October 2017 -

Monthly Archives: October 2017

Top Tips for Content Creation

Posted on October 23, 2017 by

content creation blogging

“On average, people consume 285 pieces of content or 54,000 words every single day” – Hubspot

Content marketing is more competitive than ever.

In 2017, many businesses are putting out original pieces in a bid to entice, delight and satisfy customers. According to Hubspot, each person consumes 285 pieces of content per day, or 54,000 words on average. With more pieces of content appearing every day, it’s increasingly difficult for brands to get noticed online.

What is Content Marketing?

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience” – The Content Marketing Institute

The keyword here is valuable. Content marketing isn’t just about throwing any piece of content out there. The content creator’s job is to give the readers or viewers content they want to consume, providing information that’s highly relevant and of value to them, whether it’s presented in the form of a blog post, an article, an infographic or video.

content creation video

What is content?

In web marketing, ‘content’ simply means a piece of information that’s available electronically.

As a rule of thumb, good content should be interesting, shareable and valuable to your target audience. It also has to be digestible information that’s presented in a useful and accessible way.

It can be written or visual, and there are hundreds of different types of content available online. The most common types of content we see online usually fit into one of the following categories:

  • Infographics
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • Guides
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars

Don’t worry – content creation doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Infographics, blog posts and short videos can be created by businesses of all sizes on both big and small budgets, and are relatively simple and straightforward to produce. Guides, whitepapers and webinars are often more time consuming and will require more research, effort and expertise. The type of content you choose to produce will depend on your target audience, type of business and time available.

You may wish to include a range of types of content within your content marketing strategy, or just stick to one or two – there are no rules and you should do whatever works best for your business and your target audience.

Below we’ve included some of our top tips for content creation, based on our own content marketing strategy at Web-Feet!

1. Utilise content creation tools

For the graphic designers and videographers among us, producing an infrographic or short video is a breeze. For the rest of us, it can be hard to know where to start and what tools to use. Thankfully, there are some fantastic content creation tools available online that are completely free, accessible and easy to use.

Canva (below) is a graphic design tool we use for internal marketing at Web-Feet. It’s fantastic for creating high quality infographics and images for social media or blog posts. You can use it to create high-quality and visually engaging templates using your own branding. These can be saved, so you can use them again for future posts or campaigns without starting again from scratch. It’s pretty straightforward and user-friendly, and you can connect multiple social media accounts, making content distribution easy.

content creation buffer

For creating videos to be shared on our YouTube channel, we use the cloud-based online video editing tool WeVideo. WeVideo enables even the least skilled video editor to get to grips with creating high-quality videos, which can be embedded within a blog post (like below) or shared via social media.

2. Brush up on your written English

Writing skills are important when it comes to producing great content. It’s all about effective communication – you need to get your point across to your readers clearly and concisely to keep them engaged.

Your tone, style and the quality of your written work also reflects your brand: a sloppy piece with poor grammar and spelling that hasn’t been proofread doesn’t send across a good message to your readers. In fact, it can be very irritating so read and put people off your company altogether!

Keep your tone clear, consistent and representative of your brand.

If writing skills aren’t a strength in your team, there are some great online tools out there to help. Download the Grammarly Google Chrome extension to eliminate grammar errors and polish your written work.

It’s also a good idea to ask somebody to proofread your work, as even those with the strongest writing abilities can be blind to their own mistakes!

3. Take advantage of data

Content driven by hard facts and data is often the most successful. Many companies will spend lots of money doing research and gathering their own data, which is fantastic if doing so is within your means.

However, you don’t need to spend loads on research in order to produce great content, as there is a world of data out there ready to be taken and turned into a great marketing campaign. Government data is a fantastic source of free, trustworthy data that encompasses a variety of sectors, from business and the economy to health and the environment.

When you use an authoritative data source, your business takes on some of that authority, giving your brand a unique voice it doesn’t normally have. This can enable you to use that data to create something unique, valuable and interesting.

4. Use a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a great tool for planning ahead, making content creation much easier. Use it to plan around seasonal events and dates that are relevant to your business, and let it guide your overall content strategy. Come up with some content ideas and use your content calendar to create a backlog for future marketing campaigns.

You can find out more about planning content and download a free content calendar in our blog post Marketing Planning: Do you know your key dates?

content creation calendar

5. Think carefully about content distribution

Before clicking post or send, think carefully about who you want to target. Knowing your target audience will help you to decide not only the type of content you’re creating, but also where you will place it and how you will spread the word.

Content marketing is about more than just creating your content: it’s also about utilising the best tools out there to promote your valuable content in order to attract and retain customers. Below are three marketing tools that we use at Web-Feet, either for our own marketing or on behalf of our clients.

Buffer

For posting infographics and sharing blog posts on social media, we recommend using Buffer. Buffer is a free social media management platform which enables you to manage multiple social media accounts from one page. You can add content to a ‘queue’, selecting the time, date and place you’d like your content to be published. This means you can plan in advance, setting time aside to create and upload content Buffer which will then trickle your content to your followers.

You can also download the Buffer app to a smartphone or tablet, enabling you to add content to your queue away from your desk and on the go.

Hatchbuck

We also distribute content, such as blog posts, via email. For this we use Hatchbuck, which is a fantastic all-in-one sales and marketing automation software. We love Hatchbuck because of its wide range of features: not only is it a great CRM system for storing contact details, but you can also track leads and prospects, helping you reach out to the right people and stay on top of your marketing strategy. It’s essentially a tool which streamlines your marketing and sales strategy into one place, which makes it a great fit for many businesses.

MailChimp

MailChimp is another marketing automation service that’s popular with businesses of all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have the added bonus of a built in CRM system and functionality that Hatchbuck offers, but it’s a great and affordable alternative if you’re looking for a straightforward email platform. MailChimp is responsive on mobile devices and tablets via an app, so you can use it whilst on the go.

To find out more about the Content Marketing services we offer at Web-Feet, including content creation, then Contact Us today.


Magento 1 vs Magento 2

Posted on October 5, 2017 by

Magento 1 vs Magento 2

Magento 2 is the latest version of the most popular ecommerce platform in the world. Currently holding 14% of the market share for ecommerce platforms, it’s safe to say the Magento upgrade has been a pretty big deal for ecommerce businesses.

The key defining feature of Magento 1 is it’s flexibility. Users can create stores with a variety of functions using pre-made extensions or by utilising the coding skills of their developers. This flexibility leads to a better shopping experience, with plenty of useful features and innovation opportunities for both B2B and B2C businesses. This is one of the key reasons why Magento is so popular.

However, despite this flexibility, Magento 1 is not the most user-friendly platform. It lacks performance optimisation, mobile-responsiveness, and some admin capabilities that every online store needs. These essential features aren’t part of the Magento 1 package and would need to be developed by a skilled Magento developer. There have also been many complaints of Magento 1 running slow, which isn’t ideal for an ecommerce site.

To address these issues, the Magento team designed an upgraded platform: Magento 2.

Magento 2 comes with features that make it a better platform overall. The major changes for Magento 2 include the following:

features of majento 2

Improved UX

The admin panel of Magento 1 is notoriously difficult to navigate and not user friendly. Thankfully, the team at Magento decided to address this issue head on with Magento 2.

One of the most obvious changes and welcomed to the second edition of Magento is its brand new admin panel. The new admin interface is designed to help reduce the time managing the online store. It’s a lot more user-friendly and easier to get to grips with.

Magento 2’s administrative improvements and new capabilities include:

  1. Improved product creation: The new step-by-step product creation tools allow you to add products to your store up to 4 times faster than in Magento 1.
  2. Improved data view and filtering: Admin are able to customise the new grid-style admin panel so important business information can be accessed quickly. The personalised admin panel is designed to increase productivity when managing products, orders, and customer data. This means you are welcomed with a clean, de-cluttered user interface that offers the information you need. Magento has also added the ability to quickly filter data based on any of the attributes that have been enabled in your data view.
  3. Admin navigation improvements: Overall the admin interface is cleaner and less cluttered. Menus are more organised so that finding the page and functionality that you are seeking is much simpler. These improvements lead to a smaller learning curve and quicker productivity for administrators.
  4. Data safeguards: Magento 1 was designed for a single user admin to be manipulating product data at a single time. This is troublesome for larger sites that might have multiple administrators to work on product data simultaneously, thus making your team more efficient and allowing you to more easily keep your store’s products up to date. Magento have addressed this issue with Magento 2.
  5. Product videos: Adding videos from YouTube or Vimeo is now very simple and supported by Magento 2. This offers a great opportunity to properly merchandise your products and add some engaging video content to your site.

The admin interface of Magento 2 also now includes drag-and-drop layout editing, meaning users don’t need extensive coding knowledge to modify an online store’s appearance. This means you can create a beautiful online store in half the time.

Streamlined checkout

The majority of Magento 1 stores had to alter the checkout process in some way to make it more user-friendly. Now, better checkout options are built into Magento 2. This means every store built with Magento 2 will by default have a more intuitive checkout process.

The checkout process in Magento 2 is more streamlined, making it quicker and easier for customers to go from adding items to their cart to completing an order. It’s highly customisable and requires fewer complicated steps and customer information. Reducing the checkout time is huge for reducing abandoned carts and increasing conversions, so this is a great improvement for both customers and business owners.

Magento have also simplified customer registration by allowing customers to create an account after ordering instead of during the checkout process. When a customer goes to checkout, they are brought to a default guest checkout screen where they enter an email address. If this matches an existing customer, they are given an option to checkout faster with saved information. Guests can create an account in one click from the order Thank You page. These features which simplify the order process encourage customers to return to your site and make purchases. Fewer confusing choices and fewer forms means a significant increase in conversions as customers focus on what matters: finishing the checkout process.

The new checkout also includes order details on every step, offering greater transparency to help put your customers at ease. The order summary in Magento 2 now includes product photos. This reduces ordering errors which cuts down on returns and increases buyer confidence that leads to higher conversions.

 

the benefits of magento 2

More mobile-friendly

As more and more customers are shopping on smartphones and tablets, mobile responsiveness is key to improving sales. In fact, 50% of online transactions are now performed on mobile devices. The Magento team recognised this and made mobile responsiveness a priority for Magento 2.

Magento 2 comes with new responsively designed and SEO-friendly themes, integrated video features and a streamlined checkout. These all improve the look and function of Magento stores on mobile devices, thus encouraging mobile sales. A much more streamlined, mobile-friendly checkout and faster performance will result in a much higher conversion rate for your mobile shoppers.

The new admin panel is also responsive and touch-screen friendly so you can manage your store on the go. This enhancement ensures easier control and configuration of the online store. This is great for merchants who work with their CMS via iPads or tablets – make changes in the office, on the train or at home.

Performance enhancement

Magento 2 was designed with performance in mind. The developers behind Magento have achieved this through utilising the following technical improvements:

  1. Ajax cart: Magento 2 uses JavaScript to add items to the shoppers cart without reloading the entire page, putting less load on your hosting hardware resulting in a more responsive experience and a faster checkout time for your shoppers.
  2. Cache: Magento 2’s improved caching system stores commonly accessed page elements to serve them faster to your visitors, and now includes support for caching technologies like Varnish (a popular HTTP accelerator).
  3. PHP 7: PHP is the programming language that Magento is built with. Magento 2 is optimised for PHP 7, which provides superior performance to previous PHP versions.
  4. Hosting environment improvements: Magento 2 includes new features and functionality that allows you to more easily spread the demand on your hosting infrastructure over multiple servers, which makes handling large traffic spikes much easier.

Magento 2 will run an average of 30% to 50% faster than it’s predecessor. Faster site speed encourages more user interaction with your site and more products added to your site’s cart, leading to more sales and fewer abandoned carts.

The latest Magento version can handle up to 39% more orders per hours with 66% faster add-to-cart times that Magento 1. It can also better handle many catalogue pages without slowing down, with a nearly instant server response time for catalogue browsing.

Magento 2’s improved functionality also means it can handle more traffic. Magento 2 can manage 10 million page views an hour, whereas Magento 1 can only process 200,000. This makes it ideal for large stores and able to grow with an online business.

In addition to all of these fantastic new features, updates within Magento 2 are designed to work a lot quicker, making it easy for Magento users to take advantage of new features as they’re released.

Key payment integrations

As we’ve mentioned, Magento 2 integrates a lot of popular extensions so stores have better functionality out of the box. This includes payment gateways like PayPal and Braintree. These are payment platforms the majority of Magento users choose to integrate anyway, so having them already integrated into Magento 2 makes it a lot easier for store owners.

Magento 2’s integration with PayPal means customers do not need to re-enter payment information such as a billing address as this is handled by PayPal, another development which makes the checkout process smoother and quicker.

There are also integrations with Worldpay and Cybersource to increase payment security, so customers can rest assured that their payments are safe and secure.

So, Magento 2 – have you been persuaded to transition?

Web-Feet have certified Magento developers who are eager and ready to help ease this transition. Let us help give your customers the benefit of Magento 2’s new features.

Although some have reservations about moving to Magento 2, it’s clear this platform was designed to provide a better experience for both customers, store owners and administrators. It maintains the flexibility Magento is known for, but with improved features.

What’s more, soon Magento 1 security updates will be stopping, so all Magento ecommerce site owners will have to move over to Magento 2 sooner or later.

If you’re thinking about moving your ecommerce site over to Magento 2, or creating one from scratch our team of expert Magento developers are here to help.

Contact Us


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