Is it finally time for your ecommerce business to start taking voice search seriously?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Whether you personally consider smart assistant devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home to be the future of online communication or a mere gimmick, the mere fact that more and more of us are becoming owners of them should cause ecommerce store owners to sit up and take notice.

Indeed, it was reported just earlier this year that almost a quarter (22%) of UK households now had a voice-controlled digital home assistant device like those we mentioned above.

This is quite the jump on the 11% figure recorded in 2017 – and with 41% of households having indicated that they plan to own such a device in the next five years, the actual ownership percentage at present may already be a lot higher.

No less crucial, however, is how we are using these devices

As recently as August, it was reported that almost 60% of smart speaker owners in the UK had used their device to shop in the last month. However, nearly half – 45% – felt that they weren’t really getting the most out of their devices, which indicates just how much of a burgeoning opportunity voice ecommerce might well be for many online retailers.

Moreover, Google has predicted that half of all searches will be initiated by voice by next year. So, is now the time to start re-jigging your own ecommerce portal for the emerging era of voice-activated shopping, or is the hype around it still outpacing the reality?

There are very real complexities to shopping by voice

Unfortunately, if there’s any reason for you to not invest a huge amount of time and money into readying your site for voice-initiated shopping just yet, it’s the sheer awkwardness and difficulty of trying to search for and purchase products using voice alone, at least for now.

For one thing, even with simple goods such as T-shirts, there are just so many attributes and variables for shoppers to compare and choose from – think the likes of size, colour, style, fabric, price, brand and so on.

And, while artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly continuing to improve, it’s still got some way to go until shoppers can be assured of a concise and easy path for sorting through the various choices before them as far as product specifications are concerned.

Nonetheless, voice-based shopping is a field to keep an eye on

Even if the AI in today’s voice assistants isn’t quite up to the task just yet of conducting the sophisticated conversations that many customers will expect if they are to start making serious use of this method of online shopping, the seeds of such development have certainly been planted.

As a consequence, voice shopping is creeping up and up on many ecommerce store owners’ priority lists – and it should be doing the same on yours.

As for what you can do right now to boost the relevance and usefulness of your e-tail portal for the current preferences and needs of your customers and those that they are likely to have in 2020 and beyond, get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today for a more in-depth conversation.

You’re welcome to contact us at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and when you do, we’ll be pleased to advise you on the best steps to take with your ecommerce website design to achieve the results that you want.

Your site won’t rank well if Google doesn’t even consider it a high-quality one

Piranha Designs - Monday, September 23, 2019

You might not exactly need to be told that Google places a big emphasis on ‘quality’ when adjusting the algorithms that ultimately determine how well sites rank in its search results. But how, exactly, does Google define ‘quality’? Well, that’s been a matter of longstanding confusion and frustration among many online business owners.

A recent Google blog post, however, shed considerable light on what the search engine considers to be ‘quality’ in a website.

Indeed, it listed a series of questions for those optimising their sites with a view to getting them to rank well, across the four subcategories of “content and quality”, “expertise”, “presentation and production” and “comparative”.

So, let’s summarise what Google addressed in the questions it came up with, so that you can make the tweaks your own site might need to achieve strong rankings.

Content and quality

Google’s questions in this subcategory – including “Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?” and “Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book” – show a concern for genuine quality in the content that a given site publishes.

If your site’s content pieces thoroughly analyse relevant topics from multiple angles, incorporating original information or research beyond the obvious things that plenty of other sites are already saying, you can expect Google to give you high rankings in response.

Expertise

It isn’t exactly a secret that Google places a big emphasis on authority when ranking sites, and that this has been addressed in its algorithms, with inbound links conferring authority based on the linking sites’ own topic and quality.

However, your site’s content and the authors who write it also impact on your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. Do the people writing your content, then, have positive reputations and prominence in your industry? Are they active on other sites and platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, and are they regulars on relevant industry forums?

If the answer to too many of these questions is “no”, these are aspects that you might wish to develop in the authors who contribute to your site.

Presentation and production

If Google is even addressing the subjects of presentation and production in its definition of quality, these can hardly be regarded as merely ‘superficial’ matters.

In any case, they should never have been considered to be ‘superficial’ by anyone. After all, should you expect to be able to win the trust of both shoppers and search engines if there are misspellings or grammatical errors on your site?

In its blog piece, Google presented a number of presentation and production questions that were especially interesting with regard to what could trigger manual penalties or lower algorithmic rankings.

These included “Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content”, and “Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”

Comparative

Finally, Google also put forth a few comparative questions, focused on how well a site compares to its rivals in terms of quality.

It’s well worth bearing in mind, after all, that your site doesn’t need to be perfect to achieve strong rankings – it just needs to be better than the sites it’s competing with for certain keyword phrases.

Is SEO quality a subject that has been concerning you as you look to optimise your site for better rankings in the months and years ahead? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team.

We provide acclaimed search engine marketing packages that will help your brand to ensure consistently great quality across every key aspect of its presence on the web.

These 5 simple changes to your product pages could transform your sales

Piranha Designs - Friday, August 23, 2019


Many of us are familiar with the tactic that brick-and-mortar stores often use of placing items at the eye level of the likely customer to help to tempt them into purchasing. So, is this a strategy that you can also adopt for your ecommerce site?

The truth is... yes and no. Adjusting your shopping site’s product pages to lure prospective buyers often isn’t as simple as it might seem to be.

However, there are still certain relatively straightforward things that you can do to encourage visitors to complete their journey from casual browsers to committed buyers, such as the below.

Use fixed headers and footers

These are the elements at the top and bottom of a page that remain fixed in place even while the visitor scrolls up and down; it’s an especially powerful feature on the smaller screens of smartphones. Maybe such a header or footer could be just the place to put an ever-present ‘add to cart’ icon or reminder of the free shipping that you offer on all orders of more than £50?

Indicate the scarcity of your products

All that it takes are some simple icons and text to convey to the user that there isn’t many of a certain item left, thereby instilling some urgency in them to complete the purchase.

Ensure a consistent amount of white space

If the primary images for your products vary widely in terms of the amount of white space they have surrounding them – perhaps because one image supplied by the manufacturer shows the item relatively far away from the camera, while the manufacturer’s image for another product shows it up close – such inconsistency might not be helping you to close sales for certain goods.

You might therefore wish to take steps to ensure a more consistent amount of white space across your main product images, such as by more tightly cropping particular images.

Make a fuss about the item’s popularity

Stating that a given product is popular isn’t merely you ‘hyping it up’ more than it deserves – indeed, it may actually be a reasonable and accurate reflection of how sought-after that item is, thereby helping your customers in their buying decisions.

Advertise special offers and other sweeteners around the ‘add to cart’ button

Once the shopper’s cursor is hovering near that ‘add to cart’ button, you’ve got them (almost) in the palm of your hand. So, why not push them into clicking by making it irresistible for them with surrounding text highlighting the free delivery that the store offers for this product, or the extra goodies the buyer will get for free if they input a provided voucher code?

There you have it – some modest tweaks that could make a vital extra contribution to bolstering your site’s sales. As for how you can begin to discuss the overall shape your ecommerce store should take, why not get in touch with Piranha Designs’ experts in ecommerce websites today?

Is your ecommerce site doing enough to attract Generation Z?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Are you already exhausted of trying to suss out what the Millennial market wants from your online store? Well, unfortunately, your work is hardly over even once you have, thanks to the recent emergence of another demographic – Generation Z – that differs markedly in several key ways even from Millennials.

Why does it matter to cater specifically to this generation?

It would be so easy to think of Generation Z – which tends to be roughly defined as those born between 1995 and 2010 – as simply a younger subset of the Millennial generation.

However, the oldest Millennials – a group born between around the early 1980s and the late 1990s – are now nearing their 40s, whereas the oldest Generation Zers are only now entering their early 20s. That makes for a very real difference in terms of the perspective that these generations have on the world around them, not least as Generation Z is the first ‘digital-native’ generation.

While many Millennials knew of a world before easy and widespread access to the World Wide Web, with even the youngest of them born well before Apple unveiled its first iPhone, Generation Zers are not only digital natives – they’re also ‘mobile-first’ social media natives, many of them not even owning a desktop computer.

What the statistics indicate for your ecommerce store

Now, you might imagine that given the above background, you’ll need to place a greater emphasis on a slick mobile ecommerce experience if you are to attract Generation Zers, than was even the case for the also tech-proficient Millennial generation. You’d be right, too – but the statistics also paint a picture of a generation with a slightly complex relationship with online and offline shopping.

For example, while a report provided to Marketing Dive revealed that three quarters of Generation Zers prefer to do most of their shopping online when they can out of convenience, 80% said they looked forward to shopping in stores when they had the time.

Furthermore, the report showed signs of the frustration that many Generation Z shoppers can often feel with the mobile ecommerce experience, 38% saying it was difficult to find what they needed online, and 35% expressing discomfort with the notion of even making purchases online.

On this subject, it is important to note that Generation Zers are associated with a tendency to value experiences over material things, which in many ways, transfers to their expectations of ecommerce shopping. This is a generation that values a swift, slick and even interactive experience when they purchase online, not unlike that provided by the social media sites to which they are so accustomed.

All of this is likely to inform many of the decisions that you make about the design of your ecommerce store when you work with a trusted web design agency like Piranha Designs.

Get talking to us now about your website design needs

Would you like to partner with highly skilled and experienced specialists when the time comes to refresh or overhaul the design of your website, or to create a comprehensive ecommerce presence from scratch? In that case, the Piranha Designs team stands ready to assist.

Give our friendly and seasoned professionals a call today for a no-obligation discussion of your requirements from your next ecommerce site, whatever the generation to which your brand is most trying to appeal.

A few ways to better optimise your on-site videos for the search engines

Piranha Designs - Friday, August 02, 2019

It’s probably not news to you that video is becoming an increasingly central element of online marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) – indeed, there’s an abundance of statistics to suggest precisely this. Did you know, for instance, that 83% of participants in one recent study said video content was gaining in importance, compared to the mere 5% who perceived it was becoming less important?

Despite such figures, however, all too many website owners are still failing to take all of the steps that they can do to optimise their videos for organic search. So, what are some of the measures we would advise you to adopt here at Piranha Designs?

Make sure the topic is actually interesting

When we say ‘interesting’ here, we do – of course – mean ‘interesting’ to your target viewers, rather than necessarily to you. Is the product you’re trying to sell one that the viewer could better appreciate if you provided a 360-degree view of it, or showed it ‘in action’? Or maybe there’s a common problem that you could explain a solution for in video form?

One thing is almost certain – your viewers probably won’t want to see an out-and-out advertisement, unless you’re a household-name brand. Keyword research – as we provide as part of all of our search marketing packages here at Piranha Designs – could be instrumental in enabling you to pick out some suitable video topics.

Produce videos of the highest quality

The term ‘video quality’ can apply to several things, including the literal image and production quality, as well as how well-structured the video content is, and how effective the video is at resolving shoppers’ needs. Whatever – all of these types of ‘quality’ count as far as your SEO is concerned.

Choose an attractive thumbnail

Given that your video’s default thumbnail may not be a very accurate reflection of the entire video, there’s likely to be considerable scope for you to select a thumbnail that is both more attractive and relevant.

If you fail to do this, searchers might not click on your video at all, or they may click on it and immediately leave after a few seconds of watching – and both of these things, if they occur frequently, can have adverse consequences for search engine rankings.

Have a well-structured video section

The structure of your site can play a fundamental role in how quickly its pages are indexed – so why not apply this same lesson to your video SEO, by effectively treating your videos like you would a blog?

Not only can your video pages themselves be optimised with appropriate title tags and relevant descriptions, but they can also each be assigned to a category – again, as routinely happens with blog posts. Also ensure that the category page includes links to every single video page on your site, to make search engine crawlers’ task of navigating your site easier.

Are you on the lookout for an agency that can provide the most in-depth website design and SEO marketing expertise, as part of services that are perfectly matched to your organisation’s needs? If so, we would be pleased to discuss your requirements with you, and how our team could fulfil them; simply call or email us in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today.

How can a great user experience go hand in hand with great SEO?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, July 11, 2019

Are you constantly doing seemingly ‘all of the right things’ with the optimisation of your website for the search engines, only to find the high rankings you’ve worked so hard to achieve aren’t even bringing you a noticeable uplift in sales and loyal customers... that is, if your rankings are even climbing at all?

If so, your big problem may be that you’ve overlooked the crucial connection between user experience – or ‘UX’, as it’s frequently referred to in web design and development circles – and SEO.

You see, the two things have a very intimate relationship. Just imagine having two equally renowned high-street stores to choose from for a particular product, with the item being priced the same in both places... except that at one store, the staff are so much nicer, more responsive to your queries and more informative when answering your questions.

In theory, you might still buy the product at the ‘other’ store... but it’s the one that provides an especially great experience that you are especially likely to purchase the item from.

So, how does effect manifest for ecommerce stores?

Let’s continue with the offline analogy for a bit. You go to said brilliant store, you buy the product, you’re satisfied and you go back to that store again and again in the future, consistently benefitting from a brilliant service. You tell your friends and relatives how good this store is, and the store gains such a reputation that it is featured prominently in local directories, newspapers and magazines.

Well, there’s a similar thing going on for online stores that provide a superb user experience.

These sites don’t suffer from such high ‘bounce rates’ – the online store equivalent of someone heading into a shop, and then going straight back out again – while the more pleasurable browsing and buying experience for visitors lends itself to heightened ratings, referrals and inbound links.

A few quick ways to bolster your UX – and with it, your SEO

OK, so you might turn to Piranha Designs to undertake more in-depth optimisation of your site’s user experience – but here are a few quick tips to give you some inspiration and ideas. You might want to try...

  • Ensuring your site’s internal links are to pages that are genuinely relevant and useful for shoppers – there’s little point in linking to the page you’re already on, for example
  • Optimising for faster page loading times, in light of the Google study that showed conversions fell by 12% for every second of load time
  • Giving customers an equally pleasurable experience on mobile and desktop, in recognition of the fact that more than half of Google’s global search results are served from its mobile-first index
  • Going into greater depth with your content. Be careful here – length alone won’t translate into higher rankings, but content that is genuinely more informative and useful for visitors than what your rivals are serving up might well do
  • Targeting keyword themes and words that fit in well with what you’re offering to the customer, instead of being intended purely to drive search volume

Get in touch today with the Piranha Designs team at our Gibraltar, Edinburgh or London offices, and we’d be delighted to talk to you about our website design and SEO services that will help you to maximise your site’s user experience and with it, your brand’s online fortunes.

3 ways to shorten image loading times on your site

Piranha Designs - Monday, July 08, 2019

The reasons to have images on your website at all should be more than obvious when you consider what your site would be like without them. In short, it would be a rather dull place that would be relatively ineffective at inspiring visitors or giving them an accurate impression of your products or services. But are you allowing a love of sophisticated imagery to impact on other aspects of the user experience – such as how long it takes your pages to load? 

Believe it or not, it’s more than possible to reduce how long it takes for your site to load images, without compromising its all-round visual appeal. Here are a few examples of what we mean. 

Don’t have quite so many images on your site

It may sound like an obvious tip, but did you know that according to a HTTP Archive report, the typical webpage in 2019 may request between 28 and 32 images when it loads? It’s well worth asking yourself, then, whether all of those images on a given webpage of yours are really necessary. 

When it comes to product category pages on ecommerce sites, for instance, the various images showing actual available products tend to be critical in terms of not only showing the viewer the products in question, but also educating them about these items’ benefits and inspiring them to buy. 

But are some of the images on such pages on your own site effectively just pictures of text, or decorative, or perhaps even stock images that don’t really communicate anything? 

Embrace the ‘lazy loading’ of images 

Traditionally, when a webpage loads, it requests every image listed in the page markup, including any images that may be initially off-screen and only become visible when the user scrolls down the page. 

This is where ‘lazy loading’ comes in useful, as it loads certain images only when they are strictly needed. Just imagine how much quicker a given page on your site could load, if it only initially requested those images that would immediately appear on the user’s screen. 

Various lazy-loading scripts are available to introduce this functionality to your site, or you could ask the Piranha Designs team to incorporate it when you turn to us for website design.

Compress your images

Such raster formats as JPG, PNG and GIF are widespread on the web, and may therefore be represented across many of the images on your own site’s pages. 

Sometimes, it’s possible to compress such images to ensure they load faster, while scarcely making any visible difference to their quality. It can be done through popular image-editing software, or automatically via such other solutions as content delivery networks, scripts or application programming interfaces. 

Images may be just one element of your brand’s online presence, but they can make a greater-than-initially-expected difference to your efforts to market your business and generate revenue on the web. For a more in-depth discussion of your firm’s web design needs in 2019, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today? 

How to compensate for customers not being able to touch your products

Piranha Designs - Monday, June 24, 2019

There are a lot of great things about shopping online, ranging from its sheer convenience to the deals frequently available on ecommerce sites that might not be within your easy reach if you were to depend on the high street alone. 

Online retail isn’t without its drawbacks, though, with surely the biggest being the fact that the customer cannot reach out, touch and inspect a given product prior to purchasing it. 

This factor alone may deter some of your prospective customers from using your site, when there is a rival seller of a given required item within travelling distance of their house. So, what are some of the best potential ways of overcoming such a clear disadvantage as an ecommerce site owner?

Show plenty of captivating photos 

Anyone working in retail knows how powerful product imagery is. However, for too many of the items on sale in your online store, you may presently be dependent on whatever standard images the manufacturer has provided, perhaps simply depicting the product on a blank background. 

Why should you settle for that, when there’s such an obvious opportunity to incorporate context-of-use images into your product pages? These are photos that show how the particular item is actually used, thereby enabling the shopper to easily imagine how they might do the same. 

Explainer graphics can also be helpful, as can images that depict the product at unusual angles or in close-up to draw attention to distinctive and useful features. The more your on-site images can tell your customers about an item’s design, dimensions and functionality, the less they will feel the need to seek out an example of the product to scrutinise ‘in real life’ before ordering it. 

Include videos of the product 

While images can be taken of a product that include a person using it for demonstration purposes, video can be even more powerful in this regard. After all, there may be certain more technical products – or those requiring assembly – that require slightly more elaborate explanation as to how they are to be used, which can be done especially memorably in a video or two. 

Allow customers to post product reviews 

Providing a means by which customers can submit their own content in relation to the product can be similarly invaluable for reducing those urges that other shoppers may have to head to a brick-and-mortar store to examine and touch the item for themselves. 

It’s the case with photos and videos, and it can be the case with user-submitted reviews, too. Such reviews will help to answer the most pressing questions that customers are likely to have about what the product is actually like in real-life circumstances, further ‘humanising’ your site in the process. 

Are you looking for a website design service that also gives you full control over your site for updating its content when required? If so, you may be pleased to learn about our expertise in ecommerce web design, this being just one of the key services that Piranha Designs can provide to assist your retail brand in establishing the strongest possible online presence.

What’s stopping your mobile site from converting as well as it should?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, May 23, 2019

If your experiences as an online business owner have been anywhere near typical, there’s a good chance that you will have seen the amount of mobile traffic received by your site creep higher and higher. Indeed, it was back in 2016 when mobile page views overtook desktop for almost all websites. Alongside this trend has been a tendency for mobile conversions to also gradually go up.

One other thing the statistics seem to tell us, though, is that customers tend to still prefer desktop and tablet devices for placing those really big orders.

This presents a difficulty if you’ve been focusing a lot lately on optimising your mobile ecommerce site design. If your online retailer’s conversions via mobile seem a little sluggish, what could be causing the problem – and is it even your fault?

Not all causes of poor mobile conversions are easy to address

Fortunately or unfortunately, there are certain things inherent to mobile sites – even the very best ones – that can act like a drag on their conversion rates.

There’s a good chance that a prospective shopper browsing your site via a desktop computer, for instance, is enjoying a faster Internet connection than the typical mobile user. The latter, after all, often access the web on their devices through public Wi-Fi connections. If they were simply sat at home or in the office, many of them would surely use the frequently faster hardwired connections available on their desktop computers instead.

The bigger screens that desktop devices offer over mobile ones can make a big difference as well, as they enable more information to be shared within the visitors’ view, with regard to navigational menus, products and search options alike.

Oh, and mobile users also often just have more distractions to contend with than desktop shoppers, in the form of social media alerts, text notifications and any messages that may come in from other apps installed on their device.

But there are still some things you can do to boost user experience

So, we’ve established a number of issues that can be tricky to overcome as far as bolstering mobile conversions is concerned. But that’s no reason to be fatalistic, given the wide range of measures you can adopt to minimise the impact of these problems.

The speed of your mobile site is certainly imperative, which is why you should go to every length to compress images, scripts, CSS and HTML without adversely affecting other aspects of the user experience.

All manner of ways also exist to optimise category and search results – even just fitting product thumbnails into two columns, to enable visitors to see more options without having to scroll, can make a significant difference.

Oh, and you might also want to look into how you can allow for cross-device and generally more seamless shopping – such as the use of ‘persistent carts’, which retain products that the customer has stored in them for later reference, even if the customer moves away from the site.

Ask us about our high level of mobile website design expertise

The above are by no means the only steps that you might take to refine your mobile website’s effectiveness – so why not contact our capable and seasoned experts today for advice tailored to your own site’s specific requirements?

Get in touch with us in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today for an in-depth discussion about how we could assist you in achieving formidable increases in your mobile conversions this year.

What could a ‘live chat’ feature do for your ecommerce store?

Piranha Designs - Monday, April 08, 2019

‘Live chat’ functionality has become an increasingly familiar element among the wealth of customer support options offered by ecommerce sites, alongside the likes of social media links, telephone numbers and email addresses.

However, the benefits of incorporating such a feature into your brand’s own online store could be wider-ranging than you initially expect. Below are just a few examples of what we mean.

Customers are comfortable using it

Anything that could help to cultivate a good relationship with a customer from the earliest stages has to be a good thing for your ecommerce store, and there is both formal and more anecdotal evidence to suggest that customers are comfortable with using live chat functionality on a website.

One study last year, for instance, found that 43% of customers have previously used live chat. This shouldn’t be too surprising, given that it’s much like the chat programs, online messengers and text messaging that many of your customers will already be accustomed to using in their personal lives.

It’s quick to use

As they say, time is money. It’s therefore helpful for both the customer and the ecommerce business if visitors can receive swift responses to their queries – whether about the given company’s products, services, delivery costs or something else altogether.

As soon as a visitor initiates a chat using such software, a customer service representative on your business’s side can be notified of this straight away and provide an immediate answer.

This could be especially important if the customer’s query concerns an issue that is preventing them from completing a purchase. In such circumstances, your ecommerce store’s live chat feature could make the difference between a clinched sale and a lost sale.

It helps to replicate the ‘high street’ shopping experience

Sure, your customer service representative can’t pick up a product and present it to the customer for them to touch. If the customer has any questions about a product, though, they can ask them... and perhaps also any secondary questions springing from the answers given to the first ones.

In the process, you will be able to answer questions in relation to such specific matters as product selection and availability, and even any related products that you may recommend to the customer, in light of their specific requirements.

A live chat feature, then, can help to restore some of the ‘humanity’ to the shopping experience that may otherwise seem at risk of being lost when one switches from offline to online retail.

The above aren’t the entirety of the benefits that you could see from embedding a live chat feature into your site, with others including the opportunity to gather invaluable data about your customers, as well as the cost savings that it can offer over other forms of customer service.

Could live chat functionality be central to the customer service offered by your own next ecommerce site? Don’t hesitate to contact our experts in custom website solutions for a more in-depth chat about the requirements that you have for your firm’s online presence.


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