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If you’re a little business owner, you have possibly heard at least one person recommend that you simply learn SEO (search engine optimization) and implement an online strategy for your business. After all, most of the people initial look at the net – either on their smartphones or computers – to search out any business or service.

You understand that you need a website and that it requires a bit work for it to show up on the search engines. so you spend your time – maybe outsource the process – and build a basic website for your business. maybe you use a pre-made guide to get the website up and running.
Then, not much happened.
It turns out that, despite your best efforts, the website isn’t “optimized” enough.
You perceive that, but you didn’t need to deal with all that “SEO stuff.” From everything you heard, search engine optimization takes an excessive amount of time, is too technical, and doesn’t guarantee significant results. so why bother?
A lot of little business owners feel this way. They hear about how necessary it's, but still, hesitate to get started on their own or rent an agency.
Let’s take a glance at a few aspects of SEO that build newcomers hesitant about embracing and using it:

1.  It’s Not a Magic Formula

If you think that SEO is the magic potion for immediate online success and profit, you’ll be sorely disappointed and frustrated. SEO is valuable to your business’s profitability, but it will take time before you’ll see a return on investment (see below for more details on that).

In business, every strategy and the campaign must yield measurable, significant ROI. If it is something that won’t help grow your business, you won’t do it. Because the ROI from SEO is slow in arriving, many small business owners feel that SEO doesn’t have any significance and therefore they relegate it to a lower priority.

Those new to SEO will pour a lot of time and money into it and are often frustrated by the lack of results. This makes many business owners reluctant to begin an SEO campaign and to stick it out for the long haul.

The results will eventually come if the strategy is done right. They just won’t be immediate.

SEO is an invaluable strategy for one’s business and should not be ignored. Be patient and look for logical processes, not magic.

2.  It Takes Too Much Time

Those new to SEO think that this kind of online marketing strategy is a long, complicated process that includes many parts. While there are a lot of factors to consider when optimizing your website, they don’t need to be all done at the same time.

Similar to point #1 above, those new to SEO are also often reluctant to start a pricey and time-consuming SEO strategy when it appears that all the work and effort is done in vain. Again, be patient.

There are a couple options for busy business owners tackling SEO. The first option is to hand over all the SEO tasks and responsibilities to a digital marketing agency. When you simply don’t have the time to do it yourself, of course, you can delegate the entire process to an SEO company. This way, you can spend your time running your business while the agency runs the online campaign.

|Consult with a pro about developing your company’s SEO strategy.|

The other option is to tackle the SEO yourself. Don’t start off trying to do it all, but piecemeal it a little bit at a time. You’ll save money and learn about SEO, but you’ll spend a lot of time in the process.

3.  SEO is Too Technical

Many small business owners new to SEO have this idea that SEO is a complicated, technical process that is done by a web developer or a “smart computer nerd.” They feel unqualified to implement SEO, or even attempt to learn it.

Many elements of SEO, however, can be done by virtually anyone. You don’t need a background in technical computer networking or development. Basic SEO is easy to learn and only takes a few hours of learning. When your company is young and you’re new to SEO, it is best to only focus on implementing a few, simple, fundamental SEO elements and tactics.

There are many technical elements to it, too (we’ll get to those in a moment), and many small businesses are worried that agencies will try to overwhelm them with a ton of industry-specific terms and strange claims.

Don’t let that worry you, though. Just explain your concerns and ask plenty of questions, and a good agency will walk you through every part of the strategy.

4.  The Punishment and Penalties

If you’re pursuing SEO yourself, you’ll inevitably hear of Google’s SEO penalties. It is true that there are a lot of potential penalties out there for the unwary. And if you’re doing SEO on your own you may read about a foolproof method to achieve rankings, just to find out a month later that this is one of the things Google absolutely despises.

We understand that you may be concerned about this kind of thing, which is why it’s so important to build strategies around the known best practices. This is another reason why many small businesses prefer using agencies for this work – as long as they have a long history of providing effective strategies that don’t risk the wrath of Google.

5.  Their Brand May Appear Gimmicky

Some business owners are reluctant to begin and implement an SEO strategy because they believe doing so would make them look gimmicky. This is usually because they’ve read about or seen instances in which SEO is used as a questionable strategy to earn and buy traffic.

While SEO in the past had earned a bad reputation for being just that: a cheap, gimmicky way to cheat the search system and buy traffic, it has since changed. SEO now aims to provide web users valuable information, not merely tricking search engines.

It’s easy to fixate on many of these old tactics, and if you know what you’re looking for, you can spot the SEO tactics on a website. But, in general, the best SEO practices have moved away from the formulaic processes. The technical aspects of SEO should remain in the background. The writing and the design the design, though, should be more directly related to the user experience.

6.  Getting Traffic but Not Customers

One of the widely talked about aspects of SEO are keywords. Keyword research and targeting is a common tactic that is immediately initiated when you start up a new campaign. If you’re doing this on your own, you may immediately run into the vast number of relevant keywords and feel a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities.

How do you decide which ones to focus on for your SEO strategy?

Learning about keyword analytics and coming up with buyer personas can help you get an idea which words your website is already ranking for and which ones searchers are using to find your website. You can also identify keywords based on volume, relevance, and level of competition.

The more that you analyze your site and find patterns in keywords, the quicker and easier it will be to identify keywords that target the audience that is ready to convert from normal traffic to paying customers.

7.  SEO’s Complexity

You were probably a little surprised when you first found out about all the factors that are taken into account to rank websites. In fact, it is estimated that there are more than 200 factors Google considers when ranking websites (and some say that “200” is just a convenient round number and that the actual number of ranking factors is much higher).

How can you possibly tackle all of them? The apparent complexity of SEO is often enough to scare away business owners who don’t want to take the time and effort to deal with it all. Or, they may go the other way and begin to fixate on a single ranking factor, sure that it is key to their ultimate success and let the others  

Some business owners are content with learning about and implementing a few basic SEO strategies for their websites. This is a good start, but the full power and potential of SEO will never be fully realized.  

While large companies with huge budgets may be able to deal with these complexities all at once, smaller companies can focus on slowly implementing more elements over time. The slow-and-steady approach may not seem as spectacular, but you can build your rankings and customer base over time.  

It is understandable that you may be hesitant and leery of taking the time and effort and making the investment in SEO. If you’re new to SEO, these fears are common. Knowing what to expect from an SEO strategy beforehand can help calm some of those fears.

SEO does take time, money and effort. The fears that SEO is too complicated, technical, gimmicky and involve possible penalties are common misconceptions people new to SEO have. Once you learn more about SEO yourself, you’ll become more comfortable and confident to implement your own strategy or work closely with an agency.

Facebook advertising is a big and growing business: companies spent more than $9 billion on Facebook ads in the second quarter of 2017 alone. That’s an increase of 47 percent (Nearly $3 billion) from the same period in 2016.

Why advertise on Facebook?

At last count, more than two billion people were using Facebook. And those users are highly engaged with the content posted on the network: More than 800 million people like something on Facebook every single day.

Of course, when it comes to getting the biggest bang for your advertising buck, too large an audience can actually be a bad thing. After all, you only want to pay to expose your brand to people who might be interested in doing business with you. Fortunately, Facebook offers multiple layers of targeting, so you can focus your Facebook ads on exactly the right audience for your business to maximize ROI.

We’ll get into the specifics of targeting Facebook ads later on in this post, but for now keep in mind that Facebook’s huge, global audience combined with the ability to target your ad by demographics, location, interests, and behaviors allows you to access the exact people who are most likely to want to buy your products or services.

Need more convincing? Consider this: 95.8 percent of social media marketers worldwide said Facebook provides the best ROI of all social platforms.

With your competitors already seeing meaningful results from Facebook ads and increasing their spend, it’s high time to develop a Facebook advertising strategy of your own.

Types of Facebook Ads

Facebook offers 10 campaign objectives based on what you want your ad to accomplish. For each of those objectives, you can choose various ad formats based on your chosen goal and target audience.

Before we dig into some specific Facebook ad examples and the technical requirements for each format, let’s take a quick look at how the different types of Facebook campaigns align with business goals:

  • App installs: Encourage installations of your mobile or desktop app.
  • Brand awareness: Introduce your brand to a new audience.
  • Conversions: Get people to take a specific action on your website (like subscribe to your list or buy your product).
  • Engagement: Expose a post to a wide audience to increase the number of Likes, comments, shares, or photo views; increase your number of Page Likes; promote an event.
  • Lead generation: Get new prospects into your sales funnel.
  • Reach: Expose your ad to as many people in your audience as possible.
  • Product catalog sales: Connect your Facebook ads to your product catalog to show people ads for the products they are most likely to want to buy
  • Store visits: Drive customers to brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Traffic: Drive traffic to a specific webpage.
  • Video views: Show your video to a large audience to increase brand awareness.
     

Facebook ads: Guidelines and examples

Now that you understand the various Facebook campaign objectives, let’s explore the various Facebook advertising formats.

Photo Facebook ads

  • Facebook ad specs: One image plus text
  • Campaign types: All except video views
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Text limit: 90 characters
  • Headline text limit: 25 characters

Note: Since Facebook doesn’t want people’s newsfeeds to be filled with text-heavy images screaming for attention, you need to keep your text overlays to less than 20 percent of your image.

Video Facebook ads

  • Facebook ad specs: One video plus text
  • Campaign types: All
  • Facebook ad image sizes (thumbnail): Minimum width 600 pixels; match length to video aspect ratio
  • Text limit: 90 characters
  • Headline text limit: 25 characters
  • Facebook ad dimensions: Video aspect ratio of 16:9 (full landscape) or 1:1 (square) for all objectives; other aspect ratios available for specific campaign types
  • Maximum video length: 120 minutes

Video ads can create massive engagement—if they’re done right

Slideshow Facebook ads

  • Facebook ad specs: A video automatically created from up to 10 still images
  • Campaign types: All except post engagement and product catalog sales
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Text limit: 90 characters

Facebook Carousel ads

  • Facebook ad specs: Up to 10 photos or videos plus text
  • Campaign types: All except post engagement and product catalog sales
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Text limit: 90 characters
  • Headline text limit: 40 characters (for images) or 25 characters (for video)
  • Maximum video length: Two minutes combined

Facebook Collection ads

  • Facebook ad specs: A mobile-only ad format that showcases multiple products or features
  • Campaign types: Conversions, traffic
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Facebook ad dimensions: Video aspect ratio of 16:9 (full landscape) or 1:1 (square)
  • Headline text limit: 25 characters
  • Maximum video length: 120 minutes

Facebook Canvas ads

  • Facebook ad specs: An immersive ad format incorporating text, up to 20 photos, and video
  • Campaign types: Brand awareness, conversions, engagement
  • Facebook ad size: Fullscreen
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 66 x 882 pixels (header); 1080 x 1920 pixels (full-screen image)
  • Text limit: 500-character text bock

 

Facebook Lead ads

  • Facebook ad specs: A pre-filled lead form that makes it easy to connect people with your business
  • Campaign types: Lead generation
  • Facebook ad image sizes: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Headline text limit: 45 characters
  • Button text limit: 25 characters

Maserati USA used lead ads to collect 21,000 leads, resulting in sales of 127 vehicles.

 

How to advertise on Facebook: Placing your ad

If you already have a Facebook business page you can go the Facebook Ads Manager to create your Facebook ad campaign. If you don’t yet have a business page, you’ll need to create one first.

Step 1: Choose your campaign objective

Choose your campaign objective based on the most important metrics for your business and your goals for this particular ad.

Keep in mind that for conversion-oriented objectives you can pay per action, but for exposure objectives, you will pay for impressions.

 

Step 2: Target your audience

Remember: Effective targeting is key to maximizing ROI—and there’s no shortage of ways to target your audience on Facebook. In addition to targeting by location, gender, and online behaviors, you can hone your audience based on the following:

Connections: You can target people who are either connected or not connected to your Facebook Page. If you want to reach a new audience, under Detailed Targeting, chooses select “Exclude people who like your Page.” If you want to promote an offer or new product, select “People who like your Facebook Page” to reach people who already know your brand.

Custom Audiences: You can build your own audience of people who have already interacted with your business on or off Facebook. Facebook has a good step-by-step guide on how to do this.

 

Lookalike Audiences: This lets you target people who are similar to your existing most valuable audiences.

As you make your selections, keep an eye on the meter on the right side of the page, which indicates the breadth of your audience selection, and the estimated daily reach chart.

 

Step 3: Set your budget and schedule

Next, you decide how much money you want to spend on your Facebook ad. You can choose a daily or lifetime budget, then set the start and end dates if you want to schedule your ad in the future, or choose to place it live right away.

 

You can get into pretty fine detail about how you want to spend your money using the advanced budget options.

 

Keep in mind that running your ad on a schedule may be the most efficient way to spend your ad budget since you can choose only to serve your ad when your target audience is most likely to be on Facebook.

Step 4: Create your Facebook ads

One option is to promote an existing post. If you would prefer instead to create a new ad, first choose your ad format, then enter the text and media components for your ad. Making sure you conform to the Facebook ad image sizes mentioned above for each format.

 

Use the preview tool at the bottom of the page to make sure your ad looks good for all potential placements (mobile, desktop news feed, right column, and so on). When you’re happy with your choices, click the green Confirm button to submit your order, then wait to get an email from Facebook notifying you that your ad has been approved.
 

Facebook ads best practices

Keep these important strategies in mind to make the most of your Facebook advertising efforts.

Experiment with audience targeting

Start with a narrow audience and then broaden it slowly by adding one interest category at a time. For example, you could start with an audience specifically interested in “Napa Valley wine tours” and then broaden after a few weeks, adding “wine tasting,” “food and wine,” and so on. That way, you’ll have a good idea of what’s moving the needle.

If you have a local business, you can target your audience by postal code. This is also helpful if you know a particular city or neighborhood converts well.

Rotate your ads regularly

“Ad fatigue”—or reduced engagement—can occur when people see the same ad too many times. Rather than bombarding your audience with the same ad over and over, switch it up so they are exposed to different elements of your brand offering. Facebook recommends switching your ad once every one to two weeks.

Test everything

Facebook ads are a perfect venue for learning what resonates best with your audience, from ad format to image style to hashtags to the length of copy and tone of voice. Since testing is such an important topic, we’ve got a whole guide on how to do it.

Use Facebook Pixel

A Facebook pixel is a small piece of code that can have a big impact on your Facebook advertising campaigns. Once you place the code on your website, it will allow you to track conversions, remarket to people who have viewed a product on your website, and create lookalike audiences.

Include a call to action

You know what the goal of your Facebook ad is—but do your viewers? Including a call to action (CTA) ensures that the people who see your ad understand what the next step is in developing a relationship with your company.

Use top-notch photos and video

You know what’s a turnoff?  Blur photos Or jumpy videos that make you feel motion sick. Your words are important, sure, but your visuals are what will first grab viewers’ attention and create the first impression.

Make sure you comply with the Facebook ad image sizes for each format, specified above, for the best results. These free stock photo websites can help you source high-quality images to use in your ads.

If you sell a product, Facebook recommends that you try using photos showing people using and benefitting from your product, rather than an image of the product all by its lonesome.

Facebook advertising campaign ideas

Rare to go, but not sure what you should promote your Facebook ads? We’ve put together three campaign strategies to get you started.

Facebook advertising strategy 1: Collect an email

Unless you’re a marketing magician, it’s pretty hard to get people to buy from you the first time you wave to them in a Facebook ad.

For products that take longer to sell, email is your best friend. Facebook makes it pretty simple to collect new email leads. With software such as MailChimp, you can send out automatic emails (say, one email every few days). This helps you build trust and introduce people to your brand before you pitch your product.

STEP 1: In Facebook Ads Manager, choose “Lead Generation” as your campaign objective.

STEP 2: When you create your lead form, choose fields that align with the fields on your email list. Keep it simple: first name, last name, and email address.

 

STEP 3: Use the tool Zapier to automatically send email sign-ups from your Facebook campaigns to your email provider, such as MailChimp.

STEP 4: Do a quick test to make sure data is passing between Facebook and MailChimp.

STEP 5: Launch your ad campaign and watch the emails come rolling in. If you want to get more sophisticated, you can set up a custom automated email sequence in your email provider for Facebook leads. Below is a quick email strategy to use. You can sequence these emails a few days apart:

Facebook advertising strategy 2: Convert a proven piece of content into a video ad

Every brand has a few killer pieces of content that drive the lion’s share of traffic each month. Adapting that content into a short video aimed at Facebook audiences can be a great way to repackage top content for Facebook ads.

STEP 1: Distill the key ideas from your content piece into a few key points you can express in a few words each, or think about ways to convey the same key messages through your visuals. Make sure your call to action matches your video content.

STEP 2: Use one of these social video tools to create your video, or create a slideshow video ad in Facebook Ads Manager.

STEP 3: In Facebook Ads Manager, select “Video Views” as your campaign objective. Upload your video directly to Facebook and push the campaign live.

Facebook advertising strategy 3: Drive a direct sale

If you have a good product, there’s no reason why Facebook can’t generate direct sales. But when asking for a direct sale, you need trust—so if you’re an unknown brand with an untested product, it’s probably best to test the first two Facebook advertising strategies first.

If you’re confident that people will buy your product directly from a Facebook ad and you have a proven product with sales, test this strategy and be sure to measure your results.

STEP 1: In Facebook Ads Manager, select “Conversions” as your campaign objective.

STEP 2: Next, Facebook will ask you which type of conversion event you want to track, such as adding products to a shopping cart or adding payment information. Since you’re trying to drive a direct sale, select “Purchase.” You’ll need to install a Facebook Pixel to track a visitor from your Facebook ad all the way through your shopping cart process to purchase.

STEP 3: Create your ad with a simple and clear copy. What do you offer and how is it different? Give people a reason to buy from this specific ad. For example, maybe you bundle another product as a freebie or include a training webinar. You want people to stop what they are doing and click on your ad to your shopping cart.

STEP 4: Wait and track. Give your campaign at least two weeks before making any changes to copy or creative. Depending on your traffic volume, this should give you enough data to make an educated decision about what’s working, or what changes you might want to test.

When it comes to marketing a brand or business, one of the most debated subjects is what kind of strategy would work to meet organizational goals. In digital marketing, website traffic is among the top priorities of any company, and a ton of research goes to identifying the best strategy that can significantly boost traffic.

Two of these strategies are Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing. Because they’re both capable of directing audiences to a website to increase its visitor count, they are the most common methods to employ. But with the shifting tides on what strategy brings the most traffic referrals, which should you choose to invest in?

To fully understand where each strategy stands, and which can bring you the best results, it’s important to define where the lines are drawn between them.

Prime View defines (organic) SEO as the “grandfather of digital marketing.” Before social media, one of the best ways for a site to rank was through SEO, and optimizing a website requires attention to several vital aspects, such as backlinks, meta-tags, and authentic content.

On the other hand, social media marketing uses social media sites to gain direct traffic to a website by building and cultivating a social presence, whether through paid ads or more natural means of communication and community-building.

 

Despite both aiming to direct traffic to a website, SEO and social media marketing do have certain distinctions between them.

Speed of Execution

  • Social gets the word out and obtains responses quickly.
  • A search takes longer to produce equivalent results.

Reach

  • If you manage to create viral content, you stand a chance of reaching the population cap of the platform you use.
  • The reach of search is set by the number of people who search for specific keywords.

Type of Content

  • Social media is the perfect platform for content that elicits emotions.
  • Informative content, such as how-to articles and industry research is better served by search.

Content Format

  • Image, photos, and videos are great for social media.
  • Textual content, such as blogs, listicles, news and PR posts, etc. are perfect for search.

Target’s Purpose

  • Social media users are more likely to share but less ready to buy.
  • Searchers have a specific purpose in mind for searching and are more likely to act on an offer.

Work Required

  • Social media takes a lot more constant and consistent work to sustain the hype.
  • A search takes some effort to set up initially but will carry itself even when unattended.

Key Performance Indicators

  • Social media relies primarily on measuring engagement.
  • Search is more attuned to traffic and click-through information.

Considering these differences, what then are the strengths and weaknesses between the two that you should consider?

Social Media

Pros

  • The most cost-effective way to gain traffic. Setting up a social media profile is 100% free, and even a small budget on boosting posts or launching social media ads can give you traffic.
  • Social media will start sending targeted traffic to your site once you set up an ad.
  • Peer recommendation is on your side. People can see what their connections are liking and sharing, which bring these posts to their attention.
  • There are fewer algorithm changes. That’s not to say that there haven’t been changes in specific platforms, most notably Facebook, that have negatively impacted businesses, but it’s less of an occurrence.
  • Finding out where you went wrong through your Insights is usually more clear-cut.

Cons

  • Contrary to popular belief, social media also is highly labor-intensive and requires continuous effort. The engagements you’re getting can die out as quickly as they came.
  • Likes, comments, and shares don’t equate to traffic. Some users tend to engage with posts without necessarily checking the site.
  • Social media’s site referral traffic rates are dropping. Shareaholic and Parse.ly both report that search has regained the lead over social for traffic referral in early 2017.

    

SEO

Pros

  • Being the top search results for queries and keywords is a surefire way of telling audiences that you’re one of the most reputable sources out there. You build a lot more trust because even Google says you’re that good.
  • Search engine algorithms are usually stricter and more experience-driven. This makes sure that you’re giving your audience an easy-to-use and readable website.
  • People use search engines first when they’re looking for something. According to a report by Econsultancy, 61% of consumers use search engines to help them in product research before making a purchase.
  • You are not limited by time or budget when it comes to staying a relevant search if you keep up with your SERP rankings.
  • Search is now overtaking social on website traffic referral. Parse.ly found that Google Search accounts for twice as many referrals (44% of all external referral volume) as Facebook (22%). Meanwhile, Shareaholic reports that, in 2017, the top 6 search engines drove 34.8% of measures site visits as opposed to the 25.6% for the top 13 social networks.

Cons

  • SEO is a slow burner. It can take months or years before your website makes it to the top of the SERPs.
  • Google regularly changes its algorithms. It can come out of nowhere and drop your rank by a worrying margin. Google also doesn’t outright confirm many of its algorithm updates, which can confuse marketers.
  • It’s often difficult to figure out exactly where you’re going wrong, how much money SEO is bringing you, or what strategies will help you improve your rankings.

Which Should You Choose?

  • Both strategies have their strengths and weaknesses, but most marketers nowadays agree that it’s vital to use them both. SEO will make sure that your content can be read by search engines, while social media will help you get your content in front of more people faster.
  • Shout Me Loud, however, also notes that it may come down to what content you’re delivering with what’ll work better for you. Serious, text-based content may fare better with SEO. Content about the latest news will reach your audiences faster with social media.
  • In the end, it’s never wise to just put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. While statistics gathered by Marketing Charts show SEO as the most viable strategy, you can still take a gamble with social media for maximum reach.

 

Each and Every day, more and more people think to launch their online or e-commerce stores, but almost instantly they met with more inquiries than answers.

What are the pros and cons of Shopify vs. WordPress?

What platform should I use?

Will I have to pay any fees?

etc…

Like with other things in life, the precise answer to whether you should proceed with Shopify or WordPress is this: It depends…

I know you dislike that answer as much as I do, but hold on, with the precise answer out of the way, we can now focus on the useful one.

So let’s jump into the issue and see when it’s beneficial to use Shopify over WordPress, for whom it’s performing to be a better solution, and why would you even consider Shopify (or WordPress) in the first place.

We analyzed and compared WordPress and Shopify in all the possible perspectives to help you decide between them.

#1. Ease of Use – Which One Is Faster?

Shopify is one of the fastest e-commerce platforms supported by a strong back-end team. Your online shopping store developed on Shopify’s e-commerce platform will load faster as compared to any other web store.

Customers are paying particular attention to the speed of running a website as quick loading website save their time and energy.

WordPress e-commerce platform or Woocommerce require a well-coded website to stand in competition with Shopify on the ground of speed.

Therefore, while using a self-hosted e-commerce platform base for your online shopping store requires a qualified and experienced web designer.

Enthusiastic and committed web developer can keep a check that your online shopping store is working at its peak potential level at all times.

#2. Cost Of Operating In WordPress Vs Shopify

While commencing a small online shopping store, budget performs an essential role in the decision of spending on resources. Although Shopify wins over WordPress in speed, its charges lose out to WordPress balancing the game.

After developing your online shopping store with WordPress, you can sell as many products as you want with no transaction costs. WordPress generates an attractive banner with “Free” flashing over it.

Shopify charges monthly fees for operating your online shopping store and a commission on every transaction. Additionally, if your transactions are done from credit cards, there is an extra fee charged for it.

WordPress website might not give your customers the fastest loading online shopping store, but it will raise your profits bypassing Shopify’s fees.

#3. Creating A Customized Online Shopping Store, WORDPRESS Vs SHOPIFY

WordPress online shopping store is simple to customize. You can add new buttons, customize looks and create a better experience for your e-commerce visitors.

On the other hand, Shopify’s e-commerce platform comes customized which’s hard to modify.

Shopify looks good as it comes but for re-arranging, editions, or any change on the website you need complex coding.

While WordPress is the best e-commerce platform compared to any other leading e-commerce platforms for simple Customization.

Side-By-Side Comparison

WordPress

Shopify

Blogging website with WooCommerce extension

Designed as an eCommerce platform

Users must hunt support from online forums and other users

Users have access to Shopify’s support team

Must be hosted on another website with own security

Hosted, secure platform

Low costs

Low costs (monthly plan fee, the transaction fee)

Useful for blogging and SEO

Can build a blog as needed, but the focus is on eCommerce

Limited selection of themes, many of which cost money

Broad selection of themes, many free

Best for small or medium-sized businesses

Suitable for small or medium-sized businesses

 

Shopify Vs WordPress Vs WooCommerce: The conclusion?

If you are a small business owner with additional disposable income and less time to dedicate to building a website, it might be a better choice to go with Shopify.

Additionally, Shopify might be the best choice for local businesses that are not looking to develop their services beyond their surrounding market.

But if you have a custom integration that you require to get your business to work and are on a modest budget, you will require taking a look at WooCommerce and WordPress as your alternative of choice.

For winning fame among users that are looking for your solution, the SEO options cannot be beaten by the WordPress and WooCommerce tools.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to build your own online shop with Shopify.

I’ll cover all the basics and bit more, so you could get your online store up and running ASAP.

Let’s get started…

How to Set up Your Own Online Shop with the Help of Shopify

Signing up with Shopify and starting your store couldn’t be any easier and they even offer a 14-day free trial to get you going.

To launch your Shopify store, you must sign up for an account.

1. Sign Up with Shopify

To start, visit Shopify.com. Use the signup form to start creating an account.

Enter the required details and then click the ‘Create your store now' button.

Your store name needs to be unique or Shopify will ask you to choose something else.

After this initial screen, you’ll be asked for a few more details, these include your name, address, country and a contact number.

You will also be asked if you have products and, if so, what you aim to sell. If you’re just trying out Shopify to see if it works for you, you can select ‘I’m just playing around’ in the Do you have products? dropdown, and ‘I’m not sure’ in the ‘What will you sell?’ section.

Once complete, click ‘I’m done’.

2. Start Setting Up Your Online Shop

After you’ve signed up you’ll be directed straight to your store admin screen. Now you are ready to start customizing your store’s look, uploading products and setting up payments and shipping.

3. Choose a “Theme” or “Layout”

Shopify has its own official theme store. These themes are all guaranteed to have full support from the designers so you know your store is in good hands.

All themes come with a comprehensive list of modifications you can make without having to touch a line of code. The premium themes come with more modifications, but that’s not to say you can’t achieve a great looking site with a free one. These changes are outlined in the next section.

If you want to make wholesale changes to a theme, there are very few limitations on what can be achieved by accessing the HTML and CSS. Don’t worry if you haven’t got any coding experience. Shopify has an international team of design agencies they call ‘Shopify Experts’ that you can hire to fully customize your site.

To find a theme that suits your needs we recommend the following:

1. Browse the Theme Store

Log into Shopify and visit the Shopify Theme Store at themes.shopify.com. Here you’ll find over 180 theme variations to choose from, including a good selection of free ones.

You can filter by paid or free, industry and by features. You can also sort themes by price, popularity, and most recent.

2. Check the functionality and reviews

Once you’ve found a theme you like, click on the theme’s sample image. You’ll be given more information about the theme, such as whether the theme is responsive/mobile ready among other features.

Scroll down to read some reviews to find out what e-tailers using the theme think of it.

3. Preview the theme

To see the theme in action, click View Demo. You’ll see this below the green ‘Preview Theme in your Store’ button.

If the theme comes in a range of styles, you can also view demos of the different styles by clicking on them.

4. Get the theme

Once you’ve found a theme you like, click the green button.

Shopify will ask you to confirm that you want to install the theme.

Click Publish as my Shop’s Theme.

Don’t worry if you’re not 100% sure it’s the right theme for you. You can always change your mind later.

After the theme has installed, Shopify will let you know and will give you the option to Go to your Theme Manager. Click this.

Your theme manager shows published themes (the one you installed or activated most recently) and unpublished themes below (previously installed themes).

4. Edit Shopify Settings

The majority of Shopify themes allow you to make simple changes that can massively change the appearance of your store, so you can rest assured knowing you won’t end up with a website that looks like a clone of thousands of other stores.

On your admin screen, select ‘Themes’ from the left-hand navigation menu. On this page you will see your live theme in a box at the top, in the top right-hand corner of that box will be two buttons. The first one is of three dots, which gives you some basic settings changes. One of these allows you to make a duplicate of the theme. We highly recommend you do this in case you make some changes you don’t like, then you can delete the duplicate and start again. The second button says ‘Customize Theme’. If you click that you will be taken to a page that controls all the basic functionality of your store. This is a great time for you to have a thorough play with the settings and test out all the features so you can find out what your site is capable of.

 

Changing colors in your theme

The most common features will include:

  • Uploading logos
  • Uploading slides to a homepage carousel
  • Adding related item functionality to product pages
  • Choosing how many items appear on each line of the collection pages
  • Colour schemes
  • Font choices.

Some themes will also allow you to reposition elements on pages such as showing product images on the left, right or center of the page. You can also choose whether you want to display social like/tweet/pin/+1 buttons.

5. Add Your Products to The Store

From the bar on the left select ‘Products’. You will then see a blue ‘Add a product’ button in the top right-hand corner of the page. Especially look at those that will help with SEO such as name, description, and URL. Also, include as much detail about variants as possible to help inform customers about your items.

This is also the screen where you upload product pictures. Once the images are uploaded you can rearrange them so don’t worry about uploading them in any particular order.

Product images can make a sale so make sure you show your products off to their best and highlight any special or unique features with close up photos. To keep your store looking tidy we suggest you keep all images the same dimensions. Unless of course, you plan to make your collection pages look like a Pinterest board.

Once everything is filled out always remember to click the ‘Save product’ button in the top and bottom right-hand corners.

Set up collections (a group of products)

A collection is any group of products that have some feature in common that customers might look for when visiting your store. For example, your customers might be shopping for:

  • Clothes specifically for men, women, or children
  • Items of a certain type, such as lamps, cushions, or rugs
  • Items on sale
  • Items in a certain size or color
  • Seasonal products such as holiday cards and decorations.

Products can appear in any number of collections. Usually, you would display your collections on your homepage and in the navigation bar. This helps customers find what they’re looking for without having to click through your whole catalog.

Manual and automatic collections

When you add a new collection, you can select how products should be added to it. These are the two options:

  • Manually -
You add and remove products in a manual collection individually.
  • Automatically -
You can set up selection conditions to automatically include products that meet certain criteria.

Payment gateways

A payment gateway allows you to take payment from your customers via your website. The price and commission rate is important, but it’s also important to see what features they offer. Not all payment gateways are created equal.

You need to look at the following when choosing the right payment gateway for you.

  • Transaction Fees

When you take a payment, some gateways will keep a small percentage or flat fee (or sometimes both) for letting you use their service. Compare these based on what your anticipated sales are.

  • Card Types

You need to know what types of card are accepted by your chosen Payment Gateway. All accept VISA and Mastercard, while most accept American Express. Paypal is also popular for online payments.

  • Offsite Checkout

Some gateways will take the payment on their own servers via their own form. This means the customer is taken away from your checkout and they pay on the form provided by your payment gateway. They are then redirected to your confirmation page once the customer successfully pays. This allows you to have a bit more control of the checkout process. Now you can circumvent Shopify’s limitations in that they don’t let you customize the checkout other than with CSS.

Payment gateway transaction fees are added on top of Shopify’s own transaction fees. However, as of November stores based in the US and UK can use Shopify Payments. Depending upon your Shopify plan, you can save on these extra costs. Relative to your plan you will receive these highly appealing rates.

  • Basic 2.4% + 20p
  • Professional 2.1% + 20p
  • Unlimited 1.8% + 20p

Depending on how many transactions you make every month it could be worth upgrading to take advantage of these savings.

If you live in the US or UK your store will automatically use Shopify Payments. To complete this, click the ‘Complete Shopify Payments account setup’ button found in Settings > Payments. If you wish to use a third party gateway you can use the ‘enable payment gateways’ link on the same page.

6. Get Your Online Shop “LIVE”

Before your site can go live you need to add a few more details about your company and how you plan to make deliveries and pay tax.

General

Make sure all your business information is filled out on this page. Also, make sure to make use of the Google Analytics feature. This can prove to be an invaluable source for tracking your store visitors.

Taxes

  • Go to the Products page of your admin
  • Click on the name of a given product.
  • Scroll down to the section called “Inventory & variants”.
  • Click on the edit link next to your Product Variant to open a dialog window.
  • Make sure the checkboxes next to Charge taxes and Requires shipping are checked if you need to include these with your products.
  • Some stores won’t need to charge taxes or shipping on products like digital goods. On the other hand, a T-shirt store will likely need to charge both.
  • If you are planning to ship your product to customers, make sure to enter the product’s weight in the appropriate field.

Shipping

If your shipping rates are too narrow, or you don’t give enough options, you may lose out on some sales. Shopify will only calculate a shipping rate for your customers based on the rules that you define in the Shipping page of the admin. To make sure you won’t lose any sales:

 

  • From your store admin, go to the Settings > Shipping page.
  • In the “Shipping rates” section, look to see if you have set a weight-based shipping rate and adjust it according to your product’s specifications.

Test your order system

To test your system you can simulate a transaction using Shopify’s Bogus Gateway.

To use the Bogus Gateway:

  • From your store Admin, click Settings, then Payments to go to your Payments settings
  • If you have a credit card gateway enabled, deactivate it before continuing. (Click Edit, then Deactivate, then confirm your deactivation.)
  • In the Accept credit cards section, click Select a Credit Card Gateway to open the drop-down menu.
  • Scroll down the list to other, then click (for testing) Bogus Gateway.
  • Click Activate (or Reactivate, if you’ve used the Bogus Gateway before).
  • Go to your storefront and place an order as a customer would. At checkout, enter the following credit card details instead of genuine numbers:

Testing a real payment gateway with a genuine transaction:

  • Make sure you’ve set up the payment gateway you want to test.
  • Make a purchase from your store as a customer would, and complete checkout using genuine credit card details.
  • Cancel the order immediately, to refund yourself and avoid paying transaction fees.
  • Log in to your payment gateway to make sure the funds went through.

Is this free?

Yes – just be sure to cancel and refund the order soon after you place it.

If your billing cycle hits after you’ve placed the test order but before you cancel it, the transaction fees will appear on your bill. You can still cancel after paying your bill to Shopify, but you’ll receive the refund as a transaction credit on your account. You can use transaction credits to pay future transaction fees.

7. Consider Buying a Domain Name

To get your site live you’ll need a domain name. You have two choices for this. Firstly you can buy a domain from Shopify and it will be added to your store automatically. This saves you time, especially if you have no knowledge of hosting a website. These domains typically cost $9-$14 USD per year. Your second option is to purchase a domain from a third party such as GoDaddy. These domains start from $1.99 USD a year. The downside is that you’ll have to redirect the DNS records yourself which can seem daunting at first.

Here are the steps to put your new Shopify store live on a third party domain name.

  • Add the new domain in Shopify

In the Shopify admin, from the left-hand navigation go to Settings and then Domains and add your domain name using the ‘Add an existing domain’ button.

  • Update DNS records

Login to your domain registrar and make the required changes.

  • Remove any storefront passwords

Otherwise, no one will be able to access your site even once it’s live.

  • Set as primary if relevant

Whilst in Settings > Domains, you can choose your main domain by using the drop-down at the top of the screen:

Ensure that you also check the ‘Redirect all traffic to this domain’. This means that traffic to all other domains will be directed to your primary domain. This is crucial for good SEO.

  • Adding other domains 

You can repeat steps 1 and 2 with other domain names you own. All domain names will redirect to the ‘Primary’ domain, which you can change at any time with the ‘Set as primary’ option next to each domain name.

Note that the number of domain names you own has no influence on SEO.

 

Conclusion

And that is all there is to it. In theory, you can have a great looking, unique and fully-functioning store in less than half an hour without having to be a web expert. This way you can spend most of your time marketing your product rather than having to maintain the site.

In regards to customization, Shopify allows almost every aspect of their templates to be altered in some way. You can also change the functionality of most parts of your site. On top of this, they also have the largest app store for added functionality. Comparatively, Volusion only has one template that can only have minor changes made to it.

The only real downside is not being able to fully customize your checkout. Shopify restricts access to this page for security reasons. However the checkout comes fully responsive, so it will work perfectly for customers shopping on mobile devices.

 

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