Nov 12

Do-it-Yourself: Premium Mobile Website

It is of no need to convince you that mobile devices in 2013 have conquered over computers and laptops. Statistics show that our browsing habits today look like this: every other person uses mobile to search the web for information (55%), more than half of the children aged 2-5 have access to a mobile device in a certain way – the majority of them uses it for playing games, retail business is swamped by mobile devices in its ¾ . In other words – to reach the 125 million U.S. consumers with a Smartphone and the other 50 million who own a tablet, you need to go mobile.
Caring about your online presence, we sincerely advice you not to leave this matter for later, because while you are reading this blog post, the percentage of people buying and using Smartphones are rising steadily. You may now think that “Oh, please, it’s not so urgent to get a mobile website setup!”, but you may also read how launching a good mobile site impacts different businesses.

Having understood the demand to be as mobile and flexible as your site visitors are, TMDHosting had established a successful partnership with the leader mobile website platform goMobi, because let’s admit it – the site on the right looks better and is more responsive:

(image courtesy of iffelinternational)

The responsive design and the better usability of a mobile site have proven to lead to better Click-through rate and result in rising revenues. Here are few ways in which goMobi can help your business thrive by the end of the year.

1. We bet you find yourself in this situation at least once a month – you are downtown, sipping from your coffee and preparing for a long downtown walk for a gift for your friend’s bday.
Didn’t you wish that you could simply type in your Search tab ‘gift shop downtown’ and then get all the relevant contacts on Google maps? Soon, this will be an outdated wish; unfortunately a lot of retail businesses have not yet embraced the idea of setting up a mobile site.
+ Multiple locations are also supported on goMobi platform

2. What could be better than finding the address of a gift shop? Certainly it will be better if you could have a look at their products, before you head towards the shop. Besides a gallery, you can add a short video, which provides more information than 20 photos of the same object, taken from a different perspective.

+ goMobi automatically converts and optimizes videos from Youtube or Vimeo for you

3. This is a good one – imagine you can see running promotions at the moment using your mobile. No, we don’t implement you should be scrooge about your friend’s present, but since you are going to go to that shop anyway, why not have a look at their hot offers?

+ highlights on certain products increases their convertibility

4. You are almost persuaded that you are buying the present, but you wish you could ask someone about an honest opinion before you head towards the shop. This is why you start reading a review section.

+ Reviews play important role in the last phase of the purchase. Nothing converts better than real people’s feedback.

5. This is the last step – you know what a present you will give to your friend. You should now just go and get it. But what if you could easily purchase it online and be done with the shopping right away?

+ integrating an easy-to-check-out shopping cart is a must if you want to provide a thorough customer experience

Of course, there are many more features your business may benefit from – Booking requests, Social media add-ons, Contact form, Site translations, QR codes are only a few to mention.

The best of all is that it is so easy to set up a mobile site! Watch this video guide and start your mobile site without further delaying it. It will start paying for itself very quickly!

TMDHosting is partnering goMobi and all our Customers benefit from a 30 days free trial, which can be activated via our Client area.

Nov 05

How to create an appealing affiliate landing page

You see the crocks, right? Having a bad landing page will literally make you feed them with your prospective leads. In order to avoid this we have compiled a good read about practices in creating landing pages and placing banners which hopefully you will like and enforce in the future. Avoid losing your leads to crocks thanks to the tips below.

What is a landing page? Let’s get a quick definition out of the way – in online marketing a landing page is the page, which you own and create for the purpose of promoting offers and campaigns to your visitors. This is the page, where you can prepare your visitors for what they will find on the offer page (the actual page, that the customer would complete the sale or lead on).

How do you prepare your landing page then? It all depends on your and your visitors’ personal choice and web design taste, yet there are certain simple things you should and shouldn’t do to improve the CTR (click-through rate) and to generate more traffic to the site, which you are affiliated with. You have one first chance to impress your motivated visitor to pursue the purchase process.

First, don’t copy  - if a product detail landing page works for your competitors, this doesn’t mean it will necessary work for your visitors, who may be more willing to get to the offer only after they have read your thorough and honest opinion and in that case a personal review would work better than a whole comparative page, filled with characteristic features of the product or service. In this regards, a great compliment towards a review may be a banner with a discount code on it. Surely your affiliate manager will be willing to collaborate with you even more actively, had you requested such a dedicated promo.

Then, it is important to test whether the current content and banner ads placement of your landing page is the optimal one. Maybe you don’t need a big 728px x 90px .gif banner to distract the visitors from the review you wrote,

but a small 88px  x 31px static banner would do better.

However, in that case you should be a TMDHosting customer, too, and the function of the small banner would be simply to confirm that you are rather happy with your hosting provider and you believe in the excellence of the service so much, that you can even recommend it to the public.

Next sincere tip is – don’t overload. Sometimes in an attempt to present a product or a service in full, we give too much information and the important message is lost in between banners, colors, bullets and text. Keeping your offer message clear is more important for the conversion ratio, than being detailed.

(Source: http://www.nomensa.com/blog/assets/uploads/2011/02/grouped-content.jpg)

Another more very important aspect of the landing page design is the the colors you use in it. Here is an infographic from Webpage fix, which you can take a look into. Image is very lengthy to include, so please follow this link to it.

Did we also mention that in order to become an affiliate, you don’t actually need to have a website of your own? What it simply takes is to copy and paste your affiliate link anywhere on the web. You can take this link from your affiliate panel by going to the Promotions -> Banners & Links direction. There under the Banner type: Link, you will find your text link:

Regardless of the fact that you don’t have a website, you can insert your affiliate link (and not the one in the example above because each affiliate ID is unique and generated when you join the program) in a forum signature or even post it as a comment under a relevant topic. You can also consider exchanging it with friends or family, either via social networks, instant messengers or email. As soon as someone decides to click on this link, you can see this tracked in your click’s report within the affiliate panel:

Once this visitor makes a purchase, you will see this purchase in the same place. That is all.

At the end – it is essential that you choose carefully the partners you would like to promote. You should know that a great landing page is only 50% of the success you can have. The other 50% depends on the quality of the promoted product and the way that the offer page looks. Luckily, most of the sites, who offer affiliate programs, have affiliate managers, who would gladly help you if you communicate what your affiliate wishes are.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this tips! We will continue sharing interesting facts and advices in our blog every day, so stay tuned!

Nov 01

6 Scariest Things To Happen To Your Site

Still in the Halloween mood, thinking of scary stories and movies, we thought about things, which scare us to death. Apart from fear of failure, ghost stories, sleeping in the dark, and falling off a large cliff, some of us pointed out their online fears.

So, here is a list of the scariest things, which might happen online, and what’s even worse – on our sites.

1. Your site being down:

This could be considered the worst nightmare for people who make their living from their website. Whether, it is a blog, an online shop, or even bigger – online media, we know no site is immune to a major crash. Losses might also turn out quite significant, especially for sites with higher traffic. Examples of such popular sites, which have had a similar scary experience, are the downtime of the New York Times in August this year, and Google being offline for less than 5 minutes.

Reasons: There are so many reasons for your site to be down. The Most common reasons for my site to be down might be connectivity issues, missing content in core files etc. Many times, the issue is more obvious than it seems – external issues with your hosting provider.

What-to-do-now plan: If you have a 24/7 support, try contacting your hosting company. They should be the people to turn to in such cases and the ones to identify the exact causes of the outage. Figure out a way to communicate the issue to your potential visitors – social media has proven quite useful in such instances. Make sure you pause your online ads, so that you do not throw money down the sink by sending potential customers to nowhere.

2. Incredibly slow load time:

If you have an e-commerce site, slow load time might notably affect your online orders. If your site runs 5 seconds slower than the competition, that could mean considerable financial loss, which is directly proportional to the size of your online business. For example, Amazon.com found that with every 100 Ms of load time, there was a 1% decrease in sales.

Reasons: Many reasons for your site to load more slowly are related to the content in it and the execution of the script(s) it uses. The most common reason, put mildly, is that your hosting provider isn’t the best. For a more comprehensive explanation of website slow time, you might want to check: Why my website loads slowly?

What-to-do-now plan: Talk to your hosting provider, who should best know whether the reason is internal (in them) or external (for example, one or more of their internet providers failed delivering proper service). They should be able to give you the best advice on what to do next, and whether there is any need of content optimization. If, in the end of the day, your site continues to be slow, you might try transferring your site some place faster. Some hosting companies do offer transferring your site and database completely free of charge.

3. Being spotted by hackers:

Attacks performed by hackers are random, painful, emotional and quite costly in most occasions. There might have been a security hole on the server your site resides, on the software your site is built on or any other vulnerability in the configuration that the hackers might use to get in. In 99% of the cases, the issue is caused by outdated software (WordPress, Joomla, etc), specifics of which are used by bad-minded ones to break in.

Reasons: Protecting your site from hack attacks may require considerable amount of development work. There are many causes increasing your site’s vulnerability and making it attractive to hack attacks. Some of them include, having an old version of a script (e.g. WordPress, Joomla), not having updated other components of your web site, not having updated templates.

What-to-do-now plan: The best thing to do in this case is protect yourself before you get ‘burned’. Having your site well secured is one of the main factors to consider when choosing your next web hosting provider. Choosing a good provider who knows how to secure their servers professionally is key to having a good night’s sleep for the next few years. Taking the prevention of hack attacks aside, and considering your site did get hacked after all, the best thing to do is get help from your hosting provider and your in-house developer, if you have one. Most important, in fighting random hack atacks is to keep your software always up to date. People developing software are usually one step ahead of the hackers – if they have released a new update for your software, there is no good reason for waiting – go ahead and install it. You should keep an eye regularly on that. Change all your passwords, go offline, so that your customers are not negatively affected by the attack, find a way to communicate the issue to your customers, and pray!

4. Huge bounce rate:

Your site is great, or at least you think so, but at some point of time, you notice a high percentage of your visitors leaving it, as if there is some type of plague inside.

Reasons: There are many reasons for an increase in bounce rate, and most of them have to do with the internal organization of your site –in terms of content and design. If your web design is cluttered, the site is not user-friendly, and the user at a first glance does not perceive your content valuable – they leave. Looking at it in a more abstract way, those reasons are just the same as a person leaving a shop – if the visitor does not feel comfortable skimming through it, and does not find interesting stock – they leave. There might also be some marketing and external reasons, such as irrelevant ads bringing people to your site, wrong keyword selection etc.

What-to-do-now plan: Re-think, re-design, and re-imagine your whole website concept. If the trend is ongoing, that means you should pay considerable attention to how you present yourself in the online world.

5. Software issues:

You have been playing around with the back-end of your site lately, installing plug-ins and themes, there was an update to the script that you wanted to install, and suddenly – bang! You get this internal error and your site refuses to load.

Reasons: Often, if we are not so tech savvy, but still have faith in ourselves, we try dealing with the back-end of our sites, all by ourselves. Sometimes it works, but sometimes, well – it doesn’t. There are a few occasions though, that it might really be a script issue or a combination of poor hosting and script error.

What-to-do-now plan: Communicate the issue with your host. Be as precise as possible, send screenshots of the errors you get, if necessary. Your hosting provider should be professional enough to investigate the issue and help you solve it quickly.  To go safer in the future, ask your hosting provider to create a sandbox copy of your website, so you can experiment changes there. Also – do not ever forget to take backup copies of your website. Your provider surely does, you just have to make sure they are as timely as possible. Having a backup each day is a good practice for your databases, having a backup each week is a good practice for your files. Of course, it all depends on how frequently you change them.

6. Google ban of your site:

Only the thought of Google banning their sites, makes some people recollect the back-in-school days, when the teacher punished them in front of everyone by the black board. Being banned by Google is not such a frequent event, but when it happens, it basically means that your site is out of Google’s index.

Reasons: There are many reasons why Google might decide they don’t like you. This can happen if Google decides that your site does not meet Google’s quality guidelines, or worse, that your site distracts users’ ability to locate relevant information. Speaking more technically, if you have been cloaking, or, in other words, designing your site, so that search engines see one thing and the visitors another, you are risking getting on Google’s nerves. Other reasons for being punished by Google are using keywords irrelevant to your content, duplicating content, or having a robot write your site.

What-to-do-now plan: You might want to create a Google Webmaster account, where there will usually be information about the reasons why your site got banned. Once you register a Google Webmaster account, you may request to be whitelist-ed. Resurrecting your site and bringing it back to Google’s attention is a slow and tedious process. So, good luck with it!

If you have experienced at least two of those issues, it might mean you desperately need a new hosting provider. The tech support in TMDHosting, would make sure you do not have a scary experience. You might want to give us a try and make use of our special SPOOKY code by the 6th of November for a 10% discount of your next hosting plan with TMDHosting.

Jul 22

Banner placement tips

Our previous post about TMDHosting Affiliate Program introduced you to the wonderful world of easy money. And, although the whole idea of this program- to receive money as you sleep- is really as simple as that, there are some factors you might consider, in order to boost and increase this income.

When it comes to affiliate banners (or any advertising banners for that matter) you shouldn’t forget that it’s all about the location.  Placing your banner at the right place on your website would make all the difference. Just think about it- how often you click on other websites’ banners? Which are the ones that grab your attention- the small ones; the big ones; the ones placed at the top, bottom, left or right column?

As the practice of using banners for profit dates back some 20 years ago, banner placement studies have developed enough to give us some trustworthy statistics on the best positions for implementing these little money-bringers.

Have a look at the picture below- it shows possible banner positions for your website. The best banner position is colored in dark orange (the box that convincingly says “Must have”). To be more specific, this banner is placed 1/3 down the page as opposed to the top.

Banner Location

From the picture we can also see that other optimal positions are top, top left, direct left and 1/3 down as opposed to the bottom.

Of course, following this chart blindly does not guarantee you absolute success. This picture has been created on the grounds of extensive research where people have shown tendency to click on the darker-colored banners. However, one thing about people is that their actions can rarely be predictable.

It is very important to take your own website content and structure under consideration. For example, in case your content is left-positioned, you won’t be able to use the “Do it” locations to the left. On the other hand, for some websites the “Try it” locations could be more successful. In case you have a website with a big home page, where visitors will have to scroll down using the scroll bar, placing a banner right alongside it would be a good idea. When someone clicks on the scroll bar, he or she would inevitably spot the banner.  Also, in that case accidental clicks are possible and sometimes even accidents might leave to a sale.

Another good idea is to place banners right below an article, if you have one. Statistics show that this gives you a 17% greater chance to have someone click on the banner. In a world of money 17% is a serious number which should not be overlooked.

Last but not least, you should pay attention to the banner size. Naturally, larger banners get more clicks than small ones. However, you should again think about your site structure since large banners might not look good or even damage the layout of your site. And you’ll agree with me that a website with huge self-imposing banners is not a good sight and is quite off-putting.

Hopefully these tips will boost banner-earned income. Good luck to everyone using TMDHosting Affiliate program!