Author Archives: Charles Mburugu

About Charles Mburugu

Charles Mburugu is a professional content developer and an entrepreneur. He is passionate about subjects such as technology, social media, internet marketing, blogging and SEO.

7 Must-Have Conversion Optimization Tools

ConversionWhen it comes to online marketing, getting many people to visit your site is not enough. You need to find a way of converting them to buyers. If you don’t drive up your conversion rates, then your business will not make a profit. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is basically about enhancing the performance of your site based on results from real user feedback and analytics. CRO tools will allow you to monitor important insights such as average page views, call-to-action effectiveness, bounce rate, landing page design features, average time on site, usability and headline effectiveness.

Here are some great tools which can help measure the conversion rate of your ecommerce site.

1. Usability hub

The great thing about this tool is that it allows real people to give feedback on different design options. You can carry out a preference test where people state the design option appeals to them. Alternatively, you can administer a navigation test to see how people navigate around your site.  Other tests you can carry out with this tool are click tests and five-second tests. The paid version of Usability hub comes with chained test sets, demographic targeting, test customization, team accounts and variation testing.

2. Button optimizer

Your call-to-action (CTA) buttons are very important for the success of your landing page. Button optimizer comes with ready-made code and design ideas that can help you improve your CTA buttons. You can use the free button generator to generate a button in PNG or CSS format within minutes. The easy to use interface allows you to add border details, size, button text, color and other design elements. If you want to split test, you can create as many buttons as you wish.

3. Visual website optimizer

Visual website optimizer is an easy to use application that combines insights into web variations with detailed analytics. It comes with behavioral targeting tools, heat maps, usability testing tools, A/B testing and multivariate testing tools. The great thing about this application is that it allows you to create pages without coding. Visual website optimizer has paid plans which vary depending on the number of monthly website visitors.

4. Content idea generator

Your headlines can either make or break your landing pages. If they are not captivating enough, visitors might not be interested in reading the rest of the content. Content idea generator is a nifty application that offers headline suggestions based on your subject. All you need to do is enter the topic and the tool will generate title ideas. In addition, this free tool provides numerous tips on content strategy.    

5. Google analytics

Used by small businesses all over the world, Google analytics is a free, easy to use conversion optimization tool. It is very valuable for learning about how people find and use websites. For example, you can examine how visitors engage with social media, videos and images. If you want to test different variations of your landing page, the content experiments feature will come in handy. The best thing about Google analytics is that it works with different devices and different platforms. The premium version http://www.google.com/analytics/has faster data processing and no data limitations.

6. Five second test

This tool gives users five seconds only to look at your landing page, after which they are asked several questions. Besides landing pages, you can also upload and test marketing materials, logos and home page designs. The responses from your visitors will give you an idea of what first impression your pages create. The five second test comes with a credit-based pricing scheme. The price per credit will be determined by the number of credits you order.

7. Conversion Voodoo

Conversion Voodoo allows you to analyze the performance of your site at no cost. You can use the tool to carry out visitors’ first impressions evaluation, readability analysis and horizontal layout testing. The results generated can then be used to improve your calls to action and optimize your landing pages. The great thing about Conversion Voodoo is it doesn’t have any monthly or upfront costs. Payment is based on the amount of revenue your website generates.

Conclusion

If your business is just starting out, it would be advisable to use the free conversion rate optimization tools available. However, as your business grows, you need to consider investing in premium tools which will help increase your conversion rates even further. Some of the other CRO tools available in the market include UserTesting, Naview, PollDaddy and TryMyUI.

How to Stand Out Among the Sea of Bloggers with Your Writing

bloggingBlogging has become so competitive; whether it is for business or fun, every blogger wants to attract attention.

There are leads to capture, there are friends/following to be acquired and of course, there are bills to be paid.

When an internet marketer realizes that the competition is tough and at the same time he/she needs to feed and survive, it all gets a lot worse. He/She is literally forced into a situation where they need to put in lots of effort to stay afloat and compete with the giants.

And when success gets delayed only frustration remains.

However, it is really surprising that all the impatient internet marketers who start and quit at a fast pace forget one crucial aspect to succeed in today’s online world among the tough competition.

It is no secret. In fact it is just common sense and needs no extra practice!

Curious? OK, let me put forth a question: Can you find another person in the whole of universe just like you? I mean, just like you – appearance, characteristics, genes etc. – everything just like you?

Here’s the answer.

You can NEVER ever find another person just like you. And that’s key to your survival online.

Just be you and you can stand out from the crowd.

You still need tips to implement this key idea, don’t you? Here are some tips.

1. Identify your blogging voice

You’ve probably heard it many times before. But how can you identify your blogging voice? You can do it by just blogging casually (don’t mistake it for not being careful, though).

Well what I mean here is, blog just like you. If you are unable to find your blogging voice clearly, start writing some private blog posts. Do not publish them but review those posts on a weekend (have about 5 posts).

Find out a common pattern in these posts. For sure there will be something in common because all those posts were written by you and you only.

2. Identify that secret sauce

However, it is not necessary that you should follow the same style or pattern. In fact, for many bloggers, writing at varying styles and patterns are their trademark!

3. Be everywhere

This one is a cool advice from Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. When you manage to be present everywhere people can’t miss you. They’d be left with no choice but to notice you.

By being everywhere, I don’t mean just showing up. That won’t make you different from the other bloggers in the blogosphere who strive to get attention but put forth no value.

The point is to put your valuable meaty stuff out there, everywhere. You can do this by various means.

  1. Standing out with your meaty stuff at your own blog. I’m sure you promote your blog posts and this means your meaty blog posts are at various places to be seen by your hungry readers.
  1. Providing value in social media. Instead of posting links to your own blog posts all the time, you need to be willing to share meaty posts of other bloggers which you found useful. If a particular blog post was useful to you, chances are that they will be useful to your readers/followers as well. So make sure you share awesome stuff. And, not just links to blog posts but you can also consider sharing useful tips, or blurbs of content as appropriate.
  1. Guest posting, by far, is one of the best ways to be everywhere. It helps to gain attention in a very effective way! Not to mention the additional SEO benefits you can reap out of guest posting.

4. Stand out using guest blogging

In my opinion and from my personal experience (in writing 240+ guest posts) I find that guest blogging is one of the easiest (don’t get me wrong here) ways to stand out.

When I said guest blogging is one of the easiest ways, I meant the benefits, not how it is done. The benefits in terms of standing out, gaining traffic, becoming an expert and gaining SEO benefits – guest blogging is one of the easiest ways to get all these in a quicker manner.

But it is not a very easy task to do, mind you. Although I don’t intend to scare you here, I want you to be realistic. You cannot simply attract attention by guest posting everywhere.

You need a strategy; you need a plan; you need to pick up the right blogs and you need to be writing the right stuff (that people want).

Takeaway

Blogging used to be all about creating useful content. But it is not just that anymore. Since the blogosphere is overcrowded, successful blogging is also (more) about standing out from the crowd.

 

Jane blogs at Savvy Blogging Tips where she shares brutally honest blogging tips. Grab her free blueprint to make money online if you are wondering how you can do it!

Non-Disclosure Agreements for Small Businesses

contract

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement, is basically a legal contract that is meant to protect a company’s proprietary information. It is usually signed when two individuals or companies are getting into a business deal that involves disclosure of such information. You can hire a lawyer to draft your NDA or simply use of one of the non-disclosure agreement templates available online.

When is a confidentiality agreement required?

  • When seeking funding – When approaching lenders or investors for funding, you need to think about the kind of information that will be shared during negotiations. If you have to disclose sensitive business information such as your intellectual property portfolio, marketing strategies, manufacturing secrets or accounting books, then a confidentiality agreement should be signed by both parties.
  • When sealing a deal with a new client – During the initial discussions, it might not be necessary to have any kind of agreement. However, when deal is being formalized, it is a confidentiality agreement will be necessary since information such as fees, parties involved and scope of the project will be shared
  • When hiring independent contractors or new employees – Since employees and contractors are likely to be privy to confidential information, signing an NDA is very important. This should be done at the onset of the contract or employment

Sections of a non-disclosure agreement

Contrary to popular belief, confidentiality agreements don’t have to be complex and lengthy. Usually, a good contract should only be a few pages long. Here are the main sections of a confidentiality agreement:

  • Mention of parties – The NDA should clearly identify the parties involved. In most cases, it is between the party receiving the information (recipient) and the party revealing confidential information (disclosing party).
  • The definition of confidential information – The disclosing party should make it very clear the kind of information that is deemed confidential. At times, even oral information is included in this category
  • Exclusions from the agreement – Every NDA should have exclusions such as information already known in public or that already known to the recipient prior to the agreement. Exclusion should also include situations where the recipient is required to disclose information in a court of law
  • Duration of the agreement – The duration of the NDA will depend on the kind of information involved and the nature of your industry. In most cases, confidentiality agreements are valid for a duration of two to five years

How to handle breaches

If someone breaches the NDA and discloses your proprietary information, it could have disastrous consequences for your business. If you realize such a breach has occurred, you should immediately get a temporary restraining order to stop further sharing of the information. Afterwards, you could consider seeking damages for patent or copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, trespass or misappropriation of trade secrets.

A Simple Way of Split Testing Your Email Campaigns

Running email campaigns is one of the most effective ways of getting new customers, as well as repeat business. However, a successful email campaign requires understanding of the variables that drive conversions. What will make a recipient open an email, click to your landing page and eventually make a purchase? Split or A/B testing takes the guesswork out of email marketing and allows businesses to figure out exactly what will result in more conversions.

Split testing basically involves sending out two different versions of a campaign to a sample of your mailing list. You can test a wide range of variables including your subject lines, calls to action, the email copy, graphics used and even the time of sending. The result of your test will show which version of your email is most effective with your target audience.

When done consistently, split testing can enhance your sales significantly. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will enable you to make better marketing decisions on a regular basis, thus giving you an edge over the competition.

Lead machine is a CRM system that comes with great tools for split testing your email campaigns. You can choose from a wide range of ready-made templates that vary in terms of layout and design.

lead machineSo how does it work?

If you have a mailing list of 2000 contacts, you could split test 1000 (50%). Out of these randomly selected contacts, 500 will receive the ‘Split A’ version, while the rest will receive the ‘Split B’ version of your email. Besides using different templates, you can also customize the email content for each recipient. For instance, you can use varying calls to action and different lengths of subject lines.

Lead Machine allows you to send emails to random people in your contact list or create specifically targeted search groups. For example, you can create groups based on where people are in the buying cycle. This way, you can write messages which are likely to elicit a higher response from your audience.

Before sending out your test emails, click on ‘send preview message’ to see how your messages look like. This will give you a chance to identify and correct any mistakes. When you are satisfied that everything is in order, click ‘Send Email Now’

Once you have sent out your test emails, the automated email system will choose a winner after 24 hours. However, you have the option of picking the winner manually. The winner can be selected using one of the following criteria:

  • Opens – The number of recipients who open your email
  • Clicks – The number of recipients who click on the URLs in your email
  • Clicks per open ratio – The ratio of recipients who click on your URLs to those that simply open your emails

Once the winner has been selected, Lead Machine will then automatically send all the remaining emails using the successful template.

The Lead Machine CRM system is mobile-friendly and works with all kinds of smartphones and tablets. This allows you to easily create and monitor your marketing campaigns while on the move.

Are You Making These 5 SEO Mistakes?

Ecommerce marketingWith the influx of websites on the internet, organic visibility has become a major challenge for many site owners. If people cannot find you on search engines, you will miss out on valuable visitors or customers. To enhance your visibility, you need to ensure that your site is optimized properly on a regular basis. In addition, you need to avoid the following common SEO blunders:

  1. Failing to Submit URL to Search Engines

Having your URL listed in search engines is the most effective ways of getting your site indexed. The faster your site is indexed, the easier it is for people to find you online. You can easily submit your URL to major search engines.

  1. Using irrelevant anchor text

What is anchor text? It is simply the text which is found within a link. The anchor text is one of the main factors Google considers when ranking your pages. Make sure the anchor text used is relevant to the page being linked to. For example, if your anchor text is ‘water coolers’, the page linked to should be about the same topic. Using irrelevant anchor texts will only get you penalized.

  1. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing refers to the exercise of adding excess keywords to your content in an attempt to boost the ranking of your site. For instance, if your keyword is ‘cheese burger’, your content would look something like this: ‘Cheese burgers are amazing. If I had to vote between cheese burgers and any other burger, cheese burgers would win hands down. Want a tasty cheese burger? Visit Donahue Bites for the best cheese burgers in town’. This content looks unnatural and would put off readers instantly. In addition, Google will penalize your site when they identify keyword stuffing in your content. Therefore, be sure to use keywords in a moderate and sensible way.

  1. Submitting URL to the Wrong Directories

Submitting your URL to directories such as DMOZ can significantly boost the ranking of your site. However, you need to be wary about getting listed on sites which are not credible. Associating yourself with junk directories could have a negative effect on your site’s ranking, even if your site is legitimate. Therefore, before submitting your URL, check the quality of the URLs already listed. If some of them are spammy or low quality, it would be advisable to look elsewhere. You also need to find out if a fee is required before getting listed. Many trusted sites charge a small fee to cover URL evaluation costs.

  1. Broken Links

With time, you might find some links in your website content no longer work. This could be due to sites that have been moved to different URLs, or pulled down for redesign. According to Google, sites which have too many broken links offer a poor user experience, and are therefore likely to receive a lower ranking. To be safe, it would be advisable to check your website regularly for broken links using tools such as broken link checker and dead link checker.