Is Quality Web Hosting Important For SEO?

Businesses should never underestimate the importance of online presence for their success. But being merely present isn’t enough. Your website has to be noticed by potential customers, and in time, its popularity will surely grow, as well as the business itself. So, what else is important other than the presence? Well, quality, of course. This includes ease of navigation and an organized and visually pleasing site. Is this enough? No. Where you decide to accommodate your blog also plays a big role, especially in a world where search engine optimization is essential for every business, that is, if you want to generate traffic. Let’s see exactly how your web host impacts your SEO.

High uptime percentage

If your website is often inaccessible for a long time due to problems with the server, the search engine spiders can notice that during one of their checkup visits. They will then record it as unavailable and move on to the next site. What does that mean? Well, your web page will probably be recorded as unreliable and your rankings will go down. As a result, your website will not be ranked highly in search results, and you will lose a lot of potential visitors. A good website host should offer at least 99% uptime.

Loading speed

In 2010, Google explicitly specified speed as a ranking factor, and this is something that has been a long time coming. Users love fast websites, and low loading speed will only chase them away to another page. Too busy servers can be blamed for this situation. However, while the loading speed does, in part, depend on the web host, it is not necessarily the provider’s fault. The coding and configuration of your website can play a significant role in the total loading speed.

IP address

What’s so special about the IP address that could impact your search ranking? Well, believe it or not, it’s the physical location of your web host. In order to get higher rankings, you should choose a web host that is located in the same country as your company. IP location can impact another SEO factor – speed. Targeting the users in the same country where the host server is located will enable faster loading times.

SSL as an important SEO factor

More and more websites are using https to protect user data in web traffic. That is why Google has marked SSL as an SEO ranking factor. Although it is still a minor ranking factor and it doesn’t have too strong an influence, it looks like it will become very important in the near future. You can move your site from http to https but it will require some changes to make your website fully operational.

Security

Poor website security can really hurt your SEO. Google will not hesitate to penalize websites which are susceptible to hacker attacks, spam messages, and fake backlinks. If something like this happens, you will probably need a lot of time to identify the fraudulent page and have it removed. This gives Google time to impose the penalty. Websites that are prone to malware are also backlisted by search engines. If you choose a reliable SEO friendly host that has security technology options available, you should be able to avoid all of the mentioned problems.

Tech support

Although tech support isn’t an SEO factor per se it can play an important role in the way you manage your website and handle challenging situations. Let’s suppose your website goes down. You’re trying to get tech support on the phone and no one is answering. By the time someone finally picks up the phone, Google has already figured out your site is down which pushes it lower down the ranking list. That’s why it is imperative to find a web host that offers 24/7 support that actually works. If your website goes down, there will always be someone to react straight away.

Although a critical factor in determining your website’s SEO rankings, web hosting is often overlooked. By making an informed decision and constantly checking your hosting quality, you will help increase your search result rankings, and ensure that users enjoy the experience of your website and always come back for more.

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Improve Customer Satisfaction With Better Communication

Every brand wants to make sure they are keeping their customers as happy as possible. Happy customers are more likely to purchase again in the future, and will spread good reviews to friends and family (which are very likely to turn into highly qualified leads). Better communication can go far in helping improve the relationship between a company and its target audience. Here are a few reasons you should be using SMS mass text messaging to connect with your audience.

Get Real Opinions

Mobile polls and surveys are a great way to get a few quick opinions from your customers. Simply ask your customers what they love or don’t love about your brand. The more you know, the better you can serve them in the future. People are far more likely to complete a short mobile survey than a paper form or click-through to an email survey. Keep in mind that multiple choice (over open-ended) questions are the most likely to get a response and rewards are likely to entice more of your customers to actually complete your survey.

Improve Your Speed

Establishing automatic texts can help you respond to the activity of your customers quickly. People do not want to wait on a brand to respond, but taking too long also runs the risk of losing that customer’s attention. A customer can get a speedy text response when asking a question or a notification when they sign up for a rewards program with your brand. By providing timely interactions, you will help keep your customers better informed and less hassled with the process.

Use Reminders

You want customers to stay on top of their purchases and they won’t want to forget either. SMS marketing can be incredibly helpful for keeping everyone on track and in-the-know. Use quick, scheduled reminders to help customers remember their payment dates. Collections can be one of the most stressful parts of a business, so use your text messages to keep your numbers in the black with on time payments. If you are working with smaller purchases then you can use your SMS alerts to help customers remember their carts and not let a potential purchase go abandoned.

Respect Their Time

Show your customers just how important they are by keeping your messages brief, to-the-point and as non-invasive as possible. Text messages are naturally short, so a text can be less time-consuming than an email. They are often faster and less invasive than a phone call (most of your customers will not be interested in talking to a person unless they are the ones calling you). Cold calling typically annoys people more than it actually sells.

Reduce Effort and Cost

All companies are looking to get the best return on their investment (ROI) and effort (ROE). Reduce the amount of money and time you are spending in your marketing by using mass text services. Text messages are effective, yet they are quicker to write (less content) and require no design. Text messages are not expensive and are likely to be read. The more you can reduce the effort and cost of connecting with your audience, the better you are able to personalize their experience. Plus, you can always pass your savings down to your customer with a lower price point or better rewards to increase satisfaction.

Texting will help you connect with your customer in a way that emails or mail won’t. The large majority of texts are opened, while many emails and mailers are ignored. So, use text messaging to ensure you aren’t fighting for the customer’s attention and you are keeping them in the loop.

For more information on how integrating an SMS software can improve customer satisfaction with better communication, click here!

Author Biography: Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.

10 Powerful Habits Every Successful Entrepreneur Should Adopt

Regardless of the niche that you want to focus your efforts on, you will face many obstacles, uncertainties and risks with your new venture. While each situation is unique, the most successful entrepreneurs often share several factors in common. For example, they may have profound experience in their industry and refined personality traits. More than that, they also usually have exceptional habits that guide them to success. These are some of the habits that you can cultivate to increase your chances of success with your next venture.

1. Pay Attention to Customers

You may think that you would need to aggressively market your products and services or refine a high-pressure sales pitch to be successful, but this is not the case. The most successful individuals are focused on improving their customers’ experiences with the company. Consider your own past experiences with different ventures. If you had a great experience, you are more likely to do business with the company again and to tell others about your experience. Successful entrepreneurs incorporate customer service into their activities because they understand this critical element.

2. Show a Positive Attitude

Whether you are drafting an email, presenting a seminar or hosting a meeting in your office, you must always communicate with others in a positive way. Regardless of how tired, unhappy or stressed you may actually be feeling, you must always present yourself positively. Learn to control your emotions so that you never yell or pout when you are unhappy with a situation.

3. Behave Respectfully

Regardless of whether you are speaking with the janitor in your office or a high-powered executive who you are trying to woo, you must always treat others with dignity and respect. The most successful entrepreneurs understand the inherent contributions that each person makes, and they know the value of these contributions. Verbal and non-verbal communication should always indicate respect, so keep that in mind.

4. Socialize with Successful People

If you want to be successful in life, you must surround yourself by successful people. When you do this, you will also surround yourself by their positive energy and can-do mentality. And before you know it, you will absorb such a mindset. They may also inspire you, offer helpful tidbits, or even support you in your endeavors. On the other hand, steer clear of people who drain your energy and detract you from your goals.

5. Don’t Be Late

Punctuality is one of the most significant non-verbal signs of respect that you can show someone. It shows that you value their time and that you understand that they have important tasks to complete throughout the day as well. More than that, when you are prompt and punctual, you prove to others that you are responsible and dependable. Some people avoid working with people who are continuously late because of how unprofessional or ill-prepared they may seem. Do not let this happen to you. Get in the habit of leaving early so that you can always arrive early or on time.

6. Constantly Set Goals

Successful entrepreneurs never settle for less. They are constantly setting new goals for themselves that push the limits in different ways. These are highly motivated individuals who strive to move forward and who are unhappy with the status quo. They may evaluate programs, analyze progress, set new goals and work daily to achieve them until those goals are accomplished and new ones can be set. Be a goal-setter and success will follow!

7. Gain New Experiences

If you want to emulate the success of top entrepreneurs, focus on exposing yourself to new things. Avoid monotony, and shake things up in both small and large ways. For example, try new meals at restaurants, rearrange your office furniture periodically, take an exotic vacation to a new destination, attend a professional seminar and more. By doing so, you can bolster creativity, meet new people, and constantly keep your mind active and inspired.

8. Commit to Lifelong Learning

Entrepreneurs do not see education as something that is attained or completed. Instead, they see it is a lifelong effort. They are always curious, and they read books, watch documentaries, or attend seminars and trade shows to learn about different things. They may also sign up for podcasts or webinars, take an online course, or download an educational app ─ today, educational technology offers almost limitless possibilities. So, remember to keep your mind open and always strive to learn more.

9. Take Care of Your Health

The most successful individuals understand that mental aptitude is linked to physical wellness, and both are necessary for success and profitability. Avoid working nonstop as this can lead to burnout and fatigue. Instead, leave plenty of time in your week for downtime, such as yoga and meditation to de-stress. Also, focus on favorite hobbies, exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet that gives you the energy and nutrients necessary for productivity.

10. Be Persistent

Perhaps one of the most important habits that entrepreneurs develop over time is persistence. While there may be a time and a place to throw in the towel knowledgeably, such as when cutting losses, entrepreneurs do not give up simply because the going gets tough. Instead, they dig down into the trenches, avoid feeling discouraged and keep their eye on the prize.

Final Words
As you can see, there is far more involved to being successful than simply getting a good degree at a top school. You also must adopt the right habits. Did you notice that the first five habits listed here are people-oriented and that the second five habits are self-oriented? Both are critical if you want to be as successful as possible in life. So, don’t waste another minute and start adopting these habits today!

 

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BIO: Helen Eagleton, a freelance blogger from Boston, follows topics in the realm of education, technology, digital marketing, and business in general. When she’s not researching for her next article, she enjoys watching documentaries and exploring the nature. Reach her @eagleton_helen

Dos and Don’ts of Using Social Media for Customer Service

Using social media for customer service makes sense for businesses and customers alike. J.D. Power published data showing  more than two-thirds of all customers who contacted a company via a social network did so for customer service. It is no surprise that companies have learned the benefits that come with a public display of customer service excellence.

Despite the attractiveness of leveraging social media as a customer service channel,  companies that have tried often deliver disappointing results. As an example, another study reveals that more than one-third of consumers who have tried to use social media to get help were disappointed.

Unlike traditional situations where customers privately interact with companies via either telephone or in-person visits, social media dialog occurs in public for everyone to see. Although this can present valuable opportunities, they may also lead to damaging negative publicity. Read the following dos and don’ts for great social media customer service.

DO

1. Respond quickly

Customers want immediate results. In response, you offer expedited shipping options, same day shipping and similar perks that compress the gap between order placement and fulfillment. Why stop there? Customers also want to receive prompt replies to their inquiries.

Did you know more than 40% of customers want to receive a response within one hour of contacting you? In fact, one third of your customers want to receive a response in 30 minutes. Even if you need more time to achieve a final resolution, a quick response to customer contacts to achieve a high level of satisfaction.

2. Be Polite and Empathetic

While online, people often speak more candidly than they might in face-to-face conversations. When an irate customer rants all over social media about a problem, you understandably might want to fire back in a similar manner. Don’t. Always use a respectful and empathetic tone when using social media for customer service.

When others see you and your team maintain a professional attitude under pressure, they will have confidence in your commitment to them. When an irate customer speaks via social media, accept their concerns as valid and guide them to possible resolutions.

A customer first attitude will make it much easier to find a mutually satisfactory resolutions. When this happens, your brand will shine.

3. Add a Personal Touch

Get personal with your customers, prospects and leads and you will endear them to you, your company and your brand. People want to feel important and valued, and allow that desire to guide their buying choices. Use names and personal details while interacting with customers and you will build long-lasting, profitable relationships.

With its Happiness Heroes initiative, Buffer sets a standard that every firm can follow. The brand’s cheery customer service specialists always sign their messages with their first names, helping to humanize the brand. As a result, the company has built a reputation as being friendly and helpful, leading to loyal customers who freely promote the brand.

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Another way to add a personal touch to your social media customer service effort is to write well. When you and your team take the time to properly spell words and construct grammatically correct sentences, you appear professional and communicate that you value your audience.

4. Admit You Made a Mistake

Sometimes your company will make a mistake and do something wrong. Win the hearts of the social media world by admitting the problem and apologizing. When you interact this way, you connect with customers who understand that “stuff happens.”

Rather than ignoring complaints or playing a blame game, take responsibility for mistakes that your company has made, take steps to make sure they never recur, and then take steps to make things right. When you take an open, honest and transparent approach, your customer service effort on social media will earn a solid reputation for your firm that will translate into sales revenue and profits.

DON’T

1. Let the Issue Linger for Too Long

In the hope that problems disappear, some people will either ignore or delete negative social media comments. Never let an uncomfortable situation cause you to run and hide. Doing so sends the wrong message to the public. In spite of the discomfort or embarrassment you feel when something goes wrong, you must promptly and positively respond to inspire confidence of the community of social media users.

Of course, every prompt response might not result in a positive result. In fact, some conversations involving complex issues can seem to drag on forever. In such circumstances, consider inviting customers to an offline channel where you can work together without exposing the extended saga to the world.

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In fact, after two interactions in public, moving to a private message other than social media might help create a positive customer experience and promote the reputation of your brand. By limiting the “dirty laundry” on your social media profiles you do yourself a favor while offering improved opportunities to affected customers.

2. Neglect Customer Feedback

Your exposure to the social media community gives you access to almost unlimited feedback streams that include both suggestions and criticisms. All such information comes to you free, at no cost, so make sure you and your team pays attention to it.

Some companies fail to spend the time or attention necessary to digest all the feedback left for them on social media, but they do so to their detriment. Even more so, businesses that acknowledge feedback and fail to act upon it hurt themselves. Act upon the information you receive via social media, even when it seems negative. Use it to improve your business.

3. Send Them to Another Channel

You’ve already learned about the damaging effect prolonged discussions can have on your brand. Aside from that, you need to accommodate your customers on the same channel that they choose to initiate contact. For example, if someone reaches out to you on Facebook, don’t immediately tell them to call your customer service telephone number.

Customers have a reason for contacting you via social media, so you should accommodate them on their preferred channel as long as possible.

4. Rely on Canned Responses

Automation has snagged many headlines in the marketing and tech world, but sometimes automation can cause major turnoffs. When you use social media for customer service, give your audience the luxury of interacting with a human being. If you lack the time to respond to comments, enlist the help of your staff. When your staff lacks the time, consider employing some remote workers to engage your customers.

Canned responses give your brand an inhuman, austere character and can quickly lead customers to wonder whether they will ever receive the attention they crave. A seemingly countless number of brands have tried to cut corners with automated responses and they have paid the price. Learn the lesson and rely on human, personal interactions instead.

Social media has forever changed the online landscape. Through it people interact with friends and their favorite brands. In contrast with companies that have made mistakes, learn from the above dos and don’ts to give your brand an edge over your competitors, and your firm a promising and profitable future.

Author byline:

Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon

Give Your Customers Something To Remember You By

What’s the one thing which is necessary for repeat custom, above all else? Great customer service and an outstanding product are essential, but most of all, you need to be remembered. When competition is so fierce, it’s easy to blend into the background. Which means you need to be outstanding, high-quality, and memorable. It isn’t about offering a product or service which is zany and off the wall, but about offering a service which leaves the client feeling warm, welcome, and wanted.

Great service

One of the best ways to be remembered is by going above and beyond your call of duty for a customer. This practice proves to them that you want their custom, but most of all, that they’re important to you. It means that they leave feeling like the experience they had was so unexpectedly positive, they can’t imagine not wanting to go back. This requires you to be attentive, on the ball, and a great listener, forming a natural connection. Being able to understand their wants and desires, even if they’re not necessarily able to verbalize what it is they’re looking for, enables you to offer top class customer service. Try to avoid being too over-familiar, as this can sometimes come across as overbearing and uncomfortable for the client. A friendly, professional, and no-job-is-below-me attitude are all it takes.

A parting gift

It might seem strange, but letting your customer leave with a small parting gift, as well as their goods, can be a great way to cement their loyalty. A die-cut sticker of your company logo, such as those at http://www.bluebeeprinting.com/diecut-stickers/, is the perfect example. If they loved the service they received (and your logo is attractive), chances are they’ll pop this sticker somewhere visible. That means that they’re constantly being exposed to your logo, and when the time arises that they require your services again, your brand will be the first one that comes to mind. A pen in the company colors with the logo, a drinks cooler, or even a keychain are all great ideas, and work like a charm.

Follow-up

Once your customer has walked out of the door with their goods (and parting gift) in hand, don’t let that be the last they hear from you. In a week or a month, give them a call and ask how they’re getting on with their product. Offer any advice for any concerns they have, and ensure they know that the follow-up service is free. What this serves to do is remind them of your existence. It acts as a memory jog, making your company a more prevalent memory than it might previously have been. It’s also great customer service, so it helps to solidify that reputation in their mind, meaning they’re more likely to come back and far more likely to recommend you to a colleague or a friend. The follow-up is a vastly underused sales method, perhaps because it has no immediate benefit, but the long-term positives make it more than worth your while.

When your client walks out the door, you want your company to be the first one in the industry that comes to mind next time they need your services. A great customer experience and a few tactical memory jogs are all it takes to keep them coming back.

Let Your Website Do The Talking

When you’re operating a business, whether from an office or your own home, you need to have an online presence. It is through this that you will be able to gain custom. This isn’t necessarily just through your own website; there are so many more platforms to be used in conjunction with this, especially social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. It’s through the combination of all of these that you have got the recipe for online success – it’s just about finding out the dashes and sprinkles of your own branding and personality to add to it and following it down to a tee rather than deviating off down other paths.

Make It Stand Out

There are a myriad of different ways to get your website to stand out, but the most obvious (and the one that needs the most attention) is the design of it all. If you are not too au fait with getting websites built yourself, it’s time to outsource to somebody who does. There are plenty of freelancers available online for you to get in touch with. Look for somebody who has been highly recommended by people who have used them before; there are usually websites with reviews on them that have come from trusted sources. These people are living off the recommendations that they to get their next job, and so they want to impress you. Make sure that you communicate your ideas clear and effectively to get the best job done for you. Include what you want from your website, who your target demographic is and other bits and bobs that you want added in – maybe a few online games, for example, if your site is more child-orientated. Remember: the longer that you keep the customer on your website, the more invested in your business they will be.

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Keep Them Coming Back

After the design of your website, you need to ensure that you are keeping those who have originally visited coming back. This can be for a number of reasons; those who are bloggers and are living off the revenue of their website may be wanting people back on their site so that they can generate more money via sponsored links and posts. For those who aren’t generating any money, it’s still important to keep a good presence. Whether it’s through small updates to your website, blog posts informing your customers of what’s going on with your business (even just a quick update can be enough to satisfy their interest!) or links to your social media accounts, these are all things which will keep your site active and current. The last thing that somebody wants is to head over to a point of information and find out that it hasn’t been updated in months (or in some cases years – shocking, isn’t it?). You have to keep up to demand when you’re in business and recognise that the majority of this demand is now coming from the digital side rather than in person.

10 Non-Verbal Gestures and Movements That Can Make or Break a Sale

There’s the old saying that first impressions are everything. But have you ever thought that what you don’t say to people is as important as what you do say? Verbal gestures can convey a number of different things—some good, some bad—that become important to relationships with new or returning clients.

The handshake, of course, is something that might come to mind for many people. Firm, but not too firm, direct, and with an eye gaze—all help to convey confidence and positivity. In fact, most of the little gestures that matter are so small that they become a problem when they’re missing: When they’re performed as we expect, we don’t even notice they’re there. That includes slouching or even directing your gaze away from the person that’s talking or that’s your prospect. All convey disinterest and lack of respect.

Need a refresher course on non-verbals? Use this graphic.

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