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How to Optimize for Baidu in the US

While Google, Bing, and Yahoo control the West’s market share of search engine traffic, alternative search engine Baidu is the king of search in China.

If you want to make your content known on Baidu, you need a strong SEO strategy to guide you. What works on Google may not work on Baidu, however, so we’ve created this guide to teach you how to earn a position in Baidu’s search engine results for users that are in the U.S.

What Is Baidu?

Baidu is an internet and AI company offering a range of services, including search, cloud computing, music, maps, translation, video, and even self-driving cars. One Baidu service, Baidu Baike, is even thought of as a Wikipedia clone. The online encyclopedia boats over 16 million articles and 6.9 million editors.

Yet, the biggest asset Baidu offers is its search engine. Originally launched in 2000, Baidu was an early player in Chinese search. In many ways, their early platform seemed to copy Google in approach and design, leading many to think of them as a Chinese Google copycat rather than a true competitor.

Fast-forward to the current day, and Baidu owns 68.5 percent of the search engine market share in China and boasts around 1.54 billion searches per day. They bring in an average of $16.4 billion per year and record around 202 million daily active users.

A large part of Baidu’s success can be attributed to its ability to index Chinese web pages better and more effectively than any other search engine. The user-face is only available in Simplified Chinese, and the search results give priority to Chinese language sites. Few non-Chinese language sites are ever included in the Baidu index or search engine results.

Baidu Vs. Google

Baidu has always been critiqued as being a Google copycat, and the similarities are certainly present.

When Google decided to stop showing ads on the Search Engine Results Page’s right-hand side, Baidu followed suit only a few months later.

Both search engines offer a similar user-face: a simple logo, a search bar, and added features below.

Baidu Vs. Google
Baidu search engine home page

In terms of product offerings, maps, music and video platforms, translation services, and travel sites are on both platforms.

Both Google and Baidu offer similar search features, though Google’s algorithm and indexing capabilities seem to be a bit more robust.

Baidu is also known for its liberal use of rich snippets early on, while Google has only increased its use of rich snippets in recent years. Many SEO experts have suggested Google copied Baidu in this way.

The main differences between Baidu and Google rest in their individual SERPs. Here are a few clear differentiators between the two platforms:

  • While Google search results are available in 149 different languages, Baidu is only offered in Simplified Chinese.
  • Baidu links open in a new window, keeping the Baidu home page available at all times.
  • Most Baidu search results have thumbnail images included.
  • Rich snippets on Baidu are often dynamic and interactive, which sets them apart from Google. They are often tall, full of links, and even contain interactive JavaScript apps on the SERP.
  • Baidu’s rich-snippets can occupy up to 70 percent of a page.

8 Ways to Optimize for Baidu

If you run a business with Chinese clientele or want to promote your products to a Chinese audience, optimizing your content for Baidu can help you open those doors.

Baidu has explained the way their spiders crawl and index websites. Many websites are not included on Baidu by default, due to their algorithm.

Additionally, due to strict internet censorship in China, aka the Great Firewall of China, many of the below tactics are requirements rather than suggestions. The ICPL licensing (discussed below) is one such example.

Here are some sites Baidu automatically filters out:

  • any sites with duplicate content are filtered; if the content is available in more than one place on the internet, Baidu will not include it twice
  • Baidu won’t rank short content pages
  • JavaScript and AJAX content will not be ranked, though users will be able to see it
  • pages that are slow to load may be treated as empty or short pages
  • webpages whose main body is not prominent will not be crawled

Below, we’ll outline ways to ensure your content is crawled and ranked by Baidu.

1. Use a .CN Domain

On the Baidu SERPs, .com sites are not favored, and having a .cn domain will help increase your chances of getting listed. That said, it may be difficult to acquire a .cn domain outside of China.

To attain a .cn domain, you need to either be a Chinese citizen or own a Chinese business. Additionally, all websites based in China must have a Bei’An license, and commercial websites must have an ICP license.

Due to heavy Chinese internet restrictions, attaining these licenses can be time-consuming and complicated. While this may seem off-putting, if you want your content to show up in the Baidu SERPs, it’s worth investing time to get a .cn domain to secure top rankings.

It’s also important to note the Great Firewall of China can add latency to sites loading from outside of China. For this reason, having a .cn domain is preferred not only for Baidu but for Chinese browsing experiences in general.

2. Acquire Licensing (ICPL)

To legally host a website in China, you need to have an internet content publishing license (ICPL).

ICPL’s can be broken down into two license types:

  • Individual licenses: can only be issued by providing Chinese state-issued personal ID
  • Business licenses: require Chinese business registration

While Baidu has never explicitly said ICPLs are required, to have your site verified by Baidu Trust, an ICPL number is required.

ICPL licensing can be difficult for foreign companies to acquire. Your best bet is usually to set up as a Chinese company before tackling Chinese hosting.

3. Avoid Using JavaScript

The Baidu search engine spider does not crawl JavaScript sites due to complications in links, navigational elements, and language changes.

This means that although your site will be displayed, it won’t be crawled or ranked. Be sure to provide an HTML alternative the engine can read.

As a side note, flash players are also unusable on Baidu.

4. Ensure Your Content Is High Quality

Baidu has always prioritized user experiences over ads. In 2013, they updated their algorithm to include a “pomegranate” update, which penalized sites that displayed user experience pitfalls with spammy ads and low-quality content. Sites with high-quality content are boosted over those with low-quality content.

Content that is penalized by Baidu’s pomegranate update:

  • sites with a large quantity of low-quality pop-up windows
  • advertisements mimicking page content
  • pages with malicious ads or content

To avoid getting penalized by the algorithm, avoid using pop-up advertisements on your website, and be sure to use clear, high-quality content across your site.

5. Prioritize Link Building

Link building is an important factor if you want to rank on Baidu. In the past, Baidu seemed to favor link quantity over quality, but with the pomegranate update, high-quality backlinks have taken priority.

When creating a link-building plan for Baidu, focus on high-authority Chinese sites over those listed in other countries.

Also, be sure to include internal and external anchor text in your copy. For internal links, ensure each page on your site links back to your home page, and the homepage only links to the main category pages. Any sub-category pages should only be linked within your main category pages.

Unlike some other search engines, Baidu also counts non-hyperlinked URLs, so including these within your text can contribute to your ranking.

6. Perfect Your Meta Description and Metadata

Unlike Google, Baidu still includes meta descriptions and meta keywords in their ranking factors. This means you need to have unique and descriptive meta descriptions, metadata, and title tags that are keyword optimized in Simplified Chinese.

A good meta description provides a clear and succinct description of what a user can find on the page. It’s important to write tailored descriptions for each page of your website and use three to five meta keywords on each page to improve your Baidu ranking chances.

Baidu allows up to 80 characters in a title tag and 200 characters in a meta description. The character count for meta keywords is 100.

Alt tags and heading tags also play a part in your Baidu rankings, so be sure to optimize these in Chinese as well.

baidu SERP featuring neil patel search item

7. Use Pinyin in the URL and Simplified Chinese in the Body

Pinyin is a romanized version of Chinese that uses English characters to spell Chinese characters based on Mandarin pronunciation.

Baidu prefers URLs that are written in Pinyin, while the rest of the site uses Simplified Chinese.

When using Pinyin, be careful of your word choice. Baidu censors anti-government speech, adult content, gambling, and anything they consider to be culturally insensitive. While you may think it is easy to avoid this language, it can be more difficult than you think. Some words seem innocent but aren’t. For instance, “toad” and “rubber duck” are banned due to their political connotations.

Be sure to conduct Chinese-specific market research before listing on Baidu to ensure you won’t violate censorship laws.

8. Optimize for Mobile

Baidu has 1.1 billion monthly active mobile users, which means most Baidu users will see your website on a mobile screen.

While Google’s mobile search platform uses the same URL as its desktop version, Baidu’s mobile search is run through m.baidu.com. Baidu will transcode sites that aren’t automatically mobile-friendly to make them load faster. This means your content will be automatically hosted on Baidu’s servers. No approval is necessary by the owner.

The downside of this automatic transcoding is it can affect the UX/UI of your website dramatically. This can lead to negative on-site experiences for your audience members and many users exiting your site too early.

To combat this, ensure your website is optimized for mobile from the start. This will help you deliver high-quality website experiences and keep your audience on your pages longer.

Conclusion

While Baidu may treat search engine rankings differently than Google or Bing, it’s worth investing your time in it if you want to attract Chinese business.

That said, general search engine optimization techniques still apply here, so be sure to follow SEO best practices when creating Baidu content.

This, alongside the specialized requirements of the Baidu platform, could help you rank higher more often.

If the thought of SEO even in English sounds daunting, let our agency know and we can help.

How has Baidu search affected your business?



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Niche markets

Identifying a niche market can be one of the most effective ways to start a business off on the right foot or save an existing store that’s struggling to make sales. Here’s how to find a niche market, along with nine examples of niche markets and products you can sell to them.

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For most of us, we know we've had a successful day if our hastily made decisions don't leave the business in ruin. For everyone else, there are mental models. It doesn't matter if you're a marketer or technical support agent, our collection of mental models examples for web professionals will give you new tools for solving problems, making decisions, or even advancing your career.

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Do you want more exposure on TikTok? Wondering how to tap into trending TikTok content? In this article, you’ll discover three ways to identify trending TikTok content and learn how to leverage trends to promote your business on TikTok. Why Businesses Should Consider TikTok The number-one reason anyone gets on TikTok is for the organic […]

The post TikTok Trends: How to Leverage Trending Content for Business appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.


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Many eCommerce stores are struggling to stay alive due to visitors finding the store but not ending up purchasing.  Unfortunately, as long as you can not convert your visitors to customers, your website will be in the same shoes. If you feel like that despite your best efforts in paid advertising and your appealing website, your visitors still bounce off your page, you need to read further. We are here to help you with understanding and improving your eCommerce bounce rate. To be able to improve your shop’s eCommerce bounce rate it is crucial to understand exactly what it is. This article will help you with 15 tips to improve your eCommerce bounce rate and your website’s performance.

What is bounce rate and why is it important?

When visitors come to your website and leave without visiting more pages apart from the initial landing page, that is when we say they “bounced”. Once you have successfully driven traffic to your website you would want your visitors to stay as long as possible. As the average eCommerce bounce rate is a ratio, the best way to explain it is the number of bounces for every 100 visitors. As an example, if 1000 visitors land on your page and 634 exit without clicking through to other pages the bounce rate would be (634/1000)x100=63.4%.

This metric is provided by most eCommerce analytics programs or on the back-end of your site. This can be used as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) of your store that helps to analyze, assess and monitor the traffic. It is hard to tell what is the ideal average eCommerce bounce rate, hence it is better if you take an interval as your benchmark. For eCommerce websites, it is between 20% and 45%. With these in mind, let’s see the strategies that will help you improve your eCommerce bounce rate. If you follow our tips below, you will certainly increase the time spent on your site and conversion rate alike.

Responsive design

With the ever-growing number of mobile device users, it became highly important to optimize your site for these platforms. Not only to enhance user experience but also to keep visitors on your website longer. It is proven that desktop users are less likely to bounce than those who view your store on mobile. Tablets are falling somewhere in the middle. Mobile and tablet users are more likely to leave your page to open another app. For this reason, you might also want to consider creating mobile-specific landing pages or an app for your business.

Responsive web design is crucial for improving bounce rate

Speed is curtail

The more we use the internet for browsing and interacting with others the more impatient we get with loading times. This is the first and foremost important factor when visiting a website. If your visitors have to wait longer than a couple of seconds, your bounce rate will increase with each extra second. Statistics show that slow loading sites have a 72% higher bounce rate than fast loading ones. Moreover, a fast-loading website can also help you achieve a higher ranking in search engines.

Site speed can be improved in several ways. Firstly, you should try to improve your server response time. This can be done by detecting and eliminating bottlenecks such as low memory, slow routing, and slow database queries. Secondly, make sure your images are the right size. Images that are larger than needed to be can also slow down the loading speed of your website. And finally, try to minify your HTML and CSS code and remove the parts you are not actively using. This can also dramatically improve your visitor’s experience.

The use of the right pop-up modal boxes

Pop-up modal boxes can on one hand increase your bounce rate and on the other hand increase your conversion. It is highly important to understand when and what type of pop-ups you should use. If it shows up too early and requests feedback from a visitor it is likely to be annoying for your customers. But if it pops up too late, your customer is likely to wander off to another website already. However, perfect timing and an appealing offer can not only keep your visitor in your eCommerce store but can potentially convert them to customers. The last thing you need to pay attention to is to make these pop-ups easily closeable. We all know that there is nothing more disturbing when you are unable to close a modal box. This is important across all device types so make sure you optimize for mobile as well.

Have a clean outlook

If your home or landing page is packed with information it can serve as a distraction and result in an increased eCommerce bounce rate. A simplified design and limited options can help your customers to have that crucial first glance at your business. Once you have captured their interest they are more likely to stay on your website and click through to other pages as well.

Turn off autoplay on videos

Videos are great means of engaging your visitors and keeping them on your website longer. If a video is well created and speaks to your visitors, they are likely to watch at least a part of it if not in whole. This can increase the time they spend on your webshop. But be aware! If you do not switch the autoplay function off then your video will play regardless of your visitors wanting it. Unfortunately, this can easily annoy them and make them bounce immediately.

Smooth navigation is a must

In order to understand how your visitors want to navigate on a page, you will need some intuition. But luckily, there are tactics that will definitely help you to improve the user experience. Create a bold, easy-to-use menu either on the top of your page or on the left-hand side. Make sure that it sticks there so visitors do not need to scroll all the way up to search for pages. For a mobile-friendly look and to not disturb your content make these collapsible into a hamburger menu. Test out different layouts as one option could work better for you than the other. Also, do not forget to create a site map at the bottom of your page. Here you can link all useful and important pages for easy access.

Good design as a measure of credibility

When it comes to eCommerce websites, people are quick to judge them by their design. This can play a great role in influencing your visitors’ perception of your credibility. Invest in a clean, uncluttered design to elevate the trust in your business. Also, do not forget to pay attention to consistency across the pages. Make sure you have the same color scheme and fonts throughout your website. This will help to ensure your business and you as a seller are both taken seriously.

Make searching easy

One of the most common reasons for a high eCommerce bouncing rate is if a visitor can not find what they are looking for. One of the things you can ensure that searching is easy is making your search bar as visible as possible. Visitors must be able to find it and see it clearly at the first glance. Furthermore, make sure that the size of the search bar is also adequate enough. If not all characters are visible when searching for a longer keyword it can make it difficult to review or edit a query. But unfortunately, these formalities are not enough on their own. Most importantly, when a customer is searching on your website it is inevitable that the correct search results are showing up.

Excellent product pages

Product pages are the heart of all eCommerce websites, so you want to make sure you are doing a great job with setting them up. First and foremost you have to have professional photos that represent the goods you are selling in the best possible manner. This should be followed by the most important information about the item at the top of the page, so your customers do not need to search for these. Besides the core information, try to include as much additional information as possible, such as dimensions, specs, and materials used. Finally, make sure your visitors have no trouble with adding an item they like to the cart with an add-to-cart button that really stands out.

Always have a FAQs page

Having a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is useful for many reasons and can also help in reducing the eCommerce bounce rate. Having all the necessary information available at your visitors’ fingertips can not only reduce bounce rate but also can help with conversion. Moreover, a frequently updated FAQs page can increase your credibility and eliminate potential misunderstandings in the future as well.

Offer live chat customer service

If you want to take your customer service up a notch you should also try to incorporate a live chat into your website. As you can not possibly be ready to answer questions 24 hours a day, you might want to try a chatbot first. But make sure you input all the possible questions and answers for those that you can think of. Sometimes you would be surprised about the questions customers can have so be prepared for everything. If you have the privilege to have a customer service team, make sure they are well trained as they will be the voice of your brand. Representatives can not only decrease your bounce rate but can turn visitors around and convert them into customers.

Use heat maps

Heat maps allow you to see what customers see and interact with on your website. There are two types of heat maps you would want to consider using, scroll maps and click maps.

On one hand, scroll maps can be put on your home or landing pages where the eCommerce bounce rate is high. The content a visitor sees on your page once landing on it is called the “above the fold” section. As not all screens have the same sizes, you will want to watch out for the average fold line first. This section should contain the most important information relevant to your customer. If you manage to capture their attention, you will see that they are scrolling further down on your page or click further on your site.

On the other hand, click maps will help you to see where your visitors are clicking within a given page. The ones that are bouncing are obviously not clicking on anything. But with this technique, you can filter out if they might be confused by the design of your website and try to click non-clickable elements. This can help you with improving your website even further in terms of design and usability.

Eliminate usability issues

Trialing your website after every alteration is a must to make sure you do not have usability issues. These can be faulty drop-down menus, 404 errors, broken links, or issues with your responsivity on mobile devices. Such problems are likely to drive away your visitors from your website, so smooth operation is crucial. You can analyze usability by watching recorded sessions of individual interactions on high bounce rate pages. You will be able to see what is the step or moment where the visitors decide to leave your page and you can fix it easily after.

Monitor traffic from your paid advertisements

Monitor traffic from your paid advertisements

You should constantly monitor and analyze the performance of your paid ads in terms of bounce rate. Whether it is a shopping campaign, paid search result, or a social media advertisement it might bring in visitors that bounce quickly. Find the source where you get the most bounces from and reevaluate your strategy. Have a look if the keywords your visitors are searching for are aligned with what they are finding on your landing page. Also, analyze if visitors are actually finding what they are looking for on your landing page. And finally, make sure that the content of your ad is in line with the landing pages they direct visitors to.

Champion copywriting

Make sure to write an informative, easily digestible, and persuasive copy on your page. This will help you to engage your visitors in the next step you want them to take. Whether it is visiting another page of your website, adding an item to their cart, or signing up for your newsletter they will be more willing to do so. A clear copy that answers all the key questions can also help you with increasing your conversion rate. If your copy is poor it will not engage your visitors and you are risking an increased bounce rate.

Conclusion

No matter how low your eCommerce bounce rate is on your website, your aim should always be trying to lower it further. Going through all the abovementioned suggestions could be a good start to see which areas you are championing and on which you are falling behind. The goal is to make your visitors feel that they will find what they are looking for on your website. This will not only turn your visitors into customers but can also have a long-term effect and convert them to returning customers. And as we all know, reliable returning customers are the most precious assets of any business.

The post 15 Strategies to Improve your eCommerce Bounce Rate appeared first on BrandsGateway.



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WooCommerce Review Summary

World most popular WordPress store builder
WooCommerce

Name: WooCommerce

Description: WooCommerce enables you to sell products and services to your customers. It gives you the flexibility to be creative with your product offerings. You can add unlimited products and services and take as many orders as you want.

Offer price: Free

Operating System: WordPress

Application Category: Online Shop Builder

Author: Jerry Low

  • Ease of Use - 8/10
    8/10
  • Features - 10/10
    10/10
  • Value for Money - 10/10
    10/10
  • Community Support - 10/10
    10/10
  • Ease of Customization - 5/10
    5/10

Summary

A leading WordPress plugin, WooCommerce has had phenomenal success since its inception. More than 500,000 online stores around the world are built and powered by the application.

We like WooCommerce for its omnichannel sales support, great features, and extensive customization options. However, it does require a fair amount of initiative and time to build your eCommerce store with. Also, the zero cost of WooCommerce can be deceptive – You'll need a web host and domain to run your WooCommerce store.


Statistics show that companies with 10-50 employees and $1M-$10M revenue often use WooCommerce (source). Many of these are small businesses, but large companies are also fairly represented. On a personal basis, WooCommerce use is predominant among single-owner online stores as well. The top industries that use WooCommerce include retail, restaurants, hospital, and health care.

For more details, scroll down for our in-depth review or try WooCommerce with Nexcess.

Overall
8.6/10
8.6/10
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} .wp-review-39836.review-wrapper .review-total-wrapper { float: none; clear: both; } .wp-review-39836.review-wrapper .review-title .review-price { float: none; } } { "@context": "http://schema.org", "@type": "Review", "itemReviewed": { "@type": "SoftwareApplication", "name": "WooCommerce", "description": "WooCommerce enables you to sell products and services to your customers. It gives you the flexibility to be creative with your product offerings. You can add unlimited products and services and take as many orders as you want. ", "image": "https://www.webhostingsecretrevealed.net/wp-content/uploads/woocommerce-screenshot.jpg", "offers": { "@type": "Offer", "price": "Free " }, "operatingSystem": "WordPress", "applicationCategory": "Online Shop Builder", "author": "Jerry Low " }, "reviewRating": { "@type": "Rating", "ratingValue": 8.6, "bestRating": 10, "worstRating": 0 }, "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Jerry Low" }, "reviewBody": "<p>A leading WordPress plugin, WooCommerce has had phenomenal success since its inception. More than 500,000 online stores around the world are built and powered by the application.</p><p>We like WooCommerce for its omnichannel sales support, great features, and extensive customization options. However, it does require a fair amount of initiative and time to build your eCommerce store with. Also, the zero cost of WooCommerce can be deceptive - You'll need a web host and domain to run your WooCommerce store.</p><hr width="60%" /><p>Statistics show that companies with 10-50 employees and $1M-$10M revenue often use WooCommerce (<a href="https://enlyft.com/tech/products/woocommerce" target="_blank" rel="noopener">source</a>). Many of these are small businesses, but large companies are also fairly represented. On a personal basis, WooCommerce use is predominant among single-owner online stores as well. The top industries that use WooCommerce include retail, restaurants, hospital, and health care.</p><p>For more details, scroll down for our in-depth review or <a href="/go/nexcess-woocommerce">try WooCommerce with Nexcess</a>.</p>" }

The Pros: Things We Like About WooCommerce 

1. WooCommerce is Very Easy to Set Up 

WooCommerce from WordPress Plugin Directory

WooCommerce is an easy to install WordPress plugin. It is suitable for small businesses looking for a basic, stable solution. The seamless integration between WooCommerce, WooCommerce Extensions, and StoreFront mean greater efficiency in uptimes.

The basic WooCommerce themes and plugins are suitable free options for those with tight budgets. Being built by reputable developers, you can be assured of its stability.

A large number of themes provide more choices for businesses. It has excellent features that are being upgraded continuously. The variety of extensions available gives you more options in enhancing your storefront.

Important: You can't run your online store with WooCommerce alone

WooCommerce (and WordPress) are both free, open source application. But to setup and run your WooCommerce store online, you will need a web host and domain name. For newbies – Nexcess, officially recommended by WooCommerce, is a good place to start.

All Nexcess Managed WooCommerce plans come with a 14-day free trial and 24×7 dedicated WooCommerce support (Click here to order now).

2. Sell on Multiple Channels – Why Stop at One?

You can sell your products through multiple devices, including mobile apps. This channel diversification capability enables your customers to shop anywhere, anytime. 

The integration with Google, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart gives products greater global visibility. A customer selecting your products on Google, for example, will have it shipped from your store. You control the product listings, including stock control, price, and product name. 

Your store ships goods sold through the respective channel to customers.

3. Customers are Kept Safe Thanks to Secure Payment Services

There is a large number of payment gateways with multiple payment channels. Your customers will have a wide choice of payment options. Aside from integrations with well-known third-parties like Stripe and PayPal, WooCommerce has its own as well.

WooCommerce Payment Services has its payment gateway integrated with the Dashboard services. There is no setup charge and no monthly fee, while transaction fees are kept low. The advantage is customers can shop and pay within the WooCommerce platform. 

4. You Can Sell Almost Anything

There are a wide variety of product categories you can sell from, spanning physical products to digital. In fact, with WooCommerce, you can even sell physical services, virtual services, and even event tickets. 

Much of this is driven by the nature of the WooComemrce platform. However, it has one significant advantage over many others – WooCommerce Point-of-Sale (PoS). If you own a brick-and-mortar store, then take advantage of WooCommerce POS. 

It allows you to sell online products in your store. By turning your browser into a cash register, you can manage your products, orders, and customers. It suits a broad market such as retail stores, food vendors, and jewelers.  

5. Extensive Customization Options

There are two ways to build your WooCommerce theme. One is to build from scratch by coding, and second, the easier way is to use WooCommerce Themes from the WooCommerce Theme Store (more about this below).

You can also make more surgical improvements by manually editing CSS, but this requires some level of coding know-how. There are other ways to consider as well, such as using a Plugin to add-on functionality.

Even if you decide not to touch any customizations at all on your own, there are many developers you can hire to do it for you.

6. Lots of Help and Support Services Are Available

WooCommerce User Feedback

There is a comprehensive documentation system. Added to this is the large community of users who support each other. This ecosystem is beneficial for the DIY crowd who may need their hands held from time to time – especially beginners to eCommerce.

Also – Join official WooCommerce Facebook Group here and get your questions answered.

7. Excellent Abandoned Cart Recovery System

The abandoned cart recovery feature is to reconnect with visitors who left without checking out. The average abandoned cart rate within industries is 55-80%. A follow-up email can recover at least 30% of sales. 

The WooCommerce Abandoned Cart Recovery extension enables the recouping of lost sales.

The Cons: Things We Dislike About WooCommerce 

1. You Need Some Basic Knowledge

To handle web hosting, WordPress and WooCommerce require some basic knowledge to work. It isn’t exactly rocket science, but in the context of eCommerce, the leeway for doing something wrong isn’t wide.

For those who are not adept at eCommerce and website technology, security can be a significant issue. Don’t forget that you’re handling not just personal data but also financial information.

2. Advanced Customization Can be Difficult

WooCommerce gives you the freedom to build basic storefronts. For enhanced customization, you need to know how to code or have to hire extra developer resources. While WooCommerce itself is free, taking on developers to customize your store can be very expensive.

If you’re thinking of working around that with plugins, note that most plugins will follow a freemium model. That means they are free to use – but advanced features will also cost money.

WooCommerce PoS - $199
Many great features at WooCommerce are not free.

Things You Need to Know About WooCommerce

A leading WordPress plugin, WooCommerce has had phenomenal success since its inception in 2011. Widely used by most WordPress eCommerce websites, WooCommerce has taken a leadership position as a user-friendly, innovative plugin. 

Targeted at a wide range of WordPress businesses, it competes effectively against major Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) brands like Shopify and BigCommerce in the eCommerce platform space. 

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce Homepage
WooCommerce Homepage

WooCommerce enables you to sell products and services to your customers. It gives you the flexibility to be creative with your product offerings. You can add unlimited products and services and take as many orders as you want. 

There is a wide range of features available, including inventory management, multiple payment gateway options, shipping rate configurations, support, email templates, and sales tracking reports. 

It is simple to install and customize, and being free is an attractive option for tight budgets. The open-source feature means you may modify the code.

How WooCommerce Works?

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that works together with the core Content Management System (CMS). Once dropped into place, it extends eCommerce capabilities to WordPress, allowing you to convert your website into an eCommerce store. 

Thanks to WooCommerce, you can add products or services, a shopping cart, checkout, and even payment features.

Installing WooCommerceUsing your WordPress dashboard is the simplest way of installing WooCommerce.

Go to “Plugins -> Add New,” then search for WooCommerce.

Hit the “Install Now” button, and once that completes, you can Activate it and run the WooCommerce Setup Wizard.

What You Can Sell Using WooCommerce?

The simple answer to this is – literally anything. There are five major categories of products/services you can sell on WooCommerce.

  • Physical Products – Tangible products sold on a pre-order or subscription-based.
  • Digital Products – Delivered online such as eBooks, workout videos, and courses.
  • Access – Limited access to specific products/content based on membership.
  • Time – Selling your time for services (offline and online services).
  • Tickets – Online and offline events. 

There are restricted products often disallowed, but they have more to do with associated service providers than WooCommerce.

WooCommerce Themes

A big part of WooCommerce appeal for store owners is the ability to customize store designs quickly. This capability comes thanks to the use of WooCommerce themes that drop into place easily.

WooCommerce comes with an official theme – StoreFront – but has many others available. Some are free, while others may cost a fee, but the options exist in abundance. Here are some samples of great WooCommerce themes:

WooCommerce Theme Sample #1: Deli StoreFront

Price: Free

Deli Storefront - WooCommerce Templates
Deli is a StoreFront child theme and perfect for natural goods. It offers a very informal setting that blends with such products. This style is also suitable for handicrafts and other small home industries.

WooCommerce Theme Sample #2: Stationery

Price: $39

Stationaery - WooCommerce Templates
Stationery is another StoreFront child theme, but this one requires a one-time payment of $39. Its clean and attractive design is simply built for – quite literally – stationery stores. The price includes one year of updates and support. 

WooCommerce Features 

As a WordPress plugin, WooCommerce has kept core WordPress functions and augmented them with eCommerce capabilities. It is accessible from multiple devices and integrates with many leading eCommerce players, Google, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.  

Extensions from the WooCommerce Extension library comprise free and paid plugins. Besides updating product listings and taking orders, other supporting features include automated tax computation, live shipping rates, and printing labels.

Help is available as documentation and public support forums. Account-holders can refer to the Customer Support team. For significant theme customization, developers are available for hire in the public market. 

WooCommerce Plans & Pricing 

WooCommerce costs nothing to use but building your eCommerce store may not be cost-free. Aside from web hosting and domain name, you may also have to pay extra for some themes and plugins as well.

There is a wide range of web hosts which can handle WooCommerce hosting. Some, like Hostinger, specialize at the lower end of the market, allowing you to host n online store for a few dollars each month. Providers like Kinsta cater to the performance market – at an accompanying high price tag.

To learn more about this, read our article “How Much Does Website Hosting Cost?

Other things you may need to pay for include: 

  • WooCommerce Themes – Advanced themes can cost anywhere from $20-$100/year. 
  • Store Management Options – Shipping and payment gateway fees often cost extra, depending on which partners you choose.
  • Marketing – Plugins can help with product marketing, but even this can accrue cost. For example, MailChimp can cost around $9.99/mo for use, while Jilt hovers at about $29/mo. 

These and more need to be factored in to understand your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)  for running a WooCommerce store.

Who Uses WooCommerce?

Statistics show that companies with 10-50 employees and $1M-$10M revenue often use WooCommerce. Many of these are small businesses, but large companies are also fairly represented. 

On a personal basis, WooCommerce use is predominant among single-owner online stores as well. The top industries that use WooCommerce include retail, restaurants, hospital, and health care. 

WooCommerce Success Stories

If you plan to use WooCommerce to see how the eCommerce scene works, that’s fine. After all, many merchants have used WooCommerce to immense success – both in terms of design and financial positivity.

To outline this, here are some WooCommerce success stories:

1. Singer Australia

WooCommerce Example - Singer

Category: Consumer Retail

Before we go into this, Singer is a massive, global brand. It isn;’t uncommon for some of these to use different technologies in various regions. Singer Australia happens to be using Facebook for WooCommerce to help them with lead generation.

This extension to their online store helps them connect with the right audience that’s interested in their products. The end result is a win-win scenario that helps both Singer, and potential customers.

Singer Australia is a good example of segregated use of technologies across a single, large company. It also demonstrates well incisive use of WooCommerce, rather than an across-the-board, one-size-fits-all solution.

2. All Blacks

WooCommerce Example - Adidas All Blacks Shop

Category: Sports Merchandise

While not everyone is a rugby fan, there won’t be many fans of the game who won’t recognize this team. The All Black are practically a household name in the sport, thanks to their unique pregame haka performances and stunning win record.

Yet even sports teams need financial support and their merch store online is one way of getting it. They use an extensive combination of WooCommerce technologies for the store including MailChimp, Windcave, Anti-Fraud, and more.

The All blacks merch store is a good example of using WooCommerce for a full traditional online store. It’s straightforward and demonstrates how WooCommerce can be a single-stop solution.

3. Cosmos Magazine

Cosmos - WooCommerce Example

Category: Digital Subscriptions

To diversify a bit, Cosmos Magazine is an excellent use-case where publications sell subscriptions digitally using WooCommerce. Cosmos is issued quarterly and a very good example of a digital form of traditional publication.

Tradition hasn;t kept them back though, and using WooCommerce, they are able to vastly extend reach. The WooCommerce plugins used by Cosmos are also very telling, including MailChimp that can help them stay in closer touch with subscribers.

The selection of Cosmos as one of our success stories is meant to demonstrate how well non-physical products can be sold via WooCommerce. For this case, even the extensions used are impressively relevant.

Popular Alternatives to WooCommerce

If everything we’ve covered in this article sounds a bit overwhelming, that’s simply the nature of using a DIY-oriented web application. There are many moving parts to consider. 

For those who are seeking more convenient alternatives to WooCommerce, many popular ones do exist, especially in the SaaS space.

Shopify

Shopify is perhaps one of the best WooCommerce alternatives in the market. Like WooCommerce, it’s meant for the creation of online stores and offers many similar benefits. The key difference is that Shopify is SaaS.

This means you don’t actually need to do anything except use a visual editor to customize your shop. Almost everything else is taken care of for you – from hosting to application maintenance.

To learn more, read our complete Shopify review.

Squarespace

In a similar way to Shopify, Squarespace looks towards the consumer market for eCommerce stores. This means it’s easy enough for relative newbies to use and manage. Of course, many of the necessary tools are provided by Squarespace to make things simpler.

Here again you won’t need to worry about anything except putting together and running your store. Squarespace also includes a support team that can answer all your questions on demand. It’s similar to a concierge service.

Discover more about this eCommerce site builder in our detailed Squarespace review.

BigCommerce

If you’re looking to pay witht he big boys, BigCommerce has options that can do that. This major player in the eCommerce site building industry has separate services for small and large players – well into the enterprise scale.

While it may not be as user-friendly as Shpify or Squarespace, BigCommerce is massive in features and customizability. It plays well with other major eCommerce platforms and you can do cross syncs as well.

See our complete BigCommerce review to learn the ins and outs of this platform.

Conclusion: Is WooCommerce Right for You? 

As you can see, the case for using WooCommerce is a strong one. However, it does require a fair amount of initiative and time to build your eCommerce store with. There is also the consideration of TCO to consider, since the zero cost of WooCommerce can be deceptive.

The post WooCommerce Review appeared first on WHSR.



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Achieving Peace of Mind as an Email Marketer with Monica Hoyer

Hitting the send button is stressful.

How can you be certain that you didn’t overlook a typo? Or that your design will display the way you want it to for your entire audience?

Email mistakes can happen to everyone — from solopreneurs to massive Fortune 500 companies. And a mistake can cost you tens, hundreds, or thousands, of dollars.

The solution? Run email marketing quality checks. A streamlined quality checking and testing process can give you peace of mind. 

And having a tool like Email on Acid can help. That’s why we spoke to Email on Acid’s Director of Marketing — Monica Hoyer — on The FWD: Thinking Show about email testing best practices, quality checking, accessibility, and so much more. 

Listen to the episode now.

Why should I quality check my emails?

Email marketing quality checking is one of the most important parts of the email marketing process.

No one is immune to mistakes. After all, we're all human. And even if you have a team of people reviewing and checking every single email that goes out your door, a mistake or two is bound to happen every now and then.

And checking emails is more than checking for typos. You want to be checking for accessibility and ensuring that your emails won't go to the spam folder, either.

Why is email accessibility so important?

Email is personal. And if you don’t understand any limitations your audience has, you’re missing out on an important personal touch. 

Plus, Monica shares that if you’re not optimizing your email content for your entire audience, then you’re missing out on part of your profits.

That's why email accessibility is so important. And why you should do an email accessibility check before every email you send.

What should be part of an email accessibility check? First, make sure you have alt text on every image so that emails read on a home speaker or with screen readers can be read properly. You want to make sure your audience is interpreting your emails the way you intend to, whether they're reading your email or having your email read to them.

Plus, if you have visually impaired subscribers in your audience, then incorrect or inaccessible color ratios can make it very difficult for them to read. 

Don't alienate part of your audience with inaccessible emails. Make sure everyone who signs up for your emails can access them. Not only will you build trust among your entire audience, you're creating deeper personal connections, too.

Related: Learn more about email design with Really Good Email’s Matthew Smith

Trends in email marketing in 2021

Monica believes that personalization and segmentation will continue to be important in email marketing this year.

Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic led to companies sending essentially the same email to their audience. Monica notes that people grew tired of these emails, as they're typically one-to-many email sends.

It's time for email to become highly personal again, and treat email marketing like a one-to-one channel.

Finally, Monica believes that we'll see a resurgence of Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) in email marketing. BIMI requires authentication, but using it means that your brand's logo is attached to your email messages.

BIMI lets people quickly identify your brand, and have trust that you’re the real deal. If they can see right away that the logo matches the from name, they're more likely to open it and trust that it's from the right place.

About Monica Hoyer

With over 20+ years of experience in Email Marketing, Monica has worked at various email service providers and on the brand side. She leads the marketing team at Email on Acid and is well versed in all areas of digital marketing. In her free time, Monica enjoys spending time with her elementary school son and her dog, a beagle rescue.

Check out Email on Acid and follow Monica on Twitter.

Want even more awesome email marketing advice from the experts? Check out episodes you may have missed and start applying what you learn today!

The post Achieving Peace of Mind as an Email Marketer with Monica Hoyer appeared first on AWeber.



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