Many business owners make the mistake of letting somebody else take care of the technicalities of domain name management, not realizing that if something goes wrong, they could lose their domain. Here’s the bottom line: you should ALWAYS be in charge of your own domain name! Allowing someone else to handle your business is akin to carelessly tossing away the keys to your kingdom! Don’t let go of the rope on this one! Don’t. Do. It. That’s why, here at Marlin Consulting Solutions ensure you are always 100% in control of your domain.
Walk with me. What if you have a falling out with your domain manager or your employee leaves your business for greener pastures? You are compromising your position in maintaining control over your domain name and burdening yourself with unnecessary (and easily avoidable) added stress. Count the cost. Is it really worth it? No. Not in the least.
Your domain name is one of your most important business assets. In fact, you really can’t build your brand without it as it is the conduit by which your brand becomes cemented in the minds of consumers.
- Domain names make it easy for consumers to remember you the next time they want to check out your products and services directly ESPECIALLY if you can find an exact match brand name!
- Your domain name helps to establish expectations for your customers.
- Your domain name has the power to increase click-through rates.
- Domain-based email addresses aid in establishing a more professional presence among tech-savvy consumers.
- You cannot build a website apart from a domain name. In fact, 82% of consumers research on their mobile devices before they ever set foot inside a store, so you must have a solid domain name from which to build your business website which can be accessed 24/7.
Allowing someone else to register your domain name could mean that you are allowing them ownership. You might as well hand over the business right now. In addition, your domain name is part of your intellectual property and deserves utmost protection.
Managing your own domain name really isn’t all that complicated. It just sounds dreadfully laborious. You can start by simply keeping the login details of your domain registrar secure. Use a password manager and make sure that you don’t hand these details over to anyone whom you wouldn’t trust with your firstborn child. Unfortunately, there have been occasions where people have transferred domains out of accounts and it has been very difficult for people to get them back.
While it’s tempting to ignore those pesky reminders in your email inbox, again I say, “DON’T”! You might miss your renewal reminder in doing so and failure to renew your domain name will halt the workings of your business website and email. Essentially, failure to renew can put you out of business pretty quickly! If you are already beating your head against the wall because you forgot to renew, immediately contact the registrar that provided your domain name registration to discuss possible renewal options. If you don’t know your current registrar of record, check out WHOIS.
Domain name management is pretty simple. Here’s a brief recap:
- Retain domain name ownership.
- Keep your login info secure and don’t share it with anyone whom you do not trust with your firstborn child.
- Don’t forget where you registered.
Hats off to you if you already know what an ALT tag is. You are likely way ahead of the game. In fact, most people outside of the marketing world have never even heard of an ALT tag. So, for those who don’t know, what is it?
An ALT tag is an HTML component which is applied to graphics and acts as an alternative for search engines. The application of ALT tags can hugely affect where you rank in search engines as they interpret your graphics and images. For example, when Googlebot reviews a given web page, properly formatted ALT text images affect that page’s index and rank. ALT tags play an important role in web accessibility, allowing people who use screen readers to process page images. This is a huge benefit for vision impaired consumers.
If you are a part of the majority of business owners who assume that their images aren’t all that important, think again! According to the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, the U.S. is home to ten million blind or visually impaired consumers. One out of every thirty Americans are legally blind! Perhaps it has never occurred to you that these consumers also shop online or maybe you also suffer from vision impairment. Simply put, you can’t rely on your written content alone to explain your product and services. You must optimize your images to cater to ALL consumers, vision impaired and otherwise, thus improving the overall experience on your website.
Fortunately for you, the process of editing, adding and updating your ALT tags is quite simple, but first, you must know where to find them:
- Right-click on a photo on your website of choice to check if ALT text appears.
- A menu should appear which will allow you the option to inspect the HTML.
- A pop-up or pane should display HTML.
Now pat yourself on the back because you’ve just learned where to locate an ALT tag!
Editing ALT tags is so easy “even a caveman could do it”, to borrow a few words from Geico. There are different methods, depending on which program you use, however here is the process for Microsoft Word:
- Right-click an image and select” Edit Alt Text”.
- Accurately and succinctly describe the image content.
Here’s the deal: depending on the image and what said image conveys, you need to be specific in your ALT tag description, ensuring you’re conveying the purpose of the image. Be sure to use proper grammar, capitalize and punctuate just as you would if you were writing a letter.
As you continue to grow your business, diversifying your website content, don’t forget to scan your images routinely for missing ALT tags so as not to alienate your vision impaired consumers who are reliant on screen readers to pick up on those tags. If this seems too overwhelming, don’t forget that we are experts! We will never leave you standing without your tags on.
One of the most frustrating experiences for me personally as an avid online shopper is the thrill of finding that perfect discounted product for which I have been searching for MONTHS only to get to the checkout process to find it rife with various complications to the point that I end up canceling my purchase altogether. I walk away from my laptop totally frustrated because I, like any other consumer, look to the internet for a fast, effective means of buying what I want and when I want it with as little complication as possible. The whole reason I avoid going to the store is for a simpler, faster checkout and I’m betting you feel the same way.
Unfortunately, many business owners don’t realize their e-commerce checkout is frustrating to consumers. You might be one such entrepreneur contributing to this frustration. Let me save you AND your business by telling you upfront that you need to optimize your checkout page. You might have the most fantastic e-commerce website in the whole of the universe, but if your checkout page is tedious and difficult to navigate, your customers won’t have the patience to complete a purchase.
Here’s the skinny: there are six things your checkout should have in order to maximize results:
One step checkout
equally as satisfying as one-stop shopping, limiting the number of steps in your checkout is a great way to increase the number of purchases in your store. Traditionally the checkout process on an E-Commerce store can be 4+ steps, with the worst offenders being up to 10 steps before a purchase is completed. Utilizing a one-step checkout option will allow your customer to fill in all of their details on a single page, before completing their purchase.
People are used to getting what they want quickly these days, especially when it comes to a fast checkout experience. If possible, include an option for guest checkouts for customers (like me) who don’t want to waste time making an account. If I’m required to create an account in order to checkout, I’ll go elsewhere to another online retailer who places greater value on my time. While there’s nothing wrong with collecting consumer data, and you absolutely SHOULD, checkout isn’t the best place to accomplish this. In addition, some customers prefer not to share their information, but still want to make a purchase, so a guest checkout is a perfect option for them.
Cart contents and summary
A common pet peeve for consumers is a lack of clarity when reviewing their cart before checking out. I know I appreciate seeing exactly what’s in my cart with a clear price breakdown before hitting “submit”. Consumers appreciate the clarification of seeing their full list of the items to be purchased while having the ability to edit quantities. If the full price isn’t clearly on display and the total price must be manually tallied up prior to checkout, they’re going to move onto your competition.
I like options and that extends to payment methods. If I see only one accepted means of payment at checkout, such as PayPal, I might find another online retailer who accepts credit cards. You really need to provide a variety of payment options for your customers to use. I really like using my credit card because I get frequent flier miles, cash back and other perks that I cannot earn when I shop with PayPal. You will always have loyal PayPal patrons, too, so you should try to keep that as an option, but try to include a selection of payment methods for ease of checkout for those of us who like out credit card perks! Thanks!
Save abandoned carts
This sounds so cold and lonely, but in the event a customer abandons their cart because something came up, or they wanted to revisit at another time, saving their basket is a good idea. I love this option because I will eventually return and, when I do, I love that I won’t have to go back through the annoying process of finding what I want and adding it back in. This simple step goes a long way with busy shoppers who face common life interruptions throughout the day.
This is a BIG DEAL for consumers as unclear shipping options are an immediate turnoff, especially if items are needed urgently. If I can’t see the available options and my cost, it creates confusion regarding when I might receive the items I’ve ordered. Consumers need to see clear shipping options in order to ensure that a birthday gift arrives on time or that the perfect anniversary present arrives on or before the anniversary. Make sure your shipping options are on clear display at checkout to make for a happy shopping experience for your customers.
At the end of the day, your business exists to make you money. Simplifying your ecommerce checkout process for your customers equals more money in your pocket. Don’t forget these simple tips:
- Optimize for a mobile-friendly checkout experience.
- Don’t frustrate shoppers by asking for unnecessary info.
- Offer multiple payment options.
- Remove distractions by using a clean design.
- Eliminate surprise fees.
- Provide a link to customer support.
- Auto-save abandoned cart contents.
- Speed up sign in with a social media login option.
- Send payment confirmations to the consumer email address.
Simple implementation of these steps will offer a big payoff in the end! Don’t neglect your checkout and your customers won’t neglect you!