I’m done giving Facebook money for Ads

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Well well well.. I’ve briefly touched on this topic in the past but my recent experiences have driven me to post at least an update with perhaps a new or different perspective. As mentioned in a previous article, paying close to $1 per click (or visit) is pretty much what it comes down to on most mainstream ocial Media sites. Given the fact that a very small percentage of click through traffic actually turn into a sale, well – what does that man to you? Let’s dig deeper!

Let’s assume that 3 percent of the click through traffic (which may be a high assumption depending on the topic of interest) actually buys something. Well then, a little reverse engineering will tell you that it costs you $100 to make 3 sales. This in turn means that you better be making $33.33 profit per sale just to break even. As you can see (or calculate), mainstream advertising on the Internet is not for every product!

As I’ve always said, if you want to remove all risks with this equation – just sell mortgages because even if it costs $100 for a click on average (which I don’t think is even possible) – if you even made 1 sale per 100 clicks ($10,000 per 100 clicks) you would make a fortune (multiply the loan amount approximately by 2 to estimate your profit margins).

Let’s get back to reality.. I’m not here to tell you which business opportunities work – I’m here to point you in the right direction based on your business to understand if Facebook Ads will work for you. I could be wrong but based on my experience and many discussions with other Advertisers, unless your profit margins are above $100 per sale then you really, REALLY need to proceed with Internet Ads with Extreme Caution!

We’re currently working on an article which discusses “What are the Best options for Website Advertising” which you may find surprising, with all of the non-technical recommended solutions! We’ll post the update here for those that are interested.

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How to boost my SEO rankings – Relevance and Dynamic Content for My Homepage

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

How to boost my SEO rankings – Relevance and Dynamic Content for My Homepage

Just to be clear, the content in this article is a subset of what you should follow in order to help your Search Engine Optimization rankings (SEO). We will publish other topics and perhaps at some point provide more of a ‘Table of Contents’ overview but for those who are specifically interested in SEO Relevance this article is for you.

Search Engines have evolved over the years and are constantly updating their algorithms to keep up with the times. There are currently about 200 variables that factor into how a Search Engine ranks a website but we’re going to focus on Relevance which is one of the most important variables in the equation.

Relevance is an indicator of how two things are alike or not alike. Search Engines succeed if they deliver search results that keep visitors coming back for more searches. To bring more visitors back, Search Engines give higher rankings to those sites with:

Up to date content
Search Engines are smart enough to know when your content has been updated so whether it’s publishing blogs, updating stale content, posting images or adding new content you need to continually keep your content fresh. After all, how relevant can you be if your content is a few years old? We know that staying relevant isn’t easy which is the basis of why we wrote this article. We will jump into some solutions further down.

Content related to the Search Parameters
Yes, Search Engines (SE) are also smart enough to know which sites contents are a best match for a given Search Phrase. Nowadays, SE’s are using more and more Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match Search Phrases to sites with relevant content. Ever type a typo into the search box of a Search Engine and they somehow know what you’re searching for as results appear even before you finish typing? The suggested solutions below will help you move up in Search Engine rankings.

Popularity
That’s right, SE’s know how popular your site is by counting the number of backlinks to your site. They also know how many Followers and Likes you have on other Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. so as important it is to keep your content up to date on your website, in many cases is just as important if not more important to have a Social Media accounts with regular content (ie. posts) as well.

Let’s cut to the chase, here are 3 ways to keep your website up to date:

1. Update it as you do today – in most cases this is very time consuming, tedious and not preferred which is probably why you’re reading this article. We listed this as an option so people appreciate option 3 below.

2. Pay someone to update it – in many cases this isn’t even possible or it can be very expensive which often times isn’t the preferred choice. Most hosting companies do offer Blogging capabilities which is one of the best ways to ensure fresh content for your site. If you don’t have a blog you should look into it and at least consider it. A blog can be used for any topic and is a great way to expose your site further to the world.

3. For this option we’re going to focus on your Homepage because the statistics say that this is the most indexed page on a site by far, but you don’t have to limit this option to your homepage – you can certainly apply the same concept to any of your pages. The option we’re talking about is an RSS feed. An RSS feed is an easy way to display Titles with links to content – whether its new articles that you post on your blog and you want to put those articles names in a streaming format on your homepage – OR – perhaps you want to put Related Content with links to other sites on your homepage it can all pretty much be automated.

We first recommend that you look into what RSS is and figure out if it applies to your own website. If it does then there are plenty of free RSS scripts out there that can easily be integrated with most sites. If an RSS feed doesn’t apply to your site for some reason then you should consider pulling in an external RSS feed an putting it on your homepage.

Let’s look at an example of how an RSS feed can increase visits and revisits to your site. If for example you had a website about Birthday Gifts, perhaps you didn’t even have much content (text) because you were really only selling products and not information or ideas. What if you placed an RSS feed for ‘Famous Peoples Birthdays today’ on your homepage. This way when a visitor is on your homepage they may glance over the Famous Peoples Birthdays today list and either share it with a friend or perhaps it simply makes them smile. Small experiences like this are sure to increase revisits to your site, in many cases people will link their blog to your site (ie. backlink) simple because you’re offering a cool feature or something that your competitors aren’t offering. Over time those revisits and backlinks will cross the threshold of the SEO algorithms and pay off 10 fold.

Summary
There is no formula that will guarantee anyone the first spot on any Search Engines Results Page (SERP) but good practice and implementing tips as mentioned above is sure to improve your rankings. We strongly suggest that if you don’t already have a Google/Webmaster account and if you don’t know the details of your current rankings that you open an Google/Webmaster account so that you can measure the impact of keeping your site up to date.

Running an online business with my kids

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

As a Dad of 4 young girls (yes, 4 girls!, that’s 5 in the house with Mom!) it amazes me to watch them grow up in this electronic age. Surely watching any kid grow up in any generation is equally amazing, just different. I’m constantly comparing them to the way I grew up. I’m 46 now but I have to say that I started programming since the age of 10 so I tend to view myself as someone with more experience than most my age (as my kids run circles around me with their iPhones and Social Media posts which is just weird to me :).

With the exception of a relatively short period of time (1998-2007) computers have been my life. After High school (which I graduated in 1998) I decided to pursue an Electrical Engineering degree. 20/20 vision of history tells me that I probably would have done much better if I pursued a Computer Science degree, none the less I finally got my Masters in Computer Engineering and I was fairly successful on Wall Street which I don’t think I would have had a shot without my degrees. I still feel that by chance I could have been “more successful” if I stuck with computers during the birth of the internet. And by “more successful” I don’t mean money, successful to me mean being happy and having a fruitful family life.

With my experiences I’m constantly looking at my daughters lives to see if there is a “better path” for them or maybe I’m just being a paranoid Dad who wants the best for my girls.My oldest is just 10 years old so I recognize how crucial this period in their life is. In general, all of my kids are “connected” to the internet and after several minor issues (random posts of images, random people “friending” them on their Social Media)  it struck me like a bat in the head, I need to educate my girls on social media to ensure that they grow up as responsible teens and eventually adults so that they don’t “ruin their careers” or draw unfavorable attention to themselves via social media.

I’ve had online storefronts for 10+ years now that have been fairly successful (extra cash for the weekends at best), as a result I recently realized an opportunity that I thought could put my daughters on the right track. Being in the “Anniversary Gift” industry for some time now I decided to pick a category that would be interesting to them. If I could find an “interesting” category or product then I could use that to keep them motivated and eventually educate them on every level of social media. I quickly determined that “Bracelets” might be the answer.

To shorten an already long story, we opened TheBraceletShoppe.com late 2016. I made sure that my 4 girls weighed in on the domain name and that they would all pick the products to be made available on the site, and Yes, this includes my 4 year old! Don’t worry, we have a voting process that ensures each product has a majority vote between us to ensure that the quality is good. I also made sure that they were actively involved every step of the way, I made them enter product SKU’s, prices, brochure pages and comments in a spreadsheet (how many 10 year olds and younger do you know that have managed a spreadsheet?). It hasn’t been easy but I’m able to constantly motivate them to find new products and post social media by informing them that they can have any new bracelet that they find as long as they put the effort in to managing the process.

My kids are slowly being introduced to the concepts of procuring products, sales, shipping, spreadsheets, communications, entrepreneurship, marketing, advertising and more while putting the concept of “Social Media” into perspective. More importantly, I get to do this with them on a daily basis! I couldn’t ask for a better life experience and Yes, I have thought about offering this to other parents as a Parent/Kid activity “Class” but we’ll see how this works out over the coming months first.

For more info see our about us page.

 

Tasklists! What’s the best app across Platforms?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Now that I have more time on my hand as a self employed Technologist and online retailer (ie. I sell products online while exploiting SEO) I’m constantly trying to improve my discipline. It’s funny that this article popped up in my news feed but it hits home in many ways, definitely worth the read: How the Most Insanely Self-Disciplined People Create Shocking Results in Life.

Since being able to focus on my online stores I quickly realized that I need an app to track my Goals to make sure that I’m making progress and to see how much or how little progress I make over a period of time. I thought I’d fairly easily be able to find a Tasklist or To-do app to manage this aspect of my life but to my surprise I haven’t found the right app. My requirements are simple:

  1. Record a start date
  2. Describe the goal at hand
  3. Record an expected completion date
  4. Report on progress
  5. Alert me of expected completion dates as they near or overdue dates
  6. Allow for extensions of expected completion dates (ie. record reason for delays)
  7. Report on overall Tasks (# of Tasks completed by dates, %complete of open tasks etc.)

After downloading 15 or so Tasklist and ToDo apps (and re-entering my tasks each time!) I am convinced that the exact solution doesn’t exist for my requirements. Perhaps a Project management solution exists that satisfies my requirements but I still haven’t come across a ‘simple’ app that works across platforms (ie. cell phone, pc, laptop etc.) so I’m seriously considering building this simple app myself.

Does this type of app with the requirements provided interest anyone? Has anyone found a solution that fulfills most of these requirements or are you managing your own cumbersome spreadsheets to fulfill these requirements? Comments and Feedback  in the comments sections is appreciated. “Like” this article if you’re in the same boat as me and I’ll be sure to provide regular updates until I find the right solution or develop one that works for both of us!

Outsourcing with China – Good or Bad?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

It’s been a while but my recent experiences leads me to comment on the success and failures with dealing with companies in China. To be successful online today there is a good chance that you’ll be dealing with companies in China if you are in Retail. Let’s face it, 90%+ products available on Amazon, Ebay and the likes are sourced from China.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a good amount of organic traffic from Google where I’ve been able to make supplemental income via affiliate programs, primarily Google Adsense and Amazon affiliates. I’ve recently tried to dropship the top products to increase my profits (from ~8% to %50+). Part of my efforts have been spent on alibaba.com and aliexpress.com. I was extremely hesistant in sourcing from China because there are definitely more complicated logistics that I could have imagined.

My first experience with companies in China was around a Gold dipped Flower which was selling 4 or 5 a week via my Amazon affiliate account. After speaking with 3 companies in China I thought that I had nailed down the right company for the product I was looking for so I ordered $75 worth of product. When the product arrived I was embarrassed that I didn’t figure out sooner that I was a Golden rose made in plastic! Nothing about it was authentic or real so needless to say I dropped that opportunity!

Be careful, be aware and be conscious when sourcing products from China!

Always have a Cause for Success!

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

It might sound crazy but ALOT of people like to support a cause vs. just buying a product online. Whether it’s a Health Issue or Social Cause that caused you to sell online to begin with, make sure that your intended audience knows that!

I recently opened an E-commerce site called TheBraceletShoppe.com and although we haven’t received many orders (yet) we have a really positive outlook on our About Us page. We have no doubt that this our cause will be a wave (small or big) that we can ride over time. People are more inclined nowadays to support a good cause and they are willing to pay a couple of extra dollars knowing that their money is going to a Good cause then just ordering online.

Another good example of a cause that people will support is ‘Made in the USA’. For lack of a greater cause, it’s a ‘feel good’ cause which is an entire Market in itself. When talking ‘socially’, people are generally looking for ‘good’ reasons why they should purchase an item online so don’t underestimate the power of the ‘Cause’!

Facebook Advertising – is it worth it for small to medium size Businesses?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Well it really depends!

Facebook itself isn’t going to be much help to you. Facebook is a collection of people and interests.. The first thing you need to do is figure out your audience and the relevant “keywords” or “interests” to capture that audience. More important than this is the ability to figure out how much it costs to connect with that audience.

In my experience it costs on average around $0.10 per click per Ad. So for example, if it takes 50 clicks per Ad before someone makes a purchase then you need to make sure that your profit per sale is more than $5.00. In most cases (in my experience) it closer to $10 per sale (if not much more) so if you’re selling something that yields $$5.00 to $20.00 in profit then you really need to be cautious when using Facebook Ads.

If you’re selling Mortgages than you probably don’t care if you spend $1,000.00 per Ad because as long as you make 1 sale you’re going to make a small fortune if not more. The problem is really highlighted when you’re dealing with a product that costs less then say $200 when the profit is in the range of $50 or less. Don’t succumb to the idea that online advertising is where you need to excel! If this is your Market then you need to seriously consider SEO. Make sure that you’re content is being updated on a regular basis (preferably daily but minimally monthly or weekly).

For the Small Business market you need to have an edge on your competitors, make sure you know who your competitors are and how they are drawing traffic. Social Media is probably their success! Make sure that you post on a regular basis and that you’re website has no errors or outdated links. Probably the most important factor are links back to your site, if you don’t have links back to your site then you’re a ‘nobody’ and you can expect minimal referrals or traffic.

“Follow” us and stay tuned for our next post..