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Many of you know that I’m based in Portland, and I will always have a soft spot for this city. That being said, I think Portland has some of the biggest varieties of niche businesses, brands, and entrepreneurs. The city, known for being “weird,” draws in many small business owners and entrepreneurs with dreams for… Read more »

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One platform where you can sell just about anything to anyone anywhere? That’s Shopify in a nutshell. But once you unpack it, it’s easy to see why it powers over 1 million websites and manages billions in sales. 

Gone are the days when you had to figure out how to start an ecommerce site from scratch. With Shopify, having a virtual storefront up and running is possible in a matter of minutes. It offers you plenty of marketing tools to make your store a success from the start. 

Whether you’re a small business starting up or you’re already raking in millions in sales, Shopify is an extremely powerful ecommerce website builder that helps your online business empire run smoothly, capture sales, and grow. 

Shopify Compared to The Best Ecommerce Platforms

So what sets Shopify apart from other ecommerce platforms out there? To put it simply, it does a great job of managing all the moving parts of an ecommerce business by being accessible, versatile, and easy to use. While there are other ecommerce platforms out there like Wix or Bigcommerce, they tend to have their limits with what you can and can’t do. 

Drag-and-drop builders, customer analytics, a built-in payment processing system, 24/7 support, and ready-made templates are only the tip of the iceberg when you really look into everything Shopify has to offer. But you shouldn’t just take my word for it. 

See all of our top picks to see how each ecommerce platform stacks up to ensure you’re making the best decision for your online business. 

Who is Shopify Best For?

Shopify is for anyone that wants to easily start an ecommerce store and drive online sales. Because of its all-in-one nature, it isn’t just for one niche or one type of store, which is good news for you. 

Shopify: The Pros and Cons

While Shopify rules in the ecommerce platform space, it might not always mean it’s the best platform for you. As with every other ecommerce platform, there are pros and cons to consider. 

Pros

Built-in payment processor: With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about using a third-party payment processor. It’s all built-in for you and ready to accept payments once you’ve listed your products and hit the publish button. 

With their payment processor, you can accept all major credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and even cryptocurrency. This means one less thing to actively manage in your store and increased trust with your customers. 

The ability to scale: With Shopify, you don’t have to jump ship once you see your store start to grow in traffic and sales. It’s equipped to support your store whether you’re making three or three million sales a day. 

Plenty of guides and documentation: Shopify does an excellent job at providing its merchants with plenty of how-to guides, theme documentation, and an active Shopify Community help forum with over 7,000 members where you can have all your Shopify questions answered.  

Accepts different types of currency: If you use its built-in Shopify Payments gateway, you can easily start selling in multiple currencies by adding a currency selector to your theme. If international customers want to see how much an item is in their currency, they can easily find out by choosing the appropriate currency. 

Effective Inventory system: With Shopify, you can get an accurate handle of your inventory by tracking the number of items on hand as they sell, adjusting inventory counts, and looking at inventory history. 

Free and paid apps and themes: Once you start a store with Shopify, a world of over 4,000 apps and over 100 store themes is at your fingertips. And plenty of them are free too, which is convenient if you’re starting on a shoestring budget. 

Drag-and-drop theme builder: The pinnacle of “easy” as far as building an online store is concerned is a drag-and-drop builder, which you can use with Shopify to make sure your store looks exactly how you want it to–without drowning in endless code. 

Stellar customer support: Once you start a store with Shopify, you can be sure its customer support is unmatched in terms of response times— especially its 24/7 chat support. It’s personally gotten me out of trouble in a matter of minutes more times than I can count. 

SEO-friendly: With Shopify, your products have a real chance of ranking in search engines for keywords once you’ve optimized your products and pages. It makes this easy by providing plenty of SEO-friendly features like setting alt descriptions for images, meta descriptions, and integrating SEO apps for advanced optimization. 

Cons

Higher price for in-depth analytics: With Shopify’s beginner plan you get access to a limited scope of store analytics. To access in-depth analytics that can move the needle in terms of sales strategy, you’ll have to pay for a more expensive plan.

Transaction fees for third-party payments: With Shopify, you can easily accept payment without trouble through their Shopify Payments gateway. But if you choose to go through a third party to collect a payment, Shopify does charge you fees, starting at 0.5 percent. This can eat at your profit margins. 

Limited blogging tools: There’s no question Shopify is the place to sell your goods, but it is still limited as a blogging platform since it only offers you the basic blogging tools to publish content. If content marketing is a primary way you bring in sales and traffic, this is an important con to consider. 

Shopify Pricing

Shopify has your standard three price points for small to medium businesses that want access to a number of different store features. But it doesn’t stop there. 

It also offers a $9 a month “lite” plan as well as a more powerful Shopify Plus plan that starts at $2,000 a month for big businesses that handle high sales volumes. 

  • Basic Shopify – $29 a month
  • Shopify – $79 a month
  • Advanced Shopify – $299 a month

Shopify’s basic tier at $29 a month offers plenty of dashboard analytics, fulfillment features, and product listing options. It’s the best tier for new businesses that are getting their start and still in the midst of figuring out sales and branding.

This tier offers unlimited product listing and two admin accounts.

When you’re ready for the Shopify tier at $79 a month, you’ll get access to five admin accounts, a 2.6% + 30¢ credit card fee rate, and you can sell in up to two languages.

Finally, you have the Advanced Shopify option at $299 a month. This is a tier you’ll only want to sign up for once you need advanced features that’ll help you scale your business and you’ve devised a proven sales strategy with sustained sales month over month. You get a 2.4% + 30¢ online credit card rate, as well as the ability to sell in up to five languages. 

Keep in mind that each tier comes with a free SSL certificate, discount codes, unlimited products, 24/7 support, additional sales channels like eBay, Amazon, Instagram, and Walmart, a full dashboard where you’ll get access to customize all your store settings, and a drag-and-drop theme builder. Before you make any real decisions, I recommend you check out their plan features page for a complete list of features for each tier. 

Shopify Lite – $9 a month

You don’t have or want a full-blown store, but still sell products or services on your own site and around the web? Just use the Shopify Lite plan as a lightweight option to cover all your bases.

The beauty of the Shopify Lite plan is in how easy it is to add buy buttons to any site you want. You can accept credit cards anywhere— both online and in-person with their POS app. Through the Shopify dashboard, you can create and send invoices as well as custom orders. Whatever you updated through your dashboard gets updated everywhere else you’ve set up points of sale online. 

And of course, you’ll also have access to their 24/7 support through email or live chat. The lite plan is an excellent option for a lighter store without all the hassle. Not to mention it’s also incredibly affordable at just $9 a month. 

Shopify Plus – $2,000 a month

The Shopify plus solution is trusted by more than 7,000 giants including Rebecca Minkoff, Allbirds, Rothy’s, Good American, and Heinz as the best and most cost-effective solution for their ecommerce needs.

The Shopify Plus plan is designed to support smaller close-knit teams as they man millions in sales all from one place: their Shopify dashboard. This means where you once needed 300 people to run your store, now you only need 30. Also, if you’re re-platforming to Shopify, instead of taking the traditional 6-8 months to transfer the bulk of your store, with Shopify that time gets cut in half.

This may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not–especially when you consider some of this plan’s features. 

Here are some of Shopify Plus’ best and most powerful features:

  • 60% faster checkouts and 18 percent higher conversion rates
  • Built-in AR, video, and 3D media for each of your product pages
  • Multiple stores, languages, and currencies
  • Advanced discounting and shipping rates
  • 99.99% uptime so you never miss out on sales and traffic
  • Avalara tax automation for automated up to date tax calculations
  • Plenty of automations and integrations at your fingertips

You can forget legacy enterprise software when Shopify offers all the enterprise power you need to sell at scale successfully.

Shopify Offerings

So far we’ve gone through the exhaustive list of features Shopify offers you to successfully host, stock, and run an online store. But everything I’ve highlighted so far is only the beginning.

Shopify offers a wide variety of additional tools— some free and some paid— that push you along your journey to ecommerce success. 

Here’s a quick list of additional Shopify tools you’ll have access to when you host a store on their platform:

  • Facebook ad integration – perfect for driving paid traffic to your site
  • Google ad integration – perfect for PPC campaigns for paid Google traffic
  • Shopify ping apps – A free messaging app to reach more customers and chat with your team
  • Business name generator – Perfect if you’re clueless about your store name and need ideas
  • Stock photography – Access thousands of free stock photos for your storefront
  • Themes – tons of options both free and paid as well as customizable 

Shopify Email

Did you know you can create email campaigns right on Shopify? Shopify Email gives you all the tools to track and create beautiful and captivating ecommerce campaigns that drive sales and keep your core customers engaged.

You can pick from a list of ready-for-you designs and get email analytics straight to your Shopify dashboard. You can add your logo and store colors for a more personalized email experience as well as segment the people on your list for more specific campaigns.

The Shopify Email feature is accessible on every Shopify plan. You get a monthly send limit of 2,500 free emails, then $1 for every 1,000 additional emails sent. Not bad at all if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of integrating a third-party email provider with your store that can end up costing you more in the long run.   

Custom Domains

You can easily buy a custom domain with Shopify if you don’t want to buy it through a third party. Domain names through Shopify start at $14 a year and automatically renew each year. 

This is a great option if you don’t want the name “.myshopify.com” as part of your domain name. 

POS Equipment

The perks of Shopify don’t end in the online world. With their point-of-sale option, you can connect POS software, hardware, and Shopify’s payment system to sell in person at popups, retail events, and more.

Once you set up POS in your online store, you can purchase Shopify card reader and payment equipment to instantly start selling.

Their most popular POS equipment for sale includes

  • The tap and chip card reader – $49
  • The dock for your tap and chip card reader – $39
  • The Shopify retail stand for iPads – $149
  • The Shopify tap and chip case – $19

But it doesn’t stop there. Shopify’s selection of POS equipment goes beyond the basics to ensure you have everything you need to sell in person without any payment issues. It’s because of well-thought-out integrated features like these that Shopify takes the crown as one of if not the most prominent and reliable ecommerce platforms.

The Best Ecommerce Platforms

Choosing the best ecommerce platform to create your store and drive sales can be overwhelming. Make sure you look through my top list of ecommerce platform recommendations to be sure you’ll have all the tools and features you need. 

  1. Wix – Best for flexibility and customization
  2. Squarespace – Best ecommerce platform for creatives
  3. BigCommerce – Best for medium to large stores
  4. Shopify – Best all-in-one ecommerce platform
  5. WooCommerce – Best for WordPress websites
  6. OpenCart – Best for selling digital products 
  7. Ecwid – Best for integrating with your current platform

All in all, Shopify offers a reliable ecommerce platform with the tools and features to ensure you’re running a smooth operation whether you’re an up-and-coming store or you need to manage millions in sales. Because of how easy it is to use, along with the tools it provides and its price points Shopify comes in as one of my top recommendations for starting a store in any niche.

Try Shopify free for 14-days and get started building your store.

The post Shopify Review appeared first on Neil Patel.

Important Post !

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

One platform where you can sell just about anything to anyone anywhere? That’s Shopify in a nutshell. But once you unpack it, it’s easy to see why it powers over 1 million websites and manages billions in sales. 

Gone are the days when you had to figure out how to start an ecommerce site from scratch. With Shopify, having a virtual storefront up and running is possible in a matter of minutes. It offers you plenty of marketing tools to make your store a success from the start. 

Whether you’re a small business starting up or you’re already raking in millions in sales, Shopify is an extremely powerful ecommerce website builder that helps your online business empire run smoothly, capture sales, and grow. 

Shopify Compared to The Best Ecommerce Platforms

So what sets Shopify apart from other ecommerce platforms out there? To put it simply, it does a great job of managing all the moving parts of an ecommerce business by being accessible, versatile, and easy to use. While there are other ecommerce platforms out there like Wix or Bigcommerce, they tend to have their limits with what you can and can’t do. 

Drag-and-drop builders, customer analytics, a built-in payment processing system, 24/7 support, and ready-made templates are only the tip of the iceberg when you really look into everything Shopify has to offer. But you shouldn’t just take my word for it. 

See all of our top picks to see how each ecommerce platform stacks up to ensure you’re making the best decision for your online business. 

Who is Shopify Best For?

Shopify is for anyone that wants to easily start an ecommerce store and drive online sales. Because of its all-in-one nature, it isn’t just for one niche or one type of store, which is good news for you. 

Shopify: The Pros and Cons

While Shopify rules in the ecommerce platform space, it might not always mean it’s the best platform for you. As with every other ecommerce platform, there are pros and cons to consider. 

Pros

Built-in payment processor: With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about using a third-party payment processor. It’s all built-in for you and ready to accept payments once you’ve listed your products and hit the publish button. 

With their payment processor, you can accept all major credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and even cryptocurrency. This means one less thing to actively manage in your store and increased trust with your customers. 

The ability to scale: With Shopify, you don’t have to jump ship once you see your store start to grow in traffic and sales. It’s equipped to support your store whether you’re making three or three million sales a day. 

Plenty of guides and documentation: Shopify does an excellent job at providing its merchants with plenty of how-to guides, theme documentation, and an active Shopify Community help forum with over 7,000 members where you can have all your Shopify questions answered.  

Accepts different types of currency: If you use its built-in Shopify Payments gateway, you can easily start selling in multiple currencies by adding a currency selector to your theme. If international customers want to see how much an item is in their currency, they can easily find out by choosing the appropriate currency. 

Effective Inventory system: With Shopify, you can get an accurate handle of your inventory by tracking the number of items on hand as they sell, adjusting inventory counts, and looking at inventory history. 

Free and paid apps and themes: Once you start a store with Shopify, a world of over 4,000 apps and over 100 store themes is at your fingertips. And plenty of them are free too, which is convenient if you’re starting on a shoestring budget. 

Drag-and-drop theme builder: The pinnacle of “easy” as far as building an online store is concerned is a drag-and-drop builder, which you can use with Shopify to make sure your store looks exactly how you want it to–without drowning in endless code. 

Stellar customer support: Once you start a store with Shopify, you can be sure its customer support is unmatched in terms of response times— especially its 24/7 chat support. It’s personally gotten me out of trouble in a matter of minutes more times than I can count. 

SEO-friendly: With Shopify, your products have a real chance of ranking in search engines for keywords once you’ve optimized your products and pages. It makes this easy by providing plenty of SEO-friendly features like setting alt descriptions for images, meta descriptions, and integrating SEO apps for advanced optimization. 

Cons

Higher price for in-depth analytics: With Shopify’s beginner plan you get access to a limited scope of store analytics. To access in-depth analytics that can move the needle in terms of sales strategy, you’ll have to pay for a more expensive plan.

Transaction fees for third-party payments: With Shopify, you can easily accept payment without trouble through their Shopify Payments gateway. But if you choose to go through a third party to collect a payment, Shopify does charge you fees, starting at 0.5 percent. This can eat at your profit margins. 

Limited blogging tools: There’s no question Shopify is the place to sell your goods, but it is still limited as a blogging platform since it only offers you the basic blogging tools to publish content. If content marketing is a primary way you bring in sales and traffic, this is an important con to consider. 

Shopify Pricing

Shopify has your standard three price points for small to medium businesses that want access to a number of different store features. But it doesn’t stop there. 

It also offers a $9 a month “lite” plan as well as a more powerful Shopify Plus plan that starts at $2,000 a month for big businesses that handle high sales volumes. 

  • Basic Shopify – $29 a month
  • Shopify – $79 a month
  • Advanced Shopify – $299 a month

Shopify’s basic tier at $29 a month offers plenty of dashboard analytics, fulfillment features, and product listing options. It’s the best tier for new businesses that are getting their start and still in the midst of figuring out sales and branding.

This tier offers unlimited product listing and two admin accounts.

When you’re ready for the Shopify tier at $79 a month, you’ll get access to five admin accounts, a 2.6% + 30¢ credit card fee rate, and you can sell in up to two languages.

Finally, you have the Advanced Shopify option at $299 a month. This is a tier you’ll only want to sign up for once you need advanced features that’ll help you scale your business and you’ve devised a proven sales strategy with sustained sales month over month. You get a 2.4% + 30¢ online credit card rate, as well as the ability to sell in up to five languages. 

Keep in mind that each tier comes with a free SSL certificate, discount codes, unlimited products, 24/7 support, additional sales channels like eBay, Amazon, Instagram, and Walmart, a full dashboard where you’ll get access to customize all your store settings, and a drag-and-drop theme builder. Before you make any real decisions, I recommend you check out their plan features page for a complete list of features for each tier. 

Shopify Lite – $9 a month

You don’t have or want a full-blown store, but still sell products or services on your own site and around the web? Just use the Shopify Lite plan as a lightweight option to cover all your bases.

The beauty of the Shopify Lite plan is in how easy it is to add buy buttons to any site you want. You can accept credit cards anywhere— both online and in-person with their POS app. Through the Shopify dashboard, you can create and send invoices as well as custom orders. Whatever you updated through your dashboard gets updated everywhere else you’ve set up points of sale online. 

And of course, you’ll also have access to their 24/7 support through email or live chat. The lite plan is an excellent option for a lighter store without all the hassle. Not to mention it’s also incredibly affordable at just $9 a month. 

Shopify Plus – $2,000 a month

The Shopify plus solution is trusted by more than 7,000 giants including Rebecca Minkoff, Allbirds, Rothy’s, Good American, and Heinz as the best and most cost-effective solution for their ecommerce needs.

The Shopify Plus plan is designed to support smaller close-knit teams as they man millions in sales all from one place: their Shopify dashboard. This means where you once needed 300 people to run your store, now you only need 30. Also, if you’re re-platforming to Shopify, instead of taking the traditional 6-8 months to transfer the bulk of your store, with Shopify that time gets cut in half.

This may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not–especially when you consider some of this plan’s features. 

Here are some of Shopify Plus’ best and most powerful features:

  • 60% faster checkouts and 18 percent higher conversion rates
  • Built-in AR, video, and 3D media for each of your product pages
  • Multiple stores, languages, and currencies
  • Advanced discounting and shipping rates
  • 99.99% uptime so you never miss out on sales and traffic
  • Avalara tax automation for automated up to date tax calculations
  • Plenty of automations and integrations at your fingertips

You can forget legacy enterprise software when Shopify offers all the enterprise power you need to sell at scale successfully.

Shopify Offerings

So far we’ve gone through the exhaustive list of features Shopify offers you to successfully host, stock, and run an online store. But everything I’ve highlighted so far is only the beginning.

Shopify offers a wide variety of additional tools— some free and some paid— that push you along your journey to ecommerce success. 

Here’s a quick list of additional Shopify tools you’ll have access to when you host a store on their platform:

  • Facebook ad integration – perfect for driving paid traffic to your site
  • Google ad integration – perfect for PPC campaigns for paid Google traffic
  • Shopify ping apps – A free messaging app to reach more customers and chat with your team
  • Business name generator – Perfect if you’re clueless about your store name and need ideas
  • Stock photography – Access thousands of free stock photos for your storefront
  • Themes – tons of options both free and paid as well as customizable 

Shopify Email

Did you know you can create email campaigns right on Shopify? Shopify Email gives you all the tools to track and create beautiful and captivating ecommerce campaigns that drive sales and keep your core customers engaged.

You can pick from a list of ready-for-you designs and get email analytics straight to your Shopify dashboard. You can add your logo and store colors for a more personalized email experience as well as segment the people on your list for more specific campaigns.

The Shopify Email feature is accessible on every Shopify plan. You get a monthly send limit of 2,500 free emails, then $1 for every 1,000 additional emails sent. Not bad at all if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of integrating a third-party email provider with your store that can end up costing you more in the long run.   

Custom Domains

You can easily buy a custom domain with Shopify if you don’t want to buy it through a third party. Domain names through Shopify start at $14 a year and automatically renew each year. 

This is a great option if you don’t want the name “.myshopify.com” as part of your domain name. 

POS Equipment

The perks of Shopify don’t end in the online world. With their point-of-sale option, you can connect POS software, hardware, and Shopify’s payment system to sell in person at popups, retail events, and more.

Once you set up POS in your online store, you can purchase Shopify card reader and payment equipment to instantly start selling.

Their most popular POS equipment for sale includes

  • The tap and chip card reader – $49
  • The dock for your tap and chip card reader – $39
  • The Shopify retail stand for iPads – $149
  • The Shopify tap and chip case – $19

But it doesn’t stop there. Shopify’s selection of POS equipment goes beyond the basics to ensure you have everything you need to sell in person without any payment issues. It’s because of well-thought-out integrated features like these that Shopify takes the crown as one of if not the most prominent and reliable ecommerce platforms.

The Best Ecommerce Platforms

Choosing the best ecommerce platform to create your store and drive sales can be overwhelming. Make sure you look through my top list of ecommerce platform recommendations to be sure you’ll have all the tools and features you need. 

  1. Wix – Best for flexibility and customization
  2. Squarespace – Best ecommerce platform for creatives
  3. BigCommerce – Best for medium to large stores
  4. Shopify – Best all-in-one ecommerce platform
  5. WooCommerce – Best for WordPress websites
  6. OpenCart – Best for selling digital products 
  7. Ecwid – Best for integrating with your current platform

All in all, Shopify offers a reliable ecommerce platform with the tools and features to ensure you’re running a smooth operation whether you’re an up-and-coming store or you need to manage millions in sales. Because of how easy it is to use, along with the tools it provides and its price points Shopify comes in as one of my top recommendations for starting a store in any niche.

Try Shopify free for 14-days and get started building your store.

The post Shopify Review appeared first on Neil Patel.

Valuable Post

Wondering what’s next for social marketing? Wondering what disruptive changes in content and distribution might mean for business? In this article, you’ll learn about the latest social marketing trends and how marketers should prepare for a changing world. Disruption in Marketing Today Marketing today really boils down to one question: “How can we be heard?” […]

The post The Future of Social Marketing: Trends to Track appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

Who else? <3internet marketing

Blogging on WordPress.com is all about sharing your unique voice, and starting today, you can extend that to another platform: Anchor. We previously shared some tips and tricks for getting started with a podcast on WordPress.com and are thrilled to share this new option.

Anchor, part of the Spotify family, powers 80% of all new podcasts on Spotify, with free tools to easily create, distribute, and monetize, no matter how you record — including podcasting with your WordPress.com blog!

Creating an Anchor podcast from your site is free and seamless. After all, you’ve already got a whole blog’s worth of written content to use. With Anchor, all that’s left is converting your words into audio, which can be as easy as using your blog to quickly record a text-to-speech version.

Blog-to-podcast benefits

Making a podcast out of your blog breathes new life into the work you’re already doing — you can make your unique blogging voice actually audible! By converting your blog into a podcast, you’re leveraging the power of audio to grow your brand, audience, and income — without any extra work. Hundreds of millions of listeners (and counting) consume podcasts every day, and they’re constantly looking for fresh voices and perspectives. Whether you have a built-in WordPress.com audience to bring over or not, an audio extension of your blog means another avenue for exposure — to your existing followers and new ones. And then there’s monetization: Anchor Sponsorships lets you read ads in your own voice during a break in your podcast; Anchor’s Listener Support feature, meanwhile, allows your biggest fans to support your work via a recurring monthly donation.

A podcast version of your WordPress.com blog also introduces an entirely different audience to your work, and frees listeners up to do what readers aren’t able to: multitask! There are, of course, many benefits to readers fully immersing themselves in the written content of a blog. But audio enables listeners to consume your work while performing everyday activities, like going for a walk, driving, cooking, relaxing — or simply exploring something new.

Let your words do the talking


Connect your site to Anchor and your existing blog posts will import as episode drafts

Your blog can almost literally do the talking for you with direct text-to-speech, similar to an audio transcription of an article. This is a great option for blogs less dependent on top-notch production value and more focused on the content itself — such as well-researched news, sports, essays, and wellness stories. With text-to-speech conversion, your blog can be podcast-ready in a few minutes.


Converting your blog post to podcast-ready audio and distributing your new show takes just a few minutes.

Of course, if you want to create a podcast that highlights your actual speaking voice, you can record it by reading a transcript of your blog post, which will be imported directly into Anchor for easy access.

You can get more creative, too, by using your blog as a jumping-off point to host an audio discussion about the blog topic. Or let your blog serve as inspiration for a more traditional podcast, where you host and interview guests, record scripted segments, and much more, in ways amplified by audio!

Create a podcast today

There are a number of different ways to turn your WordPress.com blog into a podcast. The amount of work it takes can be surprisingly minimal — or more hands-on if you like. Whether you just want to create an audio version of your blog, expand your blog concept to a different platform, or simply try your hand (and voice) at a new medium, there’s a podcast structure for you. Most importantly, your written work means you’re not starting from scratch.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating a podcast on Anchor from your existing posts on WordPress.com:

Be sure to create a new Anchor account to link with your WordPress.com account — existing Anchor accounts cannot be linked at this time. You can also convert all of your newly published posts on WordPress.com into podcasts as well.

If you’re looking for inspiration, a perfect example is TheDesignAir, whose blog covers aviation design and product news. Check out their text-to-speech podcast with Anchor:

Ready to turn your blog into an Anchor podcast for free? Get started by creating a new Anchor account. Happy podcasting!

Important Info

Many of you know that I’m based in Portland, and I will always have a soft spot for this city. That being said, I think Portland has some of the biggest varieties of niche businesses, brands, and entrepreneurs. The city, known for being “weird,” draws in many small business owners and entrepreneurs with dreams for… Read more »

The post Top 37 Entrepreneurs In Portland, Oregon appeared first on One-Click Lindsey.

Who else? <3making money at home

The 7 Best Ways to Grow Your Instagram Audience In 2021

Want to grow your Instagram presence?

Any business on Instagram knows that this is more than just a powerful platform for showing off product pictures. Instagram cultivates connections with your audience through visual impact, authentic content, and strategic aesthetics.

With millions of competitors active every day, and an increasingly clever algorithm to deal with, learning how to generate growth for your profile can be tough. The good news? There are a few best practices proven to deliver genuine results.

Here’s how you can start making progress this year.

1. Use an Instagram growth service

Instagram can be the perfect tool for growing your business, but it takes work to master. The initial stages of building your reputation and generating credibility often take a while. To speed things up (and reduce the weight on your shoulders), it’s easier to hand some responsibility to a growth service.

Instagram growth services can support you in developing the kind of Insta reputation your business needs. However, you’ll need to be cautious about the service you use. Some spammy “growth” companies try to sell you followers that are just bots – incapable of engaging with your content.

grow-instagram-kicksta-holly-mandarich

As you may already know, quality counts just as much as quantity when collecting followers and growing your Instagram. Look for a company like Kicksta, which targets real followers with a genuine interest in what you have to share. This way, you begin to build a natural following that you can preserve over time.

A growth service will give you the head-start you need. Once you’re ready, you can use the momentum you get from these solutions to enhance your results from our other tips.

2. Plan and schedule content

A well-populated Instagram feed full of fresh content will help to attract followers who love your brand. To get the best results and grow your Instagram, you’ll need to publish the right content, at the best time.

Scheduling your content in advance means that you can take advantage of national holidays, generate buzz for upcoming events, and keep your feed from growing stale. A well-planned content calendar also means you don’t have to worry if you have a day without much inspiration.

grow-instagram-later-instagram-insights

Use your Instagram Insights to determine when your customers are most likely to be active. From there, plan your schedule (and post frequency) to suit your followers. Software solutions make this much easier, such as:

  • Later: One of the most popular Instagram scheduling tools around Later calculates the best posting times for you based on historical performance. You can build visual calendars in the dashboard, save posts for later, and even track the results of your social campaigns.
  • Buffer: With a free tier for beginners, Buffer makes it easy to start scheduling your social strategy. You can decide exactly when you’re going to publish content and track your calendar across various social pages and websites at once.
  • Sprout Social: A comprehensive social media marketing solution, Sprout Social lets you schedule your posts for Instagram and also has a range of other features. With Sprout, you can follow brand mentions, create employee advocates, and analyze your social relationships too.

Follow a Consistent Theme

One major benefit of planning your content in advance is the ability to design a consistent aesthetic across all your online assets. When you can see your content schedule for Instagram, you can easily move posts around to see what’s going to look best for your feed.

A strong theme is a must-have on Instagram, because your followers are looking for something beautiful to browse through. This trend of checking out the most aesthetically pleasing feeds is only growing more prominent in 2021. Look at this example from @Aww.Sam, the retro style of her pictures, grid, and even the Highlights she saves all match her brand perfectly.

grow-instagram-aww-sam-account

Your theme will help to strengthen your brand’s appeal when you’re posting and remind followers what you’re all about. It’s also an opportunity to make yourself more memorable. As Instagram becomes more popular, everything you do needs to stand out from the crowd.

It’s up to you to decide how simple or complex you want your theme to be. @WildHousePaper, creates a very minimalist aesthetic with soft greys, creams, and whites.

grow-instagram-wildehousepaper

3. Optimize your profile

While you’re sprucing up your theme and making your grid look great, why not optimize other parts of your Insta profile? Your profile is the first thing that your potential followers are going to see after clicking on your account. Everything on this page needs to be optimized to deliver results.

To create the perfect profile, start by considering:

  • Your Profile Picture: If you’re representing a company, the ideal profile picture might be a snap of your logo, or even an image of your product, like Oreo uses below. For the most part, however, people like to see other human beings on Instagram. A picture of a smiling human is much more compelling than an artistic shot of your office building.
grow-instagram-oreo
  • Your Bio: The Bio is where you inform your audience of the most important things they need to know about you. You only have 150 characters here, so stay concise and to the point. Highlight what you do and think about using #branded hashtags to generate engagement. Unique fonts and emojis could help your bio stand out.
  • The Link: The link in your bio is one of the most valuable tools you have on Instagram. It encourages people to visit your website and other online assets. Constantly changing your single link to drive the best outcomes is exhausting. A link-in-bio tool like url.bio helps you get the most out of that single link, by creating a hub for traffic from one URL.
  • Highlights: Your highlights are a wonderful way to save valuable information that your customers need to see. They’re also fantastic for finishing off your profile. Make sure the colors you choose are consistent with your theme and ensure that the little pictures make sense alongside the caption or descriptor word you use like @Nadia_Rachel92 does here.
grow-instagram-nadia-rachel92

4. Create more video content

Video is quickly becoming one of the most valuable tools on Instagram. Ever since the social media site introduced IGTV, it’s also been rolling out more excuses for users to begin recording. These days, you’ve got plenty of video options to choose from, including:

  • Instagram Reels: The most recent addition to Instagram videos, Reels are short snippets of content like what you’d find on TikTok. @Shutthekaleup uses Reels to share mini cooking and recipe tips that only take a few seconds. It’s a great way for the creator to engage her audience, plus these videos work well alongside her IGTV campaign as bonus tips.
grow-instagram-shutthekaleup-churro-latte
  • IGTV: IGTV is a fantastic tool to grow your Instagram with, because it gives you access to another section of the Insta app. National Geographic was one of the first companies to begin using IGTV to make information about nature more accessible. These NatGeo videos further establish the company as a thought leader in its space and include collaborations with other leading icons.
grow-instagram-natgeo
  • Instagram Live: The best time to use Instagram Live is when you want to demonstrate humanity and authenticity. It’s a way to show your customers what’s happening behind the scenes. @GlobalCitizen, a non-profit organization, uses Live to connect with donors and demonstrate the hard work they’re doing.

5. Work with influencers

Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept for Instagram users, but it’s just as valuable in 2021 as ever. Working with influencers and other brands in your niche is one of the best ways to build credibility through association.

If you can get the people that your customers already respect to advocate for your business, you’ll build a bigger following in no time.

The influencers you work with will often offer advice on which techniques to use, but some of the best options include:

  • Takeovers: Allow an Instagram user to take over your business account for a day and post their own content. This will pull more followers to your profile as people try to track what their favorite influencers are doing.
  • Giveaways: We all love a chance to win something. Running a giveaway where your customers need to @mention a friend to enter is a great way to generate engagement. With an influencer, you can create a branded hashtag that drives people back to your account and increases the number of entrants you receive.
  • Contests: Competitions are just as fun as giveaways sometimes. As a fashion company, you could ask people to share a picture of them wearing their favorite item from you and share it with your brand hashtag for a chance to win something.
grow-instagram-wholesome-culture

Working with influencers gives your brand image a much-needed boost, but it can also help in another way, by generating user-generated content (UGC). User-generated content makes your profile look more authentic while showing your audience that you value their input. It’s a great way to push engagement.

6. Be authentic

If you want to grow your Instagram, you need to commit to an authentic presence.

While educational and promotional posts have been popular on Instagram before, users (particularly younger ones), just want to see real content. This is a trend that exploded when the rise of TikTok began. Users are no longer interested in what products or services you can offer, as much as who you are, and what the people behind your business are like.

Think about how you can make your content look more authentic with behind-the-scenes videos, emotional captions, and glimpses into real people. You could answer common follower questions with videos, pictures, and how-to guides.

grow-instagram-sompa-selfcare

You could also share a picture with a caption that reminds you of how you’ve grown and developed your brand over the years. Everyone loves a good story.

Speaking of which, don’t forget to use your Instagram Stories too. These tools are great for combining various images, clips, and captions into a more engaging experience for your audience. Because they’re only temporary, your customers expect them to be a little less edited.

7. Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags!

Anyone on Instagram should be familiar with the power of hashtags.

Unfortunately, not all users use these tools effectively. To make sure that you’re using the appropriate hashtags for your content, you’ll need to do your research. Pay attention to the tags trending on the “Explore” page for Instagram.

If you’re running low on ideas, look at other accounts similar to yours for inspiration, or tap into a hashtag generator for additional support. Stay clear of any banned tags and remember to mix things up. It’s important that your tags don’t end up looking spammy.

For the best results, remember to use branded hashtags regularly. They’re a great way to spread the word about your company, cultivate user-generated content, and boost brand awareness. Nike’s #JustDoIt hashtag has already generated millions of posts!

grow-instagram-#justdoit

Remember that your branded hashtag should be short, memorable, and relevant to your brand, so your customers can use it regularly.

Grow your Instagram

Deciding to grow your Instagram profile is one of the best things you can do in 2021. It’s a chance to strengthen your relationship with your customers and show followers what your business is all about.

However, don’t forget that every brand development strategy requires prior planning and strategy. Follow the tips above and you’ll be raking in the followers by the end of 2021.

Guest author: Samantha Hackett is a Marketing Coordinator at Kicksta with expertise in all things Instagram and social media marketing.

The post The 7 Best Ways to Grow Your Instagram Audience In 2021 appeared first on Jeffbullas's Blog.

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Wondering what’s next for social marketing? Wondering what disruptive changes in content and distribution might mean for business? In this article, you’ll learn about the latest social marketing trends and how marketers should prepare for a changing world. Disruption in Marketing Today Marketing today really boils down to one question: “How can we be heard?” […]

The post The Future of Social Marketing: Trends to Track appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

Important Post

How to Use Data Visualization in Your Content to Increase Readers and Leads

Have you heard of data visualization? Even if you don’t know the term, you’ve probably seen some examples.

Data visualization refers to graphical images that represent and explain data trends or other numerical information, such as charts, maps, scatter plots, or graphs.

You can use data visualization in articles or on web pages to make numbers and data easily digestible to the reader. Especially when you are trying to distill down complex topics to convert more readers, data can add value and help you make your case.

The Benefits of Data Visualization

Visuals are a powerful addition to your articles and presentations.

Our brains process images at a rapid pace, according to an MIT study. Including visuals in your article not only breaks up the text and gives your reader something else to look at, but also may help them process the information more quickly.

Think about it: we’ve been communicating visually from the cave painting days. Data visualization just takes image communication to the next level, integrating stats and data into compelling visuals that your brain can absorb faster than just scanning numbers.

Plus, it’s more than just laying out the numbers. Data visualization is about presenting data in a very specific way to back up your claims or illustrate your point. It’s more than just a table of statistics the reader has to work through to figure out for themselves.

Numbers can often be the “proof” you need to convince your reader to take the next step or to make a purchase, but many people don’t want to take the time to read through all the data.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, people don’t read word-for-word online, going back to the internet’s earliest days. Instead, they scan, looking for stand-out headlines and images that grab them. Data visualization gives you that opportunity to capture their interest and get important stats in front of their eyes.

Examples of Data Visualization

Are you inspired to start creating data visualization images for your content, or are you still needing some examples? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

1. USA Today Housing Bubble Graphic

Using an interactive map, USA Today created this graphic to help readers understand the data behind current housing sales trends. The simple color palette makes it visually appealing, and the ability to scroll over each state to learn more means readers may spend more time on the page, interacting with the data.

USA Today example of data visualization

2. CNBC Job Change Graph

This visual from CNBC is an example of using a bar graph in a visually compelling way. At a quick glance, you can see what’s growing and decreasing. As you look closer, you can check out more detail about the numbers and specifics.

CNBC example of data visualization

3. NY Times Nutrition Scatter Plot

Scatter plots can get complex, which is why this graphic from the NY Times uses images to help make the point. It also explains the XY axes, so readers understand what they’re looking at.

Data Visualization - NY Times nutrition scatter plot

Types of Data Visualization

When it comes to creating unique images, the only limit is your imagination, but here are a few common types to get you started.

Bar Graphs

Bar graphs are a simple option. Think back to your school days and science projects. Bar graphs can be vertical or horizontal, with each bar representing the values of each category.

Bar graphs can represent any set of numbers you need to compare side-by-side, and you can use colors to reflect different categories. For example, you could compare salaries for different jobs, prices for different products, or populations of different groups.

example bar graph for data visualization

Pie Charts

Pie charts consist of circles representing 100% of something, broken into “slices” of ratios or percentages.

They are a great way to illustrate how various categories compare to their larger context. For instance, you can show how many people of a certain group have different behaviors, habits, or preferences.

Data visualization pie chart

Tables

While not always the most visually compelling, tables can allow you to provide multiple data points or categories to help people understand the relationships among items.

On a table, you can lay out in rows the main categories you’re comparing. Along each column, you can include as many different topics as you need to.

Tables are simple and useful but can easily get cluttered. Make sure to highlight the sections that need your attention and use colors to make things stand out. Keep everything lined up and clear to make it easily scannable for your readers.

Data visualization using a table

Infographics

A power horse of online images, infographics can mean almost anything. However, an infographic typically acts as a curated collection of charts, graphs, icons, and short text to share high-level information about a topic or tell a narrative.

They are usually vertically designed, with strong headlines and numbers. Its power comes in combining various elements to tell a story. Infographics are great for an overview, such as a brief history behind a topic or a quick lesson.

Infograph example of data visualization

GIFs

What’s more visual than a GIF? Functioning as a quick video, a GIF can allow you to show growth, movement, regression, or progress. GIFs often involve an animated graph or chart that shows demographics or change over time.

Gif example of data visualization

Maps

When the information you present is demographically or locally focused, maps can help tell that story visually. You can connect readers with information relating to specific areas or groups of people in those locations.

Color-coding different areas of your maps can give your readers a quick visual of exactly which areas relate to which topics in your content. For instance, you can shade areas red or blue depending on how that region voted on a particular topic or election.

map example of data visualization

Heat Maps

A heat map can show areas of concentration or intensity. You can use this for actual temperatures, such as climate or record temperatures in certain areas, or you could use it for proverbial heat, showing intensity or even popularity.

Sometimes heat maps illustrate population density, for instance, or the behavior of users on a website, such as how often they interact with a certain area.

example heat map for data visualization

Scatter Plots

A scatter plot is a type of graph that shows the correlation or relationship between two topics on a horizontal and vertical axis, with dots scattered throughout to represent examples of that relationship.

You can draw a line through the area where the dots are concentrated to see trends. Your reader can see that as one factor changes, such as increases or heats up, the other factor tends to respond in some way.

scatter plot example of data visualization

Pair Up Simple Data Visualization Types

The above are just a few of the simple elements you can use to illustrate your data. The options are almost innumerable. Just about any kind of chart, graph, or map can be employed.

However, some of the best data visualizations integrate multiple types or pair up more than one element. For instance, you can use a series of pie charts to show how trends have changed over time.

Sometimes, matching up multiple elements can illustrate your point more fully or allow you to describe various points of your narrative better. You could even use a chart within a chart or lay them out in an infographic style to tell a story.

Make Data Visualizations Interactive

To make your data visualization work hard for you, you may want to consider interactive options.

Interactivity allows readers to scroll over or click on various parts of your charts or graphics to learn more about each section. Maybe each bar on your graph or each area on your map has more specific information that your viewers can read.

This not only provides more powerful data points to your image, but it also allows it to be a more relevant and customizable experience for more users.

Data Visualization Tools

You can create data visualization images for your content from scratch using design software or an online option like Canva. However, data visualization tools can give you a leg up by allowing you to create truly stand-out projects.

These tools can take the guesswork out of the process and let you focus on plugging in the data and cranking out designs that reflect your brand and convey your message.

The great thing about these tools is that they are made for the casual creator. You don’t need to be a developer or coder to get into making great charts or graphs. Here are a few of the plug-and-play options that can get your idea off the ground.

Flourish

Flourish advertises an easy option for creating and sharing data visualization. You can upload spreadsheets directly to the platform or create your images from scratch. It has a number of animated or interactive templates, which you can update with your brand graphics and elements.

Flourish has a free option that allows you to explore and create public data visualization. If you want to interact with your team or create private projects, it offers a few levels of paid options.

Datawrapper

Datawrapper promises to be easy to use, with no coding experience required. It provides several intuitive options, with tools such as a color-blind check that remind you of colors that are color-blind friendly.

With a variety of defaults in its templates, Datawrapper brings the details of each data visualization that newbies may not have thought through.

Infogram

This tool allows you to create charts and graphs that have the animation and customization you need to wow your audience. You can also use Infogram’s drag-and-drop feature to drag the images around and combine elements into a single, highly-effective visual.

Tracking the Success of Your Data Visualization Elements

The time and effort it takes to create data visualization and work it into your content can pay off if it helps drive people to your goals, like increasing readerships or leads. However, you’ll only know if they’re successful if you track the metrics.

Consider the Big Picture

As you start incorporating data visualization into your content, one of the easiest ways to track their success is to see how well your content is doing. The most basic questions to ask are: is the content with data visualization more popular? Do those pieces get more readers and more shares?

Dive Into the Data

One way to get a little geeky with your data is to set up a heat map tool, such as Hotjar. This can give you more data about how people behave on your page, such as how and where they scroll or click. This is especially useful for a landing page where you’re trying to convert people to sales.

Help Them Act

The only way to know if your data visualization is actually converting is to give readers a way to be converted. Once they have been convinced by the data you are sharing, what do you want them to do next? Make sure you keep clear CTAs near the data visualization. Clicks or email sign-ups can help you track the effectiveness of that image.

Conclusion

Data visualization can help you drive readership and more leads by engaging with them from the start. People come back to your online hub when they find quality content there. They’re also more likely to share your content with others when they find it interesting and engaging.

Data visualization can help you take complex or dry concepts and make them more compelling, helping drive home your point and increase sales along the way.

If it feels daunting to create and manage your data visualization elements, we are here to help out. We also offer services like SEO, content marketing, and paid media.

What kind of data visualization are you going to use in your content?

The post How to Use Data Visualization in Your Content to Increase Readers and Leads appeared first on Neil Patel.