Tag Archives: online

The Kind of Website that Your Target Audience Can’t Help Visiting Everyday

The Kind of Website that Your Target Audience Can't Help Visiting Everyday

I love online shopping when it comes to buying skincare products or makeups (except for light-coloured lipsticks, I have to be careful). 90% of my skincare products are bought online. Why? That’s because the discounts offered in online shopping are crazier and more effective than buying straight from the mall. More importantly, mall tenants tend to be pleonastic when they offer discounts, saying “If you buy one, you will get 10% discount, if you buy two, you will get 20% discount, and if you buy three, you will get 35% discount.” Every time I see that kind of promo, I immediately brush it off, because I’m like, “Dude, are you offering me discounts or are you trying to rob me of my money? Who the hell needs that many things?? I only need one.” Online shopping is very direct when they are giving out discounts even up to 80%. When they say it’s a 50% discount; it really is – no lies, no strings attached. However, not all online shopping websites apply the same method. There are some factors that make the websites not worth visiting, whether it is about their web design, or simply their way of giving deals, or even payment methods. Well, if you have an online business, let me give you a piece of advice, not as a digital marketer, but as a customer from a customer’s perspective. Keep reading to learn more!

First impression

I will never get tired of saying that first impression always matters. Even though I’m not lying when I say I love beautifully designed websites with flash and all, their navigation is still the most important first impression to me. I need to know where I should click and I need to make sure I can find the stuff I want to buy easily. Complicated design, although it looks beautiful on the appearance, sometimes has inevitable errors that might occur anytime without notice. I once came across this beautiful looking website. At first, it was fun to see objects moving on that website, until I clicked and nothing happened. Yes, I clicked the stuff I want to buy, intending to add it to my shopping cart, but it didn’t add the stuff to the cart, nor could it be clicked at all. I thought it was the internet connection, but when I tried to reload it, the page refreshed easily but I still couldn’t click a single thing on that website. Lesson from this is that first impression that I’m talking about is not about the looks, but it’s more about function. Ask these questions when you are browsing your own website:

  • “If I look for my stuff on the search box on my website, will it provide relevant and complete results?”
  • “If I want to see the product page, will I find helpful categories that make it easier for me to find specific product?”
  • “Are the images loading fast?”
  • “Can I click the buttons and the calls to action buttons?”

Create a fun design but watch out for the content size and the navigation part.

The can’t-help-but-visit-everyday website

Before explaining this part, let me tell you my real-life example. I am a loyal customer of Sociolla, a big online shopping website for skincare and makeup products in my country. There is not a day spent without visiting Sociolla’s website. Why? That’s because they have consistent daily discounts that will either stay up till a month or just daily. Yes, it’s DAILY. Every day they always come up with something. On one day, they have discounts for some brands up to 70% off, and it is always different on the next day. This, of course makes me not able to stop myself from checking out their website every day. I’m not telling you to offer daily discounts, but maybe you can learn from this. Well, there are other ways you can make your website enchanting that makes everyone not be able to resist:

  • Giving interactive daily quiz that will benefit your customers in some way. For example, daily quiz about your products and if they answer it correctly, those correct points will turn into their membership points.
  • Customers will often visit your website not only for that quiz, but also for browsing all pages on your website to know your products and business better so they can answer the quiz correctly. The more visitors to your website, the more traffic you get and this can increase your website’s chance of being ranked well on search engines.
  • Make sure the quiz’s design doesn’t cause slow loading pages on your website. Consult this to your web designers and they will provide you with solutions.
  • Pay attention to your content. Believe it or not, striking visual and design are already attractive enough, but if it is combined with a set of perfect words for the text, your website can be unbeatable. Consult this to your content writer to make meaningful content for the catchy web design.

It’s all about marketing and creativity. No matter how good your website looks like, if it lacks content marketing strategy, it would be meaningless. Good content and good design should be a balance with each other because not only will it increase the possibility to improve your website rank and awareness, it will also determine your customers’ choice later, so make sure you prepare for the strategy and consult it to the content and the web design specialists you are hiring for your business.

Risky Business: 4 Common Black Hat SEO Tactics You Have to Watch Out For

SEO tips

One of the more bizarre pieces of news I read this week, which is saying a lot given the current state of the world, is of something called abdominal etching. I don’t fully understand the procedure of abdominal etching but from what I can understand, it’s like plastic surgery but for your belly instead of for your face. I’m not exactly familiar with the kind of work required to have chiseled abs, my exercise routine is limited to 5k runs and a simple yoga routine, but I can’t help but see this procedure of abdominal etching as degrading, not to mention expensive.

Despite all of my personal faults, of which I can assure you there are many, I like to think of myself as having a proper sense of integrity. I prefer to always do things the right way if possible, and shortcuts like abdominal etching or one that’s more relevant to this discussion, black hat SEO, aren’t something that I approve of. Black hat SEO in particular is something that SEO services should always take note of as while they could be helpful in the short term, the penalty associated with them could be much more trouble than it’s worth.

When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is

The results gained from your search engine optimization efforts is directly proportional to the amount of time and effort you’ve put into them, as with almost everything in life. Amazon didn’t become the technological behemoth they currently are overnight and it took 10 years and more than a dozen films for Marvel to go from Downey Jr.’s debut in the first Iron Man film in 2008 to Endgame being the pop culture zeitgeist of the moment. Rome wasn’t built in a day so the promise of a quick result possible with black hat SEO is understandably alluring.

The idea of a viral hit is something that’s only ever been seen in the past few years. It took 75 years for the telephone and 38 years for the radio to reach 50 million users but it took merely 29 days for Pokemon Go to hit that same number. Viral videos are even more insane, the video for Taylor Swift’s newest single, ME!, reached more than 100 million viewers in a week. It’s these mind-boggling numbers that is promised by black hat SEO but the problem with black hat SEO is how it tries to reach for that number.

Pokemon was already a multi-billion dollar franchise before Pokemon Go came out and Swift is a household name in the entertainment industry so for them to reach that kind of numbers wasn’t exactly surprising. For a no-name business to reach even a tenth of that number would require one of these things, really great content, a miracle or some underhanded tactics. Those underhanded tactics come under the guise of black hat SEO and since partaking in them could lead to penalties from search engines, you’d want to watch out for some of the more common black hat SEO tactics that are still being used today.

The practice of keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the practice of including keywords at a frequency above the average for the purpose of ranking higher on search engines. If you feel like certain words keep popping up in places they shouldn’t be, that’s probably a sign of keyword stuffing. Search engines are now smart enough to determine how often should certain words appear naturally in a given text and they’re also smart enough to figure out what you’re talking about without you having to stuff down certain words down their throat so try not to go overboard with the keywords and that includes the page title and the meta tags.

Using unrelated keywords to take advantage of current trends

This practice is especially common on websites relying heavily on clickbait articles to gain traffic. For example, Prince William’s cheating scandal seems to be the trending topic in the past few days and to take advantage of this, some unruly websites would include words related to the scandal in the hopes of gaining more traffic. Say you’re running a fashion e-commerce store and to hop on this bandwagon, you put up a blog post with the following title; “Prince William would never cheat on you if you follow these fashion tips”.

It’s cheap and again, search engines are now smart enough to figure out the actual contents of your blog and would be able to easily determine that your content isn’t really about Prince William’s cheating scandal.

The bait-and-switch

Are you familiar with the term catfish in online dating? I first heard the term from the 2010 documentary Catfish in which someone put up a fake profile online in order to build up a relationship, usually for less-than-savory purposes but not always so. In the world of SEO, there’s a similar trick of bait-and-switch. The trick is to first have a unique and quality piece of content and once that content has been linked numerous times, switch that content with one that has a more commercial purpose in mind, even when the new content has no connection whatsoever to the older, higher quality content.

The practice of content spinning

Content plagiarism is bad and easily detectable but in the past few years, we’re seeing a rise in the trend of content spinning, in which an article is doctored through an online tool to make it seem like a new content even when it’s not. This is incredibly dumb and quite frankly, an insult to the art of writing. Besides, content freshness and originality is something that is highly prized by search engines and when they caught wind of what you’re doing, recycling old contents and passing them as new, they’re not going to think highly of your website.

More and More Features: 4 Tips to Avoid Scope Creep in your Web Development Project

web development tips

Keeping my thoughts on a straight line has always been a personal problem when it comes to writing. I once set out to write a simple piece on the latest album from American rock band Deerhunter before it evolves into a mammoth 3,000-word opinion piece on how gratifying it is to see proper representation of the disenfranchised in popular culture thanks to the likes of Adam Rippon and Crazy Rich Asians. I tend to write whatever comes into my mind and since my mind tends to jump from one train of thought to another even with the flimsiest of connections, trying to keep my writing contained to a single topic has always been a problem me.

This scope creep isn’t just a problem in writing; this is also an especially common issue in software and web development. You start off with a single goal but while in the process of working towards that goal, you keep finding new things that you think could improve the overall project and this is never going to end because there’s never going to be any shortage on things that you could improve. Left unchecked, scope creep could lead to wasted time and a ballooning of cost and/or resource spent in any kind of project, which is definitely something you’d want to avoid.

Contending with the price of ambition

For those of you who are familiar with the video game industry, the name Star Citizen, the poster child for scope (or feature) creep, should definitely ring a bell. Star Citizen is the brainchild of Chris Roberts, the man who was also responsible for the Wing Commander series of video games. In the current state of video game industry, video games matching the production quality of a blockbuster films are dime a dozen. The likes of Uncharted, God of War and Red Dead Redemption constantly pushes the bar on the quality of a video game and we have Wing Commander to thank for that.

Wing Commander was the first video game I’ve ever played that blew me away, with looks and sounds and a sheer attention to detail that I’ve never seen in a video game before and Star Citizen was meant to pick up that baton. Star Citizen was first announced in 2012 as the crowdfunding campaign for the video game began in Kickstarter, which was done to ensure creative freedom compared to Wing Commander which was made under the auspices of Electronic Arts (EA). The game was supposed to be released in 2014 but even now in 2019 and with over US$200 million pumped into the game; it’s still far from seeing the light of day thanks to scope creep and Chris Roberts’ ambitious and perfectionist nature.

Star Citizen employs a modular form of development so parts of the game are actually playable as I’m typing this but that’s like being able to sit in a car and play around with the controls without the ability to actually drive the car. The problem of scope creep has far-reaching implications and while Star Citizen and Chris Roberts is lucky to have passionate, and dare I say slightly delusional, fans in his team, most of us don’t have that kind of luxury. To help combat scope creep in your web development project, here are 4 things you could try.

Get a manager to directly oversees the project

Most creative and engineer types usually scoff at having a ‘suit’ (code for a business executive in a bureaucratic position that usually has little-to-no knowledge of what he’s managing) at the top but their presence can actually be necessary. Here’s a tidbit that you should find interesting. During the time when Chris Roberts was still working under EA, 4 Wing Commander games were released in a six-year timespan from 1990 to 1996 compared to the last seven years during which Star Citizen is still being worked on. Creative freedom can be a boon but even I know that sometimes, it’s important to have someone to say enough is enough.

The simplest way of avoiding scope creep is to not allow them to happen. By having a manager that directly oversees the project, any additional features would have to be cleared first and if the manager decides that those features are beyond the scope of the project and/or would take too long to implement, the manager could just say no. It’s important to have this manager to be someone that is unbiased however, which is why getting someone with a strictly management background might be preferable.

Have the scope of the project detailed in writing

Sometimes, it is possible that scope creep happens because clients keep asking for new things to be added to the project. In cases like these, it is important to hash out the details of the project before it starts so that later on, when the clients asks for things that aren’t covered, you could simply point to the contract and refuse to do them without a renegotiation of sorts. By asking for an extension of the deadline or additional compensation, the extent of the scope creep can at least be properly managed.

Consider using project management software

If you’re looking for a better way to keep track of how the project is going and how your team is doing, use project management software that are widely available online. This is especially useful in projects of a larger scale as the software can help you manage individual members of your team by dividing the project in several smaller tasks. By keeping the tasks smaller and more specific, scope creeps can be avoided as there would be less wiggle room with the project.

Use stretch goals

An alternative way would be to make scope creeps actually baked into the project itself. First, define the base requirement of the project but also add additional features that you or the client would like to have but isn’t actually necessary, which will be referred to as stretch goals, similar to the one in Kickstarter. This way, when your team managed to finish their part of the project way before the deadline, they can refer to these stretch goals instead of setting their own tasks and goals.