Thursday, March 25, 2010

Want Your Products in Google Shopping? You need to verify your website!

Good Morning Everyone,

While working on a couple of websites this morning and getting their Google Base/Froogle feeds ready to upload. I encountered an IMPORTANT message from Google when I logged in to their accounts.

If you don't verify your website by a certain date, you will no longer be able to upload your products to their shopping portal!

If you are already familiar with Google Base then you know the negative impact this could have on your sales. If you are not familiar with Google Base yet, Google Base is a great option to upload your products to their free shopping portal that shows up on their search results pages. The shopping portal has many names: Froogle/ Google Base/ Google Product Search / Google Shopping.

It's a great benefit for ecommerce shop owners and something that you definitely don't want to not have access too.

Well guess what!

You won't have access to this great Google feature if you don't verify your website with Google by May 18,2010.

Here's a little excerpt from Google about this important notification:

"Verifying and claiming the website URL in your Merchant Center account is a new requirement. To make this transition easier, we have allowed eight weeks for you to complete this process. If you haven't verified and claimed your website URL by May 18, 2010, your existing and newly uploaded product listings will get disapproved until you verify your site."

It's important to claim your site but there are some ways that you can lose your claim on your url as well.

Here are some ways that they list how you can lose your claim of your website:

  • If another authorized owner of the website in question successfully verifies and claims the website URL, you will lose the claim. If you lose a claim, you will be notified by email and can choose to either verify and claim a different URL or contact us to try and resolve the situation for you.
  • If you lose your 'verified' status in Google Webmaster Tools, you will lose the claim. You can lose the 'verified' status because the identifying Meta tag or HTML file has been removed from the website. If you've lost your 'verified' status in Google Webmaster tools, you will need to verify and claim your website URL again.
  • If you choose to verify and claim a different URL in Google Merchant Center, you will lose the claim for your previously verified and claimed website URL.

Now, I don't want you to break into a sweet just yet. All you have to do to ensure that you can still upload your products to Google Base is to make sure you verify your website url in your Google's Webmaster Tools account and follow all of the steps mentioned in the link at the bottom of this post.

If you don't have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you can sign up for one for free at the link below.

Once you sign up for a free account. Enter in your website address. I suggest entering in your website address with and without the www's for example :

Google has listed a lot of examples of the type of urls that you need to claim in the link I have provided below.

You have the option of either inserting a meta tag code that they will provide you with to add to before the section of your coding.


You can choose to upload a html file into the root folder of your site.

You can upload a file by saving the file they provide you with onto your desktop. Then login to your cpanel, backoffice, file manager, or FTP account and upload the file to your public_html folder of your site or the "root" of your website.

Need Help Verifying your Google account? No problem. We can help.

Click on the link below to get your site verified with no stress:

Verify Your Google Account

To read more about verifying your website with Google, click on the link below:

Verify your site with Google

Carla Phillips

Friday, March 19, 2010

How you accept payments online could be costing you sales!

This topic came up at the Network Circle so I thought I would create a blog post about the negative effect your chosen method of payment processing could have on your sales.
Did you know that you could lose sales based off of how you process your online transactions?

Are you losing sales because your only method of collecting payments is via Pay Pal?

There are huge benefits in having more than just Pay Pal as a payment option for your online sales! The major one, an increase in sales!

How you accept payments could possibly have a negative effect on your sales. Website owners and online sellers have grown to love and trust Pay Pal. Well, most have grown to love and trust Pay Pal for collecting website payments online. Pay Pal is a payment processor who became popular by Ebay users and is now being used on websites all over the world today. 

As business owners we know and recognized the logo as soon as we see it and use it while shopping online for our personal enjoyments, but did you know that not everyone is familiar with the company or logo!? 

I know you are probably thinking, Now how is that possible! Well, think about it. If you were not in the online website business or online sales business and you had no connection to the online world of sales would you be familiar with a company that processes online payments? If you visited a website and found a product or service that you wanted, got to the checkout page and saw a button to make a payment that said Pay Pal instead of pay via credit card. Then you clicked on the button and it took you to a page that looked like you had to sign up for an account in order to pay for your order. Would you feel comfortable with completing the sale or would you start to worry because the checkout does not say pay by credit card and looks like you have to have an account with Pay Pal in order to buy something?

Human beings are creatures of habit and those that shop online are use to seeing a standard set up for checkout. They expect to see the words "Credit Card" as a payment option. If you are only using Pay Pal for your payment processor regardless if you can still take credit card payments with that option, you are setting yourself up to lose a lot of business. Most buyers do not know what Pay Pal is or have never heard of it. When they are directed to the Pay Pal payment screen they may think that they have to either have an account with Pay Pal to order on your site or do not see the very small link at the bottom of the Pay Pal checkout page that says something like : Don't have an account? Pay with credit card or debit card.  So unless you state somewhere in your checkout that you accept credit card payments via Pay Pal then you will have a lot of buyers that will end up abandoning their shopping cart. 

Now don't get me wrong, having Pay Pal as a payment processor is perfectly fine, but you may want to consider investing in a credit card processing company. It's a small investment that could really boost your sales. You could provide two payment options for your customers : Pay Pal and Credit Card. That way those who are familiar with Pay Pal can use their Pay Pal account to complete the sale and those who feel more comfortable with using their credit card will have that option to do so.

I have spoken to so many website owners who have seen an increase in sales as soon as they switched or added a credit card processing option to their checkout. So many that it's just a subject that can not go unnoticed or ignored as an option to increase your sales.

Below is a list of suggested credit card processing companies that you can look into for your online business. Some charge a monthly fee, some charge an annual fee, and some charge a monthly fee plus a per transaction fee. Make sure you read all of the fine print and even contact any company to ask questions before considering signing up to use their services. 
Here are some questions that you can ask:

Is there a monthly fee? If so how much?

Is there a annual fee option?

Do you charge a per transaction fee? What is the percentage per transaction?

What is your minimum sales amount per month? Some companies require you to make a certain amount in sales in order to use their services. 

How soon will I have access to my payments?

What credit cards can I accept? You may have to pay separate fees if you want to accept AMEX or Discover. Always better to ask to make sure.

If you are a service provider company, you may want to find out if they have a recurring billing option.

Here is a list of some companies that you can look into. I am familiar and have used some of them below but not all, so make sure you look into each one and read over their terms before making a decision:

If you find that you can not afford to work a merchant processing fee into your budget right now and all you can do at the moment is use Pay Pal or Pay Pal Website Standard. That's okay too, just make sure you let your customers know somewhere on your checkout  pages or on your site that you accept credit payments through Pay Pal and they do not have to have an account in order to complete their online order. As soon as you can afford to, definitely consider signing up with a credit processing company.

Your online success may depend on it!

Carla Phillips

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Product Optimization : Your Products Need Optimization Love Too!

I got a question in a thread about optimizing products so I wanted to create a blog post about optimizing your products and the importance of it. I hope you enjoy!

A lot of website owners always concentrate on optimizing their website categories, sub categories and information pages on their site, which is absolutely great but what about your products?

Your products need some optimization love too!

Products are important when it comes to converting traffic into sales. One reason being is because if you have a person searching for a specific type of product based off of colors, prints, patterns, size etc. and your product is optimized for that keyword phrase that they type in to find your product, then you are more likely to convert that visitor to a sale. Reason being, people that search for a specific type of product color, product brand, product name etc.. those people are usually looking to definitely make a purchase and not just window shopping or website browsing. So wouldn't it make sense to make sure your product is optimized for those customers who are actually looking to buy!?

For example:

A person goes to their favorite search engine and types in "brown and white baby bedding" the fact that they typed in a color let's you know that this customer is most likely not just internet browsing or what I like to call internet shopping instead of window shopping. This customer has actually included a color so they pretty much have in mind what they are looking for and most likely will be ready to purchase a product within minutes of visiting a site.

What you have to do is make sure you have your colors or prints, brand name (if popular or searched for) and what type of product it is in your meta tags as well as in your description. You want to make sure you say exactly what your product is within the first 20 words of your description. Include colors, sizes, and your main keyword. If you can it also helps to include a price.

Visitors will read the small description that search engines provide in their search results, so take that opportunity to post sell your product. Use it as a mini billboard ad.

Some of you have the ability to add a meta description to your products, take advantage of this but limit your meta description to under 255 characters, but be enticing enough where someone will be more likely to click on your link instead of your competitors.

For those of you who don't have a meta description, don't worry, you can just use the area where you enter in your product description. Do the same but in addition to your first 20 words, make sure you include a header tag. You can do this by choosing Heading 1 in your drop down menu of your description editor, it may start off with the word Normal or Paragraph, or you can add it manually if you don't have it in your tool bar: 


By adding header tags, you are letting the search engine spiders know that this is the keyword it wants to focus on. Use your main keyword for the header 1 tag and secondary keyword for the header 2 tag (optional).

The key is to make sure you pay attention to your product pages as well. These are your landing pages, and a good landing page is not only important to SEO but definitely important when it comes to converting your traffic into sales.

Buyers are impatient, if they don't see the product that they are looking for right away, the likelihood of them, clicking on your categories to find it is very small unless you have a design that is just that appealing to them.

So go ahead and show your products some love! Your online success may depend on it.

Carla Phillips

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How To Make Your Site More User Friendly

Here are a few tips on making your site more user friendly for your visitors:

  • Have a search box. People like to be able to enter in a search term on your site so they don't have to click on each category to find what they are looking for. Make sure you have a search box to make this easy to do.
  • Have a way to get back to the place where they last visited. For instance, make sure you have links that were visited in a different color than your links that have not been visited. Most go with a dark purple color for links that have been visited. This makes it easier for them to know which pages have already been seen
  • Make sure you make it easy for your visitors to easily get back to your home page. If there is no visible Home page button or link for them to click on they may become frustrated and leave the site. Having it at the top is a very good place.
  • Have easy to understand content. If you want someone to click on a link. Make sure the words or link is highlighted. Most internet users recognize the color blue as a link that is clickable to another page, but if you have other colors that you use, that is okay, just make sure you let them know that I want you to visit this link here in your on page content Your visitors like to be told what to do next, so make it easier for them in plain english.
  • List the benefits of your products or services in the first paragraph of your product or website pages. Tell them how this type of product will improve their life or situation. Or how you can change their circumstances with your services or product. If your product or service can change a negative situation or something that they are having issues with then a customer is more likely to buy. Don't make it difficult for them to what what the benefits are of our product or service. Put in understandable text, bullets always work.
  • Make it easy for them to be able to contact you. A visible contact button or link is always best at the top of your site.

These are just some suggestions you can take to help make your site easier to navigate and convert your traffic into sales!.

Carla Phillips

Take Advantage Of Google Webmaster Tools! It Really Can Help

Did you know that by setting up and verifying your site with Google can help you with ranking!?

Google has a great tool that you can use to check the following:

  • What keywords people are using to find your site
  • Check any crawl errors
  • Check duplicate content on your site.
  • See what sites are linking to your website pages
  • See if there are any No Found or broken links on your site and where they are coming from.
  • Submit a sitemap to maximize the number of pages that can be crawled on your site
  • Set your preferred domain : with www's or without (very important way to cut down on duplicate content issues.
  • Set your targeted geographic area.

These are all great tools that you can use to increase the amount of traffic to your site and your ranking. By keeping yourself up to date on any crawl issues like 404 errors or broken links and duplicate content, you will not only increase your chances of ranking well in the search engine result pages but you will also create a better user experience for those who visit your site.

So make sure you set up a Google Webmaster Tools account at the link below and get your site verified with Google so you can see all of the data that they are collecting about your site and they will also give you any messages that they have about your site if applicable.

Carla Phillips