We’re all familiar with the term ‘e-commerce’ when it comes to selling products online. Now f-commerce (the ‘f’ stands for Facebook) is becoming more and more popular with brands and consumers alike.
If you’re an online retailer, it is essential that you understand the impact that social media is having on e-commerce. Unique selling opportunities now exist on Facebook and other social media platforms. These networking sites allow you to engage with your customer base – and in the ideal scenario have them promote your products to their network of friends.
At the simplest level, this can be done by the addition of Facebook’s ‘Like’ button to your website, which acts as a simple content sharing device. When someone clicks on the ‘Like’ button on your site, this information is posted to that person’s Facebook wall and this will be viewable by their friends. As the average Facebook user has over 100 friends, this simple action could have a snowball effect as more and more users ‘Like’ your brand.
This communication is not just one-way. A page on your website can pull information from Facebook to show the names and profile pictures of people who have ‘Liked’ your product. This way you can find out more about the customers that are interested in you.
The opportunity now exists to take further steps forward to integrate e-commerce with your Facebook page. This means not just engaging your customer through your social presence, but also inviting them to buy products (in part or in whole) over the Facebook platform.
To achieve this, the look of your Facebook page can be tailored to look less like the profile page familiar to most users and more like a standard web page. This also allows you to integrate e-commerce elements, either by pulling product information onto your page using an API, displaying your shop through an ‘Iframe’ or even creating an App to perform the whole process through Facebook.
A number of online retailers have already rushed to take advantage of this new opportunity. Brands like Max Factor, Heinz, Thorntons and JD Sports have all made the transition from promoting their brand to selling goods through their Facebook pages.
The time internet users spent on Facebook in 2010 surpassed the time people used both Google and Yahoo. It is therefore essential to use social media platforms to find a bigger audience for your goods. Large brands such as Coca-Cola get more than 10% of their traffic from their Facebook page and this figure is only growing.
The Facebook platform is currently completely free and businesses can take advantage of this to set up a page with no hosting charges, fees or percentages paid. Call eSterling today to find out the ideal social media and e-commerce strategies we can offer you so that you can make the most out of f-commerce.
As a Design Manager and a Web Designer for over 10 years, I have often come across people within all types of industry who refuse to give ‘design’ any importance when it comes to their business. It genuinely infuriates me when I hear the phrase ‘…and they don’t mind how it looks…’
Don’t mind how it looks!? Are these people serious? Yes, yes they are.
As the title of this piece suggests, ‘design’ is the first impression, the first flicker of the brand, the initial spark of interest, the first element which tells you about the company. To under estimate this is so short-sighted that it’s actually harmful to the long-term future of your company.
Finding a company or service online just tells you that have marketed their web site well; it does not tell you if they are professional, contemporary, personable, approachable or indeed good at what they do.
The brand, the key messages and indeed the professional approach to what they do is what counts. All of these elements are the foundation of the design. It’s not simply ‘looking pretty’ nor is it the use of the latest trends or fads. Design envelops all that is visual, all that is seen and all that functions.
Some Web Professionals believe content is king, and I am one of these people. But it is how this content is delivered which is often ignored by people who do not place any significance on design.
Imagine finding a web site which is at the top of Google for what you are looking for. You open the page and it’s just simply black text on a white background with a few bad quality images slapped in there for good measure. Although this company are exactly what you want, would you keep on scrolling down this mush of text and images to try and find some contact information so you can give them a call? Or would you keep searching the web? I know what I would do. And having been in this industry for over 10 years I know what most people would do.
Having a web site built with little or no regard for the design aspect is simply not worth it. The web site will not generate business, will not impress potential customer, will not generate enquires or interest, will not grow in to a massive selling tool nor will it scare your competition. Your competition will get a boost knowing that their web site is better and their web site will impress YOUR current customers.
I have seen web sites grow into a major selling tool for 100’s of companies. Can your current Sales Department visit 100+ potential customers a day? A well designed web site can.
An impressive, professional looking web site built with SEO in mind can be the beginning of a wonderful relationship between you and the web. Your web site can end up bringing in more business than your entire Sales team – and that’s a fact.
I hope you can now see why it frustrates me when I hear the immortal phrase’…and they don’t mind how it looks…’ Are they mad? Yes, yes they are.
If you have any questions or want to know more about Designing for the web, either email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here and I will answer any questions posted.
I’ve been asking this question to our SEO team for a while now. Why is it that Google ‘likes’ links? And how can this be fair?
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of ‘links’, here’s some background information:
- Links (also known as backlinks) are from another site to your site
- Links can help your Google rankings because ‘they are a useful way of measuring a site’s value’
- The quantity and quality of links count towards your site’s rating
Google’s official guidelines state that links should be from trusted sources and should not be bought and sold illegitimately. This is part of Google’s commitment to make search results fair.
But in reality there is very little sanctioning to determine which links are legitimate and which aren’t. This means that successfully ranking sites often have links from what could only be described as ‘dodgy’ sources and are not penalised at all. Therefore many webmasters continue to buy their links from questionable sources simply because they are getting results.
As buying large quantities of links ultimately comes down to money, then companies with a higher budget can achieve better rankings. But isn’t this at the expense of search relevance?
So how can Google root out this practice? The trouble is that links are an SEO factor that is out of the webmaster’s control. In theory, you can’t help who links to your site and this means there is potential for interference from competitors should Google crack-down on ‘bad’ links.
This leaves Google with a conundrum. Either Google accepts that all links are a ‘vote of confidence’ from other users and gives them all a green light (no matter their legitimacy); or Google decides to ban all links (no matter the relevancy). Or perhaps, and in my opinion, the ‘right’ way would be to use a clever algorithm to root out those links that are irrelevant.
Unfortunately, SEO companies have very little control over Google’s decisions. We have to move with the times and do what Google says (and not necessarily as they do). But is the integrity of search being spoiled by this factor? I would certainly welcome your comments on links and how they should affect SEO rankings.
Yesterday Tom joined 15,000 other runners to take part in the BUPA Great Birmingham Run. The 13.1 mile course winds through the streets ofBirmingham, going past famous local landmarks such as Edgbaston Cricket Ground.
Tom completed the course in 1:52:16 – a great result for the eSterling SEO expert. “It feels great that I completed the course in a similar time to last year, although the two mile hill at the end is an absolute killer!” Tom said.
It was his second time running the course for charity Macmillan and eSterling showed support by sponsoring him to wear an eSterling t-shirt during the race. The t-shirt was kindly provided by one of our clients, White Lodge Promotions.
Tom was joined by the distance running legend Haile Gebrsalassie, who raced to victory with a time of 1:01:29. The women’s race was won by Brit Gemma Steel in 1:12:21, a personal best.
White Lodge Promotions is a leading supplier of personalised clothing based inLichfield, Staffordshire. The company offers a wide range of printed and embroidered clothing for work and leisure including everything from branded workwear to hen-night t-shirts.
White Lodge Promotions came to eSterling at the beginning of 2011 for a new website that was clear and modern. eSterling designed a site that reflected White Lodge’s existing branding and showcased their products to the best effect.
Luke Edmonds, from our web design team commented on the design; ‘The scrolling banner on the homepage is an eye-catching way to draw attention to important product types and also highlight the top brands that White Lodge work with,’
eSterling also provides ongoing SEO services for White Lodge, making sure key products such as school leaver hoodies and embroidered work wear are found in the search engines.
Lee Gwinnett, White Lodge’s MD is impressed with the results. He commented; ‘I’m genuinely pleased with the efforts of the team at eSterling. We now have a professional website and I’m looking forward to continually pushing forward with the SEO campaign. I recommend eSterling without hesitation to my business contacts,’
Visit the White Lodge Promotions website today to browse for products and take a look at our design.
I’d forgive you if you didn’t believe this headline (I had to check April Fools Day hadn’t come early myself!), yet it’s true – the Hammer-pants-wearing entrepreneur has launched his very own search engine.
It’s called WireDoo and MC Hammer is hoping that it will revolutionise search in the same way that Google has. The concept of WireDoo isn’t bad – Mr Hammer calls the way it works a ‘deep search’ and hopes it will return results based on relational topics.
MC Hammer, real name Stanley Kirk Burrell, discussed this in more detail at the Web 2.0 Summit inSan Francisco. He explained that today’s search engines work by connecting keywords (search terms) to one topic (not an entirely accurate view I must add). However, MC Hammer believes that when you search for a home, you will want to see information about the surrounding community, schools and crime statistics etc. And this is exactly what WireDoo claims to achieve, hence the tagline is “Search once and see what’s related.”
The rapper didn’t reveal much more about the how the search engine will work in practice and we’ll have to wait a little longer to try it for ourselves as it is currently in pre-beta. You can however sign-up to get access to WireDoo as soon as it’s ready.
Taking on Google will no-doubt be a tough one for MC Hammer and if he wants to prove he’s ‘Too Legit to Quit’ he’ll have to be prepared for a rough ride. Toppling Google has so far proved difficult for big-hitters such as Yahoo and Bing and many other failed projects (who remembers HotBot, AltaVista and Infoseek?).
However, if MC Hammer’s project does take off, eSterling will be the first to let you know. You Can’t Touch This!
Google, in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau, have launched an excellent new site called ‘Good to know’. The site aims to provide tips and advice about online security and privacy issues to users of all levels to help them protect their personal information on the web. Check out the site for yourself here.
The site offers advice on a range of issues from choosing online passwords, password strength and signing out of web sites correctly to more advanced issues such as secure sites, SSLs and cookies.
As you would expect from Google the site is well designed and easy to use, all the information is written in a way that can be understood by all levels of user, almost all the advice given comes with a tutorial video to explain the issues further and there are many links to other sites that you may find useful. There is also a handy Jargon Buster section for those who don’t know their spam from their cookies.
This site is an invaluable resource for almost all internet users, but it is also very useful for anyone who owns a web site. Web site owners (particularly those with ecommerce sites) should take a look at the Good to Know site and assess if their own sites conform to the advice given by Google about safe sites. If your site does not conform to Google’s advice then you may lose credibility; but more importantly you may also lose potential customers who do not trust your site enough to make purchases on it.
If you feel your site does not conform to the advice given on Good to Know or you want to discuss any specific issues around the security of your web site, give us a call and we will be happy to advise you of ways you can increase the security of your site.
Due to high demand we have added three more dates to the popular seminar ‘Online Marketing to Boost Business Sales’. Attend this seminar to find out how to use online marketing to win more customers for your business.
Is your business ready to improve its online marketing? Do you want to know which techniques are right for your business? Or are you feeling overwhelmed by all the options?
This half-day interactive session will take you through a proven formula for online marketing success. It will provide you with all the information you need to:
- Make the right choices when improving your website
- Generate substantial traffic to your website
- Take advantage of the advertising and communications tools available
This seminar is packed full of practical examples and information, delivered in easy-to-understand bite-sized chunks.
Date: 25th October 2011 – Fully Booked!
Date: 2nd November 2011
Date: 3rd November 2011
Date: 4th November 2011
Hopefully you won’t ever have to activate the software I’m going to tell you about today, but if your laptop does get stolen you’ll be very glad that you installed it.
The software I’m talking about goes by the name of Prey. In a nutshell it’s free software to track your computer should it get stolen. Thanks to some nifty software, the Prey team have made a tiny agent that silently lives on your laptop, desktop, tablet device running Android, Windows, Linux or Mac OS. (A bit like having a mini James Bond at your disposal should a thief strike!)
Whether you are the victim of theft or just left your item on a train or in a taxi, Prey will quickly alert you regarding its location, who is using it (through the use of Facebook for example), and even trigger specific actions like locking the device, or start removing sensitive data from it.
Using the device’s GPS or the nearest WiFi hotspots allows you to grab a fix on its whereabouts. You can even take a picture of the thief with your laptop’s webcam so you know what he or she looks like! Have a read of some remarkable success stories: http://lifehac.kr/oULPhE or http://bit.ly/nJw3Ln.
The agent cannot be removed without your administrator password, which means it will keep running until you’re able to get the police involved to track your laptop down.
Any type of loss can be upsetting, but when it’s an expensive computer with personal data, your prized music collection, treasured family photos, it can be all the more depressing. This outstanding software works on your PC or phone, silently waiting for you to wake it and work its magic. Let’s just hope you never have to use it!
Here’s the link to Prey: http://preyproject.com/
This is a statement I hear every day from people I talk to about our services. If you happen to have an experienced and professional web designer in your family, then lucky you! But chances are your relative isn’t as clued-up as they say they are…
The rapid development of the internet has created plethora of wannabe designers and developers. I still come across websites which look like they were developed with WordPad and they make me really sad! I’m talking about websites with just a few pages here; colours all over the place and with a navigation looking like a five-year-old has done the job!
These shoddy ‘web development’ offerings bring down the rest of the industry. Even some big telecommunications companies (mentioning no names) are belittling professional web designers by offering cheap websites, that look cheap as well.
I love the internet and would love to avoid seeing websites that would make me squirm….so let’s get rid of the wannabes and those very dull websites. Let’s instead make the web beautiful with professional website design that reflects the aspirations of your brand.