Finance

Fix  character in Google search results and Facebook share description

If you’re seeing a strange  character or characters in your Google search results description or when sharing your articles and blog posts on Facebook but not in your article body itself then trust me, I understand your frustration because I thought I had tried every solution out there and none of the common fixes seemed to work for me. Read more to find out how I fixed the problem for my website and hopefully it will help you as well.

When it’s not in the body

If and only if you’re not seeing those characters anywhere else except for when you share your post on Facebook or do a simple Google search for your article then the solution will most likely be tied to how you’re telling Facebook and Google what your website is about.

Yep, I’m talking about the Facebook’s Open Graph properties and Structured Data that Google looks at. Have you been trying to implement these features into your website recently by any chance?

Double check your code

After spending hours of trying to figure out what the problem was and after creating this video to demonstrate the issue I finally realized the problem wasn’t related to WordPress at all. The problem was me and more importantly my lack of understanding the difference between two of the most widely used PHP functions: htmlentities(); and htmlspecialchars();

For a long time I was using the following code to give Facebook my article’s description:

<meta property="og:description" content="<?php { setup_postdata($post); echo esc_attr(htmlentities(get_the_excerpt())); } ?>"/>

And there’s nothing wrong with that… other than the fact that if you happen to have a special character somewhere in your content, it’s going to be translated literally.

Check out the htmlentities(); description

all characters which have HTML character entity equivalents are translated into these entities

If I had read the description beforehand none of this would have happened!

The trick was to replace the function with htmlspecialchars(); which doesn’t translate any special characters and the output remains clean.

<meta property="og:description" content="<?php { setup_postdata($post); echo esc_attr(htmlspecialchars(get_the_excerpt())); } ?>"/>

Once you’ve made the change make sure to re-scrape your content using Facebook’s debugger.

If the character is in the body

If you’re seeing the character all over your article’s body and you have no idea what I just talked about above then your solution could be as simple as putting the following code somewhere in your head tags:

<meta charset="UTF-8">

Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

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Customer service quotes and tips to improve your company’s help desk

I absolutely love it how Gregory Ciotti from HelpScout believes that customer service can and should be considered your #1 marketing channel mainly because by taking care of your existing customers first, you immediately attract more interested prospects your way thanks to one of the most cost effective marketing techniques available to you- the word of mouth exposure from loyal and happy clients.

In this article I will share some of the things I learned about how to provide better customer service from managing a Get Paid To website for more than 6 years and to spice things up, I’ll leave you pondering upon a few smart customer service quotes from famous people.

First class service

Facts to help put things in perspective

Did you know that out of all dissatisfied customers, only about 4% actually voice out their concerns and the rest give up after just one negative experience?

Or that a whopping 78% of new clients bail out on their intended purchase only because they feel like there’s nobody there to help them in the event they run into problems?

Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner

Make customer satisfaction your top priority

It is estimated that one loyal customer is worth up to 10 times as much as their initial purchase so the time and money spent on acquiring new clients, while your loyal customers are quitting, makes absolutely no sense if a decent ROI means anything at all to you and your company.

I remember the first few years as a GPT owner where I was desperately seeking out new advertisers for my Paid to Click section and purchased a ton of ads on various other sites without getting a considerable return. I kept doing this for a while until I realized that it was not about seeking out new customers, it was about making sure the old ones came back to spend more money on my services.

This realization served as a breaking point for me because I ended up saving thousands of dollars that I would have otherwise spent on useless ad campaigns simply by taking care of my lost and confused customers first thing in the morning.

Keep an eye out on repeating questions

Over time you may notice a pattern regarding the most common issues and questions about your services. In most cases this will help you figure out the flaws in your main sales pitch as well as the Frequently Asked Questions section that any business should have.

Even if you personally believe that you’ve explained everything perfectly, are you sure a complete stranger can understand what you’re trying to say? Sometimes it helps to have a friend or coworker read through your content and provide helpful insight by pointing out things that may be confusing to others.

Additionally you may want to conduct a customer satisfaction survey from time to time to really understand what your clients are expecting from you.

Make a client feel important

Everyone loves to feel important, especially that angry and overly emotional customer with a negative experience. So before you let them project their feelings to you, take a step back and try to calm them down by assuring them that their issue has your undivided attention.

Trust me, having a mad client flame you and your company because you couldn’t handle a little criticism is one of the worst things that can happen to you and your reputation, but if you actually put effort into fixing the situation, they are more than likely to recommend you to all of their friends in the future.

Top five customer service quotes

Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who will work hard enough to bring them about. – Ashleigh Brilliant

Discover what is unique about each person and capitalize on it. – Marcus Buckingham

If you love your company and love what you do, you will serve your customers better—period! – Tom Peters

We treated our customers like our best friends. You don’t route your best friend’s call to an automated system! – Derek Sivers

Consumers are statistics. Customers are people. – Stanley Marcus

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How to gain your visitor’s attention in 10 seconds before they leave for good

According to the traffic analysis firm Chartbeat, which monitored the behavior of 2 billion website visits over the course of a month, 55% or more than half of your website visitors will spend less than 15 seconds actively on your page. This essentially means that you’ve got around 10-15 seconds to make the magic happen and grab your viewer’s attention before they grow tired of you and, well, leave for good.

On top of that a famous eye tracking test conducted by Jakob Nielsen way back in 2008 concluded that only about 20% of your content is actually read and the rest is either skipped completely or briefly scanned through.

The first few seconds matter the most

While this is probably bad news for the average online business owner, it also shows how important the first ten seconds really are, because if you gain your viewer’s interest within that time, the chances of your visitors interacting with your content and more importantly, ordering your products, will grow exponentially. But how exactly do you gain your viewer’s attention that quickly?

A picture is worth a thousand words

Over the past few years we’ve seen how many websites, especially news type article sites, stick a large header image on top of their content. After all, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words so it must work, right?

Well, in most cases it really works- especially if you aim to gain traffic from social networks because that same picture will be the first thing a person sees when they scroll through their news feed.

Interesting fact: most people who have shared your content on their Facebook wall, haven’t actually read your entire article(s). They just share for the sake of it.

A video is worth… a million words?

Anyone can mix together a simple header image in Photoshop and hope for their user’s increased interest, but it takes an animated video production professional to create a truly mesmerizing explainer video for you that has the ability to touch the soul of your visitor in a way which makes them remember you for weeks and months to come.

Distractions are everywhere

We all know that there’s a lot of stuff on the internet and over time we have learned to multitask and consume a bunch of information at the same time. For example, you could be reading this article and at the same time listening to a Youtube tutorial video while chatting with your coworkers about a restaurant downtown.

In this modern age it’s totally natural to be doing all this at once so it only makes sense that by sticking a short video on your page, which clearly explains what you are offering within a minute, will massively increase the number of your clients because nobody really has the time to read long boring walls of text any more.

But with a short and to-the-point explainer video, even if they don’t have the time to make a commitment right now, they’ll remember the video, the characters in the presentation and the catchy background music, etc.

Use bullet points and divide into sections

Since most people will scan your content and not read it, it’s advised to divide your article into smaller and more manageable bits.

Bullet points and subheadings are a great way of making your content easier to read and in case you didn’t know, using headings and subheadings the right way can increase your rankings within the search results as well. A win-win!

Increase your website loading speed

The statistics on Kissmetrics reveal that around 40% of your visitors will abandon your website should it take longer than 3 seconds to load and according to Google, a 2 second loading time should be the threshold for an average e-commerce website.

If your website is taking too long to load, the first step is to figure out what’s causing it.

The internet of tomorrow

We can already feel the internet moving towards an all video content mainly thanks to Youtube and compared to vlogging, blogging is a slowly withering niche that used to rule the world wide web back in the day.

When was the last time you actually read an article all the way through? Chances are you haven’t even made it this far.

While the internet is definitely changing, I can’t really say it’s changing towards something worse. On the contrary, watching videos and live video streams instead of reading is a much more pleasant way of gaining new information or simply having a great time.

The only really sad thing about it is that more often than not video content is too fast paced and leaves out valuable pieces of information which in turn make the whole experience rather dull and shallow. Something to think about if you’re a video producer.

Sources

Kissmetrics, Time.com, Nielsen Norman Group

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New startup aiming to revolutionize gaming by allowing players to earn Bitcoins

We all have a favorite game on which we spend a huge portion of our spare time without getting anything practical in return other than the satisfaction of reaching the next level, unlocking a new piece of armor or getting first place on the high scores table.

For decades the mere joy of accomplishment has been enough to keep people hooked playing a game for hours at a time, but what if you could step even further down the rabbit hole? What if you could earn Bitcoins by playing games? This exciting new chapter in video gaming can soon become a reality thanks to industry experts and game developers over at Bitszer who are working around the clock to make it happen.

What is Bitszer?

In layman terms, Bitszer is a massive cross-platform auction house system that any game developer can easily integrate into their game.

Once set up, it allows the game players to exchange various in-game items like swords, armor, power ups and much more in exchange for Bitcoin or if you prefer, you can replace your old game currency, like gold or diamonds, with Bitcoin altogether and give your players a direct way to earn free Bitcoin by playing games.

Since all the games are connected in one Bitszer network, the Bitcoin balances get updated in every game that runs under the Bitszer system whenever a transaction takes place (ie. player A purchases a weapon from player B).

With more than two years in the making, the Bitszer team is aiming to be a fast, secure and reliable central platform for all present and future video game developers who are interested in offering a new and exciting incentive to their players in the form of Bitcoin payments.

Bitszer is for the gamer

Earn bitcoins by playing games on the Bitszer network

In most games a player has the ability to create new items using the skills they’ve learned. For example smithing new swords, crafting armor or mixing up various potions and other consumables that help them progress in the game.

In a game that uses the Bitszer auction house system, these items effectively become virtual assets that can be sold to the highest bidder with Bitcoin as the exchange currency.

And because in most games you can create rare and more valuable items only after you have spent enough time training your skills first, the amount of Bitcoin you can earn will be in direct relation to the amount of time you spend playing a game.

If you’re a gamer, make sure to join Bitszer and grab your unique account number right now when they’re still short and easy to remember. In the future your account number alone is worth bragging about!

Bitszer is for the developer

It’s clear why Bitszer will be useful for the average gamer who can earn income from playing their favorite games, but what’s in it for the game developers?

Well, for starters Bitszer takes a 3% cut from each transaction in the game and splits it 50/50 with the game developer. This means that you can effectively stop relying on annoying advertisements in your game to generate a profit.

Additionally Bitszer offers ready made themes and is fully customizable to fit the needs of almost any game, making it a practical turnkey solution for game developers who are looking for a simple way of implementing a secure Bitcoin driven economy directly into their games.

As a developer, you can potentially save thousands of dollars and months, if not years worth of working hours by integrating this system into your game rather than having to create a similar system from scratch.

And finally, being part of the Bitszer network means that more players will be driven to play your games because they already have a Bitcoin balance that they can spend in the game.

How much time people spend on video games?

A recent study conducted by the Entertainment Software Association reveals that in 2015 a total of 42% of Americans were spending more than three hours per week playing video games and more than half or 51% of American households own a dedicated gaming console.

Another market research company, the NPD Group, focused their attention towards the more “heavy gamers” and showed that right now there are more than 34 million people in the United States alone who spend 22 hours per week, or more, playing video games. That’s a lot of hours.

Keep in mind that most of these people (excluding professional streamers and Youtube gamers) are just playing the games without getting anything of value on return. Now imagine what will happen if you introduce Bitcoin as an incentive for the gamers to keep playing games.

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Filed under: Bitcoin, GamingTagged with: ,

Customer satisfaction surveys are the backbone of every successful business

Customer satisfaction is the backbone of every successful venture not only because a happy customer is going to come back to you in the future, but because a happy client is more likely to recommend your services to their friends and acquaintances and as we all know, word of mouth can be one of the most efficient and influential advertising campaigns out there, not to mention the fact that it’s completely free. But how do you make sure your clients feel good around you in the first place? Well, you can always just ask them.

Traditional approach is outdated

A very popular way of getting to know what your customers like and dislike about you is to conduct a customer satisfaction survey from time to time. For example, every now and again Facebook may ask you how satisfied you with the way your news feed works and gives you the optional chance to write a free form comment for their development team to consider.

Similarly to the Facebook’s example above, many other companies are using the same outdated strategy and while it can undoubtedly bring excellent results, there is but one huge flaw in it- your clients don’t really feel like you genuinely care about their opinion and collect this data for god knows what.

It’s sort of like feeling that your voice (in this case, consumer feedback) will just end up in a “black hole” on a database and you’re nothing but a number to the company.

In a perfect world…

I want you to imagine for a moment that you have bought something from an online shop recently and upon receiving your goods, you found that it wasn’t what you’d hoped for, but because you have other things to worry about, you decide to just forget about it as it’s not worth the trouble of having to send your item back to the vendor and requesting a refund.

You go on with your daily activities until suddenly you receive an email from that merchant and in the email they ask for your personal opinion about the recent purchase. You’ll notice one more thing- right there in the email you have the option to rate the service because the email itself is a survey.

Customer email survey

Since you weren’t satisfied with what you got, you decide to click on the “I am disappointed” option that then takes you to a customized landing page with details about Your order and a comment form giving You the chance to tell the merchant exactly why you’re disappointed and what they can do about it.

I’m sure you’d be very positively surprised when just minutes later you received a phone call from the company’s sales representative who is genuinely worried about your negative experience and is ready to come up with a solution that will make your day?

If you think something like this is too good to be true in the real world- think again. It’s now very possible thanks to a service called Customer Thermometer.

No more long and boring forms

Customer satisfaction survey

When traditional customer feedback surveys are usually long and boring forms, from which you can only expect results when the person answering your questions has nothing better to do, Customer Thermometer email surveys offer a quick and engaging customer experience, therefore more people will respond to them and the data will be much more accurate because of this.

See the stats in real time

One of the most innovative features of this service are the real time dashboards where you can oversee exactly what is happening all the time. The dashboard will update immediately when someone opens the email you have sent and clicks on a response, so you can take action then and there instead of going through the reports at a later date.

You can even set it up to receive email notifications immediately when someone is not happy with your service to solve the issue right now instead of letting it escalate to something way more icky.

You can customize everything

From the obvious things like the questions and answers of your survey to every little detail you can imagine on the custom landing pages and within the emails themselves, you can edit pretty much anything according to your company’s needs and the expectations of your unique and individual customers.

With Customer Thermometer you can truly make them feel like they actually matter to you and that they’re not just a number on a database any more.

Of course I don’t expect you to just take my word for it. If you want to experience the same excellent customer support, simply take the free demo tour offered by Customer Thermometer and experience a survey yourself just by entering your email address on their website. Trust me, it’s going to amaze you.

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Live Chat is the most popular way to communicate with your clients

Just as the old fashioned door-to-door selling and telemarketing have become a thing of the past, the days of simply making a sale by emailing your clients are also numbered. That’s because according to a recent study conducted by eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark, which surveyed 2000 customers, a whopping of 73% of subjects said that they were most satisfied when using Live Chat instead of traditional customer service channels like phone, SMS or email.

Why customers love Live Chat

The use of live chat functionality has been increasing over the years as more and more companies and merchants have started to use it. In some cases, the live support features are already bundled with modern website themes and plugins and thanks to CRM chat tool integration services provided by industry professionals, it’s now easier than ever to put a live chat box on your website without any technical know-how.

It shouldn’t take long to realize exactly why the live chat support has been such a hit. Simply ask yourself, when was the last time you purchased something online? Did the website have a live chat feature? Did you use it? I’m sure you have used the feature and spoken to either a simple bot or an actual human being before deciding to whip out your wallet.

There are many reasons why a lot of people prefer to have a live chat session with a sales representative before making a purchase. For one, waiting for a response via email is too time consuming by today’s standards and you can potentially lose a client if you don’t respond to their queries immediately.

Another important thing to consider is that a lot of people are uncomfortable speaking to a stranger over the phone. This is especially true with the younger generation who have grown up alongside smartphones and instant messengers and can be downright frightened to speak with you using traditional means. Don’t worry, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not scary, it’s just not the way they are used to.

Live Chat compared to other channels

Unsurprisingly the two other main channels that your clients will love are mobile apps and social media and the most frustrating channels of seeking out customer support are phone calls and SMS most likely because depending on your carrier, sending an SMS message is costly and for most companies, the call will place a customer on a long, long waiting queue with a nerve wrecking background music. You really shouldn’t put your customers through something like this.

Interestingly the most popular way of making a complaint is via email and mobile apps are most widely used to make a booking.

Customer feedback after using live chat

When BoldChat asked people who, at one point, had used a live chat system for inquires, they found that 79% of clients did so because they got their answers immediately and 51% of customers stated that by using live chat they have the ability to multi-task and concentrate on other things at the same time.

Additionally 46% of people admitted that it was the most efficient way of receiving customer support and 29% claimed to have gained better information compared to email.

Take a look at the results below and you’ll realize that there is really no excuse to not be using a live chat system on your website.

People prefer live chat customer support

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Bitcoin gains 1.36% within 1 hour after bullish news from Glenn Hutchins

Bitcoin gained 1.36% earlier today rising from $442 to $448 in just one hour right after Glenn Hutchins, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York board member and investor, came forth with bullish news about Bitcoin and the BlockChain technology. In his speech he drew a bold parallel between Bitcoin and the Internet and, among other things, mentioned that he has bought Bitcoin himself and is currently investing in various Bitcoin companies.

Bitcoin hike from 442 usd after Glenn Hutchins news

We didn’t reach $500… yet

In the last weeks of April there was a lot of fuss on Bitcointalk about the possibility of the price reaching a whopping $500 USD mark on or before May 1’st, but as we all now know, this somewhat feasible dream was instead met with a steady two-day price decline on the 27th and 28th of April where the value of Bitcoin fell sharply a total of -7,25%.

Impact of bullish news

Glenn Hutchins is a man to be taken seriously and we have already witnessed that the first wave of bulls have returned, albeit cautiously for now.

When a board member of a Federal Reserve Bank of New York comes out in the open and says that “hey, I’ve bought Bitcoin myself and I will start investing in Bitcoin companies“, it’s not that far-fetched to think that at any moment now the herd will follow.

$500 in May or early June?

This, along with the fact that an event called “the halving” is right around the corner, leads me to believe that $500 in May is a very strong possibility especially because in the last few days the price has fallen just enough for it to look delicious again for the bulls.

After all, Bitcoin is an asset more closely controlled by the fundamentals than anything I’ve seen before. It’s true that technical analysis works to a certain degree, but every time news like this comes out, Bitcoin simply goes nuts!

It’s like a feather in the wind that’s blowing from many different directions and that being said, I believe this month and the next will be a very interesting ride to either simply observe or be a part of directly.

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