Connect with us

SEO

Here’s How to Start an Online Business (9 Steps to Success)

Published

on

Here's How to Start an Online Business (9 Steps to Success)

Starting an online business changed the course of my life forever. It allowed me to live my perfect life, travel the world, and set my own hours. It taught me more than my four-year college degree and any job I ever worked.

An online business allows you to take control of your life in a way that nothing else can. It’s one of the few ways to create true financial freedom.

But it also comes with its challenges. There’s a lot to learn, and it takes time to see the fruits of your labor. I started five different businesses before finally finding one I loved enough to stick with and make it work. Since then, I’ve built three separate six-figure companies.

It would have never happened if I didn’t allow myself to “fail” over and over again to learn what works and what doesn’t. Luckily, I already failed plenty, which means you get to learn from my mistakes.

So how do you start an online business? And how do you grow it to become your primary income source? Here are the nine steps to building an online business I’ve learned in my decade of entrepreneurship.

Advertisement

1. Develop the mindset needed to be a digital entrepreneur

The first step of starting an online business is getting your head in the right place.

Know that you will “fail.” Probably a lot. You may lose some of your investments. You may spend money on ads that don’t convert. You may stock products that never sell.

That’s not only normal—it’s a good thing.

Every time you mess something up, it’s an opportunity to learn what doesn’t work. In the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Advertisement

What matters is not that you mess something up but that you keep going despite the hiccups. Learn to look forward to your mistakes, and you will succeed in any endeavor.

2. Figure out how you will monetize

There are many ways to make money online: 

  • Making and selling your own physical products
  • Dropshipping
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Services (web design, copywriting, etc)
  • Infoproducts (courses, ebooks, etc)
  • Subscription models
  • Display advertising
  • And more

I have done almost all of these at one point or another in my career. I’ve sold SEO services, dropshipped jewelry and other products from China, made home decor items by hand and sold them both locally and online, done affiliate marketing for other brands, sold display ads on my websites, and more.

Each has its own pros and cons, and each can work. It depends on what you prefer to do. Here’s a quick and dirty overview of each:

E-commerce

Making and selling your own physical products, or even buying and selling them using a manufacturer, tend to have bigger profit margins per sale than dropshipping.

Advertisement

However, it’s more labor intensive and costs more. You need to handle the production, shipping, handling and storing inventory, and customer service.

Dropshipping cuts out a lot of this excess labor by off-loading the inventory management and, in some cases, the customer service to another company. But it comes at the cost of a lower profit margin.

How dropshipping works

You can either start your own e-commerce website or sell on websites like Amazon, Etsy, or eBay. Again, it depends on how much labor you want to put in—building your own website is best for profits in the long run but requires you to handle more variables.

Services and info products

Another lucrative option is starting an online business by offering services such as freelance writing, graphic design, coding, etc.

You can either offer these services via a website like UpWork or Fiverr or build your own website and work with clients directly. Many people start on the former and move to their own brand after seeing some success, which is the method I recommend.

Info products like courses and ebooks are also a great way to make money online. If you have nearly any skill, you can turn it into an info product you can sell. I’ve spent over $100,000 over the last 10 years buying online courses and info products to learn how to do everything from SEO to speaking Spanish, playing instruments, investing, and more.

Subscription models

There are a ton of subscription-model businesses these days. It could be a monthly delivery of your products or a membership to your club or course materials.

Advertisement

The great thing about subscriptions is recurring revenue, which is crucial to growing an online business. This model is best used in conjunction with other models.

For example, say you sell dog toys. You can capture recurring customers by adding a subscription box with dog toys that ship every month, like BarkBox does.

BarkBox subscription monetization

Display ads and affiliate marketing

The method I have had the most success with is affiliate marketing. Basically, you promote other people’s products and services and make a commission from any sales you make.

It’s my favorite because I like having as few responsibilities as possible. I don’t have to handle customer service, inventory, or any of that stuff. I just talk about the products I love and make money.

For example, I wrote a guide to buying a rooftop tent and included affiliate links to each tent:

Affiliate link examples

Affiliate marketing also pairs well with display advertising. This allows you to monetize the supporting content you need to develop topical authority in addition to your direct affiliate content. 

For example, let’s say you’re writing about the best mattresses for side sleepers. 

You can promote specific mattresses and make a commission on them. But if you want to fully cover the mattress niche, you also need content covering things like “When should I buy a new mattress?” and “How to get rid of bed bugs?” These won’t typically convert well, but you can still display ads on those pages to monetize them.

Advertisement

My recommendation is to pick a method that sounds interesting and try it. But don’t be afraid to try different methods to see which ones you like. You may hate affiliate marketing but love making and selling your own products. You won’t know until you try.

3. Come up with niche ideas

Steps #2 and #3 can be done interchangeably. You may find you want to stick to a certain niche then figure out how to monetize it later, or you may decide you want to make a course or do a particular type of monetization and figure out the niche later.

Either way, choosing a niche is one of your most important decisions. It can take one to two years of work before you start making significant money from your business, so ensure it’s something you’ll be OK with talking about for a long time.

Some niches will be more competitive than others. 

Advertisement

A good niche is one that:

  • Has high-paying affiliate programs or products with a high margin.
  • Isn’t too competitive.
  • Has a large variety of things you can talk about.
  • Is interesting enough to keep you working on it for a long time.

Personally, I only work in niches that I am interested in learning about myself. Even if I don’t know a lot about something, if I’m at least curious about it, I will be able to stick to it. I’ve tried working in niches I don’t care about, and it doesn’t work for me. You may be different.

To come up with niche ideas, answer the following questions:

  • What do I know a lot about?
  • What am I curious about?
  • What do other people tell me I’m good at?

The answers can help guide you into a niche. Alternatively, you can just pick something random and try it. I did that for a few of my own businesses—I just had a random idea one day and went for it. In the worst-case scenario, you learn a lot and figure out what you don’t like.

Another way to come up with niche ideas is by looking at affiliate programs, then choosing one based on high-paying affiliate partners. From there, you can either build an affiliate site or build your own competing business with that affiliate. If the affiliate program pays well, the business likely makes a good profit margin on its products.

For example, if you head to AvantLink’s merchant list (you have to make an account to see it), you can browse affiliate programs in any niche and sort them by things like commission, category, conversion rate, and more.

AvantLink affiliate merchant list

I like to sort the list by commission rate (high to low) and go from there. But you can also continue to step #4 if you can’t decide because doing keyword research will help you find more opportunities.

4. Do some keyword and market research

Advertisement

As you develop ideas for a niche, it’s crucial to figure out how difficult it will be to break into it and where people in that niche are spending their time.

I always start with keyword research because it shows me the potential of the niche and the kind of content I’ll have to create to compete in that niche.

It starts with “seed keywords.” These are broad, generic keywords that cover the biggest topics in a niche. 

For example, if you’re interested in the coffee niche, some seed keywords may be:

  • coffee
  • cappuccino
  • french press
  • nespresso
  • Etc

Use these keywords to find the big competitors in your niche that most closely represent your own website or the one you’re trying to make. If the results are too different from a niche website, you’ll need to get a little less broad.

For example, if I Google “coffee,” I see sites like Starbucks, Wikipedia, Peets, etc. Obviously, these giant brands are not my competition.

Google SERP for "coffee"

Instead, let’s try something a little more niche, such as “how to use a french press.” Here, we find a website called homegrounds.co.

Google SERP for "how to use a french press"

This site is closer to an affiliate marketing site, which is what I’m looking for. Now, I can plug that website into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and see what other keywords it’s ranking for and the page ranking for that keyword.

Organic keywords report based on a coffee-focused website

You’ll also see how many people search for that keyword per month (volume) and an estimation of how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword on Google (KD or Keyword Difficulty).

By scrolling through these keywords and looking at the potential volume, KD, and what page is ranking for them, we can get an idea of how hard it may be to enter the niche and what kind of traffic we can expect. We can also browse the website to see how it monetizes its content (paid ads, affiliates, products, etc.).

Advertisement

Do this for three to five websites in your niche to better understand how to tackle entering the niche and make money from it. 

In addition to keyword research, you can use a tool like SparkToro to get an idea of where your potential audience spends their time (which social media channels, forums, etc.).

An example SparkToro report based on an audience that talks about coffee

If you like what you see, continue to step #5. If not, continue researching other niches.

5. Decide on a business name

The name of your business won’t make or break it, but it’s still important. Here are some tips for choosing a good business name:

  • Be clear, not clever Your name should be easy to understand and spell.
  • Pick a name that doesn’t limit you too much You may start selling chairs, but you want a name that allows you to expand into selling other furniture or even other things entirely.
  • Shorter is usually better – This is especially true for an online business where your customers may need to type out your URL and social media handles.

You also need to make sure you’re not encroaching on any trademarks or existing business names. If you’re in the U.S., you can look up whether a name is available or not on your state’s local government website or with a service like LegalZoom.

Advertisement

6. Handle the legal tasks

Once you’ve decided on a name, it’s time to set it up as a legal entity. Note that I’m not a lawyer, this isn’t legal advice, and my knowledge is limited to the U.S.

Sidenote.

This step doesn’t need to be done right away. You can do it at any point before you actually start earning money. Check out this Business Insider article for more info.

Typically, you can get away with a sole proprietorship to start. This is the bare minimum requirement to do business in the U.S. 

However, once you start making decent money, it’s a good idea to upgrade to an LLC (limited liability company) or even eventually a corporation to limit how liable you are in the event of legal action, as well as to benefit from tax savings. 

I recommend talking to a business attorney to help you set this up when you’re ready. But don’t feel pressured to do it from the beginning; you can worry about it once you’re making some money.

Advertisement

Beyond setting up a company, you also need to register your business and obtain any relevant permits. How you do that and if you need permits depend on which state you live in and how you monetize, so I’ll leave it up to you to research. Consider calling your local SBA (Small Business Administration) office for advice.

At this point, you should have a business entity set up and be ready to buy your domain name and build your website.

Your domain name will typically be your business name with a top-level domain (TLD) like .com or .co.uk at the end. You can get a name from a service like NameCheap or GoDaddy. Or you can buy one directly from your hosting company if you want to spend a little more but have an easier time setting it up.

Hosting is a service that allows you to “host” your website on the internet. Think of it as digital rent. I use Kinsta or SiteGround for WordPress blog websites, Shopify for e-commerce websites, and Wix for everything else (services and local businesses).

Sidenote.

Shopify and Wix are two-in-one platforms: They are both a content management system (CMS) like WordPress and provide website hosting. This makes them a bit easier to use and set up than WordPress with a separate hosting service.

Advertisement

My preferred method of building websites is with WordPress. If you’re planning on doing affiliate marketing or blogging, it’s the best option because it’s the most flexible.

Keep in mind that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are separate things. I use the .org version, which you must install on your website using your hosting provider. Usually, this is a one-click install. The .com version is a competitor to Wix, but I don’t like it personally.

With SiteGround, you just purchase its WordPress hosting plan and it will set it up for you.

SiteGround WordPress hosting

Once the backend is set up and you’ve finished purchasing your domain name and hosting, you can log in to your website by typing www.yourdomainname.com/wp-admin.

Once you log in, the backend of your website looks like this:

WordPress admin panel

This is where you can manage the appearance of your website via themes and customization, the blog posts and pages on your site, and more.

You’ll need to choose a theme to start building the frontend of your site. Most WordPress themes are well optimized these days, but you should focus on picking one that looks good and also loads quickly. Choose one that only has features you will use.

At this point, there’s a lot to learn and do to build your site. Rather than going through every single step in this article, here are some guides I will refer you to:

Advertisement

8. Create and promote valuable content

Regardless of the type of business you create, content is king. Publishing blog posts, videos, or podcasts is the best way to promote your business and get sales online.

Therefore, learning how to create and promote valuable content is one of the most important skills you can learn as a digital entrepreneur.

What makes content “valuable” depends on the platform. When it comes to SEO, valuable content means satisfying the search intent of the person using Google to find your content.

But “valuable” content on TikTok may mean your video is entertaining, YouTube may mean your video is informative or visually fascinating, and Facebook may mean your content sparks discussions.

Advertisement

My best advice is to figure out what content does well in whatever medium you’re creating content in, then master the fundamentals of that type of content.

For example, I write blog posts with the goal of ranking highly in Google search results. The content I create needs to be informative, helpful, easy to skim, and (when possible) entertaining.

To get better at my craft, I studied writing tips to become a better writer, researched how the Google search algorithm worked so I knew what it was looking for, and constantly pushed to find information I could include that no one else in the search results had.

I also spent well over $100,000 on online courses and mentors to teach me how to be better. It has been a constant game of self-growth and improving my craft.

All of these efforts have resulted in the sale of one of my websites for nearly half a million dollars. I can’t show the figures for that site, but I’ve since started another website I’m working on that is getting over 7,000 visits per month in less than one year as a side hustle:

Google Analytics traffic report

Organic search-focused content is the main traffic generator for many websites; chances are it can be for yours too. It’s free, recurring traffic.

That said, you can figure out the type of content to create by studying your competitors and seeing what does well for them, then creating your own version of that content.

Advertisement

For example, say I want to break into the golf niche. I would look at my competitors on Google and social media to see what content they’re creating that’s working well and how they’re promoting it.

If we search for “golfing” on YouTube, we see three different kinds of videos from three different competitors that are each doing well:

YouTube search results for "golfing"

To take it further, we can use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to find keyword ideas to rank for on Google and to see what kind of content our competitors are creating.

Ahrefs' SERP overview for "golfing"

However, these competitors are already well established, and it may take a lot of work to beat them. That’s where Ahrefs’ Related terms report comes in handy.

Ahrefs' Related terms report for "golfing"

For example, the keyword “golf tips for beginners” only has a KD score of 12, which means it’s relatively easy to rank for compared to the keyword “golfing” at 31.

If we look at the SERP overview, we can find competitors who aren’t as established, then look at the keywords their website is ranking for.

Ahrefs' SERP overview for "golf tips for beginners"

The website free-online-gold-tips.com only has a Domain Rating (DR) of 36. This means that compared to bigger competitors like Golf Digest, with a DR of 82, it is relatively new to the game. The fact that it’s ranking for this keyword means it’s not as competitive.

If we look at its website in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, we can see other keywords it’s ranking for that aren’t as competitive, as well as the content it wrote that’s ranking.

Ahrefs' Organic keywords report

Doing this can help you decide what type of content to create. Making your content better is another story—here are some other guides to help you with that:

Once you’ve created the content, it’s also important to learn how to promote it so it can actually be seen and give you an ROI in the short term. Basically, your goal is this:

Content promotion vs. SEO graph

You hustle to get the early site traffic, then SEO kicks in to give you free, recurring traffic.

Now, there are a lot of ways to promote your content. Social media, email outreach, paid ads… the list goes on.

Advertisement

Rather than going over every content promotion strategy here, I’ll refer you to our guide to content promotion.

The final step in becoming a digital entrepreneur is scaling up your efforts or pivoting into another business idea.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, I pivoted five times before I found a business I could scale up. It wasn’t because I failed or threw in the towel. I just realized I didn’t want to continue putting effort into those businesses to make them succeed.

This is a part of the journey. Trying things and being OK with changing and possibly “losing” your investment. It’s completely all right to choose to pivot if you’re not enjoying the process and can’t see yourself continuing in the long term.

If you decide to continue, it’s time to scale up whatever is working. For me, that means hiring a team of writers, editors, outreach specialists, and a virtual assistant. But it also means NOT doing certain tasks that aren’t moving the needle.

At this point, I recommend you create a brain dump of all the tasks you do to run your business. This could be things like:

Advertisement
  • Doing keyword research
  • Creating content
  • Promoting content
  • Making sales calls
  • Finding affiliate or manufacturing partners
  • Etc

Once you’ve written out every task—even the smallest ones you may only do on occasion—it’s time to organize them into four lists:

  1. Things only you can do.
  2. Things that can possibly be done by someone else.
  3. Things that can be automated with a tool or software.
  4. Things that don’t need to be done at all.

From here, it’s easy to create standard operating procedures around the tasks that can be done by someone else, find tools to automate things, and cut some tasks out entirely.

Here are some helpful related guides:

Voilà—you now know how to start an online business from scratch.

Final thoughts

I have to reiterate that starting an online business has been the single best decision I’ve ever made in my 29 years on this planet. It’s given me the freedom—both financially and over my time—to travel the world and build the exact life I want.

There’s a lot to learn (certainly more than I can teach you in one guide), and it’s a steep learning curve. You will fail, and you will feel disappointment and doubt. It’s all part of the process.

If you start today and commit to learning how to make money online, I promise you will succeed. You may have to pivot, but you will eventually hit a winner. And 10 years from now, you’ll thank yourself for reading this guide and making this life-changing decision.

Advertisement

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

SEO

Reddit Post Ranks On Google In 5 Minutes

Published

on

By

Google apparently ranks Reddit posts within minutes

Google’s Danny Sullivan disputed the assertions made in a Reddit discussion that Google is showing a preference for Reddit in the search results. But a Redditor’s example proves that it’s possible for a Reddit post to rank in the top ten of the search results within minutes and to actually improve rankings to position #2 a week later.

Discussion About Google Showing Preference To Reddit

A Redditor (gronetwork) complained that Google is sending so many visitors to Reddit that the server is struggling with the load and shared an example that proved that it can only take minutes for a Reddit post to rank in the top ten.

That post was part of a 79 post Reddit thread where many in the r/SEO subreddit were complaining about Google allegedly giving too much preference to Reddit over legit sites.

The person who did the test (gronetwork) wrote:

“…The website is already cracking (server down, double posts, comments not showing) because there are too many visitors.

…It only takes few minutes (you can test it) for a post on Reddit to appear in the top ten results of Google with keywords related to the post’s title… (while I have to wait months for an article on my site to be referenced). Do the math, the whole world is going to spam here. The loop is completed.”

Advertisement

Reddit Post Ranked Within Minutes

Another Redditor asked if they had tested if it takes “a few minutes” to rank in the top ten and gronetwork answered that they had tested it with a post titled, Google SGE Review.

gronetwork posted:

“Yes, I have created for example a post named “Google SGE Review” previously. After less than 5 minutes it was ranked 8th for Google SGE Review (no quotes). Just after Washingtonpost.com, 6 authoritative SEO websites and Google.com’s overview page for SGE (Search Generative Experience). It is ranked third for SGE Review.”

It’s true, not only does that specific post (Google SGE Review) rank in the top 10, the post started out in position 8 and it actually improved ranking, currently listed beneath the number one result for the search query “SGE Review”.

Screenshot Of Reddit Post That Ranked Within Minutes

Anecdotes Versus Anecdotes

Okay, the above is just one anecdote. But it’s a heck of an anecdote because it proves that it’s possible for a Reddit post to rank within minutes and get stuck in the top of the search results over other possibly more authoritative websites.

hankschrader79 shared that Reddit posts outrank Toyota Tacoma forums for a phrase related to mods for that truck.

Advertisement

Google’s Danny Sullivan responded to that post and the entire discussion to dispute that Reddit is not always prioritized over other forums.

Danny wrote:

“Reddit is not always prioritized over other forums. [super vhs to mac adapter] I did this week, it goes Apple Support Community, MacRumors Forum and further down, there’s Reddit. I also did [kumo cloud not working setup 5ghz] recently (it’s a nightmare) and it was the Netgear community, the SmartThings Community, GreenBuildingAdvisor before Reddit. Related to that was [disable 5g airport] which has Apple Support Community above Reddit. [how to open an 8 track tape] — really, it was the YouTube videos that helped me most, but it’s the Tapeheads community that comes before Reddit.

In your example for [toyota tacoma], I don’t even get Reddit in the top results. I get Toyota, Car & Driver, Wikipedia, Toyota again, three YouTube videos from different creators (not Toyota), Edmunds, a Top Stories unit. No Reddit, which doesn’t really support the notion of always wanting to drive traffic just to Reddit.

If I guess at the more specific query you might have done, maybe [overland mods for toyota tacoma], I get a YouTube video first, then Reddit, then Tacoma World at third — not near the bottom. So yes, Reddit is higher for that query — but it’s not first. It’s also not always first. And sometimes, it’s not even showing at all.”

hankschrader79 conceded that they were generalizing when they wrote that Google always prioritized Reddit. But they also insisted that that didn’t diminish what they said is a fact that Google’s “prioritization” forum content has benefitted Reddit more than actual forums.

Why Is The Reddit Post Ranked So High?

It’s possible that Google “tested” that Reddit post in position 8 within minutes and that user interaction signals indicated to Google’s algorithms that users prefer to see that Reddit post. If that’s the case then it’s not a matter of Google showing preference to Reddit post but rather it’s users that are showing the preference and the algorithm is responding to those preferences.

Advertisement

Nevertheless, an argument can be made that user preferences for Reddit can be a manifestation of Familiarity Bias. Familiarity Bias is when people show a preference for things that are familiar to them. If a person is familiar with a brand because of all the advertising they were exposed to then they may show a bias for the brand products over unfamiliar brands.

Users who are familiar with Reddit may choose Reddit because they don’t know the other sites in the search results or because they have a bias that Google ranks spammy and optimized websites and feel safer reading Reddit.

Google may be picking up on those user interaction signals that indicate a preference and satisfaction with the Reddit results but those results may simply be biases and not an indication that Reddit is trustworthy and authoritative.

Is Reddit Benefiting From A Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loop?

It may very well be that Google’s decision to prioritize user generated content may have started a self-reinforcing pattern that draws users in to Reddit through the search results and because the answers seem plausible those users start to prefer Reddit results. When they’re exposed to more Reddit posts their familiarity bias kicks in and they start to show a preference for Reddit. So what could be happening is that the users and Google’s algorithm are creating a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

Is it possible that Google’s decision to show more user generated content has kicked off a cycle where more users are exposed to Reddit which then feeds back into Google’s algorithm which in turn increases Reddit visibility, regardless of lack of expertise and authoritativeness?

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Kues

Advertisement

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

WordPress Releases A Performance Plugin For “Near-Instant Load Times”

Published

on

By

WordPress speculative loading plugin

WordPress released an official plugin that adds support for a cutting edge technology called speculative loading that can help boost site performance and improve the user experience for site visitors.

Speculative Loading

Rendering means constructing the entire webpage so that it instantly displays (rendering). When your browser downloads the HTML, images, and other resources and puts it together into a webpage, that’s rendering. Prerendering is putting that webpage together (rendering it) in the background.

What this plugin does is to enable the browser to prerender the entire webpage that a user might navigate to next. The plugin does that by anticipating which webpage the user might navigate to based on where they are hovering.

Chrome lists a preference for only prerendering when there is an at least 80% probability of a user navigating to another webpage. The official Chrome support page for prerendering explains:

“Pages should only be prerendered when there is a high probability the page will be loaded by the user. This is why the Chrome address bar prerendering options only happen when there is such a high probability (greater than 80% of the time).

There is also a caveat in that same developer page that prerendering may not happen based on user settings, memory usage and other scenarios (more details below about how analytics handles prerendering).

Advertisement

The Speculative Loading API solves a problem that previous solutions could not because in the past they were simply prefetching resources like JavaScript and CSS but not actually prerendering the entire webpage.

The official WordPress announcement explains it like this:

Introducing the Speculation Rules API
The Speculation Rules API is a new web API that solves the above problems. It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation. This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them.”

The official WordPress page about this new functionality describes it:

“The Speculation Rules API is a new web API… It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation.

This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them. Also, with the Speculation Rules API, “prerender” actually means to prerender the entire page, including running JavaScript. This can lead to near-instant load times once the user clicks on the link as the page would have most likely already been loaded in its entirety. However that is only one of the possible configurations.”

The new WordPress plugin adds support for the Speculation Rules API. The Mozilla developer pages, a great resource for HTML technical understanding describes it like this:

“The Speculation Rules API is designed to improve performance for future navigations. It targets document URLs rather than specific resource files, and so makes sense for multi-page applications (MPAs) rather than single-page applications (SPAs).

The Speculation Rules API provides an alternative to the widely-available <link rel=”prefetch”> feature and is designed to supersede the Chrome-only deprecated <link rel=”prerender”> feature. It provides many improvements over these technologies, along with a more expressive, configurable syntax for specifying which documents should be prefetched or prerendered.”

Advertisement

See also: Are Websites Getting Faster? New Data Reveals Mixed Results

Performance Lab Plugin

The new plugin was developed by the official WordPress performance team which occasionally rolls out new plugins for users to test ahead of possible inclusion into the actual WordPress core. So it’s a good opportunity to be first to try out new performance technologies.

The new WordPress plugin is by default set to prerender “WordPress frontend URLs” which are pages, posts, and archive pages. How it works can be fine-tuned under the settings:

Settings > Reading > Speculative Loading

Browser Compatibility

The Speculative API is supported by Chrome 108 however the specific rules used by the new plugin require Chrome 121 or higher. Chrome 121 was released in early 2024.

Browsers that do not support will simply ignore the plugin and will have no effect on the user experience.

Check out the new Speculative Loading WordPress plugin developed by the official core WordPress performance team.

Advertisement

How Analytics Handles Prerendering

A WordPress developer commented with a question asking how Analytics would handle prerendering and someone else answered that it’s up to the Analytics provider to detect a prerender and not count it as a page load or site visit.

Fortunately both Google Analytics and Google Publisher Tags (GPT) both are able to handle prerenders. The Chrome developers support page has a note about how analytics handles prerendering:

“Google Analytics handles prerender by delaying until activation by default as of September 2023, and Google Publisher Tag (GPT) made a similar change to delay triggering advertisements until activation as of November 2023.”

Possible Conflict With Ad Blocker Extensions

There are a couple things to be aware of about this plugin, aside from the fact that it’s an experimental feature that requires Chrome 121 or higher.

A comment by a WordPress plugin developer that this feature may not work with browsers that are using the uBlock Origin ad blocking browser extension.

Download the plugin:
Speculative Loading Plugin by the WordPress Performance Team

Read the announcement at WordPress
Speculative Loading in WordPress

Advertisement

See also: WordPress, Wix & Squarespace Show Best CWV Rate Of Improvement

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

SEO

10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Published

on

By

10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Whether you are new to paid media or reevaluating your efforts, it’s critical to review your performance and best practices for your overall PPC marketing program, accounts, and campaigns.

Revisiting your paid media plan is an opportunity to ensure your strategy aligns with your current goals.

Reviewing best practices for pay-per-click is also a great way to keep up with trends and improve performance with newly released ad technologies.

As you review, you’ll find new strategies and features to incorporate into your paid search program, too.

Here are 10 PPC best practices to help you adjust and plan for the months ahead.

Advertisement

1. Goals

When planning, it is best practice to define goals for the overall marketing program, ad platforms, and at the campaign level.

Defining primary and secondary goals guides the entire PPC program. For example, your primary conversion may be to generate leads from your ads.

You’ll also want to look at secondary goals, such as brand awareness that is higher in the sales funnel and can drive interest to ultimately get the sales lead-in.

2. Budget Review & Optimization

Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and reevaluate the distribution of their paid media budgets.

To best utilize budgets, consider the following:

  • Reconcile your planned vs. spend for each account or campaign on a regular basis. Depending on the budget size, monthly, quarterly, or semiannually will work as long as you can hit budget numbers.
  • Determine if there are any campaigns that should be eliminated at this time to free up the budget for other campaigns.
  • Is there additional traffic available to capture and grow results for successful campaigns? The ad platforms often include a tool that will provide an estimated daily budget with clicks and costs. This is just an estimate to show more click potential if you are interested.
  • If other paid media channels perform mediocrely, does it make sense to shift those budgets to another?
  • For the overall paid search and paid social budget, can your company invest more in the positive campaign results?

3. Consider New Ad Platforms

If you can shift or increase your budgets, why not test out a new ad platform? Knowing your audience and where they spend time online will help inform your decision when choosing ad platforms.

Go beyond your comfort zone in Google, Microsoft, and Meta Ads.

Advertisement

Here are a few other advertising platforms to consider testing:

  • LinkedIn: Most appropriate for professional and business targeting. LinkedIn audiences can also be reached through Microsoft Ads.
  • TikTok: Younger Gen Z audience (16 to 24), video.
  • Pinterest: Products, services, and consumer goods with a female-focused target.
  • Snapchat: Younger demographic (13 to 35), video ads, app installs, filters, lenses.

Need more detailed information and even more ideas? Read more about the 5 Best Google Ads Alternatives.

4. Top Topics in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Recently, trends in search and social ad platforms have presented opportunities to connect with prospects more precisely, creatively, and effectively.

Don’t overlook newer targeting and campaign types you may not have tried yet.

  • Video: Incorporating video into your PPC accounts takes some planning for the goals, ad creative, targeting, and ad types. There is a lot of opportunity here as you can simply include video in responsive display ads or get in-depth in YouTube targeting.
  • Performance Max: This automated campaign type serves across all of Google’s ad inventory. Microsoft Ads recently released PMAX so you can plan for consistency in campaign types across platforms. Do you want to allocate budget to PMax campaigns? Learn more about how PMax compares to search.
  • Automation: While AI can’t replace human strategy and creativity, it can help manage your campaigns more easily. During planning, identify which elements you want to automate, such as automatically created assets and/or how to successfully guide the AI in the Performance Max campaigns.

While exploring new features, check out some hidden PPC features you probably don’t know about.

5. Revisit Keywords

The role of keywords has evolved over the past several years with match types being less precise and loosening up to consider searcher intent.

For example, [exact match] keywords previously would literally match with the exact keyword search query. Now, ads can be triggered by search queries with the same meaning or intent.

A great planning exercise is to lay out keyword groups and evaluate if they are still accurately representing your brand and product/service.

Advertisement

Review search term queries triggering ads to discover trends and behavior you may not have considered. It’s possible this has impacted performance and conversions over time.

Critical to your strategy:

  • Review the current keyword rules and determine if this may impact your account in terms of close variants or shifts in traffic volume.
  • Brush up on how keywords work in each platform because the differences really matter!
  • Review search term reports more frequently for irrelevant keywords that may pop up from match type changes. Incorporate these into match type changes or negative keywords lists as appropriate.

6. Revisit Your Audiences

Review the audiences you selected in the past, especially given so many campaign types that are intent-driven.

Automated features that expand your audience could be helpful, but keep an eye out for performance metrics and behavior on-site post-click.

Remember, an audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.

Therefore, there are unlimited ways to mix and match those audiences and target per the sales funnel.

Here are a few opportunities to explore and test:

Advertisement
  • LinkedIn user targeting: Besides LinkedIn, this can be found exclusively in Microsoft Ads.
  • Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home ownership, education, household income.
  • In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
  • Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors, interactions with ads, and video/ YouTube.

Note: This varies per the campaign type and seems to be updated frequently, so make this a regular check-point in your campaign management for all platforms.

7. Organize Data Sources

You will likely be running campaigns on different platforms with combinations of search, display, video, etc.

Looking back at your goals, what is the important data, and which platforms will you use to review and report? Can you get the majority of data in one analytics platform to compare and share?

Millions of companies use Google Analytics, which is a good option for centralized viewing of advertising performance, website behavior, and conversions.

8. Reevaluate How You Report

Have you been using the same performance report for years?

It’s time to reevaluate your essential PPC key metrics and replace or add that data to your reports.

There are two great resources to kick off this exercise:

Advertisement

Your objectives in reevaluating the reporting are:

  • Are we still using this data? Is it still relevant?
  • Is the data we are viewing actionable?
  • What new metrics should we consider adding we haven’t thought about?
  • How often do we need to see this data?
  • Do the stakeholders receiving the report understand what they are looking at (aka data visualization)?

Adding new data should be purposeful, actionable, and helpful in making decisions for the marketing plan. It’s also helpful to decide what type of data is good to see as “deep dives” as needed.

9. Consider Using Scripts

The current ad platforms have plenty of AI recommendations and automated rules, and there is no shortage of third-party tools that can help with optimizations.

Scripts is another method for advertisers with large accounts or some scripting skills to automate report generation and repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts.

Navigating the world of scripts can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is a post here on Search Engine Journal that provides use cases and resources to get started with scripts.

Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science — there are plenty of resources online with free or templated scripts.

10. Seek Collaboration

Another effective planning tactic is to seek out friendly resources and second opinions.

Advertisement

Much of the skill and science of PPC management is unique to the individual or agency, so there is no shortage of ideas to share between you.

You can visit the Paid Search Association, a resource for paid ad managers worldwide, to make new connections and find industry events.

Preparing For Paid Media Success

Strategies should be based on clear and measurable business goals. Then, you can evaluate the current status of your campaigns based on those new targets.

Your paid media strategy should also be built with an eye for both past performance and future opportunities. Look backward and reevaluate your existing assumptions and systems while investigating new platforms, topics, audiences, and technologies.

Also, stay current with trends and keep learning. Check out ebooks, social media experts, and industry publications for resources and motivational tips.

More resources: 

Advertisement

Featured Image: Vanatchanan/Shutterstock

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading

Trending

Follow by Email
RSS