Unless your goal is to simply build and launch a website for your own entertainment, you want to construct a website that draws traffic and serves your visitors. Not only is this good for branding, providing a high-quality user experience (UX) is essential to obtain higher search engine ranking.
A report by hosting review site Hosting Canada showed that websites with loading times exceeding 3.5 seconds had on average a 21% higher bounce rate than those that loaded under 2 seconds. When it comes to first impressions speed matters more than anything.
What goes into quality UX?
Content is king, but bad performance will drive your audience away faster than almost anything. However, gauging performance isn't the only reason to monitor your website. A sudden decrease in traffic, engagement, or other metrics can signify security problems or hidden vulnerabilities.
The best way to avoid any issues is to ensure that you have a quality UX. The best way to do this is by thinking like a potential customer. Take action all over your website by going through a directional flow a customer would go through. If there are any hiccups along the way, be sure to remedy them. The key is to test everything to ensure you have a quality UX.
Performance Stats You Should Know
If you have ever experienced the exasperation of waiting for a website to load, you know the struggle. But, have you ever experienced poor performance from a business point of view? The fact is, even one second of lag can cost money, as Amazon found out recently.
In other research, interesting insights were discovered. Did you know that:
What's more, many website owners and admins have no idea that their website is suffering from poor performance until something drastic, like a huge drop in customer engagement, brings it to their attention. The only way to keep from becoming another statistic is through regular website monitoring and analysis. This helps ensure you never are caught unaware.
Detecting Performance Issues: Problems and Solutions
If you have no experience with website management, it is difficult to know what to monitor or what the analytics mean. Here are several key performance indicators that will provide useful feedback, and what you should do next to optimize performance.
An hour of downtime can cost the average business $300,000 or more in revenues. That's enough to cripple all but the largest corporations. Even if the web host you use can offer an uptime guarantee of 99 percent, that still leaves your website vulnerable. If your website is up 99% of the time that means it could be down 1% of the time. That would mean your website is down around 87 hours per year or around 7 hours per month.
Some downtime is necessary for upgrades and maintenance. Fallout can be mitigated by:
Choosing a reliable hosting service
Planning website maintenance during off hours
Warning your customers ahead of time about planned outages
Page Load Times
As we mentioned before, slow page loads lead to customer dissatisfaction and low quality scores. That translates to lower page ranking and reduced traffic. Bulky web pages also eat bandwidth and further exacerbate slow load times. This can be managed with sleeker coding and page layouts that make the first page lighter and faster while reducing the time it takes for subsequent pages to load. You can also:
Minify FTP and CSS
Use a content delivery network (CDN) to increase delivery speed
How many times have you clicked on a link and received a 404 Page not Found error? This can be caused by deleted pages or an error in spelling the URL. Broken links make you look unprofessional, and there's a good chance that visitors who encounter them will not return.
Perform regular checks using Google’s Webmaster Tools to find broken links and disable them. You should also make sure to add coding that automatically redirects traffic to your home page any time you rename or delete a page. This is still frustrating to visitors, but it is better than arriving at a big white space with an error message in the middle.
It stands to reason that the further away a user is from the server, the slower the response time from that server. Using speed testing tools, periodically evaluate page response from different locations. Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) will mitigate this problem by spreading out your web pages and choosing the server that is closest to the browser sending a request when it is time to deliver your content.
Resources and Traffic
Do not try to save money by purchasing an affordable hosting plan with limited resources, especially if you expect to grow fast or experience traffic spikes at certain times of the year. The website host you choose should be scalable and offer the resources you need to grow or handle additional traffic. They should also provide defense against DDoS attacks and other exploits that are intended to cause websites to crash.
Remember That Quality Counts
User experience can be subjective, but there are common factors that affect nearly all users. You can analyze the quality of your website in several ways. First of all, pay attention to feedback from your visitors. If a large number of users complain about the same issue via your support channels, you need to fix it.
To perform an audit, visit your website from the user side and see what happens. A quality audit should assess:
Ease of navigation
Clarity and relevance of content
Text structure and readability
Color scheme. layout, and uniformity
Choosing the Right Hosting Platform Can Help
Even if you optimize every part of your website and monitor performance around the clock, the web host you choose can still impact your performance through low quality, minimal security, or out-of-date technology and poor service. Reputable hosting services guarantee their offerings, and they will clearly put it in writing.
Unless you check your website progress multiple times a day, you probably won't know when it is down or up. If you're a business owner, this can seriously impact your bottom line. Relying on third-party hosting reviews is another good way to determine average uptimes and downtimes.
One quick tip: you will only want to collaborate with hosts that perform at above 99.9 percent. Reputable hosting services will guarantee this uptime in writing.
Online commerce is too competitive to allow preventable problems to affect your business. Awareness of the reasons for monitoring website performance, in conjunction with diligence and follow through, will go a long way toward perfecting your brand and establishing trust.
Spoiler alert: Every article you read around the topic of customer service solutions will tell you that ideally, you should use all of them. It’s true, customers expect a wide variety of service options and want to hear back from you just as quickly when they mention you in a tweet as when they send a long email.
Depending on the demographics of your customers, they might expect to be able to get ahold of you in different ways — for instance, baby boomers are used to calling, and millenials want to message on Facebook for an immediate response. When looking at your customer base, you need to prioritize how they want to communicate with you, not the other way around.
However, you’re here because you need to make some choices. So the question remains, which solution is the right choice for your audience? Aside from customer demographics, it will come down to your budget and what features you want to prioritize. So let’s go through the options and why each one could be the best fit for your business.
What Do Customers Want?
The evolution of social media indicates that customers expect more than ever from customer service solutions — and are willing to find another provider if they’re unhappy with the service. So what does this mean for you?
If you can only commit to one or two customer service solutions, you need to make sure you do them perfectly. It isn’t enough to respond quickly anymore; you also need to respond intuitively the first time. For example, if a customer claims their product was never delivered, the first reply back should probably include a link to the product’s tracking number in order to verify or refute this claim. Create a standard operating procedure guide so that your customer service agents know the protocol for making customers happy and minimizing their frustrations.
Finally, you need to see customer service as part of your marketing strategy. Customers who are happy with the service will return again, and will likely tell their friends about it, too. If you respond publicly and solve the problem (for example, responding to a Facebook comment indicating that you’ll message them right away), you will build your image as a company that cares about its customers. If you go above and beyond to solve their issues, you will likely leave a lasting impression.
With that said, which solution is best for your business ?
Email remains the most cost-effective, widely used medium, and you already have an email account set up anyway! … You do use email, right?
The biggest benefit is saving money. Setting up a customer service-specific account is free, and monitoring and responding can take as little as one person at the beginning. Of course, you’ll need to scale as you grow. Email is ubiquitous enough that if you’re only going to go with one customer service option, this should be it. However, there are downsides. It has the slowest response time and there is no instant communication like a live chat service. This means if a customer forgets to give you all the information you need initially, you’re stuck emailing back and forth to iron things out. Also, there is always the potential for lost requests. You need to make sure that your inbox is extremely organized, response times are fast, and each issue gets resolved promptly.
A great way to counter this lack of instant communication is to set up an automated system that will immediately confirm that you received the email, and a time window within when they can expect to hear back — say, within the next 24 hours. You can also include a link to a FAQ page, and if you do end up offering more than one customer service solution, instructions with how to use those for a faster response.
It’s astonishing - but not surprising - how messenger and live chat services have been widely adopted by businesses. Regardless of how long the adoption took, it’s here to stay and more popular than ever.
The biggest draw for live chat is that it’s instant. It has the fastest response times, so you can solve issues efficiently. According to data from the last few years, an average of 72% of customers will abandon their shopping carts. It’s not that hard to imagine a customer growing so frustrated at not being able to find the answer to a basic question about your product and deciding to leave your website with item(s) left in their shopping cart. It usually takes a lot longer than that to read and respond to an email.
Another point in live chat’s favor is the potential for automation, even more so than for email. Even the simplest live chat software will typically have an automated response that indicates the customer’s message has been received and an agent will be with them shortly. Better systems can even predict how quickly that will be! With all these positives, it’s no surprise that it has the highest customer satisfaction of all customer service solutions.
Of course, it can’t all be perfect. The downside is the cost. This is the most expensive solution - the other two options will always be cheaper as they only involve the man hours for the agents. As an example, Zendesk starts at $14 per agent per month for the basic plan. Paying for live chat software is an added cost that you only want to take on if it is in your company’s budget.
When a brand hears that it has “gone viral”, it may panic until it finds out what for. Did someone’s tweet about a product issue that went unresolved for two weeks, and now it’s on Buzzfeed? Did a customer have a terrible experience and rant about it on Facebook? Social media has forever changed the way customers interact with brands, both good and bad.
Let’s start with the good. Social media, like live chat, has the benefit of being able to respond quickly. It can humanize the brand and help customers connect with you better. It has that personalized feeling that every business strives for when interacting with customers, and a lot of that is inherent to social media to begin with. Plus, believe it or not, it’s almost as cheap as email. You might want to splurge on social media management software once you grow but the accounts are free. When you’re just starting out, you can often get away with one person managing your accounts - you.
Many customers have begun using social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook specifically) to direct message (DM) companies, because it feels more personal, accessible, and convenient than email or live chat. They’re already on the platform and they know you have an audience that you don’t want to risk losing by taking too long to get back to them. Whether it’s true or not, they perceive that they’ll get the fastest solution to their problem by going straight to the source.
Of course, you can also use social media for a lot more than just solving problems! Don’t just respond to the negative comments and tags. Thanking every single person that posts positive comments and praises your company should become reflexive - but ensure that these responses are not canned. Try to be original with each one instead of sending the standard “thank you.” Your customers will appreciate it! All-in-all, your customer service strategy on social media can be part problem solving, part PR, and part marketing, all at the same time.
Now, as alluded to in the beginning, it can go wrong. It is harder than email to keep track of requests and comments, so your account manager needs to be on top of their game to make sure every issue gets resolved — and it may need to get passed off to someone else You also need to make sure that, if you have more than one person responding to customers, they are staying consistent with answers and adhering to policy. The same customer might message you on Facebook Messenger and also comment on your latest Instagram post about a delayed package, and you need to make sure you give them the same answer in both places - and respond to them in both places.
Wait...what about calling?
If you have a keen eye, you may have noticed that we skipped over inbound phone support altogether. There’s a reason for that. Every year, the percentage of customers who call decreases. People are flocking to the service solutions with convenient methods with quick response times, instead.
It can also be quite expensive. On the cheaper side of things, software can cost upwards of $50 per agent. This software helps management of inbound calls, so it’s definitely a must. Unfortunately, with such a lofty price tag, it may be out of reach for some small businesses.
That doesn’t mean it’s all negative! Customers often feel better knowing that they’re talking to a real person, and service agents can be trained to calm customers down if they’re upset. Phone also offers very quick clarification opportunities — if your customer sends you an email with a question you don’t understand, you waste of time emailing back and forth trying to figure it out. Over the phone, agents can ask all the questions they need to and get to the root of the issue much faster.
It has similar benefits to the other options, too, in that you can listen to the calls later and see where things went right or wrong. If you do want to implement calling, it should be because that’s how your customers want to reach you and you appreciate its personalization and speed. In the end, if you do a great job, your customers will appreciate it just the same as any other support solution.
We have a big caution here though. Absolutely do not set up a phone tree that has no reachable human, where instead every branch directs the customer back to the website or the main menu. There is nothing more disingenuous than a phone tree with dead branches. Instead, clearly state in the menu all the ways that your customers can get ahold of you. When in doubt, letting customers press 0 to talk to a representative is never a bad thing!
So...what should I pick again?
Remember when we said every article is going to tell you to pick all of them? If it’s in your budget, sure, do it, but we won’t pretend that everyone can afford that. Let’s go through some actionable advice.
We mentioned in the beginning that email is the bare minimum — however, reaching out by email is becoming less and less popular each year. Email and phone support used to be the standard, but you can see how much things have changed just in the last decade. If you are going to offer one or the other, we highly recommend choosing email over phone. While phone support can result in a faster resolution, it’s expensive to maintain and people hate waiting on hold. Set up that customer service email , monitor it, and see how many requests you actually get. Alternatively, You may find that your customers love live chat and email you less and less.
Because email can be fairly low-maintenance and low-cost, we recommend offering either social media support or live chat to augment it. Choosing between the two will depend on your marketing strategy, how much you use social media in the first place, and, of course, the desires of your customer. If you have to choose one, we definitely recommend live chat. It’s a little more expensive, but it is a dedicated place to solve issues with trained agents and can often be even faster than social media. It’s easy enough to monitor social media and direct anyone with questions to your website’s live chat, or ask for their email so you can solve the issue there.
Finally, if budget isn’t as much of an issue or your demographics demand it, phone service can be great to compliment other services. If you feel like you have to have it, but you’re worried about the cost, combine it only with email and go from there. Of course, if you have all the money in the world to offer every customer service solution there is, that’s the dream — but then why are you here?
Choosing a customer service solution can be a complicated balance between what your customers want and what you can afford. Even options that seem cheap and easy, like social media, can quickly get complicated without software to help you manage and training to make sure you aren’t just winging it. However, there are different solutions (or combinations of solutions) that can work for every business, no matter their customer demographics, size, and budget.
How are you meeting the needs of your customers? Tell us which service solutions your business uses, or which ones you eventually outgrew with time.
About the author: Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.
Let's face it - everyone likes a freebie now and again. However, the question is: is it worthwhile to go ‘free’ when it comes to data security?
When people conduct business online, they want to make sure that their information will be protected through a secure website. So, we're taught to look for signs that the websites we visit have established the necessary security measures to keep us safe. One of these signs is a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate.
An SSL certificate is a small data file installed on a web server that activates the ‘https’ protocol. This allows the connection from a web server to a browser to become encrypted. In the past, SSL certificates were really only used to secure credit card transactions. As time goes on, an SSL certificate has become a security necessity for any website.
Are All SSL Certificates the Same?
As to the question of whether a free SSL certificate is as good as a paid one, it depends on the level of certificate. Many web hosts have gotten into the bundling game. This means a plan will often include a one-click install web hosting service, a free CDN (for instance, Cloudflare), a free proprietary site builder and oftentimes, a free SSL certificate. It’s important to be aware that your certificate will be domain validated (DV), which will be touched on in a bit but takes the least effort and expense on behalf of the hosting service. That being said, there are some advantages to obtaining SSL authentication from a paid provider.
Some of these benefits include:
Assistance with installation and configuration
Seamless certificate renewal
The possibility to obtain multiple certificates
Free SSL authentication (for example, Let’s Encrypt) only verifies that your web traffic is coming from the correct address. It's like sending visitors to a physical street address — they know they're at the right place because the GPS says so. But, it doesn't tell them anything about the people inside or what type of enterprise they run.
Free services cannot afford to verify countless certificates, and website owners have other concerns than to focus on gaps in security or renewing certificates several times each year.
Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not to pay for SSL really depends on how secure you want your website.
What Are Secure Socket Layers?
Secure socket layers are a type of encryption deployed by a certificate authority (CA) after verifying that a website is legitimate and owned by the person/organization listed in Whois. Also called transfer layer security (TLS), the standard SSL uses a cryptographic protocol that's actually been in existence for more than 2,000 years. That's how strong it is!
When you go through the process of obtaining an SSL certificate, it tells visitors that your mobile website or storefront has been verified by a CA through corroboration from a Qualified Information Source (QIS). This helps to legitimize your website and ensures users feel safe when accessing it.
When a web user types information into the URL bar, their browser sends a request to a host server, which encrypts the transmissions back and forth, making the data unreadable to anyone else. It means that the session between that specific browser and website is secure.
How you conduct business to maintain that authority and level of trust is up to you, SSL certificates can also be revoked. When that happens, any web traffic will be greeted by the message below:
This is NOT what you want your visitors to see. If your visitor sees this, there is a good chance they will go back to Google and check out a different website.
Untangling Types of Verification
If a free SSL only verifies a single web address, how do you get deeper authentication or multiple certificates? The answer is, by paying for them through an accredited Certificate Authority (CA).
Here is a brief overview of different types of SSL authentication:
Domain Validation (DV)
This is the most basic authentication. It is the component that puts the ’s’ for ‘secure’ in ‘https.’ When website visitors see that in their URL bar, they feel a little more confident that the website they're visiting has been verified by an authenticating authority.
But, that's all it does.
Domain validation needs to be renewed annually If you want visitors to have better peace of mind, or you need multiple certificates in the case of having multiple domains, you have to move up to the next level of SSL authentication.
Organization Validation (OV) and Code Signing Certificates
Obtaining an organization validation (OV) certificate tells visitors that your business is legitimate, licensed, and registered. It requires a little more background verification, which is why you have to pay for this certificate. It will cost anywhere from $100 to $800.
But, if you want to be viewed as a reputable business, it's invaluable.
In order to obtain an OV certificate, the CA will check for:
Proof of legal creation of a business entity and existence from a government authority
Proof that the website is live and operational
Verification of a valid business license
Proof of the owner's name and physical address
Domain registrar verification
This is a good option for a small business owner or a corporation with a single business location or website. If you own a larger company or multiple websites and physical locations, you need to work with the CA to obtain a certificate that resides in your root directory and provides enterprise-wide encryption.
Extended Validation (EV)
Extended validations (EV) were created to provide the highest level of encryption to larger organizations. They cost a little more (around $1000) and dig a little deeper into your business standing, but they provide higher security and an elevated benefit of trustworthiness. Visitors will know that they've reached a website with this level of authentication because the name of the corporation or owner will also appear in the URL bar inside of a green band in front of the web address.
When it comes to SSL encryption protocols, there is no generic option. As long as you understand what the SSL being offered to your provides, it doesn’t matter if your SSL certificate was a free bonus with your service or you paid for your verification. If a web hosting plan costs a little more, it might be because they’re taking care of your SSL needs. Just keep in mind the free plans often simply comprise of basic domain validation (DV), but that might be all you need if you’re just looking for basic encryption and a lock next to your URL.
For some businesses, lower levels of security might not be enough in an era of record-breaking data leaks and general distrust of business security. The type of preventative measures you put in place to securely conduct business on the internet make a difference - and that starts with an SSL certificate.
It is impossible to avoid references to Westeros over the last few years—especially lately, as George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy cycle crawls towards its conclusion in print, and with Season 8 of Game Of Thrones dominating water-cooler discussions everywhere that HBO is carried. Like many fantasy epics, Game Of Thrones can be used to symbolize many different concepts and strategies.
A lot, it turns out. One can draw many correlations between digital marketing and George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic. We can use the characters and situations in Game Of Thrones to draw parallels with the roles played by SEO team members, making it a lot easier for the layperson to get a grasp on what is happening behind the scenes with search engine optimization.
So let’s dig in, shall we? Winter Is Coming, after all.
What Game Of Thrones Teaches Us About Digital Marketing
Running a business isn’t that different from running a feudal kingdom if you view it from the right perspective. Let’s take a look at how we can use the familiar characters of George R.R. Martin’s world-building to help us master the art of digital marketing.
1. The Iron Throne: CEOs
CEOs are like kings, handing down decrees for the various underlings to execute. One interesting aspect of the kingship in Game of Thrones (and in the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire) is that the effectiveness of the various monarchs who sit on the Iron Throne is less about their personal skill set and more about their ability to find the right people for key roles (Hand of the King, Master of Coin, Master of Whispers, and so on).
It is the same with CEOs in business. They provide the vision, focus, and direction for the company; but their success truly lies in recruiting the best possible team of leaders and then providing them with the resources necessary to succeed. The CEO of a successful online marketing company works hard to hire the best people and to give them the resources to deliver optimal results for your business.
2. The Hand Of The King: Account Managers
The Hand Of The King is directly responsible for ensuring the business of the king’s realm is fulfilled according to his wishes. They work closely with the king, sometimes even making decisions in their stead.
Account managers work directly with the clients to ensure that the business plan is followed and that the company meets the needs of the client. They don’t manage the daily running of the account; their responsibility is to understand the needs of the client, determine how to meet those needs, and generate positive brand perception.
The Night Watch is the first line of defence between the Seven Kingdoms and White Walkers, giants, and Wildlings.
SEO analysts are the knights of the Wall, standing guard against the greatest threat to a webpage’s digital reputation — Google algorithm updates. They understand search engine behaviour, how to remove obstacles to indexing formulas, add relevance to targeted keywords, and increase the number of backlinks to improve a site’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Also, like the Night Watch, SEO analysts tend to go unnoticed until you need them. When you do, you’ll be glad they’re there!
Varys (a.k.a. The Spider) is the Master of Whispers in Westeros when our story opens. He knows everything that’s happening in Westeros. When something happens, Varys is the first to know about it. The Spider has agents across all of Westeros and Essos, being able to both send and receive messages.
We almost don’t have to make a metaphor for The Spider’s connection to social media marketers. Social media marketing offers an unparalleled ability to reach your audience on an individual basis. Social media marketers always build new relationships, trying to intersect your brand with the personal brands of the average person.
Social media marketers also monitor the web to keep an eye on your brand’s reputation. They’ll diligently track your company’s social media mentions. When bad news hits, they act. Brand reputation has never been more critical than it is 2019. It’s essential that negative feedback is handled as quickly as possible before damage can spread.
Content is the nuts-and-bolts of search engine optimization. It is what drives eyes to your website, and what converts passive readers to paying customers. It is the coin of the realm for SEO. The most dedicated Master of Coin during the run of the show is Tyrion Lannister.
Tyrion has a way with words and people. His understanding of local customs and universal human motivations helps him to win people over everywhere he goes. Tyrion’s also a master storyteller and one that knows how to tailor his message to his audience to have the greatest possibility of eliciting the desired response. And Tyrion’s desired response is to improve the lives of the people in the realm.
Content marketing teams are also masters of language and psychology. Content marketers need to know what makes your audience tick to package their content in a way that’s appealing and that converts a reader into a customer. They understand the philosophy and raison d’être of your business, and how to faithfully carry that purpose to your audience. And their goal is to help make your business as successful as possible.
Most importantly, digital marketing and Game Of Thrones are both journeys. They don’t just happen overnight. There are 73 episodes of Game Of Thrones, and nearly 4,000 minutes of epic fantasy TV to get lost in. Search Engine Optimization is also a journey to bring people from a casual reader to customer to client to brand supporter — and the payoff is worth it.
Just like there are people who are Nike fans and there’s are the ones who’d die for a pair of latest Adidas sneakers, people who unknowingly hate Coke and are addicted to Pepsi, and there are those iPhone and Android users, of course. And there’s this cosmic battle between the two: they’re not just consumers who choose one brand over the other, they are completely different people who have almost nothing in common and have no similar personal characteristics.
Now, wouldn’t it be fun to sit back and look over an iPhone woman dating an Android man? I bet they’d have the worst time possible together, bumping into the unknown. But it’d be something entertaining for us, right?
Let’s create a story: there’s this woman, Lee, who wears exotic sunglasses, carries her Mac everywhere and doesn’t like complicated stories. And then, there’s this man, George, who walks without thinking of where his feet land, throws on the occasional gray Polo shirt and is obsessed with the movie “Inception.” Somehow, out of the blue, just so it happens that these two meet and fall in love. After all, love is so inexplicable, isn’t it? But it takes only 7 strikes until they break up. Here’s what happens.
#1 Oh, that auto-correction
Strike number one. As you all know, Apple has this auto-correction tool that sometimes not only does its job poorly but also ruins lives. I know, I’m being so dramatic. But just look at this:
Well, that pushed them to the verge of breaking up. But they got over it. What’s next?
#2 The fight of Siri and Google Assistant
So Lee and George were having a chill night with a bottle of wine, listening to Nat King Cole, you got the vibe. Then Lee decides to turn to her best friend Siri and ask something private. She goes into the next room and whispers: “Siri, how can I make this cute guy next to me fall in love?” Then Siri screams off the top of her lungs, “How can you make George fall in love with you? You’ve asked this to me so many times, Lee.” Well, George hears it. They have a laugh about it. I bet you wish that’s how their conversation ends. But it doesn’t.
George makes the mistake of comparing Siri to Google Assistant, calling it the most prominent artificial intelligent assistant. And he’s not wrong: it’s so smart that might send you a notification of telling you to leave early if there’s horrible traffic and you have a meeting.
But then Lee goes on, telling about how Siri is not just someone with valuable answers. Siri is also someone who gets her. After all, Siri is improving all the time with every new iOS release. This was strike number 2.
#3 Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich??
So it’s Wednesday afternoon, George calls Lee and says he's just got the latest Gingerbread. Lee, having thoughts of confusion, simply says, “well, bring some to me.” After all, girls gotta eat, right? But it turns out that when George said Gingerbread he was referring to the new Android 2.3. A minor misunderstanding right?
Well, a while later they have the same confusing conversation about “Ice Cream Sandwich”, which again, is just an Android update. But how many times can Lee get excited about a snack and then be let down? Not too many, I guess. And that was exactly strike number 3!
#4 Who’s screen shines best?
Probably know about this: Android phone screens always get those unpleasant scratches even after 14 days of you buying it. And this makes Android owners keep their phones in their pockets, especially when dating a woman with an iPhone. Especially an iPhone X: the sexiest phone on earth, right?
So when Lee and George went to their usual Saturday night date to grab Chinese food, Lee decided to let out the thoughts that were bothering for so long.
Lee: “Are you cheating on me?”
George: “What? No! Why would you ask that?”
Lee: “Well, you always keep your phone away from me!!”
George thought it was time to tell her he’s embarrassed of her phone screen scratches, but hesitated and said, “That’s just my privacy!”
Ouch! Lee didn’t want to hear that. Strike number 4!
#5 It’s always about a competition: who’s first?
We’re always in a competition: we’re competing with a school friend when running (who’s faster,) competing with our siblings (how many hot chicken wings you'll eat), we’re even competing with ourselves, but that’s too deep so let’s not get into that now. So, you’re wondering why I’m babbling about this now. I’m simply trying to explain Lee and George’s strike number 5.
As you know, when an app launches iPhone app is almost always first, not to mention, better looking. That’s because a lot of developers still prioritize Apple’s App Store. The biggest reason behind it is that iOS apps usually make more money for developers, then Play Store does.
So one day this new game app launches: Lee goes to Apple Store and downloads it immediately. And George is just sitting there with angry eyes and crossed hands. One, two, three and a burning fight arises. It’s not about the app, it’s about competing with each other. But that’s normal, right? Every couple experiences that, so they move on.
#6 Are we too different?
Now, here are some very interesting statistics I’d like to share with you.
Did you know that iPhone users are slightly more likely to be optimistic when Android users are more inclined to be pessimistic? Wow, that’s a strong definitive.
Moving on, its known that iPhone users are 14% more likely to be extroverts, 26% more likely to prefer spending money, 27% more likely to say they tend to lead. And you can guess the opposite of these for Android users.
What I understand from all of this, is that Lee and George are two completely different people. They fight over eating outside or staying in and saving up, they fight over who’s the river and who’s the leaf in their relationship. And little by little, strike number 145. But we’ll count these as one.
#7 iMessages are very important!
Well, this is a serious one. iPhone users are very used to iMessages. They don’t have to use any other apps to be texting for free. They can simply use their iMessages. But that’s only if they’re sending messages to other iPhone users. And we’ve already established that George is a hardcore Android guy. So every time Lee tries to text her brand new boyfriend she bumps into this tiny but nerve-wracking problem. 7th strike and we’re almost there.
#8 The last strike
The last drop that broke this lovely couple up was when George, being too busy playing Playstation, asks Lee to order pizza using his phone.
Lee: “How do you open your stupid phone?”
George: “My phone’s not stupid, hon, but maybe you are?”
No conversation follows: Lee leaves and never comes back.
This was the story of Lee and George: two completely different people whose love for their phones was much stronger than their feelings for each other. Now that’s what I call customer loyalty.
While there are various marketing strategies to employ, there’s one that can bring in consistent sales from day one: social media advertising. Social media advertising is a way to target audiences on specific networks through demographic information so that targeted consumers can see your brand in their feeds.
After determining the budget you want to spend and the audience you are targeting, it is time to create your ad. Depending on your objective, there are different types of an ad. Let’s discuss the ads on our lovely social networks that we cannot live without.
Each ad consists of two parts:
Visual part (image/video)
There are some rules for both textual and visual parts of an ad set. For one, there is a character limit for a specific type of objectives, and when it comes to images, your image cannot have more than 20% of the text in Facebook.
CREATING AN AUDIENCE
While search engines define an audience mainly by the keyword they are searching for, in social media marketing, an audience needs to be specific so that they know to whom to show your ad. In other words, in SEM, your audience searches for you, whereas in SMM, you search for your audience.
What’s good about Facebook marketing is the fact that you can go into detail when targeting your audience. You can start with defining their age, location and sex and jump to defining their level of education, work status, interests and so on. This means that, based on your knowledge and experience, you can create the ideal person who will most likely purchase your product (or whatever your business goal is about).
When it comes to Facebook ads and setting up a budget (the amount of money you will spend on one campaign), there are two types of budgets you have to understand:
1. Daily budget - the amount of money spent per day
2. Lifetime budget - the amount of money spentfor the whole campaign
Once you start your ad (Place your Order), you cannot change the type of budget. In case you want to test different budget types for the same ad, the best option is to duplicate your ad from the Ad Manager and change the budget option before starting the ad.
FACEBOOK PAID CAMPAIGNS
While search engine marketing may seem as the best choice for some, others can feel that they’ll have more chances of finding the right audience on social media. Social media marketing puts the spotlight on social media platforms and their users. In this article, we will focus on one of the most popular social media networks today - Facebook, of course.
Facebook defined several types of marketing objectives:
Awareness (boost your post, promote your page, reach people near your business, increase brand awareness, increase your reach)
Consideration (send people to your website, get app installs, boost attendance at your events, get video views, collect leads for your business)
Conversion (increase conversion on your website, increase engagement in your app, get people to claim your offer, promote a product catalog, get people to visit your stores).
Facebook ads tip: If you want to promote a post you made, you can do it easily from your page by choosing boost option.
Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, it is obvious that you can do both Facebook and Instagram advertising at the same time, or one social network at a time - it all depends on your target audience and goals.
You create Instagram ads from Facebook Ad Manager and the process is the same as the one for Facebook advertising. When deciding on your ad placement, you are actually choosing where your ad will be shown (only Facebook, only Instagram or both).
Approach Instagram advertising not as a type of classic advertising but as a means of communication with your potential customers. This means that you should focus on creating ads that tell a story, rather than a typical promotional ad.
Instagram based their organic advertising strategy on hashtags. That is exactly why you should be familiar with popular hashtags in your industry. Think of hashtags as your keywords, and yes, use Google Keywords planner to find out what is popular!
LINKEDIN PAID CAMPAIGNS
Nowadays, each social media offers sponsored promotion (social media advertising). Every social network is a very interesting and an effective way of promotion if your target audience is there. Which one you will use depends on your audience and your goals.
Besides Facebook and Instagram advertising, which are mainly used among business owners and marketers, there’s also one more social network that might interest you if you are targeting business owners to offer your products/services - LinkedIn.
WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER LINKEDIN ADVERTISING
Before you start advertising on LinkedIn, you have to check if this social media suits your needs and your target audience. LinkedIn is often used for B2B advertising, that is to say for advertising a product/service that will benefit business owners and working professionals.
Let’s say, if you are a website designer and you want to offer your services to small companies or startups, then LinkedIn advertising is most likely going to help you target your audience.
PAID ADS VS. SPONSORED CONTENT
LinkedIn advertising offers two types of sponsored ads:
1. Paid ads - classic pay per click advertising
2. Sponsored content
A paid ad is the same as the ad on Google AdWords - you have a title, description and destination URL. On the other hand, Sponsored Content is similar to Facebook boost posts - you choose one of your LinkedIn updates and pay to sponsor it. Which one you will choose depends on your goal.
LinkedIn ads tip: Your content should contain valuable information related to your business.
MASTERING AUDIENCE CREATION
LinkedIn audience is made up of people who use this network in order to show off their professional skills and find a job or connect with people who have the same or similar niche interests. This means that you will use LinkedIn as a way of reaching people by their job role, working experience, level of education, company, industry etc.
Let’s go back to our previous example. If you are a web designer who wants to target small companies and startups in the food industry (restaurants), your audience could look something like this:
Company size: myself only; 1-10 employees
Company industry: restaurants
Job title: owner, founder, CEO, general manager, supplier manager
On the right side of the Ad Manager, you can always see the approximate number of people you will reach with your current audience set, which will give you a very good base for determining how much budget you will need for a campaign.
BUDGETING (CPC VS. CPM)
The final part of your ad setup is budget. LinkedIn may seem more expensive than Facebook advertising, but, with some smart moves, you can easily reach your goals.
When it comes to LinkedIn advertising, you should worry about two things:
1. Cost per click (CPC) - the amount of money you pay when somebody clicks on your ad
2. Cost per mille (CPM) - the amount of money you pay when you reach 1000 impressions
When determining which type of budget you should focus on, it is good to know the approximate number of people you will target with your audience set and how many people you will reach with your budget. If, for example, your ad reaches 10,000+ people, and you have a lower budget, then your goal could be to show your ad to as many people as possible (CPM). If you reach up to 2,000 people and your ad gives a clear understanding of what they can expect to see/read, then the number of clicks could be more relevant for you. Of course, your final goal still has a crucial role in determining which one you will choose.
MEASURING YOUR RESULTS WITH GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Creating an ad and spending money is probably the easiest part of any campaign. What poses a challenge is having to determine how successful your ad was and if you should continue with paid campaigns on the channel you were using. Knowing how successful your ad was meant knowing how much of your investment you returned.
Both search engines and social media give you a full support not only for creating an ad but also for monitoring and analyzing the success of it. For Facebook and Instagram advertising, you can see all statistics in Facebook Ad Manager, for Linkedin you can use LinkedIn statistics within their ad manager, and Google AdWords gives you the option to see every single detail in their own dashboard. Moreover, for any campaign, you can use one more, very useful tool - Google Analytics.
As always, you start by defining a goal you want to achieve. Once you set it up in your Google Analytics, you can start tracking the impact of each online marketing channel. For example, you want to increase sales of your custom-made website designs, and for this goal, you want to advertise on Facebook and AdWords. You can use their own analytics to see the results and then manually compare them, or you can make it easier by using Google Analytics dashboard from which you will see how many people who purchased your website design came from Facebook and how many from AdWords.
You may wonder why this is important. Knowing from where most of your clients came is the answer to the following question: Where should I invest my money next time? If Facebook campaign brought you 100 new clients, and AdWords gave you only 10 new clients for the same amount of money, you can conclude that you have more benefits from Facebook advertising than from Google advertising. So, next time you can allocate Facebook and AdWords budget to Facebook campaign and focus on that network only.
No matter which tool you use for analyzing, don’t forget ROI and your goals. There is no magic formula for determining which channel will help you achieve your goal. All you have to do is start testing and experimenting until you find the channel that works best for your business.
Social media advertising can be daunting for many businesses and marketers, but it is a big step toward success. Thinking of advertising in terms of the three different stages: awareness, consideration, and conversion, you’ll be well ahead of many competitors. This is why we encourage you to get out there and try it for yourself!
Since we understand content best through high-definition, beautiful photos and videos, it only makes sense that your website tells its story through compelling visuals. Unfortunately, hiring a photographer yourself can be costly. With dozens of free stock photo websites available, you can tell your story through images, without breaking the bank. Here are some favorites that I would recommend to review today.
Unsplash offers high-end and diverse images, captured by pro and semi-pro photographers, for your unique website needs. With a collection of over one million images with more than 125,000 different photographers, you are almost guaranteed to find what you need. Its high-quality users ensure consistent image quality. Not to mention, Unsplash is easily navigable through clear-cut categories. The right to copy, edit and use photos for both commercial and non-commercial use is free. Users can also access Unsplash on-the-go with the mobile app, available for iOS. The best part? Ucraft has an integration with Unsplash so that every user has access to their photo stock, right through the website.
Pexels is an industry favorite that has gained worldwide recognition since its first appearance in 2014. Its photos, licensed under Pexels, are arranged neatly by themes, including pastimes, emotions and locations. Anyone can upload photos on the website, then curators filter and choose the best photos for its collections. The best part of the website is its wide offering of creative and original photos that do not feel ‘stock.’ Photos can be saved in a variety of different sizes for the perfect fit for your needs.
While Freepik offers an array of stock photos, it is better known for vector images (icons, clipart and PSD templates). The website is segmented into a free version, allowing a maximum of 30 downloads per day (as long as the image is cited) and a paid version, allowing 100 downloaded files per day. The website obtains over 80,000 uploads monthly - so you can find exactly what you are looking for. There are over 42 categories that you can skim through, including background, logo and business cards, but you can also look through the most popular and recently added.
SuperFamous specializes in nature and travel photography, so if this is your area of specialty, this is a good option for you. Its collection is smaller than other competitors, but remains free to copy, edit and use for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Unfortunately, the small library of images isn’t updated as frequently as some of its larger competitors. All-in-all, the website is seen by some as more of a travel diary than anything.
Pixabay offers high-quality photos, vector images and video in several resolutions, completely free. Its easy-to-use search functionality is grouped by category, color or orientation, helping users to find that perfect photo fit. Users can copy, edit and use content without author identification, as if they captured the photo yourself! With more business options than creative-focused Unsplash, many corporations will find their best options here.
Unlike many other stock photo options, NegativeSpace offers photos available in RAW format. With the ability to search by category, color or location of main object in frame, the options to find that perfect shot are almost limitless! Not to mention, users can copy, edit and use photos without copyright restrictions. Most of the photos available are free, with a limited number of premium photos available.
If you are looking for quirky, outside-the-box imagery, Gratisography is the place to go. Although the quality of photos offered doesn’t come close to Pexels or Unsplash, it makes up for in photos that you cannot find elsewhere. Gratisography photos are free for commercial and non-commercial use. One of the only cons that I’ve identified with Gratisography is that many images link to Shutterstock, where images must be paid for to use.
Did you know that PicJumbo was one of the first websites to publish high-quality photos, 100% free? With new photos added daily, there are thousands of options to choose from when searching by category or keyword.
Last but not least, Canadian-made stock photo resource, Life of Pix, offers a massive collection of high-quality stock photos (I'mi’m talking hundreds of thousands, donated by extremely talented photographers) for free. These photos are catered more to the creative crowd, with a more artistic feel. This source is reputable, after all, it is an affiliate of Adobe Stock.
Do you have a tried-and-true stock photo resource that was missed from the list? Are you passionate about some other affordable image alternatives that I haven’t covered? Share them in the comments below - let’s explore them together. If you feel like you’re all set to hit the ground running with these awesome options, I encourage you to take the leap to create a new website with Ucraft. The world is your oyster to explore, now go for it!
Gone are the days when animation was used simply as an embellishment or a decorative element, on websites. Animation today is one of the most important elements of user experience and aids the creation of successful user interactions.
It is a powerful way to make the user interface of products clear and simple. In fact, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it holds a place of honor in the field of UI/UX design. This is why animation is everywhere.
The Functions of Animation
The term ‘animation’ can mean a lot of things. It can differ in scale from the blur of a button to a fully animated background. Moreover, it can be set up as an independent element or as reactions to visitors’ actions on your website. The various functions that animation achieves on your website are:
This type of animation is used to render small interactions, such as clicking a button, quick and clear to the user. Microinteractions can be implemented on a wide array of interactive elements, including buttons (hover, active, error, etc.), all the different kinds of loaders, knobs, switches, menus, calendars and much more.
Transitions and Page Behavior
Animation can be used to switch between pages and to make navigation easier by positioning elements on stage, morphing between graphic shapes or cutting between the different states.
Delighters and Decoratives
These catchy and creative visual elements are the final touches that go beyond the must-have elements of your website design. Exemplified by effects such as parallax scrolling, this type of animation is used to add some oomph to your website with the aim of improving user engagement.
Animation on Your Website: To Add, or Not to Add?
When does it make sense to add animation to your website and when does it not? Here’s a primer:
1. To highlight actions using micro-interactions
Microinteractions essentially mean simple animations which are associated with single-use cases. They make website elements easier to use by providing you with visual feedback when you interact with one as well as information on how to use it.
But which of the numerous elements on your website should you animate? Here are a few thumb rules. Use animation to highlight it when you turn a feature on or off, to highlight critical information, such as the price of a product, or icons on your website, and to signal the success of an action taken by the user.
Hidden and dropdown menus both lend themselves well to animation. The latter works particularly well if you’re juggling a large number of pages. In both cases, using animation works well as it softens the reveal of the menu. Without animation, these menus would appear on the screen too abruptly.
Some types of animation that can be used for dropdown menus include fade, expand, slide, and flip animations. Hidden menus too can be animated in a number of different ways.
3. To reveal hidden information
Hidden information can be revealed using hover animations which offer you a neat way to maximize the utilization of the limited space available. For instance, mouseover effects can be added to the gallery items to reveal additional information about them. Hover animations can also be used as micro interactions to know an element is active or how to use it when a user mouses over it.
4. To create sliding galleries
This is probably one of the most common uses of animation seen today although people rarely realize they’re looking at simple animations when they’re browsing from one image to another in a sliding gallery. In the absence of animations, this transition between images would be too abrupt and jarring, thereby rendering the experience less than user-friendly.
The use of sliders is often seen on the top of webpages but don’t be afraid to use sliders in less conventional places too, such as to display testimonials.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Adding Animation to Your Website1. Understand the basics of animation
And we have them for you right here. From the seminal book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, here are 4 basic, time-tested principles of animation that’ll hold you in good stead throughout your journey with it.
#1 Squash and Stretch
Essential for portraying motion, this all-important animation principle shows the energy behind a movement. For example, to show a bouncing ball, you would draw it flat or squashed at the lower part of the bounce and then stretched as it bounces upward instead of using perfect circles throughout.
In the real world, someone that’s about to jump will crouch first, and a baseball pitcher who’s about to pitch will wind up first. This rise or build-up before reaching the crescendo, that is, the action itself, is termed anticipation. It lends realism to the action, apart from preparing the audience for it. Also, a longer build-up signifies a more weighty action.
The presentation of an idea so that it is clear to the audience is known as staging. Given there’s only limited time, an animation should use every frame to convey the character’s attitude and reaction with the aim of driving the plot forward and also show as much of the character as possible. For instance, fatigue can be shown using slumped shoulders.
#4 Pose to Pose and Straight Ahead Action
Most animations draw from both these principles that bring different types of energy to them. The pose-to-pose method uses a number of fully fleshed-out frames of animation. It offers the animator better control over an animation which works wonders for emotional and dramatic scenes. Meanwhile, in straight-ahead action, each frame is drawn out in sequence with the frequent blending of scenes. This method is useful for scenes that portray fast action.
2. Define the purpose of adding animation
Add animation only when you can define a concrete and specific purpose for it. That is, one way or another, animation needs to perform a task that takes you one step closer to achieving your goal, be it maximizing the time users spend on your website, users performing certain actions, or something else.
Some of the key ways in which animations help are by:
Supporting your storytelling by slowly revealing website elements,
Aiding user movement through the website,
Visualizing your product’s use cases, function, or impact,
Breaking your website’s static scroll using motion, and
Creating an atmosphere that is suitable for certain types of products, such as toys or kidswear.
3. Simplify your content using animation
Animation can be used very effectively to simplify the content you want to present to your visitors. Let’s say you want to explain how your SaaS-based product works. You could do this through a number of mediums:
A couple of paragraphs of text,
A few bullet points of text, or
A few key visuals of animation.
Studies have shown that the human brain processes visuals a whopping 60,000 faster than it does text. Is it any wonder then that the last option above is the best?
While some website elements lend themselves particularly well to animation, others just don’t. Those that fall in the former group include elements that:
Trigger specific actions, such as navigation buttons and CTAs,
Provide directionality, such as arrows and background scrolling,
Draw attention to themselves, such as new notification icons and ‘complete order’ buttons, and
Website elements you don’t want to animate include those where the animation will harm its functionality, such as:
Text that becomes harder to read when animated, and
Fields where visitors have to key in information as animation would distract them from the task at hand.
5. Provide visual feedback using animation
A lack of user-friendliness can drive visitors away from your website. For this reason, it is always better for your users to receive feedback on completion after performing an action on your website. Visual effects do this job best.
6. Don’t create long animations
The typical internet audience has a very short attention span. It makes sense, then, to tell your story in as short a time as possible and not expect the audience to be prepared to consume lengthy animations.
7. Don’t go overboard with animation
As in life, so in animation: too much of anything is a bad thing! It is of vital importance that you hold back from overdoing the animation bit. For one, you don’t want to distract your users with too much action. Too much animation will also make your site heavy and can slow it down.
Whatever you choose - a few touches or an overall makeover by adding animation to your website - animation plays a major role in enhancing the user experience by increasing interactivity and user engagement. Don’t miss out on what animation has to offer your website, try out animation today!
About the author: Koushik Marka is the founder and CEO of Studiotale, a video production company. He is passionate about helping brands grow with video and has expertise in video marketing, 2D animation, and vector illustration. When he is not working, he loves playing video games and traveling.
No matter what genre of music you’re making - you need a highly-captivating website with crisp and concise content.
A website will help you to:
Grow your fan base
Sell your music & merch
Expand your business network.
When you pour your heart into creating your tracks at the studio, the same should apply to your website. It’s nice to play your music to friends and family, but if you’re aiming at the world, you must think outside of the box! In this article, we will provide a roadmap you can follow to create a user-friendly, cool-looking, functional music website. To create a music website, follow these 4 easy steps.
Pick a suitable domain name
Add your must-have pages
Integrate tools to sell music & merch
Have a proper SEO strategy for music websites.
1. Get the right domain name best matching your brand
If you are looking to set yourself apart, you must get a custom domain name for your website. It is crucial for your brand's credibility in the eyes of website visitors. Having a subdomain like “myband.ucraft.net” looks kind of unofficial, doesn’t it? If your band is called The Twin Monkeys, then you should look if twinmonkeys.com is available as a custom domain name. Stay away from complex domain names containing hyphens or numbers. It will leave the user wondering and confused.
2. Must-have pages on your music website
Your fans & industry-related people will visit your website to:
Find out your performance dates
Check your latest singles and albums
Get acquainted with upcoming releases
Stream or buy your tracks, watch music videos
Buy your merchandise (T-shirts, CDs, etc.)
Book you for concerts
Invite you for TV/Radio appearance
Set up an interview.
Let’s look at these pages in more detail.
How you present yourself is how people see you - what are you showcasing? You want your website visitors to appreciate how well-made and user-friendly it looks. You don’t want them to close their browser tab as a result of boring UX and poor design. Have an eye-catching logo on your header or anywhere noticeable when your site loads. Just in case you’re a struggling up-and-coming artist on a limited budget, remember you have tons of options to do things yourself.
For example, you can use Ucraft Logo Maker or any other logo maker out there on the market. Pick the coolest icon that best depicts your artist or band's image to create the right branding for your music and merch. Next thing to consider is displaying updated and relevant info about you and your music career right in front of your website visitors. Whether you have upcoming shows or a new single dropping soon, make sure this is the first thing they can see, regardless of who visits your website.
Bio or About
Your artist or band biography needs a page with impeccable writing on its own. If you’re just getting started, don’t panic. Simply write about your musical career’s vision for the future and include anything you consider valuable. Mention a song competition you took part in and won or any relevant achievements. Editorials and publicists will directly refer to your bio before reaching out, therefore, make sure you embellish this page without overflooding with exaggerated info.
Songs & Albums
Your website visitors might want to listen to your songs right away. The key here is to quickly and easily give your visitors access to your tracks. Make sure to include an audio player featuring your songs. But please take note of the following: Do not add an autoplay function for your material on your website, especially on the homepage. This is one of the most annoying things one can experience once your site is loaded. As a side note, the recent policy updates of modern web browsers can block autoplay functions by default or simply mute it.
There are tons of various widgets that allow you to integrate your music on your website. If your tracks are on Spotify, Soundcloud or iTunes, all you need to do is embed it directly into your website.
Your image is everything and you need a dedicated place on your website for this. If you don’t have a full-frame DSLR or access to a professional photographer, don’t get discouraged! Modern smartphone pics have quite improved in terms of quality. You can ask a friend to take a few clean shots with different clothes and locations to create variety. How you display your images is important for your website’s overall look. Make sure they are clear, in-focus and organically blend with the rest of your website’s colours. Try adding some overlay effects on the images when the cursor is placed upon. Sliders and other creative image positioning are marvellous ideas!
Your contacts on this page must be well-organized and easy to read. Inquiries such as bookings, licensing your songs, merch restock are just a few examples. If you have a team, list each individual’s email address separately by role. At last, make sure to highlight all your social media accounts including your YouTube channel with neatly presented icons which will direct visitors to your profiles.
3. An online shop for your merch
Is your merch as good as your music? If the answer is YES! then you need a shop with product images and prices with call-to-action buttons. Your fans will be looking for more than downloading your songs or albums. Some may be looking to purchase CDs, T-shirts, caps or any other item best representing your brand. Drop shipping is the quickest and easiest way to set up shop and not worrying about stocking your goodies somewhere dedicated or process the shipping yourself. What you need is a print-on-demand dropshipping service where you can upload your logo and sell your custom-designed products online under your own brand.
Live performance dates
Live performances are your bread and butter. Once you’ve won the hearts of new fans, they will want to purchase tickets to your concert. It is essential to let your followers know the date, time and at which venue you will be making an appearance. As an option, you can also have a subsection to display your previous shows. This is convenient for agencies and fans to know how active you are on stage.
We recommend using a 3rd party free platform for your convenience. A platform like Eventbrite will allow you to list all past and upcoming performances with an option to either sell tickets or allow your fans to RSVP for free. You can then grab the embed code from Eventbrite and display your live performance events calendar on your website.
4. SEO for your music website
Search Engine Optimization is a major key to your website’s success. Search engine results are your best friend and having the right titles, descriptions, keywords or keyphrases placed all around your site is a maker-breaker game.
Fans will search for things like lyrics to your song or concert dates. It is an advantage to direct such queries to your website instead of another. You can follow our beginner-friendly marketing guide that includes an SEO chapter if you need some help with this. Fans want an intuitive, easy to navigate website where they can listen to your tracks with a click or two and find out everything about you.
There you have it. A prominent website structure you can follow to build your own. If you’re ready to have an artist musician website and gain profit from live streamings, downloads, merch sales, you can try our 14-day trial and build one yourself.
Check out ‘Amy’, one of our coolest artist music website designs in honour of the late great Amy Winehouse. This example will demonstrate some of the points we’ve covered in this blog.
Also, did you know that the Armenian State Jazz Orchestra used Ucraft to build their site? You can start creating today, it’s easier than you think. I wish you good luck in this persuasive journey, hope you craft an awesome music website where fans grow in numbers by the day!
White Labeling is a common business practice where a product or a service is rebranded and used under a different name. Ucraft introduced its White Label Solution in 2017. It allows freelancers, digital agencies, domain and hosting providers to start a ready-to-use website builder business without hiring a team of web designers or developers.
Since the launch, many partners have joined. Among them the biggest Russian IT company, the biggest hosting company in Bulgaria, leading design and marketing agencies in the US and EU.
This B2B platform is perfect for designers, freelancers, agencies and for anyone who wants to make mobile friendly, beautiful websites for their clients or let them do it on their own.
With Ucraft White Label solution, you get:
Drag and Drop Website Builder
Landing Page Creator
Domain Reseller Program
20+ Integrations with marketing, analytics & design platforms
A billing system to manage subscriptions and payments (Braintree / Paypal / Yandex.Money)
All in one Admin Dashboard to manage your business (sites, users, plans and action logs)
Dedicated Account Manager
Ucraft’s White Label platform comes without branding, so you can market your business under your own brand name, logo and domain. We offer hosting on Google Ecosystem which guarantees smooth operation of your website builder business. On top of it, you get to set the prices of your products, subscription plans, services and can accept payments through the most trusted systems.
Our most recent success story is the collaboration with Mail.ru Group - the largest internet business in the Russian-speaking segment of the web. Due to our White Label solution our partner is now able to provide a website builder to its existing user base (100 million active accounts).
Our partners mission is to help small and medium businesses to grow and no business can do without an online presence. So Mail.ru has chosen our SAAS model which lets them set their own pricing and allow their clients to build:
As we like to say at Ucraft we give you the platform, you do the business.