epicFlowers

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Category: SEO

Epic Sites Just Keep Getting Better!

While our competition is still trying to figure out how to integrate Pinterest to their client’s websites, we’re playing in the big leagues.  For example, on the marketing side, epicFlorists have access to a Traffic Engine, which is a step-by-step marketing wizard available in the Bigcommerce control panel (under the Marketing menu). It takes you by the hand and walks you through a series of marketing tasks that help get you ranked in the search engines and start driving shoppers to your store. If you can invest 15 minutes a day, then you’ll start driving more shoppers to your site in no time.

My goal when creating epicFlowers was to give my epicFlorists the power that even companies like 1800flowers doesn’t have.  The one thing that makes us different is we have partnered with BigCommerce, one of the largest eCommerce platforms int he world.  We’re proud to be a premium partner (15 perfect reviews!) and while our competition might have 1 software engineer, epicFlorists have over 70. If you’re NOT moving forward, you’re moving backwards.

Rank highly in search engines with your own blog

Blog text editor

One of the most requested features (and rightfully so) by our clients is blogging. We’ve scrapped our news items feature and have replaced it with blogging. It’s quick to create posts that are automatically optimized for search engines. Your visitors can comment on each post and easily share them across the various social networks. Building a content-rich blog that ranks in search engines is one of the smartest ways to continuously drive free traffic to your store.

Get even more out of your Epic Site with Single Click Apps

Single Click App Store

Gone are the days of managing a multitude of sites and logins to integrate different apps with your Bigcommerce store. Our new Single Click App Store makes it easy to integrate your Bigcommerce store with the other software you already use to run your business. From marketing to store management to shipping to analytics — there are dozens of apps to choose from, both free and paid.


Manage your store anywhere, on Android or iOS devices

Bigcommerce Mobile Apps

Our beautiful mobile apps for Android, iOS and mobile browsers allow you to receive new order notifications and manage your store on the go. You can update product details (including photos, inventory and prices), contact customers and much, much more.

Drive more visitors to your store with Traffic Engine(this is really cool)

Traffic Engine

A first for e-commerce, Traffic Engine is a simple marketing wizard that will take you by the hand and help you complete various marketing tasks to set your store up for success and help you start getting orders. First you set the goals you want for your store. Then the Traffic Engine wizard will walk you through the necessary steps to achieve your goals — from email marketing to social media, search engine optimization, advertising and more.

Learn how to sell (a lot) more with the Bigcommerce University

Bigcommerce University

As part of our mission to empower online merchants to sell more, we’ve developed Bigcommerce University. This series of in-depth marketing videos (hosted by Katey and James from our Success Squad) will teach you the secrets to building a successful online store and rapidly growing your sales using proven marketing strategies and the best ideas from thousands of our successful clients.

Improve credibility and sell more with Google Trusted Stores

Google Trusted Stores

In keeping with our mission of helping you sell more, we’ve integrated Google Trusted Stores for our high volume merchants. The benefits of having a Google Trusted Stores badge on your site can be huge: increasing your credibility with shoppers ultimately leads to more sales. But the process isn’t easy — it requires merchants to add code to their site and submit feeds on shipping and cancellations.

One more feature that makes us the #1 in floral eCommerce technology

More speed, more sales — your epicWebsite is now powered by the Bigcommerce CDN

 *this entry was taken from our partner’s blog bigcommerce.com

soren.harner
About the Author: Soren Harner is the Vice President of Engineering here at BigCommerce. He works with our engineers, testers, designers, and systems administrators to build the tools, systems and features that power our eCommerce platform. Soren lives in Sydney with his wife and two girls and is a cycling and guitar fanatic.

Our engineering team has been working hard in the background for the last few months to launch our Content Delivery Network (CDN for short), and as of last week the rollout of the Bigcommerce CDN is complete.

What is a Content Delivery Network?

A CDN helps your store load at lightning-fast speeds for all of your shoppers, no matter where they are in the world. So if you’re located in California and sell to shoppers in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK for example, your store will load extremely fast for everyone.

Without getting too technical, here’s how it works. Our CDN basically copies all of the photos and other files (what we call static assets) from your Bigcommerce store to over 20 different data centres (these are known as CDN nodes) around the world. Then, instead of loading these files from our main data centres in Dallas and Seattle, they are loaded from the data centre that is closest to where your shoppers are.

Enough of the technical mumbo jumbo — let’s get to what you care about most: How will a CDN help you sell more?

Faster Page Loads = Better Conversion Rate

You don’t need to understand how it works, but a CDN is so important because page load times are critical to the conversion rate of your Bigcommerce store, which is the percentage of shoppers that turn into paying customers.

The longer a page takes to load, the higher the chance of a shopper “bouncing” — that is, visiting your store once, leaving and never coming back. This chart from our friends at KISSmetrics shows just how important page load times are in relation to bounce rate, or page abandonment:

KISSmetrics have put together an excellent infographic discussing page load times and the effect they have on bounce rate, which you can see here.

How Much Faster is My Store?

The biggest speed gains will be experienced by shoppers who are closer to one of our CDN nodes, which are located in London, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and Singapore.

How Website Performance Affects Shopping Behavior

You can see from the chart above just how important page load speeds are in reducing page abandonment, and a CDN is one of the best ways to increase page load times; but how does a website’s performance actually affect a shopper’s behavior?

As you can see from the stats above, the performance of a website is absolutely critical in turning shoppers into buyers. The most important metric from the stats above is:

A 1 second delay decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%

Long story short — your online store needs to be lightning quick for shoppers, no matter where they are and a CDN makes that happen.

CDN = Better Search Rankings

Search engines are increasingly factoring page load times into their ranking algorithms, so the Bigcommerce CDN may also help your store rank better in search engines such as Google.

How to See Your Page Load Times

Google Analytics (free) includes a nifty Site Speed Reports section where you can see how long pages in your Bigcommerce store are taking to load.

As of last week, you’ll have started to notice your store’s page load time trending down as a result of the Bigcommerce CDN rolling out. Remember, the measurements reported by Google Analytics are an average taken from the shopper’s browser, and the speed gains will heavily depend on where your shoppers are physically located and the quality of their broadband connection.

You need to have Google Analytics enabled on your Bigcommerce store in order to get the Site Speed report. If you haven’t already enabled Google Analytics, it’s easy to do. Just read this article in our knowledge base and follow the steps.

Do I Need to Enable the CDN?

No, there’s nothing you need to do to enable the CDN on your Bigcommerce store. It’s already enabled (as of last week) and is of course absolutely free for all clients on all plans. We hope you enjoy the decrease in page load times and increase in your conversion rate.

The CDN rollout is one of many things we’ll be announcing between now and the end of the year which have been designed to help you sell more, in line with our new tagline. A CDN isn’t something you can “use” per se, but as you can see, it can have a big impact on page load times and conversion rate.

Adding Value with Local SEO for Images

In a recent post, I discussed basic Search Engine Optimization for Product Pages and wanted to follow up with SEO for images.

As discussed in the previous blog on Product Page SEO, image descriptions are one of the most important factors when dealing with SEO in the Big Commerce platform.  What I didn’t discuss are some of the other nuances about images and some of the things you can do to make them appear more relevant to your site, niche and locality.

Google Image Text SampleImage File Name:

Many website owners fail to recognize the opportunity lost with a well thought out file name and image description.  At left is a screenshot of the Google Text Cache for a popular florists wedding page.  You can see that the file names are quite random in nature and don’t really describe the photo in any way.  By adding some more descriptive text to the image filenames, we can further develop the relationship with the search engines, and let them know even more what our site is about using these keywords.

What’s more descriptive, “image007.jpg” or “Amanda-Wedding-flowers.jpg? As a good rule of thumb, you should always change the filenames for any images you post to your site.

When adding images to the pages of your site, you’ll see the image editor below.  The appearance tab allows us to change a few things, including the size of the image displayed, how it is aligned in on the page, what amount of white space surrounds the image, border or none, and it gives us the opportunity to specify a description and a title.

You can see that I’ve added an image called “Amanda’s Wedding Flowers” to a wedding page, and given it a keyword rich description that includes a few of the target keywords for the page itself.   Wedding, Flowers, Cityname.  There are lots of different text variables you can use in your image descriptions and file names.

image

Text Variables to use when optimizing your images:

  • City (Las Vegas)
  • Venue (The Elvis Wedding Chapel, Caesars Palace)
  • Type of Bouquet (Calla Lilies, Gerbera Daises etc)
  • Colors (…)
  • Event Date
  • Style of the Event (Contemporary, Modern, Victorian etc.)

Just don’t overdo it.   Don’t make your descriptions or file names too long, just include relevant information about the image itself and you’ll be just fine.

Update:  For more advanced users, you might want to try Geocoding your images which you can find out more about here.

Update#2:  Check out this great article on SEO for Images.

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