All posts in "Technical"

How Impactful Is Machine Learning For eCommerce In 2019?

a couple of months ago

eCommerce has changed a lot as in the last couple of years: with many new marketing strategies and given the thorough architectural development processes applied to CMS and websites in general, it’s quite safe to say that eCommerce has moved towards a much more technical sphere.

Of course, when it comes to technical approaches within the eCommerce field, applications related to Machine Learning and Deep Learning are the first ones which come to mind, given the fact that automation processes have taken the wheel even for what concerns online based businesses like the eCom ones. Let’s analyze the process in more detail.

Website Personalization: The Easiest ML Application for Fast Fashion

If there’s a sphere which was heavily impacted by this “tech revolution”, that would definitely be the fast fashion one.

Such sites gather an insane amount of data, ranging from cookies to emails, surveys and everything in between. Consequently, having a tool which automatically processes these results in order to personalize every single landing page to each impression’s taste is something that has a significant appeal.

In fact, Python-based tools which are customizing such catalogs onto big data’s preferences are the most looked after technology within the fast fashion sphere, which is the first major win for Machine Learning and its online business application.

The Evolution Of Dropshipping: From Products To Services

When it comes to quick wins in terms of both setup and delivery, drop shipping has been the go-to online business development strategy. The combination of both Shopify and Oberlo, in particular, became iconic within the digital marketing field.

In 2019, given the fact that ML is heavily reshaping the way eCommerce was thought, the natural evolution of such strategy focuses on listing services from another supplier onto a single online portal. Imagine this an “Expedia” for every possible business sector, ranging from app development to law.

As shown in a couple of case studies, in fact, some dispute resolution lawyers have stated the fact that being able to automatically list their services onto another portal (which already has high organic traffic) would be extremely beneficial.

The Combination Of ML And Ads

As we all know, eCommerce is something that naturally relies on digital marketing, whether it’s focused on boosting organic traffic (SEO), brand awareness, or conversion rates (both PPC and paid social, in particular).

There have been a couple of startups on the rise for what concerns retargeting-related digital campaigns on multiple channels. ML automatically creates strategies which are based on keywords and audiences that have been picked in the ongoing overall plan.

This is incredibly important as it could basically exploit the entire PPC business sphere as these tools are speaking directly to the algorithm.

These are three of the biggest examples of Machine Learning impacting the digital sphere. In fact, those sectors have already gathered interest (in investments, in particular) from triple-A companies like Amazon and Apple, for example, with a 25% increase for what concerns job positions for Python developers. With all this in mind, 2019 will definitely be an incredible year for eCommerce, from both a business and technical point of view.

Paul Matthews is a Manchester based business and tech writer who writes in order to better inform business owners on how to run a successful business. You can usually find him at the local library or browsing Forbes’ latest pieces.

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5 Most Important Reasons For Website Monitoring

a couple of months ago

Your website needs to be able to sell clients, attract new ones, inform visitors, and act as a resource generally – in addition to functioning as a digital storefront. That’s a lot of hats to wear. The tactics that work best in terms of site maintenance and making an impact in today’s ecommerce marketplace are best determined through effective monitoring protocols. With that thought in mind, here are five reasons why website monitoring is of paramount importance.

1. You want to be alerted immediately when sites go offline

The faster you can respond when a site goes offline, the less impact the resulting fallout will have. If your site crashes at a period of statistically low traffic, you may not even lose anything but the time involved in bringing things back online. Such a scenario is more ideal than realistic, though.

Sometimes traffic itself is the catalyst causing the crash, and to not have a response capability in such an instance could seriously damage the reputation of your business with the public who came to you in such numbers.

With site monitoring solutions, you will be notified immediately when your site is down. Additionally, there are metrics you can monitor to help give you an idea if operations are getting stressed. Sometimes in such instances, there are actions you can take to lessen the hosting load. these actions can counteract an unexpected spike beyond previous load capacity estimates.

2. Continuous monitoring provides metrics on site stability

If you’ve got a site that’s been monitored for ten years, then you can aggregate that data and predict trends based on activity. This can be done with a level of accuracy that has a very small margin of error. No, the future can’t be predicted; if it could, no stock market crash would backhand the economy as it does.

But you can make reasonably accurate predictions from carefully considered trends. Even if you monitor continuously and your site never experiences any difficulty or emergency, you can still gather data which helps you see where you are succeeding and where you could do better, and where you do worse. Advertising campaigns can be identified as successful or unsuccessful. There are many applications to consider.

3. Site Monitoring Facilitates Swifter, Better Disaster Response

BDR refers to backup and data recovery. It’s not just about putting data back together, though; there is often a sequence of systems which must be appropriately brought online. Some are more necessary than others, and in an emergency, you need to know what essential steps to take so your site returns as swiftly as it’s possible to.

Pingdom uptime monitoring is an essential component in any disaster response package. Without such protocols in place, stopping things that are preventable, and recovering from things that aren’t, will be much more difficult.

Disaster response

4. Determining Accurate Site Speed Is Best Done Via Monitoring

Site speed needs to be looked at in aggregate as well as in microcosm. You need to look at both the larger and smaller picture. ‘Zooming out’ is what happens through monitoring. As with stability metrics, monitoring can give you metrics pertaining to site speed. You can check to see how it performs when gluts of traffic develop, and more

5. Monitoring Solutions Are Mostly Autonomous, Set-Up Is Simple

If the sum of all these things was less than the cost involved to implement them, perhaps they wouldn’t be worth considering. In reality, many pertinent metrics of site operation have been identified for a long time now, and present considerable value for the relatively small cost. Monitoring solutions acquired through software are simple to set-up, effective, and primarily autonomous.

As the internet continues to develop, so also do such monitoring solutions. Now, cloud monitoring paradigms for applications are becoming increasingly common, and this trend is likely to parallel web development elsewhere going forward. Not only are existing monitoring solutions cost-effective and simple, if you want to have a chance in tomorrow’s market, you’ll want to have them in place preemptively.

Monitoring Solutions

Know The State Of Your Website

The website you use as a landing place for clientele in a way acts like a representative for your business. If a man in tattered clothing, shaggy hair, and struggling transportation approached you, would you find him professional?

When your website isn’t monitored, it breaks down just like people and things do when left alone with no action taken toward improvement. If you don’t keep your site up-to-date and monitor it appropriately, you’ll make a bad impression.

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Optimizing Your Online Store: eCommerce SEO Tips

a few months ago

Starting your online store is only the first step towards developing a profitable brand. People have to see your site before they can buy from it.

Enter SEO, the art of looking into the black box of Google’s algorithm and delivering changes that unbury a site from the graveyard of Google’s forgotten pages of results.

For eCommerce, this task can prove ever more difficult than the typical website. Pages and pages of products and categories add complexity to this pursuit of better rankings.

This is why you need to keep a few tips in mind when improving your eCommerce SEO.

Understand How Your Customers Search

First things first, you need to know how your customers are searching for products in your industry.

If the words you use across your site do not match the words people are using the search engine, they will not find you.

So, say you were selling a line of footwear for dogs and you called them “Doggy Shoes”. That keyword only gets around 300 monthly searches. Whereas, if you used the phrases “Dog Shoes” or “Dog Boots”, you’d get about 10,000 more monthly searches.

There are many great resources for doing keyword research and it often comes to personal preference. I like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere.

So, investing in keen keyword research can develop powerful intelligence for the proper optimization of your store. Which brings us to the next tip.

Optimizing On-Page Elements

Keyword research in hand, you can now go about the work of optimizing your site pages for the right keywords.

The major elements to focus on are the title tag and the H1 tag (of which there should only be one per page). These signal to the search engines what each page is about. They should contain the main keyword for a particular page.

That said, a big rule is to never stuff keywords. Those days are over. Google sees this as spammy and it will backfire. Keywords in these elements should be natural and the total element length should stay within 70 characters.

Each page should also have some descriptive content in it, be it a product description or general info about a category. This content works to bolster the power of the main keyword with semantically related keywords.

Finally, each page has a meta description. This is not seen on your site but rather as a description of the page in the search engine result. Think of this as ad copy for the page, encouraging users to click on your link. Bonus: if your meta description contains the searcher’s query, it will be bolded in the result.

It should be noted that, if you use WordPress, Yoast SEO makes these changes very easy to accomplish, even guiding your keyword targeting efforts.

For an online store, your targeted keywords will have buyer’s intent. Those searching will be already prepared to purchase.

But, there are also keywords with research intent that you do not want to leave behind. Which leads us higher up the sales funnel: interest and awareness

Catch ‘Em at the Top of the Funnel

While it is great to get visitors who are ready to buy, why not also engage them while they are researching a future purchase?

This is where blogs come in handy. Blogs serve informational content and lack the sales language of other parts of the site.

Each post can be built based on keyword research. Understanding what topics people are interested in within your industry can help you create great content that will get ranked.

Often, these come in the form of guides, best of lists, infographics, and how to’s.

Once they’ve interacted with your great new content, they will be aware of your brand. When they are finally ready to purchase, they are likely to think about you.

Furthermore, a blog creates opportunities for expanding sheer keyword reach and thus traffic. Beyond traffic, blog posts are the most likely pages to get backlinks, a major factor in how trustworthy Google sees a site as being.

There are many other factors that Google looks at for how good a site is, from mobile-friendliness to page speed to security.

How Does it Do on Mobile?

Increasingly, eCommerce sales are happening on mobile phones. People are on the go and need to buy that thing right away — on the subway, in the Lyft, during class, at the store.

So, the experience they are served on their phones is extremely important to any online store’s financial outlook. It should be quick, intuitive, and easy.

This is not only important to the user, but to how Google treats your site. With Google’s mobile-first indexing beginning to take effect, the mobile version of a site will be considered the canonical version. The site will be judged based on how good its mobile instance is.

Best not to be penalized for having a bad mobile experience. Check your site here to see how well it performs. If it doesn’t look good, you may be hurting your rankings.

Don’t Make Them Wait

Along these same lines of user experience signals is the speed of your site.

These days, with the sheer quantity of information bombarding us every waking minute, we expect websites to load quickly so we can get on to the next thing. Every second of delay reportedly costs a company 7% in conversions.

There are many reasons for a slow site, from large images to server drag to render-blocking resources. Whatever the reasons, it is important to identify them and have the appropriate party resolve them.

You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to get a better understanding of your site’s potential speed improvements.

Security is Key

Anyone making a purchase online wants to be sure that their transaction will be secure. Sites not on HTTPS should get on it ASAP.

Just with many other factors in SEO, Google uses the user experience as the basis of how well sites should rank. Whether or not a site is secure will decide whether they will be likely to rank for keywords they target.

Transactions over HTTPS connections are protected from man-in-the-middle attacks, effectively securing the bridge between a site and the financial institution.

Since SEO is such a multifaceted marketing practice, there will always be more tips and tricks to share. Nonetheless, the preceding tips are a great place to start optimizing your online store. Focus on the potential customer and you will best serve your brand and your base.

Sean Flannigan is the Digital Marketing Specialist at coolblueweb. coolblueweb is an eCommerce web development company based in Seattle, WA. Sean delivers SEO improvements to online stores large and small.

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