How to Stop People From Exploiting Your Return Policy

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If you sell physical products online, there’s nothing more frustrating than customer returns.

Best case, it’s just annoying. For you AND for your customers.

Worst case…

You have to deal with people that EXPLOIT your policies. These people have no intention of buying. It’s borderline stealing.

The good news is:

I just read interesting new research that may help you reduce customer returns by up to 37%.

Why Your Return Policy Is More Important Than Ever

First, let me ask you a question:

Are refunds and returns always a bad thing?

From a sales perspective, the answer is:

No.

I’ll explain.

If your return rate is 0% you’re leaving money on the table. “NO returns” means you’re not selling to people who are on the fence about buying.

And that’s bad.

Because 80% of your sales are going to come from people who are not totally certain they’ll love your product.

So, if you sell only to the people that already know they’ll love your product, you’re missing out on the bulk of buyers that will always have some doubt remaining when they buy.

That’s also why your refund policy is so important. In fact, it’s more important today than it ever was…

Look, most people EXPECT a lenient return policy.

A recent proves this:

Apparently, 66% of online shoppers look for a retailer’s return policy before they buy. And 88% of those people won’t buy unless you offer free returns.

So, it’s no surprise the de-facto standard in e-commerce is to offer free returns:

Example: ASOS free returns

Example: Macy’s free shipping and free returns

And it’s smart. A persuasive guarantee can . The problem is that some people take advantage of these policies…

The worst? People that buy WITH THE INTENTION of only using your product once… and then return it. I HATE these people. Because really, how is that different from stealing?

Then there are people that order a bunch of stuff just to check it out. Still kind of annoying. But I get it: When customers buy something like clothes online, they’ll want to try them on for size. As a store owner, it’s a smart policy to give people that opportunity.

However…

Depending on what you sell online, you have to deal with an absurdly high rate of returns.

Of course, this is not a new phenomenon:

The Wall Street Journal that as much as 30% of all online purchases are returned.

So what can you do?

Is This the New Way of Reducing Absurdly High Return-Rates?

You may find this helpful if you want to reduce your return rate…

In a study published in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing, researchers from the University of Eichstätt‐Ingolstadt and the University of Luxembourg presented the following idea:

The present research introduces a keep reward (i.e., providing incentives to keep a product) as a new promotion strategy to improve the conventional lenient policy.

Interesting!

What if you gave people a “Keep Reward”?

In other words, an incentive to NOT send back the items they ordered.

Hmm… Could this ever make sense? Will people keep a product – even if they’re not fully satisfied – because of a small reward?

What’s fascinating about the idea is that it doesn’t take away any of the sales benefits of a lenient return policy or guarantee.

Meaning: You could still offer free returns AND a reward. That way, customers can still make purchase decisions with little or no risk. The researchers actually tested and were able to confirm this.

But back to reducing returns…

Does a Keep Reward actually work?

To find out, the researchers ran 2 studies.

In the first study, they gave people a written scenario:

Participants had to imagine that they want to buy a new summer outfit. Specifically, a pair of pants and a T-shirt.

To test the idea of a Keep Reward, some people were told that they’d get free shipping on their next order if they keep all items.

The result?

The Keep Reward reduced the intention to return by 37%.

So, this first experiment seems to confirm the theory: A reward can reduce customer returns.

But does this work in the real world? Yes. It’s almost exactly what the personal shopping service does:

Stitch Fix works as a subscription service. Every time you buy all the items they send you, you get a 25% discount.

Now, it’s not exactly the same as in the study. Because remember: The “free shipping” incentive in the study specifically rewarded FUTURE PURCHASES.

This is not to say, the discount on the current purchase won’t work. But it’s important to notice the difference…

Here’s why:

To confirm the findings of the first study, the researchers ran another experiment…

And in the second study, the context was slightly different:

This time, participants were asked to imagine buying a leather cell phone case. And in this scenario people had to imagine that 1) the case fits their phone perfectly but that 2) they don’t like the case 100%.

Again, the study tested the same Keep Reward: free shipping on the next order. But this time…

It didn’t work!

The Keep Reward actually made it worse!

Huh? What happened?

Why Incentives Can Help (Or Hurt) Your Return Rate

The researchers were able to test and explain the conflicting results of the 2 studies.

How?

Well, further analysis showed that the Keep Reward actually DID work in the phone case example, too… BUT ONLY for FREQUENT SHOPPERS.

And it makes sense:

If you buy often, free shipping on the next purchase is a nice incentive. And the more frequently someone buys, the bigger the effect. But if you buy less frequently, the reward may come off as a manipulative persuasion trick – and .

So, buying frequency matters.

But here’s what’s still kind of weird:

Why did the Keep Reward work across the board in the first study?

The difference lies in the TYPE of product.

In the first study, the product was clothing – probably the industry most plagued by excessive returns. In the second study, the product was a phone case…

When someone buys clothing online, there’s always the issue of things not fitting right. With a product like a phone case, that problem doesn’t exist. Now, people might still return an item like a phone case, but it’s much less likely.

To quote the research paper:

The results suggest that a keep reward is most powerful in this return-sensitive industry.

In other words, the more likely people are to exploit a lenient return policy for a certain product, the more effective a Keep Reward should be in reducing return rates.

Here’s what this all means for you…

What These Results Mean For You

A Keep Reward is a fascinating idea if you want to reduce customer returns. Especially if people tend to EXPLOIT a lenient policy at your cost.

But you need to be careful not to make things worse with the wrong incentive…

In the end, you’ll have to test if this works for you. Based on this early research, here’s what you need to think about:

Are you in an industry that’s plagued by excessive return-rates?

If the answer is yes, a Keep Reward may work for you. There are different incentives you could test: free shipping, a coupon for the next purchase, or a with the next order.

Also, consider this:

It will work best for low- to mid-priced products. Why? Well, for a $25 T-Shirt a $5 free shipping coupon makes a difference. For higher-priced items, a low reward might not have an effect, and a high reward might not be financially feasible.

If you do implement a Keep Reward, it’s best to be upfront about it. Both for legal and general transparency reasons (you should check with a lawyer when you update your return policy).

But remember, you need to be careful!

If you’re not dealing with a crazy high return rate across the board, you MUST differentiate between frequent buyers and non-frequent buyers.

And the Keep Reward should be applied ONLY to frequent buyers.

For example, you could make it part of your loyalty program. That way, you can reduce your return rate, and people who only buy once won’t feel discriminated.

Cool?

Now I’d like like to hear from you:

What do you think about the idea of a Keep Reward?

Do you think it can work in your business?

Leave a comment and let me know.

A Simple Way to Get More Traffic Without Creating New Content

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Last week I published and one of the main takeaways was that most bloggers still struggle to find readers and traffic.

This is a real shame because all of that hard work writing articles and building beautiful blogs is wasted unless you get people reading them.

I decided to dedicate a bit of time to this issue and will be doing more posts over the next couple of months

Today I wanted to get us started by looking at one simple but very effective way to get more traffic to your blog regardless of your niche or blog’s authority.

Let’s take a look.

Don’t just think about traffic, think about individuals

Something that I have to remind bloggers (myself included!) is that the numbers that you get only really matter if it is coming from good sources and if it is made up of the right individuals.

If you’ve ever spent any time doing PPC advertising you’ll know this to be true – it’s easy to drive traffic but it’s very hard to get that traffic to take action.

blog reader

What does your ideal blog reader look like? Have you ever sat down and thought about it?

That really comes back to the individual that is visiting your site.

For example, when someone arrives on your after typing in “how to start a WordPress Blog” it’s likely that they’ll take some action because they have specifically sought out that information and are in a “buy ready” mentality.

Promote that same post in a Tweet, however, and you have to also educate the audience about what a blog is, why they should start one, why WordPress is a good choice, and why you are a good person for them to trust.

It’s hard. Here’s one example.

imgur traffic example

Someone mentioned a very old Blog Tyrant post in a comment on imgur the other day and it brought around 2,000 unique visitors in a few hours as the post hit the front page.

Guess how many it lead to? None. The average for the day was exactly the same as the same day last week and the week before.

So, if you opened this article thinking “I need more blog visitors” then I encourage you to take a few moments to ask yourself why. And then ask yourself who.

Here’s a quick exercise that every blogger should do:

  1. Define your blog’s elevator pitch (what your blog is)
    It’s important to be able to explain what your blog does and how it does it uniquely in just a few words. You should be able to verbally explain it in a short elevator ride.
  2. Write down who needs your help (who reads your blog)
    Who are you writing for? Is it a group of people that have one hobby, or could it be any person from a particular population sample?
  3. Literally imagine an individual reader (the real reader)
    Lastly, what does an individual reader from that group look like? Literally think about their age, hobbies, fears, location, etc. and come up with a picture of that person.

When you come up with a specific user profile like this you all of a sudden start to write and plan your blog for that person. This makes your goals clearer, your strategies more defined, and, most importantly, it means that you start targeting blog traffic that actually converts in to some kind of action.

To reiterate: take some time to think about this end-user/end-reader because there is no point in trying to get more visitors to your blog if they are not the right fit for your content.

New content is not always necessary

There is a very common perception among bloggers that more content equals more traffic. But is that really the case?

Well, in some instances the answer is yes. For example, if you are a new blog you actually have to have some articles on your blog in order for Google to index them and to .

But if your only strategy it to create new content and then hope that visitors will arrive then chances are you will be sorely disappointed. It’s not uncommon for bloggers to write hundreds of articles and still see no real improvements in their traffic levels.

That strategy that I’m going to share today is based on the idea that what you really need to do is get better at promoting the content that you already have on your blog as opposed to creating new stuff. It’ll need a bit of extra content to implement, but it’s not just about writing more and more and more blog posts!

New content is good, but it’s not the full answer when it comes to finding new readers.

A simple way to get more traffic to your blog

Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics, let’s take a look at this simple strategy that will help your to find some more readers.

Quick interruption: Go back and on how to get 100,000 visitors from Google each month to give you some good background on basic principles of finding more traffic.

This simple strategy is all about finding people or organizations that are already talking about your particular topics. If you know how to do that – and how to access them – it can be a great way to get some quick traffic without needing to create any new blog posts.

Step one — Find the hubs

The first thing you need to do is find online hubs where people are discussing your topics. For example, jump on and find a relevant that is not necessarily directly about your topic but that would discuss it regularly.

You can look around and get to know the different subreddits, or you can use their search feature and see if they can point you in the right direction.

Step two – Find the people

The next step is to browse around the relevant hubs and look for people who are talking about your type of content. Depending on your industry, it might be an individual blogger, or it might be a bigger media organization.

For example, if we look at the “Dogs” subreddit we can see that a lot of the threads are people asking for help about training their dogs, affording vet fees, etc. This presents you with an opportunity for finding new readers that are very niche or specialized to your topic.

I’d just like to add here that sometimes this can seem really “off” as a strategy. The idea of talking with people or being nice to them just to get some benefit for yourself is a bit sick. But I also think business can and should be ethical, and so it’s good to remember that these are real people looking for real solutions to real problems. Always do your best for them.

Step three – Find the solutions

This is where the traffic growing comes in to it. What you want to do now is engage with these conversations using your content and/or expertise.

Now, this doesn’t mean just posting links to your stuff as that will likely just get you banned anyway. You need to be a little bit more engaging/creative.

For example, you might be able to post a paragraph, graphic or image of yours if it’s highly relevant and clearly not overly promotional. This is often best done in conjunction with a story where you refer to a few websites as references for further information.

Some people will link to photos on instagram or Facebook or guest posts, which then have links to your blog in the bio or next to the photo. For example, someone might be complaining about crappy dog kennels and you might reply with, “We had the same problem but we found a good solution!” which links to the photo of your unique idea.

As people look for more information they will find your website, and hopefully share the photo or Facebook post around more.

You can even go one step further by editing your existing blog posts to talk about a specific forum thread and how your content or ideas might help solve the problem. You can then share this – as long as it’s within the forum’s rules – and people will use it as a topic for further conversation.

Lastly, you can even try direct messaging other users in the thread and tell them that you saw they were having problems and that you have a solution here. Again, it has to be highly useful, genuinely helpful, and within the forums direct messaging policies.

That leads to the next step.

Step four – Keep amplifying

Once you have looked around (Reddit is just one example) you will start to get a feel for what people are talking about, what problems they are having, and what solutions they are looking for. You can then be a bit more direct with your promotion by creating posts that share your content directly.

Here’s one example of an amazing human called Katy who got on the front page of imgur (perhaps accidentally?) and has since created a new post showing her fresh batch of hats that she’s making for charity. This is such a cool way to promote her own stuff as well as the charity that she’s trying to help out.

You can post your own content in a similar way. Just take sections of a post or some photos that partially cover the topic, post it to the relevant forum or website, and then tell them there’s more information on your website. You can also create smaller forum posts based on your existing blog posts saying things like, “You wanted help with this topic? Here’s how we solved it.” and see how the results go.

Remember, this is not a strategy where you post any link directly to Reddit or any other website. The goal is to build up to that by using your blog’s existing content in a way that is directly relatable to a thread or topic being discussed.

Enhancing communities in your niche

This strategy works wherever there is a community. You could do it on Twitter (just search for keywords relating to the article you want to promote), a website forum, or even a website where the comments get a lot of traffic and interaction.

By finding places where people are already talking about your content, you can find opportunities to promote existing content without feeling like you’re spamming because you’re introducing part of your content that is well researched and then are encouraging them to look at the whole source for further information.

The bonus of doing this is that you will also build up a profile on those sites that can itself become authoritative meaning that any posts you create yourself have a higher chance of getting seen.

Have you tried this?

I’d love to know if anyone out there has had any luck promoting existing content in some online community setting in a way that was useful or well-received by the community itself. Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Top photo © Daniel Villeneuve

How Often (and Why) You Should Check and Revise Your SEO Strategy

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SEO helps us climb the rankings and get to the top of Google. The thing is, it isn’t one of those things you can get right once and pat yourself on the back before moving on. Where SEO is concerned, if you snooze, you lose. One moment you’re the champion of the world, but if you take your eyes off the prize, a competitor will upstage you.

In other words, SEO is an ongoing process. , which means that what worked a few months ago might not work anymore. What do you need to do? You need to check, revise, tweak, and adapt. How often and what do you need to check – and why? Let’s take a look!

 

Keywords come and go 

Picking the right keywords for SEO purposes can take some time. Most people will use either or some premium SEO tools to help them find the keywords their audience is searching for.

Once you start ranking for keywords, it’s a good feeling. However, keywords can sometimes come in and out of fashion. Just because a keyword was popular in your niche last year, that doesn’t mean it will always be so.

Each time you use a keyword tool, keep track of the keywords you’ve chosen. After three months or so, return to your tool to check the average search volume of each keyword in your campaign. The search volume might be roughly the same, it might have gone up, or it might have dropped. If it’s tailed off, you’ll need to fine-tune your campaign and research for more relevant keywords that your audience is now using.

If search volume has significantly grown, you might want to move the keyword in question to a different page, such as a squeeze page for higher conversions.

Keyword campaigns should also be adjusted if your position in the SERPs drops. Monitor where you are on the SERPs each week to see whether there have been significant changes.

 

Google Keyword Planner best SEO practices

Google Keyword Planner

 

Title tags should change, too 

If your main keywords change, it will probably have a knock-on effect on your title tags and meta descriptions. As such, each time you alter the main keywords in your content, take the time to adjust the relevant title tags and meta descriptions for the right pages, too.

 

Rejig old content

 

Update your existing content to keep things fresh, relevant, and ranking. Source: healthline.com

Update your existing content to keep things fresh, relevant, and ranking. Source: healthline.com

 

Many of us go all-in when it comes to creating brand new content from scratch, as we’re told that . But how many of us bother to rejig existing content?

Refreshing old content is a key part of your SEO revision efforts. Don’t get scared just yet, however, because not all of your content needs to be revisited. The best way to tell whether or not content needs rejigging is to a particular post or page has received.

For example, if the content is high on clicks, it’s a good sign that Google likes it. As such, you probably don’t need to refresh it at this time. If the visits drop off, it might need an SEO makeover later on.

A makeover doesn’t mean that you need to haul in another content writer to put a shine on things. Instead, you need to focus on its on-page SEO, including its metadata and title tags. Also, consider your : Have you been pushing the article enough and in the right way? Social media is a great place to go viral and secure vital backlinks.

How often should you check your content? At least twice a month, but once a week if possible. You can use to check for visits or your SEO tool.

 

Add new content frequently

It’s always a nice feeling when we score a hit with a smooth piece of content and get to the top of the SERPs. But you can’t rest on your laurels where SEO and content are concerned. Not only should you be asking “”, but also, “How often?”

because updates to your pages send signals to the search engines spiders to index your content again. This keeps it relevant, and it means Google’s bots are regularly dropping by your site. This is a good thing as the more it visits your site, the more it will reassess where you should be in the rankings.

How often should you be posting new content? There’s no definitive answer to the question; it all depends on the type of site you have. If you run a news site, you need to post daily. For everyone else, it’s a good idea to take a look at what your high-ranking competitors are doing. How often do they publish new posts?

The long and short of it is that, as points out, freshness matters. Whether this means posting new content daily or once a week, it’s important that you get stuff out there, but it’s also important that what you post is of high quality.

Remember, each time you post something new, you’ve also got a fresh chance to research and use more keywords.

 

Catch those bad backlinks

by adding some crucial link juice to your site. However, if the links are spam, they could actually harm your position in the SERPs.

The easiest way to get rid of bad backlinks is to get in touch with the webmaster and kindly ask them to remove the inbound link. Once the link has been removed, you’ll then need to find an alternative replacement as the more backlinks you have, the higher you could rank.

Again, you can use your own SEO tool if you have one (provided it has ) or a link research tool to find out which links are good and which are bad.

The race for backlinks is heating up. Just as you’re scouring your sector for backlinks, so are your competitors. As such, there’s no time to waste where dodgy links are concerned. If you’re working hard at securing backlinks, work just as hard at checking to see how good or bad those backlinks are. I suggest revisiting this aspect of your SEO campaign at least once a week.

 

Summing up

Revisiting your SEO strategy doesn’t need to be hard work as long as you remember that SEO is an ongoing process. If you’ve always seen SEO as a one-off thing, checking and revising will be tedious. Change your mindset and approach, and you’ll be just dandy.

 

How often do you revise your SEO? Let us know in the comments below!

 

How often and why you should check and revise your seo strategy

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Being In The Physical, and Turning Memories Into Moments

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This week, I returned from a two week trip back to my birth country of Scotland.

I took the trip with my good friend, , who had wanted to do this trip for a few years (he was meant to do it two years ago for his 50th birthday).

Given my own 50th is fast approaching this October, I revisited the idea with him, and we took off on an adventure of whisky tasting, scenic views, a trip to his beloved Liverpool FC near the end of the trip, and a stay-over in Amsterdam on the last night.

And it was glorious.

Being able to switch off, and simply view and breathe in the experiences around us, was truly a gift, and one that has created memories that will last a lifetime.

It’s something we don’t do enough of and, watching how those around us in the places we visited lived life, made us both realize how differently life is meant to be enjoyed.

Digital Seconds, Physical Lifetimes

It’s been a while since I was in Scotland and I was originally from Edinburgh, so I was used to busy lives where streets are full, and people have places to go, fast.

It’s not too different from Toronto, where I now work – heads down, feet driving people forward, meetings to make as opposed to conversations.

And I get that. It’s modern life, city style.

But the contrast in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, where Sam and I visited, was marked and welcome.

People ambled along amiably, smiling, nodding acknowledgement, taking life one slow step at a time.

Pubs were full of laughter and faces at once new yet not, as they struck up conversations with us and invited us into their circles.

Strangers became fast friends, and no-one looked at their cell phones. Seriously – not one single time.

Instead of wasting digital seconds, the locals were enjoying physical lifetimes of laughter.

Contentment, easiness around people, and showing how people with no rush to be in the next place lived life in a much happier place than we allow ourselves to in our own everyday lives.

It was almost like being in a place before cell phones, before social media, before always-on became a norm as opposed to an abnormality.

And I loved them for that.

Making Memories More Than Just an Image

This peace, this serenity, left me with an increased desire to at least try and replicate it back home in Canada.

I’ve spoken before about leading meaningful lives, and turning off the overwhelm, and I try my best to switch off where I can for some quality time.

Yet one thing I’ve taken away from the stay in the Scottish Highlands and Islands is this: just switching off only lasts so long. It’s the mindset that has to change.

Enjoying moments for what they are, as opposed to what you pressure yourself to gain from them.

Enjoying people for who they are, as opposed to what you expect to take from them.

Enjoying life for what it is, as opposed to what you’re told it should be for it to mean something.

In short, not thinking of memories of that time in Scotland and how relaxed I felt, but making these memories ones that exist every day because we’re living that ethos of peace, contentment, and appreciation.

No doubt there will be times it’s not possible to do so but, for the most part, it’s easier than we often allow ourselves to believe it is.

We just need to open our eyes and breathe.

If you’d like to view a collection of some of the pictures I took on the trip, including some amazing panoramic views, you can find them .

10 Easy Ways to Create Product Pages that Convert

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Your product pages are one of the most important parts of your ecommerce website. Done well, they work to attract your audience and convert more customers.

Why? Because they give buyers a clear, complete picture of your product – so they can decide if it’s right for them. To do that, you’ll need to combine an attractive design with informative content, to deliver a digital experience that makes clicking ‘Add to cart’ irresistible.

While there’s no magic formula to creating a captivating product page, there are many elements that can make it stand out. And you can start with this handy list of 10 easy ways to create high converting product pages:

 

1. Product description

A detailed product description is essential to converting customers. It should highlight the main benefits and features and include bullet points for easy reading. Combined with keyword-centric copy, this can help you rank higher in search results.

If your online store has thousands of products, it can be challenging to come up with a vast volume of unique descriptions. But if you don’t, you might miss out on sales – and a top search ranking. In fact, Google could penalize you for duplicate content and knock your site down the list. So it’s crucial to create an engaging description for each product. Just be sure to make it original (don’t copy it straight from the manufacturer’s site), keep it interesting, and avoid overusing keywords.

Product descriptions that are concise, scannable, and use plain, neutral language, have . Here’s an example of a well-written product description that engages buyers:

 

Product pages – product description by Onzie

Image source:

 

2. Product images

Images attract attention. And a whopping said visuals had the biggest influence on their decision to buy.

So be sure to use high-resolution photos, taken on either a DSLR camera or smartphone. Invest in proper lighting, mirrors, or white paper, to splash light onto the product from all angles. Then adjust the contrast or lighting settings, to enhance the image quality.

Avoid using filters, so buyers can see exactly how your product looks. For consistency, consider using a white background. This also makes your images easier to edit and distributes light more evenly.

Images should be big enough to clearly see the product, with an option to zoom in for a closer look. Include photos of the product from every angle, and consider showing how other people use it in real life. Also, remember to .

 

Product pages – product images from ModCloth

Image source:

 

 

3. Product videos

Many leading ecommerce businesses use product videos for better conversions. They help users see a live demo and encourage more time on site, increasing engagement. Videos can even help grow your audience, with metadata securing better search rankings and indexing.

In fact, video can improve your odds of a front page Google result by . It’s also easily shareable on social media.

The thumbnail is the face of your video, and so is fundamental to getting more views. You should also take care of the video length, as users have short attention spans. You don’t want a bad bounce rate impacting your search rankings.

Take a look at the below demo video for the , which combines a product description and how-to guide – everything needed to decide to buy.

 

 

4. Call-to-action

A clear helps your customers check out quickly. This should be a button in an eye-catching color, as this brings in more clicks.

Consider color psychology when designing your CTA, since some shades evoke certain emotions and perceptions. For business software company SAP, orange CTAs boosted conversion rates by over .

The button should grab attention and spark a sense of urgency, with copy like ‘Buy Now’ to encourage more clicks.

Firebox places a big button just below the product name and price. This attracts the eye and contrasts well with the surrounds. And because the button is beside the image, shoppers can easily click to see if it’s what they want.

 

Product pages – CTA by Firebox

Image Source:

 

 

5. Customer reviews

prefer to buy from ecommerce sites with product ratings and reviews.

These help build confidence in your products and convey transparency. Plus, positive reviews convert more customers and boost sales.

 

Product pages – Amazon's customer reviews

Image Source:

 

To collect reviews, start to happy customers. As an added incentive, you could offer a discount or giveaway. Some apps automatically ask customers for reviews after they buy, making it easy and effortless to add social proof.

If a customer sends a negative review, it’s always best to handle it with professionalism and courtesy – and make an effort to solve their problems. The way you handle negative comments can boost buyer confidence.

 

6. Recommendations

Recommending related products can help customers compare or combine items. You can either promote a pricier product or suggest one that complements their order.

It’s worth prioritizing up-selling and cross-selling when shoppers are ready to buy. Suggesting other products can lead to better engagement – and happy customers who get what they want. In fact, and 75 percent of Netflix sales stem from product recommendations.

Ensure the related products are easy to navigate and presented clearly. Sierra Designs does this well:

 

Product pages – Sierra Designs recommendations

Image Source:

 

Notice how the section is positioned below the chosen product, with features and customer reviews displayed discreetly.

 

7. Shipping information

Shipping and handling fees play a big part in cart abandonment. In fact, unexpected shopping costs prompt to walk away. That’s why it’s important to highlight shipping costs on your product page, so customers know what they’ll pay before placing an order.

Copy like “free shipping on orders over $50” makes it easy for customers to calculate costs without clicking away from the page.

ASOS also has a ‘free delivery & returns’ link that drops down to show shopping options.

 

Product pages – shipping information from ASOS

Image Source:

 

Promoting free shipping can also entice buyers to add more products to their cart.

 

8. SEO

SEO is proven to boost traffic and leads, especially when you consider starts in search engines. Make your product page SEO-friendly by adding keywords to the title and body copy. The title should also feature popular search terms, and describe your product in 60 characters or fewer.

The title in the first example below is 60 characters long, so it’s easy to read. But in the second snippet, Google has truncated the title as it’s over the limit.

 

Product pages – SEO

 

Start with searchable product names, and try to use long-tail keyword phrases on the product page. The URLs should also be short and succinct, with just enough detail.

Be sure to optimize page metadata and images – and include descriptive key phrases in the image alt text to boost your organic ranking.

Internal links to related products and pages also help with rank. And generating backlinks from authoritative sites to your online store will score points with search engines.

You should also choose an uncluttered design that loads quickly, since slow page loads can compromise conversions and impact your SEO.

 

9. Mobile optimization

Incredibly, are more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly website. Plus, Google prioritizes its mobile algorithm.

Both are good reasons to optimize your product pages for mobile. They should be fast to load, easy to navigate, and have fixed menus and properly placed images. You can also offer a phenomenal shopping experience with prominent images, descriptions in tabbed boxes, easy-to-read fonts, and clear call-to-action buttons.

Check out Fallen Hero, whose mobile-friendly site features big images and well-designed product listings:

 

Product pages – Fallen Hero mible optimization

 

Individual product pages – such as the cardigan below – shows the product in greater detail, with a simple swipe to see it from other angles.

 

Product pages – Fallen Hero product details on mobile

 

Scrolling down then presents clear options to choose the size and color.

 

Product pages – options on mobile

 

People spend less time browsing and reading on their smartphones, so images play an even bigger role. Make sure your images are visible and quick to load, to provide an alluring mobile shopping experience.

 

10. Social sharing

said social media influences what they buy. That’s why you should display social sharing buttons on all product pages – so shoppers can share your wares with their network, and you get more traffic. Try to make the button eye-catching without distracting shoppers as they browse. And consider to pinpoint the best position for social links.

Notice how Designboom places social sharing buttons on top of the image. They’re hard to miss, but also don’t look out of place.

 

Social sharing icons on a product page by DesignBoom

Image Source:

 

It’s best to only use social buttons relevant to your business. For example, a Pinterest button is perfect if you sell jewelry – but perhaps less important if you sell software.

Also, remember social proof in the form of likes and shares can spark more trust in your products. You can also add a unique hashtag to your products, so they’re seen by more people across platforms.

 

Last words

By following these steps, you can create perfect product pages – to give customers a memorable shopping experience and bring in more sales.

Remember: your product pages should answer customers’ questions and show them the value of your products. By focusing on the user experience, you can enjoy higher conversions. And you can use analytics to track your results along the way.

 

 

10 Easy Ways to Create Product Pages that Convert

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Why You Need to Take More Breaks (And How to Do It)

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Ahh!! The last couple of months have been CRAZY busy…

So, I stopped taking breaks because I thought I could get MORE done.

The problem?

My productivity completely tanked.

Something needed to change.

And I had a lot of questions… Like, how do breaks help or hurt your productivity? How do you take an effective break?

Here’s what I found…

Taking a break = being lazy?

I used to believe that taking a break = being lazy.

As it turns out, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

And still.

Taking a break at work is kind of taboo.

And let’s face it. No one wants to be called lazy.

Now, I’m also a bit of a workaholic. But as I watched my productivity tank while I was working harder and harder… I realized something needed to change.

So I looked into the science of taking breaks.

As you’ll see below, the evidence is pretty clear:

Taking a break at work is good for your productivity.

But there are many unanswered questions:

When should you take a break? How often? How long? What should you do during your break? And more.

I’ll answer all your questions about taking breaks here.

You’ll notice that the questions and answers are organized into 3 parts.

will answer all your questions about the benefits of taking breaks. So, if you’re still doubting that breaks are good for your productivity, start there.

is all about HOW to take effective breaks. How many? How long? What to do DURING your break. And more.

is where you’ll find practical advice about how to make regular breaks part of your daily routine.

Specifically, you’ll find answers to the following questions:

  1. “Taking breaks is good for my productivity… Really?!”
  2. “Why is it important to take breaks at work?”
  3. “How does taking a break affect my brain?”
  4. “What are the most important benefits of taking a break at work?”
  5. “Does Taking a Break Help Me Make Better Decisions?”
  6. “How does taking a break affect creativity?”
  7. “How will breaks affect my ability to focus?”
  8. “How will taking a break affect my memory?”
  9. “How do breaks help me reach my goals?”
  10. “How often should I take a break?”
  11. “How long should my break be?”
  12. “What should I do during my break?”
  13. “Should I browse the internet during my breaks?”
  14. “How much should I move during my break?”
  15. “Should I workout during my break?”
  16. “Should I take a nap during my break?”
  17. “Should I try to meditate on my break?”
  18. “(What) Should I eat and drink during my break?”
  19. “Should I take a coffee break?”
  20. “So what are the best activities to do during my break?”
  21. “I feel guilty about taking breaks. What should I do?”
  22. “What if I don’t have time to take a break?”
  23. “What if I can’t take a break right now?”
  24. “How can I make breaks a regular part of my routine?”
  25. “What tools can I use to help me take breaks?”

Cool?

Let’s jump in.

Part 1: The Benefits of Taking Breaks

I experienced first hand how NOT taking any breaks at work hurt my productivity.

I was working long days, non-stop.

But when I looked at what I actually got done… The effort and time I put in didn’t seem to justify the work I got done.

Why was I so “unproductive”?

As it turns out, I wasn’t giving my brain the time to rest that it needs.

“Taking breaks is good for my productivity… Really?!”

The short answer is…

Yes, really.

In a 2013 article, the New York Times :

A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.

However…

Science ALSO that there are a right and a wrong way to take a break.

The answers to the questions below will help you get the most out of your downtime.

“Why is it important to take breaks at work?”

It’s important because of what happens if you DON’T take breaks: Your productivity goes downhill… FAST.

The truth is: Humans are not wired to concentrate for 8+ hours on end. So, it’s no surprise that (on average) in an 8-hour workday, people are productive for or so.

Plus, not taking breaks other negative effects:

  • Decision fatigue
  • Lack of focus
  • Damaged eyes

The good news is:

As behavioral scientist Nir Eyal , the right kind of breaks can counter these negative effects. Good breaks reduce mental fatigue, boost brain function, and help us stay focused.

But taking too many breaks can backfire, too… Because when you take the wrong kind of breaks it actually gets HARDER to focus.

So, if you want to get more done, you need to make sure you take effective breaks during your workday.

That’s just how our brain works…

“How does taking a break affect my brain?”

Most of us are knowledge workers – we “think for a living.” And the thinking part of our brain is the :

The prefrontal cortex is where our focus, decision making, and logical thinking happens. That’s pretty much what most of us do all day. So, no wonder our brain needs a break!

It turns out, though, our brain isn’t doing “nothing” when we rest…

from the University of Southern California that suggests that our brain uses the downtime to make important connections that shape our identity and social behavior – things like recalling personal memories, imagining the future, and developing a code of ethics.

That’s why giving your brain a chance to rest is crucial.

Specifically, here are the most important, scientifically-backed benefits:

“What are the most important benefits of taking a break at work?”

When you DON’T take breaks it’s bad for your productivity… and health.

On the flipside…

When you DO take breaks, there are lots of advantages.

Here’s a quick summary of the most important benefits:

  • Taking regular breaks will help you make better decisions (by thinking more clearly)
  • Breaks spark creative ideas and new solutions
  • Taking breaks helps you stay focused over long periods of time
  • Breaks can help you retain information in memory (important for studying or rehearsing a speech etc.)
  • Taking short breaks every now and then help you re-focus on your big-picture goals.

How do you take advantage of all of this?

By taking the right number, length, and type of break.

“Does Taking a Break Help Me Make Better Decisions?”

Yes! Here’s why…

Breaks prevent :

As you work, you constantly have to make decisions. But this actually wears down our willpower and ability to think clearly.

For example, one famous showed:

Judges were less and less likely to grant parole to prisoners later in the day. Decision fatigue explains why this happens… Without taking breaks, the judges were more likely to go with the easiest decision: just say no.

That’s tragic in this case. But it applies to ALL decisions. Decisions wear us down over time.

So, if you want to make better decisions, make sure you take regular breaks.

“How does taking a break affect creativity?”

Breaks serve as creative fuel.

I’ll explain.

Being creative means connecting the dots. Specifically, connecting “dots” that you didn’t think about connecting before…

Say, you’re stuck trying to figure out a problem. A quick walk to the around the block can spark an idea for the solution.

Maybe you read a funny slogan on a billboard. Maybe you overhear a conversation while you wait in line. Maybe a conversation with a friend turns into the Aha-moment that will get you unstuck.

The point is:

Most of us, when we’re working, are focused on “output.” Kind of like I’m writing this article right now: I’m focused on putting the words on the screen. BUT…

Without input, it’s much harder to create quality output.

The good news is that even a short “change of state” in the form of a break can be the creative input you need.

That’s why taking breaks is important if you want to and come up with new solutions.

“How will breaks affect my ability to focus?”

It’s getting harder and harder to

…but taking breaks can help.

People used to think concentration is about “forcing” yourself to stay focused. But a recent from the University of Illinois BUSTS that myth.

First, the scientists confirmed what you already know from experience: if you have to focus on a single task for a long time, after a while, your performance gets worse and worse.

The solution? Psychology professor Alejandro Lleras explains:

“Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused”

In other words…

Taking breaks helps you stay focused.

Staying focused on one task for a long time is something humans haven’t been doing for too long. So, our minds just aren’t used to it.

For this reason, the best thing to do if you need to concentrate for a long time is NOT to try and force yourself to stay focused…

…but to impose short, mental breaks on yourself.

“How will taking a break affect my memory?”

There’s that taking breaks helps us form memories. The brain uses the downtime to review and store new information.

But what if you need to remember a lot of new information over a few days? For example, studying for a test or preparing for a presentation.

How should you structure your “study” sessions?

Well, it depends…

New research by David F. Little of Northwestern University suggests that there’s a “memory threshold:”

If you take a long break before you reach that threshold, you won’t remember as much. So, you’re better off NOT taking a break.

So…

DON’T study for 20 minutes, take a 30-minute break and then study for another 20 minutes. You’d be better off powering through the 40 minutes without a break.

However…

Taking lots of mini-breaks might be even better. In the study, the group that took 5 mini-breaks in 40 minutes performed best.

“How do breaks help me reach my goals?”

You might worry that when you take a break you’ll lose momentum.

There’s some truth to that.

When I’m , I like to keep going…

The problem?

When you work for too long without taking a break, you might lose track of what you’re actually trying to do. Researchers this effect “goal habituation.”

The solution science suggests is “goal reactivation”… by taking short breaks every now and then.

Part 2: How to take Effective Breaks

As we’ve seen, the evidence of the benefits of taking breaks at work is pretty clear.

But let’s dig a little deeper into HOW to take effective breaks…

For example:

  • How often should you take a break?
  • How long should your breaks be?
  • What should you do during your breaks?

You’ll find the answer to those questions below.

“How often should I take a break?”

Our focus, energy, and motivation moves in “waves.”

(Biologists call it .)

That’s probably why I always hit a slump around 3 pm…

How can taking breaks help?

Well, your break schedule should match that rhythm.

Tony Schwartz, the author of , calls this “pulse and pause.” And, he found that humans tend to move from full focus to fatigue every 90 minutes.

Now…

Many studies have looked at the optimal break-schedule.

The results differ slightly. But as you’ll see, the sweet spot seems to be somewhere between 30 minutes and 90 minutes:

  • The University of Illinois cited before suggest taking a break once every hour.
  • Inc. Magazine a break every 60-90 minutes.
  • Time-tracking app Desktime it’s best to take a break every 52 minutes (followed by a 17-minute break).
  • Based on the study of professional musicians, Robert Pozen of the MIT Sloan School of Management taking a break every 75 to 90 minutes.
  • The popular Pomodoro Technique promotes taking a break every 25 minutes (followed by a 3-5 minute break and then a 15-30 minute break every 90 minutes or so)

But it’s not about the exact number of minutes…

How often you should take a break also depends on the TYPE of work you need to do.

For example:

If you can stay fully focused for 90 minutes as you write, keep the momentum for as long as you can.

If your thoughts start to wander after 20 minutes of reading, it’s better to take a short break. Give your focus-muscle a chance to relax. Just a few minutes later, you’ll come back fresh.

(Remember: the brain needs time to consolidate new information.)

“How long should my break be?”

Remember, our bodies naturally go through an ebb and flow of high and low energy. Ideally, you want to take advantage of that.

So, what is the ideal length of your work breaks?

After reviewing all the studies and research that’s out there, here’s my best advice:

Take SHORT breaks – say 5 to 15 minutes – every hour or so. Take a longer break – at least 30 minutes – every 2 to 4 hours (depending on your task).

I know that’s pretty broad…

But unless you want to follow a super strict schedule, based on all the research, that’s the best advice I can give.

For a more exact schedule you could follow one of these methods:

  • Take a 17-minute break every 52 minutes (see the )
  • Take a 5-minute break every 25 minutes (following the )
  • As a general rule: Take a 15-minute break for every hour of focused work.

Just remember to take a longer break every 2-4 hours, too.

Another thing to remember is that top performers don’t necessarily spend more total time “working.”

But they DO spend more time completely focused.

For example…

Researcher K. Anders Ericsson found that top performers (including musicians, athletes, etc.) rarely work for more than four and a half hours per day! However they engage in so-called “deliberate practice.”

James Clear gives a good :

Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.

It’s easy to see why breaks are crucial for this. Remember, taking a break helps your mind to stay focused and re-focus on your goals.

Here’s my personal focus routine to .

“What should I do DURING my break?”

So, the ability to focus is what makes you more productive while you work. And taking breaks is crucial but…

What should you do during your break?

In short: Anything that gives your brain a chance to relax.

Hengchen Dai from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania :

“Based on past research, we would expect that the more relaxed and disengaged from work people feel during a break, the more likely they will be to benefit from taking time off.”

So, you shouldn’t to any work on your break.

Duh.

But this is important…

It’s tempting do easy tasks that don’t require your full attention during your break… don’t.

Science clearly says:

If you want to be more productive overall, don’t work during your break!

The whole goal of taking a break is to shift your attention. In fact, the goal is to stop concentrating at all.

So let’s look at some specific things you can do during your break. Should you go for a walk? Should you drink coffee? Should you take a nap?

I’ll answer those questions next.

“Should I browse the internet during my breaks?”

Yes and no.

I’ll explain.

On the one hand, you want to completely take your mind off of work. And scrolling through Instagram or watching can certainly do the trick.

But there’s a downside to goofing off online during your break, too…

The problem is that non-stop social media use . And it gets worse. The Harvard Business Review that social media can also hurt your ability to focus and learn.

Basically, your brain gets hooked on instant gratification of seeing the next Instagram picture. And then another one. And another one.

This makes it harder and harder to focus on things that’s not immediately as rewarding. You know, things like doing your job.

There’s also a that shows that tech-free breaks “increase vigor and reduce emotional exhaustion.”

So ideally, you want to stay away from your screen.

Now…

I can’t say I don’t browse the internet on my breaks.

But would I recommend it?

No.

“How much should I move during my break?”

When a couple of years ago, my doc told me to do one thing:

Walk.

Ever since then, I walk everywhere.

I do walking meetings. I make all my phone calls when I walk around NYC. We even did a here at Social Triggers to get people to walk more.

So, needless to say, I believe walking is a GREAT thing to do during your break.

Walking is essential for your physical and emotional health. It reduces stress and boosts creativity.

The good news is:

You don’t have to exhaust yourself.

A short 5 minute walk is enough.

If you can, walk outside. Spending time in nature is ideal.

But really, the big benefit comes from getting up…

Sitting all day is TERRIBLE for your health.

That’s why just a little bit of movement during your break is so good for you. And that’s even beyond all the positive effects of taking a break in the first place.

So, you don’t have to move a lot. But it’s important that you do.

“Should I workout during my break?”

As I mentioned, to get the benefit of an effective break, you don’t need to move a lot.

Does that mean you shouldn’t workout during your break?

No.

You absolutely can.

that a moderate level of cardio activity can boost creativity and productivity for upt to two hours.

“Almost every dimension of cognition improves from 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.”

There’s a slight catch, though… If you don’t work out regularly, you might be exhausted rather than refreshed form the workout.

But remember:

The good news is you don’t need to work out that hard. A short walk is enough to get the benefit of taking a break AND reduce the negative effects of sitting all day.

Exercise also reduces stress and anxiety. But I don’t have to explain

“Should I take a nap during my break?”

Sciences says…

Yes.

The power of a good nap is undeniable:

  • on pilots shows that a 26-minute in-flight nap (yes, there was a copilot lol) enhanced performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%.
  • A study published in tested how naps affect our perception throughout the day. People who took a 30-minute stayed more alert (a 60-minute nap was even better).
  • A found that a daily, 10- or 20-minute nap can significantly increase productivity and academic focus.

Now, the important follow-up question is…

How long should you nap for?

Based on the by Jennifer Ackerman (who also wrote ), you have 3 options:

  • Take a short, 20-minute nap: A quick “cat nap” should make you more alert, help you concentrate, and give your mood a little boost. If you want to give yourself an extra boost, drink a cup of coffee right before… The caffeine will kick in right as you get back to work.
  • Take a 45-minute nap (but not more!): Naps of up to 45 minutes will also include REM sleep. This means you should see even more benefits from your nap (like a boost in creative thinking).
  • Take a loooong (90- to 120-minutes) nap: This will give you enough time to go through a full sleep cycle. So, you won’t have to deal with sleep inertia.

But be careful. When you nap…

Beware of .

If you sleep more than 45 minutes but not long enough to go through a full sleep-cycle, it might take you a long time to be fully awake again.

“Should I try to meditate on my break?”

Okay, I’ve tried meditating… but I can’t do it.

That’s not to say, there are no benefits. And it’s definitely a great idea to do it during your breaks.

Remember, the goal is to completely disconnect your brain from work. When you meditate, ideally, that’s what you’ll experience.

The for meditating during a break is to do it during one of your longer breaks. Say, your lunch-break.

“(What) Should I eat and drink during my break?”

Our brains basically :

The brain lacks fuel stores and hence requires a continuous supply of glucose.

That’s why it’s a great idea to fuel your brain during your breaks.

Here a are some ideas for :

  • Almonds
  • Fresh fruit or dried fruit
  • Protein bar
  • Wasabi peas
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Kale chips
  • Tomato juice
  • Yogurt
  • Apples and peanut butter

So, go ahead and use your break as an opportunity to have a snack. Or vice versa…

Use your urge to snack as an opportunity to take a break!

“Should I take a coffee break?”

Should you actually drink coffee during your coffee break?

As it turns out, yes, there’s that drinking coffee is good for your productivity… Caffeine keeps you alert, it can reduce stress, and keep you active.

Now, let’s say you take 2 coffee breaks. And let’s say you wake up between 6 am and 8 am…

When should you take your coffee breaks?

Apparently, the perfect time for your first coffee break is between 9:30 am and 11:30 am. Then, your second coffee break should be between 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm.

Oh and remember: You can , too. That way, when you wake up, you’ll get the jolt of caffeine at the perfect time.

Now…

It looks like drinking coffee is pretty good for your productivity. But whether you like to drink coffee, water, or tea, there’s another benefit of the typical “coffee break:”

It’s often a good opportunity meet and talk to people.

So, let’s summarize…

“So what are the best activities to do during my break?”

Remember:

The goal of your breaks should be to fully detach from work – even if it’s just for a moment.

So, I’ll say it again… Don’t try to combine your break with another stressful activity. Don’t do “light work” like checking emails. If you’re chatting with someone, don’t talk about work issues.

In his book , Dan Pink cites a South Korean study to prove this point:

“Psychological detachment from work, in addition to physical detachment, is crucial, as continuing to think about job demands during breaks may result in strain.”

With that in mind, what are some good activities to do during your break?

How about you…

  • Go for a short walk – sitting all day is bad for you. Moving is better than being stationary.
  • Go outside – spending time in nature will boost your creativity and ability to focus.
  • Stretch – whatever you need to do to get a moment to relax
  • Take a nap – the power of a good nap is undeniable.
  • Daydream – the less you’re concentrating, the better (it will ease stress and boost your mood).
  • Declutter your desk or doodle – this should get your mind off work for a moment (and help you come back re-focused).
  • Talk to people – friends and co-workers
  • Give your eyes a break – Look away from your screen for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes (the )
  • Have a snack/take a coffee break – your brain needs fuel to work properly.

Whatever you do, the qualities of a good break remain the same. To summarize…

Do something that will…

  • Shift your focus away from work
  • Get your eyes off the screen
  • Get you out of your chair (and moving just a little bit)
  • Give your brain a chance to truly relax
  • Allow you to interact with other people

Cool?

Cool.

Now that you know how to take effective breaks, how do you actually make this part of your daily routine?

If you have questions about that, I’ll answer them in part 3 now.

Part 3: How to Implement Good Breaks in Your Workday

If you doubted that breaks are important, I hope you see now that they are.

And if you’ve wondered how to take effective breaks and what to do DURING your breaks… now you know.

But how do you make this part of your workday. Every day?

The first problem is that most people feel GUILTY about taking any kind of break:

According to one , only 25% of people take more than a lunch break. Most people just “power through” their 8+ hours of work.

This is based on a deep rooted belief…

Many cultures just see taking breaks as being lazy.

But as we’ve seen, that’s not true.

So why do we still feel guilty about taking breaks?

“I feel guilty about taking breaks. What should I do?”

The first thing you should do is…

Stop feeling guilty about taking breaks.

Easier said than done, I know.

But at least now, you have all the evidence that proves: Taking breaks actually makes you MORE productive.

Depending on the work you do, it can be critical that you take enough breaks. Which reminds me of a recent uber driver…

He told me, “man, I’ve been driving for 12 hours. I’m gonna call it quits for the day soon.” Lol. Yeah, you probably should.

Or take the that found that doctors stop washing their hands as the day goes on if they don’t take enough breaks.

Or let me remind you of top athletes that only practice for 3-4 hours a day. The difference is… They’re highly focused WHEN they work.

I’m not saying you need to take a 90-minute nap every day.

But if you do, that’s okay, too.

As long as it helps you come back to work with fresh focus, better mood, and more motivation, there’s absolutely no need to feel guilty about taking a break.

But don’t take it from me…

Tony Schwartz is the head of the productivity consulting firm (they advise companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple). Schwartz put it best in a recent :

“When demand in our lives intensifies, we tend to hunker down and push harder (…) The trouble is that, without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing.”

The next problem with taking breaks?

People think they just can’t afford to take a break…

“What if I don’t have time to take a break?”

“I don’t have time” is maybe .

Now, I get that there are times where things get crazy. You feel like there’s just NO WAY you can take even 15 minutes to relax.

But remember TWO things:

First…

Something is better than nothing.

Even a micro-break can help you refocus.

Second…

NOT taking any breaks will make you LESS productive.

That’s the weird thing.

To Dan Pink, who wrote :

I used to power through breaks, for whatever reason. My view was that amateurs took breaks and professionals didn’t. That’s just diametrically, 100 percent erroneous. Professionals take breaks, amateurs don’t take breaks. I started thinking about breaks as part of my performance, not as a deviation from my performance, and you should, too.

Yes! Remind yourself of this next time you feel like you have too much to do to take a break…

Professionals take breaks.

“What if I can’t take a break right now?”

Okay…

Let’s say you REALLY can’t take a break right now.

But you’re losing focus. What can you do?

If possible, I suggest you switch tasks.

This will allow you to change your focus. It can almost feel like you’re taking a break. Because you are… sort of. You’re using a different part of your brain.

Speaking of switching tasks:

I recently read an interesting story about Elon Musk. , he breaks up his entire day into 5-minute slots.

If you’re actually THAT busy, dividing your day into smaller chunks can give your productivity a boost.

You don’t have to go as far as Musk. But how about 15- or 30-minute slots?

You’ll be surprised for half an hour. Then, you’ll feel like you have time for a break, too.

“How can I make breaks a regular part of my routine?”

So you want to make taking breaks a part of your routine.

That’s the GOAL.

But it can be difficult. Especially if you’re busy and driven like most entrepreneurs are. That’s why you need a system that automatically makes breaks a regular part of your day.

Here are 3 good approaches:

  1. Schedule breaks on your calendar: If you’re working on a strict schedule, blocking time out for breaks on your calendar is your best bet – even if it’s just two 15-minute breaks.
  2. Set a timer: If you do a lot of high-focus work, working in “sprints” seems the most productive approach. You can use some version of the Pomodoro Method and set a timer for 30-minutes, go with the 52-minute work and 17-minute break intervals, or whichever time is optimal for you.
  3. Make a “break appointment:” If you’re having a hard time sticking to your break schedule, make an appointment with someone to take your breaks together. It’s a bit tricky to get on the same schedule. But this way you’ll have someone to remind you to take a break.

There are some great tools that can help you, too…

“What tools can I use to help me take breaks?”

There are lots of easy-to-use time-tracking apps.

Here are some popular apps:

Honestly? They all do the same thing. Most of these are too fancy for me. I like to keep it simple and distraction-free.

That’s why my favorite tool is… Google.

Check it out:

Just type “set timer for [X] minutes” into your search bar.

You’ll have a timer running right there in your browser!

Or just put a reminder in your calendar:

Set it to repeat every day.

Give the apps above a try and see what works for you. If you want to keep it simple, use the timer on your phone and your calendar.

Any other questions about taking breaks?

I tried to answer all the common questions about taking breaks at work here.

If I missed something, let me know in the comments.

Also, tell me about your experience.

How does taking breaks affect your productivity?

Here’s Some New Blogging Statistics for 2018

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Do a quick Google search for “blogging statistics” and you’ll find some really good posts. Unfortunately, a lot of them are writing about the same stats from the same studies and surveys.

Today I’ve got a new set of statistics to add to the mix that looks at things like , the goals they’re trying to achieve, the amount of income they make, the challenges they face, etc.

I’m going to update this post every year with new stats, and I’ll also ask other bloggers and websites to do their own surveys so we can cover a bunch of different niches, get a bigger sample size, and more.

Let’s take a look at the graphic summary and then we can talk about some of the insights and what they might mean below.

blogging statistics

If you’d like a PDF format of the results you can . Feel free to also embed the graphic on your own blog. I’d really appreciate a cheeky share of this infographic on Pinterest if you’ve got an account. They take ages to put together and it’d really help me out.

So what to these stats tell us about bloggers?

When I did this survey I really wanted to get a broad range of information while steering clear of questions about things like “blogging platforms” because those stats get updated by all those sites annually anyway.

Some of the things I found most interesting included:

  • People start blogs for different reasons — Almost half of bloggers surveyed said they started their blog as a hobby, while the other half was largely about .
  • The income earned varies a lot — One person was making over $1m from their blog, but most people are making zero income from their blog. At first , but when you relate that to the “hobby stat” above it makes sense. It also makes sense in relation to the next point.
  • Most bloggers don’t devote a lot of time to it — I was surprised to see that most people spend less than five hours a week blogging (which lead to many results), even though quite a lot of people have been doing it more than a year. Again, this might correlate to the goals.
  • Most bloggers have a supporting job or partner — It was really cool to see that people are supporting their blogging goals with another job, or the income of their partner. Hopefully that means are supporting their blogging ambitions.
  • A lack of readers is the biggest worry — I was very interested to see that the thing that worries most bloggers is and not things like security, coding, etc. This might make for a good new focus on Blog Tyrant.
  • Most bloggers do it all themselves — One concerning survey response was the fact that over 80% of bloggers do without outsourcing any tasks. This is a really common issue with small business owners, and often means you can’t be as effective as possible. Again, we might need more content about this.

While not the biggest sample size, I think this survey can really help us to understand some of the factors that lead to blogging success while knowing the goals of the blogger, and I’m going to use it as a basis for further posts that address these issues.

What statistic do you find most interesting?

I’d love to know which stat you find most interesting and what it tells you about blogging. If you have any ideas about future surveys, bloggers you’d like to see stats from, etc. then please drop a comment below and let me know. I want to keep this post constantly firing with new stats!

Your Blog Isn’t Too Small to Fail: How to Prepare for the Unlikely

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“Unlikely” doesn’t mean “impossible.” It’s unlikely that the flight you’re taking next month will crash or the cruise you’re planning this summer will end in a raft of lifeboats washing up on a deserted tropical island. But neither scenario is impossible.

By the same token, it’s unlikely that your small-scale blogging business will suffer a catastrophic compromise that temporarily cripples its revenue stream and leaves your most sensitive personal or business data vulnerable to theft and misuse. It’s unlikely that you’ll have to put your emergency plan into action.

But not impossible. Not by a long shot.

Even owners need to prepare for the unlikely event that they’re singled out for attack or caught up in a broader compromise. Here’s what you can do today to protect yourself against the unthinkable.

Continuously Back Up Important Files

The most important thing sole proprietors and small business owners can do to reduce downtime and revenue loss following a catastrophic compromise is to fully back up all important files. That includes everything in your website’s backend: plug-ins, drafts, published content, image files, macros, tables, and so on.

Use a combination of external media and secure cloud backup to make a complete, rolling fallback for your blogging operation. Choose a solution that backs up frequently, as often as two to four times per hour.

Use Two-Factor Authentication for All Logins

Don’t let a lost password ruin your week. Besides making unique, difficult-to-guess passwords, the most important step you can take to prevent account compromise is to implement everywhere that permits it. (And to consider switching out services that don’t yet use two-factor authentication.)

Don’t Store Your Passwords or Other Sensitive Credentials on Your Computer

Don’t store passwords or sensitive personal data on your computer (or in your website’s backend, which is even more vulnerable to compromise). Keep a hard copy of your current passwords in a secure location in your home or office, and take it out only to make changes or jog your memory. This might sound paranoid, but you’ll thank yourself if your system is ever compromised.

Have a Detailed Plan in Place

Set up a detailed business continuity plan that outlines every step of your response and recovery process, beginning from the moment you discover that something’s wrong. Include detailed procedures for notifying clients, vendors, and others with whom you do business.

Bear in mind that some business interruptions occur through no fault of your own: say, a fire or break-in at your server farm. You need to know as soon as possible when such incidents occur so that you lose as little time as possible in recovery.

Execute Dry Runs

What good is a plan that’s not ready for prime time? Run periodic “disaster drills” during which you run through the steps in your recovery plan. Then, debrief, identifying kinks to be worked out (and steps to do so).

Don’t Rely on a Single Server

Even a small-scale blogging business could use a backup server. Opt for a hosting provider with multiple backup locations, if your budget allows.

Get Ready for the Unthinkable Today

The unthinkable is inconceivable — until it happens. Then it’s merely unfortunate.

No matter how unlikely you believe a catastrophic compromise to be, it’s in your best interest to be ready. If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with a cybersecurity or business continuity expert to learn more about cost-effective protection against what may come.

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GetResponse Reviewed as Top Email Marketing Provider

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We’re thrilled to let you know GetResponse has been named one of the world’s best email marketing and automation providers.

G2Crowd, one of the largest business solutions review platforms, crowned us among leaders in its esteemed and categories. Why are we excited? Because the rankings are based solely on user experiences. If you didn’t get the chance to submit your review, you can still share your feedback .

 

How we got to the top

How we got to the top? According to G2Crowd, the best Marketing Automation Software and Email Marketing Software providers were determined by customer satisfaction (based on G2Crowd user reviews) and scale (based on market share, size of the company, and social impact). This means GetResponse has been rated highly by G2Crowd users and with over 350,000 customers worldwide – achieved substantial market presence score in the overall ranking.

To qualify for the Email Marketing category, products had to:

  • Let users create and send emails via HTML or WYSIWYG editor
  • Offer email templates
  • Allow users to preview and send test emails
  • Store, track, segment, and manage email contact lists
  • Provide campaign-based reporting and analytics
  • Be independent of larger marketing automation suites

 

To qualify for the Marketing Automation category, products had to:

  • Automate at least two marketing tools: email, social media, SMS, and/or digital ads
  • Dynamically segment marketing campaign targets
  • Contact targets after specific actions or periods of time

 

Happy, loyal customers

It’s not the first time our most loyal customers gave us the thumbs up. In 2016, G2Crowd included GetResponse in its , showcasing services enterprise users liked most. Then in 2017, named us one of the best email marketing software providers, and we were included in ’s list of the top 20 most user-friendly marketing automation software providers.

 

Share your feedback

Would you like to have your say, and join the hundreds of GetResponse customers who have already shared their experience? You can of our service on G2Crowd. Your feedback helps us create better software with more advanced features and the best possible user-friendly experience.

 

GetResponse Reviewed as Top Email Marketing Provider

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5 Amazing WordPress Plugin for Building Your Own Shopping Website

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If you are a businessman or a tech geek who is planning to do something great in the world of technology then creating is a great option. There are thousands of people who prefer to shop online while using coupons and deals. In order to start an e-commerce business, it is essential to have an amazing WordPress plugin.

There are many websites using these plugins for their websites and achieving phenomenal results, is one of them. However, it is difficult to know the best WordPress e-commerce plugin for your shopping website. The better you choose the more opportunities your business will have. This is why I have come up with the list of top WordPress plugins, check them out.

What to look for in an eCommerce Plugin?
Before I tell you about the best WordPress eCommerce plugins in the market, you need to know what a plugin must have. So, here you go!

There are eCommerce websites which are good for selling physical goods, it requires shipping and inventory management. While there are other eCommerce website plugins which are excellent for digital items like photos, music, and eBooks. Not only this, there are also eCommerce plugins which have both of them.

Once you decide what your e-commerce website will be selling, you get to know what kind of features you would need to run your online website.
Apart from that, your eCommerce plugin will not have a theme. You would need to see that the plugin you select has themes that work.
The next thing that you need to consider is payment gateways. Make sure that the plugin you choose support those payment gateways by add-ons or default.
It is definitely not possible to have all the features in a website plugin. Luckily, most of the problems can be solved with the help of add-ons. These add-ons are able to extend the functionality of your eCommerce plugin.

1 – WooCommerce – WooCommerce is the most famous WordPress eCommerce plugin in the world of technology. It was acquired by Automatic (the company behind WordPress.com blog hosting service) in 2015.

As it’s the most used plugin, it comes with numerous add-ons and themes. The plugin makes it possible to add limitless product pages within your site. It offers a wide range of eCommerce functionalities such as order management, shopping cart, checkout, control over shipping, product & inventory management, coupon management, interactive statistics, and much more. Once you install WooCommerce to your site, you will enjoy the following features:

• Highly-customizable
• Fully Responsive
• User-friendly
• Multiple payment options including PayPal, major credit cards accepted, cash on delivery, and bank transfers.
• Integrated with Amazon Payments, Stripe, and Authorize Net

2 – Jigo Shop – The plugin has the team of innovative and passionate developers who don’t let your hand get dirty in coding. Hence, you can have your own online shopping website without any hassle. With this plugin, you can upload all your products, add multiple product pages, and take payments with PayPal and other gateways.

Moreover, if you choose its premium extension, it offers even more awesome features to take your online store to the next level. The cost-effective plugin is perfect for a professional eCommerce website. Its features include:

• Detailed stats and graphs
• Easy to setup
• Embed multiple product type options to your e-store
• Easy to manage
• Hundreds of premium extensions

3 – Easy Digital Downloads – If you are selling digital and non-physical products online then it’s an ideal plugin for you. It’s an intuitive and simple WordPress plugin which can be installed within minutes. It offers a variety of features which will make your online store booming. Here are some of the amazing features:
• Cart system for buying multiple downloads at one
• Unlimited payment gateways
• Complete payment history
• Promotional code system
• Embed functionality with various extensions and a lot more.

4 – WP eCommerce – Another great WordPress plugin is WP eCommerce that allows businessmen and tech heads to create an effective and customizable shopping website without any difficulty.

No matter whether you are selling physical products or non-physical products, this plugin is very powerful for both types. Moreover, if you are comfortable with HTML and CSS coding, you can further customize your plugin. It provides some of the best features for your shipping website:

• Readymade marketing tools
• Integrated with hosts of payment gateways
• Integrated with popular couriers
• Inbuilt shopping tools
• Secure check out with SSL

5 – WP Easy Cart – Another excellent plugin for a shopping website creation is WP Easy Cart. The plugin has a large free number to help you add eCommerce shopping cart system to your WordPress site within a few minutes.

From digital downloadable products to retail products, you can sell anything with this plugin. The best thing about this plugin is it works with all WP themes easily. Hence, you don’t have to buy third-party tools to integrate shopping cart functionality to your site. The features are:

• Tons of readymade widgets
• Google analytics
• Integrated with famous payment gateways
• Social sharing integration
• Inbuilt tools to setup and run promotions and coupons

Conclusion:
All these mentioned above plugins will help you create a successful shopping website with ease. Each and every plugin has amazing features and functionality. All you need to do is choose the right WordPress plugin just according to your website requirements.

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