Spread the Word. Fight for a Cure.

By moosnews
October 15, 2013

Here at FatCow, we believe that awareness is the first step to finding a cure for breast cancer. So please join us in supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by adding a pink banner to your website. It’s easy and free!Our goal is to reach as many people as possible who are willing spread the word with us. So for every person who adds a banner, FatCow will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society*.

How it works …

  1. Choose one the banners below
  2. Copy the “Installation Code” to the right of your desired banner
  3. Paste HTML code on the website
  4. Once you’ve added your image, fill out the form below

Installation Code:

<a href="http://fatcow.com/pink">
  <img src="http://images.fatcow.com/pink/160-fight.jpg"/>
</a>

 

Installation Code:

<a href="http://fatcow.com/pink">
  <img src="http://images.fatcow.com/pink/160-october.jpg"/>
</a>

Installation Code:

<a href="http://fatcow.com/pink">
  <img src="http://images.fatcow.com/pink/200-hope.png"/>
</a>

Installation Code:

<a href="http://fatcow.com/pink">
  <img src="http://images.fatcow.com/pink/200-fight.png"/>
</a>

Installation Code:

<a href="http://fatcow.com/pink">
  <img src="http://images.fatcow.com/pink/200-october.png"/>
</a>

Installation Code:

<a href="http://fatcow.com/pink">
  <img src="http://images.fatcow.com/pink/200-find-a-cure.png"/>
</a>

Fill out my online form.

*Please note: FatCow will donate $1.00 to the American Cancer Society for every person who adds a ribbon to their site, up to 1,000 people.

 

The Top 5 Benefits of a Personable Website

By Jessica Ann
October 10, 2013

If you’re a business owner planning a new website, please repeat the following phrase over and over again: “my website is not a brochure, my website is not a brochure!” Many people make this common mistake. They think a website is about having something that is shiny and attractive for people to look at and read – like a brochure.

But this is no longer how the Internet works. People want to interact and engage. They seek out trusted sources and they want to buy from real people. That means that your website should strive to be as personable as possible. Personable website

Here are the top five benefits of having a personable website:

1.      Builds Trust

 The first challenge you have when people land on your website is keeping them away from the back button. Oh, the dreaded back button! This even has a term in website usage statistics – bounce rate. The word may sound like a fun thing your kid may do in gymnastics class. But you don’t want your audience bouncing away.

One of the best ways to prevent users from bouncing off your website is to instill trust. And the best way to make users trust you is to add a bit of personality.

 

2.      Engagement

Have you ever called a company and the call is answered by a recorded message? You’re then asked to select from a series of options. The machine decides who you should speak with, and it’s inevitably always the wrong person. Then you’ll end up with another recorded message to tell you that they’re closed or are too busy to take your call – even though they say “your call is very important to us.”Arghh!

And why is this so frustrating? It’s because you’re dealing with a machine – not a human. People like using technology. But they’d much rather prefer to engage with real people. Real humans can empathize with your frustration. They can ask questions about your issues, and they can relate and get you the help you need.

Remember how it feels to be on the receiving end of a disengaged business. And then do the opposite when building your website and communicating with your customers.

 

3.      More Sales

In the offline world, sales are made when people talk to people. It’s no different in the online world. Some companies tend to forget this when it comes to designing their websites. These companies are the ones who replace their sales executives with recorded messages (again – arghhh!). Or they replace their sales assistants them with vending machines. Sure, it may seem like it makes sense financially for your business. But technology doesn’t bring in sales, people do. Keep this in mind so that you can incorporate more human-centric content throughout every touch point on your website to bring in more sales.

 

4.      More Humanity

 The Internet is a big place with lots of people. But it can also be a cold and lonely place if you focus too much on tools and technology. Tools and technology are great – but the point of them is how you connect.

If your website is personable and people feel good when they’re engaging with it, you’ll reap the rewards. This may be something instant and tangible, like a sale or a new sign-up. But it could also be something just as valuable, like a referral.

More humanity in a world of technology means building a website with content that’s human. Of course you’ll want to get the message right. If you run an accounting business, being human may or may not mean blogging about One Direction. Even if everyone in your firm agrees that Harry Styles’ latest haircut is better than Justin Bieber’s, you may want to save that angle for a hair salon instead. Integrate humanity in your business and engage with your audience by focusing on a perspective of pop culture that makes sense for your industry.

 

5.      Better Communication

Have you ever came across a website with no contact name, no telephone number, address, or even a real headshot of the business owner? Trying to communicate with a business who runs a website that looks this empty is a leap of faith. And to compound the problem, many websites that are not personable also lack communication skills. Potential customers will go elsewhere, fast.

When you focus on content as the centerpiece for your web design, chances are that you’ll communicate more effectively. When you communicate more effectively, you’ll build trust and engage with your customers more seamlessly. Your audience may engage with you by asking questions, posting comments or interacting either on the comments on your website – or on social media. When this happens, they’ll be much more likely to convert. It may not happen immediately, but give it time. Try to find a way to focus on communicating with your customers through words on your website, or photos. But make sure that you don’t do all of the talking. The trick is to get your customers (and potential customers) to communicate too.

 A personable website feels human not only to you – but to the people who come across your website too. Your website should reflect the personality of you and your business, which then organically attracts the right customers.

Do you have a personable website? Please comment below. 

How to Add Personality to your Website

By Jessica Ann
October 3, 2013

How can your website stand out? Well, what makes you stand out against other people? The answer to both of these questions is your personality. A website has to speak to your visitors. It should aim to convey a personal, conversational tone to keep visitors coming back. Creating copy on your website that’s personable and friendly, allows you to connect across the often impersonal technology of the Internet.

Gardens

Achieving a personable website

 A personable website comes down to using a glad you stopped by, friendly tone of voice. You can use different fonts, assorted colors and different plugins to emphasize any points you want to make. The options are endless so experiment until you find what works for you and your business.

The language and the words you choose says a lot about you. You’ll want to talk to your visitors in a direct fashion. Keep it simple and uncomplicated. Have conversations, ask questions and respond when they comment or ask questions. Make your visitor the focus and as tricky as it may be, don’t make your website all about you. Figure out why your visitors are coming to your website (using Google Analytics is a great start) and then fulfill their goals.

 

Adding emotional design to your website

 To help keep your website friendly and appealing, you can use assorted designs and images. By adding real pictures of what your content reflects, you can help visitors understand what you do. Let’s say you sell plants and flowers. You could find a stock photo of a beautiful flower and use that to emphasize your business. Or you could also hire a professional photographer to take photos of you in your display gardens. Professional photos of you in your own garden goes a long way to convey an authentic, emotional tone for your website.

Besides stock photos or professional photos, free icons can get your point across too. They can be used throughout your content to inject humor, or you can use icons to draw attention to an item. Use icons in a subtle way to draw your visitors in. And for an even more noticeable website, you can use animations like the CSS3 Animation to make your designs come to life. It requires a bit more work (and even might require you hiring a professional developer), but lots of options are your friend.

As long as the web design options don’t bring paralysis by analysis, you’ll be golden. Combine your winning personality, professional photos or icons, and consistent, high-quality content to keep your visitors engaged and coming back for more.

 

Other things to think about

 Think about the questions visitors may be thinking when visiting your website. Questions like: Who are these people? Can I trust this company? Is this someone I want to do business with?

One way to answer these questions is to create copy for an About page – or even create a separate Q and A page. Tell your visitor everything about you or your business that you’d want them to know. But phrase the words as if you’re inside your customer’s head. You can make an excellent first impression by being sincere and honest. You want to come across professional without sounding too formal or too “strictly business.”

Your web design should reveal your personality. Your visitors want to learn about you personally and professionally, and how you can be of value to them. It’s up to you how fun and interactive you make the experience.

Why Content is the Centerpiece for Good Design

By Jessica Ann
September 30, 2013

Design

When the Internet was first around, you could put up a webpage, post a picture of something and stick up some content. You might come back every other week or so, check on it, add a little something and then forget about it for another couple of weeks.

But in today’s digital environment, fresh content on a consistent basis is required.  And that’s not all: Nowadays, your web design needs to work hand-in-hand with your content.

Why content is important

To make your website come alive and speak to your visitors, you need to have fascinating content. You need to draw your visitors in so they’ll want to explore your company. A website is like a book: you want your visitors to be glued to the first paragraph and then hold their attention to the end. You want your customers to be engaged, inspired, or curious about what the value your company can provide them. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling something creatively with a story, or if you’re creating informative product descriptions, your content needs to stand out.

Use a blog as part of your content strategy to come across casual and approachable, like you’re talking to your friend over a cup of coffee. Picture this: You just come back from an amazing vacation and you want to share all of the details with your friend. But this friend also just got a dog. You don’t want to monopolize the conversation and talk only about your vacation. You want to learn more about her experience as a new dog owner, but you’re more excited to talk about you. So what do you do?

You may talk a little about your trip, sharing some fun stories. But make sure not to monopolize the conversation. Look to see if your friend’s eyes start to glaze over, and take this as a sign of this happens. Ask questions. While you can’t look your customers in the eye while they’re reading your content, try to pretend they’re actual humans. Blogging is all about being human and balancing information.

Input is one way to achieve this balance. It’s important because not only does it help to keep your visitors coming back. One great way to get input is in the comment section of your blog. The comments help to give you insight into how your customers feel about your products and/or services.

Experiment with Content

You can either pick a theme with your blog and stick to it, or experiment and mix it up a bit. If you’re just starting out, it might be best to test the waters, and see what strikes a chord with your audience. Post a few paragraphs from a blog post to your Facebook page, and ask questions. Make it fun, and don’t come across demanding. The worst way you can try to engage with your customers is to request that they “like” your blog or ask them to comment. You want the engagement to come naturally. Try to garner attention without screaming at them.

Design does get you noticed

Just like your content, make sure your design is balanced. You don’t want it to lack symmetry. You need to be careful how you lay out your designs. By using color, shape, and size, you can convey how the website looks and what you’d like to portray.

When using color you need to use the same color palette. Using shocking red with white and making bull’s eyes all over your site only works if you’re a brand like Target. Shocking colors may create awareness for your brand offline, but keep in mind how the colors may hurt the eyes of people who view your business online. You’ll want to make your design stand out and compliment the uniqueness of your business without making people turn away.

Using graphics to emphasize

When you use graphics, don’t overwhelm your website with flashing colors and pictures. Graphics are used to add to the visual message you are sending. You can either choose free web design icons or hire a graphic designer to more thoroughly convey a unique look. Graphic design enhances your content and compliments it.

Content, design and graphics should blend together seamlessly to get your point across without being overwhelming. You want your visitors to linger, give opinions, read your content and most of all, to come back.

6 Tips to Successful Affiliate Marketing

By Jen Merry
September 25, 2013

Do you have a website? Would you like to use your website to earn money? If you answered yes, one option is to become an affiliate. Below are some tips on how you can get started and on your way to becoming a successful affiliate online. Affiliate Program

  1. Join affiliate programs of products you know and trust. You can find thousands of affiliate programs, each promising to be the highest converting or offering the biggest payout. But in the end, the best converting programs will be the ones that you are able to confidently recommend to your visitors. Write a personal review of the products to show your authority and build trust with your customers.
  2. Focus on building traffic to your site. Work on your SEO so your site ranks organically in search engines. Then try a PPC campaign and have your ads linking to relevant content on your site. Just be careful of Trademark policies of the merchants that you’re an affiliate of. Many companies will not allow you to bid on their brand names, so make sure you read through the affiliate agreements carefully.
  3. Write good content. Customers don’t want to just see ads. They want to know why you are recommending products and you need to convince them why they NEED the products. Use a combination of banners and text links to find what works best on your site for your customers. Make the product promotion natural and not a big sales pitch.
  4. Disclose your affiliate relationship. The FTC requires that affiliates disclose that they are compensated if a customer purchases through their links when they are writing a recommendation or review. Here’s an example of the disclosure required: http://www.fatcow.com/affiliate/ftc-disclosure.bml
  5. Do lots of testing. Find out what works for you. Try promoting different programs and see which your customers respond to best. Try rotating different banner placements on your site to see which converts better. Use Google Analytics and affiliate reporting to measure click-through and conversion rates.
  6. Get to know your affiliate managers. A good affiliate manager will be happy to take the time and review your site, give you feedback and work with you to promote their brand. If you can consistently generate a few sales per month, ask for a bonus or commission increase. Then use that bonus to increase your marketing spend and drive even more sales! It can be a win-win for both you and the company you are promoting.

Affiliate marketing takes time to grow, so don’t expect the sales to come overnight. As with any other business venture, you have to put in an effort in order to reap the rewards. While you can find many “get rich quick” programs online stating that all you have to do is become an affiliate and you’ll be an instant millionaire, they always have a catch.  But by following the above tips and working hard at it, you can be very successful at affiliate marketing.

Tab-Fab: How Marketers Can Handle the New Gmail Inbox

By Jen Merry
August 29, 2013

By now, if you’re a Gmail user, you’ve probably formed an opinion about those curious new tabs in your inbox. The updated interface, which sorts your email into primary, promotional, and social categories, has been met with mixed reactions.

On one hand, important messages might be easier to spot in a sea of daily deals and Twitter replies. However, those in the do-it-yourself camp are scoffing at Google’s attempt to take the reins and organize their personal email folders.

And if you’re a marketer, well, you might just be pretty worried. But if you haven’t figured out a way to successfully think outside of the, um, tabs, don’t throw in the towel quite yet. We’ve compiled a few foolproof tips and tricks for navigating this strange new world of email organization, and making sure your customers continue to receive your key campaigns.

1.  Spread the word.

Gmail Promotions To make sure that your messages aren’t getting lost in the promotional tab, you might consider adding a section to your next mailing that demonstrates how customers can quickly and easily prioritize your communications going forward.

By clicking and dragging any email into the primary tab, then selecting “do this for future messages,” your audience is all set to see your campaigns – front and center – from now on. It may seem intuitive, but it certainly won’t hurt to share this tidbit with your subscribers.

2. Harness the power of social media.

If there’s a particular email that you really want your audience to see, you can craft a quick tweet or Facebook post to give them a heads up.

Making this a standard practice every time you send an email will have your audience tuning you out before you can say “hashtag.” However, for truly outstanding messages, it can be a smart way to ensure that your target market keeps their eyes peeled for your content.

3. Add urgency.

Establishing a hard-and-fast deadline for the end of an offer makes people pay attention, and also makes them more likely to open up your emails.  If there’s no rush, there’s a much bigger chance that your message will sit, untouched, until it eventually disappears into the inbox abyss. Or worse, the trash folder.

Try to work the promotion’s end date into the subject line of your next mailing. You’ll light a fire under your subscribers to see what you have to say, regardless of whether your message finds a home in the primary or promotional tab.

Featured Site: Coconut Rain

By Jen Merry
July 29, 2013

Introducing Lynsi! Lynsi’s company, Coconut Rain, was founded as a result of trying to find an all-natural laundry detergent solution that worked for her 5 children’s skin sensitivities and eczema. After over a year of formulating many different recipes of detergent, Coconut Rain was born. All of the Coconut Rain products are antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and bio-chemist tested. Her detergents are sold both to residential customers and commercially (including local Michigan hospitals).

Lynsi1

Lynsi has been a FatCow customer for about a year now after leaving her former host due to overcharging and not being user-friendly. As a mom and first time entrepreneur, Lynsi was starting her business from scratch. “I have had to rely on myself in all areas of my business. I don’t have any debt with my company, but I also don’t have any capital to pay a web designer” says Lynsi.  She used our Weebly Drag and Drop Builder to quickly and easily create her own website. When asked what she likes best about FatCow, Lynsi says: “I really like the fact that I can manage my own website. That’s the thing I appreciate most…I can do it on my time and it is simple to do.”

Lynsi2

Lynsi uses Google Webmaster Tools and promotes her site on search engines to attract new customers. She states: “We are usually the first one listed. That’s huge when people are searching for a product….like trying to find YOUR product in a sea of thousands.”

Make sure you check out Lynsi’s all-natural Coconut Rain detergent at www.coconutrain.com.

What’s the Big Deal about Hashtags?

By Jen Merry
June 17, 2013

Hashtag

What is a Hashtag?
Put simply, a hashtag is a name given to the # sign by social media users. Hashtags are used to start a word or a sentence (written without spaces) to relate a social media post with posts from other users discussing the same topic. Originally started on Twitter, hashtags are now seen on virtually all social media channels. Clicking a hashtag will bring up other posts also using that same hashtag. For example, clicking a hashtag like #fatcowisawesome will show you other fans of FatCow!

How is Facebook incorporating Hashtags?
Due to Facebook’s various privacy settings, hashtags will only work if your post is set to “Public”. When you click a hashtag within a publicly available Facebook post, you’ll see a popup with all of the other posts using the same hashtags. If any of these posts are from a Facebook friend of yours, then they’ll be listed first, followed by other public hashtag posts displayed below those.

HashtagClickable

If you are using “Graph Search” on Facebook, you can search for hashtags in the search bar.

Facebook Search Hashtag

Run contests with Hashtags
A popular use for hashtags is for running a contest and keeping track of contest participants. For a contest, you’ll want to create a unique hashtag that only participants would be using to enter. This makes it easier to separate out followers interacting with your brand for support or similar reasons from those intentionally using the hashtag to participate. A simple search of the hashtag at the end of the contest period will lead you to a list of all the entries. One example of this is with a recent contest sponsored by the fast food chain Wendy’s, who were promoting their new Flatbread sandwich. To participate, customers were asked to post a picture of their sandwich along with the hashtag #TwEATfor1k

Choose your hashtag wisely.
The following Do’s and Don’ts pertain to all social media channels where hashtags are currently used:

-Do use hashtags to engage your customers and be involved with communities discussing similar content. Properly used hashtags may be reused by your followers, leading to higher visibility for your page or campaign!

-Don’t combine a long string of words together to the point of not even being able to read it. #Thatsnotveryeffectiveatall

-Do use tools (such as https://www.hashtracking.com) to help choose meaningful hashtags that are already being used and could get your post more visibility..

-Don’t #hashtag #every #word. Try to keep your tagging limited to no more than two hashtags per post.

-Do search for a hashtag name before using it to make sure you’re not connecting your business with a negative or controversial topic.

-Don’t hashtag the words within your post (aside from on Twitter where you have character limits). On Facebook and Google+, put hashtagged words and phrases towards the end of a post.

The main rule of thumb is to only hashtag meaningful words that will help get your brand involved in a conversation.  Tweet This!

Be a beta tester for our NEW Dedicated Servers!

By Jen Merry
June 11, 2013

We’re excited to announce the Beta release of our Dedicated Server offering! These servers are custom built using Intel Xeon E3 server processors, and come with guaranteed RAM in either 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB options running CentOS.  On top of that, we wanted to take our Dedicated servers one step further, so we built them on top of an Openstack/KVM cloud technology stack. This allows us to provide cloud features including instant provisioning, scalability, seamless migrations, and proactive hardware monitoring, all while still giving you the benefit of being the only customer on the box.

All of our Dedicated Servers additionally come with optional root access and a cPanel Control Panel, which we believe offers an intuitive level of user control. Our Dedicated servers also come with 24×7 phone, email, and chat access to our knowledgeable support team, who are always available to answer any questions that you may have about our Dedicated offerings.

To kick things off, we’re offering a limited number of servers priced at $1 each, which are available for a 30 day trial. The only catch is that we need you to provide us with verbal feedback on how we can improve our Dedicated service offering. If you want to be considered for a slot, please fill out this form, and our team will be in touch with more information on getting started!

Play Ball

By Jen Merry
May 31, 2013

Our Phoenix, AZ team is taking the term “team” to a whole new level! They’ve organized a co-ed softball team called “The Moo Crew” and meet every Sunday night. Everyone from the office was invited to play, even Slim! FatCow covered the team fee and the awesome jerseys. Enjoy the pictures and cheer them on in the comments.

Slim

Ball3 Ball2 Softball