider or software developer releases a new solution or program, it is vulnerable to attack. The hackers target vulnerabilities that have not yet been found or patched in the software. This is common with a number of mobile apps, for example, as well as any new releases in operating systems. This is a part of the reason why some software developers host “hackathon” events to proactively seek out vulnerabilities before the “bad guys” use them for nefarious purposes.
  2. Cloud-Data Leakage: Cloud computing and cloud storage have made running an online business infinitely easier. Take the “humble” business of blogging as a prime example. You host your website on a server and you access the back end through a web browser. You might store backups in Google Drive. The same is true with conventional businesses where employees may store what might otherwise be sensitive data to cloud services. That’s a lot of trust, because if those cloud services get hacked, a lot of sensitive customer information can leak, as was the case with the iCloud hack in 2014 that saw the leaking of celebrity private photos.
  3. Mobile Malware: It has been stated multiple times in recent years that mobile is the future. In reality, mobile is the present. More people are accessing Internet services and websites through their mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, than ever before, sometimes surpassing traditional desktop access. Mobile devices are also a treasure trove of data, from contact lists to credit card information. Unsurprisingly, hackers recognize this too.
  4. Targeted Attacks: While there are more general attacks, like how a DDOS can wipe out entire swaths of the Internet at a time, targeted attacks focus their efforts on a predetermined user or organization. Some of these come from activist groups, while others could stem from criminal activity. In both cases, your business could be at risk.
  5. SQL Injection: It used to be that the biggest fear was when a virus or other form of malware infected your own computer. While that is still a threat, to be sure, the scarier attack is one on a server. The hacker can insert malicious code on the server, running through to steal, delete and modify the data stored within. This could represent the compromising of all your customer data and your private records.

The Internet is a wonderfully powerful place, but it is also incredibly vulnerable to attack.

Investing More in Cyber Security

With all of these potential threats, businesses and organizations are significantly ramping up their cyber security efforts. It’s estimated that some $665 billion will be spent on cyber security initiatives between 2015 and 2020. According to Symantec, vulnerabilities were found in about three-quarters of websites around the world. That’s a very large proportion.

computer security breach

And, as mentioned above, this certainly is not a concern only for large corporations and government organizations. Indeed, small businesses are actually at much greater risk of cyber attack. This is because a proportionately larger part of small business worth is derived from the information it owns. If the hacker can steal that information, the direct worth of that small business is immediately diminished.

But if companies and enterprises want to invest more in cybersecurity, where should they be directing their resources? The Vormetric Global Insider Threat Report indicates that these five areas are where organizations are spending or plan to spend their money.

  1. Network Defenses: Protecting data at the network level.
  2. Endpoint and Mobile Device Protection: Securing individual devices against hacking.
  3. Data in Motion Defenses: Protecting the data as it is transmitted from one place to another, including through more advanced encryption.
  4. Data at Rest Defenses: Securing database data against attack by increasing security measures.
  5. Analysis and Correlation Tools: Seeking out suspicious activity by monitoring and analyzing data flow.

Top Cyber Attacks Over the Years

Even though employees are the most cited source of data breaches, they’re obviously not the only ones to blame. A leaky infrastructure becomes a more likely target. Literally, millions of personal records are exposed each year.

Some of the more notable cyber attacks in recent memory include:

  • 2005-07: Albert Gonzalez and his cohorts stole more than 170 million card and ATM numbers using SQL injection.
  • 2010: PayPal hacked and customer information leaked after restricting WikiLeaks’ use of the online payment processor.
  • 2011: Canadian government hacked by users with Chinese IP addresses.
  • 2011: Sony PSN customer information hacked and leaked.
  • 2011: Citigroup victim of brute force attack, exposing 200,000 customer accounts.
  • 2012: Yahoo! hacked with customer passwords leaked on the Internet.
  • 2013: Spamhaus, a popular spam-detecting solution in the UK, hacked.
  • 2014: The “Fappening” leaks nude celebrity photos stolen from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Apple iCloud.
  • 2015: Ashley Madison victim of data breach, perpetrated by The Impact Team.
  • 2016: Concerted DDOS attack of Dyn DNS significantly disrupts Internet access; IoT malware blamed.

How to Protect Yourself

With rising fears of cyber attacks and the increasing need for better cyber security measures, what can you do to protect yourself from such attacks? While no solution will ever be 100% comprehensive, there are a few basic steps you can take.

Security Code

Utilize two-step verification/authentication wherever possible. Use secure and unique passwords with every service that you use. Make sure that all of your online databases and data are suitably protected against attack. Keep regular, redundant backups of all your data in different locations in case any one of them is attacked. Be extra careful with any personal information you share online and how you choose to share it.

And above all else, realize and recognize that anything, everything that you upload to the Internet at any point, even if you delete it anytime thereafter, is vulnerable to attack and theft. If it’s ever been on the Internet, it’s forever and could be exposed to all to see.

The State of Local SEO and How to Get More Local Customers

Do you want to acquire more local customers from search?… Of course, you do!

First, you need to understand that SEO is no longer the way it used to be. A lot of has changed. In fact, the impact of these changes are more glaring in local search engine optimization.

When it comes to Local SEO, you need to get serious with Google My Business Page and citations.

When you implement both practices, you’re telling local consumers and search engines alike that you’re open for business. And your sales will possibly increase.

Remember that local searches are more likely to lead to sales, compared to non-local searches. According to a research study by Google, 18% of local smartphone searches generated a purchase within 24 hours.

Of course, links are still important to search rankings, but the approach has changed a lot in the last 3 years. You now need to understand the on-page technicalities first, before moving out to get links.

Make no mistakes about it. Modern SEO boils down to listening to and attending to your website’s visitor – people who consume your content, after clicking on your search result from Google organic listings.

It’s no secret that you have to do more to thrive in the search these days. If you choose to manipulate search using blackhat techniques, you may end up losing your precious rankings.

That’s why I created this in-depth article, to help you understand the State of Local SEO & where to pay attention now.

Your SEO is not all about ranking #1

If you think that SEO is all about getting ranked in #1 position, then you’re making a deadly mistake. Of course who wouldn’t desire that spot – but that’s not the focus.

At the end of the day, the focus of SEO is to build sustainable rankings for your target keywords. You want to rank today, tomorrow, and even next year.

For this to happen, you need an effective social media strategy – because social signals have become an integral part of organic ranking factors.

Once you pass some social juice to your web pages, every other effort would yield better results. In fact, your CTR will weigh more – because you have a lot of people engaging with your content on social media sites.

So the #1 result in Google may not always get the most clicks. Remember that majority of your searchers, especially those outside internet marketing field don’t know the difference between organic and paid search results.

To a large extent, what determines whether a search result (both organic and paid) gets clicked on is the title, meta description, and page URL. And more importantly, the local map packs with reviews and star ratings.

For example, I searched for “plumber” but I don’t feel excited with these results. So I’ll skip them and scroll down a bit.

Scrolling down the same page, a search result in the Google maps caught my attention. I thought I should click on this one. With all these reviews and ratings from real customers, how can I go wrong?

Your localized link is your new advantage

In today’s local rankings, where you got your inbound links play a vital role in the search rankings.

More so, if you get more links from relevant directories and websites in the same geographical area, Google may reward you better.

And for that to work, you need to gain links to your brand social media, to your product page (or specific service page), and pass more link juice to your video content. [image

To surmount your competition, you don’t need the best website design or a huge marketing budget. You need compelling content and trusted backlinks. It’s your new advantage.

Compelling content will help you rank for several long-tail keywords that you’re not directly targeting. And being on Google’s first page drives more clicks to your local business landing pages.

Note that when you get few inbound links from a website with high domain authority, this can improve your rankings for highly competitive keyword phrases.

On the flip side, low domain authority websites can result in a nose dive for your web pages that are already climbing the top of organic listings. Ahrefs conducted an exclusive research study in this respect.

If you look at it closely, you’ll agree with me that modern SEO isn’t about keywords, but on the searcher’s intent.

For example, why do people search for “small business tools” in Google?

Are they looking for tools to buy, or they just want to learn how fast new tools are being released in the small business field?

An in-depth market research will answer that question.

Higher Organic Rankings depends on how much you engage your site users

Truly, links are the lifeblood of local search rankings.

But all links are not created equal.

Since 2014, brands that proactively research authority websites, build relationships, and eventually earned links to their web pages, have seen a spike in organic rankings as the year goes by.

The imminent challenge that local businesses face is the time and expertise to build these links. If you’re in the same both, the solution is to:

Build engagement with site visitors.

Engagement is so important.

For instance, when website visitors are engaged, they’ll share content, cite it, leave valuable comments, write honest reviews, and push your brand to the spotlight through word of mouth.

When I did a search for plumber earlier, did you notice what inspired me to click on a search result?

Reviews and star ratings.

You’ll often find reviews and star ratings in rich snippets of the organic search results.

Reviews are hard to get.

Reviews speak volumes and show how responsive your customers and website visitors are towards your content or product.

Customer reviews may not improve your search rankings (at least Google hasn’t made it clear yet), but it improves user experience.

Consequently, the more reviews your local business garner, the more inspired and ready your customers will be. It can increase your product orders.

From the results above, I can boldly say that the trust level you have with customers can be directly or indirectly traced to how engaging your content is.

Yes the term “content engagement” has become a buzzword. So many local businesses throw it around, but only a few people truly knows what it means.

Of course engagement could mean several things at the same time. But when it comes to getting more local customers through content, the engagement that you want can be summarized in these few points:

  • Get local clients to click on your headline and read your content.
  • Your content inspires local clients to call your business.
  • Your ideal customers find your physical business address, and take steps to visit you now or later.
  • Get customers to place order on your online store.

And so forth.

At the end of the day, you want to track conversions, not some vanity metrics like reach, comments, and so on.

However, you can increase content engagement if you understand the consumer engagement cycle. This is more or less the various paths that your ideal customer must tour, before deciding on your business.

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Conclusion

Local SEO is all about telling great story of your brand without rambling endlessly. You don’t have to be a natural-born storyteller.

Great storytelling entrepreneurs thrive on a simple secret:

They understand their audience more than the average Joe.

In your page title, page description, and within your content, find reasons to tell stories that pique the user’s mind. Don’t stuff keywords. Instead, stuff your content with stories.

This is Marcus Sheridan’s strategy. Though he’s known as a pools guy, but by telling stories of his brand and the struggles he had to go through, his local business went international.

And guess what? Today, he generates more traffic from organic searches. Every challenge that you’ve experienced is a goldmine when creating content.

Tap into it – and tell the story – while driving your brand message home. Your local customers will understand it better.

 

This article was a contribution from Michael Chibuzor, who is a seasoned freelance writer. If you’re looking for long-form articles that drives traffic and sales, visit ContentMarketingUp.com.

5 Ways Webinars and Video Can Replace Workplace Meetings

As an entrepreneur and being my own boss, I’ve had the pleasure of not having to deal with the normal “workplace atmosphere” and needing to plan or attend meetings within a company. I have however experienced what this atmosphere is like through working with other companies in the industry. More often then not, these meetings and get-togethers of individuals within the company is more of a waste of time and resources than anything else.

Yes, businesses of all sizes need to hold meetings, but how they hold them and who actually needs to be there is where there is room for opportunity. It’s way too easy for myself to throw together a webinar or online video series and have 1,000s of people attending my live feed, so why aren’t businesses doing the same thing within their organization?

With so many advanced webinar and video sharing platforms available, not only is it extremely easy to setup, it’s also quite cost effective too. Solutions like GoToWebinar are perfect for streaming live webinars and connecting with others in your company, while more advanced services like Blue Jeans make it easy to deliver HD video conferencing and multi-party meetings within a organization or during a live event with thousands of attendees.

If you aren’t currently using live video and webinars in place of holding in-person meetings, here are five reasons to reconsider — plus some fun office meeting memes to bright up such a feared topic!

5 Ways to Improve Workplace Meetings with Video

No matter what solution you are using to deliver live video or webinars online, consider the following five methods for improving how your business holds meetings within your company and make the most out of their time and resources.

Make Meetings Essential

I Heard You Like Meetings

The main issues that people have with meetings, be they online or in-person, is that there isn’t much point to them other than summing up things that people either already know or could be said with a group e-mail. An easy fix for this is to only schedule meetings when they are absolutely essential and let employees get on with their work for the rest of the time. If there is really no point to a daily or weekly meeting then don’t feel like you need to have one just for the sake of it. This will also emphasise the importance of meetings meaning that people will focus during them instead of zoning out or multitasking.

One of the most common issues with meetings in the workplace is if they are needed and how to run them efficiently. To maximize efficiency, Inc. Magazine offers five simple questions and tasks to assign before your meeting takes place.

  1. Does the meeting need to happen?
  2. Be very clear about the purpose.
  3. Engage people beforehand.
  4. Actually start on time.
  5. Document and share the main points.

Invite the People Who Need to be There

Meeting Emails

Meetings are usually boring and a waste of time for half of the people in the room. This doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your meetings, it just means you should only be including those who are needed to be there.

Not only are meetings a potential waste of time and resources just to pull them together, they can also be a huge productivity killer for all of the attendees as it’s going to break about their day and working time. Inc Magazine noted that the two biggest drags of productivity are “Meetings and Managers”. The article went on to say:

These two staples of work life–meetings and managers–are actually the greatest causes of work not getting done at the office. In fact, the further away you are from both meetings and managers, the more work gets done. This is one of the key reasons we’re so enthusiastic about remote work.

For businesses that feel they need to have weekly or monthly meetings, continue to do so, but only have the core individuals needed to make it happen. While this meeting is taking place, record the session and make it accessible to all employees for later viewing.

Keep it Brief

Sitting In Meetings All Day

When you think about the amount of time it takes to put a meeting together, actually holding it in a room, getting started and finalizing everything, it’s a whole lot longer than the 30 or 60 minutes that the meeting was originally supposed to be. It’s not that everyone simply hates the thought of meetings, it’s the many emotions, complications and wasted time that come with them.

Forbes says that one main reason why people hate meetings so much is that our brains simply can’t focus fully for such a long amount of time. The trouble with carving out a certain time window for a meeting is the feeling that you need to fill up all of that time. All the while, your colleagues are desperate to get back to their desks and meet their deadlines or praying they’ll be in time to pick their children up from school.

The solution? Have someone do the pre-meeting work before hand and allow for employees to attend live meetings online or allow for the watching of a recording later on. Not only does this not take away from their work time and productivity, it also makes sure a 15 or 30-minute meeting is actually that long. 

Record the Meeting

  Meeting Recording

One great feature of video conferencing software is that you no longer need a secretary to take notes then repeat the minutes in the next meeting. You can record all of your meetings, save them, and e-mail them out to anyone who needs to see them. This is a great advantage for anybody who can’t make the meeting and means that they can check it out at a time which is convenient for them, again not disrupting their regular work flow.

Something so funny about the internet and technology industry is that all of these companies are so advanced with their online marketing and campaign management, but when it comes to holding meetings they are still stuck in the 90s!

Be Decisive

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The key purpose of meetings is to make important business decisions, so then why do so few meetings accomplish this?

Many seem to go around in circles with everybody voicing their own opinion and boring everyone else to tears. Of course, everybody in the meeting should be able to voice their own opinions. That is why they are in the meeting, after all. But if you notice things are starting to drag, emphasise the importance of making an immediate decision and take a vote if you have to. Don’t let the meeting time be taken up by unimportant decisions or tangents. This way meetings will go much smoother and your team will get much more done in a shorter amount of time.

Should your organization hold meetings through an online video or meeting format, it would be much easier for all attendees to take notes or make suggestions through a chat interface. Not only will this help with the structure and organization of all notes taken, but it will also allow for individuals who might not like the spotlight on them to be able to contribute as well.

Less In-Person Meetings = Happier Employees

Zero Meetings

One of the many benefits to being an entrepreneur or the boss of your own business, is that you don’t have to deal with the many frustrations of meetings and staff management.

At the same time, we all know that meetings and communication within the workplace is required. What isn’t required is making the whole process a drag. Implement each of the methods above into your existing business and see how you can improve productivity and staff happiness by automating and delivering the process through online video and webinars.

The top marketers in the world are doing it to increase their businesses… you should too.

Rankinity – How to Track Website Rankings in Real Time

It can be time consuming enough to try to keep track of how your website is performing in search engines; it’s an even larger struggle to keep up with how your competitors are ranking, too.

Rankinity does all this for you. Rankinity is a website rank tracking service, and it tracks your site (and your competitors) in real time to give you the information you need to improve your rankings and keep them high.

Rankinity’s website rank tracking services are the most advanced available today, beating out their competitors by far. This is largely thanks to their advanced and unique features.

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Unique Rankinity Features

Rankinity’s features are what truly set it apart from any competing services, offering incredibly high value for all businesses, no matter what industry you’re in.

Some of their best and most high value features include—but are definitely not limited to—the abilities allowing you to:

Check website rankings on multiple search engines in real time: Rankinity is the first service that allows you to check your website positions in real time. You can actually make changes to your site (like specifying a URL or adding keywords) from Rankinity’s dashboard, and in real time be able to see how your changes affect your rank and position in multiple Search Engines.

Rankinity_Visibility

Get detailed analysis on your competitors: Keeping an eye on your competitors is an important part of all businesses, and an important part of SEO. Rankinity will compare visibilities of the sites you see as your competition. They’ll show you how you rank compared to your competition when it comes to keyword ranking.

Limit the Search to Specific Countries or Cities: Web searches can be heavily dependent on geographical location. Especially if you’re looking to rank predominantly locally, it only makes sense to focus on ranking based on location. Rankinity will allow you to keep an eye on results only on the countries or cities that you need to monitor. This helps filter out the unnecessary information you don’t need, and it makes sure you don’t miss anything critical that you do need.

Flexible Keyword Amounts & Checking Intervals: You get to choose how many keywords you want to track, and how often you want to check them. You can choose to check keywords at intervals as often as daily or as infrequently as every 15 days. The final cost is reliant on these factors, which we’ll talk more about in the pricing section.

Rankinity_Projects

Group Keywords for Bigger Impact: Rankinity makes it possible for you to group keywords together, and to view a visibility analysis for that group of keywords. This feature makes it incredibly easy to find the most effective and high-ranking group of keywords for your particular site, and see how they affect your rankings.

Rankinity_Keywords

SEO Project Collaboration: A lot of businesses employ SEO campaigns that involve the work and cooperation of several collaborators. Especially when collaborators aren’t all in the same place (and even when they are), this can be difficult to do.

Rankinity’s SEO Project Collaboration makes it easy for everyone; everyone can access the analytics and work towards new strategies to promote your site. Best of all: it’s easy to stay aware of all changes in your project and site, no matter who’s making them.

Add and Assign Weight to Keywords: Though grouped keywords are important and incredibly effective, it’s natural that some keywords will be more important, relevant, and effective for your site than others. This feature allows you to prioritize keywords and add weight to the most important ones, telling Rankinity which keywords you want to value highest.

This allows you to have more of a say in how your group of keywords (and the most important keywords) affect the total visibility of your website. Especially when it comes to packing a punch with long-tailed keywords, this is a huge advantage.

Rankinity_Keyword_Options

Fast Reports of Keyword Standings: Rankinity has easy-to-follow infographics that show you exactly how you’re ranking for the keywords you’ve chosen, even showing how you’ve ranked for each keyword over time and how you currently and have historically ranked against competitors. These infographics and reviews constantly stay up to date so that you can, too.

Rankinity_Keyword_Reports

Multi-System Integration: Rankinity is easy to integrate with other systems via API; it’s simple to import and export data to your own CRM system. You can combine the data from Rankinity with other services in other areas for your SEO, making your overall campaigns that much more effective.

Rankinity_API

Earn More: Rankinity offers a great opportunity to all their customers for affiliate marketing, allowing you to get 10% of payments made by the customers you refer to them.

SEO and marketing companies also have the option of using the data, tools, and features of Rankinity to create new services for their own clients, expanding their lists of services and prices.

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Regardless, even if you don’t use affiliate links or use Rankinity to offer other analytics services for clients, the amount of time Rankinity saves you can be applied to other money-making and high profit endeavors. There’s no way to lose, and you have everything to gain.

All of these features allow you to evaluate your ranking, compare it to your competitors, and try to adjust it accordingly. Rankinity’s real time tracking is perhaps their truly stand out feature, especially as it allows you to add keywords or make alterations and instantly be able to see the results.

To see a full and complete list of Rankinity’s unique features, click here.

Rankinity Pricing

Since Rankinity evaluates your site’s performance on how it ranks for keywords, it makes sense that their pricing reflects this. The cost is entirely dependent on the number of keywords you want to check and how often you want to check them.

You can check the keywords as often as one day, or as infrequently as fifteen days.

Once you decide how many keywords you want to monitor and how often you want to check them, Rankinity will give you a cost per 30 days. By offering fully customizable plans, Rankinity ensures that no one will ever overpay for their services (which is often an issue with fixed price plans by their competitors).

Rankinity_Pricing

Added note: for websites looking to track more than 1,000 keywords, Rankinity will currently offer a discount; you just have to contact them

To see the cost for thirty days for your business’s needs, take a look at their pricing calculator here.

Final Thoughts

Rankinity’s unique features combined with their low costs (thanks to plans that are customizable to your exact needs) keep them edging out their competitors. Not only are you able to carefully track your own site’s progress, you can keep track of how you’re comparing to your biggest competitors (and up and coming competitors). You can do this all from one screen and without extra hassle or work on your part. By doing this, Rankinity saves you time, and time is money.

How do you think Rankinity will work for you? To sign up for Rankinity and start tracking your site — and your competitors — in real time, click here to find a plan and a price that works for you.

Best Mobile Apps for Online Marketers

If you’re working for yourself with your own business, knowing the ins and outs of marketing. But you can’t always be chained to your desk, right? Here are some of the truly essential apps for modern-day marketers who like to take advantage of current smartphone technology.

Perch

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Gain a bird’s-eye view of all the social mentions you and your competitors receive. Just add a business, and you’ll get notified via a feed about the companies’ mentions on various sites like Google+, Yelp, Groupon, etc.

The focus is on small business, so if you enter in Starbucks, you’ll get mentions for local franchises, but not the corporation as a whole. This is a great way to see how people like your company as well as come up with strategies to make your company better than your competitors.

Google Adwords

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Campaign marketers can check their stats, update bids, budgets and more, thanks to this new app from Google AdWords! If you’re running a PPC, or pay-per-click, campaign, the AdWords app makes this easier while you’re on the go as well. Given that both Android and Adwords are both Google products, naturally, Android got first dibs, but it is not unlikely an iOS version might follow.

Evernote

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Never forget an idea again! Fantastic for capturing–and sharing–lead generation ideas, Evernote is available as an Android app on both tablets and phones, as well as on a main PC browser, allowing you to jot down that last-minute idea to share before an important meeting. Good also for capturing web pages related to your ideas. Create various notebooks for all your information: projects, contacts, etc.

Trello

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Trello is the to-do-list app of all to-do-list apps! You can create to-do lists, and assign team members to take on those specific tasks, making delegation a LOT easier. You can access Trello from your main computer or on-the-go with an apps, so you can always be sure your to-do’s are completed on time.

HootSuite

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Delegate your social media marketing to an owl! HootSuite’s an all-in-one social media posting tool that allows you to post messages to places such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Schedule posts so you don’t have to post manually, freeing up time for other things. HootSuite is available for both PC and smartphone usage.

Pocket

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Browsing various sites–social media & otherwise–can be a little overwhelming, esp if you don’t have time to read everything in one go. Save webpages for later and when you’ve read them, you can check them off as read, and they’ll disappear from your “saved sites” queue, keeping clutter to a minimum, which is always nice. Available on phone, tablet and PC.

LinkedIn

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It’s been perfectly described at one point as the “Facebook” for networkers, marketers and other professionals seeking to build their circle of contacts and referrals. But it is a site for professionals, which means you won’t get all the unnecessary “social entertainment” chatter. The phone app works better than the main website, and works great with HootSuite.

These are some of the best apps that have gotten mentioned time and again by those in the know. Give these a shot and see how each works for you. Mix and match each app’s functionality to create a custom marketing strategy that rockets your business upward. Some of these apps are also available as Firefox extensions creating a way to sync data between your PC and your phone. Truly marketing connectivity at its best.