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  1. Launching an online store can be as easy as choosing your website provider, uploading cool images for your products, setting a price, and selling them or advertising them in a marketplace. However, planning your online store launch thoroughly can help you manage expectations for your business and achieve long term success. To start, some experts recommend: Fully fleshing out your business idea, including researching your business name, target market, and their motivations for purchasing your products. Writing a comprehensive business plan that includes an exit strategy. Creating a budget and researching additional funding sources, like loans or business grants. Following government regulations and guidelines for registering your business as a legal entity. Building your team and creating your branding. Because businesses are varied and have different needs, there really isn’t a blueprint you can follow wholesale. Everyone’s timeline is different! Just check out what these startup founders told The Muse on how they fared when they started their businesses. What do you wish you’d known before launching your online store? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
  2. With 77% of internet users in 2019 reporting that they read blogs regularly, it’s no wonder starting a blog is such a popular endeavor. While seemingly simple and straightforward, blogs can often be more time consuming and require more effort than anticipated. Hindsight is often 20/20. What do you wish you knew before starting your blog that would’ve made the whole process smoother? What best practices can you share to help set others up for success? Share in the comments below!
  3. Keywords are essential for generating traffic from search engines. But which keywords should you use? And how do you brainstorm your ideas? Let’s go through some ways to generate ideas and different types of keywords you can use. To get started, there are tons of organizational note apps that lend themself to a personal brainstorm, so play around and see what works for you! I personally use Google’s JamBoard as my virtual sticky note go-to. This way I can visualize the contents of my site and see what keywords make sense for which pages. For my example photography business, I decided to break it up into the different types of photography I’m involved in and some potential keywords that would relate: Some questions to ask yourself when brainstorming: Who is your target audience? What sets you apart from your competitors? What synonyms can you utilize? For example: New York photographer and NYC photography are two different keywords. And what other words does Google autofill? Type the words you've come up with in Google and see what else pops up! When determining types of keywords, there’s “Head” and “Long-tail”, and there are benefits to using both types. Head keywords are short, usually one-word keywords that catch a wide audience like ceramics, tapestry, and shoes. Long-tail keywords are Multi-word phrases that are more specific, such as engagement photography, NYC shoe designer, and LA dog cafe. Head keywords can catch a more general audience who might not be specifically looking for you, whereas long-tail keywords cater to those who search with the intent of finding a specific product or service. How did you brainstorm your keywords? Any tools or tricks that aided you in the process? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below!
  4. There are currently more than a billion websites out there in the world, and keeping track of all the information you want or need to know on a daily basis is a full time job most of us don’t have the time to complete. Newsletters are not only a great way to have curated information about the topics you are interested in delivered right to your inbox daily or weekly; they’re also a great way to find out industry trends, resources, and to hear from your peers. They can be enriching, motivating, insightful, and also a great tool to promote creativity in all facets of your life, not just your business. We’d love to know, what are some of your favorite newsletters? Which newsletters have you turned to for help or have inspired you along your journey?
  5. Starting a new business can be an exciting, yet scary, process –from coming up with the idea for your products to drawing up a business plan that works for you, creating your brand, and finally bringing your business to life. There’s no one size fits all method to starting a business, but there are certain steps you can take to prepare yourself to launch your big idea. Forbes recommends considering these questions: Does your business idea solve a problem for you or someone else? Have you researched your potential market? Do you have a defined audience? Have you validated your idea? As an example, Squarespace customers Ergo Chic and Soul Cap considered their own needs and the needs of people around them to create businesses that solved existing gaps in the market. What was the first step you took to make your business idea a reality? What recommendations do you have for emerging entrepreneurs? Share your experiences and learnings in the comments below!
  6. Choosing images for your website can be a fun, yet daunting, task. You need to decide how you want to present your brand to potential customers. You can choose to keep your website imagery focused solely on your actual product, or open it up to some more varied imagery. Showing people and faces in your images can be a powerful tool. They can serve as visual cues so that your visitors will ‘look where they look’, guiding visitors through your website’s information. This kind of image can provide context for your products, or even lend more authenticity to your About or Testimonial pages. Others can find the inclusion of people and faces distracting, particularly if the images are very obviously staged stock photos. Where do you land on using people in pictures? Have you noticed their impact or lack thereof? Share your learnings in the comments below!
  7. There are a variety of details to consider when setting up your online store, all in service of the ultimate goal: helping your customers find what they’re looking for and complete checkout smoothly. Get a head start by brainstorming tags, categories, and subcategories so customers can quickly find what they are looking for and browse related items. Think early on about which shipping options and potential discount codes might serve you best. These kinds of decisions can have a direct impact on performance. How do you make sure your online store is set up for success? Share in the comments below!
  8. With so many channels available for advertising a company and its products, it can be tricky to decide how much to spend on advertising and where to allocate your budget to maximize profit for each dollar spent on ads. According to Inc., a successful advertising budget takes into account several things, including the cost of each product, the target consumer, which media channels (i.e. social media or more traditional mediums like print and television) are best to reach your target audience, and their motivations for buying your products. Not to be confused with marketing, the right advertising can boost your company’s presence in the minds of consumers and, as a result, can help you reach your profit goals. How do you make the most of your advertising budget? Which mistakes do you avoid? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
  9. Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool for managing the address and information that appears for your company in Google Search and Maps. Is it worth listing your business? The short answer is: yes. You can either set this up directly in Google, or within your Squarespace website you can manage Google My Business via the Marketing > Location Management panel. Having an additional avenue for your customers to call, email, visit your website, and engage with your business can help boost your search rankings. You can engage with customer reviews, list your contact and business information, and gain insights into local search performance. You may be asking: what if I don’t have a physical address to list for my business? Well, there are several options available if you want to use Google My Business. You can list “I deliver goods and services to my customers" to hide an address The post office can assign a physical address to a P.O. box upon request You can rent a mailbox at a private delivery company that offers the same option Have you leveraged Google My Business for your own website? Any insights gained from it’s additional analytics? Let us know in a comment below how GMB has worked for you! Note that Location Management is a Premium feature available in Business and Commerce plans. Only site owners and contributors with Admin permissions can make changes to Location Management.
  10. Favicons are a fun and unique way to maintain your branding consistent throughout the browsing experience. In essence, a favicon or a browser icon, is a small square image that displays next to a page's title in browser tabs and in other places across the web. Adding a custom favicon makes your site recognizable in a browser full of tabs or bookmarks. Sometimes the 16 X 16 pixels small icons can also display as the default image in search histories and search ads, and they can indirectly benefit SEO by increasing the usability of your site. Find out more about the history of the favicon. All Squarespace websites come with a default cube image as the favicon. Have you added your own favicon to your site? Do you have any recommendations for designing effective or innovative favicons? Share in the comments below!
  11. Vision statements are a powerful tool for companies both big and small. They serve as a North star for where you want to take your business in both aspirations and impact. While mission statements focus on the present, vision statements are all about the future. Vision statements are about finding the balance between simplicity, inspirational, meaningful to you, and most importantly, actionable. You can start developing your vision statement by asking yourself questions like what is the purpose of my business? What are my long-term goals? What are my company values? Then take these answers to craft 1 to 2 sentences that sum it up. Other best practices include using the present tense, and avoid using industry jargon. Some great examples of inspirational vision statements include: Ben & Jerry’s: "Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way." TED: “We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.” How did you develop the vision statement for your business? What guiding questions did you find helpful? Share your learnings and vision statements in the comments below!
  12. Designing a website with a lot of text-based information can be a challenge as big chunks of text can be off-putting to the reader. Often, we rely on imagery to draw the users' attention or help communicate a message. But what if we don't have or want to rely on imagery? What are some practices you've used or seen that create an engaging and informative display of textual content? Share in the comments below!
  13. Promotional pop-ups are a great way to grab someone’s attention when they visit your website. You can let potential customers know about exciting sales or the launch of a new product. Pop-ups can also be used for more ‘housekeeping’ purposes like conducting surveys or asking visitors to verify their age for any age-restricted content you might have. On Squarespace you can tailor a variety of aspects of your pop-ups to maximize their impact. You can choose the layout, deciding between a subtle placement in the bottom right corner or going for a more dramatic, full page design. You can also customize the timing and frequency that they display. Learn more in creating a promotional pop-up. How have you used promotional pop-ups on your website? Which settings have been the most impactful for you? Share in the comments below!
  14. The year is flying by; we can’t believe we’re already more than halfway through! We wanted to take a moment to celebrate some wins with you all focused on customer interactions. It’s no secret that customers are a crucial part of any business and we’d like to hear about moments that they provided much appreciated levity or reminded you why it is that you do what you do. Share your favorite customer interaction, of the year or in general, in the comments below!
  15. Building a social media strategy can be tricky, but once you crack the code, it can be so helpful in building and maintaining a brand. Posting on-brand content for your community can help validate your brand as well as increase recognition and recall. What are ways you have found it useful to integrate social media into your website and brand? Share in the comments below!
  16. A business plan is a crucial step towards bringing your idea to life. It is your roadmap to guide you through the winding road of getting your business off the ground. Beyond establishing your business’ focus, a solid business plan can also help you secure funding and attract top talent. Your business plan should answer questions like what is the purpose of your business? Who is your audience? What needs are you filling? How will you define success? Researching and writing out the answers to these big questions will help you set yourself up for success. How did you tackle your business plan? What resources did you rely on, and what learnings did you gain along the way? Share your tips for developing a solid business plan in the comments below!
  17. Backlinks are links from one website to another. For example, if a cooking blog references and links to your website in their blog post, that’s a backlink. Growing your backlinks over time can have a significant impact on your website’s SEO ranking, as they reinforce the quality of the content on your site. The question then becomes, how can you generate backlinks to your website? Best practices include writing guest posts on other publication sites or developing shareable content that your audience posts to their social media. With a variety of places to start from, what advice would you give to someone embarking on their backlinking journey? What strategies have you found most successful? Share in the comments below!
  18. Your website’s navigation might not be the first thing you think about when setting up your website, but it is a key aspect of your customer’s experience with your brand. A smooth navigation setup can really make an impact and encourage repeat visitors. A common goal for navigation is making sure your visitors don’t have to click more than 2-3 times to get from one section of the website to another. Some achieve this by sketching their site out on paper first. Others put everything in first, then let their analytics do the talking. Everyone has different strategies to achieve their perfect site navigation. What has been most helpful to you when setting up your website’s navigation? Share in the comments below!
  19. Why exactly are logos so important? Logos help set the tone for your business, as they are often your brand’s first impression on potential customers. As we know, our brains can process images more quickly than text, so having a logo helps users identify and remember your brand. Think of it as your company’s ID in your customers’ minds, it’s how you stand out among your competitors. How did you decide on your logo? What do you like most about it? What core message or feeling did you want your logo to convey? Tell us all about your logo in the comments below! P.S. If you’re looking to create a business logo, check out Squarespace’s Free Logo Maker to get started. You can also learn more about logos with our Help Guide: Creating a great logo.
  20. Congratulations, the first big step has been taken - you launched your website! Now, it’s time to check how it is doing. Monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your site will help you determine its performance, uncover optimization opportunities and ultimately assist you with converting your visitors into actual customers. Squarespace Analytics is our website reporting tool, designed to empower users with a wide range of insights including pageviews, conversion, sales, referrers, and bounce rate, that can offer a clear picture of how your site is performing. Set yourself up for success thinking through what exactly you want to measure, why you are measuring it, and what actionable steps you’ll be able to take. And through the Squarespace App you can have this info accessible on the go! The most relevant and useful metrics to track are certainly dependent on your website and business goals. Nevertheless, there are some claimed key website KPIs that should require attention like conversion rates, mobile vs desktop traffic, or traffic sources. Which are your top ones and why? Tell us about them in the comments below.
  21. Sliders AKA slideshows are revolving carousels in a website showing products or photos. Often they’re displayed as a banner at the top of the webpage and occupy the full width of the browser window. They create a dynamic browsing experience and offer visitors a taste of your brand, your work, or offerings. With Squarespace you can create sliders using Gallery Sections, Summary Blocks and Gallery Blocks. While their usage is very popular and they can be helpful to consolidate content so more is visible on one screen, some find them more often distracting than attracting, due to the fact of several messages being delivered at once which can lead to the focus being lost. Deciding if including carousels is the right choice for you will depend on your business, audience, and goals. What are your feelings on using sliders and what are some examples where you feel folks have used them intentionally and effectively? Share in the comments below!
  22. Late last year, Squarespace launched Member Areas, allowing you to add gated areas within your site. These Member Areas give you the opportunity to increase brand loyalty, get to know your customers, as well as create a new revenue stream. With virtually endless options on how to use it, how have you incorporated gated content and what kind of impact has it made on your brand/business? Share in the comments below!
  23. As a small business owner, you have an exciting opportunity to personalize the customer experience, like answering promptly or following up on solutions provided, in a way that big companies don’t. You could also have a detailed FAQ page to address commonly asked questions, or maybe a generous return/exchange policy. Having an action plan for every avenue of communication, or potential scenario, from the beginning can help you make sure your customers feel happy and supported. Great customer service can lead to repeat business and referrals! How have you set yourself up for success in providing quality support to your customers? What tools do you use on or in conjunction with your website? What scenarios did you think through? Which policies have come in handy? Share your customer service tips in the comments below!
  24. The “About Us” page can be an important part in turning a visitor into a customer. It’s your moment to tell them your story and emphasize why your product or service is the right choice for them! For personal sites, we find that focusing on your personal statement, achievements and a way to get in touch is most helpful. For storefront businesses, sharing a brief "how we came to be" history, impactful testimonials, and your hours and location are best. What is your strategy for your “About Us” page? Do you pack it with info or keep it minimal? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
  25. A cohesive brand is made up of many smaller decisions, from color palette to language used on social media. Where would you begin? A product is never just a product, right? Choosing certain products or services is often done with the general experience we think they will provide in mind. The goal of branding overall is to stand out from the crowd, to have a name that will be remembered, preferred, and even admired. Share your must-haves in the comments below.
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