Redesigning or rebuilding a website can be an interesting process. It’s also an opportunity to fix those problems that have been bugging you for a long time, refresh the look and feel and come up with new features.
But creating a new website is a big investment and to be successful, it needs to be undertaken with a strong strategic foundation that is directly linked to your business goals.
Setting the right goals can make the difference between the success and failure of your website. According to research, the number one reason for website failure is the lack of a clear business objective. If you haven’t set one by now, we recommend you reconsider your actions. A successful website can completely transform your business. It can increase sales, raise awareness, improve customer experience, reduce costs, improve workflow and help you grow your company.
Before you set your list of website goals, you need to know why your website exists. What actions do you want your site visitors to take? What do you want them to do or know after they leave your site?
After that you will need to determine how well (or poorly) your current website is performing:
-Is your content easy to read and understand. Do you discuss relevant topics? Is the text broken up in an effective way.
-Check the speed of your website using tools such as Google PageSpeed or GT Metrix. A slow website is a great way to send your visitors elsewhere.
-Make sure your website is usable on all screen sizes, mobile devices and browsers.
-Make sure your site is easy to navigate and that your visitors can find what they’re looking for in seconds.
-Make sure your images are optimised for the web (otherwise they will slow down your site).
-Consider whether pop-up windows are driving visitors away. Instead of being effective, they can sometimes annoy your users.
If your goal is to increase relevant leads, you should know how many leads your current website is now generating.
A good method for setting business goals for your website is the SMART model. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. This model helps you set website goals in a way that focuses on achieving business success.
Specific – what would you like to achieve? Set a measurable business goal for your website. Example:
-Increase the number of relevant leads by 20%.
-Improve your sales conversion rate by 5%.
-Improve customer satisfaction by 10%.
Measurable – how will you know it’s happening? Establish concrete criteria and methods for measuring progress towards each goal:
-Retain qualified leads through CRM
-Conversion rate tracking through Google Analytics
-Inquiring customers before and after website redesign
Achievable – can it realistically be achieved? Goals set too high or too low become meaningless. Compare your goals with your current numbers and ask yourself if they can realistically be achieved. Most importantly, how do you intend to achieve these goals?
-Engaging your target audience through unique value propositions and more effective prompts are designed to produce a 10% increase in lead flow. An additional 10% can be achieved by driving traffic to the website using paid advertising and SEO.
-Usability testing suggests that UX improvements to the website can lead to an increase in customer satisfaction of 10% or more.
Relevant – does this fit your business needs? Will it help achieve your company’s vision and mission? Example:
-Growing website leads by 20% aligns with marketing department goals next year to generate 20% more leads than last year.
On time – set a timeframe for the goal. 6 months? 1 year? Setting an end point gives you a clear target. The timeframe should also be achievable and realistic. Example:
-Growing 20% of potential customers for the website will start with an initial 10% resulting from website improvements that can be achieved 6 months after the website launch. The other 10% will result from generating additional traffic to the website through paid advertising and SEO, which will take at least another 6 months before reaching the desired results.
Another way of thinking that we often find useful when setting goals is to differentiate goals that exist at the top of the funnel versus the middle to bottom of the funnel. At the top of the funnel goals are more likely to focus on generating new leads and influencing customer perception of the brand, for example:
Increase new visitors from a specific market segment
Reduce bounce rate
Increase CRM/database records
Increase engagement with branded content
From the mid to bottom of the funnel, goals will focus more on driving the consumer through the funnel and achieving a commercial outcome, for example:
Create an easy user experience
Increase online conversion rate for sales (bookings)
Reduce abandonment rate
By setting these goals, you will increase traffic, increase reach and increase sales by a large number. Remember, set yourself a realistic but hopeful plan to get started.
SMART goals leave no room for interpretation or procrastination. They make you think realistically about what is achievable and what is not, and they are measurable over time so there is no possibility of not achieving a goal this year. How you define goals will determine their success.
Regardless of the hosting system, when site traffic increases, loading time problems can occur. Getting as much website traffic and visitors as possible is every website owner’s dream.
You may be excited knowing that you have website traffic because traffic brings you visitors and potential customers, but it can also be a bad thing if your website can’t cope and doesn’t work. Downtime is just as bad as poor design or a slow website.
First, you need to learn to predict these sharp increases in website traffic. They can be good indicators of performance, but the impact that increased traffic can have if you’re not prepared can be costly to your online business.
The month-to-month numbers provide an understanding of the basic traffic profile: low, moderate or high. These numbers also provide insight into potential trends, patterns and seasonality, as monthly traffic can change based on many variables, including marketing campaigns, search engine rankings and market conditions.
If your site is not prepared to handle an increase in popularity, a short-term increase in traffic could cause long-term damage to your search engine optimization (SEO) as well. High traffic can also have an immediate impact on user experience, if your website can’t handle all the traffic, it can slow down to a crawl or worse, crash.
If your store gets so busy that “browsers” outnumber paying customers, you may run into problems. If this happens, your paying customers may leave and go to your competitors. People visiting your site for the first time may conclude that your site is slow and problematic.
A high volume of traffic is an unexpected increase that is significantly higher than the original amount and deviates from the expected trend. Basically, if you get more hits than you expect, this is a high volume of traffic for your particular site. This type of heavy traffic increases the burden on your site’s servers. Instead of capitalizing on the increased traffic, you are now getting fewer conversions than you would expect on a typical day. A dramatic increase in traffic can even exceed your allocated bandwidth. Depending on your hosting plan, this can lead to additional costs. You may need to upgrade your hosting plan to cope with the increased demand.
So what should you do to avoid these situations?
1.When choosing your web hosting plan, you should pay attention to whether the web server can handle web traffic. Even if you choose to start with a shared solution, you should be aware that all resources, including memory and processing speed are shared on that server. And if one of the sites gets a lot of site traffic then the other sites will be affected as resources will be stretched.
To ensure that your site can handle the traffic you will need to choose a middle ground solution namely a VPS which is similar to a dedicated server and the difference between a shared server is that a VPS is shared in such a way that each site has a portion of resources allocated to it exclusively. If one website on the server receives an increase in traffic then the other sites will not be affected and will not experience traffic slowdowns.
2.If you still happen to run into problems, the solution is to optimize your site – limiting the use of themes and templates that contain images and videos can be a good practice to avoid slowing down your site significantly. The larger the file size, the longer they will take to render on a page. A lean website will load faster, even during periods of heavy traffic.
The huge community of themes and plugins is one of WordPress’ greatest strengths. However, poorly designed and maintained themes and plugins can fill your website with unnecessary code. This can degrade the performance of your website and make it more difficult to handle high volumes of traffic.
3.Install a caching plugin. Caching is an important aspect of improving site speed, although it is one of the most overlooked. In short, caching creates static HTML versions of your website content. This reduces the number of times WordPress has to request content, which can help your site handle heavy traffic.
4.Conduct regular content checks. Even with the best efforts, exceptional traffic volumes can lead to increased load times in some scenarios. Once your site loads, you’ll want to provide visitors with a seamless experience to combat any negative impressions they have of your website. To ensure you’re providing the best possible experience, it’s a smart idea to conduct regular content audits. By examining the content of your website, you can often identify smaller issues that can impact your visitors’ experience, including broken links.
While performing your content audit, you can also look for opportunities to make your content more engaging. A slow website will always work against you, but quality content can contribute positively to key metrics such as bounce rate and time spent on your site.
Smaller companies usually have tighter budgets, which means their main motivation is to find an affordable plan. We know that shared hosting is a popular choice for many startups and small companies and if the traffic volume is constant, then it will meet the needs of the site and with these plans sharing server resources. However, if your site is experiencing an increase in traffic, you may struggle to access the resources you need to cope with this increased demand.
It doesn’t matter how many visitors or loyal customers you have. It only takes a period of downtime to ruin the trust they had in your business. So what’s the best strategy to keep people on your website? Your hosting provider plays a significant role in helping you manage high volumes of traffic. For best results, we recommend a flexible hosting provider that offers a range of plans and gives you the option to upgrade temporarily during periods of heavy traffic.
Linux – What is it, where can it be found and what are its advantages?
The first computers appeared in the middle of the 20th century and were extremely bulky pieces of equipment, occupying entire buildings. At the same time, they were also difficult to use, with specific operating systems that could not be used on other computers. This problem worsened as the number of computers increased, creating the need for a common operating system, known to all programmers and easy to install on any equipment.
It was called Unix, but failed to catch on outside academia. The next step was taken in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, who succeeded in making his own version of Unix, later called Linux.
In the article below you will discover how Linux came to be, what its advantages are, what technologies can benefit from this operating system and you will find out which are the main Linux distributions.
1. How Linux came to be – A short history
The foundations of the Linux operating system were laid in 1969, when a team of American programmers developed software that could be run on any computer. It was written using the C programming language and named Unix. Part of the code, called the kernel, was used to develop operating systems for mass users.
In the 1980s, because Unix was an open-source program, all sorts of dialects appeared, again greatly complicating the use of computers. An attempt at standardisation was made by an American researcher, Richard Stallman, who, wishing to make Unix a user-friendly operating system, developed a project called “GNU”, which unfortunately failed to catch on.
In 1991, a Finnish student by the name of Linus Torvald developed a customised form of Unix for the personal computer, using Richard Stallman’s project as a basis. He was soon joined by a team of enthusiasts, who added all sorts of accessibility to the kernel, allowing it to be released in 1992 as Linux to users around the world. Before long, Linux began to be preferred worldwide, mainly because it was free and could be customized as desired.
2. Advantages of Linux
Linux is seen as an operating system, but in fact it is a kernel that provides the link between hardware and software. Although it is not as well known as other commercial operating systems, Linux still has a lot of dedicated fans who take full advantage of its many benefits.
2.1. What are the main advantages of Linux
It is true that Linux is not suitable for every user, but in some cases, it does the job much better and more efficiently than any other solution. The advantages are obvious for people who have some knowledge of computer science and computer technology:
– It is an open-source program, meaning that anyone can easily download it and modify it according to their own wishes. Code distribution and improvement is encouraged as a solution for the emergence of better programs;
– Linux has better security than other operating systems, because an administrator must be authorized to install any application, so a virus cannot get in without the administrator providing the system password. Proof of this capability is the fact that the Linux operating system does not require the existence of an antivirus program;
– Linux is free. It does not require a licence to use it, as other operating systems can be used for a fee;
– It is small in size and requires little hard disk space. It works very well, even with only 128 MB of RAM, which means it can be installed on almost any device, whether laptop, desktop, phone or tablet;
– Linux is more stable than any other operating system. It almost never crashes and is not slowed down by applications running at the same time;
– It is very powerful in terms of network management and allows the connection of a huge number of users, without performance suffering;
– The Linux operating system is flexible and can be installed on any system (computers, servers, embedded systems);
– Updates are done directly by the user who can choose what is needed and discard what would load the system unnecessarily. Installing them is very simple and there are never any problems like with other operating systems;
– There are plenty of free or purchasable distributions that can be easily downloaded and used as needed. Among the most popular are Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint and Debian;
– Linux distributions usually have a Live USB option, which means that a user can try the operating system on their device before installing it;
– Even though this system is based on line commands, it also has a graphical user interface, making it easy to use. Even people with no computer knowledge can do it simply and efficiently;
– It supports most programming languages, so it is suitable for programmers who want to create something new;
– The Linux user community is large and always willing to help beginners. Tips are available from sources such as forums or videos on streaming sites;
– Linux does not require you to enter private data like other operating systems, so it is preferred by those who want their credentials to remain anonymous;
– It supports files of almost any format and thus compatibility issues will not arise;
– It installs smoothly and quickly, without requiring the intervention of the person in question (perhaps only at certain times, in slightly more complex processes, if a tutorial is not enough);
– It is suitable for multitasking because the speed of systems is not influenced by the number of applications open at the same time;
– It is easy to learn, because it does not require a lot of previous knowledge in computer science.
2.2. Technologies that benefit from the Linux operating system
The advantages of the Linux operating system have been recognised by many developers who have accepted to incorporate it into various products offered to customers. Although most people don’t know this, they are certainly, perhaps even now, using products that incorporate this type of kernel:
– Many mobile phones (those running the Android operating system) are based on Linux, which is small, stable, free and easy to incorporate;
– Most web servers are Linux-based, using a special distribution called Apache;
– Networking (routers, modems) runs almost entirely on this operating system;
– Smart TVs run on Linux distribution operating systems;
– Most industrial robots and smart machines in factories are Linux-based;
– Laptops and desktops are often sold with the Linux operating system pre-installed.
3. Main Linux distributions
The initial version comes in a complete form and is used as a specific operating system. Users are, however, free to take the source kernel and modify it as they wish, adding or removing components. These efforts result in “dialects” of Linux, known in the jargon as distributions. These have emerged over time either through the efforts of companies, such as Fedora, Suse or Ubuntu, or through the work of volunteer communities, such as Debian or Gentoo. Most of them are still free, but there are some, especially those for servers, that require a license before use.
Most Linux versions have a common graphical user interface, easily recognizable by Windows users. Today, hundreds of such distributions can be used, some familiar to most people and others with a niche purpose. There are also Linux distributions with Romanian contributions, such as Redcore or AcademiX.
3.1. Ubuntu Linux distribution
Ubuntu is the most popular version of Linux, developed by the software company Canonical Ltd. The owner of this company has sponsored the development of the distribution and offered it for free to anyone interested.
Ubuntu can be successfully used to replace Windows on old or new laptops or desktops, as it has a similar graphical user interface and even offers applications that can successfully replace other operating system programs.
Installing the Ubuntu operating system is simple, as it is free to download from the Internet and is available in Romanian, with easy-to-follow instructions. If you want a server version, you can easily download it.
The advantages of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, besides being free, are the minimum system requirements (256 MB of RAM and 3 GB of free space on the hard disk or SSD), ease of use, stability and increased security.
3.2. Kali Linux distribution
Kali Linux is a distribution made specifically for testing the security of systems and was designed so that programmers can discover vulnerabilities in their programs. It includes numerous security applications.
3.3. CentOS Linux distribution
The CentOS Linux distribution is the free version of the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is built specifically to equip servers. This free version comes with all the toolsets as the paid version, but does not benefit from commercial and technical support from the company. Because of this, it is especially popular with non-commercial users who want to create a server to solve their own problems.
3.4. Linux distribution for Android
The Android operating system, so familiar to mobile phone owners, is based on a Linux kernel, modified to meet the needs. Google developed this system in 2007 and used it to create a flexible and highly upgradeable OS. Android is not always a Linux distribution, because it does not use the whole kernel, especially the GNU libraries, which are available in all other Linux distributions.
3.5. MX Linux distribution
This distribution is increasingly installed in recent years, because the interface is very similar to Windows, it does not have high hardware requirements and has a lot of applications that can be used in any field. It never crashes, which makes it desirable for people who use computers for productivity, where such a crash could mean losing dozens of hours of work.
3.6. Debian Linux distribution
It is a long-established distribution, created by a community of enthusiasts who wanted to offer a very efficient and stable operating system for free. Debian’s strength is the huge community of users who are always willing to help for free those who have problems or even those who want to learn more about the system’s customization and upgrade possibilities.
3.7. Fedora 33 Linux distribution
The Fedora 33 distribution is preferred by those who want to benefit from the introduction of the latest technologies in the field. The Linux community uses this distribution to test new solutions that lead to visible improvements. Fedora 33 has, from this point of view, the possibility to maximize the performance of a system, even if it benefits from outdated hardware.
In conclusion, the Linux operating system, although it does not have a very long history, is present in billions of devices, being preferred because it is free, stable, efficient and because it has multiple customization and upgrade possibilities.
I assume you found this article because of the WordPress error message that is on your website, take a deep breath and put on your developer hat (coffee is optional).
Yes, there is a problem, but it is possible to fix it. Your website didn’t disappear into thin air. It’s still there, behind that error message. The problem may be something as simple as a missing semicolon in a PHP file. WordPress syntax errors aren’t common, but they do occur and are relatively easy to fix.
In this article, we’ll explain what a syntax error is, along with some common causes. Then, we’ll walk you through the steps to locate and fix the error. Let’s get started!
What is a syntax error?
A syntax error occurs when a command is not written correctly. This may include the presence of a grammatical error, a misspelled word or a missing symbol or incorrect punctuation in your website code. In WordPress, this is usually a PHP error.
Why WordPress syntax bug fixes matter?
A syntax error indicates that something is not correct in your website code. This problem can make your site inaccessible, leaving you with an unpopulated page or an error message.
If your website is down or inaccessible, it will obviously affect the user experience (UX). As well as affecting your traffic and conversion rates, if you have a blank page where your website should be, you can know that it will affect your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.
WordPress syntax error messages can be worrying, especially if you’re not familiar with website code. Fortunately, as you’ll see, most syntax errors have a simple fix.
Common causes of syntax errors in WordPress
A syntax error may occur when you pasted the code incorrectly. Maybe you missed a part when you copied the code or maybe there is an extra closing tag at the end of the script.
This is an open PHP tag <?php, and this is a closing tag ?>.
When you copy and paste a piece of PHP code, it often includes the open tag, causing a syntax error. Since you are probably pasting the snippet into existing code, it is not necessary to include the open tag. You may also get a syntax error when editing your theme in WordPress Customizer. If this happens, you will generally know what the problem is or at least where the file is located. If you’re not sure, don’t worry. You can locate the error by making a few changes to the wp-config.php file.
Another reason you might see this message is because of an update or plugin installation. The extension may not be compatible with your WordPress version or there may be other issues at play. If you are updating or installing a plugin when the error occurred, this is most likely the source of the problem.
How to fix a syntax error in WordPress via FTP
When a syntax error occurs, you can fix it by either removing or correcting the code containing the error. Either way, you will need access to the file where the problem occurs. If you are not logged into the WordPress admin panel, you can access this using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client.
FileZilla is a good option. Note that you will always want to connect using the more secure Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) than FTP. This will ensure that the data transferred is encrypted.
You will need some information to connect to your website via SFTP:
Server / Host Name
You can find this information by logging into your web hosting account.
From the account management area, search for FTP users (or FTP accounts, depending on your web host) and select Manage Users to view the host settings, username and port. Then open the FTP client and enter your login details. Once connected, in the directory of your WordPress site, you will see the wp-admin, wp-content and wp-include folders and a list of other files. A good practice is to keep a backup of the files you are about to edit, better safe than sorry!
If your screen looks similar to the example above, you’re in the right place! Now it’s time to enable debugging to get more information about the syntax error.
Enable DEBUG to view the location of the syntax error. If you were working on your website when the error occurred, you should have a good idea of where to look for the problem. However, if you are not sure, there is no need to guess. Troubleshooting will show you the exact location of the error. To enable debugging, you can add the following code snippet to your wp-config.php file:
define ( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true );
Make sure you put the code before / That’s all … * / towards the bottom of the file.
After you save the file and refresh your site in the browser, you should see a text string indicating the location of the error, including the file, name and line number.
Be sure to disable debugging after you have fixed syntax errors, as leaving this feature is not recommended for live websites. You have now located the syntax error. Once you notice the information, it’s time to start working on the fix. You can use the instructions below to fix the error depending on its location.
Fix a syntax error caused by a plugin
If you install, update or edit a plugin file when the syntax error has occurred, the simplest and quickest solution is to disable the plugin. That’s what we’ll do first.
Access your website via SFTP. After logging in, go to the wp-content/plugins directory and find the plugin folder with the error. While you’re there, you can disable the plugin or correct the file containing the error – if you know what’s causing the problem. If not, you can disable the plugin by renaming its folder in the plugins directory.
If you go to your site’s URL and reload the page, your site should look normal. However, if you want to continue using the plugin, you will need to fix the error instead of simply disabling it.
To fix the plugin error, find the file and line number in the error message. Identify any missing or incorrect code on that line. If you’re not sure what’s causing the error, you can insert the snippet into a code editor to help you identify it. You can always disable the plugin as a short-term solution. Then you can reactivate it later once the error is corrected. This may be the best approach, especially if the plugin is not essential to the functioning of your website.
Fix syntax error caused by incorrect editing of a theme file
To fix an error that occurred while editing your theme, access the website via SFTP and navigate to the wp-content/themes folder. Open the appropriate theme folder and locate the file with the error – usually the functions.php file.
Edit the file and correct the error. Again, the syntax error code should display the line number. If the problem occurred when you pasted a piece of code into the file, delete the changes to restore the file to its stable version.
If you don’t see what is causing the problem, you can use a code editor to identify the error. Once you have corrected the problem, open a browser window and navigate to the URL to check that your site is back up and running.
Use a code editor to identify syntax errors
There are several code editors available for free online, such as Sublime Text and Atom. You can use any of these tools to help diagnose and fix syntax errors, these programs will automatically point out syntax errors.
How to avoid syntax errors in the future?
Using proper syntax can help you avoid errors in the future. PHP is a simple, flexible language. You can invest a little time to learn the basics. Then, when you paste code or modify your site’s files, you’ll know how to correct errors as you work.
As another option, you can keep a code editor handy to check the syntax before pasting code onto your website. This is a smart practice to make sure a piece of code is correct before adding it to files on a live site.
Another way to prevent problems is to enable debugging when you make changes to your website, to flag errors before applying them to the live version. This is the ideal time to make sure everything is compatible with your WordPress core files and working as it should. Finally, we suggest deleting any unused plugins and themes. Not only can this help prevent syntax errors, but it’s also a good security measure.
Are you ready to fix this syntax error?
Nearly 40% of all websites are built on WordPress, making it the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. It’s a stable and secure platform, but even so bugs can occur.
These are usually simple to fix, but it’s better to take steps to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, such as using a staging module and debugging periodically.
And if you want quality, custom WordPress website hosting, you can trust the WordPress hosting packages we offer. You benefit from the hottest security and performance tools, and in case you run into difficulties, you’ll have the best technical support available.
In recent years, online presence has become vital for any business. Investing in marketing brings you quality traffic, which will allow you to expand your customer base and grow your business. However, the marketing budget is limited in many cases, so the inevitable question arises: social media or website? Given how populated social media is nowadays, how relevant is it to build a website? In order to answer this question, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of both promotion channels.
Social Media vs Website – Why be present on the most popular social networks?
Zero cost is one of the main reasons why most people register exclusively on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin or TikTok. In addition, creating such an account does not require any technical knowledge. All you have to do is fill in the registration forms with the data you are asked for and you are ready to get your followers. If you are not satisfied with the results, you can always close your account and migrate to another platform.
However, you should know that nothing is free in marketing. Access to all these social networks is free of charge, but you need to invest generous amounts of time and money to reach your target audience and distribute quality content.
Take Facebook for example. With over 2.8 billion users worldwide, it has access to an enormous database, which it uses to develop the best algorithms for paid advertising. As a result, organic reach has dropped considerably recently, which means one thing: if you want your audience to see what you post, you have to invest in ads.
However, what is important to mention is that social media presence brings you brand awareness. This means that your brand is visible and recognizable, which will also help you if you want to increase your visibility in Google. This is one of the main reasons why the Social Media vs. Website debate boils down to one answer: both!
Plus, many people are reluctant to buy products or access the services of a brand that is only present on Facebook or Instagram. And many prefer to buy from brands they also follow on social media. The posts you make convey to your followers what your brand values are and help them identify more easily with what you want to communicate.
Social Media vs Website – Why is it essential to have a website?
If you want to be in absolute control, then your online presence can’t just be about social media. Yes, social media allows you to be creative with your content, but let’s be honest: it’s still a marketing tool, whereas the website is the headquarters of your entire activity. In other words, social media helps you drive traffic to your website. But if one of the platforms you’re on were to close down overnight, you’d have no say – your entire business would simply be wiped out.
A website helps you build brand credibility, legitimise your business. Every business, regardless of market, notoriety or size, should have a website. Users tend to think that brands without a website are too new or too small to be trusted. People prefer to buy through Facebook, not from Facebook. It’s a nuanced difference that every online entrepreneur should consider. It is much more reliable to benefit from a secure and systematic payment, than to buy products from the Facebook shop.
Last but not least, we must remember that owning a website allows you to bring in huge traffic through PPC and SEO. You can be present in Google search results pages and with your social media profile, but on brand. With a website you can target relevant keywords with impressive average search volumes that will bring you traffic. Indeed, both require financial investment, but you can get very good results if the work is done well. In PPC you’ll get immediate results, whereas in SEO things move slower, but surely. Once you’ve managed to increase your visibility, you’ll notice that this marketing strategy brings you the best ROI. In general, new and/or small brands are afraid to invest in SEO, but quality work can bring you results after just the first 6 months and you can reach breakeven or zero point of business after just one year.
But even so, the two options are not mutually exclusive. Any business that wants to reach a wider audience has an “obligation” to its customers to invest in a website, but also to use social media. However, a recent survey shows that 35% of small businesses believe they are not yet at the stage where they have a website, and 31% say they prefer to use social media.
In general, many avoid the website option because of the cost. If you make a clear investment plan from the start, a website should not be a huge investment. In this regard, we have an article explaining how much a presentation website costs. However, you should look at the problem from a different perspective. A physical shop generates costs related to rent, maintenance, staff, decoration, etc. Why wouldn’t you do the same to improve your online presence?
Below you will discover one of the most innovative marketing concepts today. Although almost unknown in Romania, growth hackers are in high demand in Silicon Valley and other areas with a developed startup ecosystem.
It’s the same marketing concept used by companies like Facebook, Linkedin and Airbnb to get where they are today.
Let’s get started
It was 1996. Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, former Apple engineers, finally managed to find funding for their innovative idea: a web-based email client that anyone could use from anywhere. Nowadays, having a free email client like Gmail or Yahoo! seems normal, but in 1996 it was a major innovation.
Next up was another meeting with the venture capital firm that funded them, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, where the two entrepreneurs were to present their marketing strategy.
At the meeting, they presented all sorts of well-intentioned promotional ideas: radio ads, street banners, etc. To which Draper, one of the backers, replied, “My God! These are very expensive marketing ideas for a product we’re giving away for free! Can’t you find a way to just give it to the other guys on the web?”
Then Draper remembered a case study he discussed while doing his MBA. It was about Multi Level Marketing (MLM) businesses and how they succeed in turning customers into business advocates. After some thought, he asked the founders if they could put a message in the body of each email to help them do just that.
“Oh stop it, you don’t want to do that,” one of the founders replied.
“Okay, okay, but technically can you do it?” asked Draper again.
“Of course we can do it” replied the engineers.
“Good. Then put a message like ‘P.S. I love you. Get your free email from HoTMail” with a link back to our website where they can sign up.”
With a shocked look on their faces and a look that said “of all the investors in the world we hit just this one”, the two engineers said they didn’t even want to hear about it, as there could be backlash, with some people wondering what else they could put in their emails. And besides, who would do that to their product?
Seeing no success, Draper agreed to postpone the discussion. The actual launch of HoTMail followed. Celebrated with pizza and beer, launch day brought the first users of the email service. In the days that followed, new users continued to arrive, but there was no sign of the growth that everyone involved had expected.
Then the founders agreed to include that footnote in the body of each message that stays when you forward to a friend and, if you’re interested, sends you to the HoTMail website where you can sign up too. The impact was almost instantaneous.
Within hours of the change, Hotmail’s growth curve (yes, at this point they dropped the hideous capitalization of some letters) started to look like a hockey stick. They started attracting 3,000 new users a day. Within months they were up to 750,000 and within 6 months of launch they reached 1 million users. In just 2 weeks that number doubled.
In 1998, Microsoft bought Hotmail for about $400,000,000. Not bad for a deal only 2 years old, right?
What happened here? How can you grow so fast with so little money?
Today, the Hotmail example has also become a case study. It has shown us that there are alternatives to traditional promotion methods and that you don’t have to invest huge amounts of money to attract new customers/users.
For example, Hotmail became the biggest email client in Sweden without spending a cent, unlike their competitors at Juno who pumped $20,000,000 into marketing. This can happen if you make the product part of your marketing strategy!
We’ll look at this principle and other equally powerful ones below and see how we can apply them to our business.
What is growth hacking marketing and why we need it?
In this chapter we will try to better understand what growth hacking marketing is, how the concept came about and why it is so important and relevant today.
How did the term growth hacking come about?
Growth hacking is a term introduced by Sean Ellis, a US-based startup growth marketer who couldn’t find a name for this “function” when he wanted to let someone else do it for him.
The name for his job wasn’t marketer, because in a startup that didn’t have the budget of Fortune 500 companies, you couldn’t grow through traditional marketing methods, namely, piles of money pumped into advertising.
He understood that having a product/service that fits like a glove to human needs can become one of the best marketing channels to grow your business. Add a lot of testing, experimentation and measurement and you get something totally different to the way marketing is normally done.
Well, when he was interviewing people to replace him, who had a traditional marketing background, their strategy always included the same tactics for attracting customers, which simply didn’t work for digital and that new generation of business. These marketers had similar ideas to Hotmal’s founders.
So Ellis decided to get rid of the marketer designation and introduced the term “growth hacker.”
It was 2010. At the time, very few marketers could be called growth hackers. But the successes of companies like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, AirBnB, and Dropbox were to draw attention to this new approach to marketing.
I was to discover in the 3+ years I’ve been studying this approach that it’s not just tech companies that can benefit from the power of growth hacking, but any marketer or entrepreneur who truly understands the purpose of marketing and is willing to do things differently.
What is growth hacking?
As a new concept, there are a lot of questions that have not yet been answered and an even greater number of questions that have been answered wrong :).
For example, although the word “hacking” brings to mind hackers hacking into the websites of banks or public institutions, growth hacking is not necessarily about programming, but rather about finding other creative means you can use to reach customers and thus “short-circuit” the growth of your business.
If we were to give a definition…
Growth hacking is a new approach in marketing, originating from tech companies, that relies on a lot of testing, measurement, combined with creativity in order to find the best channels to grow a business.
Growth hackers have left aside the classic way of marketing, which involves spending large amounts of money, and focus only on what is testable, measurable and scalable.
But the thing that really makes growth hacking special, and my experience has proven this, is all about attitude.
“Growth, because otherwise…”
Unlike other marketers, growth hackers have one goal: to help the business grow. Usually, that means attracting new customers/users or increasing sales. They don’t care about other terms like branding, top-of-mind awareness and other marketing clichés that, while sounding good, have no real and sustainable impact on the business. These are fine if they show up as side effects, but they will never be a target for a growth hacker.
Why growth hacking?
Growth hacking was born, on the one hand, because of the conditions in which a startup operates, namely the lack of resources. Therefore, the only things that can drive a small business to success are (1) making sure you offer the product people really want, (2) always being focused on attracting new customers, and (3) finding the most effective and easy-to-use marketing channels and strategies.
When I still give trainings or presentations, the question that is never missing is this: What’s the best marketing tactic? What’s the SECRET? The one tip? The ultimate hack?
And then there are the disappointed looks on the faces of those who have asked me, when I nonchalantly tell them “I don’t know”. And how could I? Every company is so different, has its own idiosyncrasies, has its own environment, history, competitors, etc., that it’s impossible for me to answer what will work best for them unless I do a few days, or even weeks, of analysis.
But even then, it would only be an educated guess and not a certainty. Because, let’s be honest, if someone is selling us a sure-fire way to get rich, we should run as far away from him/her as possible.
Another reason why we need growth hacking is because…
What works for others won’t necessarily work for us.
First, the audience, product, business model, etc. all vary from business to business and product to product. Although two businesses may seem similar, what worked for one will not necessarily work for the other if the audience is different.
Secondly, growth is a sum of many factors and there is no ‘silver bullet’ in marketing. We’re all looking for those magic decisions, that moment when the business has started to take an upward turn and has only been growing ever since. But that’s not the only moment to look for.
Case study: How Dropbox went from losing money on every customer to a $10 billion market share
Let me, before I go any further, give you an example to understand what growth hacking looks like in action, in “reality”.
Dropbox, you may have heard of it, is a service that allows you to store your files securely in the cloud and then easily access them from wherever you are and on multiple devices.
Well, when they were just starting out, the folks at Dropbox tried the same marketing strategies as everyone else, one of which was Google Adwords promotion.
The problem came, however, when they calculated how much they needed to pay in total to attract a customer to buy the service and how much they could hope to earn from it. They realised that it cost them almost $300 to get a customer (Acquisition Cost) but they could only hope to earn $90 from it (Lifetime Customer Value).
It wasn’t a very profitable business, was it?
They understood that the only thing they would get out of it was bankruptcy. But then Sean Ellis, one of the first growth hackers, joined the team.
Dropbox changed its strategy from paying to attract customers to using the product itself to bring in new users.
So they came up with a strategy that is very familiar today: they offered free space to users who invited other friends to join the service.
Basically, what they did, and we can all do, was to offer a piece of their product that was valuable to their customers but didn’t cost them much, and thus turned existing customers into business promoters.
The effects didn’t take long to show. Dropbox’s growth curve began to take an upward slope and the rest is history. Today, Dropbox is worth somewhere around $10 billion.
I’d like to emphasize once again the point mentioned above: growth is a sum of many factors.
While we tend to look at an idea like the one above and attribute a company’s success to a moment of inspiration, most of the time it took a lot of testing to come up with that one idea that had exponential effects.
Also, rarely is a single idea enough to keep a company growing for any length of time.
We’re all looking here:
When, in fact, we should be looking at what happened in all these places:
Apart from having a really good product, which doesn’t guarantee success either, I don’t know any magic that can be done in marketing.
Also, if we look at how marketing channels appear and disappear, how their effectiveness rises and falls, if we don’t develop a repeatable and scalable attitude and process within the business, when what we’ve done before no longer works, we risk losing everything.
A graph showing the changing effectiveness of key marketing channels.
What we really need is a marketing machine that is scalable, repeatable and predictable. And this is where growth hacking comes in. With the right attitude and using the process detailed in the following chapters, you can always identify which are the best ways to grow your business that work for you.
And you can do that whenever you need to. Because, in my view, to focus on a tactic is to put the cart before the horse, it is to reverse the natural order of things.
But before we get to the processes, one thing we need to discuss is…
The most important principles in growth hacking
One of the main things that differentiates a growth hacker from other marketers is their mindset. And in this section we’ll get a better understanding of how they think and what their vision of marketing is.
We have seen that there is no universally accepted definition of what growth hacking is. Nor should it. The important thing is to understand what it entails. So, below, we outline the principles by which a growth hacker operates.
Growth, because otherwise…
If you ever hear a “growth hacker” suggest, or agree, with a branding campaign, run away. Or, better yet, say “Thank you and goodbye”.
That’s because the major difference between a growth hacker and a marketer, generally speaking, is the orientation, almost obsession, they have towards growth. For them, branding, notoriety and other vague and hard-to-measure aspects are ok if they appear as side-effects, but the goal will always be to attract new customers or increase the lifetime value of existing ones.
We’ll discuss more about what marketing goals should look like in the next chapter.
If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.
When starting work on a new project, or preparing to test different marketing ideas, a growth hacker will first make sure they can measure the effectiveness of the tactics they try.
For example, for a website, they will make sure they install systems to measure visitor behaviour on the site.
Or, if it’s an offline business, that it can know where a customer came from and whether they bought from it because of a marketing campaign, and not other external factors.
Test, test, test.
A growth hacker is aware and accepts that all the things he believes and bases his decisions on are just assumptions until he comes to validate them. That’s why he will always try multiple approaches and strategies, see what works and then double down on the channel that proves to be the most profitable.
Focus on the customer.
A growth hacker knows that the customer is always right. He will always try to validate his ideas by getting feedback from customers, this feedback coming either from the measurement and analytics systems in place, or by talking to customers live and trying to understand them better.
Especially at the start of a business, this part of getting feedback from customers is crucial!
Because he or she is always looking for new creative ways to grow the business, once a marketing idea is validated, a growth hacker will try to automate it as much as possible so that he or she can focus on other ideas or needs of the company.
For example, if he discovers Facebook as an effective marketing channel, he will create a mechanism whereby every visitor to the site enters a sales funnel, and depending on their behaviour and stage, will see certain messages on Facebook that will lead them closer to a purchase.
With a hacker mentality, marketers who adopt this concept are always trying to find easier ways to achieve their goals. Although they test many ideas and tactics, they will focus on the 20% that bring 80% of the results.
They know that a startup doesn’t have enough resources (be it financial or human) to work on many fronts, so they will find those methods that bring the best results with minimal investment.
To put all these principles into practice we need to move on to…
The process of growth hacking
If we want to always find the best channels and ideas for business growth, we need a scalable and repeatable marketing machine.
Budgets do not allow us to invest in all marketing ideas, so the question arises: what strategy, what method of promotion should I choose for my business?
Unfortunately, this has also led to an obsession with tactics, with easy tricks. We live in a world of hack-tricks where we are only looking for solutions that will magically work overnight. It’s enough to log on to a marketing or entrepreneurship blog and look at the most popular articles.
But the problem is that by only pursuing superficial ideas and tactics, we’ll never end up developing sustainable internal solutions for our business. And at a time when the effectiveness of marketing channels changes from day to day, we need something that will constantly help us grow our business.
1. Define actionable objectives and come up with ideas
When we actually want to find new ways to grow our business, whether that means attracting new customers or converting them better, the first thing we need to do is define a very specific goal. Let me repeat: very specific!
In other words, “we want more customers” doesn’t help, but “increase the conversion rate of customers coming through Google Adwords from 2.7% to 5%” is great.
“Let’s increase business” will never be a direct goal, but it will be the result of all the other specific goals.
My point here is to not limit yourself to goals related to attracting customers. Those at the bottom of the sales funnel are much more important. Let’s try an example to understand better:
Let’s say we get 1,000 people a day on our website, of which 100 end up on the product page and 10 buy. That means we have a final conversion rate of 1%.
And let’s say that for these 1000 people who visit our website every day we pay 1000 lei on Facebook Advertising.
If we want to double sales, we’ll have to increase traffic to the site to 2000 people, that means double costs.
But a much better alternative would be to focus on conversion rate optimisation. For example, if we can get 1,000 people to come to the site and 200 to the product page, we have double sales. If we also manage to increase the conversion rate from 1% to 2%, we end up with 40 customers, an increase of 400% without spending on more traffic to the website.
When setting goals, it’s important to steer clear of vanity indicators. Eric Ries, in his book LEAN Startup, one of the foundational books for entrepreneurship in the 21st century, draws a lot of attention to these. “Vanity indicators” are numbers that may be easy to track and usually grow, but they don’t really reveal how our business is doing, nor can they tell us what we’ve done well and what we haven’t.
For example, indicators such as the total number of visitors/users are often used as a benchmark. Or they tell us very little about how our product or business is really doing.
It may well be that even though the number is growing, those who use the product may not return a second time, or may use it very little. By no means do more visitors mean more sales.
While the ultimate goal is growth, you can’t achieve it if you don’t break it down into smaller, data-driven goals. It’s often hard to tell if a goal is specific enough or not. A good way to check this is to think of it as a hierarchy. We need to get as close to the bottom as possible, so that the final objective can be identified by a single task.
Focus on one goal at a time and you’ll see how slowly, slowly, they will show up in sales.
Once we’ve set our goal, it’s time to come up with ideas on how to achieve it. This is where I recommend brainstorming with your team or (if you’re working alone) spending a few days trying to come up with ideas.
I’ve found that it’s most effective to organize ideas visually and add a little context to each one: more details about the idea, where it came from, why you think it works. We most often use Trello and Google Drive for this stage.
At this stage, gather as many ideas as possible relevant to the specific objective previously set.
More on marketing tactics and growth hacking, especially on the customer acquisition side, will be discussed in the next chapter.
Now it’s time to talk about the next step in the process:
Case study growth hacking – Airbnb
Airbnb is, in my view, the best example of growth hacking in action. From mindset, to processes and organisational culture, they were trained from the start to market differently.
The Airbnb Case – A Growth Story You Didn’t Know About
In 2007, designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could no longer afford the rent on their San Francisco apartment. To make ends meet, they decided to rent out their living room to people travelling in the city.
A design conference was being held in the city at the time, and accommodations were limited. Because posting the ad on Craigslist (a US classifieds site) seemed too impersonal, they decided to create their own website.
So a simple website was born, where they presented their offer: their living room furnished with a few mattresses and the promise of a cooked breakfast the next morning.
They had their first “customers”. Only, in the following days, something started to happen. They started receiving emails from people in other parts of the world asking when the site would be made available in their country.
That was the modest beginning of what would become Airbnb, which today is worth $30 billion, almost as much as hospitality giants Hyatt and Hilton combined.
Airbnb is a platform available in over 190 countries that facilitates home rentals. It allows you, on the one hand, if you have an apartment or a room available to list it on the platform, and on the other hand, you can find tenants for it and have another source of income.
On the other hand, it allows you to easily find rentals when travelling to other cities or countries at a lower price than a hotel, plus you are more likely to enjoy an authentic local experience.
How Airbnb grew?
The AirBnB story is a complex one, taking us from the sheer perseverance of the founders who struggled to keep the company afloat, to an offline approach when the situation demanded it, even though they are a digital company, to hacking and complex algorithms. Airbnb is the perfect example of what growth hacking is all about: a growth-oriented attitude, the discipline of knowledge, and combining it with creativity and hard work.
Early evidence that Airbnb’s founders were prepared to do things differently can be seen in the very early days of the company.
Being just starting out and needing money to live and invest in their new venture, the two founders bought a ton of cereal and created a collection of boxes themed around the US election (which was happening at the time).
They raised about $30,000 which helped them sustain themselves because their website still didn’t have much traction.
Hacker mentality kicks in
One of the main challenges of Airbnb, and other platform businesses, is that it has to provide both the demand and supply sides. They have to make sure they have both apartments on their site that can be rented and people to rent them.
This usually creates a Catch 22 problem for founders. In order to attract more listings on their site they need more traffic from people who want to rent apartments, and to attract these visitors they need as rich a supply of rental housing as possible.
And so came one of Airbnb’s most ingenious marketing tactics. In order to increase the number of visitors to the site and thus ensure that apartment listings find customers, Airbnb created an integration with Craigslist, a US-based classifieds site, which is one of the most visited sites in the world at the time.
Basically, after posting your ad on Airbnb you had the option, by pressing a button, to post the same ad on Craigslist.
Ads posted on Craigslist linked back to Airbnb. So you could benefit from the exposure the listing site gave you, but you increased your chances of renting because of the better design Airbnb had, and you could use the platform to manage your rentals more easily.
You have to understand that this tactic was implemented at a time when no one else knew the concept of API integration.
For a traditional marketer, such an idea would have been impossible to conceive. Firstly, because you needed a technical background to even imagine the idea.
That’s why I say growth hacking is a fundamental break from the way we view marketing and entrepreneurship. Airbnb could try online or TV ads to promote their platform. Instead, they took a very targeted approach and went exactly where the attention of potential users was.
Measure and do things that don’t scale
Another crucial moment for Airbnb’s growth that I think we should dwell on is a few years down the road. At the time, the platform was focused on international growth.
But France proved to be a tough market for them. Although tourism is a huge industry in the country, the French didn’t rush to list their homes on the new online platform.
So Airbnb set up a team to deal directly with the country and took two different, even opposing, approaches.
On the one hand they tried digital methods. They focused mainly on online ads promoting the platform and its benefits.
On the other hand, they had an “offline” team. This team took a less scalable approach. They talked to Airbnb users who had already listed their accommodation to understand their motivation and any difficulties they encountered.
They also organised various parties and events where the product was presented, handed out promotional materials, offered to create the listing themselves and the owner just gave their OK to publish, etc. Or, as one company representative put it, “they did whatever it took”.
But Airbnb didn’t simply try these two approaches hoping for success and then move on. They set up their metrics, meticulously documented each thing they tried and how much it cost them.
To my surprise at least, the “offline” team proved to be 2x more cost effective in attracting new users to the platform.
This example shows how important it is to measure everything. As growth hackers, we’re usually inclined to go straight digital. But sometimes it pays to do things that “don’t scale,” things that can’t be immediately applied to tens or hundreds of thousands of other people. By talking to people we can better discover their needs and what’s stopping them from using our product.
While we’re on the subject of measurement. Growth Hacking is always identified with the ultimate ideas that influenced the growth of a business with the ideas we call the most “creative”, most wow. But there’s usually a lot of testing and numbers behind them that make your head hurt.
The picture above isn’t necessarily “sexy” and if al wrote an article about what’s behind it it probably wouldn’t even be read by my team. But it’s the one that gives the Airbnb team the most important information about how we use the platform and what they can do to improve our experience. You can read more about the Airbnb experience here.
Product is always the best marketing tactic
Another thing that was extremely important to the founders of Airbnb, right from the start, was the customer experience. The breakfasts they offered to those staying in their apartments were a testament to this principle.
This orientation later led them to yet another idea that impacted Airbnb majorly.
Still in their early days, they noticed that there was a large discrepancy between the number of rentals that apartments had. Some of them were attracting a lot of renters, while others were almost completely failing to do so.
Spending time and analyzing the listings, the founders noticed that the listings that had quality pictures were by far the best rented.
And after all, that’s only natural, right? We want to clearly see what the place we’re going to spend our vacation looks like, we don’t just want to see a dark picture taken with a cell phone on the fly.
So Airbnb hired some photographers to go and take pictures of the listed apartments.
The impact was instant:
After seeing the success of this idea, they hired freelance photographers around the world to go and take photos of the apartments.
I hope that I have succeeded, through this case study on Airbnb to exemplify all the points mentioned above, both related to the principles of growth hacking and to understand why a process is crucial for rapid and especially sustainable growth.
The success of Airbnb, and other companies using growth hacking, is not due to a single idea or tactic. There have always been multiple ideas whose cumulative impact has led to exponential growth. And behind those ideas is a team and an organizational culture that understands that marketing needs to be done differently.
Growth hacking ideas and tactics
To help you attract new customers, we’ve put together a massive list of the most popular growth hacking ideas and strategies. From inbound marketing to product usage, this list will be your marketing team’s main source of inspiration.
Before we can actually start implementing a marketing campaign, whether we use growth hacking or not, we need to answer 3 crucial questions:
Who is the customer?
What needs does the customer have?
Where is the customer’s attention?
Although they seem like trivial questions, you’d be amazed how often we miss them. But by answering them correctly, we will be more aware of the whole framework within which our marketing campaign is taking place and we will always be able to check whether what we are doing is strategically effective or we are blindly trying to find something that “works”.
For every growth hacking goal we set and every experiment we run, there are a multitude of techniques and methods we can use.
Next, we will review 3 categories of marketing and growth hacking tactics and approaches that can be used to grow our business:
– attract customers to the product,
– push them towards the product and
– use the product itself to reach them.
These are focused on the attraction side of the business, because “that’s what the public demanded”, but I stress again the importance of optimising the sales funnel from the bottom up, from conversions and retention, towards attraction.
We’ll see that in between these techniques we discover other marketing concepts already known. These include inbound marketing, search engine optimization, paid campaigns, etc. All need to be used together to help the product grow.
There are a multitude of marketing ideas and strategies you can use to achieve your goals.
The digital industry runs on information. It is often used in the short term, and most of the documents created and saved by a user on a particular device are important for the moment. After that, the documents are either deleted or forgotten.
If a document no longer plays a role, it is recommended that it be deleted, as it takes up memory, and this affects the efficiency with which the device processes commands. A very common problem occurs when the memory of a laptop or smartphone is almost full and, because of this, the device loads very slowly, even on simple tasks. Thus, it is very important that document storage is done efficiently in order to keep the devices’ capacity to function at a consistently high level.
However, good storage also requires security and access to documents by one or more users. Cyber or digital attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and unpredictable, and the risk of an attacker gaining access or even destroying documents is quite high. In addition, it must be taken into account that problems with hardware components can lead to the irretrievable loss of various documents.
This uses cloud storage to keep data in a secure and easily accessible place, regardless of the device used. However, users need to know what the cloud is, what the advantages and disadvantages of using it are, and what types of cloud services there are.
1. What is cloud storage?
To understand what cloud storage is and how it works, it is a different technology from web hosting, although it still works online and requires an internet connection. While web hosting involves providing a domain for a website, cloud storage provides an external memory that can be accessed online, where data can be stored.
1.1 Definition of cloud storage
Cloud storage is a data storage model in which data is distributed in online documents. These documents are managed by several servers managed, in turn, by a hosting company. Cloud storage service providers are responsible for both data protection and data access. That’s why individuals or companies buy or rent storage space and use it for their own purposes.
1.2 How does cloud storage work?
Some cloud storage is purchased from a provider who owns and manages it and makes it available to the user for a fee. These providers are responsible for the capacity, security and durability of the storage space, so that data is accessible to users wherever they are and whatever device they are using, as long as they have an internet connection.
2. What can cloud storage be used for?
Even if the main purpose is to store data, helping to save device memory.
However, cloud technology can also be used in other ways, especially when it comes to security or data recovery if data has been lost from a particular source. These methods also depend on the user’s primary interest.
Backup and recovery play an essential role in ensuring that data is protected and accessible. Thus, if data is lost from a device’s internal memory, it remains accessible on the cloud. In addition, data on the device can be constantly updated, so that anything new automatically enters the cloud by creating a duplicate document.
For testing new software or an update, separate, independent and duplicate storage environments may be needed so that software can be developed, managed and decommissioned when required.
Developers around the world are turning to pay-as-you-go storage options that make it easier to manage new software while reducing the associated costs.
The availability, durability and cost benefits of cloud storage are very important for business owners, as well as those who provide storage, backup, networking or data security services. Cloud data migration services can simplify this process by avoiding high network costs, long transfer times and security issues.
3. Advantages of cloud storage
Obviously, there are some specific advantages of cloud storage. These are essential for those who need storage space and especially for companies that work with large volumes of data for which they need adequate protection. In addition, they can be chosen according to the user’s requirements to ensure they have the space they need.
Cloud storage is essential to keep data and documents in a safe place. The systems that help protect them are well developed, and those who manage cloud spaces are constantly making sure they are updated to keep up with the ever-growing attackers. In addition, if an attack targets a particular device, data can be recovered from the cloud.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud storage is that it’s a solution that helps reduce equipment costs. This is most advantageous for companies that, without the ability to store in the cloud, need to purchase additional equipment, such as external hard drives, to store their data in large volumes.
Data replication is also a form of data protection. In fact, this process involves storing it both in the cloud and in another memory, often the device’s internal memory. However, replication ensures access to data even when it is lost from the device due to other causes, such as irreparable technical failures.
4. Disadvantages of cloud storage
There are a number of disadvantages to using cloud storage. These do not fatally affect data security, but they can have an effect on upload or download speeds in a given environment. However, some of the disadvantages may only arise in a specific context where multiple devices are used on a single internet connection and are not constantly present.
Connection speed impairment
This is a disadvantage that can be felt especially in an environment where there is only one or too few internet connections compared to the number of connected devices. Thus, they will be forced to use a single cloud source, which can affect the connection speed. This is most common in large companies that use many devices and store data continuously.
Predisposition to online attacks
Even if the security of data stored online is at an all-time high, attacks can still occur. Also, servers containing stored data are favourite targets for attackers, which means that attempts can happen at any time. On the other hand, there are many types of software that secure this data, and these are being developed regularly.
Slow server restoration
Restoring an entire server can take longer. In contrast, file restores are just as fast. In addition, it is recommended to create duplicates of the saved data, especially if there are situations where a dependent user has a certain amount of time in which the restore must be done. In this way, access to the data is ensured at all times.
5. Types of cloud storage
Depending on their requirements and needs, companies can choose where, when and how they use cloud computing technology to ensure efficient and reliable data management.
There are several types of cloud computing. However, three models are the main ones when it comes to their implementation and the cloud services they offer that can provide the hosting a company needs.
5.1 Public cloud storage
The public cloud is owned by an external provider and is accessible to many companies. This type of cloud helps companies save money and the provider is responsible for setting up and maintaining the entire system.
Public clouds are ideal for small and medium-sized businesses that have a limited budget but need a fast and easy platform to work with.
5.2 Private cloud storage
This type of storage offers a customised infrastructure for a single company. Thus, the control belongs to the company that owns the storage space.
While this solution can be expensive, it can offer a higher level of security and more autonomy to customise storage data for larger companies.
5.3 Hybrid cloud storage
Hybrid storage is recommended for enterprises that want to benefit from both private and public options.
Cloud storage is one of the most secure and cost-effective options for saving data. Therefore, it is used both by individuals and companies.
If you want to know what internet marketing is and how you can do it in 2021, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve prepared a complete guide from which you’ll learn everything you need to know about the subject.
Internet marketing has taken off in recent years and continues to do so.
The cause? People are using the internet more and more.
In Romania, 80% of the country’s population used the internet in January 2020.
In January 2021, no less than 4.66 billion people were online.
That’s almost 60% of the planet’s population.
At the same time, internet marketing has become the cheapest and fastest way for a company to promote its products or services and reach customers.
You’re probably here too because you know how important it is for your business to have a well-defined online presence.
Let’s see what you’ll learn from this article:
– What is internet marketing?
– Advantages and disadvantages of internet marketing
– The main internet marketing channels working in Romania
– How to start internet marketing in 5 easy steps
– 10 internet marketing strategies that cost you (almost) nothing
– Bonus: 5 free internet marketing tools that will make your life easier
– What you should do next
What is internet marketing?
Internet marketing – or online marketing – refers to all those marketing and promotion techniques and strategies that are carried out on the internet.
It includes several platforms, tools and strategies such as:
– Search engines (Google, Bing, etc.)
– Social networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
– SEO (search engine optimisation)
– Content marketing (videos, podcasts, blog articles, newsletters, etc.)
– Influencer marketing.
It’s also where your customers are on these platforms.
What you need to do is reach them, using the right marketing strategies and channels.
But until then, let’s see why you should be so interested in online marketing.
Advantages and disadvantages of internet marketing
Unlike traditional ways of promotion, internet marketing has a number of major benefits.
If you have a business you want to promote:
– You get increased visibility exactly where people are interested in buying – online, on different platforms;
– You have low costs compared to traditional ways of marketing;
– You reach people all over the world;
– Communicate with your target audience simply and quickly, 24/7;
– Segment people based on preferences, demographics or interests and give them exactly what they’re looking for;
– You focus your efforts only on people who might really be interested in your products or services – without wasting time and money promoting to an audience you know nothing about;
– You provide more engaging, personalised content;
– See exactly what people are doing when they arrive on your site;
– Control where and what you show them, without wasting your budget;
– Display ads based on: where they are, their birthday, music preferences, cultural interests and many other specific things;
– Measure your results and see what worked and what didn’t;
– You build a trusting relationship with your customers, unlike traditional marketing which doesn’t allow you to get to know or communicate with the people who have bought from you;
– Easily test and adapt online marketing campaigns and strategies;
Grow your business much faster and more efficiently.
At the same time, there are two disadvantages you should bear in mind:
– In some areas, competition online can be quite intense;
– If you want to learn internet marketing, you need time and patience.
If you want to start a career in online marketing, you should know that:
– It’s a field of the future, in an industry that’s growing fast;
– There is more and more demand for online marketing specialists in the Romanian market;
– You don’t necessarily have to go to university to be a professional. You can teach yourself from the courses and materials available on the internet;
– You can choose a niche to specialise in, such as copywriting, social media, Google Ads and many others;
– You have several possibilities, such as: you can choose to be a full-time employee at a company, you can opt for freelancing or you can even start your own business (a marketing agency or maybe a company that offers specialised services);
– Basically, you will be able to work from anywhere.
There are also two disadvantages you should think about:
– You have to invest time and money in training, especially in the beginning;
– You need to constantly adapt and keep up to date with changes in the industry.
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of internet marketing, let’s see what channels you can use to promote your business in Romania.
The main internet marketing channels operating in Romania
Social media marketing
Social media marketing refers to social media promotion.
Almost all businesses choose to promote their products and services using this channel for several reasons:
– Helps businesses achieve and grow their online presence;
– Costs are low compared to other promotion methods such as Google Ads or partnering with a popular influencer;
– Facilitates communication with target audiences;
– Helps companies build and maintain customer relationships;
– Helps identify and attract new customers;
– Fosters people’s sense of brand loyalty;
– Provides valuable user insights and deeper understanding of users.
The most popular social networks in Romania are Facebook, Instagram and, more recently, LinkedIn, YouTube or TikTok.
Let’s talk in more detail about the first two: Facebook and Instagram.
Let’s take them one by one.
Promote on Facebook
What is Facebook?
Facebook is probably the most widely used social networking and business promotion network in Romania.
With 12.08 million users in our country alone, the importance of Facebook in marketing strategies cannot be ignored.
Most businesses in Romania already use Facebook promotion, and the number of accounts on this platform has grown considerably.
– You can make your business known;
– You can attract more customers;
– You can reach your target audience directly, without wasting money;
– You can promote your products or services simply and quickly;
– You can build a community that you interact with on a daily basis, creating a group;
– You have absolute control over the budget you allocate;
– You get a lot of user data;
– Communicate in real time with your business followers;
– You can provide customer support;
– Track campaign results in real time and adapt them as needed.
And by the way.
Facebook is one of the best tools you can use to find out valuable information about your customers: what they like, what they do, where they’re from, what they do in their spare time, what they prefer, where they go and other relevant details.
To do this, you have two methods available:
– Visit the “Insights” section of your page;
– Access the profile of people who interact with your page and see what they post, what places they visit, what interests they have, what causes they support and so on.
Use this information to understand your audience and offer them the products or services they need.
How does Facebook promotion work?
You can promote your business on Facebook in two ways: organic and paid.
Organic promotion means making a Facebook page and posting on it without paying.
This way, the post only reaches those who have liked your page.
Unfortunately, however, organic promotion doesn’t really work anymore.
Besides it’s hard to get people to like your page in the first place…
Only 5-10% of people who follow a page see its posts.
Fortunately, there are Facebook Ads – or paid ads.
Through these ads, you can reach anyone who has a Facebook account.
– You can build a community that follows your page;
– You can target your audience based on specific interests, interests, preferences or demographics;
– You can set different goals;
– You can create audiences;
– You can measure and analyse your results.
When is it good to use Facebook?
Facebook is a great platform for almost any business, including:
– Start-up businesses;
– Businesses that are already in business;
– B2B businesses;
– B2C businesses;
As a rule, you should use Facebook to promote:
– New products or services that people haven’t heard of before;
– Products such as: clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, toys, electronics and appliances, furniture and other household products, gadgets, courses, books, etc;
– Local businesses: restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, shops, leisure areas;
– Events (cultural, sports, entertainment).
… and more.
Facebook is a primary marketing channel used by many businesses, but it’s not the only one.
Effective promotion is generally done on several channels at once.
We talk about this below in the article.
But until then… let’s see how the second super popular social media platform works: Instagram.
Promoting on Instagram
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social network that focuses on visual content. Specifically, images and videos.
In January 2020, almost 20% of the population of Romania was using Instagram.
This platform is considered the second most important after Facebook.
– You can get your business noticed;
– You can attract more customers, including customers different from those on Facebook;
– You can promote your products to an audience interested in discovering new services or products. A study shows that 60% of platform users search for and discover new products on Instagram;
– You can use images or videos posted by your customers to promote your business;
– You enjoy low costs;
– You promote your business on a platform that dominates in terms of engagement, with Instagram being the platform where people react most to posts and ads.
How does promotion work on Instagram?
Promoting on Instagram requires a bit more attention and involvement from a visual and creative point of view.
This is where the way your profile and page feed looks matters.
For promotion on Instagram, you need to keep 4 things in mind:
– Always post quality content;
– Use representative and popular hashtags;
– Always check the resolution and post only high-quality images and videos;
– Set a specific theme and filter for the content you will use.
As with Facebook promotion, promotion on Instagram can be organic or paid.
Organic promotion works a little better than Facebook if you use the right hashtags.
When is it good to use Instagram?
Because of the content and creative side, Instagram is not for every business. In general, Instagram is used for B2C businesses.
The most suitable areas for promotion on Instagram are:
– Business development.
What is e-mail marketing?
E-mail marketing is a direct communication channel through which we keep in touch with our audience.
Why e-mail marketing?
If the above methods help you attract customers, e-mail marketing helps you keep in touch with them.
Using e-mail marketing:
– You can promote your business;
– Your message reaches everyone;
– You have the option to personalise offers and send them only to certain people;
– You have control over communication with your audience;
– You enjoy very low costs;
– You can have a high open rate and your message can be read by a lot of people;
– You have the option to automate the process;
– You can increase your sales.
How does email marketing promotion work?
First, you’ll need to build a subscriber list and choose an email marketing platform.
You can build your subscriber list using Facebook, blog, newsletter subscription forms, contests and free courses or webinars.
When is it good to use email marketing?
Basically anytime. No matter what type of business you’re in.
Direct communication via email is one of the most powerful methods of online marketing.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is about creating and distributing content that provides value to people on the internet.
For example, quality blog posts that answer people’s questions and solve a problem.
Content marketing also includes:
– Images and more.
Why content marketing?
– Get your business known;
– You enjoy very low costs;
– You get your audience’s attention;
– Attract more customers;
– You get more visibility and notoriety;
– Create long-term relationships with your customers;
– Increase your sales;
– Differentiate yourself from the competition.
How does content marketing promotion work?
Well… quite simply.
You give people quality content and they will start to consider your business and buy.
The first steps in creating a content marketing strategy is to set your goals, understand who you are targeting and what needs these people have.
Then you need to provide them with the solution in the form of a post, blog article or other relevant material:
– easy to read;
– free of grammatical errors;
When is it good to use content marketing?
In short, all the time.
No matter what type of business you’re in and what stage you’re at.
It can bring you a lot of benefits without too much cost.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation – or search engine optimisation – is the process by which a website rises in search engine results.
This is a technique closely related to content marketing.
Using SEO, content created and posted on your website can be discovered much more easily by potential customers.
– Because it’s completely free;
– It gets you quality traffic;
– It gets your business noticed;
– You differentiate yourself from the competition.
Unlike other methods of internet marketing, SEO attracts people who are interested in your content.
How does SEO promotion work?
First, you need to build a website. Then, you’ll need to:
– Submit your site to search engines;
– Submit a sitemap to Google;
– Make sure the site is indexed;
– Optimise pages and content;
– Post consistently.
When is it good to use SEO?
You should invest in SEO all the time.
It is an extremely useful, cheap and effective tool that works.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is a tool offered by Google to promote your business online.
Google Ads promotion refers to the ads that appear above the organic results when we search for something on Google.
Why Google Ads?
– Increase the visibility of your business;
– Attract new customers;
– You get fast results;
– You can target a lot of people;
– Learn useful information about your customers from analytics;
– You can measure and analyse your results;
– Control your budget.
Plus, everyone uses Google. Including your potential customers.
How does Google Ads promotion work?
Well, quite simply.
– You identify the keywords people use when they search for your business;
– You create ads that are shown when someone searches for the keywords you’ve identified;
– If someone clicks on your ad, you pay a certain amount to Google. If not, you pay nothing.
Sounds good, right?
When is it good to use Google Ads?
Invest in Google ads when:
– There are a large number of searches for your products or services;
– Competition on keywords is not very high.
For example, if there are a lot of searches for pink New Balance sneakers in Bucharest and you have this product in your online shop, it is worth investing in Google Ads.
If you have a new product or service that there are no searches for and people haven’t heard about, this method won’t help you very much.
What is influencer marketing?
An influencer is a well-known person, followed by a very large number of people, who has the power to influence the public.
Influencer marketing – or influencer marketing – involves a company working with one or more online influencers to promote its available products or services.
Why influencer marketing?
You’re probably wondering why you would pay someone to promote your products.
Well, one study shows that 40% of people surveyed bought products online after seeing them in influencer campaigns.
What’s more, only 1% of millennials trust commercials.
In contrast, 33% say they trust reviews on blogs and YouTube from influencers.
– You get your business known in a very short time;
– Attract customers interested in your products or services;
– Gain credibility and trust for your business;
– Your message reaches more people;
– You enjoy low costs;
– You get more sales;
– You can attract other important collaborations.
How does influencer promotion work?
– You set some goals you want to achieve;
– Identify relevant influencers in the field;
– You get in touch with them and establish how the campaign will run;
– Close the collaboration;
– You enjoy the results.
When is it good to use influencer marketing?
Preferably when you already have an online presence.
Influencer marketing is almost useless if you don’t have a website, a blog, social media accounts and other materials that can be used in your campaign.
At the same time, if there are no influencers relevant to the field or niche in which your business operates, you probably shouldn’t use this internet marketing channel.
How to get started with internet marketing in 5 easy steps
Identify your online marketing goals
Often, people start online marketing without knowing exactly what they are aiming for.
We hear that promoting on Facebook or Instagram works, so we start investing in these platforms without having clear goals.
And when things don’t work and we lose money… we don’t understand why.
Well, here’s how you should proceed if you want things to work:
Analyze the situation your business is in
This is where you need to figure out where your business is at.
– What needs do your customers have?
– What is required in that market?
– What exists in your product or service portfolio?
– What should you add or drop?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have an idea of where your business stands.
Set your business goals
Let’s mention at the outset, so there is no confusion: business goals are not the same as marketing goals.
Business goals are the goals of your business.
Marketing goals are the goals you set to promote your business and achieve your business objectives.
For example, a business objective might be to expand into a new market or to develop a new product or service.
Try to be as specific as possible when setting a goal and remember: all goals must be directly related to business growth.
Set your online marketing goals
To be effective, your online marketing goals must also be specific and realistic.
For example, if you want to get more traffic, it’s not enough to just set that goal.
Instead, try this approach: if I now have 3000 monthly blog views, in the next 3 months I want to get 10,000 views.
This will help you make a tailored online marketing strategy for your business and measure the results much better.
This whole simplified, realistic and effective approach is derived from growth hacking, the concept behind the growth of the world’s most popular startups.
In addition, to set goals, we use another approach from growth hacking that is called the “North Star Metric” or “One metric that matters”.
In English, it’s one metric you can improve to grow your business.
This metric can be:
– Monthly revenue growth;
– Increase the number of page views on your website;
– Increase the number of newsletter subscribers;
– Increase the number of active users, etc.
– The indicator can refer directly to sales or to a factor influencing sales.
Now that you know how to set your internet marketing goals…
Establish who your customers are
The next step you should take is to get to know your customers.
Understanding your customer is a crucial aspect that many of us ignore, not realizing its importance.
If you haven’t established who your customers are by now, we recommend you do.
Try answering the following questions:
– Who are my customers?
– What are their needs?
– Where is the customer’s attention?
If you’ve already profiled your ideal customers and have had a few customers buy, you should take a look at Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and industry groups or forums.
They’ll help you understand what people prefer, what they miss, where they spend their time or what they’re looking for.
You’ll be surprised how much useful information you can learn if you do these things.
Analyse the competition
This will help you to:
– Find out what they are investing their resources in;
– Figure out how they attract customers;
– See where their website traffic is coming from;
– See what online marketing strategies they use and how they communicate with customers;
– Figure out what they’re missing and how you can differentiate yourself.
Start by researching keywords related to your business.
Write down the names of your competitors and start analyzing the content on:
– Site (you can use SimilarWeb to see traffic details);
– Social media accounts (what they post, how they interact with people, what ads they make)
– Blog (what kind of content they post, how often, what topics they cover)
… or other channels they use.
See what strategies they adopt and how you can differentiate yourself!
Identify the best promotion channels for your business
Promotion channels are divided into:
We talked earlier about the main channels that work in Romania.
The question is… how do you choose the right ones for your business?
Well, it all depends on your goals and the needs of your business.
If you have a B2B business, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google or email marketing will certainly suit you.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a big budget, you should probably try content marketing, Facebook or Instagram.
10 internet marketing strategies that cost you (almost) nothing
1. Always write texts, articles and advertisements in the “language” of your customer
What does this mean?
If you know what your customers look like, where they come from and how they behave, you should be able to work out what ‘language’ they use.
Whether it’s a common, everyday language, or specific or technical words and phrases…
The human needs to clearly understand your message.
As far as possible, use the words your customers use.
Copy words and phrases they use on social media, in messages they write to you or on your website.
– People easily understand what you want to convey;
– It costs you nothing;
– Customers react much faster to your messages and take the action you want (click, buy, read on);
– They remember you more easily;
– You give them a sense of trust;
– They feel they resonate much better with your business;
– It’s easier for you to write copy, ads and other materials.
2. Start a blog
If you have a business and want to enhance its online presence without too much cost, a blog may be the right solution for you.
– People discover your business much more easily;
– You get more traffic;
– Your site ranks higher in Google;
– It doesn’t cost you much;
– You attract more customers;
– You have the power to educate people;
– You can become an authority in your field;
– You cultivate trust;
– Provide value to readers;
– You build a list of newsletter subscribers that you can exploit later.
3. Start a podcast or write an ebook
Podcasts and ebooks are probably the newest forms of content marketing.
Making a podcast could be a great way to make your business stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition.
– You get your business noticed;
– You attract more customers;
– You provide value to people;
– It costs you next to nothing;
– You differentiate yourself from the competition;
– You can embed them on your blog;
– Educate customers about your products or services;
– You cultivate trust.
4. Use testimonials and highlight positive reviews
People buy when they trust a company.
– It costs you nothing;
– You cultivate trust;
– You make your business known;
– You attract customers;
– Encourage people to buy from you.
Ask people who buy from you for a testimonial about their experience with your business.
Encourage them to leave reviews.
Always write that their opinion is very important to you.
Whether it’s a review, video, audio or text testimonial, share it on all the channels you communicate with people.
5. Create a unique experience for your customers: adapt and improve your website
The experience users have when interacting with your website is extremely important.
Specifically, we mean:
– Loading speed;
– Adaptation for desktop and mobile;
– Ease of use;
– Data security.
– Attract more customers;
– You don’t risk having people leave the site because of the design or long loading times;
– People interact more with the site, which is why your shopping cart might increase;
– You’re more likely to get a person to buy from the site;
– You provide a professional customer experience;
– You get more traffic.
6. Try a referral program!
You’ve probably heard of Revolut and their referral program by now.
Maybe you even participated in it when it was that crazy at the beginning.
When they launched in Romania, Revolut created a campaign where anyone who signed up on Revolut and invited a friend… got 50 lei (RON).
Both he and the friend he recommended.
In this way, Revolut managed to get their business known in a very short time and attract a lot of customers.
You can do the same for your business!
Build a personalized referral system using this template.
– Get your business known quickly and easily;
– You attract a lot of customers;
– You invest in a way to grow your business;
– It doesn’t cost you much;
– You can measure results.
DropBox used a similar strategy.
7. Organise a giveaway and try Facebook live
Contests are among the most popular and effective ways to get traffic and engagement on social media.
– You make your business known online;
– You get traffic or engagement;
– It can generate hundreds or even thousands of potential customers;
– It doesn’t cost you much;
– It’s easy to implement;
– Attracts lots of people;
– You grow your list of followers or contacts;
– You promote your business through customers the customers you already have.
A very important thing here is quality.
To be effective, you need to organise a viral giveaway.
It’s not enough (or even in line with Facebook policy) to tell people to like and share.
You need to adopt a strategy that gets people to invite their friends, send them messages and mass distribute posts.
For example, you can give participants more chances to win if they take various actions: subscribe to the newsletter, share the story, follow on Instagram and so on.
Remember though – don’t make a lot of requirements for participation.
Ideally, ask people to do a maximum of 2 actions to be eligible to enter, and then tell them they can do other actions for extra chances.
When doing the draw, try using Facebook Live.
This will grab the attention of your followers and get them to enter the page.
8. Create one newsletter per week!
If you have a list of subscribers, you can create a weekly newsletter about the latest news from your company!
– It costs you nothing;
– It’s easy to do;
– You inform your customers about the latest products or services;
– You remind them of your business;
– You keep the interaction going;
– Provide value;
– You can measure results.
Create informative, friendly and personalised text.
Include details about offers, products and services, but don’t overdo it.
The whole idea is to make people feel like you’re trying to sell them something.
Here, the goal is to interact and remind them that your business is there.
In time, they will end up buying from you.
9. Call on micro-influencers
If your company is just starting out and you don’t have a big budget, a micro-influencer campaign could be extremely useful.
As mentioned above, people trust public people and consult their reviews and opinions before buying.
A micro-influencer is an early stage influencer who is active locally and has between 5000 and 100,000 followers.
It doesn’t have as many followers as an established influencer, but it can help your business without much cost.
– You make your business known online;
– You get traffic or engagement;
– It can generate hundreds of potential customers;
– Costs you next to nothing;
– You attract a lot of people;
– You enjoy the trust of potential customers.
You can run a campaign with a micro-influencer for which you can reward them with products or samples from your store, invitations to events, a weekend in the mountains or other free products and services.
In return, they could promote your business in various ways:
– Reviews or unboxing;
– Blog posts;
– Sponsored posts.
All without much cost.
10. Use retargeting
This strategy refers to the fact that you can show ads to people who have already interacted with your business.
For example, if a person came to your website and looked at your products but didn’t buy… you can get them to buy using a retargeting campaign.
Basically, you’re reminding them that you’re there and that you have those products in stock.
– You remind people that your business exists;
– You greatly increase your chances of those people buying from you;
– It costs you much less than a new customer campaign;
– You can measure results.
Businesses that have implemented this strategy have seen an immediate difference.
Bonus: 5 free internet marketing tools that will make your life easier
Hotjar is a tool that allows you to see what users are doing on your site.
– It is intuitive and easy to use;
– See where people come to your site from;
– Notice if there are errors;
– See what users do, what they click on, where they leave the site;
– Learn customer behaviour and what expectations they have: maybe they want to click on an image where you don’t have a link, maybe they expect to see more information about a product, maybe they read a lot of reviews. Whatever it is, you just have to learn.
Traffic on a website: how do you grow and measure it once you’ve chosen the right domain name, have a good structure, the design is right, and you’ve already uploaded your first products? What’s left for you to do to start selling?
We answer all your questions in the lines below. Are you ready?
Just like a physical, brick & mortar store, a website that isn’t visited is dead. No visits:
An online store doesn’t sell and a brand doesn’t grow.
People won’t book your services (if you have, for example, a dental practice).
You won’t generate revenue from AdSense (Google’s advertising app where website owners can sign up for the program and display text, image or video ads on their personal websites) if your business model is monetizing content and website traffic.
There are several traffic sources you can use, each with advantages and disadvantages. And not all types of traffic will be equally good for your goals. But in order to sustainably increase traffic to your site and make sure you get the visits you need, you need to know how to properly measure the volume and quality of each traffic source.
That’s exactly what we explain in this article: how to measure and bring quality traffic to your website. Shall we get started?
How do you measure traffic on a website?
The vast majority of visits will come from people: users who are looking for a product/service you offer and come to your site.
But there is also a minority of visits made by bots, i.e. non-human, automated visits that come to perform certain actions on your site.
For example, a Google bot will come to read and index the pages of your website and then display them when someone searches. The good news is that Google Analytics automatically filters traffic coming from bots.
There are several ways to measure the number of visits to a site, the sources from which they come and their quality. Some sites still use plugins that display the number of hits to a page, such as Stat Counter. This is more of a vanity metric, i.e. a metric that, apart from stroking your ego, doesn’t help you with anything else.
The number of page views tells you nothing about who is visiting you and what they are actually doing on your site, nor how much and how profitably you are selling. Other domains use advanced tracking solutions, such as Adobe Analytics, but these are harder to install and quite expensive.
The easiest way to measure the traffic coming to your site and its quality is to install a tracking solution. Our recommendation is to use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is the most popular and easiest to install solution to measure a website’s traffic.
Plus, it has the advantage of being compatible with other Google platforms (Google Ads, Google Data Studio, etc.) and it’s free. It’s important to not only install Google Analytics but also to define conversion events and set up e-commerce tracking correctly so that you know exactly what value each channel brings you.
What are the main traffic sources you can use? We’ve seen why you need traffic and how to measure it. We’ve left the best for last: how to bring quality traffic to your site. The main sources that can bring you visits and conversions are:
Referral and affiliate
How to measure traffic on a website
Let’s take each one individually and see how we can use them for what we care about: more traffic and more sales:
Organic Traffic or so-called SEO
We’re talking about people doing a Google search. Google displays your site in the organic results (i.e. without you paying for it) and the user clicks through to your site.
Among the advantages of this traffic is that it is “free”. I put it in quotation marks because, ok, you don’t pay for every click that lands on your site, but there is still a cost: doing SEO optimization, creating quality content, maybe even getting good backlinks. Another advantage to keep in mind is that this type of traffic often performs very well: low bounce rate, high conversion rate.
A disadvantage is that traffic and results don’t come immediately. If your domain is competitive you might need months of work without direct results. If you need to sell fast and your online store is new you can’t rely on this traffic channel.
Here we are talking about paid campaigns through Google or Facebook Ads. You create the ad, pay the money and the visits start coming. But the visits are not free because you pay for every click you get.
The advantages of this channel are that, done correctly, campaigns bring conversions and sales in a short time and there are no high barriers to entry. Yesterday you set up your online shop, today you start campaigning and can record your first conversions. Whereas with organic traffic, it takes optimization work to bring in enough traffic to get conversions.
The main disadvantage is the cost. All visits are paid. If you run out of budget the campaigns stop and you have no visits and no conversions. In addition, the trend in the market is for the cost per click to increase.
Facebook, Instagram, Tik-tok, few people don’t use at least one social network. If people use a social network, it means there is also an opportunity to generate traffic for your domain. Social networks can help you create a strong brand and build a loyal community around it. Also, compared to other traffic channels, here you can also communicate directly with visitors. For example, some companies use their Facebook page to answer questions from potential customers.
But there are products/services that you cannot promote effectively on Social Media. If you sell industrial equipment, a campaign on Tik Tok may not work, because the purchasing managers of the companies that can buy your products are probably not watching challenge videos on Tik Tok, but are on site to see the product requirements.
The email is kind of like Jon Snow from Game of Thrones: there was so much talk for so long that he was going to die, then that he died, that it was over with, when in fact there was no such thing. Despite the negative predictions of many who say email marketing is dead, in fact emailing is as healthy and vibrant as ever. And it’s a channel that can yield great results provided you build a quality email address base and send well-constructed newsletters. Not infrequently this channel’s conversion rate is the best of all you can call on.
But not all is rosy here either. The main difficulty lies in building the address database. This can take months and may be time you don’t have. In addition, since GDPR the rules are much stricter, you can’t, for example, rent other people’s email databases.
Referral or affiliate traffic
The principle is simple: another site sends traffic to your domain. If it does so organically, without any agreement between you or payment, then that traffic is called a referral. If you pay something and have a formal agreement with that site, the visits from there will go into the affiliate category. Of course, no one is stopping you from moving a site from the first to the second category.
One advantage of this type of traffic is that you generally only pay for what you actually care about, which is conversions. The more conversions you get, the more the cost of this channel will increase, but this is a good thing because you are also profitably increasing your turnover.
But it’s not easy to find good affiliate partners and they may ask for discounts or exclusive offers to promote you. All this can eat into your margin.
I left direct traffic behind because it is a result of the efforts you make to increase traffic on other channels and create awareness in the market. Direct traffic comes when people have already visited your domain, memorized it and were interested enough to come back for another visit. You can’t have direct traffic if you don’t already have enough traffic from other channels and have not created positive interactions with your brand.
This source of traffic often comes with the advantage of a good conversion rate. If the person is motivated enough to come back for a second, third, etc. visit, they are more likely to be interested in what you offer and buy. It’s also why remarketing works better than first click campaigns.
But before you get to a good level of direct traffic you need to invest in your store’s notoriety and image, and already have enough traffic from other channels for people to get to know you.
So here are the main sources of traffic and how to make use of each. We’ll end the article with some practical tips to make sure you know how to build a strategy that will bring you quality, long-term traffic.
It’s no good depending on one channel. If the vast majority of your traffic is organic and Google makes an algorithm update that penalizes you, the negative impact can be dramatic. Likewise: if you only run paid campaigns and run out of budget, the tap on visits and conversions turns off and your website will suffer. So it’s good to grow more channels that bring you quality traffic.
Most likely you won’t be able to optimize your presence on all possible traffic channels. Each channel has its own specifics and, with limited time and human resources, you won’t be able to scale. That’s why you need to choose the ones that bring the best results and focus on them.
Another principle to keep in mind is to be present wherever your potential customers are. If your target audience is present in large numbers on Tik Tok, go to Tik Tok. Your competition is probably already there, don’t let them run wild.
Do you want to better understand what SEO is and how you can make your website climb the search engines?
This guide will specifically answer all your questions, including:
What is SEO?
How do search engines work?
What is On Page SEO?
What is SEO Off Page?
How do you do SEO step by step?
How do you make your website appear all over the world?
So if you want to better understand how you can get more free traffic, this is the first step.
Let’s take it one step at a time:
What is SEO?
The term SEO comes from the English language and is short for Search Engine Optimisation.
To explain SEO as simply as possible, I’ll give you an example:
Let’s say you are from Timisoara and you need a dental extraction, but you don’t know any dental office.
You go to Google and search for “dental practice New York”, and then immediately a page appears with suggestions of websites of various dental surgeries.
As in the example below:
Well, all those sites that were recommended to you came about because of their search engine optimisation. In the first part we can see the local results (the ones with the map and directions), and then the organic results.
Those who own the sites in the example above have done nothing more than tell “Google”, through various methods and techniques that you will discover in this article, that there is information about dental practices on the site.
In short, SEO is the process and efforts you put into making your website appear as high as possible in the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex).
It’s a process that requires more work in the beginning, the results show up over time but are long lasting and in the medium to long term beat almost any method of increasing your website traffic.
Doing SEO means that when someone searches for products, services or information that are closely related to what you offer, search engines display your website.
As a means of online promotion, SEO is one of the few free and affordable ways for any business with a website, and its role is to get you as close as possible to your potential customers, without investing large promotional budgets in doing so.
But for this to be possible, you need to know the SEO algorithm and the criteria you need to take into account when it comes to optimising your website, and in the next chapter, that’s exactly what we’ll talk about.
How do search engines work?
The Internet can be likened to a spider’s web. Each thread that makes up the web represents links, and each intersection represents a website.
In this analogy, search engines are actually spiders that walk the web and discover sites and links between them one by one, then organise them into categories and store everything on so-called servers so they can deliver results in milliseconds (you wouldn’t imagine that Google searches the whole internet again every time you do a search?).
When someone searches Google (or any other search engine) for information, it returns as a result all those pages relevant to the requested information.
We’ll talk about the criteria by which sites appear in those positions in a moment.
In more technical terms, these spiders are called “spiders” or “crawlers”. They periodically scan the internet, discovering new sites and constantly making connections between them.
These crawlers not only discover sites but also organise them. They identify errors and the relevance of content on the site as well as the timeliness of the information.
That’s why it’s very important to always optimise our website and watch out for possible errors.
But I come back to this.
Websites are characterised as relevant or irrelevant at search time based on over 200 criteria such as: technical accessibility and lack of errors, the use of representative words in key places, the fact that people spend a lot of time on that site or the fact that other sites link to it.
At BMFHost when we talk about what SEO means, we have a pyramid with 4 very important elements: at the bottom (1) accessibility and indexing, followed by (2) on-page optimisation and (3) user experience, and at the top (4) links from other sites.
Search engine optimisation falls into two broad categories: On Page optimisation and Off Page optimisation.
What does SEO On Page mean?
When we say On Page SEO we mean all those optimisations you make to your website so that (1) search engines better understand what it’s about and (2) people have a more enjoyable experience on it (i.e. spend more time on it).
On-page optimisations include:
optimisations for accessibility and indexing;
optimisations for the most pleasant user experience (UX).
Accessibility and indexing
If you want your website to appear in the top search engine results, it must first be indexed.
What does this mean?
Indexing a site means that search engines can find the site and access it (see its content) and do this without encountering too many technical problems.
In other words, you need to create an account in Google Search Console where you upload a sitemap of your site and also check it for errors that may affect its indexing in search engines.
This tool will give you important statistics about your site, but remember, this indexing must be done for each search engine.
You should also consider creating robots.txt files that tell search engines which pages you want them to index.
For example, if you have certain pages that are only available to members then you should block those crawlers from indexing those pages.
Many web developers know that while the website is under construction it should not be indexed. Which is fine. It’s just that some of them forget to remove the “In Progress” status and the site blocks search engines even after it’s completed.
If you’ve had a site completed for at least 3 months and you can barely find it even when you search its name, the web developers may have made the above mistake.
Sites that score well in SEO are also doing very well technically.
This means they are error-free, have a very good loading speed, have a logical internal link structure and are also optimised for various mobile devices.
According to statistics, 70% of people who visit a website that loads in more than 3 seconds will leave the site before taking any other action.
That’s why it’s very important to always check your site’s loading speed and possible errors using tools such as GTMetrix.
Here’s what a BMFHost page report looks like:
GTMetrix calculates your site’s score and at the same time gives you suggestions and recommendations to improve your speed.
Among these, the most common are:
compressing the images you upload to your site to load faster;
using cache memory;
rewriting certain lines of code in a simpler way;
Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything now, in time everything will become clearer. Right now it’s important to get the big picture.
Because nothing that brings results in marketing is done by ear, and in SEO you need to take into account a strategy to help you optimize your website effectively.
One mistake we often see in SEO is “work just for work’s sake”.
That is, entrepreneurs and specialists alike who set out “to optimise” without a plan.
They don’t do a more thorough analysis to figure out which words they are interested in, which ones they can realistically climb to the top of the results, which products are most profitable.
Especially if you’re in a competitive industry, it can take 2-3 years to get to the top. Can you support SEO that much, even if it doesn’t bring in sales?
Keyword research is a very important and complex step, and choosing the most appropriate searches to optimise for is crucial, but most of us ignore it.
What do you need to do?
on which your site can realistically compete,
that have enough searches to be worth the effort, and
have economic relevance.
If only large sites appear on a particular search, it may be too difficult.
If there are only a few dozen searches a month, again it may not be worth it.
If they’re too general and not related to what you’re selling, again it’s a good sign to say “pass”.
From the analysis we do at BMFHost, choosing the wrong keywords is one of the main mistakes most websites make.
Here are some more specific mistakes:
Optimizing your site for the most searched keywords
Although many people believe that you should optimize your website for the most searched words, it may take a while for the results to show up no matter how much effort you put into it.
Optimising a page for multiple keywords
Another common mistake is optimising pages on your website for as many keywords as possible.
Usually a page is optimised for one main keyword and its derivatives. For example: what is SEO, what is on-page SEO, what is off-page SEO, etc. See what I did here?
Optimization for irrelevant/unused words
When choosing the words you want to optimise your website for, make sure they are relevant. Terms that are too general (marketing, wine, beer, etc.) will attract a lot of people to your site but not potential customers.
On the other hand, if you choose terms that are too specific, they may not be used enough and therefore not bring you many visitors.
In our case, one of the relevant words for the SMARTERS website is “growth hacking”. This being a relatively new term for Romanians, if we were to use it for optimization, it would generate little or no traffic.
Sometimes SEO may not be an option for business promotion (if you have too new products).
“Content is king” – one of the basic rules of search engine optimization.
In addition to technical optimizations and indexing of the site in search engines, we must consider creating relevant content for those who will come to our site.
Your goal is first and foremost that once the person has landed on your page, they don’t need to search for that thing again.
To help search engines better understand what a page is about, we need to put keywords in places like:
Titles and subtitles (H1, H2, H3…);
In the first paragraph;
the ALT attribute of the images on the page.
See below how we optimized one of our blog articles for the keyword “sell “.
A page should contain at least 300 words to make it stand out, but to be among the first searches, between 1000 and 2000 words are recommended. In this case, the keyword should be found like this:
1 in the title (H1);
1 in the first paragraph;
2-3 in the subheadings (H2);
6-7 in the rest of the text;
4-5 synonyms of the keyword.
There is no hard and fast rule, but at BMFHost we take them into account and it works very well.
As a suggestion, it would be advisable to analyse the sites that are already in the top positions, as they are a good indicator of how your page should look.
Attention! Excessive repetition of the same keyword can become annoying to people and is considered SPAM by search engines.
A rule of thumb would be to write it first for people and then sprinkle in a few more keywords or other relevant ones.
We can take as an example a women’s shoe shop that wants to optimise one of its pages for the word “women’s shoes”.
Well, in the content of the page we should find several times the keyword chosen as well as its synonyms: “women’s shoes”, “women’s footwear”.
If you already have a list of keywords, add 2-3 synonyms for each one that you can use alongside the main keyword.
Use the search engine suggestions that appear at the bottom of a page or the specific tools.
Improving user experience (UX)
The latest changes in search engine algorithms place great importance on the user experience on the site. The indicators that tell us if our site is providing a pleasant experience are:
traffic and time spent by users on the site, the higher these indicators the better the user experience;
bounce rate or the percentage of people who have viewed more than one page and the average number of pages viewed;
A good user experience on the site is primarily due to the lack of functional errors. In addition to good loading speed, we need to consider the error-free execution of actions that people can do on our site: add to cart, fill in a form, etc.
Good design and relevant content are two other criteria that can contribute to a good user experience on your website.
A modern, streamlined design and a high degree of user interaction can lead to a pleasant experience for those visiting your site.
Other key elements could be: logical organisation of information on the site, having buttons where people need them, using live chat.
In other words, choosing loud colours, a soundtrack or creating too fast an animation on the site can generate the opposite reaction to what we actually want.
That’s why it’s very important to test your website and optimise the form and content according to the reaction of those who visit it.
Install Hotjar from the start on your site, track what your users are doing on the site and make changes based on what you see in their records.
At BMFHost this is one of the basic tools that tells us how well your site is meeting its goals, which is why we recommend it to you.
You can also test the actual upload speed with GTMetrix.com
SEO for mobile
When we talk about UX we are also talking about optimising for mobile devices. It has become one of the most important criteria.
Why is it so important?
At the moment about 80% of website traffic is done using mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
Mobile devices are always at hand, especially now that the Internet is no longer a limited resource. Optimising your website for mobile devices allows you to be close to your customer whenever and wherever they need you.
An unpleasant visitor experience on your website will not only affect the indicators presented above, but also your website’s results.
If the buttons are not accessible, the text is not legible and the images are not positioned correctly, this will make it difficult to use the site, which is why the vast majority of visitors choose to leave the site or not visit it at all.
In general, if you have registered your site in Search Console you will receive notifications about problems. Keep in mind that not all of them are real.
Mobile SEO vs Desktop SEO
By and large, SEO works the same whether a search is conducted from desktop or mobile. But there are a few criteria that influence the results that appear in search engines.
Firstly, with mobile comes location-based optimisation. This means that search engine results will be influenced by the location of the searcher.
Secondly, search engines have started to display sites based on their optimisation for mobile devices.
In fact, Google only has one index (that big catalogue) of all sites, and it’s mobile-first.
You should also bear in mind that your website may load differently depending on the device you are using. Check the loading speed of your website for all devices and make changes accordingly.
Again Google Analytics helps here.
What is Off Page SEO?
Off Page SEO refers to getting links and mentions from other sites.
At BMFHost we like to make the analogy of book citations. When you are an author and others mention you in their books, this means you are an important source of information.
The same goes for websites.
The more often your site is mentioned on other more popular sites, the more important your site becomes. Search engine spiders will come to your site more often, starting to rank you higher in the results.
Thus, Off Page Optimisation involves identifying those sites larger and better known than yours where you can insert links to your site. This process of generating links to your site is called link building and can be done by:
guest post articles on other sites;
advertorials and press releases;
unique and interesting content that can be picked up by other sites
collaborations with influencers;
link insertion on partner websites.
Not all links are equal
Although you would think that you need to put as many links and as many sites as possible to have the best SEO ranking, I have to surprise you by telling you that this is not really the case.
It’s not just the quantity of links that matters, it’s also the quality of the links.
Some time ago, before the algorithms changed and became more and more drastic, there were so-called directories. These allowed sites to be listed in the categories they belonged to in order to help in the link building process.
Well, these directories have not only become completely useless, but listing your site in such directories can generate SPAM links that will negatively affect their trust level and SEO score.
In other words, it is very important that your website is mentioned in relevant contexts that can bring you potential customers.
For example, if you have an online beauty shop then you’ll want to put links to your website on as many women’s fashion & beauty blogs as possible.
Conversely, if you’re a motivational speaker you’ll find links on business websites, or those of well-known entrepreneurs, helpful.
And links from general sites (news, blogs) help. When choosing whether to try to get a link from a particular site ask yourself: if someone reads that article, does it make sense to click on it and get to my site?
As a rule, when we think about our link generation strategy we start with our customer profiles and try to identify both sites of interest to them and topics that interest them.
Do social media links influence the ranking of the site in Google?
There has been a lot of debate lately on this topic and although there have been pros and cons about whether Social Media links influence search engine rankings, the truth is somewhere in between.
The logical conclusion reached is that Social Media links indirectly influence search engine rankings.
Therefore, it is important to include them in your link building strategy but not to spend too much time on them.
The reasons why you should do this boil down to 5 assumptions:
Social Media links generate traffic, and high traffic indicates increased relevance of the site and is one of the important ranking criteria. The more often your website is mentioned in social media and the more it is shared by social media users, the more traffic your website will get.
Social media profiles appear in the top searches on search engines, so when someone searches for your business name, they can easily reach your website through social media.
Youtube videos rank differently on search engines, plus let’s not forget that in Google you can perform specific video searches. So don’t forget to mention your website link right in the description of your Youtube videos.
You increase the impact of the content on your site. By sharing your site’s content on Social Media, users can discover content relevant to them without having to search. Also if it is relevant and interesting to them they can take it and put it on their own site which will directly contribute to the link building process
Social networks work like search engines. Lately, users of social networks are using them to search for products they are interested in. Take advantage of this opportunity and optimise your profile and content to be easily identified by your potential customers.
Very important – once you’ve created your social media profiles and have links to the site, move on. They may help with other marketing strategies, but their role in SEO will be indirect.
How do you make your website appear all over the world?
If you’re considering international use of your site, good news. What you’ve learned so far about SEO doesn’t change with international optimization, and it’s 100% valid.
As domain options for international websites we have so:
use of .ro domain and use of sub-domains (us.example.ro);
using .ro and using sub-domains (example.ro/us) – the cheapest solution;
use of ccTLDs for each country (example.fr) – this is expensive and SEO efforts are higher, as optimisations are needed for each country;
use of a widely used .com domain (example .com);
using a widely used .com domain and making settings for each language (example.com/?lang=en-us) – although the simplest, it is the least beneficial for sites due to changes in link structure and is not highly recommended.
Of course, each of the above options has specific advantages and disadvantages that you need to pay attention to when establishing strategic international SEO guidelines.
Once you have established your strategy, you can start optimising by taking into account all the basic criteria we have outlined in this article.
And here we are at the end.
SEO isn’t complicated – it’s a lengthy process, but if you understand how it works and have a clear strategy, it’s very simple;
SEO is worth it – even if it requires more work in the beginning, and the results won’t show up immediately, SEO is a free means of online promotion that will bring you measurable results;
SEO is more than keywords – if you understand this it means this article was not written in vain;
I hope we’ve been able to explain what SEO is and help you get started on properly optimizing your website, and if you want to get more into what SEO is and how exactly it should be done, don’t forget that we also have a course on SEO that will help you learn practically not just theoretically what to do!