E-commerce in a Remarkable New COVID19 World

For over 12 years I’ve been talking about the necessity of the online business model for all businesses.

Business reaction

The remarkable new COVID19 World is here, and it is going to remain until a vaccine is found for the virus. How to adapt a business is going to the be the key to survival for many businesses around the World, let alone any business growth for small businesses which have been badly affected.

Here in the UK we’ve just surpassed our tenth week in lockdown following the onset of the global pandemic of Coronavirus COVID19, with a death toll exceeding 50,000 people.

From the moment the lockdown was brought in by the UK government, the most notable thing to me for most businesses, was the need to adapt, and quickly. Whether that was to adapt their service offerings for more services to be delivered following a purchase online, or to the extreme addition of a debut online service to cater for COVID-19.

There have been plenty of ‘key’ businesses like supermarkets and hardware shops that have remained open during the pandemic after following government guidance with a set of rules in place. Mostly social distancing at all times of 2 meters, and limiting numbers of people in the store were the key rules.

Delivery drivers have been one set of the key workers that have enabled online sales to continue and even increase in certain niche sectors. Some local takeaway’s and pubs have also offered a twist of local delivery or even collection from their car park premises.

Grasping e-commerce for your business, or even the emerging social commerce niche, is absolutely vital to sustain any sales during the COVID19 pandemic. Even today as the emergence of open air markets are starting to open, the amount of customers getting back to ‘normal’ life is non-existent with the simple example of one market stall selling just one pair of socks all morning.

No E-commerce

The worst example I’ve seen of how not to provide an online shopping cart for your customers despite having an existing web presence has been Primark.

In the space of a month, they went from £650m/month to ZERO. What is bizarre, is that Primark have all their products on their website for sale, but no checkout.

https://twitter.com/cosmikcarrot/status/1252590786543321089?s=20

The business decision for no checkout, which I can only assume is to ensure customer foot fall at all their stores, has been a very costly decision since the pandemic for them.

At Cosmik Carrot HQ it has been business as normal as we operate from home, and something that we’ve done since day one of business, and for over 12 years now.

Facebook Shop

If the fast pace of changes during the COVID-19 were already sweeping in many sectors, then Facebook just accelerated that with its new Facebook Shops announcement. See – Facebook Shops.

This new change will allow e-commerce stores to now sell directly through Facebook and Instagram. You will also be able to advertise through all of its platforms like, Messenger, Marketplace, & WhatsApp, etc. Using social media apps for electronic commerce is now defined by Facebook as “Social Commerce”

For those clients using the likes of WooCommerce, you’ll be able to link up directly into your new Facebook Shop and sell your products or services. This is going to be a great extension of your online store to add to any business growth strategy.

This will be great for ensuring the product and stock level remains consistent and leads back to the main store on your website to control sales orders.

Online retailing of buying and selling any goods and services is going to increase as individuals want to avoid testing positive or adding to the coronavirus deaths.

High street decline

The UK high street has been in decline for many years, and the COVID-19 pandemic might be like petrol on a fire to accelerate that decline. I see this occurring due to the amount of social distancing required, and the lengthy timespan for a possible vaccine to be developed.

Businesses can combat this decline with a move to an online format to accept payment for items, followed by either collection or delivery.

Restaurants and Pubs

It is still unclear as to when any restaurants can fully open. There have been certain fast food services offering delivery services during the lockdown. As well as particular independent pubs offering collection from an online menu.

For all food restaurants and pub chains, the concept of disposable menu’s has been muted. Personally I think this is going to be such an environmental waste in the long-term.

As a society we need to embrace behavioural change when required to do so, combined with new technology. This is why I think contactless solutions is going to be a key innovative area for most businesses.

An example where you can adopt a new contactless solution for your food service business is a QR Code to Food Menu. By having a new permanent QR code on restaurant tables, users can scan the code with their smart phone. Once the QR code is recognised, the customer can then go through the interactive menu in their phone and place an order including payment.

For more information, check out our Conversational Marketing with further details.

Stay safe and well!

WordCamp London 2019 …Community continues to grow!

How was WordCamp London 2019?

….Even better than 2018!

This is a short post about our amazing time at WordCamp London 2019. As part of the best open source platform that is WordPress, there is also a community that uses WordPress that is just as amazing as the platform itself. The attendance was certainly lower than the year before, but that certainly didn’t stop the content of speaker presentations to be even better, with some fantastic quality content from a range of speakers.

Ben Bradley from Cosmik Carrot went down to WordCamp London 2019 #WCLDN2019 that was being hosted at the London Metropolitan University in North London over two days in April. Each day there were three talk sessions simultaneously happening that were covering the main three areas of ‘Development’, ‘Design’, and ‘Business’.

Here was a breakdown of all the talks that were heard;

Day 1
Sabrina Zeidan – 5 Steps to a Faster Website and Higher Google Rankings
Piccia Neri – UX for Everyone – “Good UX is Good Design is Good Marketing”
Tim Nash – Going To The Dark Side, They Have Cookies
Topher DeRosia – 5 eCommerce Trends to Implement Now
Tammie Lister – Design Matters In Open Source
Alison Rothwell – How to Scale Your WordPress Business As Painlessly As Possible!
David Lockie – Content Monetisation Platforms with WordPress

Day 2
Franz Vitulli – Inside a product manager’s toolbox
Mike Killen – How to sell 5 figure marketing funnels with WordPress
Luminus O.Alabi – Rocking remote work: Living your best life and maintaining your sanity
Tom J Nowell – HTTP/2 Push For The Stars
Francesca Marano – Websites For Freelancers 101
Tomaž Zaman – Growth Pains: The Challenges Of Finding And Scaling Remote Developer Talent
Sami Keijonen – Maintainable CSS archietecture in the gutenberg era
Tom Chute – A masterclass in collaboration with education
Anne Allen – If you haven’t added structured data, your site isn’t finished

Here are some photos over the two day event:

WordPress Developer Services

If you’re looking for WordPress Developer services to improve your website then get in contact with us to see how we can help you. We even offer our WordPress Maintenance Support service to help you focus on what you do best on your website.
If you’d like to hire Cosmik Carrot to improve your website, then contact us here with your details and then we’ll take it from there with you.

WordCamp London 2018 …Amazing Community!

How was WordCamp London 2018?

….Amazing!

This is a short post about our amazing time at WordCamp London 2018. As part of the best open source platform that is WordPress, there is also a community that uses WordPress that is just as amazing as the platform itself.

Ben Bradley from Cosmik Carrot went down to WordCamp London 2018 #WCLDN2018 that was being hosted at the London Metropolitan University in North London over two days in April. Each day there were three talk sessions simultaneously happening that were covering the main three areas of ‘Development’, ‘Design’, and ‘Business’.

Here was a breakdown of all the talks that were heard;

Day 1

Lee Jackson – Developing Your Story
“Discovering your why, your strengths and your key products/services through stories and shared experiences.”

Kayleigh Thorpe  – Getting started with XDebug for WordPress’ Guide

Marco Chiesi – Grunt

Maja Benke – Accessible Design

Toyin Agunbiade – GDPR: Of Privacy and Compliance (Workshop)

Elliot Taylor – Building scalable enterprise applications with WordPress

Benjamin Read – How we’re using WordPress as a Headless CMS

Tammie Lister – Anatomy of a block: Gutenberg design patterns

Andi Wilkinson – So You Have a Website. Now What?

Day 2

Applying Design To Complex Problems (Panel)
Richard CoppingMelanie MachanSarah SemarkGabe Karp

Stef Mattana – 1:1 with customers – a troubled approach, with a happy end

Nemanja Aleksic – Build relationships, not websites

Heather Burns – Getting your privacy notices ready for GDPR

David Lockie – WordPress and Blockchain: the threats & opportunities

WordPress Developer Services

If you’re looking for WordPress Developer services to improve your website then get in contact with us to see how we can help you. We even offer our WordPress Maintenance Support service to help you focus on what you do best on your website.

If you’d like to hire Cosmik Carrot to improve your website, then contact us here with your details and then we’ll take it from there with you.

Simplistic truth about why SEO is important

What does SEO stand for?

SEO is an abbreviation of the phrase “Search Engine Optimisation.”

What does SEO actually mean?

It means search engine optimisation is the digital marketing technique online, in order to increase web page rankings on search engines like Google and Bing. And there are various other ones around the world, like Yandex in Russia.

There are many SEO techniques that are kind of detached to improve your website ranking, as Google keeps on changing their algorithms to stay ahead of manipulations in webpage rankings. Google also likes to keep up to date with any new technologies, and any sort of advancements to bring the best possible results for users that are searching through their search engine.

Why is SEO important?

The majority of website owners want their website to be found on search engines, so potential users can make contact with them, buy and sell, be informed, and many other online uses and interactions through their website.

Due to the billions of web pages on the web, there is so much competition to be on the first page of Google, and the order of ranking to be on a particular page is determined by Google’s algorithms. By making SEO improvements, you can increase your website ranking or maintain a particular high position for a particular keyword or phrase that you want your users to find you.

Following the explosion of the web in all of our lives, Google is the first place people search for what they are looking for. The search phrase that is entered will bring up a set of results. If you want your website to rank high for that particular key phrase, then your website will require SEO improvements.

What SEO does?

Here’s an example of ranking on page one in the first position, up at the top of Google, after the first two adverts.

Why is SEO important for business?

Well, if your business does not feature on page one of Google, or in the top three of the rankings, then it is very unlikely users will click on subsequent pages to find your business, depending on their search phrase.

For businesses that are in a highly competitive market, it is key that if they want the website to be competitive, then they need to ensure that each page in the website is optimised on-page for SEO, as well as off-page.

How can SEO help my business?

The biggest factor that makes businesses consider SEO improvements for their website is to increase the traffic to their website. Whether this is because of a downturn in traffic to the website, or a view to compete and rank higher against competitors for the same keywords; either way, this is a factor that businesses like to look into SEO and make various improvements.

For example, if you’re a florist and want to appear for keywords around wedding flowers, for example, then by making improvements across the structure of your website will get those gains to rank higher on Google and Bing.

Potential clients are humans at the end of the day, and the more your website speaks to them on a human level, then not only will Google appreciate it more, but also your users will in finding your website and making contact with you.

Does SEO work for small businesses?

Yes, absolutely. Google loves to get small businesses working with Google My Business, and Google Maps. Once your business is live and correctly appearing with Google, then users searching for a plumber, for example, in a certain location, then you will increase getting to the top 10 of plumbers on page one within that local area.

There are more opportunities for off-page SEO with all your social media links. The greater popularity, shares, and followers you have, the stronger the backlinks will be to your website. This in turn provides a stronger domain authority of your website and brand as a whole.

What is new in SEO?

For 2018, mobile indexing is going to be a huge factor for ranking high with Google, and into the future. If your website is not mobile responsive, then Google will deduct ranking value from your website and push it down the rankings. So it is incredibly important that your website is mobile responsive.

Is your website secure? If not, then Google will deduct ranking value from your website. This is so the majority of the web becomes more secure environment for all users.

The power of the client review is bigger than ever, with other third-party directory websites providing plenty of backlinks to your website. These depend on your industry sector, but the popular ones are Yelp, Trustpilot, and the big one itself, Google Reviews.

How voice search changes everything?

One of the huge areas of improvement in SEO is the growing adoption of voice search. This is the growing adoption of voice search. This is the knock on effect of voice technology in new smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and digital assistant devices.

Voice search completely changes how users are going to find your website., as searches by voice tend to have far longer tail keywords, as we use several words that are more descriptive.

This provides website owners with a huge opportunity to find unhidden areas to tap into, if users are using new phrases to find the sort of website that they may want to view.

How much does SEO cost?

Search engine optimisation improvement costs purely depend on the amount of work that is required, and this can vary hugely from one website to another. This is predominantly due to the amount of research required, and these costs can be quite high.

In order to get an understanding of the work involved, we recommend you get an SEO Audit with us to begin with, as this provides both of us with all the information to see what is required overall.

There are also a range of goals that you may have when you require SEO improvements, and each of these goals will be taken into consideration when you contact us.

Is WordPress good for SEO?

In our opinion, yes, and by a long margin. It’s not only the best for SEO, but the best content manager system too.

Don’t just take our word for it. You can see this comparative study created by Web Savvy’s Rebecca Gill.

If your website is not on WordPress, or you’re unsure of how your website is built, contact us to get a new and improved website, or an SEO Audit checkup.

SEO when building a website

Following an SEO Audit will review the data and make a start on your Site Map. This provides us both with a new search result to form all the content around it.

We then provide you with a list of ideas to develop new content for the site. This can range greatly and depend on the purpose of your website.

Once all the content has been created, we then go through it all and ensure that the structure of the content is correct, and work with you to make any final recommendations.

How to hire an SEO expert

If you’re looking for local SEO services to improve your business website page rankings in search engines, then you’re best to search locally for an SEO expert to begin with.

If you’d like to hire Cosmik Carrot to improve your website’s SEO, then contact us here with your details and then we’ll take it from there with you.

What is the future of the popular Facebook Business page?

How many pages exist on Facebook Business?

Well, as of a conference call back in February 2017, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook actually announced that they’d got about 65 million Facebook Business pages currently at that point in time. Whether that number has increased or decreased significantly since then, a year since that date, we’re not quite sure. But, there’s certainly a significant number of business pages to take into account.

About four million of those actually advertise on Facebook, from what Sheryl Sandberg was quoted as saying, and they know about half a million of those are actually on Instagram. Obviously the huge benefits of a Facebook business page is that it’s actually free to set up, and anyone can get started very quickly with their business. You also instantly linked with a potential audience of several billion people that co-exist on the Facebook platform.

Facebook Announcement – 11 January 2018

So, we roll on to another Facebook announcement, in January 2018, and this is actually from Mark Zuckerberg himself, on the 11th of January, and in his Facebook post, he has actually announced quite a few things, and here are just some of the main highlights in regards to the actual future of the Facebook business page. He says in his blog post;

But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content posts from businesses, brands, and media, is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

He continues to say further in his post;

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping find relevant content, to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

He also states;

The first changes you’ll see will be in the newsfeed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

And finally, he states;

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content, like posts from businesses, brands, and media, and the public content you see more will be held to the same standard. It should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

Don’t need a website because you have a Facebook Business page?

So, a lot of people have said other the years that they don’t need a website, because you have a Facebook business page. Well, think again, as the fact is, Facebook owns your business page with your name on it. This is something a lot of people forget about, and it’s certainly something to be reminded of.

There is also no security with your business page, and Facebook could withdraw your page at any point in time. If that is the only sort of web presence you have for your business, that’s quite scary to be thinking about. You’re also limited to how you can present on your business on the Facebook business page, as obviously they limit you to a template format.

And the integration with other platforms is also very limiting and difficult, because they want to keep you contained within the platform. There’s no also no search engine optimisation control on the business page, to influence where your page ranks in Google. You can obviously just complete the relevant details and see where you end up.
 

What is the future of a Facebook business page?

Well, following Mark Zuckerberg’s comments, your Facebook business page will have less impact for your business. This is quite worrying for a lot of business owners I think out there, and if this is you, you’re actually going to start to see negative impacts on leads through the business page, due to your business not appearing in other people’s news feeds anymore, as they’re actually going to be concentrating and changing those Facebook algorithms to focus more on friends, family and groups, instead of business pages.

I think Facebook is also going to actually encourage more Facebook business users to pay for advertising to get more notice. This makes more sense at the end of the day, Facebook have got shareholders that they want to earn a profit, so I think the new business model is to limit the impact of business pages in people’s news feeds, and if people actually want to get their business out into other people’s news feeds, they’re actually going to have to pay.

There’s going to be more weight and incentive to use a Facebook business as an addition to your website, instead of actually having it as your website. Also, use your Facebook reviews in your website to improve your SEO. This is a great thing, once you’ve got those reviews from Facebook getting pulled through into your website, especially with them schema and it all being mocked up correctly.
 

How to promote a local business?

  1. Well, first of all, have a website that is in your control, not a Facebook Business page representing your business. Make sure that the website is hosted on a reliable, secure, quality hosting. At Cosmik Carrot we offer excellent private non-shared web hosting.
    • Once you’ve got a website, if you already haven’t, make sure it’s in your control, you can basically do it as you like, how it looks, and how you want to get it integrated with other platforms.
    • The website must be designed well with your users in mind to achieve your website goals. This includes ensuring that the website is responsive for all mobile and tablet devices.
    • The website for your business must also be developed by a competent web developer, that will have detected all your requirements and ensured that your website has been coded in a way that you can expand and grow in the future.
  2. I recommend you ensure your website has been optimised for the search engines.
    • The process of optimisation is a long and complicated one, but very rewarding when the results are achieved from all of the hard work. The research of all your keywords, backlinks, discovery of competitors, and correcting all the issues with your website is all undertaken with our SEO Services, if you want a professional to do this for your business.
  3. Use schema to ensure your business is recognised locally in Google.
  • Using schema will separate your business from your competitors. Implementing schema correctly is very important, otherwise you will be penalised by Google and other search engines. If you require this service for your business website, please contact us for further info.
  • Use a Facebook business page in addition to your website.
    • This will mean that you still have a presence on the Facebook platform, but your website will always be the number one point of call for all your customers. Your website will always be the full representation of your business, that is open 24/7, 365 days a year, globally.
    • Once Facebook is linked to your website, this will be a factor to add weight to your website to potentially increase its ranking.
  • Have a digital strategy on social media.
    • Having a digital strategy across social media is key to continue the voice of your business. By having your blog posts shared across your Facebook business page will drive traffic back to your website in the long run.

If you want to proceed with your new business website to replace your Facebook Business page, then you can contact us with all your details.

Announcing a remarkable decade in business and growing

A Decade in Business

This week marks an impressive milestone of a decade in business since Cosmik Carrot was started back in January 2008.

When you start a new business venture, your main concern is to think about the short term goals of the next week or month of what needs to be achieved and completed for clients. You never look towards a milestone of 10 years and think of all the thousands of small goals that it’s going to take to reach that milestone. However, with plenty of hard work and planning, and the pleasure of working for many clients as far as Los Angeles and Sydney. This 10 year milestone has now been achieved.

Cosmik Carrot – Always seeing the vision for your website.

WordPress is 14 Years Old

The pace of changes in web design and web development has been extraordinary in the last decade, and the mind boggles as to where we’ll be another 10 years from now. The growth of WordPress now covers 29% of the Web, and this only looks to increase in the near future with the birth of Guttenberg in 2018. The future of WordPress looks bright with Guttenberg.

The Future of E-Commerce

Integrated online payments used to be dominated with the use of Paypal, but we have moved on and use our preferred choice of Stripe. This always provides the most professional experience for the client and their users.

With the recent rollout of Apple Pay to the market, this is an area where we expect to see a rise in clients looking to accept payments through Apple Pay for their clients convenience with the domination of mobile.

Growth of Mobile

Back in January 2008, the first Apple iPhone had just been launched the previous summer. The user experience of web on mobile was amazing at first not having to sit at a desk anymore, but this soon wore off with plenty of frustrations of websites not being mobile responsive.

Fast forward to today and the user experience on mobile is outstanding. The growth of smartphones and tablets has proved that mobile is here to stay, and is now the dominant way we view the web. Google has already changed their algorithm in 2017 to ensure a mobile first indexing for their search results.

Search Engine Marketing

For the foreseeable future, we now see the search engine market being the driving force behind all web development decisions to ensure return on investment for user engagement. Clients can receive a mass of data from many sources other than Google, and this information is providing us with the details of how your website should behave depending on your client audience.