Author Archives: Shirish Agarwal

About Shirish Agarwal

Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

August 7, 2013

Tech milestones of 2011 [Infographic]

2011 has been a big year for some of the biggest tech brands and technologies.  We put this infographic together to take a closer look at the biggest milestones of them all.

Enjoy!

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Dominance of Android – 2011 was a big year for Google’s Android OS.  Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc. in 2005 and launched the OS in 2007. Since then, its market share had steadily grown. In 2011, Android overtook the Apple OS in terms of market share and currently stands at 50.1% compared to Apple’s 30.2% (as of Feb 2012).Google has often been criticised for its inability to gain commercial success of products outside the online realm such as search and email. However, the success of Android proves Google’s ability to make successful products outside of its core offering.

Dominance of iPad – As with the iPod and most Apple products,  iPad has now become the generic term for tablet computer and leads the way not just in terms of market share but level of desirability as well. iPad’s market share at the end of 2011 was 54% (surprisingly, the last 3 months of 2011 saw its market share drop by 7%). When tablet computers were launched in 2010, it was met with resistance and deemed to be nothing more than a fad. Tablet computers now have become very much mainstream and the industry is expected to grow by a whopping 1000% by 2014.  Check out this blogpost for more.

Growth of the Mobile Internet – Late figures released in 2011 suggest that almost 20% of all Internet traffic in the UK is generated via mobiles. 70% of this mobile traffic is generated by iphone alone!

Growing woes of RIM – The once iconic Blackberry brand continues its decline in every possible way.  Towards the end of 2011, its market share was just 13.4%. There were even talks of a possible acquisition, most prominently by Microsoft but nothing happened (yet!). RIM shares lost approx. 70% of its value in 2011.

Rise of ebooks – In 2011, Amazon stated that its sales of ebooks had overtaken those of paperback books.  2011 has also been a solid year for Amazon’s Kindle and many analyst believe to be contributing factor in the recent drop of ipad’s market share.

Launch of Google + – 2011 saw the launch of Google +, Google’s attempt to rival the Social Media giant Facebook and to a lesser extent, twitter. Whilst the overall growth hasn’t lived up to the hype, 2011 saw registrations count to Google + reach almost 40 million. In recent months, this growth has been accelerated ever since Google announced that Google + can help improve search rankings.

Sale of Lovefilm – Amazon has had a stake in Lovefilm for quite some time. However,  in January 2011, Amazon purchased the remaining stakes est. £200m to completely acquire Lovefilm. The reason behind this is widely believed to have a strong foothold in the growing online movie rental business and to rival Netflix’s worldwide expansion plans.

Growing older twitter – 2011 marked the 5th birthday of the micro-blogging site.  The last 3 years has seen twitters popularity increase exponentially and it currently has 140 million active users.  Here’s an interesting article on how the twitter website looked like when it was launched along with some others that are hugely popular today.

Birth of iCloud – The cloud computing phenomenon continues to grow and 2011 saw the launch of iCloud by Apple.  The iCloud is a set of cloud computing apps which also includes iTunes on the cloud. See official press release.

50m WordPressWordPress has grown to become the leading blog and Content Management System available on the web and for good reason. Its ease of use for both, users and developers and the myriad of plugins available have no doubt helped fuel its growth. Not to mention, its free! July 2011 saw the 50 millionth WordPress blog go live.  That number now exceeds 70 million! See official stats site.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency why not give Flow20 a try? We can help you with PPC management, Facebook ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Social Media campaigns and even Google Ads training.

200% increase in registrations – SEO Case Study

Overview

Habilis is a new business providing Lifestyle Management and Virtual Assistant Services to clients across UK, US and Australia. A part of Amnet Systems Ltd (for whom we manage SEO and the website UX),  Habilis  came to us with the goal of helping the company generate brand awareness and increase its revenue via our SEO and Website Copywriting Services.

The brief

Effectively communicate the company’s value proposition to its online users and increase the websites impact and therefore, conversions by effective website text content.
Increase new member registrations online and the level of targeted traffic to website.

Analysis & Action

In order to ensure maximum conversions, it is important for the text content of the website to clearly explain the benefit of the company’s services and how it can add value to the user. As important is to ensure that the message flows seamlessly from one page to the next so as to enhance the user navigation resulting in a positive user experience.
On the SEO side, we helped devise a complete SEO strategy alongwith identification of the important keywords and optimization within Google.
Finally, we helped install processes to generate user feedback which can often give invaluable insights, especially for new websites.

Results

The campaign results have been overwhelmingly positive and within 6 weeks of campaign start, we noticed the following findings:

  • New member registrations increase of over 200% in month 3 of campaign
  • Inbound traffic increase of 70% in month 3
  • Average monthly traffic increase of 45% from month 4 onwards
  • Over 80% positive feedback received from users.

flow20.com provides Search Engine Optimization Services to help business grow. For more information and to find out how we can help your business grow and reach you goals , give us a call on 0208 1500 294 or email create@flow20.com.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency why not give Flow20 a try? We can help you with PPC management, Facebook ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Social Media campaigns and even Google Ads training.

 

 

Website Redesign Case Study – PC Repair Lab

Website Redesign Case Study – PC Repair Lab (http://www.pcrepairlab.co.uk)

Introduction

Based in Leicester, PC Repair Lab provides mobile computer repair services to consumers across the UK.
They came to us in enquiring about how our website re-design service can help their business grow and what flow20.com can do to help.
They knew their site was getting traffic since they were using Google AdWords but not getting the expected level of business from their efforts.
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Analysis

Upon a detailed study of their Google Analytics data we determined that the poor performance of the following metrics may be the cause for their concerns:

  • PC Repair Lab’s website was getting a reasonable no. of visitors compared to other business of similar size and industry but the website-to-enquiry conversion rates were less than 0.5%
  • The website-to-booking conversion rates were around the same mark
  • The website had a Bounce Rate (no. of people who left the website from the landing page, without clicking further on any pages) was high, close to 60%.
  • Our initial study was useful and helped us understand that it wasn’t lack of visitors that contributed to the low ROI but rather the design and the user-experience of their website which was limiting the ease of use by which website visitors should be able to perform their Critical Actions on their website such as request a quote, make a booking and make an enquiry.

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Action  

By analysing the data before we started the work, we were able effectively strategize the
design goals and the end-results the new website should deliver. We set out to create a
new website design for them with the following goals in mind 

  • Strategic and consistent placement of the important Call-to-action’s for the website to improve conversions 
  • Use relevant graphics and text for the new website visitors to help them instantly identify the website’s value proposition,
  • thereby decreasing Bounce Rates  
  • Relevant enquiry forms to encourage those visitors who weren’t ready to buy to increase lead-generation
  • Placement of customer testimonials on homepage to inspire new-visitor trust and confidence 

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Results

Bounce Rate and Average time spent on site

The following graphs taken from PC Repair Lab’s Google Analytics account demonstrates the positive impact that the
website redesign immediately had, upon launch:Bounce rate and time on site

As you can see from the above graph, Bounce Rates (orange) reduced by approx. 35% and
Average time on site (blue) increased by almost 80%.

Pages per visit and Pageviews

As you can see from the above graph, Pages per visit (orange) increased by almost  45% and Pageviews (blue) increased by a whopping 80%!

Bounce Rate and Average time spent on site

The following graphs taken from PC Repair Lab’s Google Analytics account demonstrates the positive impact that the website redesign immediately had, upon launch:

As you can see from the above graph, Bounce Rates (orange) reduced by approx. 35% and Average time on site (blue) increased by almost 80%.

Can a website redesign help increase your sales? Why not get in touch by calling 0208 1500 294 or Request a Webdesign Quote.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency why not give Flow20 a try? We can help you with PPC management, Facebook ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Social Media campaigns and even Google Ads training.

Whats going on with Google Maps??

Here’s something interesting:

Whilst trying to check out a location in New York using Google Maps I found two streets, parallel to each other, yet, the time each of the streets were last mapped by Google’s street view car is almost 2 years apart! Doesn’t that seem a little odd to you?

One of the streets has been updated as recently as June 2011 whilst the other was last mapped in April 2009.

I know that certain cities, especially in the US and New York is more often updated than other cities and countries but can’t quite figure out the huge discrepancy in updates for 2 streets next to each other.

Google Street View mystery Location 1

2 parallel New York streets mapped 2 years apart!

Any thoughts?

PS. You can check out which cities and countries are currently being mapped by the Street View car at http://maps.google.com/intl/en/help/maps/streetview/learn/where-is-street-view.html.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency why not give Flow20 a try? We can help you with PPC management, Facebook ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Social Media campaigns and even Google Ads training.

Innovation now lies in the format

Innovation within cinmea is something that has facinated audiences since the development of the first film itself by The Lumiere Brothers. Entitled ‘The arrival of the train at La Ciotat’ this film was simply a train pulling into a station but famously made the audience jump out if their seats in fear of the train would be erupting through the screen . Since then there has been countless amouts of innovation within different aspects in the history of film. Within genres ranging from documentary to animation within not only mainstream cinema but within the advertising world also.

Innovation can take many forms within film, from film technology to filmic techniques within editing and cinematography, to the story or to the extent of how the story is told. A good example of innovation in narrative is Quinton Tarrentino’s 1994 film ‘Pulp Fiction’ that broke traditional cinema narrative conventions by choosing to tell a story in non linear format ( radical at the time as cinema narrative had always been told in chronological order). Over the last century the huge quantaty of films produced has seen nearly every story that could exist being shown to audiences. Fresh ideas now lie in how a story is told as opposed to the story itself. This applies to advertising also  as audiences are now more interested in how it is presented and using what techniques as opposed to the concept itself. The use of computer generated images (CGI) have become increasingly popular with advertising audiences over the last few years due to the rapid increase in capabilities within CGI technologies.

Fusing humour with special effects technologies is also something the advertising world has seen a lot of in the past five years. Toyota in particular made a splash with their advert last year for the Yaris which saw a mix of contemporary music and style of filmmaking (rap video format). With use of a CGI technology by the name of ‘stop motion’ with an additional application of the use of old fashioned  1980’s styled puppets. This combines in the same frame the origin of a technology and its vast progression to its state in present day…commenting on the brand of the Yaris all with a humorous undertone and an edgy format. With online videos being such a new format I wonder if they will reference their beginning stages in several years similar to how the Toyota Yaris advert has done this with the use of stop motion animation and puppetry.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency why not give Flow20 a try? We can help you with PPC management, Facebook ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Social Media campaigns and even Google Ads training.

 

Wikipedia website – What makes it so easy to use?

I use Wikipedia on a daily basis. Often, several times a day and continue to find it as one of the most complete and up to date sources of information. I also find the site extremely easy to use and have been analysing it to figure out just what it is that makes it so user friendly.

So, I thought I would share with you, some of the unique features of Wikipedia and just what it is that makes the website so easy to use.

Jump – to / Quick navigation menu

Each Wikipedia  entry page has a vertical sub-menu towards the left of the page, immediately after the introductory paragraphs. The great feature about this is that it not only gives you an instant overview of all the types of information available on that page about the subject but clicking on any item within the sub-menu also makes the page scroll down to that part of the information within the page.  For subjects for which Wikipedia has quite a lot of information, this is especially useful and a great way to save time and quickly find the information you are looking for.

The location of this sub-menu is also quite logical – positioned after the opening paragraphs. I imagine that most users find the information they are looking for within the opening paragraphs and for those who want to delve deeper within the subject, they can use the sub menu to find their way through.

Annotations

Approx. 96% of information within Wikipedia pages is cited with the relevant source of reference via a superscript number in straight brackets which isn’t uncommon. However, clicking on a numbered reference immidiately scrolls the page towards the bottom to that source citation. What’s especially useful is that the source highlights in blue making it immediately clear  which source of reference you clicked on. This is very useful and almost essential in a site like Wikipedia which in many cases cites hundreds of references in a single article.

Images

Finally, every image listed is marked with a little “window in window” sign to indicate that clicking on an image opens it in a new page, within the same browser window. Strictly speaking, I think this signs actually indicates that clicking on the image will open a new page in a new browser window, I suppose this icon is still useful to the group of beginners and intermediate Internet users.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency why not give Flow20 a try? We can help you with PPC management, Facebook ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Social Media campaigns and even Google Ads training.

Checkout Checklist – If your checkout process doesn’t have this, you’re loosing customers

Checkout abandonment is a challenge for most ecommerce websites. According to a recent study by SeeWhy, an average of 71% of potential customers abandon the checkout process thereby never making the purchase they initially set out to do.  This can be for a number of reasons – finding the checkout process difficult to use/understand,  changing their mind during the transaction and some never really planned to make the purchase in the first place, to name a few.  Whilst there’s not a lot you can do to reduce the instances for the second and third type of abandonment, there’s a lot you can do to reduce shopping car casualties resulting in serious buyers giving up on completing the transaction because they found your website’s checkout process difficult to use.

Progress indicator –  Let the users know where in the checkout process they are, what’s required of them and what is remaining to be done. By having a clearly marked and descriptive progress bar (ideally, somewhere at the top, placed horizontally), users will be more prepared to do what your website needs them to.

Make making changes easy – the shopping cart should display every single item clearly (think product name, any attributes, quantity, size, colour, as applicable) and as importantly, should allow them to change any aspect of it easily.  Simplest thing to do here would be to make the product name a hyperlink apart from the quantity which should be changeable within the cart itself. Having a simple ‘Change’ text and function can also give additional assurance to users that they are making an informed purchase and at will

Peace of mind – if the product comes with any sort of warranty, can be exchanged or returned for a refund, emphasise this during the checkout pages to give users an additional sense of security.

Third party accreditation – If your e-commerce site has third party SSL , then make this prominent during checkout. This will give users the confidence that their personal and financial details will be kept safe and can significantly decrease your website’s checkout abandonment rates.

Save for later – Allow users to save their cart contents and return to your website at a later time to complete the purchase.  We live in a world of distractions where we’re constantly bombarded with various things that require our “immediate” attention. Allowing users to save their cart means they’ll be more inclined to return after having made the initial commitment of having spent the time to browse your site and add items to cart. Yes, there’s a chance that some may never return, however, based on our experience of having built 00’s of online shops, I can tell you that over a 30 day period, this feature can in fact increase overall conversion rates.  You can also have a simple auto responder email set up where the user is automatically emailed within x days if they haven’t returned to checkout.

Require minimum commitment – Allow your users to checkout without having to register.  Jared Spool’s “The $300 million button” article demonstrates how one company increased sales by 45% resulting in $300 million of additional sales generated.

After sales service – If your product comes with after sales service or support, make this clear.  There may be instances depending on the product you are selling that this may not apply to you.  However, you can still show to your users that you are here to help even after the sale is made. For example, a fashion retailer may offer free advice or styling tips to use the product just purchased.   Online shoppers are much more sophisticated now and there’s a good chance that they’re making an informed buying decision in which case they may not need the support anyway. However, knowing you’re there helps give them an additional sense of security and satisfaction with their purchase.

I hope you find this useful. If you’ve got a tip of your own that has helped make a tangible difference to your bottom line, I would love to hear about it.

Need a high ROI digital marketing agency? We’re not only a PPC management company but we also do Facebook ads, LinkedIn, SEO, Google Ads training and all of Social Media.

SEO Tips for optimizing your Ecommerce website content

A while ago, I had written about how you don’t want to copy/paste manufacturer’s description on products on your online shop.

I have compiled a list of some more things that you can easily do towards your Ecommerce site which will not only help it differentiate itself from the competition but also improve its rankings within the Search Engines.

Create killer product descriptions – If you’re selling mass-produced  it can be difficult to stand out. One way you can do this is by supplementing your products with ultra useful product descriptions that will tip the conversion scales in your favour. Thinking about questions that customers frequently ask about the product and including this can help more shoppers make an informed decision. You can also consider adding a ‘Ask a question’ feature similar to eBay where the answers can be made visible for everyone’s benefit.  You could also add a Reviews section for the product. The main advantage of the last 2 features is that once they are setup, its a relatively easy way to be generating content on an ongoing basis.

Simply put, the more original and useful content each of your product pages have, the better it is not just for a prospect but for search engines.

Update  your site often – If you want your website to fare better in search rankings, getting Search Engines to index your site frequently is a start. One way to do this is by publishing and updating content often. Unfortunately, doing this is a challenge for many online retailers since product pages don’t evolve much once they go online. One way to overcome this by using automated tools such as Reviews or Ask a question suggested above.  Once a feature like this has been built into the site, it requires little maintenance and allows for product pages to be populated with information constantly.

Forget Keyword Density (KD) – Until some time ago, the ratio of the keyword you are targeting to the overall keyword count mattered. Now, not only is this less important but Google recommends using synonyms to keep the language style natural.  When crafting product descriptions, think of all the possible terms a user may use to search for the product instead of focusing on just the one or two. For lower competition and niche products, this has the additional benefit of increasing your chances of getting better rankings for a wider range of search queries.

Cite external references – If there’s independent research available out there that supports certain product claims made by you or the manufacturer, cite these as references. This will inspire user confidence and increase the “depth” of your product pages which Google loves to see.

Use meta descriptions – Last but not least, don’t forget to update the meta description for each product. Since this doesn’t have much of an effect on SEO, you have the room to be creative. A well written or eye-catching meta description can increase the Click-through rates within the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Need a high ROI digital marketing agency? We’re not only a PPC management company but we also do Facebook ads, LinkedIn, SEO, Google Ads training and all of Social Media.

So many choices…which one suits my company..

So you have decided to create a video to represent your company in order to hold the attention of visitors to your website. Now it is time to choose the right video for you …but where to begin. There are various choices of what online video format you can choose and each one has many benefits over the others.

A company showreel will display your companies identity, professionalism and past work but then again a welcome video will make your website more direct and personable. Video testimonials from past clients will make your brand more appealing for new clients but an advert will give detailed information on what you offer in a very viewer friendly format… so how to make this decision? …well firstly,  If your budget will only allow you to make one marketing video it is important to look at the main goals you would like to achieve from this video. In order to do this it is important to look over your companies identity and past marketing stratergies to find the best suited type of corporate video for your company. If your website is lacking a personable quality you may want to go down the corporate showreel or welcome video route. If you have a product or service that needs more exposure this may require an advert, informercial or webvert. If you would like to build brand presence in your specific area possibly an innovative viral video is in order. Success of your video will greatly depend on choosing the right type of video for your brand so it is important to look into these videos when making your choice.

Need a high ROI digital marketing agency? We’re not only a PPC management company but we also do Facebook ads, LinkedIn, SEO, Google Ads training and all of Social Media.

5 metrics every online retailer should monitor

If you sell online, understanding your website analytics data and knowing what to do with it can help in increasing your online sales.

I speak to to online retailers often and it seems that the majority of them login to their Website Analytics program to check only the most popular metrics such as No. of visits,  search terms or URLs that generated the visits and perhaps,  which other websites are linking to them.  This is all good, however, this data set won’t tell you anything about a potential shopper’s behaviour – what they did once they arrived at your website, which is much more important to the bottom line.

Here are 5 other metrics that can will give you a more accurate measure of your ecommerce website’s performance and what you can do to improve each. Your other marketing efforts, online or offline, will also have a bearing on these which can help you understand what works for your customers and what doesnt.

Note: The availability of these metrics will depend on your website analytics program (Google Analytics provides most of them listed below). Also, you must have ecommerce goals set within your analytics.

  1. Average order value – You may already know this but using your analytics program to monitor this can give you insights into the average order value trend of your product over a period of time. You can also uncover the effect of any other changes you may have made to your website which has a direct impact to the average order value. For example, last year we ran a few tests for an online retailer where we found that the average order value had gone up by 6% after the introduction of a VeriSign SSL Security seal on their website.  Another example is for an online fashion store which experienced increase in the average order value after their clothes were featured in some fashion magazines. By comparing your average order value against any website changes, you can uncover what works and what doesnt.
  2. Conversion rate of new visitors -Most visitors don’t buy on the first visit.  However, this will vary from one site to another depending on other factors such as user friendliness of your site, availability of alternatives, how long visitors usually spend on research before they buy the product you sell and so on.  Your goal should be to do everything you can to encourage visitors to buy on the first visit because not every visitor will return to your site. Time bound offers work well to increase first time visitor conversions. Another strategy you could try is introducing a “impulse purchase” version of your product (a toned-down, less expensive version) – this may not always be possible and yes, that does potentially mean less revenue. However, once you have converted a visitor into a customer, there’s a better chance of selling to them again in the future.
  3. Conversion rate of returning visitors – This is the group most likely to buy from you. Once you know what your average number for this group is, you should monitor it each month to make sure that any of your other marketing efforts does not have a negative impact on this. A certain percentage of your returning visitors will also be previous customers. Unfortunately, differentiaging between the two is possible in only the most advanced analytics programs. However, you can get hold of this data by doing a little bit of research (manually determining whether an order is from an old or new customer) and using this info to try out new offers. For example, if you find that a high percentage of customers visit your site often and buy from you again, you could have a Special Offer for previous customers only. Not only is this uncommon (most businesses advertise offers for new customers only) but it can encourage new visitors to buy from you as you clearly seem to be unlike other retailers hunting high and low for new customers.
  4. Items per order – Similar to the average order value, you should know the average number of items per order. In some ways, this can give you indications into the quality and price competitivness of your product.  For example, if you find that the average no. of items per order has gone up without any changes to the price,  then over a period of time, this can mean that customers find your proudct priced competitively and of good quality. Ofcourse, you should validate this data by surveys or personal contact. You can also use cross selling tools to increase the average no. of items per order (For more on cross selling, see related post – What most online retailers can learn from Amazon.co.uk)
  5. Abandonment rates – This is one of the biggest challenges for any online retailer – reducing the rate of visitors who add an item to cart but never complete the order (by making the payment).  This is an extremely key metric to monitor because you may be doing everything right elsewhere on your website but if the checkout process is cumbersome, a majority of your marketing efforts may be going to waste. Abaondment during checkout can happen at various stages – after adding an item to cart,  after entering the shipping info, before making payment and so on. First step is knowing the abandonment rates for the various steps during checkout.  Next, you should consider making changes or improvements to one step at a time and monitor its effect. This can help you perfect your checkout process via a series of trial and error.

For more related posts on improving the performance of your ecommerce website, see https://www.flow20.com/category/ecommerce.

Need a high ROI digital marketing agency? We’re not only a PPC management company but we also do Facebook ads, LinkedIn, SEO, Google Ads training and all of Social Media.