The BIGGEST B2B Content Marketing Mistakes (& How To Fix Them)

Content marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves creating interesting and helpful content (like blog posts, videos and podcasts) that attract clients to your business, gains you more website traffic and helps build a good foundation for a future relationship. B2B content marketing is exactly the same – except that your focus isn’t always to attract the end ‘consumer’, but rather, whoever is making the decisions on employing your services or products within a company.

There are some HUGE pitfalls I see companys fall into all the time – rendering their content marketing efforts completely useless.

Because I really want to stop cringing at the worst offenders, in this article I’ve highlighted the top mistakes AND the best ways to get it right.

Basic B2B Content Marketing Mistakes

b2b content marketing mistakes

Not selling to people

I’ve seen this time and time again and I can’t tell you how badly it holds businesses back. Yes, if you’re selling B2B, it can be seriously different to B2C. BUT – basic marketing principles don’t get thrown out of the window!

I’ve frequently seen content full of generic, beige material, that doesn’t target any individuals needs, and looks much like it was written to be just dull enough to be signed off by a committee of nervous-to-get-it-wrong people.

By not targetting a particular person, and speaking directly to them, you end up targetting nobody

And yes, this results in content that will produce exactly ZERO results.

At the end of the day, it will be real human beings deciding on whether to buy from your business – not a robot or one imaginary generic person.

Think about those decision makers that you’re selling to; what do they most want? A promotion? Bigger profits? Maybe they just want a professional to take it off their to do list?

Whatever it is, focus on the benefits that those real human beings want.

You can even be as direct as you like and use phrases like “Want to really impress your CEO at the next board meeting? Show him these stats”, or if you’re targetting further up possibly, “Want to bump your next quarter up by 30%? Here’s how.”.

Focus on what your target customer really wants from your company – what is that end goal they are looking for? What pain point are you addressing?

Tactics such as running deals with limited time availability, using messages that provoke an emotional response and tailoring messaging to suit your target market are all great ways to promote your business – and these don’t get thrown out simply because you’re B2B.

Using too many industry terms to try to sound smart

Eurgh. I hate this one.

We’re all guilty of it though – sometimes we get too wrapped up in the latest and greatest research in our industry and feel the need to share it with all of our clients. Or we simply use jargon forgetting that new leads will have no idea what we’re talking about, or worse, we think that it will make us sound more convincing – and smarter – than our competitors.

The truth is – that’s nonsense.

When you’re using B2B content marketing to promote your business, you should be trying your hardest to help your potential customers. And it doesn’t help to be bombarded with terms you don’t understand – in fact, it just confuses/bores people, making it more likely for a potential customer to go to another website that they CAN understand.

Afterall, are you really going to buy something that you have no understanding of? It’s unlikely.

Your job is to try and educate your clients with content marketing; not confuse them. Clients who feel informed will be able to make educated decisions and feel more reassured when working with you too.

Don’t confuse people with fancy terminology; impress them with helpful content and gain trust by being transparent about what you do. People buy from businesses they trust after all.

Not providing enough real information

Have you ever come across articles that claim to answer a question but when you read them – they don’t?

I have – and they’re a huge disappointment.

It’s not a great move if you’re hoping to gain clients from your content marketing efforts to write exciting headlines but not follow through.

And guess what?

Your article won’t appear on Google either.

Google favours useful information, using signals like the average time a person spent on your website as well as judging the overall content and links pointing to that page. If your content isn’t useful, it won’t gain links (because – who wants to point to a rubbish article?) and no one will spend much time reading it.

Moral of the story? Don’t waste your time writing rubbish articles.

Avoiding giving away your secrets

Content marketing is ultimately about helping your leads before they become customers. Part of helping those people, can be giving away some of your trade secrets.

Scary, I know.

It might seem counterintuitive to tell people how you do things – but honestly – if someone wants to do something themselves for free, they’ll find the information online somewhere whether you publish it or not.

However, for those who are looking to see if they can do it themselves – but then realise once reading about it that it’s rather more complex than they first thought – those are people you want on your website. Those are the people you can easily convince to become your next customer.

Not promoting your content

Great content on its own doesn’t often get picked up by Google and instantly placed in the top spot; yet there seems to be plenty of businesses out there who will simply post an article – and not do much else.

This is a HUGE waste of your time and effort.

It takes a lot of work to promote that content, get it in front of the right people and gain an initial reputation online. Writing and posting a high-quality article gets you about 20% of the way there – the next 80% of your effort should be in the promotion.

Whether you’re reaching out on email, promoting through social channels or posting on forums – promotion is one of the biggest things left out of day to day B2B content marketing that will let you down.

How to do B2B Content Marketing Well

b2b content marketing tips

Focus on pleasing your target market – no one else

As opposed to trying to please everyone with your content, which usually results in it being so neutral and boring that no one can face reading it, focus on talking directly to your target market. After all, if someone that isn’t from your target market is on your website, they’re not looking to buy from you anyway; so there’s no point in trying to please them.

A great way to speak well through your content to your target market is to imagine real-life conversations you’ve had with new leads and customers; what did they ask? What reassured them most? What really made their ears prick up? Being conversational and focussing on what those real-life customers liked is a powerful tool when it comes to writing your content.

If you have a sales department – this is the perfect time to call them in and find out exactly what their leads loved to hear (and what they hated too!).

Answer common client queries

Search engines are all about answering questions. So the best way to attract new leads?

Answer your leads’ most frequently asked questions.

Stop focussing on what you want them to know about your company and instead focus on simply answering the questions that they want to know about any company in your field (after all, they’re likely comparing your website to many competing companies!). It’s a great reason to be bold and do things like show your pricing, case studies and of course, use your blog to help answer questions that your leads struggle with.

Not only will that encourage leads to trust you and enquire on your website, but if you’ve written a well-constructed answer, it should encourage more leads to come to your website too.

Perform basic on-site SEO

Getting back to basics may seem boring, but without the foundations of good SEO, advanced tactics aren’t going to get you anywhere fast.

First thing’s first – if you take nothing else away from this article, take this away – edit your articles for SEO.

You can do this really easily by installing the Yoast plugin for free if you have a WordPress website; or you can sign up to the POP Content email list and get a completely free guide to help you if you don’t.

The important thing is to write your articles focussing them completely on helping your lead and answering their questions, followed by editing for a search engine, rather than writing for search engines to begin with.

Write for people. Edit for Google.

Do your research

Good B2B content marketing begins with a good plan.

Before you start writing up blog posts, it’s a good idea to research whether or not people will actually want to read them. Topic research is a hugely important factor here; and you can use more than Google Adwords Keyword Planner  to find out what your target market really want to know about.

Apart from researching online forums, drawing on previous sales meetings and the other free strategies you can use here, you can also use handy quick tools such as ‘Answer The Public‘. It’s an incredibly easy to use tool that works like a search engine to give you questions people commonly ask around the topic you enter in. Give it a go – it’s completely free so you’ve nothing to lose!

Follow up

Last, but certainly not least, is to follow up your content by keeping up to date with what’s going on. If people leave a comment or ask a question – answer it. Treat it like answering an enquiry – the faster you reply, the more likely you are to get the job.

Being reactive as well as proactive on your own blog, as well as social media, encourages people to interact with your brand and build a real relationship with it; which is incredibly important if you want to make more sales. Too many B2B companies forget this; but being personal and replying to emails, replying to comments and reacting is vital for your content marketing and your online brand in general.

Businesses want to work with providers who answer queries quickly and clearly; not silent providers who never respond to emails or calls. Your online reputation in comments and on social media is important, and people are watching!

Looking for more help with your B2B content marketing?

I’m Amy and I’m a content marketing consultant, well versed in SEO, blogging and website conversion. If you think you’d like some help with your B2B content marketing, simply get in touch and fire away with your questions. I’ll help in any way I can (no question is too small, so don’t be afraid to ask – I’m surprisingly approachable).

If you know of any other B2B content marketing tips, tricks (or mistakes) that you want to add, please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it!

Website Analysis: How To Do It Yourself & 5 Free Analysis Tools

Website analysis is seriously important if you want to have any success online. Whether you’re looking get your website higher in Google’s search results, or you want to find out which of your marketing efforts are worth investing more into, website analysis will help you save money, find better opportunities and most importantly – help you figure out what works (and what doesn’t) for your business.

You can read a million different articles on the best length in email subject lines, the best type of content to write on your blog, whether video is right for your business, how to use Twitter to draw in leads etc – but the truth is, although these will all be a helpful starter guide, unless you measure your results – you’ll never know if your tactics are working for your business.

After all – what works for one business, may not necessarily work for another.

So how do you find out what’s working for you?

Website Analysis Basics: What does it all mean?

website analysis terminology

Before we get into the free tools you can use to analyse your website, I thought we should go over some basics so you can make sure you get the most from your statistics.

Basic website statistics

Firstly, there’s some terminology you might come across when you’re performing your website analysis – and I’d love to let you know some basics of what they all mean.

Visits VS Unique Visitors

A common measurement you might see is the number of visits to your website. While it might seem that increasing your visits is key, each visit simply means every time anyone hits your website. So, for example, if the same person visits your website 5 times in one day, this counts as 5 visits. And if you don’t have your own I.P. address filtered, that means every time you visit your website you are skewing the statistics.

While monitoring visits can be interesting data, to see how useful or interested people may be in your content, often what’s more important is the number of unique visitors coming to your website. This simply indicates the number of individual computers (or devices) accessing your website, so is a much clearer indicator of the number of different people who are visiting your website.

Bounce Rate

Your “bounce rate” is simply the number of times people went to your website and clicked away without looking into another page.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; for example, if someone came to your website and called to make a booking rather than browsing, that ‘bounce’ was actually a lead becoming a customer. What’s important to note though, is if you have a high bounce rate, search engines can frown upon it, thinking your website isn’t as useful as others because people didn’t stick around.

Click Through Rate

Click through rate (aka CTR) is the number of times people clicked a particular link or advert vs how often people have saw that link or ad. For example, if 10 people saw your website appear in Google search results, and 2 of those people clicked on your link, you would have a click through rate of 20%.


The number of “impressions” is the number of times people have seen your advert or link appear. It’s a good indicator of how often your website is showing up in search results, and can also help diagnose bad metadata if no one is clicking through although you have a high number of impressions (see Click Through Rate).

Basic tracking tips

basic tips website analysis

To begin with, I’d encourage you to install some basic tracking to your website (see the tools below) but once you’ve done that, you might like to dig a little deeper and make sure your website data is showing you the true results you’re looking to find out.


A really interesting way to look into your data is to view your traffic by it’s ‘source’. The traffic source is simply where the person who visited your website clicked on your link from – it could be direct, where they’ve typed in your link into their address bar, or anything else from organic search results to a Facebook link. Whether it’s in real-time, or you’re looking at where your customers are coming from last month, looking by source can give you a good idea of which of your marketing efforts are paying off best.


It’s really important to filter your data – if you don’t, your results can be very skewed. Filtering is where you ‘filter out’ the data that is coming from sources you don’t want to track, usually such as your own computer, phone and possibly even other service providers, such as website developers. This is simply so you know the data you’re looking at is showing trends that your customers and website visitors are showing, rather than including all the data from you being on your own website.


Setting up goal tracking is an excellent way to track how well your website is performing and where it needs improvement. You can set up a ‘goal’ as a page or event on your website, for example, the ‘thank you’ page after someone has sent you an enquiry is an excellent goal to track. If you track goals over a period of time, you can later look at the data and clearly see which of your marketing efforts is paying off the most.

5 Free Website Analysis Tools

free tools for website analysis

Below I’ve picked out my favourite website analysis tools – and it gets even better. They’re all free!

Google Analytics

Google analytics is a great – and completely free – way to track a whole bunch of interesting data on your website. It includes things like the number of people visiting your website, bounce rate, goals and much, much more. You can easily install it by adding a short piece of code to your website once you sign up to the service. Check it out here.

If you’re working on getting higher in Google, you can also sync it up with Google Search Console, and find out some seriously interesting data, like which keywords you are showing up for and your average position in search.

Google Search Console

Google’s search console  (previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) is also completely free and can give you some amazing search data, as mentioned above. Not only this, but it can even tell you where there are ‘crawl errors’ on your website that it might be good to fix, and you can easily submit a sitemap there to improve your chances of being indexed on Google quickly.

Openlink Profiler

Another really important factor for SEO (search engine optimisation) is gaining good quality links (more on that here). A great way to track your progress, and even check out where competitors are getting their links, is to use Openlink Profiler. It will give you some pretty accurate data on the links pointing to your website and even how good those links are – because not all links are created equally!

Google PageSpeed Insights

Another way you can improve your website quite quickly, is to improve its usability and speed (also both strong factors affecting your SEO). A really quick way to test out your website is to simply enter in your url to the PageSpeed Insights tool, and it will not only give you a rating out of 100 for your website speed on mobile and desktop, but it will also tell you what you can do to improve it (such as reducing image sizes). More info on improving your page speed here.


When you’re trying to track your website for improvement’s in SEO, a great way to tell how you’re doing is to track the Domain Authority (which is basically the quality of your domain). Google ranks website’s with higher domain authorities more highly than others – it’s basically an indicator of how trustworthy and authoritative that website is in its industry.

A quick way you can tell how you’re doing, and how well your competitors are doing, is to install the Mozbar plugin. Again, it’s completely free, and it can quickly show you in search results who you’re up against.


Website analysis is incredibly important if you want succeed with any marketing campaigns that relate to your website – whether they start offline or on. Proper analysis can help you track what is working, what isn’t and help you improve your efforts so you can spend less and gain more customers from your efforts.

I hope you now feel prepared to take on a lot of website analysis yourself – and at very least, be able to see the true results of any marketing investments, tools or companies you employ.

Are there any website analysis tools you would have loved to see here too? Or any burning questions you still have? Simply leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help!

Digital Marketing Basics: The 3 Part Guide To Serious Success Online

Looking to learn some digital marketing basics for your business? Digital Marketing has become a front runner in promoting businesses and organisations online – let’s face it, the average person these days spends a great deal of their time online. And marketing online has huge advantages, in that it can be cheaper and faster than it ever has before.

There are some big drawbacks too – the competition is heavy and the goal posts are moved constantly. But if you can learn the digital marketing basics you’ll be much further ahead of the curve than most.

I’ve laid them bare here and I’d love to know what you think!


Digital Marketing Basics Part 1: Basic Terminology & Definitions

This section covers what digital marketing is – giving you an overview of the different types of digital marketing basics you might want to learn.


What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses any form of marketing you do online – from writing in a blog to posting on Facebook, it’s all digital marketing.

The Different Types of Digital Marketing

There are 9 different types of digital marketing you’ll find today – and they can all work well, depending on how you use them and what type of business you are running.

Here’s a quick run down of the basic digital marketing types you might have heard of:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation is a type of digital marketing that’s main goal is to gain traffic to a website through search engines. Tactics have changed over the years, as have the way search engine’s work, but fundamentally SEO companies will be aiming to get their clients website to ‘rank well’ for search terms that will provide their businesses valuable customers.

(Or the good ones will be, anyway.)

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

Pay per click advertising is a type of digital marketing that aims to get traffic to your website, much like SEO, but instead using paid methods. It can be a much faster but more costly method of driving traffic to your website – but can reap serious rewards, especially for a new website.

You have options such as paid search engine ads, but also ads on Facebook, sponsored content on news websites and even banner advertising on other websites (where you can appear in a clickable image on another person’s website).

Public Relations

PR isn’t only a type of digital marketing, but it’s growing to be an ever more important component of any good digital marketing strategy.

Luckily, you can do a lot of your own PR online these days.

The main goal of PR is usually to achieve exposure for your website and business. It could be anything from featuring in a news article online to featuring in a podcast or at an event. The great thing about PR is not only the exposure it can bring, but the reputation that can come with it if you do it well. Reputation can be incredibly important to a lot of marketing strategies, especially online.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing can do multiple things for your business, depending on your tactics and investment, but the main goals tend to be to increase awareness of your business, attract new customers and increase the loyalty of your current customer base. It can involve anything from chatting to people on Twitter to posting videos on Facebook and more. It also ties into a few other digital marketing strategies well too.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a combination of SEO, Social Media Marketing & PR; it most often involves attracting traffic to your website using a blog.

The main principles of content marketing are to produce content that first and foremost serves your audience (i.e. your target market) and works to attract target customers to your website and business. It’s incredibly powerful and is insanely good at attracting new customers – but it is also a long-term approach, so don’t expect to see results immediately.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves working with bloggers and influential people in your industry to attract more customers. It’s a clever way of getting more people to help promote your business, without direct, upfront costs. Instead of paying salespeople to bring you leads, you can offer influencers a cut of any profits on sales that you make through them.

Often affiliates will review your products or services and have a link you can track which leads by to your website. Then, if any sale is made through that link, you’ll know that lead came from them and can pay them accordingly.

If you’d like to work on affiliate marketing, you’ll need to be very careful with how you track your sales and ensure all your terms and conditions are properly laid out to avoid being taken advantage of and to ensure you know what to pay any affiliates.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing aims to promote your business quickly and to a huge amount of people; often it’s hard to directly incorporate your products or services into a viral campaign, but if you can include your brand and do something incredibly unique, viral marketing can be a seriously effective way to increase exposure to your business.

Viral marketing campaigns may be anything from an event, a video or even a photo – whatever it takes to get shared and viewed a considerable amount online!

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing, except instead of cutting your profits later, you pay an influencer directly to review/use/wear your product or service. It’s as simple as paying Britney Spears to wear your sunglasses – the idea being that her fans would likely be encouraged to do the same. You can do it on a much smaller scale though and ask an influencer in your industry how much it might be for them to use your service and mention it on their website.

Digital/Online/Website Marketing

These are “cover all” terms that can be used for any and all of the above; if you see an agency offering these services, it simply means that they offer one or many of the services mentioned above. When trying to decide which agency is right for your business, remember to dig a little deeper and ask them which type of digital marketing methods they use – so you can get an idea of what results you could expect.


Digital Marketing Basics Part 2: Fundamental Goals & Mind Shifts

The fundamentals might sound boring – but without these mind shifts, you could seriously struggle to get anywhere with your online marketing – no matter how many books or guides you read on digital marketing basics.


The Fundamentals Behind Digital Marketing Basics

Before I go any deeper into digital marketing basics in general, I thought it was incredibly important that you at least get an understanding of the fundamentals behind any form of digital marketing that you do, or marketing in general in this day and age. Without understanding the reasons behind the methods we choose, it can be seriously hard to know when you’re doing to right thing and when you’re completely off track.

Whether you’re marketing online or off,  it’s important to be realistic with yourself and ensure you give your target market a positive experience. Give them a reason to come to your website. Give them a reason to buy from you. Give them a reason to come back.

Focus on them above all, and you’ll be much more successful than a majority of businesses out there.

Wherever you’re marketing, on your website, on social media, in a news article, remember to ask yourself “why”.

Always be reviewing your efforts and asking yourself “why” would someone who’s never met you (as is often the case online), do what you’re asking them to do?

Whether it’s read an article, sign up to your email list, click on your link over others in search engine results – if you can get down to the “why” and answer it, you’re on a good track.

Secondly – always be thinking in terms of what your customers want over what you want.

The old “the customers always right” saying can be true – as long as you’re focussing on the customers you really want. Your business isn’t about you; it’s about them. Ultimately, they’ll make or break your business.

That doesn’t mean you need to give all your products away for free. But it means when you’re deciding on your message, deciding the content you should write, deciding on what to pitch to a journalist – think in terms of what your customer wants to see. What they most want to find out – and what their other options are when they’re looking for similar content. You need to make sure your marketing is the best option for your target customer – and that it’s really obvious to them.

Now that I’ve covered these important fundamental digital marketing basics – we can move onto the fun stuff!


Digital Marketing Basics Part 3: Important Basic Tactics

I thought it was important that you learn some digital marketing basics that could get you off your feet and going today – so here’s some interesting tips and tactics you might like to learn.


Social Media Basics

Social media can be a complete minefield – but when you’re starting out, there are a couple of things I’d recommend:

  • Focus on one type of social media at a time (i.e. Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn etc). Trying to focus on too many at once usually means you’ll spread your efforts too thinly, get overwhelmed with trying to manage it all, and end up not being successful on any (and kind of falling out of love with the whole thing).
  • Focus on getting really good results from just that platform – test out different kinds of content and see what gets you the best results from that platform – and don’t move onto trying the next until you’ve seen some great results.
  • Use the 80/20 rule – 80% of what you do on social media should be entirely focussed on delivering value to your audience in some way – whether it’s sharing interesting guides, or entertaining videos, it should be entirely non-promotional. Only 20% of the time should your social media posts be promotional. You’re unlikely to ever attract a good number of customers if you’re just an online advert – no one wants to follow an online advert.
  • Be social. It surprises me still how many businesses get onto social media and simply blast out messages without getting involved in conversation. The best way to build up your customer base is to listen to their needs and to build better relationships with them – which starts by talking to them in the first place. Any chance you get to personally connect with your target market, you should grab with both hands!

For more information on social media marketing, here’s a collection of 54 expert social media tactics.

Content Basics

When you’re creating content, whether it’s your sales page on your website or a blog article, remember to focus in on what your customer wants (as mentioned in the fundamentals).

Here’s a few tips on ensuring you create some good content that will help your digital marketing efforts:

  • Deliver real value – focus on delivering value to your customers, whether you think they’ll find your content funny, interesting or educational – it needs to be something worth their time reading. If it’s not – don’t put it online.
  • Edit for search engines – although Google has made huge strides, it still is not a real human – it uses calculations to figure out what your content is about. If you’re hoping to rank well for “dog groomer Glasgow”, make sure those words are in your content, in your URL and in your page title at very least. To find out what else you can do to edit your content for SEO, you can claim your free guide here.
  • Calls to action – whatever you do, don’t forget to add a call to action to your content. It might seem obvious, but simply highlighting either “buy now” or “sign up”, will result in more people taking that action.
  • Don’t be bland – if you get too wrapped up in trying to please everyone, your content will likely end up being really bland – which usually results in attracting no one. Be yourself, give your content personality, and you’re much more likely to attract people to it.
  • Keep a clear goal in mind – without a focused goal for your content it can be really hard to achieve anything; so before you write your content ask yourself who it’s for and what you want them to do. That way, if you run into any hard decisions later, you can simply ask yourself if it’s in line with that goal – if it’s not, it’s out.
  • Don’t panic about grammar, spelling or not being a good writer. Firstly, when people read on the internet, they’re not looking for essay perfect writing (unless they’re employing you to write legal contracts). Instead, focus on writing how you might talk. It can help to attract more readers – and puts less pressure on you panicking about getting it wrong. Don’t forget – all writers make mistakes – one minor grammar error in a published article will be much more effective at drawing in customers than not publishing any articles at all.
  • Also – here’s an amazing secretweapon that will save you loads of editing time Grammarly is a quick and easy tool you can use to edit your work, not just for spelling but for grammar too, and it will even help to suggest different words or sayings that might sound better. Plus – it’s free, so you’ve not got anything to lose!

For more information on how to create great content, here’s a 30 tip guide on how to write a good blog post. 

Link Building Basics

Building links is seriously important if you want to rank well in search engines. You have to be careful though – building the wrong links can result in damaging your sites chances at getting traffic.

Here’s a few basics you’ll want to know about building links to your website:

  • “Backlinks” are the most important links your website needs – a backlink is simply any link that points to your website from another website
  • There are 2 types of backlink; “no follow” and “follow”. “No follow” links basically pass on no SEO value; these will be from sites such as Facebook as well as links in comments you leave on other websites. Follow links pass on SEO value – but not all are created equally.
  • Domain Authority is incredibly important – the most effective backlink you can get will be from a website that has a high “domain authority”. You can check the domain authority using free tools like the Mozbar.
  • Industry links are very important too – although domain authority is important, having links from related website’s in your field is also a really strong signal to Google that your website is authoritative in that field – and can result in a serious boost in traffic.
  • Remember to keep in mind the website owners own goals and needs when reaching out for backlinks – what’s in it for them? If you can offer something they want in return for the link, you’re much more likely to get one.

Here’s a guide on how to increase the number of backlinks to your website.

Conversion Optimisation Basics

Conversion optimisation is about making your website the best it can be at “converting” website visitors into sales and leads for your business (or achieving whatever other goal you set out for your site).

When you’re trying to optimise your website for more sales you should focus on the following:

  • Simple, clear first impressions – your website needs to very quickly convey to a new visitor what you do and more importantly – how it benefits them. You have about 15 seconds or less to convince a visitor to stick around on your website; so make sure they can quickly tell if your website is right for them. Cut out any industry terminology that will baffle a customer and cut to the simple stuff on your home page.
  • Benefits before features – similar to what I’ve said above, highlight the benefits before the features of your products or services. Try to paint a picture of the end goal people will get when they buy from your business – for example, if you were selling diet pills, you’d highlight the future thinner, successful “them” in your content and imagery – not the multiple organic, scientific chemicals that will get them there. That can come later.
  • Evidence & trust – you need to build someone’s trust in your business before they’ll hand you any details over, nevermind money. And this is true especially online. You can do this by showing certifications, but also highlighting reviews and testimonials from real people – and even adding video of your business to show another level of authenticity.
  • Simplicity – you need to make it as simple as possible for people to contact you, leave their email address or whatever else you’re looking to do online. The easier you make the process of getting in touch, the more people you will reach. Don’t add too many form fields, and give people the option to email or call at least so they can pick the contact method that suits them best.
  • Addressing objections and concerns – what are the common objections or concerns people have about your product or service? Try to highlight these and address these queries in your content. For example, if people are too nervous to pay online – can you offer a different payment method? If people aren’t sure if your product will fit them – can you offer free returns? Addressing these kinds of concerns in your content can seriously help increase your conversion rates.

Sign up to the POP content email list for more on conversion optimisation (and more digital marketing basics) – there’ll be a post on this one out soon!

It’s incredibly important that you know some digital marketing basics before trying to tackle marketing online for your own business. If you have any questions that weren’t covered in this guide – or if you’d like more detail on something that isn’t covered – I’d love to hear from you. Either send me a question through the POP Content contact form here or leave a comment below.

I hope I’ve helped you learn the digital marketing basics – and good luck with all your future marketing efforts.

How to instantly connect with your target market: The story of my worst day & near nervous breakdown

Want to know how to connect with your target market, online, offline and in person?

Whether you’re writing on your website to draw in customers, or to spread a message – to achieve your goal you must be able to make a real connection with people. People buy from people – and people remember stories.

This isn’t an article about storytelling, though.

Why you need to make a real connection

It’s incredibly hard to make a genuine, real connection with someone over the internet – after all, the content on your website is likely a one-way street. You’re talking to your visitors, but it’s a talk from you – it’s like they’re in an audience, listening to your speech and they can walk out at any time. There’s not much of a conversation going on – yet.

The best way to achieve your goals is to get your audience to know, like and trust you – whether your goal is to grow your business or increase awareness for a cause – people have to know, like and trust you in order to buy from you or listen to your message. It’s the reason why celebrities get such big advertising deals – so many people know, like and trust their opinion that if they make a recommendation on a product, it will sell – and it will sell well.

How to become known, liked and trusted

Think about the people in your life that already know, like and trust you.

I’m guessing there will be a common theme going on – they’re people you know well and have a good relationship with, aren’t they?

The major key to becoming known, liked and trusted – and becoming successful online – is to develop a real relationship with your audience.

There are a huge number of ways you can do this (from going out and speaking to people on social media, getting involved in conversations on relevant forums and speaking at events to name a few) but I’m hoping to go a little deeper into what you need to say to them, rather than where you need to say it.

The first step is to build trust – you must do everything in your power to help people understand you are a trustworthy business, a trustworthy website and a trustworthy person. They won’t want to listen to what you have to say, and sometimes won’t even click onto your site if it doesn’t look trustworthy.

So how do you begin to build trust?

It’s shockingly simple. Be vulnerable.

If you want to find a way to develop a real connection with your audience, the most powerful way to do it, is to tell a true story about your life where things didn’t go well. Where you went through a bad patch. Where you didn’t meet expectations.

Sound weird? I’ll explain.

People like to find common ground with other people – it makes us feel closer and makes us trust the other person more when we’ve been through a similar experience. The other thing about people is – no one’s perfect. We’ve all been through bad times in our lives, where we were filled with self-doubt, were embarrassed or ashamed – it’s part of being human.

Using your worst days as your best content

If you’re willing to be vulnerable and tell your story, good and bad, people will be drawn to your refreshing honesty, and they’ll be much more likely to reach out and share their story with you. We’re programmed to empathise with people going through a similar situation (trust me, I used to be a neuroscientist).

Ultimately, if you can open up enough that they feel comfortable, and maybe even compelled, to reach out to you, you’ll become the top choice for that person when they come to decide which business in your industry to work with. And it’s for a simple reason – they will trust you more than others that they don’t know – that they have no relationship with.

My worst day

I know it’s hard to open up and be honest about failings – so I’m going to encourage you to do it by sharing a story with you about when I was my own worst enemy, and how I changed my mindset and overcame it.

When I was 17, I went through a particularly rough time – my parents had divorced, and I was really insecure and had even developed an eating disorder. I felt completely lost and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. That was when I went to my school counselor and asked for help.

I started going to a therapist, and each week I’d go in – sunny and smiling, because unlike what many people assume, if you’re truly depressed and broken, more often than not you try harder than anything to hide it from others with a big smile – and each week she’d have me in tears within 5 minutes. It didn’t take much to scratch the surface and see the true pain I was in.

One day she said something that entirely changed my view – and ultimately, my life.

She asked me, “Amy, who’s someone in your life that you look up to, that you respect and admire?”

And I replied, “My big brother. He’s charismatic and smart and always knows just what to say.”

She then asked, “So tell me – if he failed an exam, if he got fired, if his girlfriend broke up with him – what would you say to him?”

Of course, I replied, “I would tell him not to worry, that he was amazing and smart and that he should try again because I know he can fix all of those things.”

Surprised, she replied, “So you wouldn’t be ashamed of him, and tell him he was ugly, he was stupid, and it was all his fault?”

“Absolutely not!”

“So then tell me – why do you don’t you do the same for yourself?

It shocked me – but it was so true. We are so willing to be our harshest critics – when we should be our biggest supporters. From then on, I’ve tried my best to remember this and stop thinking “You can’t do this, you’re too stupid/ugly/fat” and instead decided to replace it with, “You ‘re incredible, and you’ll never know what you could achieve if you don’t try. What’s the worst that could happen after all?”

And guess what?

It works.

I was courageous and went for what I wanted – and now I’ve done some amazing things like modelling, being on podcasts, writing for big websites and even starting my own business.

If I can leave you with any piece of advice from this entire website, it would be this:

You are much more amazing than you give yourself credit for. If you want to do something, just go for it, because you can do it. Don’t let anyone ever tell you, “you can’t” – especially not yourself.

An incredible, inspiring TED Talk every human should watch

Finally, if you want to find out more about the power of being vulnerable – just watch this incredible TED talk video with Brené Brown (it’ll be one of the most fascinating 20 minutes of your life!):

If you have any questions or comments – please just let me know below. And feel free to share this with anyone you think it might help.

And have a wonderful day, whoever you are, wherever you might be.

How to write a blog post that doesn’t suck: 30 Tip Guide

I’ll be straight with you – I see a lot of rubbish blog posts online. Even when I’m reading work from supposed ‘copywriters’ – I’m surprised they can convince anyone to hire them half the time. So I thought I’d do what I always do here at POP Content, and write a guide to help people who are nervous to write – and don’t want to waste their time writing rubbish – learn how to write a blog post that doesn’t suck.

(Hint: Skip to the end or bookmark if you want to know my top free tools to help you write better blog posts!)


1. Put your audience first

If you’re wanting to learn how to write a blog post it’s likely either that you’re wanting to attract more business or that you’re looking to create your dream blog all about you.

The harsh truth?

No one cares about your business or your blog.

It’s your job to make them care.

You do this by focusing on your ideal audience’s needs over anything else. What content do they like? What questions do they want answered?

It’s your job to know your target audience well – and understand their pain points. Once you know what content they’re looking for and what questions they want answers to, you’ll be well placed to know what to write about.

If you focus on your audience’s needs before your own, you’ll naturally attract leads and followers because they’ll be interested in your content.


2. Start with a question, answer the question, then sum it up well.

Answering a question with a blog post is my favourite way to attract new leads and sales to my business. It’s simple really – when people are searching on the internet, they’re searching for answers. If you provide the best answer in your industry, not only will you get more traffic to your website – but you’ll become a buyer’s top choice because you’ll be seen as the industry expert.

It’s incredibly easy to find popular questions to write about in your industry – you can check out my top tips here.

Then, make sure you start your blog by telling people what question you’re covering (this gives them reassurance that they’ve clicked through to the right place), answer the question in detail in the main body, then sum up your main points and takeaways in the conclusion.

Some people are known to jump straight down to the conclusion to double check the article’s worth reading – so make sure you sum things up clearly!


3. Do your research

Once you’ve decided what to write about – Do. Your. Research.

You need to know what the competition is if you’re going to have any chance of beating it.

When you do a search for the question you’re answering with your article, check the top results, at least the first three.

Read the articles – can you write one better?

If you don’t think you can (and make sure you read this whole guide before you think not!), you might want to consider either changing the article subject or going more specific than previous articles.

For example, if you were planning to write about “how to buy a car”, but you found the competition was too heavy, you could instead change things up and write about “how to choose your first car”, and write on that more specific angle.

It’s also a good idea to do some keyword research – you can find out monthly search volume using a tool like Google Keyword Planner.


4. Add value

When you write your article, are you truly helping your audience in some way?

Whatever you do, don’t write an article on a subject, then dance around the answer.

Answer it. Answer it well.

If you don’t, not only will you not appear in search engine rankings, you run the risk of annoying people with your content. That makes them much less likely to ever come back.

Whether your article is useful, educational or entertaining – make sure it’s really adding value in some way to those who read it.


5. Deliver what your title promises

Have you ever clicked on a link and realised it’s nothing to do with what you were looking for?

It’s seriously annoying.

And that’s not all.

Google uses information such as ‘bounces’ (when someone clicks onto your site and leaves before going anywhere else) to decide on where a website will rank in search engine results.

So not only will you annoy people with your content if you don’t deliver on what your title says – you’ll fall down in search rankings which means much less traffic for your website.


6. Don’t write for search engines

Getting traffic is really important for the success of your blog – and your business. But writing solely for a search engine is a terrible way to actually get traffic from a search engine.

Confusing? I’ll explain.

There are absolutely loads of ‘ranking factors’ Google tests to see where your blog post should rank in search results. Links are really important – and so is the content.

You could write solely for search engine purposes, make your keywords an optimum level, make your URL a keyword and make all your meta data full of keywords (you can check out my free traffic guide to find out what you can do to write for search engines).

However, if you have this sole goal in mind, your content won’t read well and guess what? It won’t rank well either.


One of the biggest factors that will affect your ranking is how people behave when they arrive at the page through a search engine. Google will test how long someone’s on a page, whether they move elsewhere on the website or if they click on then click away.

Ultimately, if you give people a bad experience – search engines will follow suit and will bump you down the rankings.

So what should you do?

If you want to know how to write a blog post that will rank well in search – simply write your article answering a question, make sure it’s really good – then simply ‘tweak’ the article for search engines.

You can use a plugin like Yoast to really easily tweak your content or follow my free guide if you don’t have WordPress, or don’t want to use the plugin.

Always write for people first – edit for search engines after.


7. Use headings and subheadings

It’s good practice to use headings and subheadings in any article. Not only does it help people get a quick understanding of what the upcoming content is about, it also helps people who ‘skim’ to scroll to only the points that interest them most.

If you just have huge paragraphs of text with no headings to break down each section, it’s not only daunting, but people who might have been interested in a section won’t bother to skim to find it – and then you’ll lose a potential new reader – or customer!

Having a few subheadings containing your keyword can also help SEO – so don’t miss this one out.


8. Use bullet points

Bullet points can really help people focus their attention – their design makes it easier to read and absorb important points.

Especially if you have just written a large block of text – often people will skim down to the bullet points, and if they read something interesting they’ll go back and read the paragraph.

Because of this, it’s a great way to sum up a section of text and draw attention to the points that are most important.


9. Write for dual readership

Not every reader is the same

Writing for dual readership is really important – there tend to be two different types of readers:

  1. Reader
  2. Skimmer

It might depend on what you’re writing about, but a lot of people will simply skim your article before deciding whether or not to actually read it.

Again, it’s important to tailor your article to suit both readers.

Write your article assuming the reader will read it all. Then, go back through your writing and embolden sections that are important to highlight for a skimmer.

By doing this, you’ll make the article much easier to skim – and you’re much more likely to get a skimmer to become a reader!


10. Keep people engaged using “bucket brigades”

Bucket brigades are a copywriting secret that you will love (I hope!).

If you want to know how to write a blog post that keeps people reading – this is the one to focus on. Basically, when people see large sections of text, it can be seriously off-putting. It’s an effort to read. But if you break up your text with “bucket brigades” it can make your writing much more enjoyable to read – and easier to take in.

So, what are they?

Well, they are small sections of text that keep readers engaged. They sit on their own – just like my ‘So what are they?’ sentence above, and keep readers interested in what you’re writing so they don’t wander off and start reading something else.

Here are a few examples you can use yourself:

As if that’s not enough…
But wait, there’s more.
Good news!
Here’s why.
Think about it.
But that’s just part of the story…
What does this mean for you?

Why’s it important to keep people engaged?

It’s simple really; firstly, if you have a strong message or need to prove you’re an authority in your space – you need to keep people reading to prove it. Secondly – the longer people stay on your page, and ultimately your website, the better your SEO rankings will be. It’s a sign that people like your website, which is why Google will bump it up the rankings.


11. Write an awesome headline

This is incredibly important. If you don’t write a good headline, no matter how good the content is, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get people to read it.

Here are a couple of tips you can do to write a more “clickable” headline:

  • Be concise – in search engines, the reader will likely only get to see up to 70 characters of your title. So make sure you let the reader know what you offer on your page – fast!
  • Write for a human – it can be tempting to just add a keyword as a title and not much else; and while it’s great if you can have your keyword in the title, make sure you focus first and foremost on writing the title so it’s attractive to click on. After all, even if something ranks highly to begin with, if it’s not clicked on, it will quickly drop back down in the rankings.
  • Check out the competition – search for the keyword you’re hoping to optimise for and check out your competition. The top results should give you an indication of what value those searchers are looking for. Don’t copy what other people have done – but if you find similarities, try to make sure you highlight those things in your title.
  • Use numbers – numbers can be an attractive way to quickly convey ‘value’ to searchers. For example, if you have “Guide to e-commerce” or “38 step guide to e-commerce” the second is more likely to get clicked. It’s simply because people can quickly tell if it’s worth their time reading it – they know it’s more likely to deliver what they’re looking for. It has what’s known as a higher “perceived value”.
  • Try this tool out – Hubspot offer this really great tool that can help you with some great potential blog post ideas – by giving you the title to begin with! It’s a great tool for titles, and for when you’ve no idea what to write about.


12. Cut down on fluff

It can be tempting to write a lot of content for the sake of looking knowledgeable and driving more traffic to your website – Google loves long-form content after all (more on that later).

But honestly, you don’t want to do this.

Ultimately you’ll rank well and drive more traffic to your website if you write something really useful – and often the more concise and useful article wins. People want the information, and they want it as fast as possible. If they have to trudge through large blocks of useless text to find it – they’re much more likely to move onto a different web page.

Writing long-form content is a great idea – but DO NOT fill your article with useless information and filler – this will only damage your chances at having a successful article.

I like to write out my full blog, then come back a few hours later and cut out or cut down whatever feels not completely necessary.


13. Break up big blocks of text

Whether you use bullet points, headings or imagery, please ensure you break up your text. When you click through to a page online and all you see is large blocks of text – it can be intimidating and off-putting to the reader.

Unlike writing proper essays for school, people prefer to read very short sections of text, rather than large paragraphs.

Don’t lose your readers with a bad first impression!


14. Use good imagery to help illustrate your points

Imagery isn’t just a great way to break up text – it can also be an incredible way to illustrate your points better.

Sometimes an image can replace a whole paragraph of text, which is pretty powerful when you’re trying to cut to the chase quickly.

They’re especially useful for holding people’s interest and illustrating steps if you write a guide – check out my guide on reducing site speed as an example.

Without the imagery of what I was doing in paint, it would have been much harder to explain to the reader how to alter images and what to expect when following my guide.


15. Focus on one goal at a time

Every blog post should have a goal; either to draw in more traffic to your website, get more email sign ups, or possibly convert potential leads into customers.

Don’t be tempted to spread yourself too thin though and aim for it all – focus on one single goal at a time and you’re much more likely to achieve it.

Focussing on appealing to too many people at once (e.g. a brand new browser on your website, a loyal reader and a very warm lead) will usually result in your article failing to reach any of them – simply because your competition’s websites out there have a different, specific article for each. And people are much more likely to perform an action when the content is tailored towards a single goal.


16. Include calls to action

If you want to know how to write a blog post that genuinely draws in leads – don’t forget to add calls to action.

Include calls to action in your copy – whether it’s asking for an email sign up, or commenting on the blog post – if you don’t ask, you won’t get!

My favourite CTA is to offer more great information, like a guide, in return for an email address – but only to those who read about 70% of my article.

Scroll down further and you’ll see the pop-up!

It’s really easy to set up, and seriously helps to increase your email list – I use Sumome if you fancy adding one yourself.


17. Don’t try to please everybody

focus on one goal at atime
Focusing on pleasing one type of customer or target at a time increases your chances of success

Similar to attempting to achieve too many goals at once – trying to please everyone with your content will usually result in pleasing no one.

Don’t sit on the fence, or worry too much about giving off the wrong impression; honestly, if you do this, what will happen is:

1. your content will be completely bland and boring, and

2. people will go elsewhere to read something that appeals and relates to them more.

No matter what you write, you won’t please everyone. Just accept it, and focus on pleasing the people most important to you – which I expect will be your ideal customers.

When writing your article, at each stage ask yourself “would they like this?”. Make sure it’s something your target market will love and you can’t go far wrong.


18. Once you finished – hold off on hitting publish

If there’s any one tip on how to write a blog post that separates the good from the mediocre – it’s this one.

It can be really tempting to write something up, and publish straight away – but this isn’t the best idea.

Even the best writers need to edit their work – so make sure you take the time to do so too.

So I can come to my writing with fresh eyes, I like to at least leave a few hours in between writing the last word of the first draft and editing my work. If possible, even leave it for a day.

The difference it can make to your final article can be incredible; so please avoid hitting publish sooner, just so you can breathe a sigh of relief!


19. Cut out distractions while you write

Whether it’s colleagues talking in the background, your phone or email alerts or even outside noise – try to find somewhere with little distraction when you write.

Not only will this make your writing better because you’ll be able to focus more easily; but you’ll be able to get a good article together faster too.

Turn off your email and phone, put in earphones and shut your office door. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can get done in just a few hours when there are no distractions.


20. Don’t be vague

Don’t be vague with your points – if you have something to advise, try to be as clear as possible. For example, with this guide, I could have said “writing a good headline can increase your clicks by a great deal, so invest time in writing a good one” and left it at that.

But guess what?

That would have left you feeling pretty disappointed – or I would be if it were me. Don’t skirt around the point – try to be as clear as possible and deliver real value to your readers. Make your point – then tell people how they can do it themselves.

If you don’t – they won’t stick around to read your stuff.


21. Back up your points with facts

If you want to know how to write a blog post that’s powerful and unforgettable – make sure you back up your points with facts.

Anyone can claim anything they like on the internet – and everyone knows it.

If you have something really important to get across backing up your claims with facts can be a really powerful way of ensuring your message gets across.

Link back to where you found the facts – this makes it really simple for your reader to figure out if you’re telling the truth and find out more too.


22. Write long-form content

Long-form content does much better on average in search engines than short-form – usually over 2000 words is best.

Don’t just take my word for it – check out these stats:


That’s right; the average top ranking search result is over 2,450 words long. 

Now before you think, “oh my dear God, there’s no way I can write that much”, you might want to consider tip 23.


23. Use a list format

Just like this very article, you can use a list format to write some really great lengthy articles that will help you rank well in search.

Not only does it make it easier to write long-form content, readers love list form articles – simply because it’s easier to skim through and read points that are relevant, and skip points that aren’t so relevant.

You might not even have to write anything new.

If you’ve written on a few different subjects in your blog already, but the articles are only 600-800 words long, consider combining the content into one long guide instead.

It could do much better than each individual post alone.


24. Write how you would talk

When you’re writing on the internet, there’s much less need to be formal.

In fact, people can often absorb your content more easily if you simply write how you would speak, rather than attempting to write everything in a formal essay format.

Not only do people find it easier to absorb the content this way – it’s easier for you to get them to know, like and trust you – which will ultimately help you bring in more customers using your content.


25. Don’t be bland – share your genuine opinion, even if some might disagree

Being bland and not taking a stand on anything can be one of the worst things you can do in your writing.

People love controversy – they like to read opinions, and yours is important.

Some of the most popular articles are ones that contain controversial opinions.

The other huge benefit is, you’ll be much more likely to attract like-minded people to your business, so even if you ruffle a few feathers, you’ll be more likely to gain more customers this way, whereas if you remained neutral on a subject, you’re unlikely to attract anyone.


26. Don’t let bad grammar hold you back

It’s true – grammar mistakes can come across as unprofessional.

But don’t let this hold you back – even the best writers out there make mistakes – I even see them on the BBC. If there are a couple of minor mistakes, but the general content is good, people won’t care anyway.

It’s much more important to focus on delivering good, useful material and to get it out to the masses than to waste a lot of precious time worrying that your grammar isn’t the best.

Super cool grammar tool:

This week my amazing friends from Steed Tailors told me about an amazing tool that can help out if you can’t stand the worry of publishing bad grammarGrammarly is an amazing tool you can use to edit all of your work, no matter whether it’s an email, report or blog post. It’s really quick and simple to use – and what’s more – it’s completely free!


27. Write about the things that you’re knowledgeable or passionate about

There’s not much point in writing about things that you don’t care about or aren’t interested in – it comes across in your writing.

So rather than focussing on writing about only things you think might sell, it’s worth exploring how you can tie things into what you’re really good at or really care about.

If you’re struggling to think of what to write about, why not jot down your interests and what you’re known to be knowledgeable in, and see where there might be overlap – that’s usually the kind of sweet spot that will bring out the best possible writing.


28. Be vulnerable


Being vulnerable may sound like a super weird tip – but it’s genuinely effective.

There’s so very much content out there on the internet – and it’s really hard to form a real connection with people through their computer screens (Hi, I’m Amy by the way).

So if you’re trying to write and reach out to people, how on earth do you do it?

It’s simple really; sharing a failure or bad experience in your life can help to break down barriers. If you’re open to being more vulnerable and admitting you’re not perfect – you become a lot more relatable. No one is perfect and if you try to pretend to be, it can make your writing seriously suspicious.

Starting an article with a personal story is also a really great way to draw in readers in general – people remember stories much more easily than just reams of facts.


29. Give the option of further reading

Adding relevant links throughout your article is really helpful to the reader – whether they’re links to more of your content or links to other websites, making it very simple for readers to find out more information is seriously helpful.

And if your content starts getting known as being really helpful – you’ll naturally start to see more people wanting to read it.


30. Measure your results

Measure your results!

Honestly, you can read and read advice on “how to write a blog post” til the cows come home, but the best way to learn what works – and what doesn’t – is to just go for it.

Put your best foot forward and have a go – just make sure you measure the results. Installing something like Google analytics is seriously easy, and completely free.

If you have it installed from the beginning, it’ll mean in a few months time you can look back at your website and be able to see which blog posts did well and which didn’t. Finding out what is and isn’t working is the best way to improve – keep doing more of the articles that work and ditch the styles that don’t.

Here’s a round-up of tools (which are all free!) from this great guide on how to write a blog post:

Hubspot – for better titles and blog ideas

Grammarly – for better grammar without an editor

Yoast – for simple SEO content editing

Google Analytics – for better measurement of article and website performance

Google Keyword Tool – for finding traffic volumes for keywords

Sumome – for collecting more emails and growing your email list

If you’d love to learn more about digital marketing and how you can use your blog to generate more leads for your business – simply sign up to our email list here and you’ll get a free guide to help you write your content for search engines, as well as fantastic weekly guides.

ask a question how to write a blog post

I hope you now feel confident that you know how to write a blog post – or at very least you know a lot of tips on how to write a blog post!

But if there’s anything you’re not sure about, or are any tips you’d love to share that you didn’t see here – please comment below and I’d be more than happy to help.


Best content marketing services: Which is right for you?

How do you choose the best content marketing services for your business?

I know what it’s like – there’s so many choices when it comes to online marketing it’s enough to make your head spin.

You’ve got SEO, PR, Social Media Marketing, “Digital Marketing” and Content Marketing services to choose from.

Once you’ve decided you want the best of all worlds, exposure and more leads – you settle on content marketing.

Drive lots of traffic to your website, and the right kind of traffic too – customers.

People searching for your services in Google are much more likely to become customers than someone who stumbles on your twitter account after all.

Choosing the right service is something that I’ve seen businesses really struggle with.

Making the wrong choice can ruin your chances at online success. And leave a bitter taste in your mouth about online marketing in general. No one want’s to plummet a whole heap of money into something that doesn’t work for them, after all.

So here’s a short guide on how to choose the best content marketing services for you.

You don’t have to read it all – skip down to the heading that suits you best & read on!


Best content marketing services for a solo-preneur

As a solo-preneur you’re up against some heavy competition, let’s be honest.

But the great thing is – with the right content marketing services – you can carve out a serious piece of success. You have the passion & expertise in your industry that often larger companies don’t have. Their marketing will be done by someone who is passionate about marketing, not your products and services.

The question is – do you have more time or money?

If you’re under a serious amount of pressure already – you’ll want to work with a content marketing consultant. They can help you figure out what time you do have to contribute to your content marketing and devise a plan of action from there. You can do a serious amount on your own in a relatively short weekly window, if you have it. However, a good consultant will also point you to the right completely outsourced service if you can’t face doing it all yourself.

As a solopreneur, you’re likely to be low on funds.

If that’s true for you, doing some weekly training with a content marketing consultant could massively benefit you. Spend the time learning how to do it yourself, which things will have the most impact on your business etc – and eventually you won’t even need the consultant to help. They’ll often do the technical research for you and help you edit your blogs, which makes you much more likely to succeed.

If weekly training doesn’t sound like it will suit – you can even check out courses in your area, or get a step by step content marketing plan you can follow in your own time.

More information on weekly content marketing guidance can be found here.


Best content marketing services for a small business

If you’re running a small team and juggling a lot of customers all at once – it can be really tough to figure out which content marketing service is right for you.

You’ve little time to invest, but also not a great deal of money either.

The thing is – getting a full service content marketing agency to take are of it all is seriously pricey. To be done correctly takes a huge amount of time weekly, not to mention knowledge and skill, so if you want to make any real dent in your progress through outsourcing – you’re talking about investing thousands per month.

If your local company is offering it for hundreds – run – fast.

You won’t see real results from it, so you’d be better saving that money to invest in something else.

If you have staff, however – you’re at an advantage.

Who in your staff is most knowledgeable about your product? Whether it’s yourself, or the latest intern – training is your best option.

Whether you choose to look at online courses, follow professional weekly guidance, or a custom content marketing plan for your website – hundreds invested in yourself or your staff will go so much further for you in the future. The return on your investment will be serious stuff and you’re also much more likely to succeed with your content marketing efforts.

After all – who cares more about your businesses success than you?

And when you do grow big enough that you need to outsource – you’ll even know what to look out for, and how to spot the scam artists quickly!


Best content marketing services for a medium business

If you’re running a medium sized company, with a decent team behind you, you likely have a couple of marketing personnel already working on your latest venture. So the question really is – should you outsource it all completely? Or can they be trained to sort it out for you?

In this situation, the biggest factor is going to be time.

Sit down and talk with your marketing team – realistically, how much time can they offer per week to your website? What kind of potential customers are there online for your market?

If they can offer between 2-6 hours or more weekly – weekly guidance and training from a content marketing consultant might suffice. With a view for them to eventually take on everything themselves, your marketing team could be personally trained on how to content market well for your business.

Not only is this a great motivational boost for them, ticking the box in personal development – but it means avoiding the heavy cost of fully outsourcing too.

Fully outsourcing your content marketing is going to make a serious dent in your bank account.

You’re talking a few thousand per month to see any results – it’s like hiring a new member of staff. However, if your marketing team isn’t confident with the online world and you’d just like it taken care of by a professional – it’s a completely legitimate option.

Get in touch with a few agencies and get an idea of cost. And more importantly – find out who knows what they’re talking about. Check out their blog and ask them some questions. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t always mean it’s going to work either.

Ask them for a realistic time scale on when you can expect more customers hitting your site – and what kind of keywords they would aim for and why.

Honestly – if it doesn’t cost at least a thousand per month to outsource – you’re hiring someone who has no idea what they’re doing.

You’d likely get more results out of going on the street and paying customers to come inside if it only costs a few hundred.


Best content marketing services for a large business

If you have a fairly large company the most likely thing is – you want it all taken care of.

This one’s a pretty simple recommendation – get it outsourced. The one thing you’ll want to ensure you do is to find an agency or consultant that wants to work closely with you or a member of your marketing team.

The reason is, it’s important that their marketing goals align with your business plans. To be able to perform your content marketing well, they need to know who your target market are, how your products or services help and more.

Find someone you can work closely with – and that’s open about how they get it all to work.

There are no “guarantees” in content marketing – so stay well away from anyone who offers them. Even if you worked for Google you couldn’t guarantee to rank for a keyword.

Ask them for time scales and information on their methods as well as a price – most expensive doesn’t always mean best unfortunately.

Expect them to be in contact frequently – content marketing works best when an expert is at the helm of your content. So expertise will be needed from you or a member of staff in order to bring in new customers through your website.

Here’s more information on fully outsourcing your content marketing.


Best content marketing services for charities and non-profits

If you’re running a charity or non-profit organisation – let’s face it – the budget can be tight.

You don’t want to waste your donated funds into something that’s not going to work.

If you have keen volunteers that are somewhat good at writing and website’s – get a custom content marketing plan they can follow. It’s the cheapest way to go about it, while achieving real results.

If you’re serious about gaining exposure online about your charity, drumming up more investment & getting more volunteers – you need to take your online marketing seriously.

That doesn’t mean you have to fork over thousands per month – but having someone on your team trained to do it for you could mean huge growth in the next 6 months.

Check out our custom content marketing plans for more information.

[We like to donate our time too. From time to time we offer free website reviews for non-profits – contact us to be added to our list.]


Best content marketing services for owners with no time

You’ve not got any time to be doing content marketing on your own – you’ve barely enough time to read this article.

In fact – let’s be honest – you’ve not read anything else and skipped straight here.

Let me be straight with you – content marketing takes a serious amount of time, skill and dedication. If you don’t have the time to invest in it – it’s going to be fine. But you’ll need to put your money where your mouth is.

Get on the bandwagon before it’s too late – content marketing is the only way to rank well in search engines these days.

Outsourcing is going to be your best option.

Search for content marketing agencies and content marketing consultants – send them off a quick email such as the following – happy for you to copy and paste:

Hello [Insert name here],

I’m looking for a content marketing service for my business [insert business name here]. You seem like you might be able to help.

I have a couple of questions for you:

  1. How long would you expect it to take before I was seeing traffic from content marketing?
  2. What kind of keywords would you recommend aiming for initially and why?
  3. What will you need from me?
  4. What methods do you employ?
  5. How much does it cost?

Thanks for any information,

[Your name here]

Firstly – take note of how long they take to respond. Obviously if it’s on a weekend, I wouldn’t expect an instant response, but if they take more than 1-2 working days, let’s be honest – they might have too much work on at the moment to focus on your business.

Secondly – are the cagey about how they work? This is a mega red flag. You do not want to work with anyone doing ‘black hat’ seo – this can permanently damage your website.

Does it sound too good to be true? It could be a scam. Especially if the offer guarantees. Not even Google themselves can offer guaranteed results.

Do they need your input? If they don’t – I’d be nervous. Honestly, I know you don’t have a lot of time – but in order to perform good marketing, they at very least need to know your product/service well (often more than what you’ve written on your website already) as well as knowing what your expectations and goals are with your website. How are they supposed to achieve them if they don’t know them?

Actual length of time, keywords etc are less important – it can depend entirely on your needs, budget and competition in your industry. But what you’re looking for here is someone who responds in a timely manner who seems like they know what they’re talking about.

Information on our content marketing outsourcing services here.


Best content marketing services for owners with little money to invest

You’re strapped for cash – but the only way to bring in more money is to get more customers. And the only way to get more customers? Investing in good marketing.

It’s a seriously tough position to be in.

If you know your market are mainly online and you want to attract more customers to your business – you’re going to have to invest in content marketing services. But you need to be extra smart about how you invest.

First things first – talk directly with a content marketing consultant. They’ll be able to tell you what is and isn’t feasible within your budget. A lot of it can be dependant on the competitiveness of your industry – so don’t expect the to give you hard numbers in one phone call.

If you think you have the time to put towards learning how to do it yourself (or getting an intern/family member on board that can help with about 2 – 6 hours work a week) a better idea than getting a fully outsourced service (that will cost thousands) is to get training in how to do it yourself.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s a whole lot to learn.

But you don’t have to learn it all – you just have to know enough so you can do it well for your business. There’s options like online courses, working with a content marketing consultant – or we offer something very unique. Weekly content marketing guidance.

Basically we can offer weekly guidance – such as what to write, how to write it for search engines, where to post it, how to promote it etc – tailored entirely around your business. The end result is that you’ll not only have a much better website after a few months – you’ll learn how to take it away and do it yourself.

Which is going to be a huge return on your investment.


Best content marketing services for owners who lack writing skills

You’d like to try out content marketing – but honestly, seeing a blank page gives you the chills.

“I’d never be able to write like that”

Whether it’s a worry about your spelling, grammar or just generally writing well enough to make people care – the best content marketing services will be able to help you.

Here’s the thing – you are one of the best placed people to write about your industry. You know your customers better than anyone else. You know your products/services better than anyone else. That makes you the best person to answer your customers questions. And guess what? Most of your success or failure in content marketing is going to depend on how well you answer your customers questions.

If your competitors do it better – they’ll get more customers. Simple.

Did you get a D in English? Maybe you failed?

Don’t panic – before you go an hire a copywriter, know this: people like to read articles written by people.

Just in the way they talk. Your customers aren’t looking for a word perfect essay – they’re looking for someone who knows about your area of expertise to help them.

The best thing for you to do is to work with a content marketing agency. Look out for services where you can be involved – and talk directly to a consultant if you can.

They’ll be able to either help you edit your blog to improve it, or point you in the direction of a full service where you can simply give someone else the answers so they can write them up in a more customer friendly manner.

It entirely depends on your level of skill, the time you have on a weekly basis and the progress you’re hoping to make online.

Get in touch with us today and we can point you to the best content marketing services for your situation.


Best content marketing services for owners who lack technical skills

If writing doesn’t put you off, but you just think you’re not clued in enough about how to write for the internet – don’t panic.

We all feel like that at first.

Read up on what it all involves – check out our blog for more information, or you can sign up to our email list to get a free guide on how to write technically for the search engines.

There’s a lot to learn – but it’s not impossible to do it on your own.

If you’re looking for the best content marketing services for your situation – I’d suggest either going for a training programme or working closely with a content marketing consultant. Blogging these days is getting easier and easier – if you can use Word, it’s not a huge leap to use something like WordPress to blog. And it could have a huge impact on your online marketing efforts.

We have a weekly content marketing service you might want to check out here.


I hope that was helpful – content marketing can require a great deal of time, cost and expertise. So it’s important to pick the best content marketing services for your business. If you have any questions at all, I’d love to know – just leave me  a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

How to rank higher on Google: the harsh truth

I’ll be straight with you – getting higher on Google (aka SEO) is not easy. That’s why SEO agencies have to charge thousands per month to give results. If your SEO agency isn’t charging thousands per month, honestly – they’re highly unlikely to be doing the right things. If you’re suddenly wondering why we don’t charge thousands per month – we would if you asked us to implement everything. But I wanted to create an option for smaller businesses to get ahead with their online presence – so I developed weekly training and content marketing consultancy instead. Learning how to rank higher on Google can take a long time, and you have to keep up with the latest trends as things can change – fast.

Although it takes a long time, it can also bring your business huge long term growth in leads and sales – if you do it right. You can imagine – there’s thousands of people searching for your products and services every month. You just need to tap into that market the right way.

I thought I’d go over some of the biggest lessons you’ll need to learn if you want to know how to rank higher on Google.  There are 200 total ranking factors Google uses to determine where to place your website in search results – but don’t panic, they don’t all carry equal weight. Here are the top 5 things you need to learn if you want to rank higher in Google.


How to rank higher on Google Lesson 1: Write Better, Longer Content

how to rank higher on google content marketing

Your content is crucial when it comes to ranking well in search engines.

Don’t expect for a page with just 200 words on it to rank well for anything. The truth is, Google is in the business of answering people’s questions. And they way to answer them better than any other search engine.

To rank higher in Google – you need to give the best answer.

And the truth is, “long form content” (text that is about 2000 words+) is proven to get a boost in rankings. Before you say “but I’m not a writer” or “there’s no way I can write 2000 words about my services” – don’t panic. There’s many methods you can use to create the best content possible – and no one expects you to crank out 2000 words a day.

But if you’re serious about learning how to rank higher on Google – you need to start writing, or get someone in your team to write for your website.

When you’re thinking about writing lot’s of content, you don’t want it to be aimless rubbish just written for Google though. The best content will answer your customers  questions so well that it will get shared on social media and be seen as more trustworthy to Google – and therefore you’ll rank higher. By answering their questions well enough, you also get a secondary boost in sales – because customers will trust your opinion more.

Focus on writing genuinely useful articles aimed at answering your customers questions – and you’ll be ahead of a lot of people online already.


How to rank higher on Google Lesson 2: Focus on Keywords Properly

focus on keywords for better seo

When you look into Google rankings & SEO in general you’ll hear a lot about keywords and keyword research. This part is very important; but don’t panic if you’re not good at online research. There’s plenty of tools out there that can help make it a lot easier for you.

It’s vital that you do some keyword research so you know what to optimise your website for. For example, you might think optimising for “dog groomer Washington” is a good keyword for your site. But, it could well be that people aren’t using ‘Washington’ in searches as much as they are using city names, like “Seattle”.

People use different terminology depending on their level of knowledge of your industry too.

For example, they may be much more likely to search for a dog groomer than a dog stylist, even if that’s what you preferred to be known as. It’s important that you do your research so you can optimise for the right keyword that will drive a lot of genuine customers to your website.

It can mean the difference between getting 10-20 people to your website per month to thousands per month.

You can try out Google’s free keyword tool ‘Google Adwords Keyword Planner’ to easily get an idea of profitable search terms (AKA keywords) you might want to rank higher for. Google gives you an average number of searches per month, as well as an idea of competition for that keyword.

But be wary of the competition shown – the competition level shown is referring to the number of people using PPC advertising (sponsored Google ads that appear in search results) rather than the competitiveness for ranking organically for that keyword. Organic search results are the natural search results; and the competition can be very different.

I really like to use SEMrush to find out the organic competition for a keyword; as a guide, anything above about 60 is going to be fairly hard to rank for.

Once you know which keyword you’d like to learn how to rank higher on Google for you can begin to focus the content on your website around it. If there’s a particular search term you’d like to rank well for that best describes your products or services – make sure you edit your home page content and mention that phrase a few times within the content.

To find out how to best optimise your content for a certain keyword, join our email list and you’ll get a completely free pdf guide that will walk you through exactly how to do it. It’s pretty important if you’re serious about learning how to rank higher on Google.


How to rank higher on Google Lesson 3: Don’t Write For Search Engines – Write For People & Edit For Google

write for people first better content marketing for google

It’s a really bad idea to write lot’s of text and jam it full of keywords in hopes that it will attract search engines.

This is a tactic we call ‘keyword stuffing’ and it’s a black hat SEO technique. Using black hat SEO techniques of any kind can (and most likely eventually will) get you penalised by Google – which means you will not only drop in the rankings, but it can permanently damage your website’s reputation with Google – so if you start to do the right things later, it’s like working from square minus ten, instead of a square one.

What you want to do is focus on writing genuinely great content – how tos, tips and tricks, detailed answer articles, entertaining content – whatever will work best in your industry – and then later edit it to feature your keyword in the right places. Drop it into a few headings if you can, and sprinkle it into your content – I wouldn’t recommend much more than 2% of your text be keywords, but more than 0.5% if you can manage it naturally.

Google reads more than your main content when it’s deciding where to rank you in it’s search results.

It reads your urls and meta descriptions too.

how to rank higher on google keywords

You can easily give your content a little SEO boost by making sure you write a unique meta description and include your keywords, as well as if you remember to include your keywords in your url. If you run your website through WordPress, you can easily use a free plugin like Yoast to guide you on your keyword content and it also allows you to easily edit your meta description within your article or page editor.

Quick tip – urls don’t include spaces.

When you enter in your keywords, enter in a dash wherever there should be a space as Google will be able to read these as spaces.


How to rank higher on Google Lesson 4: Get Social & Share

how to rank higher on google be social and share

Researching, writing and editing great content – believe it or not – is only half the battle. Who said ranking higher on Google was going to be easy? After all, if it was, you’d be there already.

Now comes the harder part – getting that content shared.

Google uses social sharing of pages on your website as a ‘ranking signal’ (just like the length of your content, the keywords used, your meta description and url etc). So when people share your interesting articles on social media you get two bonuses in one – you get your website exposed to all of their friends and followers AND you get a boost in your search ranking!

The tough part is getting people to want to share your content. There are different habits you should take with different platforms, simply because audiences act differently in each place.

Wherever you choose to share your content, the following are general social media best practice guidelines:

  • Share new articles on your own business profiles – if you don’t, how else will people find them?
  • Give as much as you get – if you’re willing to tweet other businesses content, they’re much more likely to retweet and share yours
  • Put your audience firstdon’t spam rubbish to your social media followers. Send out stuff you think they’ll actually like – whether funny, controversial, moving, helpful – as long as it fits in with your company brand – go for it. Give them a reason to want to follow you more. Don’t give them a reason to hit ‘unlike’.
  • Find super relevant groups – whether it’s a Twitter chat or a Facebook group, there’s one out there for your business. Find one that’s really relevant and get involved in conversations there. Post out your new articles to these people and ask for feedback. If they’re in your industry or have a similar interest, you’re much more likely to gain some fans talking to these people directly than when you simply spam out your own articles all day.
  • Be social – it’s one of the biggest mistakes I see businesses making on social media. Not actually being social. Get involved in conversations, be helpful to people and they’ll want to be helpful back. Social media is all about networking and making connections – don’t just blast out your content and ignore the conversation. Get involved and you’re much more likely to reap the rewards.


How to rank higher on Google Lesson 5: Earn Decent Backlinks

get backlinks for ranking higher

The biggest lesson when learning how to rank higher on Google? Backlinks.

Backlinks are the number one factor that affects your ranking on Google.

Before you backtrack decide not to focus on anything else – read on.

Backlinks are links pointing to your website from another website. Obviously, there’s the traditional ones pointing from your social media accounts and directories you’ve entered yourself into – if you haven’t done this, please do. But after that point – how do you get backlinks? And does it matter where they’re coming from?

Firstly, gaining good backlinks, slowly, shows Google that you are a trustworthy website. And this will result in better rankings. There’s a reason why I say good backlink as opposed to just backlink – not all links are created equally.

When it comes to SEO, Google gives website’s it trusts a higher rank than those it doesn’t. A website gains ‘trust’ through a number of factors, including domain age, other links pointing to it, good content etc. The level of trust results in a ‘Domain Authority’ number. The higher the domain authority, the more effective a link from that website will be.

I like to use the Mozbar to check domain authority. It’s free and super simple to use. Install and go – just check out the DA number.

If you grow your own domain authority, you’re much more likely to rank well for your keyword terms. You do have to have that content there in the first place in order to rank well for those terms though.

Getting good backlinks involves having good content. Good website’s don’t link to other website’s for no reason.

You need to give them a reason to link to you.

Here’s a few ways you can do that:

  • PR – getting involved in PR can gain you some great backlinks – and decent exposure. If you can get yourself into a story from a news website, even locally, they usually have good domain authority – so it’s a great place to start.
  • Original Data – people and businesses love data that backs up their theories – if you have original data or maybe an intern you can get on the case, it’s always a great idea to publish this – if it’s interesting enough you should get plenty of backlinks from decent websites.
  • Entertaining Articles – people love to be entertained – and if you have something funny to watch or read, they’re more likely to link to it.
  • Interesting Articles – interesting articles, especially ones that feature a new or controversial take on things are a good way of gaining good backlinks. People who may have opposing views, or the same as you, are likely to link to you as a reference in their own articles. As long as it’s on topic for your business and brand, go for it.
  • Guest Posting – As you can imagine, there’s plenty of businesses out there that don’t have a lot of time to write content for their websites. If there’s a business with a fairly good domain authority, 25+, in your industry or similar, offering to write an article for them can be a great way to earn a decent backlink. Just make sure to request that they add your link after your author name if they’d like to publish it – and even better, if you can reference your website or a previous article you wrote on your website within the content, it can be an even bigger boost for SEO.
  • Featuring A Good Interviewee – If you can get an interview from someone in your industry, or a similar business, you could gain some serious backlinks and shares on social media. Plus, they’re likely to link back to the article you feature them in from their own website.

Check out this article for a full guide on gaining backlinks for your website.

I hope this has begun your journey to learning how to rank higher on Google. If you implement some of what you’ve learned here, you’ll already be ahead of a lot of the trickster “SEO agencies” out there.

Honestly, there are lots of tactics you can try out there – but ultimately, these 5 lessons are the most important when you’re learning how to rank higher on Google. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments – and if you need any help ranking your business website on Google, please contact us here.



A complete guide to ecommerce marketing: 73 tactics on how to promote your online store

Learning ecommerce marketing (how to promote your online store) needn’t be a tough battle.

Like anything else in the marketing world, taking each step one at a time can show serious results – you just have to stick at it. This week I thought I’d share a complete list of tactics on how to promote your online store with content & ecommerce marketing.

Not going to lie – it nearly killed me.

This guide is over 14000 words long – it’s the most thorough ecommerce marketing guide you’re likely to find online.

I’ve broken it down into 6 sections and headers for each ecommerce marketing tactic so you can pick and choose what you’d like to read. I’ve also added potential costs, time it will take to implement and level of importance below each tactic so you can get an idea of which might be best for you to focus on first.

You’ll find the following sections in this guide (click a title to skip to that section):


If you don’t have time to read this right now or you’d prefer a print out version of the complete guide to ecommerce marketing – you can get one here.

If you find this article helpful – please share it! Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit. Spread the word and help out other entrepreneurs and ecommerce marketers along the way. (Also it will help me feel better about the many, many long hours I was tied to a keyboard writing this.)

Let’s get going!



Ecommerce Marketing: The basics


1. Research your market

Honestly, the best thing you can do for promoting your online store – or any business online – is to research your market. I don’t just mean try to find stats on everything – genuinely go out and online stalk your target customer. Find out what they really want and what their current options are.

Where can you find them?

Look into forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Twitter and search for groups that have an interest in your products. For example, if you’re selling dog treats online, you should seek out groups of local doggy enthusiasts, dog training groups etc and sign up. Get to know their problems and perspectives and it’ll make it much easier to connect  with them in the rest of your marketing.

Another great tip for finding these groups is to go onto competitors social media and look into the customers they have already following them.

Finally, make sure you search online for your products (e.g. in this example I would search for ‘dog treats’). Have a look at the competitors products and price points; even the ones on Amazon. How does your product compare? Be as brutally honest with yourself as you can. If your product is 10X more expensive than one on amazon, it simply MUST have a good reason for being so pricey. An you must have seriously good ecommerce marketing to back it up.Which brings me onto tip 2.

How long will it take: About a day

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: Not a penny

2. Find your USP

It’s something too many online stores I’ve seen fail to do – check out your competition and tell me a reason a customer should buy from you and not them.

Your USP is your ‘unique selling proposition’. 

It can be as simple as ‘you’re the cheapest’ or ‘you’re the highest quality’. Whatever it is, you must be the best at it and your website should scream it. If you’re the most expensive, there simply has to be a reason for it. Get certifications, lots of reviews/social proof and make sure your design and imagery is super high quality. Don’t scrimp and save if this is your angle – if you want to be the most expensive you need to prove there’s a reason for it.

The first impression a customer gets when they see your brand anywhere should be your USP.

How long will it take: 1 minute – 1 week (depends)

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: Zilch

3. Don’t be all things to everybody

This follows on from your USP – don’t try to be everything.

If you’re a luxury brand, don’t have a sale section giving things away for 10% of the cost of current products. If you’re a cheap brand, don’t try to skew your message with a super luxury product priced way above the rest.

It will only serve to muddy your promotional messages and people will be put off.

This ecommerce marketing tactic will make you the number one choice in your target market’s eyes – which is much better than being number 20 in everyone’s.

Specialise in one area – and do everything you can to be the best at that one thing. You’ll start to be known for it, which is great for word of mouth as well as your brand in general.

How long will it take: Ongoing

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: A little time for thought each time you put out a new message

4. Compare your website to your competitors

Checking out your competition shouldn’t be scary (although I know it can be intimidating).

The truth is, if you don’t keep an eye on it, it could be the end of your business.

Your customers are checking out your competition online – so it’s a good idea to make sure you know what you’re up against. Use the weaknesses in your competitors brands to your advantage; and highlight them in your content.

If you think they have a better, more trustworthy looking website and your sales are dipping – you’ll know it’s time to invest in an upgrade.

How long will it take: Ongoing (About an 30 mins – hour each time)

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: Free (possibly some anxiety)

5. Highlight the benefits of your products, then the features

This is incredibly important for any business. When you’re writing your content in any of your ecommerce marketing materials, highlight the benefits of buying that product.

Think about insurance adverts; they don’t call attention to the features of that type of insurance at first – they start with the emotional benefit. The security you’ll feel when you have insurance. They show happy, people with no care in the world.

They’re easing a ‘pain point’.

Get to know your customers pain points and highlight how you ease them. Using the doggy treat example, maybe your treats are the healthiest on the market. Your target customers might have money but no time to sort out fresh food for their dogs – let them know your foods bring huge health benefits. Maybe you know of a study that shows your treats are actually better than fresh food.

How long will it take: Ongoing

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Free

6. Research your customers needs

Your customers should be at the forefront of your business; I like to think they own the business, not us.

So finding out what their true feelings are about your products and what they want should be at the core of everything you do.

Join forums where your customers are likely to be. Look up Quora and follow interests they’ll be following. Like pages on Facebook similar to yours and see what customers are asking and saying. The more you listen, the better you can tailor your products and your message to your customers.

Ultimately, the best message wins in any promotional activity.

And the best message is always the one that talks directly to the customers needs.

How long will it take: Ongoing – initially a couple of hours

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: Free

7. Go above & beyond expectations

Word of mouth is the most effective ecommerce marketing tool you can use – it can increase the effectiveness of your marketing by 54%.

There’s multiple ways of encouraging word of mouth marketing – but the simplest is to go above and beyond what’s expected of you.

Offer something amazing – then deliver something even better.

Whether it’s as simple as a bag of sweets to say thanks in your delivery, amazingly fast responses to queries or even something secret your product does that you don’t mention until it arrives – it will help get your customers more excited about your product and your brand. It shows you genuinely care, and people love to buy from ecommerce stores that care and deliver more value than a competitor.

How long will it take: Depends on exact tactic

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Depends on exact tactic

8. Survey your target customers

Getting to know your customers exact needs is incredibly important. You can run a free survey using survey monkey – you can even pay a little extra to get them to send your survey to your target customers.

What you could stand to learn here is invaluable.

I can’t stress this enough. Getting to know the exact problems your customers deal with on a daily basis in regards to your products can help you to know exactly what to highlight in your promotional activity, no matter what it is – adverts, product pages, blog articles – everything should scream “this product will help you fix XXX issue”.

Finding out what really bugs them, for example with dog treats you could ask – what dog treats & food do you currently use? What’s the most frustrating thing about feeding your dog? What’s the most frustrating thing about training your dog?

You could get results like:

  • He’s got IBS so I can’t give him normal treats
  • He doesn’t pay any attention when I’m trying to train him
  • He loves chocolate but it makes him sick

You can turn lot’s of these things to your advantage when selling you products. Maybe you can stand out as the brand that doesn’t irritate sensitive dogs stomachs? Maybe you have a safe doggy chocolate treat? Or maybe your treats have extra fish oils that help excited dogs concentrate? Your customers are a gold mine of information that could turn your ecommerce marketing efforts viral.

Check out this amazing podcast for more information; or if you prefer to read – here’s the complete book (spoiler alert: it’s awesome).

How long will it take: 2-5 days

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: Free – £1000 – more info here

9. Follow up with your customers

Like my previous point, your customers are a complete gold mine of information. Following up with customers who have bought from you already can help you achieve multiple things:

  • You can get genuine feedback as to what you can improve
  • If you do it personally, you can develop a stronger relationship with your customer and increase recommendations
  • You can ask for a review which can insanely increase your chances at a new sale with someone else
  • You get a chance to reach out and help a potential unhappy customer before they badmouth you online

How long will it take: 5 minutes per customer

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: Not a single penny

10. Test, review, improve

Whatever you choose to do with your ecommerce marketing, make sure you track the results.

That way you’ll have something to review later and you can decide on how successful your efforts were. Something that works for one shop, might not work well for yours. Track your results on your ecommerce marketing efforts, increase investment and time into the ones that work and either stop or change your tactic with methods that aren’t performing well enough.

How long will it take: Depends on tracking method

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: Time



Ecommerce Marketing: Website optimisation

11. Design your website from a customers point of view

This is a powerful mindset shift, and if you can make it – it will make a HUGE impact on your promoting your online store.

You’ve got to get out of thinking ‘what do I want from my website’ and into the thinking of ‘I’m a customer – what do I want to see?’.

First thing’s first – the most important thing when someone first comes to your website is that you reassure them they’ve clicked on the right place. If you’re selling dog treats, it should scream it at the top of your home page “healthiest dog treats around”.

Secondly – make your content easy to find.

Especially if it’s the answer to a customers question. Are prices important to your customers? Put them on the browse pages – don’t make them have to click through to each item to figure out how much it is.

Design your site to be easy for your customers to use – and sales will soar.

How long will it take: Months – duration of your web development

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing above your web design cost – unless you add extras for customers needs.

12. Make life as easy as possible for your customers

If you’re looking to increase sales through promotion, make sure your landing pages and buying process is as simple as possible.

Something as simple as reducing the amount of times your customer has to enter in their home address can increase sales – as well as making your landing page very relevant to an ad.

(Side note – if you aren’t aware, a landing page is simply the first page someone enters your website at)

Basically if you pop up an advert about your organic dog treats, make sure the page you point it at is the organic dog treat section – not just the home page. Not only does this help drive up sales, it can even reduce the cost of your adverts on some platforms like GoogleAds.

How long will it take: Ongoing

How important is it: 6/10

How much will it cost me: Mainly Time

13. Do your keyword research

I can’t tell you how important it is to do your keyword research and focus on driving customers to your website for certain terms.

If you don’t focus on anything – don’t expect to get any traffic from Google.

Too many people are doing SEO and content marketing out there, and if you’re not doing it right – then you’ll be left dead in the water in terms of customers coming from search engines. Think about it like this – when did you last do a search where you clicked below the top 3 results? Went onto the next page?

As internet users we’re lazy, and we want answers to our queries instantly.

Make sure you research a term you want your website to be found for; such as “dog treats online”. You can use Google AdWords free keyword planner to find out information about how many people are searching monthly for each term. They’ll also give you an idea of similar terms you may not have thought of that might be drawing even more traffic. Once you’ve decided which term you’d like to appear for, make sure you optimise your home page text for this term (sign up to the POP Content email list for a free guide to show you how).

I’d also recommend researching terms used for each of your product pages so you can optimise the text on there too – if you optimise enough product pages, you should see a great impact on the numbers coming to your website.

How long will it take: 2-3 hours research, dependent on area and number of products

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: Free

14. Write more content on your product pages

I know it came seem like a complete bore to write text for every individual product on your website – it’s possibly even intimidating if you have hundred or thousands to do.

But it is completely vital that you do this – for both driving more customers to your website and getting them to buy when they get there.

Online, no customer who visits your website knows who you are or whether you’re trustworthy. Your job as an online store owner is to ease their fears about making a purchase with you. If they land on a page with nothing but a small image and a title, they’re going to struggle to feel confident that your product is the right one for them.

Think about the questions people might be asking before they buy; is this a reputable brand? What are the ingredients? What benefits & features does this product bring to the table in comparison to another? How much should I use daily? Is their a warranty? What’s their return policy if I don’t like this?

Set about answering as many questions as possible and you’ll end up developing a great product page that will bring in sales – and traffic too.

How long will it take: Depends on number of products – around 15 – 20 minutes per product.

How important is it: 9.8/10

How much will it cost me: Your time, or a hired intern could work too (as long as you train them on what needs to be done)

15. Optimise your product titles & text

As long as you have at least 300 words on your page, it’s time to optimise it for the keyword you want to be found for.

The best way to do this is to install something like Yoast as a guide, or you can sign up to the POP Content email list if you don’t have wordpress for a complete guide.

Basically it’s about making sure your keywords appear in the right places on your page – not too much and not too little. You want your text to appear natural, but at the same time you want Google to be able to figure out what your page is about.

Currently, I’d recommend getting your keyword content to around 1% if you can. 3% or higher can be suspcicious, but lower than 0.5% could be too low for Google to know what the page is about.

Make sure your title tags (H1s and H2s) contain some keywords if possible too – it doesn’t have a huge effect, but every little bit helps to make your website more legitimate in Google’s view.

How long will it take: 5-10 minutes for each page after writing the content

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Free

16. Make your product URLs search engine friendly

Similar to ecommerce marketing tactic 11, making sure your urls are search friendly can bump you up a little in the search engine rankings.

Make sure your urls contain the keywords you want to optimise for and use dashes between each word (Google reads ‘-‘ as a space in urls).

How long will it take: 60 seconds or less for each page

How important is it: 6/10

How much will it cost me: Free

17. Add Google Analytics

Google Analytics is completely free to use and can help you figure out lots of useful information about your website.

Things like:

  • Where your traffic is coming from
  • How your customers are finding you
  • Where they go when they’re on your website
  • Where they leave your website

It can help you to gauge which ecommerce marketing activities are working well for you and which aren’t. For example, you might see about 300 people visiting per month, but no sales. When you review your traffic, you might notice a big spike from Twitter, but they’re not buying. This could be an indication that your marketing efforts aren’t quite right – or that you need to invest time elsewhere. This is just an example, Twitter might produce lots of sales depending on how you use it.

Analysing where your best leads come from and where you’re not doing so well could save you so much time and money, that this is a hugely important step for your ecommerce marketing – not to be ignored.

Plus it’s free!

How long will it take: 30 minutes to setup

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing at all!

18. Add Google Search Console

Here’s another free hidden gem.

A lot of online store owners have Google Analytics – but not Google Search Console. If you’re serious about getting traffic from searches, this is a great tool to have.

It will help you (or your developer) clear up any pages that aren’t working well, tell Google how you want to be shown in search results and help you track where you’re getting links from.

How long will it take: 30 minutes max

How important is it: 7/10

How much will it cost me: Free

19. Connect the two to find out what Google thinks your website is about

If you connect your Search Engine Console & Google Analytics you can get some amazing data back.

You can literally form a picture of what Google thinks your website is about – and where it’s placing you in search results too. It’s something I personally check on a weekly basis.

Here’s a full guide on how to do this and how it can help your ecommerce marketing.

How long will it take: 30 minutes max

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Free!



Ecommerce Marketing: Social media marketing

20. Tell your own personal network

This ecommerce marketing tactic is incredibly helpful but is missed a lot. In the early stages of opening your online store, no one will be around.

This is the time when you need to call in the troops.

No one will support you quite like your personal network in these early stages. Ask them to like your Facebook page and if they’re keen, join your email list too. They may not all be your target customers – but if you can get some family and friends to like and even share your page to their networks, it could results in your very first paying customers.

Not only this, when a new customer finds you online, it’s going to make your business look a lot more legitimate if your Facebook page already has a few hundred likes – rather than 0.

I told people in my network about POP Content, then released  short welcome video – it completely exploded and got shared a number of times. I’d highly recommend a quick video for extra shares – it’s a bit more exciting than a text or image post.

How long will it take: An afternoon

How important is it: 5/10

How much will it cost me: Nada

21. Use emotive content to bring in followers on social media

When people use social media they spread the news about things that are interesting and that they like.

People are emotional beings.

If you can use your social media content to make them laugh, cry or shout – you’re much more likely to get noticed (and shared) online.

Some of the most ‘liked’ pages on Facebook and Twitter simply put out consistently hilarious posts – not images of products. Offer great content to your network, and they’ll reward you with more likes and follow you more closely.

If you do it well, not only will customers follow what you have to say more closely – they’ll develop a closer relationship with your brand and be there to support you when you do run an offer or promote your products.

How long will it take: Ongoing – a couple hours weekly

How important is it: 5/10

How much will it cost me: Not a penny

22. Get involved in the right twitter conversations

Getting involved in Twitter chats can boost the number of followers you have but also gets people engaged with you.

Afterall, 100 engaged fans is much better than 1000 followers who clicked then ignored you completely.

I’d recommend getting involved in chats that your potential customers could be in. So for example here, you might want to find twitter chats where dog owners are involved.

I’d do this:

  • Go to Tweet Reports Chat Schedule  where you’ll find a long scary list of Tweet chats
  • Hit ctrl+F on your keyboard (cmd+F if you’re on a mac) and type in a word related to your industry (in this case ‘dog’ or ‘pet)
  • Scroll down and read up on the different Tweet Chats available in your niche
  • Schedule a reminder on your phone or calendar (remember to pay attention to the time zone it states)
  • Type in the hashtag on the time and get chatting!

How long will it take: 5 minutes to find a chat – around an hour each time you get involved in one

How important is it: 6/10

How much will it cost me: Completely free (and quite fun)

23. Automate promotion on social media – carefully

One thing I don’t like on social media is spam and automation – and it’s not something you want to apply to everything.

Basically, social media is all about being social (shocking, I know). And it’s not very social (or good ecommerce marketing behaviour) to blast out your products & offers, annoy all your followers and not respond to anyone.

However, being a busy ecommerce store owner doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to be sitting on social media all day.

So what’s the answer?

I’d suggest a couple of things – first off, Tweet Jukebox is a GEM.

Twitter is chocked full of so much content, that if you post out an article once, it’s unlikely that more than about 4 people will see it. If you have ‘evergreen content’ (content that is basically amazing and will be relevant and useful to your audience for a long time) you can pop it into Tweet Jukebox and it will tweet it out at random, as frequently as you like (up to 100 tweets per day). You can test out times that work best for you using this method too. I wouldn’t recommend tweeting more frequently than once every 30 minutes – I only tweet every 4 hours – as you don’t want to spam people’s feed and annoy them.

Secondly, you can use automation tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts; so for example, you don’t want to post lots of the same thing on Facebook – it’s not like Twitter. BUT you do want to remember to put your latest content out onto your social media channels (like LinkedIn, Google+ & Facebook) when it’s released. By using Hootsuite you can schedule it all in one place, to avoid you having to log in and repeat the same actions on all the different channels – which is a great little time saver. Plus you can schedule your posts to go out at whatever optimum time you find people interacting with your posts, so you don’t have to remember to log on at that particular time of the day.

How long will it take: Setup 30 minutes max. Will save time in the long run.

How important is it: 6/10

How much will it cost me: FREE

24. Follow the 80/20 rule

I HATE being salesy. So sometimes I’m guilty of the 100/0 rule unfortunately.

The 80/20 rule is about how often you tweet/post about your products and offers versus how often you post useful, interesting stuff to your followers. Basically 80% of the time you want to increase the number of followers you have by posting completely non-promotional but awesome content – either from your website or from others. As long as your target audience will love it, it’s a good idea to post it. They’ll love your brand more for doing this.

The other 20% of the time you can post about your latest  product and offers. And guess what? Since you’ve been so generous with great content before hand – your followers are much more likely to be all ears when you let them know about your new offerings – because they’ll start to like you.

How long will it take: No extra time

How important is it: 7/10

How much will it cost me: Free

25. Start a Facebook Group

If you know your niche well, starting a Facebook group can be a seriously effective ecommerce marketing tactic.

Page posts barely get seen in news feeds these days – Facebook wants you to pay for the privilege. Groups are a great way to get your posts actually seen in newsfeeds.

On tops of this – they’re a lot more interactive. Members can post what they like, and people can have full discussions. The best thing to do is develop a Facebook Group built around your target audience rather than your products.

For example, if you’re selling IBS friendly dog treats – create a group for Owners of IBS Dog Sufferers. And don’t be tempted to blast out lot’s of ads. Just get people talking – share genuine tips and advice, and get people to share their experiences. The more you do this, the more approachable and likeable your brand becomes. And when you become more likeable – people are much more likely to trust and buy from you.

You could even offer a free sample when people sign up to encourage your first 100 members.

Side note: if you’d like to share marketing tactics, get feedback on your business blog and help other’s with theirs you can join our Facebook Group here.

How long will it take: 30 minutes to setup – considerable management time

How important is it: 4/10

How much will it cost me: Not one pence

26. Be personal – not faceless – to build up customer loyalty

People react better to faces than logos; our eyes are naturally attracted to images of people.

So when you’re creating your profiles and pages – don’t be faceless, it’s a sure fire way to make your brand fade into the background.

Add a face to your cover photo, get your face out there on Twitter instead of your logo – people will be much more likely to engage with you. Adding a video to a pinned tweet or post is even better – people can more easily relate to you that way and will feel better about sharing your stuff!

How long will it take: 30 minutes

How important is it: 3/10

How much will it cost me: Free

27. Follow your competitors

This is an odd ecommerce marketing tactic, but seriously useful!

Following you competitors let’s you keep track of their marketing activities – which is no bad thing. Being aware of what you’re up against is the first step to beating it after all.

Keep an eye on your competitors social media activities. They’ll give you:

  • ideas of what works with your target market
  • ideas on where you can be better (when you see them doing rubbish stuff)
  • customers to poach (if you see someone complaining, you can jump in and offer your store as an alternative)

How long will it take: 10 minutes

How important is it: 7/10

How much will it cost me: £0 ($0)

28. Follow DIY marketing blogs

If you’re trying to get ahead with your ecommerce marketing, believe or not – things change fast. You need to stay ahead of the curve if you’re hoping to have continual success online. Obviously, this is an extensive list of tactics – but who knows what the future holds?

Facebook could be blown out of the water tomorrow. Pinterest might become the next ecommerce platform.

You need to stay on top of your game, and the best way I would suggest is to follow some good online marketers blogs or social media. They’ll be the ones educating themselves daily on what’s working – and they’ll pass the relevant knowledge onto you if they’re worth their salt. Check around before you jump in and follow anyone in that space however. Believe me, there’s a lot of nonsense, rubbish content and half truths in the online marketing world.

I’d suggest looking for some blogs that contain genuinely good tips and tricks – stuff you can implement on your own. Have a look at some blogs and if you like 2 or 3 articles – sign up to their email list and get their latest stuff to your inbox. You can, of course sign up to this one any time!

How long will it take: 30 minutes a week to read about the latest trends

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Free

29. Start a quirky YouTube channel

This ecommerce marketing tactic could help your store go viral – if you’re willing to invest the time.

If your product could be turned into something interesting on a YouTube Channel, you can definitely increase your traffic and sales by getting on camera.

Check out the hydraulic press channel here . These videos get shared all the time – simply because it’s interesting to watch. There’s even a few spin off YouTube channels from this ones success.

If you’re the kind of person who can come up with nifty, interesting ideas – I’d get your content on YouTube if you can, especially if any of your target audience are there. You could even do something less viral, but more useful, like setup a set of doggy training videos and add a mention of your brand during the video. As long as the main content is good, your video will be watched and shared.

How long will it take: Average good video could take a day to plan, film and edit

How important is it: 3/10

How much will it cost me: Differs – could be free, could cost a lot depending on video production

30. Test different benefits headlines on Twitter

Whatever content you’re writing about your products, whether on social media or your ecommerce store, it’s great to highlight the benefits of your products.

But which ones matter most to your customers?

You can use something like Twitter to test out which benefits work the best – simply add a few different headlines along with your link to your product, and get them into a tweet jukebox. You should be able to later review your stats on Twitter analytics to see which benefits caused the most clicks to your website -and voila! You now know the best benefits to highlight on your promotional material.

How long will it take: 30 minutes max

How important is it: 4/10

How much will it cost me: Free

31. Run an engaging competition

Competitions can drive a lot of followers and likers to your social media accounts, that’s for sure.

Running a competition gives you a unique opportunity however – you can use it to get your customers engaged with your brand.

If you run a competition where they have to create some form of content – such as the ice bucket challenge – it can really get things going viral, as well as providing you with some amazing ‘social proof’ of people using your products, you can then use on your product pages.

Incentivising customers to get involved with your products can not only get you more shares on social media, it can build a unique, memorable and fun relationship between your customers and your brand.

More on user generated content later!

How long will it take: A few days to plan and setup, then likely a few weeks to manage

How important is it: 4.5/10

How much will it cost me: Price of an iPad probably (or whatever else you want to giveaway)



Ecommerce Marketing: Website design


32. Focus on good imagery

I’ve seen a lot of ecommerce stores in my time ruining their chances of a sale with this one flaw – bad imagery.

Remember – online customers have NEVER seen your product in real life.

You need to give them every opportunity to get to know the product as much as they can through a screen. You can write all the good articles you like, but if you have bad images – no ones going to take the leap to buy.

On your product pages, make sure you have good clear  images, fairly large if possible, at least 300 x 300 pixels or more (don’t make people have to click to make them big enough to see). And make sure you have multiple images; show the size and maybe even the product being used. You want to build up the confidence your customer has in your product, so the more information and imagery you can provide – the better.

If you’re worried your photograph quality might not be up to scratch, something like this small setup can work really well. As long as you have a semi decent smart phone, a good plain white or black background and learning how to focus on your product properly with your phone is all you really need to boost your store’s conversions with images.

How long will it take: A LONG TIME – to setup and take photos, edit then upload

How important is it: 9.5/10

How much will it cost me: Depends on camera and setup used – but can be done free or £100 or less

33. Title your images properly

Search engine’s can’t see your images – they figure out what they’re about by reading your images meta title and alt tags.

You can use this to your advantage by optimising your images with the keywords you want to appear for online. Much like the url optimisation (see tactic 16) you’ll want to make sure you use dashes in place of spaces in your image titles. Also remember – alt tags are meant to be used by the visually impaired (a computer can read out what the alt tag says about the image to describe it to someone who can’t see it well). So although it’s good to use keywords for your SEO, use them sparingly and only where they are relevant.

How long will it take: Extra 2 minutes when editing and uploading images

How important is it: 5.5/10

How much will it cost me: Free

34. Use a lot of images

As said previously – your customer’s can’t see your product in real life to pick it up, see the size, touch & feel. Unfortunately, they only get to use one sense – sight.

Using multiple images on your product pages only serves to help them trust their buying decision, making them more likely to make a purchase and less likely to return something – for being the wrong size etc.

Show your product from a few different angles and even how it might appear when they arrive. Anything that helps to give your customer confidence in what they’re buying will help encourage sales.

How long will it take: Extra 10 – 20 minutes per product

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: 0 (if you’re taking your own photos)

35. Make sure your website is responsive

If you aren’t aware, a responsive website is one that changes size according to the device you’re using.

The design makes sure you can see and use the website well on phones, tablets & computers. It’s becoming more and more important these days; just check your analytis to see how many people are using their tablets and mobiles to browse your website.

If your website isn’t working well on mobile – your customers will find a competitor website that does.

Not only do you risk losing customers after they click onto your website – you even risk lowering your traffic in general.

Google uses “responsiveness” as a factor when it decides where to rank your website in searches.

If you don’t have a responsive website, you’re giving yourself 2 major issues – less web visitors AND less sales (something I doubt you want). Now’s the time to get it done. Don’t panic about having to spend thousands to sort it out either – there’s plenty of online platforms that will do a decent job for free. This whole website is built on a free responsive theme – granted I do know more than an average person about websites. But there’s some seriously good options out there that don’t have to cost the earth, so there’s not much excuse these days not to get your ecommerce store responsive.

How long will it take: 6-8 weeks depending on size of site & help

How important is it: 9.5/10

How much will it cost me: Free – ££££’s

36. …and fast

The speed of your website is very important.

On average, we won’t wait more than 3 seconds to load a website.

Not only that but, according to Kissmetrics:

 “79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.”

On top of this glaring fact that website speed is very important to get shoppers to your site – it’s also yet another ranking factor in Google’s search engine algorithms.  Which means, like responsiveness, you’re hit doubly hard if you don’t speed up your website.

Here’s a short guide on how to speed up your site.

How long will it take: First instance a day or so, ongoing maintenance needed

How important is it: 8.5/10

How much will it cost me: Can be done free (if you follow the guide)

37. Test your online store on friends

No matter how much you test your own website, the thing of it is – when you work on something for a long time, it sometimes becomes impossible to see the most obvious errors because you’re so involved.

It’s time to call in the troops – ask your friends and family to test your website. And ask them to be as brutal as possible. 

A fresh pair of eyes can really help you to tidy up some serious mistakes – spelling errors, unclear messages, bad designs or broken buttons – my family have found them all on this website! (Thanks guys)

An unclear message or broken button can mean the difference between making sales and not – so it’s a huge help if you can get these errors fixed asap.

No one is perfect – so if you’re human, you’ve likely made a mistake or two. Better that a friend find it than a customer!

How long will it take: A few 30 minute stints with family & friends

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing (but you will have to spend time with family and/or friends – no idea of the emotional cost for you as a person 🙂 )

38. Use video

Using video is a step up from imagery.

If there’s not a lot between you and a competitor – I’d definitely get going with videos.

You don’t have to do anything too fancy; get a cheap setup on amazon and film your products properly. A good smart phone is all you really need.

For small products something like this small setup can work well.

For larger ones or videos including yourself/models, you can get one like this for less than £100.

It gives your customers the chance to get to know your products even more, and they’ll be more convinced of your authenticity as a store if you have real videos of the products.

How long will it take: 2-3 minutes filming, 10 minutes editing and uploading per product.

How important is it: 6.5/10

How much will it cost me: Free – £100

39. Establish trust – eliminate fears

This is the most important lesson you need to learn if you want have success with ecommerce marketing.

If you want people to buy from you, they HAVE to trust you. No matter how amazing your product is, if your site looks dodgy – people won’t be willing to take the risk and give you their credit card details.

You can build trust multiple ways:

  • Pay for a decent design – or make sure your cheap/free design looks the part
  • Use reviews throughout your website – it’s the closest thing to word of mouth you can get online. Using reviewers faces, or even better – video – is the ultimate trust building review
  • Highlight licences you have (if you have/need any).. Especially if other competitors don’t – it will make you look more trustworthy than them.
  • If you can get or have certificates in anything related – highlight these too. Whether it’s an award for top seller, or a certificate in ‘canine nutrition’ – if it will help to add authority to your brand it can only be a good thing.
  • Respond to public questions quickly & professionally. If people check up on your social media channels, they’ll feel assured if they see that you’re responsive and polite – and a real person is behind the brand.

How long will it take: Ongoing

How important is it: 9.5/10

How much will it cost me: Unknown (very dependant on tactics used & industry)

40. Don’t overload your customers – keep focus on 1-3 products max. on your site

Unlike this crazy long article (sorry for information overload), when you’re selling online – you don’t want to overload your customers.

Too many options often results in no decision – which basically means less sales for you because your customers are overwhelmed with choice.

Here’s a quote from a paper at the American Psychological Association about consumers:

“…they’re 10 times more likely to make a purchase if they choose among six rather than among 24 flavors of jam.”

Simply put, when you put too much on display it can make customers feel overwhelmed. They start to feel concerned that they’ll make the wrong choice, and regret not getting something else later – and the chance of making that bad purchase decision and feeling regret puts them off purchasing anything at all.

Focus on just 1-3 products on your home page, and your customers will have a much happier experience. You will avoid overwhelming them and they’re much more likely to quickly figure out who you are and what your brands all about.

Let them decide where they want to browse; don’t display lots of items before they’ve decided what they want to buy.

How long will it take: Up to a week depending on current state of home page

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: Dependant on changes needed and technical ability



Ecommerce Marketing: Content marketing

41. Write shareable articles

Search engines like Google want to make sure they show the best results to their users – after all, none of us would use Google so much if it was rubbish at answering questions.

It figures out the ‘best results’ using a number of factors; many listed in this article.

One of those factors is how much a website is shared on social media.

This is one of the great things about content marketing – not only does it build up trust with your customers, it also is the only way to truly rank well in search engines these days.

Writing ‘shareable’ stuff needn’t be a guessing game either:

  • Check out your competitors articles
  • See what articles are shared the most, and by who
  • Write articles even better than theirs about the topics they’ve written (I can’t stress how important it is to write content actually worth reading – if you don’t, you might as well just delete your blog and stop wasting your own time)
  • Send them to the same people that shared your competitors articles and ask them to critique and share if they like it too

This is called the ‘Skyscraper’ technique, and it works really well.

Here’s some other methods you can use to find article ideas that will get noticed – and shared!

For help on how to optimise each article for search engines too (it can be done in about 10 minutes after you’ve written your article) just sign up to the POP Content email list and you’ll get a free guide that will show you how.

How long will it take: About 3-6 hours a week

How important is it: 9.5/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing

42. Write ‘How to’ articles

How to articles – like this one – are really popular online and are a great addition to your ecommerce marketing efforts.  You can get a decent amount of traffic from them; and the great thing is, if you right them for your target market, you’ll be driving lot’s of customers directly to your website.

With the dog treat example, you could write how to train your dog articles, include videos and get mentions of your treats involved. You could even write recipes for IBS friendly doggy dinners. This kind of great and genuinely useful content goes a long way to building up a good reputation for your ecommerce store and helps tremendously with driving your target customers to your website.

How long will it take: About 3-6 hours per article (or a few days if you set yourself a ridiculous 73 tactic challenge like this article)

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Not a dime (you could pay for training on how to do it better or have your articles edited by a content marketing consultant like POP Content – but this entirely depends on your level of confidence & seo/writing ability)

43. Write articles on individual products

Writing articles about individual products is a great way to introduce them to your customers AND search engines.

A couple of internal links (links from one page to another in your website) can help the search engine ‘spiders’ to gauge what your new products are all about. Not only that; but if someone does a search for your type of product and you’ve written a long article about it (and chosen good keywords) they’re more likely to arrive at your website than someone else’s if you have better content.

More is often better when it comes to content length and SEO.

How long will it take: About 1-3 hours per article

How important is it: 6.5/10

How much will it cost me: Free

44. Edit the articles to attract search engines

Once you finished writing your articles, you can make them even more attractive to search engines. Using tips I’ve mentioned earlier make sure you:

  1. Optimise your page titles (popping your keyword closer to the beginning of your title can help – but it’s more important that it’s an attractive title that people want to click)
  2. Write h1 or h2 tags containing keywords if you can
  3. Pop a couple of keywords into your article (above 0.5% and below 3% is a good amount)
  4. Make sure your url contains your keywords
  5. Make sure you have a meta description written (see free guide for more details)

My best advice I can give you is to ignore these factors until you’ve finished writing. Write the article as best you can, thinking about how useful it will be to your customers. Once you’ve finished, go back and edit in keywords here and there – it will keep your content natural and ‘shareable’ first and foremost which is most important.

How long will it take: 10 minutes at the end of writing your articles

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: FREE

45. Promote those articles on social media

Half of the battle with content marketing is creating brilliant content.

The other half? Promotion.

Promoting your article is just as important as making it as brilliant as possible. The thing is, even if you wrote the best guide in the world, if no one notices it – it’s not going to do anything for you.

First thing’s first with promotion – social media. Get onto Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest – where ever your target market is – and get involved in the conversations.  Once you’ve got to know that particular platform (you don’t want to just dive in and spam people – that’s the easiest way to get your ecommerce store blacklisted) start posting out your articles in places where you think they’re relevant. 

For example, with the dog treats, if you joined Facebook dog training groups – why not run your latest article by them? Break the ice and get involved in conversations (without asking for anything in return) and build trust with the community. Then when you reach out for help – people will want to help. Simply ask for their feedback and ask them to share it if they found it useful.

The trick to sharing your articles on social media is not to be deceptive or spammy – it’s to be genuinely useful to the right audience.

How long will it take: 20 minutes – 40 minutes a day should be a maximum (although feel free to do more in your spare time)

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing at all

46. Start an email list

Some people browse about, but aren’t quite ready to buy.

There might be multiple reasons for this – they don’t have the spare cash, they want your product as a gift for someone in the future, they’d like to spend more time researching before they buy. Whatever the reason might be, they’re potential customers you won’t want to miss out on.

You can start an email list with something like mailchimp really easily and completely free of charge. 

If you offer something in return for their email address – such as future exclusive discounts – you should be able to capture a few customers that you might have lost previously.

Once you have their emails – don’t spam them. A weekly email with your latest article or a discount will suffice – if you’re like me, you’ll know that it leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you’re constantly bombarded with emails.

The reason you want to keep in touch is so that when they do decide to make their purchase, they’re much more likely to remember your website as your brand will still be fresh in their memory, even if it’s months down the road from when they were browsing.

How long will it take: 30 minutes to setup

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Freebie

47. Reach out to influencers & bloggers

Newsflash guys – there’s already loads of website’s out there that attract thousands of your target customers daily. You can get involved in some of that action and grab some of those customers. Simply try searching for blogs in your target market’s interest.

For example, I might search for top dog training blogs, or canine nutrition blogs.

Take a look at the top results, as these are the ones that are likely to get more traffic (since they have fairly decent SEO already). Another hint as to whether it’s a good site to aim for is to check out their ‘Domain Authority’ – here’s how:

  1. Download Moz’s free ‘MozBar’
  2. Once installed, Google your topic + ‘blog’ (e.g. canine nutrition blog)
  3. Open some blogs and check the ‘DA’ number
  4. If it’s about 20+, it’s probably worth getting in touch and finding out a bit more

You can do a couple of things once you know which bloggers you’d like to write about your products:

  • Ask if you can sponsor a post or offer a free amount of your product in return for a review & backlink (backlinks are VERY important for SEO)
  • Forge a relationship in general – since you have mutual interests – before asking for a post about your product
  • Offer a cross promotion deal – see tactic 62 below
  • Offer an affiliate deal – see tactic 71 below

How long will it take: Couple of hours for searching and negotiation

How important is it: 6.5/10

How much will it cost me: Most likely around £100 – £250 or some of your product

48. Do some online PR

PR is a GREAT way to drive new customers to your website and build great quality backlinks to your online store. It’s an essential part of any ecommerce marketing strategy.

So how do you do it?

Well there’s a lot to PR (that’s why there are PR agencies out there) but you can do a surprising amount on your own if you have the time.

Definitely enough to make a big impact on your ecommerce marketing results.

I’ll write a full guide on this soon, but basically – get networking and seek opportunities to feature in stories, especially if they’re on trustworthy websites (see how to check domain authority above in ecommerce marketing tactic 47). Follow journalists on Twitter by using the search function (find news sites you’d like to appear in, search for their twitter name/handle and check out ‘people’ – a lot of journalists will reference the newspaper they write for in their bio so there’s a good chance some will pop up. I like to pop them into a list so I can check out just the journalists feeds when I need to (you can follow my list of PR people and journalists here).

You can check on that list periodically to see if any journalists are looking for comments or sources on articles. It’s simple – see a request? Reply! Let them know your email and what you can contribute.

Another GREAT way to perform PR is to join a service like ‘HARO‘ (help a reporter out) where they link up journalists with people who need PR. You can also look for the hashtag in Twitter to see what people are posting, or if you’re in the UK like me, check out the hashtags Journorequest or PRrequest daily.

How long will it take: Daily 15-20 minutes

How important is it: 9.8/10

How much will it cost me: NOTHING

49. Build up your backlinks

Backlinks are still the number one factor in your search engine rankings – need I say more?

If you want to rank well for searches in your area, get backlinks – quality ones.

Bad backlinks can damage your online store, so make sure you do it the right way.

Any ecommerce marketing strategy needs a good back link plan.

Full guide on getting backlinks here.

How long will it take: Ongoing work, should be worked on weekly

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing, just time

(Unless you hire someone to do it – then you’re looking at thousands if they know what they’re doing – hundreds if they don’t – if you can it might be better to get training for yourself or a team member)

50. Answer FAQs – and turn them into articles

Imagine every customer question as a road block between them seeing your website and making it to the checkout.

  • Is this website trustworthy?
  • How true to size is this product?
  • What does it look like in real life?
  • Can I return it if it doesn’t suit me?
  • How will this make me feel better?

It’s your job to assure your customers when they get to your website that they’re safe buying these products and they’re the right thing for them. If you start to get questions from customers – or if you collect questions from your surveys/friends/family – use them to make an FAQ page.

FAQ pages are amazing for lots of reasons – not only do they help assure a customer who may have a concern before making a purchase, if you have a heat map installed or you use page analytics in Google analytics, you can even start to figure out which questions are most popular – and start to react.

If there’s a question that keeps being looked at, figure out if there’s a way you can make it more clear elsewhere on the website. If people are concerned about returns policies – highlight them on your product pages. Chances are, some customers will have left before checking your FAQs, so you’ll be gaining sales by doing this.

Ecommerce marketing – sorted.

Once you’ve done this, make sure you use the most popular questions as article inspiration.

This VERY article is written from a clients question.

Do your keyword research and find out how to best phrase your keywords – but ultimately – answer questions better than anyone else and search engines will reward you with traffic.

(As long as you write them correctly & work on promotion so they notice the content)

How long will it take: Ongoing, but likely half a day to make the page

How important is it: 8.5/10

How much will it cost me: Free – unless you pay someone to make your website

51. Answer questions on forums

Forums are a great place to position yourself as an authority in your space.

Find relevant forums, (e.g. dog training forums, dog diet forums or even local dog owner forums) and get involved. Answer questions and just leave your website in your signature if you can.

The more knowledgeable you seem in your space, the more likely people will trust you and want to check out your online store. If someone asks a question that you’ve answered with an article, you can even post it as part of your answer and get a great backlink.

Don’t spam the forums though – you want these guys on your side after all. With ecommerce marketing, or any content marketing really – always give before you take.

How long will it take: Up to you – frequency can be key

How important is it: 5/10

How much will it cost me: Not a dime

52. Use & encourage user generated content

User generated content is awesome for ecommerce marketing.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically any kind of content your customers create about your product. For example, Diamond Candles has a photo stream on their product pages showing images their customers have sent in of their candles (and rings).

user generated content ecommerce marketing

It’s shown just before the reviews, so it adds a lot of “social proof” and makes buyers feel a lot more comfortable buying their products. Seeing so many different, real photos of happy customers is one of the best ecommerce marketing tactics you can take.

Another GIANT plus is, if you can get customers to generate this kind of content – obviously you need their permission to put it on your website – but they’ll usually be so excited to be featured on your website that they’ll spread the word online and off about your online shop. Possibly even on Facebook, Twitter etc.

Increase conversion rates, more exposure to new customers, shared more on social media, better relationship with current customer. That’s 4 giant benefits in one action.

How long will it take: Potentially a while as you must develop a strategy for this.

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: Whatever it costs to make the strategy & add the necessary sections where you’ll display user content

53. Leverage your passion & personality against the big guys

More often than not, if you’re opening an online shop – you’re going to be up against a giant competitor of some kind or other.

Don’t be afraid.

Content marketing can seriously level the playing field.

You have something they don’t. You’re not a giant marketing department – you’re a passionate business owner with a dream.

Passion shines through in content and it will win. If you’ve spent years learning about your product and getting to know your customers you’re at a much bigger advantage than the big guys. If you’re the one writing your content and not a marketer you’re at a huge advantage because you ACTUALLY know this stuff. You know your products inside out and you can answer customers questions better than any marketer. After all, if their worth their salt they’ve been studying marketing for years – not your products.

Use your face on social media, be personable in communications and show your customers you really know your stuff.

There’s nothing wrong with marketers – obviously we can help guide you, show you how to edit content better an promote it properly – but ultimately – you’re the one with the passion, personality & knowledge to leverage yourself into a good place in the market.

Take charge of your ecommerce marketing and simply get help and education where your skills are weakest.

How long will it take: 0 minutes

How important is it: 6/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing at all

54. Write gift guides & include your product as well as others

Gift guides are a great way to get your content out there in a shareable way.

A great idea is to not only include your products, but other similar stores products too. For example, if you have a good relationship with a dog trainer, you could offer to feature their gift vouchers in your gift guide as long as they help share it on social media.

If they do, it gains you even more exposure to your target audience.

If you can include 4+ other stores, it can really help drive your target customers to your website, as well as helping out your fellow businesses. What’s more, is might even do the same for you in the future – and include your products in a gift guide of their own!

Getting others on board to help you spread the word about your online store is a major goal for your ecommerce marketing – and this tactic ticks all the boxes.

How long will it take: 4-6 hours writing & networking/organising

How important is it: 7/10

How much will it cost me: Zilch

55. Don’t forget to encourage reviews

As you now know (I hope) social proof is a top priority in ecommerce marketing.

Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

I can be honest with you in that I know when I buy online, I’m always looking for reviews – they help answer questions and give you an unbiased opinion on a product.

So what can you do to encourage reviews?

  1. Ask for them – it might seem a bit overwhelming to ask every person who buys to write a review. If you’re at this stage, it’s a good idea to implement an automated email system to help. Try to aim for a certain amount of time after their product has been delivered – a few days at least. Often a simple reminder email can be enough to get a couple of reviews
  2. Reward people for reviews – offer a discount off their next purchase or enter them into a prize draw. People do love free stuff, and it’ll be worth it in the long run for you if you can make more sales
  3. Make it really easy for people to leave reviews – obviously you don’t want to encourage competitors to leave bad reviews – but making the process as simple as possible can infinitely help encourage reviews, especially for those less tech savvy customers

How long will it take: Ongoing

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: 0 (potentially a cost for making your review system slick or buying an ipad to giveaway)

56. Use ‘you’ language

Using the word “you” and not “our customers” or “most of our fans” or even “guys” can seriously benefit your online store.

Words are powerful – and You is among the most powerful words you can use in your ecommerce marketing efforts.

Write your content as if you are talking directly to one target customer. Just one person.

Because although you’re talking to many different types of people – the one you have to convince is your customer. And they’re not in a room looking at your website with thousands of other website visitors around- they’re looking on their own at their desk/sofa/bed/bus stop/anywhere. Keeping the conversation personal is a far more effective way to sell online and anywhere else.

It makes us prick up our ears and pay attention when people are talking directly to us and not just blasting out messages to the world.

It also makes it easier to write the right kinds of things.

When you’re not focusing on pleasing everyone, and you’re just having a natural conversation (albeit to yourself online) it becomes more obvious which benefits and features of your product you should be pointing out. You’re not here to convert people who aren’t interested into customers. You’re here to convert your interested target market into customers.

Focus on them – and they’ll reward you with more sales.

How long will it take: Potential website rewrite – a long time

How important is it: 8.5/10

How much will it cost me: Not a dime (unless you hire a copywriter)

57. Use their language to entice them to buy

In tactic 8, I told you to survey your customers. Not only does this help you figure out if your products are viable – it helps you learn how to sell to your customers.

Using your industry terms isn’t the way to convince them they need a “canine digestive supplement high in vitamin b12”. Your customers have problems and they use specific language to describe those problems – and potential solutions.

Even if you survey just 5 people – you’ll get a much clearer idea of how your target customers talk about your product.

If their biggest problem is:

“My dog keeps vomiting after he eats peanut butter. He loves it so much – I need something like peanut butter but for dog’s with sensitive digestive issues”

You can almost parrot back their words on your product page:

“Does your poor dog love peanut butter – but he just keeps vomiting?

We created this treat just for you. This is the only peanut butter alternative for dogs with sensitive digestive issues – and they love it even more!”

When a product page talks directly to your issues, you are far more likely to buy that product than when it simply said “Peanut digestive supplement high in vitamin b12”. If your customers aren’t searching for supplements with b12, there’s no point in optimising your page for it.

Your ecommerce marketing efforts are going to be much more effective if you use your customers language.

How long will it take: Ongoing

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: Zilch

58. Guest blog on good authority websites

Guest blogging is when you write a blog for someone else’s website. It’s a good idea because it allows you to get your brand in front of a new audience as well as a good backlink to your website.

The key to it is to find the right blogs and develop a good relationship with the website owner. Check out tactic 47 to find out how to find a blog with a good domain authority. Aim to write for websites with at least a DA of 20 or more if you can. Something is better than nothing though when you’re starting out, so if you can’t find someone more than 20, it’s ok to go for a few 10s.

Good blogs are often being pitched lots of different articles, so you  need to make sure you pitch the right idea to them. Check out their content, and make sure you pitch a few titles of articles you think would fit in well with their audience.

Make sure you write something good – if it’s really good stuff you might be asked to write for a different blog in your industry.

Remember to include a bio about yourself with a link back to your website in your guest articles.

How long will it take: 3-6 hours

How important is it: 5/10

How much will it cost me: Free

59. Don’t be bland, take a stand & be yourself

You don’t want to spend hours writing articles for them never be seen, right?

The best way to avoid this is to write articles that are worth reading. The worst kind of article is something rehashed, completely blandly, because of too many company policies stopping your blog having any genuine original material or opinions.

Opinions are worth reading.

People want to know what you really think in your area of expertise. It’s not breaking news that you agree with what all the said experts in 2014. If you strongly disagree, and you show facts that back you up – be controversial. It’s the kind of things that will actually get your article read and spread on social media.

If you notice a lot of people in your industry only giving half the story – be the first to tell the whole story.

If you don’t, someone else will and they’ll get the customers and SEO boost for it instead of you.

If you’re thinking of posting an article – Google what’s out there first. If you can’t contribute anything better; it’s  unlikely your post will get noticed. Save yourself a bunch of time and do your searching before you start typing.

The great thing if you’re going up against a large competitor is that you won’t have millions of company policies banning you from saying this or that – take advantage of your freedom and take a stand. It’ll get you noticed.

How long will it take: 2 minutes

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Freebie

60. Track your promotions properly with unique urls

Here’s a great tip – if you’re running any kind of advertising campaign for your online store you can track the exact results with unique urls.

Let’s say you have an offer on a popular blog – you can create a unique link for that advert such as “”. Doing this ensures you can track your different ecommerce marketing activities properly – so you can monitor what’s working and what’s not.

That way you can quickly figure out what to keep investing in and what’s not worth a penny.

If you set up goal tracking in Google Analytics, you should even be able to monitor not just the traffic, but the number of sales you’re making from that particular ad. Just pop goal tracking onto your thank you page after they complete checkout.

How long will it take: Couple of minutes, or a couple of hours depending on page

How important is it: 7/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing extra unless you’re paying  for each page to be made

61. Interview influencers in your market

Interviewing an influencer can be an awesome way to drive great traffic to your website.

If you can find someone who’s being trusted and followed by thousands of your target market, interviewing them creates a strong link between you and the influencer. In a customers mind, you’re instantly seen as being at a similar trust/authority level.

Not only does it instantly build a lot of trust – and therefore make people more willing to buy form you – but if you publish an interview, whether it’s on YouTube or a blog, your influencer will more than likely help you spread the word and promote that content – which instantly gets your brand & ecommerce store in front of many more of your target customers.

Of course to do this, you’ll likely need to build up a good authority in your industry first so that the influencer sees it’s worth being interviewed by you. Or the other quick option is to simply pay the influencer for an interview. If you do go the payment route, just make sure you’ve optimised your website well for conversions already – the last thing you want is a bunch of good traffic to get to your website and only 1 or 2 sales.

It’s definitely an effective ecommerce marketing tactic if your store is ready for it.

How long will it take: A few days work

How important is it: 5/10

How much will it cost me: £££s (depends on industry and influencer)

62. Use cross promotion with another shop or service in your industry

Cross promotion is an amazing way to build up a good reputation and your SEO online.

It’s simple really – there’s other businesses looking to promote themselves to a similar target market to you out there. They might be selling something slightly different – but you can work together to achieve mutual benefits.

Say for example, I’m selling organic dog treats, but I also know a charity set up for dogs with stomach cancer. Or a website selling dog training courses. Or an organic cat food store. What you can do is, reach out to these people and collaborate on few articles and offers.

They need relevant links to them and so do you; so by working together, either guest posting on their blog, running a collaborative offer or interviewing each other etc. you can both reap massive rewards.

You get double ecommerce marketing points for this too. Not only will Google like the fact that you have lots of relevant links to your website,the other businesses will help to promote your articles and get them in front of a new, very relevant audience.

How long will it take: Ongoing

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Nothing!

63. Do a collective list article with guest experts

Much like cross promotion, if you can get a bunch of experts in your field to get involved in a list article, it can seriously benefit your ecommerce marketing.

The idea is that people really like list articles – you just have to see the success of buzzfeed to know that.

They’re a bit easier to digest, you can skim through them and read what you want and ignore whatever’s not relevant to you. So when your target market sees something like “40 tips on easing your dog’s stomach troubles from canine experts” they’re going to want to read it. Much more than usual boring stuff they see online that’s not relevant to them.

Not just that, but if you have a seriously long list with lot’s of guest experts – they’ll help you to promote your article. Featuring in an article that says their an expert can only be a good thing for them after all.

Make sure they’re experts with a good domain authority (see tactic 47) and a decent following on social media, if you can – this will ensure an extra traffic and SEO boost!

How long will it take: Organising & writing 6-8 hours total

How important is it: 8/10

How much will it cost me: Zilch



Ecommerce Marketing: Extra marketing tactics

64. Add a few products to Amazon, Gum Tree (or Craiglist), or eBay

You may never have thought about adding your products to any of these ecommerce websites; after all, you’ll make more money if you don’t have to sell through someone else.

However, using these avenues to sell a few of your products can do something unexpected for you – it can give you great exposure.

Some customers won’t search Google for your products – they’ll search directly on these shopping sites. So if a couple of your products feature here, it’s a great way to get your brand in their homes. Plus stores like Amazon already have great automated methods of getting reviews and suggesting your products to the right people while they’re browsing.

Firstly, ensure you name your product effectively using keywords your customer will be searching for (see tactics 13 & 57) . Then ensure you fill out your product descriptions as effectively as possible. More is better when it comes to product descriptions. Make sure to make a backlink to your website if you’re allowed to on the platform too.

Once everything’s setup, the final step is to make sure once you sell through one of these avenues, to offer that customer something extra when they go to your website to buy next time. Simply add a little offer leaflet in with their package when you send it off. You want them to buy again, but hopefully through you (so you can make more profits – and hopefully get recommended to more customers). Whether it’s 15% off or free delivery if they buy through your site; grab their attention and use the delivery opportunity to turn them into a repeat direct customer.

How long will it take: A day or so to setup

How important is it: 6/10

How much will it cost me: Slight cut of profits (depending on platform used)

65. Join a meetup and share tips with other entrepreneurs

Joining a business group can be a really effective way for you learn how to grow your online store faster – a problem shared is a problem halved after all!

You can learn a bit faster about what ecommerce marketing tactics are working (and what isn’t) for other entrepreneurs so you don’t have to make the same mistakes. Plus they might have ideas you’ve never thought of! You can join LinkedIn groups or Facebook groups online or meet people in person through local ‘meetups’ – it’s a lot easier to share tips in person so Meetups is a great way to find similar people in your local area.

Join in, browse the groups in your local area and share your experiences with like-minded people!

How long will it take: A few hours

How important is it: 7/10

How much will it cost me: Depends on the group – varies

66. Reach out to bad reviewers tactically

Sometimes a bad review will come in – no matter how amazing your product and service is, it is going  to happen.

Sometimes people are just in a foul mood and want to be mean.

Before you go ahead and tear your bad reviewer a new one for being a meanie – check this story out.

Honestly – look at your bad reviews as an opportunity to shine. It is much better to approach your bad reviewers with care & kindness – as people we all know some people are just out there to be negative and mean. This is your golden ecommerce marketing opportunity. If someone sees a bad review about your services, they know some people can be unreasonable, but if they see your response as being amazingly open and kind, you can turn that bad press into good press; and more customers!

Not just that – often if people feel like they’ve been hard done by a faceless company, they will lash out. But as soon as you approach them personally and apologise, they can actually feel bad and more of a personal connection with you. Some of them could even become your next brand advocates!

People love to check out reviews before they buy; and if they see that you’ve been nothing but gracious when people have been overly harsh, it will only make them want to buy from you more.

The other thing is – if you treat bad reviewers badly – it can have the complete opposite effect. You can put off new customers completely because you’ll come off as aggressive and a little bit psycho.

Seriously – if you have nothing nice to say – say nothing at all!

How long will it take: 30 mins – 1 hour per review

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: Free

67. Put a link to your website in your email signature

Super simple, but a step that’s often forgotten when you’re first starting out – get your website noticed more and pop it into your email signature!

Not only will this gain you a little traffic boost and up your ecommerce marketing game, it just looks far more professional.

How long will it take: 5 minutes

How important is it: 3/10

How much will it cost me: 0

68. If you have a bricks and mortar store – promote your online site there too

If you’ve just taken your store online and you already have some loyal customers in real life, these guys can be a complete godsend when it comes to boosting your ecommerce store.

Promote your online store to your current customers – maybe you can offer them reserving products there to pick up in store. You’ll not only encourage more custom online, they will likely spread news of your store through word of mouth – the most effective type of marketing you can find.

Your current customers can offer you some great insight into what’s working well and what isn’t too – so pay attention to their feedback!

How long will it take: A couple of minutes to mention your online store (ortime to design & print a leaflet)

How important is it: 4/10

How much will it cost me: Free – leaflet price

69. Automate an email sales funnel

Email sales funnels are amazing. It goes something like this:

  • Customer is browsing dog peanut butter treats, signs up to receive offers later, but leaves because they’re unsure they want to buy
  • They receive an email about peanut butter treats and how they can prevent dog cancer (or some other amazing benefit)
  • Couple days later they receive an article or video about training dogs to ride a bike with peanut butter treats
  • Couple days after that they receive an email about new flavours available, like peanut butter & jelly
  • Couple days later they receive an amazing discount offer

What you’ll find is often by making these email funnels super relevant, you’ll capturing more sales and new customers.

They do take some time and investment to create; but once they’re setup, you can pretty much just leave them running and the ROI can be amazing. They’re like a cheap 24 hour salesman. It is something I would recommend setting up after you’ve optimised your website well first though, by making sure you have sufficient traffic, the right message and  your checkout system is working well etc.

There’s a lot of different systems for this, but infusionsoft is the best one I’ve tested out.

How long will it take: Weeks to setup; 0 time after

How important is it: 6/10

How much will it cost me: It’s expensive – prices here

70. Delegate the right things (if you can)

Running a successful business of any kind, especially something as big as an ecommerce store, is going to take a large number of skills. From accounting, marketing, logistics, product development and fulfilment – there’s so much going on that it’s impossible for one person to manage it all.

The trick to it is to delegate well – delegate things that will help you grow and that other people are more skilled at than yourself. For example, if you’re really bad with the accounts, when you get enough profits coming in – hire an accountant.

If you hate social media marketing, get a social media marketer on board. If you can’t face ecommerce marketing -get someone like POP Content to help.

The thing is, you will likely have some major companies competing with you who have a lot of money and people. If you want to stand a good chance of competing, you need to get talented people on board doing the right things for you; and invest in the right areas of ecommerce marketing.

How long will it take: Will reduce your workload

How important is it: 10/10

How much will it cost me: A whole heap

71. Try out affiliate marketing

If you haven’t heard of affiliate marketing, then you’re about to be blown away.

It’s a bit of a game-changer when it comes to ecommerce marketing. Basically, it’s a method of online marketing where people write about your products, or make videos etc and encourage others to buy them. You’ll get more links and traffic to your website from real customers.

The catch? If someone from their link buys your product, you give them a share of the profit you made. You set the terms and decide how much they get, so it won’t end up costing you more then you get out of it. It’s completely win-win.

They make a bit of money and you get more customers.

You can either seek out particular bloggers currently in your market and strike a personal deal with them directly, or try out a website that can help set it up for you and reach lot’s of affiliate marketers already setup like ShareASale.

How long will it take: Negotiation time or setup on 3rd party website, likely 30 minutes – 2 hours

How important is it: 7/10

How much will it cost me: Small share in profits, nothing upfront

72. Sponsor events

Sponsoring events that your target market are interested in, such as a charity run for dogs or an animal rescue event can really help boost your sales – which has got to be your biggest goal in ecommerce marketing!

Not only does it get you recognition as a trustworthy brand in your target market, it can even get you some very reliable, relevant and trustworthy backlinks to your website which can result in a major boost in organic traffic to your website.

You can easily search Twitter for sponsorship opportunities, or go straight to Google, search for relevant organisations & reach out to them directly.

How long will it take: Could take up to a day to find and reach out to relevant events

How important is it: 6/10

How much will it cost me: Expensive – will depend on event and sponsorship deal

73. Get an SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate gives your online store customers security when they buy from your store online. When a store has one, you’ll either see a green bar or padlock in the url bar at the top of a web page. It means payment information is secure – I honestly would never buy from a website that didn’t have this.

Not only can it build up trust in your online store and therefore increase sales, it can also give you an SEO boost – Google likes to show secure sites to it’s users.

The costs can vary, but if you’re an online store it’s so important that I’d recommend getting the best one you can. Usually your hosting provider will offer SSL certificates, so that’s the best place to start browsing for one.

How long will it take: 30 minutes to find the one you want

How important is it: 9/10

How much will it cost me: Varies

Ecommerce Marketing: Conclusion

I hope you’re not too overwhelmed with all that information. If you’re not sure where to really start with your ecommerce marketing, I’d download & print off the pdf and tick off what you have done as you go. The level of importance rating should act as a guide as to what you should consider doing first and foremost; but obviously the ecommerce marketing basics at the beginning is probably the best place to start.

Let me leave you with this:

Ecommerce marketing, much like any kind of online marketing, is ultimately all about serving your customers. Serve one customer exceptionally well and they’ll likely tell 2 more. Put them at the forefront of every aim you have and you’re likely doomed for success.

Amy Jordan, POP Content, After her fingers nearly fell off for writing so many ecommerce marketing tactics.

Good luck with all of your ecommerce marketing – let me know in your comments if you have any questions or extra tips that should be added. Can’t wait to hear what you think!


How to promote your website locally on Google

Search Engine Optimisation, Content Marketing and everything else in between – it can all be seriously useful for getting new customers to your website, but what happens when your business can only help people locally? Getting thousands of hits from other countries is going to be of no real use to you. So how do you promote your website locally on Google?

This is a question I often come across from businesses I help and it isn’t the easiest thing to tackle – but it can be done.

Here’s a list of some of the best tried and tested tactics for ranking locally


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip One:

Featuring Local Keywords on Your Website

Focus on your local keywords

The first thing to consider with any online strategy is where you want to focus.

What is your aim? What do you want to rank well in Google for?

When it comes to ranking well locally, it’s vital that you consider the keywords you’re using on your website.

If you aren’t sure what keywords are – firstly I’d recommended signing up to the POP Content email list and reading through the quick start traffic guide. It gives you some of the basics in terminology that you’ll probably need to know to get the most out of guides like these.

Don’t be put off – it’ll only take a few minutes to read and will seriously help you make strides in your understanding of online marketing.

Secondly – when I talk about ‘keywords’ it’s simply a term used for search terms; a ‘keyword’ might actually be made up of multiple words. Weird, I know, I didn’t make it up though, it’s an industry term. Whenever you type in a set of words into Google, that could be counted as a ‘keyword’ (e.g. “how to replace a tyre” could be a keyword). And it’s really important before you embark on trying to rank well in Google, that you decide exactly what you’re hoping to rank well for.

Now, when it comes to ranking locally, it’s going to be crucial that you feature local keywords on your website.

If you’re trying to rank well for ‘App Developer Dundee’, for example, it’s important that you mention that exact phrase on your website; probably on a number of different pages, but especially the home page if it’s your main focus keyword.

Google has grown even smarter (as it always does!) so you can also gain benefits by mentioning different geographically relevant keywords around your website.

For example, your business might be in a small village, set within a larger town and within a larger governing district. For POP Content, this might mean mentioning words such as ‘Dundee’ but also ‘Dundee City’, ‘Angus’ and even ‘Scotland’ in our content. It simply makes it easier for Google to figure out where your business is. Plus, it allows different types of local searchers to find you, no matter which geographical area they choose to type into Google.

Don’t fall into the trap of ‘keyword stuffing’, however and overloading your website with that one phrase in too many places. Google wants to know what your website is about, but it is also wise to ‘unnatural’ content and your SEO efforts can be damaged by overdoing it.

A great way to keep your keyword content ‘natural’ is to simply write an article as naturally as possible, then as you edit it, add the term in wherever it will sound completely natural. You can also use an awesome service like Yoast if you have WordPress (it monitors your content as your write it and let’s you know if you’ve gone overkill on your keywords. And it’s free!)


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Two: 

Get Into More & Better Directories

Directories are a great place for your website to appear online; as you’ll know if you follow this blog, backlinks are extremely important when it comes to ranking well in search engines.

While directories may not always give you a big link boost, it’s highly beneficial for local SEO to make sure you’re listed in some good ones.

So which directories should you be in?

Other than just simply making sure you’re in the big ones, such as Yellow Pages or Google+ (see more on the next tip), you can usually get a good indication of whether it’s worth getting into a directory by finding out the ‘Domain Authority’ of the particular website.

Domain Authority is simply a measure that many search engines use to indicate how important & trustworthy the website is, and therefore how much they will trust backlinks from that particular website. The higher the domain authority, the more important a link is from that website.

You want good authority links to your website; so getting into a local online directory can do wonders for your local SEO.

Here’s a simple method for finding a good directory that has a good DA:

  1. Download Moz’s free ‘MozBar’
  2. Once installed, Google your location + ‘directory’ (e.g. Dundee directory)
  3. Open some directories in your neighbourhood and check the ‘DA’ number
  4. If it’s about 20+, it’s probably worth applying to join the directory. If they’re asking for payment to join, I’d aim for 50 or more to make sure it’s worth it, depending on the cost.

Once you’ve entered all the good directories in your area, it’s a good idea to start looking at your listing on the most important one – Google+.


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Three:

Build a Better Google+ Business Page

Google+ Page promote your website locally on Google

Google+ for business is incredibly important if you want to promote your website locally on Google.

Google used to have two separate areas for Google+ (it’s social network site) and Google Local (where you see map listings appearing in a normal Google search or in a search on Google Maps). Now they’ve combined, it gives you the chance to make your listing a lot more detailed; including full business descriptions, profile and cover photos, opening times, business categories, reviews and of course – web links.

I recommend filling out your listing with as much detail as you can.

The truth is, Google is getting smarter and recognising local terms more and more. So if someone searches for ‘Plumber Dundee’ for example, you’ll notice the top results are Google+ Business results (usually around 3 results appear). It’s simply because Google has learned that people are looking for local services when they search particular combinations of terms that include an geographical area name.

Google likes to give it’s users the best information it can – fast.

If you can help to answer a Google users query  within the local listing and avoid them having to read down into the normal organic listings, it’s only a good thing in Google’s view. Being more helpful than a different search result will cause you to be rewarded by being ranked higher. Making your Google+ Business page more detailed than your competitors, with more photos and a Moz recommended 400+ word description, Google is more likely to push you to the top of those local listings simply for being more helpful to it’s users.

The other thing that can seriously help boost your ranking for your Google+ Business page?

Google+ Reviews.


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Four:

Work on Getting More Reviews on Google+

Reviews google+

Some directory sites ban you from asking your customers for reviews – but Google actively encourages it!

Reviews give people evidence of how good your business is and they make any directory more useful (as long as they’re genuine!). The more good reviews you can get on your Google+ page, the more likely your business listing is likely to rank well. If you have 5 or more, you’ll even get little orange stars in your listing which encourages more clicks to your website. If you get a lot of poor reviews, it can of course go the other way and your business may disappear into the ether as they say – so I’d only work on this once you’re happy with your product or service!

Here are some methods you can use to encourage reviews:

  • Email customers after they receive their product or service and simply remind them Google+ reviews are really helpful (or maybe even incentivise them with a coupon off their next purchase)
  • Add a quick reminder to your email signature
  • Remind users on your website that they can check out and leave reviews on your Google+ page
  • Remind users on your social media channels that they can check out and leave reviews on your Google+ page
  • Send customers the direct link to your Google+ review window
  • Leave other businesses you work with reviews and let them know; they’ll be more likely to reciprocate
  • Address any bad reviews with courtesy; you don’t want to scare off potential reviewers by making them think you’ll be aggressive!


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Five:

List Your Local Phone Number

List your local phone number

Google is getting smarter; and listing a local phone number (rather than an 0800 or mobile number) is now an indication Google will take to note your business location.

It knows the local area phone numbers so it will give you a slight boost in their rankings locally if you have a local listed phone number on your website and directory listings. This is also true if you have multiple locations; make sure you have a local telephone number for each one.

If you’re struggling to get a business phone line, or you want just one line to be answered no matter where your customers are calling from, you can use an internet phone service to buy a local area code phone number. Basically it’s a service you can run through your normal landline or mobile phone, but it will be an ‘internet phone line’ that uses a unique local area phone number. Using this service you can choose your own phone number, along with local area code and run it through one line.

There’s many different local geographical phone services out there, simply shop around and see which you think suits your business best!


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Six:

Write More Useful, Relevant Local Blog Posts

Like any content marketing, better content will drive better traffic to your website.

So when you’re trying to attract more customers from your local area, a great idea is to write more relevant blog posts that include local issues.

If you get more links and shares from local news websites, it’s another indication to Google that your business is from that area – which is a big thumbs up.

Of course, you don’t want to overload your blog with only local news – you might start to rank well for the area term (like when someone simply searches ‘UK’ or ‘Dundee’ on it’s own), but what you want is to rank for your area linked with your services (e.g. Content marketing consultant Dundee).

Find a happy medium with your local focused articles if you can; or even sponsor a few local events and write about both your services and the local area.

Another great tip is to write some ‘best of’ pieces about local services in your area unrelated to your own; let other businesses know you’ve featured them and they’ll help to promote your local article and hopefully not only give you a local link boost for SEO, but also drive some local traffic your way – win win!

Finally, it can be seriously shareworthy content if you write ‘list posts’ about very local things; for example, you could write something like “24 sayings only Dundonians understand” or “14 places in Dundee only locals know about”. This kind of content is the kind of thing that can be fairly simple to crack out, but can get viral in the local area – which is great if it’s featured on your website!

Shared content not only gets you more recognition on social media – it gives you an SEO boost too – so this ones a great tactic if you have the time to work on a few local articles.


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Seven:

Keep Your Listings Consistent

Keep your naps consistent

A consistent ‘NAP’ can really help boost your local rankings. Your ‘NAP’ is your name, address and phone number. Keeping these consistent throughout different directories and on your own website has been proven to boost your local rankings.

Google likes to give it’s users clear and valid information – so multiple slight variations can confuse it and make it unsure of which information is correct. Go back and review your directory entries and listed NAPs on your website and try to make them all as consistent as possible.

If you don’t have time to run through them on your own, Moz Local can help you keep your NAP’s consistent – check it out here.


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Eight:

Get into ‘Best of’ and Review Posts

If you can get into some local ‘best of’ posts about your business services in your local area, it can be a huge boost for your local reputations and for local SEO.

Simply search a term such as ‘best marketing consultant UK’ (obviously you would change the service and location to match your business), then get in touch with the writer of the article to ask if they wouldn’t mind considering your service as an addition to the list. If the article is from a competitor agency I may approach with caution – but if they’re open to adding you, it’s always worth asking!

Getting into a best of or a review post of services like yours can not only boost the number of customers seeing your brand locally, but it can also boost your traffic and SEO – especially if they link to your website.


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Nine:

Write a Local Guide

writing local guides to promote locally on google

Writing a local guide, especially if you are in a hospitality or travel business, can seriously help you promote your website locally on Google.

Not only does it give you the opportunity to mention relevant local keywords frequently without your content reading strangely, but it also can be really helpful and shareable information if you work hard on making it quality, useful stuff.

Check out what your competitors have done and take it up a notch; you could even add a pdf download version as an incentive for people to join a email list!

If you’re not in a business where it makes sense to give a local guide, you can always write up a guide on how to get to your offices from different locations, mentioning things Google maps and sat navs might leave out such as where the busiest roads are that you might want to avoid or where clients might enjoy stopping for a great lunch or coffee on their way.


Promote Your Website Locally on Google Tip Ten:

Get More Local Links

You may already know just how important links are in boosting your search engine rankings. Well, just like any good content marketing strategy, search engine optimisation can’t be ignored; and the same goes for when you’re trying to promote your website locally on Google.

Getting local links should be a huge priority when you’re trying to rank well for local search terms.

Here’s some effective tactics you can use to gain more quality local backlinks:

  1. Write local reviews or testimonials for your local suppliers & request a link back for featuring your review on their website
  2. Get involved with your local business authorities and offer to be interviewed for any PR work/offer a service review
  3. Use tip 2 and make sure you enter as many good local directories as possible (ensuring your NAP is consistent)
  4. Follow your local newspaper journalists on Twitter and reach out to them if they need help on a story you have information on. You can simply use twitter search to search for the newspaper name and usually a whole load of journalists will pop up. Add them to a separate private list and check daily to keep it separate from your current twitter feed.
  5. Sponsor local events. If you have a bit of cash behind you, sponsoring a local event could be a great way to not only get your brand in front of new people in your area, but also gain you some great links from local websites.
  6. Check your local councils/governing bodies for advertising or PR opportunities. For example, Dundee City Council is currently offering advertising opportunities; with a domain authority of 96, a good link from someone like that could be seriously valuable!


I hope that guide offered some insight and inspired you to promote your website locally on Google. It can certainly be done; just keep at it and you will succeed!

If I can offer any personal help to your business, simply contact POP Content here and ask for Amy – I’ll gladly help you in any way I can. If you have any other tips & tricks you’ve used to promote your website locally on Google – I’d love to add them here! Please just comment below and let me know.

Hope this blog was super helpful – let me know if you’ve used any of these tips to help your business succeed online!

Site Speed: Don’t let it destroy your content marketing efforts

Do you hate slow loading websites? Well, if you do, you’re not alone, your site speed might be more important than you think for your content marketing efforts online.

Slow loading websites are often clicked away from.

We’ve become impatient in our need for information from the internet and if one loads too slowly, it’s a normal reaction to just click back and try another page that might load faster. You know it, I know it – Google knows it too. If you weren’t aware – your site speed plays a role in where you’re ranked in search engine results.

So what’s site speed got to do with your content marketing?

Well, a large part of your content marketing efforts should be drawing potential customers to your website using your content. You can follow all the best advice, write really useful content that your customers are searching for, optimise it for search engines and promote it well – but a lot of your customers won’t bother to read it if they can’t load up your website quickly.

So in short – it can have a giant affect on how well your website draws in leads.

Because of this, I wanted to offer some tips on how you can check your site speed – and what you can do to improve it too.

These tips are intended for a non-developer, but if you have a great web developer – showing them some of your site speed details might even help them speed your site up even more!

How you can find your current site speed

google site speed

Google loves sites that are useful for their searchers – and because of this they’ve made it really simple to find out your site speed, and even let you in on tips on how to increase it.

Simply go to their page speed insights here, enter in your domain and they’ll throw up your site speed score – for both mobile and desktop devices.

Now, unfortunately, a lot of the suggestions Google will throw at you here are only fixable by your developer. If you’re happy to spend the cash, we’d suggest getting a quote for improving the site speed from them – simply send them a link to your page speed insights and they should be able to get a handle on what work is needed.

If you have some time to do some DIY however, here are a few things you can do on your own to improve your site speed without the developer cost.

Image size

Images can take a up a large chunk of your site size and can slow down the time it takes to load while your customers are trying to open your website.

But images are great for enticing your customers to be more engaged and ultimately buy from you – so what’s the solution?

Well, honestly, optimising images is a big subject – there’s file types to consider, physical image size, resolution and more. But rather than spend hours on every image I upload, I like to stick to something really simple:

Just keep it under 100KB.

The only exception I would make to this rule is if I had a really giant top image on my home page that was seriously important and engaging; other than that everything should be under 100KB.

So how can you resize your images?

Obviously there’s things like Photoshop and programs and plugins you can employ; but I like to keep it very simple, and rather than optimising a huge batch of images at once, I also like to physically see the reduced image before uploading it, in case it comes out terribly. While I want smaller images on my website, I don’t want to upload anything that detracts from my high quality content.

My solution? Paint.

Just plain old Microsoft Paint is all you need to resize your images.

Simply go to your start bar and search for paint – as long as you have a Microsoft PC it should already be installed.

(I’m less familiar with Macs, but you should be able to perform a lot of these same tasks using the free app ‘Preview’ already pre-installed on your Mac)

paint image optimisation site speed

Open up your image in paint by right clicking on the image and clicking ‘edit’. Paint should be your default image editing program, but if it opens in something else, you can simply open paint first and choose a file to open up within Paint.

image original me site speed

You’ll notice lots of tools at the top, but for resizing,  I want to draw your attention to the bottom of the screen. Here it tells you clearly the physical size of the image in pixels (1280 x 750px) and the memory it’s taking up on your computer (195.4KB).

We want to aim to reduce the memory size to below 100KB if possible, but without losing the effectiveness of the image.

For blog posts, I normally use a physical size of around 850 by 350 pixels; so resizing the physical image is a good place to start.

In the top bar  you’ll notice a ‘resize’ button. Click here, and click by ‘pixels’ rather than percentage. Because I want my image to end up 850 pixels wide, I will start here and put in 850 width. As long as you have the ‘maintain aspect ratio’ box ticked, your image height should reduce to the right size automatically. Click ‘okay’ and the image should shrink.

Don’t panic if it’s too small – your image hasn’t permanently changed until you save it. If you’re ever unsure, simply save your resized image by clicking ‘save as’ and giving it a different name to your original – then you can load up the resized image on your website and decide if the size is suitable without losing your original.

Before you save your image, you’ll notice the memory size stays the same while your physical image size changes; you can see the memory size is still 195.4KB below even though I’ve resized the image:

paint site speed physical size vs memory size

Now, if you’d like to crop your image (cut part of the image off) this can help reduce the memory size too. As my image is still 498 pixels in height,  I can simply crop it by clicking on the bottom white square below the image and dragging it up until I’m happy with the size. Once it’s at 350 pixels, I simply click ‘file’ in the top right, then ‘save as’ then ‘JPEG Picture’. Unless your image is a logo or graphic of some kind, I would recommend saving as a JPEG to reduce the size of the file. Change the name of the new resized image and hit save.

final image resize for site speed


Now my image is a better size for my website – both physically and for site speed!

The truth is, unless your image is for a header and needs to be full width, your images shouldn’t really need to be larger than about 850 pixels for the web, especially when being used to illustrate a blog post.

A combination of saving as a JPEG and reducing the physical size of your imagery is often all that’s needed to get your images below the 100KB threshold.

So you’ve optimised all of your images – but your website’s still being slow. Well don’t panic to your developer yet – you can always try:

Reviewing your plugins

Let’s face it, plugins are awesome. They can help you take your website from plain and boring to multi-functional, highly converting and super engaging in just a few minutes. However, installing too many plugins can be exactly what puts people off your website – because they can slow it down a lot.

A bit like imagery, you have to find a good balance between installing plugins that are helpful and not overloading your site with so many that no one can load it in the first place.

Take a look at your plugin list – if you have WordPress, it’s as simple as clicking on ‘Plugins’ then ‘Installed Plugins’ from your dashboard.

Is there anything you could afford to live without? Do you really need that Facebook page feed plugin? Maybe you have two plugins when one could do the whole job?

Figuring out if you actually need a plugin

When it comes to plugins like the Facebook feed, you can become very attached. But is it really doing anything for your visitors? I like to use the Sumome plugin for lots of things – one being the heatmap.

You can install the Sumome heatmap for free to figure out where your visitors are clicking on important pages, like your homepage. It basically records visitors as they use your page and watches where they scroll and click. Then you can review the results in the form of a ‘heatmap’ – an image of your page with coloured ‘hot’ areas visually showing you where people are clicking. This way, you can start to track which areas of your website are working well, and which are less important to your visitors.

heatmap plugins site speed

I used to have a Facebook feed in my footer – but I’ve uninstalled it after noticing that hardly anyone ever gets to my footer, never mind clicking on my Facebook feed.

Another thing to note about Plugins is that often, they can have multiple features and you could get rid of a few without losing any functionality.

For example, Sumome has multiple uses including heatmaps but also email capture services – so by installing it, you can uninstall any other email capture plugins you might already have and reduce the number of plugins your visitor has to load when they visit your site – and therefore, reduce your site speed!

As another example, if you already have the Yoast plugin (which I highly recommend for helping to adjust your content for SEO) you might not realise, but you can use it to also write your own meta data and even choose if a page should be ‘nofollow’ for your search engines it’s like 3 plugins in one!

Setting up browser caching

Because browsers have cache too
(Just not this kind of cash)

You may have read that title and suddenly got shivers – it doesn’t come across as something you could do on your own. But the truth is – you can!

Better still – it doesn’t have to cost a penny to do it.

My developer friend told me about this amazing service called ‘Cloudflare’. If you need to, there’s lots of paid upgrades, but for site speed and security, you can simply sign up for their free version to reap the rewards.

Setup should take about 5 minutes – you can find out how to do it all yourself here.

You might notice Google Page Speed Insights telling you to ‘leverage browser caching’. Browser caching is essentially when your website browser (Internet explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox etc) will ‘save’ files it has downloaded from a website. This is simply so that it doesn’t have to re-download entire websites every time you visit them, which usually will help to speed up your site.

In Cloudflare, you can go to your caching section and adjust the length of time a browser should store the same file for. At the moment, mine is set to 2 days; you can adjust yours to whatever you think is suitable. If you don’t update your site very often, you might even be able to set it to a number of weeks and increase your website speed a lot.

You can also speed up your website on Cloudflare by ‘Auto Minifying’ the source code on your website. I don’t know a great deal on Auto Minifying, but it takes a couple of clicks on Cloudflare to setup and promises to speed up your site a little – so I’m in! Go to the ‘Speed’ section of Cloudflare to find out more.

Extra Search Engine Ranking Tip – Get an SSL Certificate

security seo site speed

Another factor of SEO other than site speed is security. An SSL certificate will often give your website the padlock symbol in the URL bar for your website – and it let’s your website visitors know they are secure when browsing your website.

It also gives you a little thumbs up from Google when they’re trying to decide where to rank your website.

To get a free SSL certificate, you can simply click the ‘Crypto’ button in your Cloudflare account and select the ‘Flexible’ option to add an SSL certificate to your website. This adds an SSL certificate to your cloudflare server, so you don’t need to do anything else.

I hope these tips helped you with your site speed and ensure your website visitors get the ultimate experience on your website. If you’d like to get more of these helpful articles to your inbox – simply sign up to our newsletter below and you’ll get weekly emails with helpful tips and our latest blog entries. 

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