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The How and Why of Home Pages

Home pages are those pages on your website where visitors first arrive. If you’re launching an advertising campaign, measuring the results of that campaign are paramount to maximizing your return on investment (ROI). Web analytics are the critical ingredient here. On an e-commerce website, would it be important to know what pages produce higher conversion ratios?

Home Page versus Product Pages

As a rule of thumb, product pages generally deliver higher conversion ratios, as much as seven to one. Usually, the more specific and focused these pages are, the better your results will be. Even absent any analytics, we know, psychologically, that Internet shoppers are more inclined to purchase if the path from their search query to the BUY button is simplified or made easy.

Landing page success

Relevant content is important

Relevant Content to the Rescue

What I frequently see on home pages are three or four purchase options, with a “read more” below each offer. These link to plans with additional options. More often than not, these plans simply display features and lack value-add content on solutions.

Here’s the catch – the major search engines prioritize relevant content; that is, those pages with rich content rank higher in their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Very focused product pages may not reflect the highest number of hits to your site, but they will produce higher conversion ratios. And if, at the end of the day, money in your pocket matters, tweaking your product pages might be a good idea.

successful

Tweak for success

Tweaking for Success

The key to tweaking a product page is NOT to tweak it to the search engines, rather to your visitor – your prospect. Keyword research helps. What keywords, keyword phrases or extended keyword phrases are being queried currently to find your products (or your competitor’s products)?

Imagine you’re a shopper and have just queried “VPS Services”? Is there a product page on your site with that extended keyword phrase? And does that phrase fit organically within your content – meaning it isn’t repeated 15 times on the page. Most ezine article submission sites recommend no more than 2% keyword saturation, meaning for every 100 words, no specific keyword should show up more than twice in the content.

My Recommendation

Whether your goal is increased sales, lead generation or branding, the basics remain the same. Make it easy to navigate to the BUY button. Include keywords, keyword phrases and extended keyword phrases on your product pages that directly correspond to queries currently being entered on the search engines that are relevant to your product or service.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.




Are hard dollar savings worth the soft dollar headaches?

Some time back, I read an interesting article in the Saint Louis Small Business Monthly written by Key Erb titled, “Change Is Inevitable … But Growth Is Optional.” Her theme was that change happens, but not necessarily growth, and she hit on a few related topics like performance management, wealth management and business growth.

Her Questions

One of her questions struck home to a lot of threads I read every day on different web hosting forums, and that was, “Are we properly capitalized to achieve our strategy? Followed by, “Are we properly organized to achieve our strategy?”

My Perception

My perception is that an awful lot of startups, cross industry, are not properly capitalized or organized. This is especially true in web hosting, where for pennies on the dollar, you can throw a website up against the wall – but will it stick? In reality, many don’t, so we hear horror stories of lost data and clients – over and over and over. This reinforces the need to do your homework, formulate a viable business plan and then execute on that plan.

questionsIf You’re a Client

If you’re a client searching for a host, select a host based on the value of your own business, and on the value of your time. Not everyone needs 100TB of bandwidth, or servers with 128GB of RAM. What clients do need is for their sites to stay online with the least amount of latency.

What I see an awful of is prospects searching for the cheapest solution, and while saving money is certainly a valid and primary concern for most businesses and organizations, hard dollar savings very often result in soft dollar headaches.

Some examples of hard dollar savings that create issues down the line are:

Term discounts

One, two or three-year term offers at huge discounts. Month to month charges might be $15, but if you pay upfront for a year, your monthly average might only equate to $12 per month. That’s an average savings of $3 per month or $36 per year. In the web hosting industry though, three years is like a lifetime; software gets upgraded, hardware becomes obsolete, companies change ownership – sometimes for the better, but all too often for the worse. Providers get targeted by DDoS attacks resulting in an unacceptable amount of downtime. Support staff changes and the new guys aren’t nearly as helpful as the old group. That savings of $36 might cost you thousands in lost productivity. How much is your time worth? How much would you stand to lose in potential revenues if your site was down for hours at a time?

Oversold services

In an effort to squeeze every last breath and profitability out of their servers, many providers oversell their services, resulting in poor server performance, which directly relates to poor site performance. While some amount of overselling is commonplace and not an issue, some providers take this to extremes. Quite often, extremely low prices are a sign of overselling. Web hosting providers’ expenses are very real, so those must be recouped somewhere. If a prospective web hosting provider’s pricing seems too good to be true, start asking questions.

Lack of support

Competent support representatives don’t come cheap. Technicians don’t spend years in training to earn minimum wage. In order to provide 24/7 support, which is expected in the web hosting industry, their wage expense has to be covered in a provider’s pricing of their services. How many $3 hosting plans would you have to sell per month to cover the wages of just three reps working 8 hour shifts? Low revenues relate to understaffed support, and quite often to tickets going unanswered for hours, days or weeks.

business-strategiesIf You’re a Provider

If you’re a provider, stuff like performance management, wealth management and business growth needs to be addressed. Paraphrased, Kay Erb says this equates to opportunities to run your business more effectively, efficiently and profitably.

In the web hosting industry, networks need to monitored, tweaked and upgraded as necessary to keep up with the competition. It wasn’t that long ago that 10Mbps uplink ports were common. Now 100Mbps ports have been replaced with 1Gbps (and 10Gbps) ports and prospects are noticing.

Resource usage has to be addressed, routing has to be optimized and technicians need to keep up with new technologies. Throw in marketing, advertising, search engine optimization, branding, human relations, accounting and all the other stuff that needs to be addressed to remain successful, and you see where I’m going – hosting is real business, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.




An out-of-the-box SEO tip

Search Engine OptimizationThe most well thought out (content) and beautifully designed websites may NOT be optimized for search traffic. Do your sites rank well? Have you pondered why your site doesn’t fare as well as you’ve expected?

Capturing organic search traffic (not paid) to your website that produces results 

Ideally, you’ll need a compelling search result that causes a click through, but how does that happen? One very important component you’ll need to analyze that no one tells you about: Your Meta Description

Description

I always recommend managing your prospects expectations. Your description may not have a direct effect on Google’s ranking, but it could project a powerful perception of your business’ relevancy to a prospects search. Again, Google may boldface the searchers keyword in your description. I know when I type in a phrase, I look to see if the entire phrase is boldfaced, or simply pieces here and there. I perceive immediately, as I suspect others do, the level of relevance this site has to my interest. Managing your description to maximize relevant traffic (and ultimately conversions) is paramount to optimizing your website.

GoogleHow is the description displayed on Google searches?

Google uses a combination of META tags or abstracts from your page to display the description of your site to the prospect – not always under your control. If you have a description META Tag, Google will likely use it or relevant phrases from it.

They often extract phrases from the body of your website, as well, usually from the first few paragraphs. To maximize the click through rate, use compelling and accurate descriptions on each page of your site that best match that individual page. On your home page, describe your website as a whole.

Google attempts to rank based on value to the end user so try to avoid market hype. Match your description to what the prospect will expect to see should they click through. Misleading your prospects is frowned upon. Place emphasis on providing benefits and solutions.

I’m often asked if phrasing is permitted. The answer is absolutely. Google limits the description META tag to approximately 150 to 160 characters – including spaces, so select your phrasing carefully – to match and flow with content on that specific page.

optimize-seoOptimizing descriptions

What’s the end goal in getting any tangible results from ranking higher in the search engines? Of the few organic results that are currently listed on page one of Google SERPS (search engine results pages), why would anyone click through to your site and why that is important? Visibility is step one, while action is what produces ROI.

Prospects must actually click through to your site to become visitors, but what you’re looking for or should be looking for are targeted visitors. This means people and businesses that were compelled to action, first via their search query and then by a call-to-action in the description of your site, wherever it’s ranked by Google.

In sales, the odds of closing the sale diminish rapidly if you don’t ask for the sale. You see, if you don’t ask, the answer will almost always be NO.  If the offer is confusing, more often than not, you’ll get the same NO.

With billions of dollars being spent annually online, not optimizing Meta Description could place your organization or business at risk of losing potential revenue and thousands of dollars in lost lifetime assets.

Compare these two descriptions:

  • Our floral department has a full assortment of flowers, from single red roses to full bouquets. We also carry vases and other floral accessories like balloons and ribbons.
  • We carry flowers for every occasion, from weddings to funerals. Experience the exotic beauty & aroma of our arrangements. Call us – we’re here to help make your event rememberable. 555-555-5555

Of these two descriptions, which inspires prospects to visit their site and actually do something once they’re there, other than just look around? The first simply summarizes what they carry, while the second appeals to a prospects sense of sight and smell and finishes with a call-to-action. Plus, by saying they’re here to help make their event rememberable, they’re saying their focus is on the client and not on the sale. They’re offering solutions, and everyone who has ever taken Sales 101 knows that solutions oriented sales increases close percentages, and ultimately, the business’s ROI (return on investment).

thinking-is-welcomeMany SEO experts believe optimizing Meta Description does ZERO to enhance your organic rankings

Some of these same experts lump Meta Description with No-Follow links, asserting, rather strongly that they don’t help ranking organically, but anything that brings more traffic to your site, by whatever means, has an indirect result on your search ranking. If that increased traffic results in higher bounce rates, that’s bad, but if it results in longer page views and lower bounce rates, that helps.

Some of this is just common sense. If a prospect is compelled to visit your site by reading the description of your site on a search query, that’s a highly targeted visitor, and that’s what we should all be working toward, to maximize our marketing efforts.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage.

Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.




Use statistics as an SEO tool – a tip for success

If you’re hosting mission critical data on your eCommerce website, it’s important that you understand who is visiting your site and why.

After all, when you spend thousands of dollars developing and maintaining an eCommerce website, it makes no sense whatsoever to NOT measure its traffic. Would it be useful to know what keywords visitors query to find your site, or what the majority of entrance and exit pages are? Would it be wise to tweak your site to maximize your conversion ratio? Would that relate to more money in your pocket at the end of the day? The answer to all three questions is YES.

Statistical analysis is a no brainer

Search Engine Marketing & Optimization is crucial to the ongoing success and growth of your online business. Statistical analysis is one piece of that pie – as a reference for formulating and implementing action plans.

For comparison, Search Engine Marketing relates to paid advertisements on search engines –

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Pay Per Thousand Impressions (PPM)
  • Pay per Acquisition or Cost per Sales (PPA)
  • Pay Per Visitor (PPV)

Whereas Search Engine Optimization relates to methods for increasing the ranking of your website on search engines.

Measuring

Monetizing your site starts with understanding what your prospects want and what your competition offers, then integrating that knowledge on your site, constantly measuring trends and tweaking as necessary. The key word is “measuring.” How do you know what to tweak without some sort of measurement?

Fortunately, there are tons of free and paid analytical tools to help you do just that. Google Analytics is probably the most well-known and frequently used tool currently on the Internet, but other tools like Raven, SpyFu and others warrant research.

The key to success is simply outperforming your competition

Understanding how your competition outranks your site gives you some insight on the steps you must take to overtake them. That could be mean comparing the quality of content on their site as it relates to your site. Is it value add? Is it grammatically correct? Does it appeal to the five senses of sight, smell, sound, feel and taste via viral videos? How many backlinks to they have? Where do they advertise and how large is their advertising budget?

SEO is an ongoing process

Reaching page one on Google SERPS is no easy task, but once you finally do make it, you can’t sit back and put your site on autopilot. I guarantee you that your competition is not taking being displaced with grace. Statistical analysis only works as long as it’s continually implemented AND acted upon.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers
Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.




Attitude Sells

What type of attitude? Of course, I mean the RIGHT attitude sells. Even the “perception” of a poor attitude can sour prospects and clients, leading to increased customer churn and diminished sales. Every contact with a prospect or client is an opportunity, if not immediately, then certainly in 30, 60, 90 days or down the road. Every objection is an opportunity, whether it’s in sales or service and your attitude plays heavily on the outcome.

As web hosting providers

In web hosting, sales and service efforts are largely conducted via telephone conversations, email messages or live chat. Do you present an attitude of “I care about you?” in your written or spoken words? Phrases like, “Thank you for this opportunity to help,” and “What can I do to remedy your problem?” help seal your path to success.

Poor attitudes

On various web hosting forums, I frequently read a good number of threads from members complaining about the poor attitudes of their providers. Some are about billing issues, others about downtime, but overall, it’s simply about being treated professionally and with respect.

While some prospects and clients can go overboard (in a negative way) in their discussions, provoking friction – it’s important to maintain control of the conversation in a positive way. Quite often, you can turn the conversation around by simply saying you understand where they’re coming from, and then calmly explain why your policies, prices or whatever are why they are.

professionalismFrom the prospects and customers point of view

It’s become very clear that prospects and clients want results and not excuses. They don’t want to know what you can’t do, rather what you CAN do for them. They don’t care WHY your network is down. They just want their site online NOW. They expect you to be professional. What they don’t expect, but should, would be for you to put forth a whole lot more effort than your competition. Why? Because so few ever have!! Too many vendors sign up a client and then forget about them unless they complain somewhere down the line.

How one percent makes a difference

That extra one percent of effort on your behalf is what can separate satisfied clients from raving fans. When people say the best way to promote your business is through word of mouth, who would you want spreading the word about your company or organization?

Raving fans will promote your company without you even asking. They’ll tell their entire circle of influence – their family members, their friends, their business associates, their drinking buddies and yes, even those in their golfing circle. These are prospects you’d never be able to reach on your own.

team-attitudeThat one percent of effort begins with attitude

Attitudes become either the positive or negative culture of a business. They can be contagious in either direction. Have you ever heard the saying that it only takes one bad apple to spoil the cart? Or the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the most attention?

Poor attitudes are the primary reason for customer churn across all industries. Attitudes begin from the top on down to every last member of a business, from the board of directors to the mail-room clerk. The success of any business depends on the combined efforts of its personnel.

Customers that don’t complain are not necessarily satisfied customers.

How would you know if your customers are satisfied? Ask them, but rephrase your wording to, “Have we exceeded your expectations?” Most clients are brutally honest when asked. There’s a perceived (winning) attitude when you’re friendly, offer to help, follow through on your promises and deliver results to solutions you’ve both agreed upon.

expectationsQuite often, that client you threw in the category of “satisfied” is actually actively researching competitive bids and pricing. For whatever reason, you’re not in their sights for upgraded products or services. Like I said earlier, how would you know? Do you wait until you get a cancellation notice to start trying to salvage the relationship? Sometimes, it’s already too late. Your window of opportunity closed and you didn’t even know it because you had the shades drawn, thinking they were satisfied.

Who would you rather give your hard earned money to?

As evidenced on quite a few web hosting forums, your prospect or client starts talking about you AFTER their dealings with you, sometimes good – sometimes bad. What they say either leads to future opportunities, either with you or your competition. I’ve always heard the biggest enemy in sales is complacency, but I contend that attitude is the make or break factor – up, down and across your organization.

Think about it – who would YOU rather give your hard earned money to? A vendor with a poor attitude or one that goes overboard to help? The choice is simple.

Brought to you by ProlimeHost

We’ve been in the web hosting industry for over a decade, helping hundreds of clients succeed in what they do best and that’s running their business. We specialize in Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore.

VPS Services: Lightning Fast SSD Virtual Servers

Our Virtual Private Servers all feature high performance Xeon processors and SSD storage in a RAID10 configuration to optimize your server’s performance, which dramatically enhances visitor experiences on your site.

That speed is backed by unparalleled 24/7 support, featuring both outstanding response AND resolution times to maximize your uptime.

Now is the time to join the ProlimeHost virtual private server revolution.

Dedicated Servers: Backed by a 99.9% SLA network uptime guarantee

We only use enterprise-class hardware in our dedicated servers and offer a four (4) hour hardware replacement. Throw in IPMI for remote management, support for public and private networks, free operating system (OS) re-installs, and SATA, SAS & SSD (including NVMe) storage. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.