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Voice Search – the next big reality for Marketers and Optimisation

By | Magento

Back in 2016 digital thought leaders were claiming that “mobile isn’t what’s next – it is right now”. Effectively mobile has eclipsed desktop as regards the device usage number game and continues to accelerate its claim that in 2018 it is the preferred go-to platform for connecting, engaging and converting customers in the Ecommerce industry. More pertinent are the consumer figures reflecting multi-platform use including large and increasing numbers of online users, many of whom are using mobile exclusively.

With that evolutionary scenario Google introduced an application named AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) as a framework to help enhance the mobile web experience for consumers at large. AMP has to be considered as an integral part of SEO campaigns since Google has included it in its search results. The mobile web revolution has transitioned. The AMP standard is continually evolving with the addition of even more accelerated mobile pages and it will undoubtedly impact present and future SEO strategies. However, this is not the most salient issue that challenges marketers and strategists in a world where technology evolution casts yesterday’s innovations aside in favour of today’s more revolutionary technological know-how and digital applications.The new era of mobile web, though well under way, is about to be challenged by another evolving phenomenon – voice search – an Artificial Intelligence software that is gaining traction as the upcoming technology of the 2020s, a digital technology that will be used by the Search Engines to rank voice search sites in the SERPS.

It is incumbent on the world of Ecommerce to prepare for the imminent introduction of “voice search” which is the next big thing to disrupt the status quo in the Ecommerce business industry. It will have an influential impact on the future of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and AEO (Answer Engine Optimisation) that will not only be credible but will require a certain understanding and appreciation of how it will change those marketing strategies. Google is transforming into an answer engine which gives one single result- the right answer unlike the current Search Engine tendencies to let consumers choose from multiple results. This is what marketers have to optimise for in an AEO oriented device environment .

The rationale of the Search Engines has been to chaperon their users through the quickest of processes towards the most relevant answer or result. With the imminent onset of voice search, Google and other Search Engines will have to increasingly rely on understanding and credibility to furnish a single viable result or solution.  The key question to this expected future trend is – can online business owners with the assistance of marketers and AEO strategists, do anything to take advantage of this evolutionary change?

Owners of smart phones, tablets, or PCs are already exposed to voice search which has become smart and capable of answering most queries but not all. That is where AEO takes effect. The problem with answers is that they can be guesstimates, based on the software interpretation of the voice query and provision of a clear informative answer, an incomplete science that requires greater definition. This highlights the need for accompanying AEO which can optimise your website so that Search and Answer Engines can understand the services and products you are selling and provide more authoritative responses to voice search in general. The AEO allows your optimised site to understand the content and purpose of your website. You can manipulate certain elements of your site to optimise it for the Search Engines – make it more visible to the Spiders so they can award it a better position in SERPS. To optimise for the Search Engines there are certain site elements you can focus on to progress the technology so your site stays ahead of the metaphorical posse or online competition. Specific technical facets require focus and amendment where necessary. For example:

  • Schema Data Markup – this can be manipulated to allow answer engines to understand the page information and what is being delivered to the user.
  • Authority  – This imbues the Answer Engine with confidence in your credibility.
  • Semantic HTML5  – By sectioning pages, a specific identifiable role can be allotted to each section,  encouraging the AEO to focus on certain areas while ignoring others.

 

The rationale of the Search Engines has been to chaperon their users through the quickest of processes towards the most relevant answer or result. With the imminent onset of voice search, Google and other Search Engines will have to increasingly rely on understanding and credibility to furnish a single viable result or solution.  The key question to this expected future trend is – can online business, with the assistance of marketers and AEO strategists, do anything to take advantage of this evolutionary change?

The journey from Desktop to Mobile to Voice Search has seen an evolution in the devices we use. Search behaviour has been impacted particularly by the change from Desktop to Mobile and it is expected that the transformation to Voice will be even more impactful – not only in how users browse and search but also how the Search Engines will provide solutions to users’ questions. If we were to draw up a device use comparison graphic, stretching from the 2000s to the 2020s, we would see a clear progressive trend towards Voice Search – that is the view of the industry gurus. According to them this will have a knock-on effect on SERPS – where page  expectations will shift from the first three pages with desktop to the first page with Mobile and top of page one with Voice Search. There is a retrospective belief that more realistically Voice Search will seek dominance in the top three positions on page one, due to the doubt if a single answer will suffice as a response. There will probably be the option of more than one acceptable answer given the diffuse nature of natural speech. Since voice is circumlocutory there will have to be a new evolving SERPS paradigm that will allow Voice Search a little more discretion. It will not necessarily be a ‘fait accompli’ of achieving positioning of page one or nowhere. A likely scenario going forward is – it will probably rate for the top three positions on page one –

which will be considered a satisfactory positioning in the SERPS. One certainty pertaining to this situation is the need to prepare and act now so your online platform is tuned and fit for purpose in anticipation of Voice Search activation and the requisite requirement for AEO strategy creation.

Long term, the trending towards voice search does not intimate the complete dominance of voice search as a device but rather a more balanced spread of search across all devices. The eventual levelling out of digital device deployment will be a natural progression according to the digital experts, however, the evolutionary nature of online search will necessitate platforms to help Google and other Search Engines to understand that your offer to consumers is the best solution. Once you succeed in that objective you then have to convince Google that you offer the best of several options by proving to them your relative credibility. These factors will leverage popularity in a new AEO world of “Answer Engines”. Google is already well acquainted with your brand but still needs to have a clear detailed understanding of what your brand offers so that the credibility factor favours your platform. In relation to the outworking of Search Engine indexing and positive placement in SERPS it is important to remember that it is their understanding of your website and its inherent credibility that gives your brand authority.

As with all other digital developments that have exercised minds in the past and have created unwarranted panic at times, Voice Search is not to be feared but rather considered as another device and opportunity to engage a potential customer base that you can tune into by being better informed and prepared in advance. As an online business why not garner all the positives that Voice Search represents and use it to your advantage. Find out what Google’s review of your brand reveals in terms of public opinion and work to ensure that there is a positive reflection of your brand on Pages 1, 2 and three of your brand name search, suffixing the word “reviews”.

 

magento experts

Why Magento is the preferred ECommerce platform for over 250,000 global merchants.

By | Magento

There are so many ecommerce platforms available to the retail sector that making a choice can often be predicated upon a host of subjective arbitrary factors that are at best confusing and at worst unreliable. Comparison in performance between top ecommerce platform contenders can provide empirical data to make certain assertions about their efficiency in delivering conversions and a return on investment. Whilst a few ecommerce platforms seem to dominate the marketplace there is a major swing towards Magento as the online sales tool of choice. It is fast, free, transparent, customisable and reliable. With Magento 2 it gives you a robust engaging online experience and a greater functionality, since it is geared up to help you meet the challenge of the increasing demands of online shoppers. With over 250,000 Magento merchants globally, many of whom are top brands such as Coca Cola, Burger King, Cisco Systems, Nike, Procter and Gamble, Christian Louboutin, Ford, Fox Connect, Warby Parker, Olympus, Nestle Nespresso and many more, it is the most popular and feature-rich ecommerce software platform in the world. Kurt Geiger’s decision to move to Magento’s ecommerce platform has helped them to give their customers a rich and captivating experience across all devices.

 

Enjoying a 23% share of the market it still leads the pack in the ALexa top one million. It is also no surprise that it is used by many global small to medium size businesses with great success. Based on analytical data and reports regarding its effectiveness as an online sales tool and its success as the top performing ecommerce sales software, we can deduce that it is the best rounded ecommerce system currently available. Its endorsement by some of the best known global brands, who are turning over billions of pounds in revenue annually, is clear testament to an efficient and popular ecommerce retail and wholesale system that works extremely well for a business mix of world wide clients.

 

Magento is an open source self-hosted platform providing you with a hosting choice, the most reliable option being third party hosting with a specialist company who can control your hosting needs professionally. There are also Companies who can provide Hosting and support as a package which represents a headache free solution for the Magento developers. With its vast global community of developers and contributors it can give you the structure for a scalable platform which can always meet your growing and expanding business requirements. As the ideal partner for promoting your online business Magento has all your needs covered with its rich out-of-the-box features and extensive capability to customise, whatever your business objectives. As an expert partner in seamless third party integrations it can resolve your unique business needs across any industrial sector. You are never left alone to deal with any issues as you have a world-wide system of merchants partners and developers to help you at every step of your ecommerce platform development and running operations. Whether your business is Fashion, Health and Beauty, Food and Beverage, Automotive, Retail or Wholesale the Magento solution can offer many features and benefits that streamline your online enterprise.

 

You can use visual merchandising tools to create compelling category pages and create exciting authentic content updates with no recourse to IT. You can actually draft personalised shopping experiences for your customer subdivisions. Developers are enamoured with Magento because of its extensibility through a capacious API, thousands of third party extensions and themes and off the shelf development and operationally-ready tools that come with Magento Commerce Cloud. Magento is built on a modern technology stack and has the full capability of handling high growth and peak performance thanks to its scalable and secure infrastructure. Magento’s Cloud platform is PC1, SOC2 and GDPR compliant. Magento commerce assumes responsibility for the heavy lifting, allowing you the business owner to focus on your daily business – learning more about your customers, products and services and marketing campaigns and planning to meet their needs.

 

The wonderful aspect of Magento is its flexibility in extending its capabilities. With Order Management you can bridge the online and in-store fulfillment system providing more convenient and cost-effective delivery. You can also garner the power of your Magento Commerce database with your other systems to quicken smart, data-driven decisions and transform your shipping into a money cow by streamlining operations with Magento’s intelligent multi-carrier software. The system enables Social Media and SEO integration with lots of plug-ins, themes and extensions to enhance the operational connectivity and efficiency. As an omnichannel operator Magento ensures a seamless shopping experience across all channels.

 

Make Magento your ecommerce platform of choice, to provide your online customers with a seamless shopping experience that is robust, engaging and converts.

 

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Trends in the E-commerce sector that could impact your online platform and SEO marketing strategies into the future.

By | Blog

Projected E-commerce sales are expected to exceed 3 trillion pounds sterling by 2020, so from a competitive perspective online businesses will have to shape up in terms of deploying more effective ecommerce marketing strategies to stay ahead of the ecommerce posse into the future. Ever increasing customer demand for faster more efficient and competitively priced services and goods is forcing website owners and webmasters to rethink their online offerings and how they are presented to their potential customers. In line with this retail and wholesale dynamic, digital technology, which is advancing concurrently at the pace of knots, must be garnered, manipulated and used effectively to improve online retail and wholesale business experiences that should actively engage consumers and customers. In an ever changing digital environment the pressure is on e-commerce operators to be cognisant of these developments and to adopt and adapt the latest technologies to make their websites – which is really their online sales tool – relevant, appealing, totally engaging and competitive so customers choose to stay logged in and complete the purchase pathway. That objective achieved there is another constant or element that has to be maintained on an ongoing basis and that is SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. Websites have to be finely tuned and developed to accommodate the bots and to perform well in SERPS ( the Search Engines Results Pages) – essentially reaching and staying as close to the top of page one as possible.

When a consumer search query lands them on Page one of these results they are automatically attracted to the top performing result. That is where they click for the service or product they are looking for – thus the importance of ensuring your sales platform is attracting optimal consumer awareness by its positioning on top of page one in SERPS. To achieve that coveted position you must offer consumers a credible proposition that rings loud and clear with the Search Engine robots that crawl and assess your website content. If they can see that you are giving your customers exactly what they want you will be rewarded with top positioning in SERPS. That brand and product awareness that such a position in SERPS promotes requires an Ecommerce website that is finely tuned, from both a technical and marketing perspective, with integrated onsite and offsite SEO strategies implemented. The process of reaching pole position is achieved by design rather than by accident and requires the collective collaborative input of technical, marketing and SEO expertise. SEO is metaphorically the petrol in your online sales engine that propels it to top position in SERPS so implement it constructively to help your business perform better than the competition in attracting more online visitors and conversions.

As we will elucidate shortly, Artificial Intelligence or I Search, as an evolving system, is transforming the SEO landscape and is gaining traction as a major metric in Search Engine rankings. That is only one element in a number of E-commerce trends that could be potentially disruptive in 2018 and beyond. Those elements that will affect both marketers and consumers are worthy of mention as influencing factors in a fast developing digital and consumer environment. We will be considering what we think are the greatest trenders and how they might impact in terms of opportunities and challenges for E-commerce businesses.

The first element that creates food for thought on ecommerce platforms is the essential need for much faster shipping and improved delivery systems – the Amazon model of hosting a set of efficient logistics that accommodate the fastest ecommerce delivery system in the world being the enviable gold standard. Achieving better logistics could differentiate between E-commerce platforms in sorting the best from the rest and that is a goal worth achieving to place your online business ahead of the competition by giving your customers the fast delivery they desire.

The next factor, which we already touched on briefly, is the growing impact of Artificial Intelligence on SEO. With an increasing inclination towards machine learning technologies in Silicon Valley and other global digital hubs there is great certainty that it will present challenges for the E-commerce sector. We are going to witness greater integration of these technologies into E-commerce systems in the future. We are already experiencing the effects of AI in improving Search functionality and product recommendation engines. However the next few years are going to see a huge increase in such applications with the objective of providing more exact responses to search queries and generally offering the customer a more precise service in terms of getting what they want much faster and with less effort. Already, some Facebook retailers are offered access to new chatbox tools that permit conversational operatives within Facebook Messenger to organise payments directly within the app, bypassing the need to process the purchase and payment on another site. Increasing development of these apps will provide a helpful way of handling an ambit of complicated functions ranging from problem solving to the transactional app – to which we have alluded. The future in machine learning will see a move from key-word based recommendations to a greater host of signals ranging from product purchase histories to related products that are linked from both a theme and semantic perspective. Advertisers will also experience greater uptake of machine learning within Adwords and other digital advertising platforms.

Augmented reality technology is beginning to reach beyond the novelty factor with big efforts this year to achieve mainstream endorsement. E-commerce platforms will be the leaders in adopting this technology. Based on what IKEA achieved with their app (its Place app) which provides the public with the technology to see how different IKEA products would look like in their homes. Amazon have also bought into this technology allowing their potential customers to visualise what thousands of their products would look like in their homes without necessarily having to make a purchase. The latest versions of this AR technology are proving much more stable and instinctual so we will undoubtedly see a greater intensity of competition in the E-commerce AR space during 2018 and well beyond.

It is nothing new to mention the exponential growth in Mobile checkout or the Internet of Things but that is the current reality with E-commerce trends. With at least ten different mobile payment platforms available to consumers, including cryptocurrency and the nation’s favourite – Bitcoin – increasing numbers of consumers are expected for mobile transactions and payments in the future. There is currently a credibility issue due to consumer concern about mobile shopping but that is expected to change dramatically in the future with mobile overtaking desktop transactions. It is up to retailers to win their trust and custom going forward and to leverage the changing consumer trends to achieve an increase in conversion rates.

A growing e-commerce trend is the Internet of Things with interconnected devices such as smart toasters and fridges that can bombard us with special offers and other maddening ads. Whether we approve or not of all things smart the reality is that all internet connected devices, whilst surveying our activity, can act as a point-of-sale system with constant calls to purchase.

Voice Search will prove to be one of the leading lights in e-commerce space and will be synonymous with mobile. Sales of Voice Assistant Devices, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, have been increasing gradually over recent times and indicate according to Amazon data that the average customer spend through Echo is greater than the purchases through prime purchase route. For retailers sales through Amazon Echo provided a 60% better opportunity of upselling other goods across certain product lines.

The next obvious trend in online shopping comes from the browser tradition of pricing across many retailers online offerings and then buying off-line. Consumers have been doing this since the inception of online shopping and have become canny shoppers, feeling empowered by the possibilty of finding the goods they require at the most competitive prices. This concept of Research Online and Purchase Offline driven by careful shoppers always hunting down a bargain is set to become more prevalent in the E-Commerce sphere. It will represent for retailers an opportunity to track shopper activity in conducting this type of ROPO purchase. The metrics can be derived from a number of channels including mobile payment data, CRM and point-of-sale systems, GPS tracking, customer purchase habits and social media interaction. A complete map of the customer journey can be plotted providing valuable data for retailers to make future marketing calculations and strategies.

Storefront Apps will make an impression in the coming months as the growing popularity of mobile and the increasing change from desktop to mobile shopping continues. Online shoppers have been using the apps provided by retailers for a number of years to browse and actually shop from their mobile devices. The future trend will see more SMEs employ storefront apps to prompt sales and garner customer loyalty. The popularity and success of storefront apps suggests that they will become increasingly de rigueur among online shoppers who may well opt for storefront dedicated apps as opposed to mobile site. Another factor that will drive this prospect is the low cost of entry for app development which in reality means that small family type businesses can afford to offer their customers dedicated apps – something that could limit growth in mobile search and purchase.

We hope that by presenting these possible future trends in the E-commerce sector we have provided you with food for thought and the opportunity to perhaps conceptualise and create marketing strategies that are more effective and rewarding going forward. It is vital to be cognisant of the potential impact of these trending issues on your wider business goals and objectives so your sales platform can adopt and benefit from implementation of improved online practices that attract more customers and sell more products and services.

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Impact of Social Media signals on SERPS

By | SEO

Of all the factors that impact rankings in SERPS, social media platforms are becoming one of the most popular and effective means of marketing your business and promoting your brand. With increasing interest from the Search Engines, social media signals such as Facebook likes, retweets and Google+s are becoming recognised as key metrics in ranking a website’s position in the search engine results. With the advent of social media as a determining SERPS metric, marketers will necessarily have to reconsider their marketing strategies to include social media in all its inherent characteristic elements. Even though there is a lack of clarity surrounding how it actually impacts SEO results there is a tacit acceptance on the part of the major search engines that social media does affect results as a ranking metric. The one definite is the growing need for marketers to align optimisation with social media efforts to improve website performance. To achieve that alignment there are certain measures you can take to market your business more effectively:

High quality content has always been king in the SEO stakes and continues to be an ever present essential ingredient and website element for optimal performance. This is an industry constant requiring repeated emphasis since setting the content right at the very start provides a solid foundation for SEO success. It is essential to remember that the whole process of optimising a website is to attract online visitors and potential customers to your online business. If your marketing campaigns and strategies work your site will consequently grab more visitors. High quality unique content contributes to improved site visibility and user experience as it answers search queries in a more precise and informative manner. If you provide that essential authentic service to potential customers they will click and buy into your site – products or services. Quality content is also the mainstay of social media marketing. In planning your content, your strategy should extend beyond simply link building and keyword optimisation. Website traffic continues to be driven to a large extent by that same juice – quality over quantity content – the rich content that offers your website visitors a valuable, informative and comprehensive direct response to their search queries. A rule of thumb in this context is always to post high-quality content that serves all purposes in fulfilling user requests.

 

It is a mammoth achievement to induce your readers and followers to share social media content on social platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin in one simple click. This provides you with an immediate opportunity to become visible to more people.  Your content will potentially reach out to thousands of prospective customers. On a comparative scale, social sharing equates to the historical word-of-mouth marketing which helps create brand awareness in drawing traffic to that brand. Media sharing strategies can now be integrated with quick takeaways which encourage the followers to deliberately share. The whole emphasis has turned from brand awareness concentration to customer considerations and promotion.

Your webpages will attract and retain visitor attention if written content is counterbalanced with an even more popular form of content presentation – images and videos. Modern generations of millennials reared on large screen and TV productions and coloured adverts as well as PC, laptop and smart phone technologies respond much better to the visual medium as opposed to the written word. Harnessing those trends by introducing images and videos into content can only attract more of that age group who are fast becoming mainline consumers.This potential sector of mass  consumers is a fantastic source of traffic and you should tap into it by whatever means necessary. You have to offer them what they find most enjoyable to get the desired outcome. In response to the many social and media challenges taking place around us, marketers need to plan content and marketing strategies that incorporate not only this growing element of SEO but all other relevant elements that converge to create a holistic marketing mix strategy.

Becoming a thought leader in your specialist subject or particular area of knowledge through building a blog following is an influential element in social media SEO, especially if you include authorship metadata. This is the most vital aspect to consider when posting a blog. Placing the author’s image alongside their blog is proving to be a determining factor regarding the impact of Google authorship on SEO. It is now an accepted component in Search Engine performance. This is a productive way of slowly building popularity with your blogs and of building your online reputation.

The measures you implement to make social media a more effective ranking metric in SERPS must be systematically monitored and analysed to ascertain the key elements that are most effective in your SEO campaign. It is a continuous loop of fine-tuning those campaigns to determine what works best and what does not so you can focus on the elements that prove more effective as SEO strategies.

Social Media is therefore deployed to enhance site performance in addressing site goals such as improving site awareness, generating leads, driving sales and promoting customer care. Goals can only be achieved through continuous monitoring and analysis of statistical data and proactively acting on those results. If you would like further information on our SEO Dublin services please contact us.

 

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How Google Speed Update Will Affect Dublin Businesses SEO

By | SEO

The expected Google Speed Update will affect Mobile Search and SEO

It is confirmed now that Google will use Mobile Page Speed as a ranking signal in their mobile search when the new algorithm is introduced. This development is scheduled to roll out in July 2018 when Google are expected to release a new ranking algorithm dedicated to Mobile Search. The good news would appear to be that only a minority of queries will be impacted by Google’s update. In the interim, webmasters have the opportunity to make the necessary webpage adjustments to avoid any penalties that might be imposed for poor page speed and performance. Though it all seems a little vague Google recommends that you use the new ‘updated Page Speed report’ and tools such as ‘Lighthouse’ to measure page speed and implement the required page adjustments to improve performance and speed.

According to two of Google’s technical experts this ‘Speed Update algorithm’ will only affect the slowest of pages with the slowest delivery of user experience. The same standard will be applied to all pages and will have a universal application. Both Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan insist that a slow page may still achieve a top position in the page rankings if it presents authentic, authoritative relevant content. This adds further confusion unfortunately to webmaster’s understanding of Google’s intent. However, Gary Ilyes of Google has confirmed that they are rewriting their page speed algorithm for mobile. This may inform some of the confusion surrounding the impending new algorithm and the launch of ‘mobile first index’ by clearly indicating that page speed will be a major factor in SERPS. There is a question about how Google measures page speed since it has been measured of desktop speed and not mobile, up to now. He has stressed that going forward desktop speed will be less important than mobile page speed. It would appear that Google is going to move their entire search index to mobile-first. The two existing search indexes, mobile and desktop, are going to be combined into one index. The Mobile version of a page will be crawled first by the index which clearly indicates that the mobile version of your site will be the first one crawled – not the desktop.

The key element for publishers will be:

  • the necessity to have mobile first and foremost
  • the mobile site cannot be an amended or dumbed down version of your desktop site
  • ensure that all elements of your website are crawlable on Mobile
  • ensure that structured data, meta descriptions, tags etc are replicated on mobiles exactly as they are on desktop.

The message to all website publishers is to take steps, before the new algorithm rollout, to ensure your mobile site is equal in all aspects to your desktop version. If it is not then the outcome could be damaging. You need to take care that all the enhanced elements of your site are as crawlable on mobile as they are on desktop. This is all motivated by Google’s growing desire to provide increasingly faster rich query results that improve user’s search satisfaction.

In the light of emerging markets globally, Google is even more determined to push the envelope with page speed, especially in an environment where connectivity and connection speeds vary greatly. The need for instant delivery of the content the user is looking for, is the motivating factor behind joint PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology. Though AMP presents certain weaknesses for publishers, working better for some than for others, the single clear message to webmasters is – optimise your site for instant loading, fast speeds and performance!

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Tips on how to speed up Magento 2

By | Magento

Expert Tips on configuring why your Magento 2 backend and frontend are running slow

If your Magento 2 store is being challenged by operational slow-down then there are certain elements contributing to this problem that need to be addressed and resolved.

The most likely cause of a slow Magento backend is a slow hosting server. To run Magento 2 efficiently, a powerful server is required. A low cost shared monthly plan will not supply the expected performance. The complexity of the Magento ecommerce platform, with its multifarious features, requires resources to run fluently. You can make a simple check to see if your Server CPU usage graphs are reading max all the time. If they are, then this is an indication that your hosting power needs upgraded. Drill and see if any scripts are running in the background, eating up all your available resources. By monitoring the system you will ascertain if this is so and you can redress the problem by getting your hosting provider to perhaps disable some of them.

Should you need a new more efficient hosting plan it pays dividends to troll through servers that are optimised specifically for Magento, thus ensuring complete compatibility with your complex hosting needs. They may be more expensive but they will ultimately do the professional job that your clients are expecting of the system. A top tip from a certified Magento developer is to ensure your hosting deploys the fastest disk technology possible – even if it means paying more per month for the service.

Third party extensions present another area worthwhile monitoring and analysing, to see if they are possibly cause for slowing Magento performance. Some plugins may be at the core of M2 running slower than normal so it is vital to identify and eliminate extensions that slow your store down. By accessing the Magento backend menu and listing all custom extensions – excluding the Magento core extensions – you or your developer can disable the offending plugins one at a time and benchmark the page speed. Once you are aware of the offending modules you can contact the provider and inform them of the problem. You then have the choice of finding alternative extensions or removing the inefficient ones completely.

Another element that can affect operating speed is incorrect Magento configuration. Changes in Magento configuration can present problems for backend performance.The most common configuration mistakes that affect admin speed are:

  • Keeping internal cache disabled – this might simply be down to an outsourced developer having switched it off while testing and having forgotten to reactivate it.

           This is something that the store owner would not be aware of as a possible cause of slow Magento backend.

  • Ensuring that your running mode is production: It is the fastest of the three running modes – default, developer and production. Again this could be down to an oversight on the developers behalf when working on the system – they might inadvertently have it in a different running mode which would slow the system down.
  • Scrutinise JS Bundling feature on Java Script file. See if it is slowing down your site, especially on mobile devices.

 

Use a full page Caching Application such as ‘Varnish’ which is supported by Magento 2 native – a special software to serve and cache content. Magento developers claim that it renders sites very fast.

A further slowing factor is running a non-default Magento backend custom admin theme. Magento backend performance is very much dependant on theme files. It is quite a straightforward process to test this element and rectify the issue. Firstly you have to instal a fresh copy of Magento – the same version you already have – then instal all the extensions you have on the original store, excluding those that change the backend theme. Compare the two admin panels and that will inform you as to why the system is operating slow and below expectation.

Make sure to manually update your website’s indexes through the admin panel. If this is neglected then it will become  a contributory factor in your Magento site’s slow loading.

Also turn compilation on, which means you group  Magento’s files into blocks of HTML increasing their accessibility. This can effectively provide you with an improved performance of between 25 and 50 percent, depending on the page requested.

Increasing the memory parameters to a level greater than 128mb will enhance your site speed. A higher memory limit is necessary as Magento is heavy on memory use.

Another important element in promoting site speed and performance applies when you add products or categories that are spread through many different tables. You can enable Magento to harvest the information more quickly by having a single repository from which the information can be quickly retrieved. Technically it is described as “ flattening your products and categories”.

“Hacking the Core” is a term used to denote the overwriting of Magento Core Files by developers to customise your website. The snag with this is the resulting decline in site speed.

As with any platform site speed is a factor considered by Google when positioning your website on page rankings. If your Magento Website takes ages to load then that is a negative signal to the bots and will reflect your page ranking in the Search Engine Results.

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Magento – the perfect E-Commerce Platform and business partner

By | Magento

There is a wide range of e-commerce CMS platforms available on the market to prospective online retailers and wholesalers but none qualify for ticking so many boxes as Magento.

As a mid to higher market solution it offers the functionality and scalability that allows an online business to develop, flourish and grow. No other platform can compete on this level or provide an open source solution that combines expertise with complete flexibility. It is ideal for 2nd generation e-commerce sites or for those established sites who want to advance to the next phase of growth. Magento is the only real option for those who have greater ambitions than a small start up store.

It promotes progression and growth in a seamless manner with no downtime or extra expense. While the system may be considered overkill for small businesses it is worth bearing in mind the extensive list of a-line businesses and organisations that deploy Magento to power their e-commerce platform and are happy to put their trust in Magento for creating and implementing their online retail strategies. When businesses such as Olympus Cameras, Paul Smith and Mothercare entrust their e-commerce business to Magento then others choices are informed by those thought processes that have embraced what has become the world’s most popular e-commerce platform.

It is widely accepted that open source software is a much more dependable and less risky system than proprietary bespoke systems for a number of obvious reasons:

  • The source code is not the property of any one organisation or owner
  • It can be distributed and modified by anyone free of charge

With proprietary systems:

  • The developer, either as an organisation or an individual owns the source code
  • A licence is required to use it and such seriously large systems often come with a six figure licence fee – something that in itself is financially prohibitive for many developing online businesses who just cannot afford that outlay.

With Magento Community Edition there are no licence fees or any other fees other than the cost of procuring a certified Magento developer to build the website. Current customers find that this system works efficiently for online businesses turning over millions of pounds.

It is enlightening to enumerate the many benefits of a Magento platform including:

  • It prevents putting all your eggs in one basket, leaving your options open
  • It provides a community of global developers who are familiar with the system and can offer support with no problem.
  • Magento developers, for the most part, can adopt a site created by another Magento agency and run with it comfortably and effectively.
  • A real plus in its favour is the continual update to software that keeps your website operating at optimal levels of efficiency and optimisation
  • With customised e-commerce CMS, the developer cannot always be relied on to regularly update their software.This could affect security updates as well as general continual software improvements which could effectively mean lack of response to security threats or functionality and future updates.

As a complete system Magento specifies the requirement for specialised high end hosting and provides their own hosting solution which ensures greater security and optimal operating speeds. Another area where Magento scores highly is integrating with third parties. It offers a large expanse of API enabling seamless and effective third party integration giving it a prominence over other open source systems in integrating with external software. This well recognised feature puts Magento at the top of the integration stakes as the preferred partner and highlights its  capability and versatility in integrating:

  • Accounting systems
  • Synchronising stock level data with ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning Software
  • Harvesting and integrating customer behaviour data with a marketing platform
  • Order fulfilment
  • Warehouse management
  • Shipping
  • Secure Digital Payment processes
  • Digital Marketing
  • CRM

Magento’s proven capacity to integrate with a huge array of third party systems using either existing Magento “extensions” or bespoke API integration puts it in a dominant position over any other system currently available. Statistically it supports over 250,000 businesses with its platform, commanding an enormous 20% share of the ECommerce marketplace. Its dominant position is highlighted by the fact that its nearest rival has an 11% share of the market.

Magento continues to increase in popularity and is capturing an ever increasing slice of European and global e-commerce business. With a technology that is likely to be around for a long time it offers security for businesses who require a flexible efficient solution and a stable environment for growth. Its software is undoubtedly satisfying the needs of its users and is globally recognised as the best at what it does. The vast amount of extensions or plugins to enhance the core system ensures that the risks of overburdening the system with extra processing demands on the server is outweighed by the advantages. Intuition and experience will guide developers in their adaptation of the number of extensions that are effective.

The bottom line with Magento is that you and your team can access a massive guild of knowledge when and as you need it to either add features through extensions, for minimal costs, or to automate admin. Your business needs are totally catered for, ensuring your business can operate and grow with Magento without any downtime or the requirement to adopt a new technology. Whether you are a B2B or B2C retail, the solution works across a number of business sectors catering for all the complexities and configurations.

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Blogger Outreach

By | SEO

The marketing concept of Blogger Outreach is not new but to the uninitiated or those not directly involved with SEO, it is simply more jargon to add to the already over burgeoning pile of confusing terms surrounding digital marketing and Search Engine Optimisation. Before we begin to discuss how to harness it effectively or to evaluate the advantages of this marketing strategy we will explain what it actually means in everyday language.

Defining Blogger Outreach

Blogger Outreach, in the simplest terms is word-of-mouth marketing.It describes digital marketer’s activity in harnessing the marketing power of influencers’ demographic in reaching as wide an audience as possible to promote product trust and manipulate consumer purchasing behaviour. When you connect with influencers in your particular business or industry they provide platforms for communicating with your potential customers. The blogger outreach process includes creating authentic credible and inspirational content that bloggers can relate to and promote in an effort to reach out to a wider consumer population that will connect with your brand, products and services. It consequently follows that the bloggers with the greatest authority, impact and outreach are the most influential force in adding value to your product, brand and services by promoting and highlighting them to a qualified global audience.                                               

It makes sense for Businesses to deploy these marketing influencers or ambassadors to get their brand message out there. Bloggers can be compensated either financially or in kind – perhaps through free products or other services – in actual fact you can get influencers to promote your content for free if you approach it in the right way.                                          

Engaging Bloggers

The first thing to consider is how to evaluate the most effective bloggers so you find the thought leaders who rank highly in Social Authority, and whose blog success correlates generally with Domain authority. The latter can be evaluated by entering the blogger’s home Page URL into “Open Site Explorer.” The greater the Domain Authority the more influence leveraged by the site in Google. On social media networks a good indicator or metric is the number of comments a blog attracts for its post. The real aim is to harness blog links that generate more targeted traffic and this can be  achieved sometimes more effectively through smaller blogs with a fervent following than a more authoritative site with less engagement.

  The second question that springs to mind is how do you access and engage bloggers who have a recognised following as effective brand influencers. The simple answer is to build a relationship with them or in other words – curry favour. You can get onto their radar screen in a number of ways, for example by consistently sharing their content. You can write a short resume on Google + to describe how much you enjoyed their post or answer questions on Social Media where bloggers love to engage. Why not write a complimentary note about the blog and add value to the conversation or alternatively you could send a complimentary Email to generate contact with as many bloggers as are worthwhile. Another attention winning technique would be to inform them of any broken links on their site – you can do this through Chrome Extension ““Check My Links” which is a simple process. You can also win kudos by informing them of page updates required or features not properly functioning. Outreach tactics are varied and many and represent a very good means of warming up relationships. They will of course be decided by your particular goals – the obvious one being to get bloggers to see and share your content.

Recognising thought leaders

 Contrary to common expectation, bloggers with smaller communities are invariably more influential than their celebrity peers. “Technorati”, which is a great source of quality blogs, reports that “ 54% of consumers believe that the smaller community, the greater the influence”. In reality they all (both women and men) exert influence in the marketing stakes. Moz’s “Followerwonk” deploys a rather different approach by concentrating on the influencer rather than the blogs. A common thread is the power of the blog that pops up at any time in your Social Media Feeds (Twitter and Facebook). The blogger behind the post can suddenly becomes an overnight celebrity of cult status and you wonder why. You consider their blog from every conceivable angle yet it appears no better than those you have been crafting yourself and you wonder why? Their strategy is as old as Netscape yet it works because it sticks to the time-tested approach. They use blogger outreach to grow and expand their blogs. To find those influential bloggers you simply check out the blog’s About Page in the hope that you can retrieve the blogger’s email address. If not, some high profile bloggers will use a contact form which might be your only means of communicating with them. If that fails you can use Twitter to ask how you can get in contact with them.

Establishing a Blogger Outreach Target List

You can get influencers to promote your content for free by using the proper tools to leverage profitable research and build a valuable outreach inventory.

There are a number of free tools to help you establish your outreach target list, for example, “Alltop” which provides a selected list of excellent blogs in diverse industries. To access relevant blogs in Alltop you have to enter a keyword into the search field that best describes what your blog is about.You will probably find a list of related topics in the query response and you can hone in the most relevant blogs in the category.  To be a little more structured in your blog outreach you can create a spreadsheet capture list across Social Media pages -Twitter and Facebook – adding Blog, Blogger and Contact columns where you can record relevant information from your searches as you find it. Zemanta have recently supplied a comprehensive guide to accessing contact information for blogger outreach and this is an additional reliable source for your spreadsheet list of blogger contact and blog information. When you think you have found a reliable blogger or influencer you can check out their Twitter account to see if they link to a blog. You can find out their follower count and Social Authority score which will be very useful into the future.

Tools for Sourcing Influential blogs/influencers

There are many resources for finding influential blogs. We will endeavour to explore some of these that can help you differentiate between the useful and less so by categorising them according to specific author, site and topic. Our goal is to find blogs displaying in searches with a lot of authority.

  • The first tool is “Clear Voice” which enables you to search by Author, Topic or Site. It provides data through an Influencer scoring metric and also gives you authorship statistics displaying likes, shares, comments posts published, sites contributed to and a lot more. This information saves you the time of having to sift through data from many diverse metrics and on different sites by providing all the stats collectively in one place for you to make informed choices about the most influential thought leaders.
  • Another useful tool is “Buzzsumo” which is a fantastic research resource. It is a brilliant marketing tool in that it provides you with information such as top performing content and influencers for specific topics, domains and other search terms. You can use this data to find out what other influencers shared that topic. The built in features include various filters that filter by type and location. Through a filtering process, this tool gives you the top performing content categorised by the number of social shares, content type and date. This software also exports reports to CSV files which is an additional bonus for users.
  • “Traackr”excels at expanding and recording your outreach efforts by providing influencer profiles which include all their social networks and blogs with useful contact information. Influencers are ranked on their reach, resonance and relevance which makes Traackr an excellent authoritative blogger identifier tool. In brief, it features relevant niche bloggers, geo-targeting, multilingual filtering choices and network analysis denoting who is associated with key influencers.
  • “Little Bird”, contrary to its pejorative connotation, is in fact a very effective tool for cutting through the white noise and identifying the most relevant influencers who best match your target audience. It is designed to help you find niche communities that relate best to your business goals and objectives. Its expanded reach finds connections between other bloggers and also finds useful content that will interest and enthuse your audience. You are reminded at this juncture just how important it is to help bloggers in whatever way you can before requesting or expecting their input and assistance. This is the two way street that we discussed earlier in the article. It helps to build up a relationship through social media before sending that Email that can make or break the relationship before you are even able to cultivate a meaningful dialogue.
  • “Follow Up Then” is a piece of software that helps you organise and streamline your outreach campaigns. This goes beyond the purely  communication element and helps you to research, manage and audit your outreach campaigns. It is designed to send you Emails to reschedule reminders and BCC Emails will remind you whilst not letting the recipient know.
  • “Yesware”, whilst being more of a piece of sales software, does double up very well as an outreach tool. Its functions include Email tracking which permits you to see who is opening your Emails, clicking on links and opening attachments. An added bonus is its ability to integrate with Gmail and Outlook as well as its tracking and analytical functionality.
  • “Nimble”, as its name implies, is a flexible CRM tool but with a difference. It has the ability to display all your Emails, social messages from your contacts, activities and contacts in one place for your convenience and appraisal. It has apps which are available from the App Store and Google Pay and like Yesware integrates with Gmail and Outlook. It has built in Task management including the capability of managing deals and your sales funnel. It will also identify key contacts according to relevancy.
  • “Inkybee” is brilliant for managing each step of an outreach campaign including analytics and updating on campaign progress. With every blog it locates it provides social profiles, engagement, activity, inbound links, social following and SEO metrics from MozScape. It also helps you to find influencers among your Twitter followers with a useful Twitter feature.
  • “Buzzstream” is a wonderful tool when it comes to sending Emails and managing outreach campaigns. Its many features include: integration with Open Site Explorer, Buzzsumo ( already appraised in our useful tool list), Followerwonk and more. It has a built in CRM and task management functionality and with its Buzzmarker extension provides extra functionality in browsing the web.

In conclusion, you can see the benefits of all of these blogger outreach tools that are readily at your disposal. You can pick and choose what you consider the most effective, from your own particular niche perspective. This will ensure your blogger outreach campaign is successful in acquiring the influencer leverage and authority to promote your products and services to a targeted and qualified online audience. Taking all of our suggestions in the round you can reach out effectively to all those influencers who are best qualified to provide a platform for expanding your marketing outreach and increasing your customer growth.