Tag: Site

What is IaaS? How Does it Affect Your e-Commerce Site?

Cloud computing has taken over in recent years, and it offers many opportunities for businesses and users. The terminology can be a little complex though, and like with many IT-related things, there are lots of acronyms that get thrown around. 

IaaS is one acronym you might have seen, but what does it mean, and how can it affect your e-commerce store? 

Along with PaaS and SaaS, these acronyms describe the different ways businesses can use cloud technology, and choosing the right one for your e-commerce store can make a big difference.

What IaaS Means for Your Website

If you’re creating a website today, there’s a good chance it’s going to be hosted in the cloud. Very few companies maintain their own servers; instead, they rely on third-party companies to take care of many elements of their online presence. 

The distinction between IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service) is crucial because it dictates what level of control you have over your website. 

For some businesses, particularly those with large, complex e-commerce sites, infrastructure as a service will likely be the best option because it allows for greater flexibility and control. 

Every day, more and more businesses move their infrastructure to the cloud, and it’s important they understand how best to use it to get the best results. IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS are simply ways of describing how you use the cloud—and each business will do this slightly differently. 

Today, 90% of businesses use the cloud. According to some estimates, cloud data centers will soon process 94% of workloads.

This means it’s vitally crucial for businesses to understand what they’re investing in and how they can make the most of cloud computing. 

Cloud Computing: IaaS Vs. SaaS Vs. PaaS Vs. Serverless Computing

When it comes to cloud computing, it can seem like you’re constantly being bombarded by acronyms. Actually, IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS are useful distinctions that can help you run your e-commerce store more efficiently

Cloud computing is all about allowing you to take care of the bits you’re good at and leaving the rest to professionals. Each business has different skill sets, so they’re going to use the cloud in different ways

For example, in a bootstrapped business, the owner might be building the entire website with limited funds. In this case, they might only want to focus on the basics of creating a functional, appealing store and leave aspects such as runtime, servers, and storage to an external company. 

On the other hand, a big multinational business may have a host of developers and IT professionals capable of handling more complex functions. 

IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and Serverless Computing give businesses the flexibility to control different parts of the cloud. 

IaaS

IaaS is the cloud-based alternative to maintaining on-site infrastructure. Whereas in the past, businesses would have had their own data centers. Today, it can be much more efficient to utilize the cloud.

Maintaining your own IT infrastructure can be costly, and most businesses don’t have the skills to do this without an external company’s help. With IaaS, businesses don’t need to maintain their infrastructure. Instead, they pay to use a third-party’s servers, networking technology, storage, and data center space.

For businesses running e-commerce sites, this means they don’t have to worry about the highly technical aspects of running a web application and they don’t have to invest in expensive infrastructure. Instead, they pay for access to infrastructure through the cloud through companies like AWS, IBM, and Rackspace.

IaaS provider Rackspace

While things like storage and networking are taken care of by the third party, this option still leaves you in charge of the following aspects:

  • applications 
  • data
  • runtime
  • middleware 
  • O/S

This is important for larger businesses because it gives them much more control over how they run their site, while still offering a scalable, cost-effective solution. 

PaaS

Like IaaS, PaaS leaves key components such as physical compute, network, storage, and virtualization to the provider. However, with PaaS, you also outsource runtime, middleware, and O/S. 

As the name suggests, PaaS gives you the platform to develop, run, and manage applications without having to take care of the infrastructure behind it. 

While this means you have less to worry about, and need fewer technical skills, it also means you have less control over how you run your e-commerce site than with IaaS.

Whichever service you choose, there is a tradeoff between convenience and control. With PaaS, you’re getting something of a middle ground between IaaS and SaaS. While much of the service is managed, you’re still in control of applications and data, which can be valuable for certain businesses. 

This makes PaaS providers such as Magento Commerce Cloud and Bluehost particularly popular with developers, as it provides everything they need to create new applications without having to invest in expensive infrastructure and operating platforms. 

Instead, they pay for what they need, allowing them to focus more on building the applications. 

As an alternative to IaaS, PaaS providers such as Magento also offer ecommerce stores good options.

Serverless Computing

Businesses are constantly searching for the most efficient ways to use the cloud, and another option is serverless computing. 

Serverless computing is very similar to PaaS, but has a few slight differences. 

One of the main differences between serverless computing and PaaS is that serverless is event-driven. You pay only for what you use, whereas with PaaS, you pay a monthly fee and have a limit to what you can use. 

Serverless computing automatically scales with your business, but you’ll give up some control. It does allow you to be extremely flexible though, saving on costs while still getting excellent performance. 

This is an ideal option for fast-growing e-commerce sites or those creating viral content that may cause a massive traffic spike. 

SaaS

For many people, SaaS is the quickest and easiest way to set up an e-commerce store. Using providers like Shopify, you use third-party platforms and apps to quickly create a functional store. 

SaaS alternative to IaaS - Shopify

Everything is taken care of for you, and all you need to do is upload your own products and create your marketing content

The obvious benefit of this is convenience. Not everybody who wants to create an e-commerce store has IT expertise and SaaS means they don’t have to. Rather than focusing on networking and hosting, they simply have to focus on building out their website and creating the content that’s going to help them sell

SaaS applications are very common across the internet. Not only are there lots of SaaS applications that help people run their e-commerce stores but software such as Microsoft 365, Google Cloud, and HubSpot are all examples of SaaS.

The downside for e-commerce stores that run on SaaS is that they’re limited in what they can do. If you have a Shopify store, then you have to work within the limitations set by that third party. When you run your store through IaaS or PaaS, there are fewer limitations, giving you greater control over your store. 

How Can IaaS Affect Your E-commerce Site?

Cloud computing has made it much more accessible to create an e-commerce site. No longer do you have to invest in expensive hardware and instead, you can pay for access to infrastructure as and when you need it. 

This has opened up e-commerce to a wide variety of people. With SaaS, it’s not necessary to have IT skills to create a competitive store. However, with the ease of creating and managing a store through SaaS comes limitations. 

Many businesses possess the skills to handle the more technical aspects of running an e-commerce site, and they want to be able to make the most of those skills without building their infrastructure. IaaS is the perfect option for these businesses as it allows them to strike a profitable balance. 

These businesses can use infrastructure as and when they need it, scaling as their business grows and shrinks. 

With IaaS, you have maximum control over your e-commerce store, allowing you to make the most of your creative and IT skills without building the infrastructure yourself. 

How to Use IaaS for Your E-commerce Company 

One of the most important things when choosing between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS is understanding the skills and resources available to you. If you don’t have people with experience in building and developing web applications, then IaaS isn’t going to be the best option for you, and it might be better to look at a SaaS option. 

If you’re confident you can create and maintain a high-level store through IaaS, then the next step is understanding your needs. There are lots of different IaaS providers out there, and many different packages to choose from. 

Each business is different, and will have different requirements. When choosing a provider, consider the following questions: 

  • What level of access and customization do you need?
  • How flexible can the provider be?
  • How will the provider deal with changing regulations?
  • How much is it going to cost you?
  • What level of security is offered?

The whole idea of “as a service” is that you pay for the parts you need, freeing you up to take care of the bits you can handle. To get the most out of this concept, you need to have a clear picture of where your skills lie, and how your provider can take care of the rest.

IaaS Tools

When choosing an IaaS package, you must take the time to get the one that best fits your business needs. There are lots of different options out there, and choosing the right tools can make all the difference to your business:

  • Amazon EC2
  • Google Compute Engine
  • Digital Ocean Droplets
  • Hostwinds
  • Alibaba Elastic Compute Service
  • IBM Cloud Private
  • IONOS Cloud
  • Azure Linux Virtual Machines
  • Rackspace Technology
  • Openstack

As you can see, there are lots of different options out there, and this is just a small sample. The important thing is making sure you get the services your business needs without paying for resources you don’t. 

It might take a little extra research to unlock the true power of IaaS for your business, but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.

Conclusion

There are many different ways to run an e-commerce store, and how you use the cloud is a key consideration when setting up or expanding your store. 

Maintaining onsite infrastructure can be expensive and time-consuming, and with modern cloud products, there isn’t much need for it. 

The bigger question is: what do you need from the cloud? 

For large-scale e-commerce sites, with tons of resources at their disposal, infrastructure as a service is often the best way to go. This provides greater control over your site than PaaS or SaaS options and is a cost-effective way to scale your business.

When you utilize the cloud well, it can help you maximize your store’s profitability, so it’s essential to make the right choice. 

How does your e-commerce store use the cloud?

The 6-Step Guide to Make Your Mobile Site Load Faster

Your users expect your site to load fast. If it doesn’t, you could lose a ton of traffic.

How fast, you ask?

Some research suggests that if a page doesn’t load in the literal blink of an eye, people could lose interest. That’s about 400 milliseconds.

Just a one-second delay can reduce customer satisfaction by 16 percent and one in four visitors will abandon a site if it takes more than four seconds to load.

mobile site speed stats

Not to mention the mighty Google says site speed is a ranking factor for mobile sites.

So if your site isn’t fast, both your audience and Google will think poorly of it. You’ll lose visibility and traffic.

So, how fast is your site?

Because if it takes longer than one or two seconds to load, you’re losing traffic right this moment.

It’s okay if your site is slow. There are steps you can take to make it faster to ensure you don’t let a single visitor slip through your fingers. Here’s how.

Step 1: Test Your Mobile Site Speed

Before you do anything else, you should test how fast your mobile site really is.

You might think it loads just fine, but it could be slower than you think.

One of the best mobile tests is from Ubersuggest. Here’s how it works:

Step #1: Enter Your URL and Click “Search”

ubersuggest make your site load faster

Step #2: Click “Site Audit” in the Left Sidebar

ubersuggest make site load faster site audit

Step #3: Scroll Down to “Site Speed”

ubersuggest make site load faster site speed test.

This is where you’ll find the loading time for both desktop and mobile devices. This shows that my site’s mobile loading time is 2 seconds, which is an “excellent” score.

It also tests speed related to six key elements of your website:

  • First Contentful Paint
  • Speed Index
  • Time to Interactive
  • First Meaningful Paint
  • First CPU Idle
  • Estimated Input Latency

If your site speed is excellent, you shouldn’t have any concerns. But if there’s room for improvement, don’t wait to take action. Every additional 0.5s it takes to load your site increases the percentage of visitors that will leave.

I’m going to address the most common causes of slow mobile sites and explain what you can do to improve yours.

Step 2: Perfect Your Mobile Site Design

Think back to when you designed your site.

Did you have mobile devices in mind?

I’m guessing you didn’t. (If you did, give yourself a pat on the back.)

If you didn’t now is the time to rethink your design with a mobile-first mindset.

Mobile sites have changed a lot in the last few years.

It used to be that sites would have two versions, one for mobile and one for desktop.

A mobile site is easily identified by the “m.” subdomain:

mobile subdomain make your site load faster.

In this situation, the mobile and desktop sites are two completely different animals operating separately from one another.

This is no longer the case. Now, most sites use responsive design.

Responsive design allows you to have one site that dynamically changes depending on how it’s being accessed.

So your mobile and desktop users will be looking at the same site, but it will appear differently on each device.

This is actually what Google prefers. They state it quite simply:

“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”

You’re probably thinking, “Okay, cool, but what does this have to do with speed?”

Responsive designs typically load faster than mobile-only sites, so you’re gaining a massive SEO advantage there.

If you use a responsive design, your site will get more attention in the form of social shares, which will also boost your SEO.

Making your site responsive is good for both the short term and the long term. If you don’t already have a responsive site, I recommend looking into it as soon as you can.

Step 3: Keep Your Site Lightweight

It’s easy to get caught up in making the best and most eye-catching design out there.

Sometimes you get too caught up, and as a result, your site gets slower and slower because you keep adding more and more.

This is a condition that developers call code bloat.

Code bloat happens when your site gets weighed down with excess code.

make your site load faster code bloat

Most of the time, code bloat happens when a designer is too focused on the visual presentation of a site.

Don’t get me wrong. How a site looks is extremely important.

But performance can’t take a backseat to looks.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to. You can have your cake and eat it too. Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing your site:

Keep it Simple

Leonardo da Vinci had this to say about simplicity:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Now, about five hundred years later, his words still ring true.

Look all around you. The complex designs of the past have been replaced with the minimalist designs of the future.

This applies to websites too. Especially mobile sites.

On a mobile screen, sites can easily become too crowded, so it’s important to keep everything open and decluttered.

As a rule of thumb, you should only have one call-to-action per page. This will help you reduce the amount of code you use, and it’ll also improve your site’s user experience.

You might also want to consider a more simplistic design like this one from Rug Doctor:

It’s not flashy, but it catches your attention with its sleek style.

You don’t need lots of bright colors and photos to make your site stand out. When it comes to mobile design, less is often more.

Eliminate Steps

The less your users have to do, the better.

Think about it. Why should there be seven steps between a customer and a sale when there could be only 3?

This effectively shortens your sales funnel, but it also makes the user experience even simpler.

Lots of ecommerce sites use this strategy to increase their sales.

On Boden’s mobile site, it’s super easy to buy a product. You add it to your cart, click checkout, and pay.

It’s straightforward and to the point. There are no unnecessary steps.

This also naturally helps relieve code bloat. It’s hard to go overboard with code if you don’t have tons of pages on your site.

Cutting out unneeded steps is one of the best things you can do for your visitors. Mobile users are much more likely to stay on your site if they don’t have to do much.

Save your users a few clicks, and you’ll reap gigantic rewards.

Use Fewer Images 

Before I get into this, I want to say that good images are definitely important for any site, and they also have SEO benefits.

However, you can have too much of a good thing.

In this case, you can go crazy with images and slow down your site in the process.

You may not think this is a big deal, but images make up roughly 63 percent of a page’s “weight.”

From 2011 to 2015, the size of the average mobile page tripled.

make your site load faster use fewer images

That means images are some of the most demanding elements on your site. They take up a lot of space, so having too many is not good.

One solution is to simply cut back on images.

Another (probably more practical) solution is to compress your images and reduce their file sizes.

Compression basically makes your images smaller without degrading the quality. This reduces the amount of time it takes for your site to load.

As a bonus, it also reduces the amount of time it takes for search engine bots to crawl and index your site.

Sites like Compressor.io can do this in a snap.

make your site load faster compress images

In fact, this is a best practice you should adopt even if your site is already blazing fast.

Don’t Use Custom Fonts

 I like a nice custom font as much as anyone else, but some of them are really high maintenance.

Some fonts use tons of CSS, while others go heavy on JavaScript. Either way, you’re looking at a ton of code.

If you want a really deep read on this subject, check out this post on Google’s Web Fundamentals site.

If you want the short version, here it is: Only use custom fonts when they’re absolutely necessary.

Step 4: Minify Your Code

Minification is a super useful technique for streamlining your code.

Here’s a quick definition of what it means to “minify” code:

make site load faster minify code definition

Essentially, minifying your code takes out everything that’s redundant and unnecessary. It makes sure your site is only using the code it needs.

This goes a long way toward making your site lightweight.

You can minify code manually (instructions here), but if you don’t have any coding experience, it can be a little bit intimidating.

Thankfully, there are several free tools you can use to minify your code in no time at all.

Minifycode.com offers several minifying tools to let you simplify your HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more.

minify code tool make site load faster

If your site runs on WordPress, you have even more options thanks to plugins like Better WordPress Minify:

minify code wp plugin make site load faster

By using these tools, you can minify your code with just a few clicks, and you’ll be well on your way to a speedier site.

Of course, you should do all that you can to make sure there’s no unnecessary code, but mistakes happen. These tools let you fix those mistakes and improve your site at the same time.

Step 5: Cut Down on Redirects

I love redirects. They can be really useful for SEO and user experience.

But just like code, redirects have limited uses. You can’t use redirects all over the place and expect your site to perform well.

That’s because redirects inherently slow down your site.

When you click on a normal mobile link, the server provides the document found at that link.

But a redirect means there’s no document at that particular link. Because of that, the server has to go to the page where the document lives and retrieve it.

make site load faster reduce redirects.

This process has to happen with each file on a web page. That means every image, CSS file, and JavaScript file will go through the redirect.

As a result, it could be several seconds before the right page loads. By that time, your users could be long gone.

I recommend using Screaming Frog to check for redirects.

Then you can trace the roots of your redirects and change any that aren’t completely necessary.

The less work your site has to do, the faster it’ll go. While redirects have a time and a place, don’t overuse them or grow dependent on them.

Step 6: Load Above The Fold First

It’s obvious that users see above the fold content before they see anything else.

So why load your entire page all at once?

Why not load only the above the fold content at first and then load the rest as needed?

This is a concept referred to as “lazy loading,” and it can work wonders for site speed.

I bet that if you had the choice, you’d rather lift three pounds than 30. Am I right?

Lazy loading is that exact same concept applied to websites.

By implementing lazy loading, you’re asking your site to do only as much work as it needs to do and no more.

If you’re comfortable with code, you can use this jQuery plugin.

For WordPress sites, there are plugins like BJ Lazy Load to come to the rescue.

lazy load make site load faster

If neither of those options fit, you may need to hire a developer to help you out.

This is a more advanced technique, but it can save your site from doing a lot of work in the long term.

Conclusion

Speed isn’t just for race cars. It’s one of the most fundamental ingredients of a great mobile site.

A faster mobile-friendly site can increase traffic and bring in a flood of new customers and conversions.

It’s no surprise.

Mobile is here, and it’s here to stay.

Desktop performance still matters, but mobile is the present and the future.

In short, make your site as fast as possible and reduce the amount of weight your site is pulling.

This Think With Google article put it perfectly: “If speed thrills, friction kills.”

Improving your mobile site speed is a one-two punch that will make your site better for your users and for search engines.

If you haven’t focused on mobile yet, I urge you to start today.

Which of these techniques are you going to use to speed up your mobile site?

Caper (YC W16) Is Hiring a Site Reliability Engineer (Remote)

About Caper:

Caper builds smart shopping carts powered by deep learning and computer vision to enable a seamless grab-and-go retail experience. We differ from other emerging cashierless technologies like Amazon Go because we are a scalable solution. Caper’s autonomous checkout technology is plug and play, meaning it requires no in-store renovation, no operational overhaul, no heavy computations, or endless image labeling. Any retailer can buy the carts and their entire store is upgraded with cashierless capabilities. Caper costs less than 1% of Amazon Go infrastructure. We are already live in-stores and our customers love us!

Caper is the fastest-growing company in retail automation technology and is backed by Lux Capital, First Round Capital, Y Combinator along with top executives from Google, Walmart, Instacart, Plated, and Albertsons. While e-commerce accounts for 8% of total retail spending, Caper is innovating the other 92% of the untapped offline retail potential.

As a part of the Caper team, you’ll be a part of a culture that cares about its people and the future we’re shaping together. At Caper, we may all come from different backgrounds, but we all share one common vision – to fundamentally disrupt the retail industry. We are looking for engineers to join our talented technical team. As an engineer you’ll be working directly under the CTO, an opportunity offering plenty of room for rapid personal growth.

You are:
1. Excited to revolutionize the retail industry
2. Hard-working and care about self-growth
3. Passionate
4. Open-minded and eager to learn
5. Highly organized
6. Can work independently with limited supervision
7. Able to effectively communicate with peers and tailor your communication to your audience
8. Willing to dive in and assist coworkers as incidents arise

You have:
1. 3+ years of engineering experience
2. Experience programming in at least one of the following languages: C, C++, Java, Python, Go, Perl, or Ruby
3. Experience architecting, developing, and troubleshooting large scale systems
4. Experience with data structures and/or Unix/Linux systems internals (e.g., filesystems, system calls) and administration
5. Experience in Google Cloud, Azure, AWS or another major cloud platform
6. Knowledge of containers and orchestration using Docker & Kubernetes
7. Knowledge of configuration management in a large environment using Terraform, or other
8. Experience with CI tools such as Gitlab, Travis CI, Jenkins, Hudson, etc
9. Knowledge of monitoring best practices using tools like Grafana

You’re ready to:
1. Support and make sure features can easily be deployed into production
2. Use techniques like tooling and monitoring to improve the stability of the Android applications
3. Build automation tools and pipelines to automate operations
4. Support and interact with clients to solve problems
Conquer the world!

Benefits:
Above market salary and equity
Fully paid medical insurance
Unlimited snacks
Unlimited PTO

Go to see our website: www.caper.ai
Apply for the job: recruiterflow.com/caper/jobs/65


Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26076497

Points: 1

# Comments: 0

Should You Add Buy Now, Pay Later Options to Your E-commerce Site?

There have never been as many ways to pay online as there are today. Nor has it ever been more important to make sure you offer your consumers their preferred option.

For some, that might be a long-trusted Visa or Mastercard. Others may prefer Apple Pay, PayPal, or another digital wallet. And, increasingly, consumers are choosing to use buy now, pay later solutions when they checkout.

But what is this payment solution? And is it time you added buy now, pay later to your website? Read on to get my views on the topic.  

What is Buy now, Pay Later?

The name says it all. “Buy now, pay later” literally lets consumers buy a product and have it delivered while delaying payment until a later date.

This option is very similar to the old-school layaway method, in which stores let consumers reserve an item while paying it off in installments. Once all payments were made, they’d then be able to take the item home.

Buy now, pay later offers an even more consumer-friendly alternative to layaways. There’s no need to wait to access the item until it’s paid off in full—consumers only have to wait for their items for as long as they take to reach their doorsteps.

You’ve probably seen buy now, pay later payment options at checkouts in many places you shop. Mattress company Leesa partners with Affirm. Anthropologie partners with Klarna. Sezzle partners with Bodega.

Unlike layaways, consumers don’t necessarily use buy now, pay later to fund expensive purchases. They use the payment method to buy all kinds of things, from everyday needs like clothing and homeware to big-ticket items like fitness equipment.

Buy Now Pay Later Apps Peloton

While there are several options for buying now and paying later, they all broadly offer the same thing. The consumer gets to make repayments over several installments (typically between two and four) or in full within 14 to 30 days. Failing to pay will usually result in a fee, but not always.

One of the reasons buy now, pay later solutions are proving so popular is because they offer consumers an easier way to access credit. Unlike credit cards, which require users to hand over a lot of information and pass a rigorous credit check, buy now, pay later providers only ask for a consumer’s name, email address, date of birth, and billing address.

The solutions also mirror the purchasing habits of young consumers who are more likely to buy a selection of items, try them out at home, and then return the ones they don’t want. Returns are often more manageable and less stressful using a buy now, pay later solution since consumers don’t pay for the products in the first place.

6 Reasons to Add Buy Now, Pay Later Options to Your E-Commerce Site

It’s not just consumers who like buy now, pay later solutions. There’s a lot to like about them from a store owner’s point of view, too.

Here are six benefits to buy now, pay later.

Potential Sales Increases With Buy Now, Pay Later

When you allow consumers to spread out payments, they may be more likely to make a purchase. Consumers don’t even have to have the money in their account to buy your products.

They just have to be confident they can pay for them in the next few weeks. This is particularly handy for capturing consumers with paydays on the horizon.

The increase in conversions can be particularly dramatic if your items are higher priced, as consumers may be more willing to buy something pricey they otherwise wouldn’t when they can split the payment into manageable chunks.

Buy Now, Pay Later May Entice New Customers

More and more consumers are choosing this payment option. Even if they have the cash in their banks, there is little downside to spreading the payments out when they aren’t charged interest.

That means some consumers might actively look for stores that offer their favorite buy now, pay later options. Recognizing this, many buy now, pay later providers offer lists of where the service can be used. Some, like Klarna, even have apps allowing consumers to shop online directly through them.

Buy Now, Pay Later Could Build Trust

It used to be almost impossible to get a trial period for many consumer products, but buy now, pay later often makes this possible. By purchasing via a buy now, pay later solution, consumers can test out your product without committing to the purchase.

If they like it, they can pay as usual. If not, they can return it without having to worry about getting a full refund since they haven’t spent much, if anything, yet.

A small increase in free returns may cost you more in the short-term, but the long-term benefits of increased consumer loyalty can be substantial.

Customers may see you have enough confidence in your products to risk the possibility of returns and trust them enough to make good judgment calls for themselves, free of the questioning they may get in stores.

You May Decrease Cart Abandonment With Buy Now, Pay Later

Around 6% of cart abandonments are caused by a lack of payment options, according to the Baymard Institute. If you increase payment options by including a buy now, pay later solution, you may see a decrease in your abandonment rates.

Buy Now Pay Later Apps can lower cart abandonment

That’s not all, though.

Buy now, pay later can also make your checkout process much smoother. Consumers don’t have to enter card details or a billing address; they only need to log in with their Klarna or Affirm account. This fact is important because 28% abandoned their carts because they didn’t want to create an account, and 17% didn’t trust the sites with their information.

Your Competitors May Already Use Buy Now, Pay Later

If your competitors haven’t already integrated at least one buy now, pay later solution into their checkout, the chances are high they will do it soon. Research shows one-third of US-based e-commerce stores plan to integrate a purchase finance option over the next one to two years.

If you fail to keep up with consumer demands, you’ll inevitably lose customers to competitors that do keep pace.

Buy Now, Pay Later May Give Consumers a Better Credit Solution

The fact of the matter is buy now, pay later is a much more affordable finance solution than credit cards for many consumers. Not only that, they are often a much safer form of debt than credit cards or payday loans.

The former can have double-digit interest rates, while the latter can trap you into a spiral of debt. And if your customers need those to pay for things, they may hesitate to make purchases at all or end up in a financial situation where they can’t become a repeat customer.

You may worry about selling to customers who can’t afford the products up front, but don’t worry: like credit cards, buy now, pay later companies pay you when the transaction is made, and it’s on them to pursue non-paying customers.

3 Reasons Not to Add Buy Now, Pay Later to Your E-commerce Site

Buy now, pay later tools aren’t perfect for everyone. As a consumer finance solution, there are some issues you need to consider.

Buy Now, Pay Later Services Often Require Higher Fees

There’s a cost for the increased conversion rates and new customers that buy now, pay later can bring. They come in the form of higher fees. Klarna, for instance, charges a $0.30 fee and a variable charge of up to 5.99%. That’s significantly higher than almost all Visa and Mastercard payment gateways.

It’s not just the higher fees you need to worry about. There’s also the opportunity cost of listing another payment solution. Every time consumers use a buy now, pay later option, they are choosing not to use another payment option with lower fees.

Buy Now, Pay Later Could Encourage Consumer Debt

While buy now, pay later solutions are marketed as consumer-friendly finance products, some critics believe they are just another way to trick consumers into taking on more debt than they need.  

This is true whether you sell t-shirts at $10 a pop or mattresses for $1,000. Buy now, pay later encourages consumers to take out credit agreements with third-parties even if they can already afford to pay for the product in cash.

You Could Risk Your Reputation if Buy Now, Pay Later Problems Arise

Owing to the issues above, buy now, pay later solutions have received a lot of negative media coverage. There’s every chance these solutions may be looked on favorably in the future given the value they provide for some consumers—but only time will tell.

If negative media coverage of these solutions grows, and public opinion turns against these options, brands that facilitated these payments may become targets.

However, this coverage could disappear or improve as people become more used to these products, so it’s something to consider but not necessarily something to panic over.

Best Buy Now, Pay Later Tools

Competition in the buy now, pay later space is fierce and growing. That means consumers have more options. You’ll probably want to consider having more than one buy now, pay later option to keep consumers happy.

Here are some of the leading players you should consider integrating into your checkout.

Klarna

Buy Now Pay Later Apps Klarna

Klarna is a Swedish bank and one of the most prominent players in the buy now, pay later market, partnering with thousands of businesses in almost 20 countries. The platform offers users two ways to make repayments: “slice it” and “pay later.”

With slice it, consumers pay for purchases in four installments over six weeks. With pay later, consumers receive a bill for the full amount after 30 days. The payments are interest-free for consumers who qualify. Brands using Klarna include Uniqlo, H&M, and Anthropologie.

Affirm

Buy Now Pay Later Apps Affirm

Affirm is designed to help consumers finance purchases of all sizes. It supports small, everyday purchases like the rest of the solutions in this list, with interest-free payments split over weeks or months.

It also helps consumers make more significant purchases or needs like car repairs with interest-bearing loans spread over six to 18 months. How long consumers spread out the payments is up to them.

Affirm also doesn’t charge any fees, including late and repayments fees. There’s no fee to open or close an account, either. Brands using Affirm include Peloton, Walmart, and adidas.

Quadpay

Buy Now Pay Later Apps Quadpay

Quadpay lets consumers split purchases into four installments paid over six weeks when they shop online or in-store. Approval is instant and performed using soft credit checks.

There’s no need for store owners to install Quadpay at their checkouts. The payment tool is available anywhere Visa is accepted because the company provides users with their own Quadpay Visa card numbers.

All your customers need to do is choose the retailer and enter the purchase amount—Quadpay takes care of everything else.

Sezzle

Buy Now Pay Later Apps Sezzle

Sezzle lets consumers split purchases into four interest-free payments due over six weeks. There are no fees if consumers pay on time, and there’s no impact on their credit ratings.

Sezzle partners with over 24,000 stores, including Brandless, YoungLA, and GHOST, and integrates with all leading e-commerce platforms.

Afterpay

Buy Now Pay Later Afterpay

Afterpay lets consumers make interest-free purchases and repay the amount with four equal payments due every two weeks. If consumers miss a payment, Afterpay charges them $10. A further $7 will be charged if they fail to make payment within a week.

Afterpay differs from some lenders on this list by approving users for every purchase rather than approving an account. The company has stated its algorithm has been programmed to favor users who have previously used the service and paid on time. Participating brands include Jimmy Choo, lululemon, and UGG.

Conclusion

It’s essential to provide as many payment options as possible and give your consumers their preferred choices. Integrating a buy now, pay later solution can result in more sales, decrease cart abandonment rates, and build trust.

You also need to consider drawbacks, like the higher rates that come with buy now, pay later options.

Will you be adding a buy now, pay later solution to your site, and if so, which one?

The post Should You Add Buy Now, Pay Later Options to Your E-commerce Site? appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Boost Domain Authority: Checking and Improving This Key Site Metric

Knowing your domain authority may help you create or improve your marketing plan. But how do you know what your domain authority is?

Let’s dive into what this metric is and some tips for picking the perfect domain authority checker for your business.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain authority (DA) refers to the number of relevant backlinks—links to your website from other reputable sites—your site has. The relevance of those backlinks also contributes to your score.

Moz created the Domain Authority metric to help businesses figure out where they may rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). They estimate a page’s possible ranking via several channels, “including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can compare websites or track the ‘ranking strength’ of a website over time.”

Some brands are authoritative without even seeming to try. This is because the keywords that naturally exist on their websites will carry some weight.

For example, movie site IMDB has a high DA because relevant keywords are naturally integrated throughout the site. Secondary related keywords are also prevalent.

When you have a better idea about the terms for which you’re deemed authoritative, you’re able to optimize your site better.

But it’s not just keywords—the better your backlinks are, the better your chances are at increasing in DA.

Domain authority is determined on a logarithmic scale. This means solo metrics won’t always increase or decrease the score to the same degree. The more important a metric is, the greater effect it’s likely to have.

Why Should I Care About Domain Authority? 

Although Google doesn’t use domain authority in their rankings, but a study by Ahrefs found a correlation between DA and SERP ranking.

The results of this study suggest DA may be a useful metric by which to gauge how much organic traffic you may receive from Google.

If you want to grow your SEO rankings, consider ramping up your domain authority strategy. However, it can take a while to develop authority, so don’t worry if you don’t see results right away.

What is a Good Domain Authority Score?

Domain authority scores range from one to 100. When you have a greater domain authority score, it’s more likely you’ll see increases in web traffic and SERP rankings.

When you debut a new website, its domain authority is one. Moz points outsites with many external links are usually higher when it comes to DA, while small business sites and those with fewer inbound links generally have a lower DA score.

A strong gauge for your site is to measure it against other comparable or similar sites. Your DA can fluctuate over time and, with so many moving parts, identifying why it changed can be challenging. But don’t give up.

Moz highlights several factors that can influence your score.

One could simply be that your link profile growth hasn’t been seen by their index yet.

Another occurs when higher-authority sites experience massive growth in link numbers, which may skew the scaling process. This kind of fluctuation may more significantly impact domain authorities on the lower end.

You may also have earned links from sites that don’t contribute to ranking on Google. If Moz crawls a different amount of link domains than it did last time it went through your site, results may be affected.

How Can You Raise Your Domain Authority Score?

Raising your DA is a long-term process, but there are several ways to go about it.

First, conduct a link audit. This process involves making sure that links to your website are valid and don’t include black-hat SEO tactics. TryUbersuggest to get insight into your domain score, the current number of backlinks, and referring domains.

Backlinks, which are links from other websites to yours, affect SEO rankings—thoughbacklinks aren’t all created equal.

Do you know how to go about getting high-quality links? Try ourfree backlink tool, Backlinks, to get started. Among other things, it’ll show you which sites are linking to your competitors rather than to you.

Domain Authority Checker Ubersuggest free backlink tool

Various filters make it easy to assess which opportunities are best suited to your needs.

It’s also beneficial to search for local directories or “best-of” lists that could feature your business. These sites are often adding new businesses.

How Do You Check Your Domain Authority?

There are several link authority tools out there. How do you know which one is right for you?

SEO Review Tools has a basic domain authority checker. It looks at authority (based on backlink quantity and quality) and content.

Other metrics measured by this tool include website age and social media score. Your social media score relates to how active your social profiles are and how many shares your content receives.

Page authority is also measured. This metric is like DA, except it looks at a specific page rather than entire sites. Page authority is also calculated on a one to 100 logarithmic scale.  

If you want to check several sites at once,Linkgraph’s Free Bulk DA Checker may be the perfect option. This tool allows you to check DA and spam metrics for up to 10 URLs at a time.

If you want to check even more domains, Rankz’s SEO Rank Tracker lets you check hundreds at once. They also offer a backlinks checker, backlinks monitor, and domain availability checker.

Moz has a comprehensive free domain SEO analysis tool. It showcases top pages by links, discovered and lost links, top linking domains, and keywords by estimated clicks. Of course, you can also find some of this information using Ubersuggest as well.

For example, when you search for the DA of neilpatel.com on Moz, it’s revealed it is 88, and there are 69,900 linking domains (i.e., backlinks). There are also over 269,000 keywords for which the site ranks, and the spam score just 1%.

Domain Authority Checker Moz Domain SEO Analysis

The tool then breaks down the site’s most important pages based on page authority and other top-linking domains. You can also find metrics like top-ranking keywords, keywords by estimated clicks, top featured snippets, branded keywords, and more.

You can also see a breakdown of competitors using your keywords. You can then take the competing domains and plug them into a bulk checker like the ones noted above.

How Do You Integrate Your Domain Authority into Your SEO Strategy?

Once you’ve determined your domain authority score and the factors influencing it, what should you do next?

Start with backlinks. You want to give other sites a reason to link to yours.

If you specialize in something unique or offer a new option for a product or service, that could be a great start. Work to provide better information on your niche than your competitors do.

It may also be wise to collaborate with small businesses with whom you could forge mutually beneficial partnerships.

Reach out to companies with whom you already have relationships, too. See if there are ways you can support each other’s online presence. Swapping testimonials is just one of the many tactics you could employ.

You should also explore your existing content for opportunities to add links. For example, if you mention a coffee shop, link to their website. If they’re monitoring their web traffic, they’ll see you linked to them and may feel inclined to return the favor.

Of course, you want to make sure all the backlinks you receive are of high quality.It’s better to have a few quality backlinks than a ton of ineffective ones.    

Guest posting on other sites may also help get your name and site out there. However, some sites are better suited for this than others.

When assessing which blogs to guest for, check if their links are “follow” or “nofollow.” This may impact how much value the link has, though all links will help users get to your website, so also think of links as a branding and referral traffic tool as well.

You should also look at their DA and PA for target pages, how long their posts are, and who their audience is. If their goals aren’t similar to yours, guest posting may not be worth the time.

This aspect of growing your domain authority overlaps with your content marketing strategy. Most companies now have blogs or similar outlets on their websites—so, if you don’t, consider starting something like this.

The more content you create regularly, the more likely you are to rank.

Conclusion

Domain authority may seem complicated at first. Many factors contribute to your ranking, and analyzing them all may seem daunting.

Nevertheless, once you get the hang of DA, it’s worth monitoring and optimizing for it.

Adding this to your SEO toolbox may allow you to have a more comprehensive understanding of your overall digital presence and website health.

Have you had success in improving your domain authority? Tell us in the comments.

The post How to Boost Domain Authority: Checking and Improving This Key Site Metric appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Check Website Traffic For Any Site

As website traffic is the number of people who visit your site, it forms your website’s foundation. Without traffic, no one reads, clicks, signs up, or buys.

Sure, you might check your traffic daily, but do you know what to look for? Or how to check the website traffic of your competitors?

Let’s explore the whys and hows of monitoring—and improving—your traffic, as well as how to check website traffic from some of the sites you’re competing against in search results.

Why Should You Monitor Website Traffic?

You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

Whether you’re looking to generate more sales, get more email signups, or increase your advertising income, you first need to know where you’re at right now.

That means diving into your website statistics to figure out where your traffic is coming from and how it’s engaging with your site (as well as competitors).

So, how do you check website traffic for your website?

How to Analyze Your Website’s Traffic

There is only one standard tool you should take into account when analyzing your site traffic: Google Analytics.

Connected directly to your website, Google Analytics tells you exactly how many visitors your site is getting, where they’re coming from, how they’re interacting with your content.

But what data should you pay attention to?

Website Traffic Statistics to Consider

  • Unique visitors: People who visited your site at least once within the selected date range
  • Pageviews: The number of pages viewed on your website within a selected date range
  • Organic search traffic: A count of the people who visited your site via a search in Google or another search engine
  • Other traffic channels: How many visitors your site gets from other channels such as Facebook and Youtube, as well as from referral traffic (visitors clicking on a link to your website from another website)

While there are many more statistics tracked by Google Analytics, these are the main ones to look at when analyzing your site’s traffic.

Things aren’t so straightforward when you want to check your competitors’ website traffic, though.

Analyzing Competitors’ Website Traffic

When checking website traffic of sites that aren’t yours, you’ll usually want to know more than how many visitors they’re getting. Some good reasons to analyze your competitors’ traffic are:

Unfortunately, you can’t just log into their Google Analytics to get this data. So, where can you get it instead?

Top Tools for Checking Website Traffic

A wide range of tools, both paid and free, allow you to check website traffic. The ones below all have solid reputations and are worth checking out.

Ubersuggest

Our tool, Ubersuggest, has competitive pricing and unique combination of SEO courses, coaching, and research tools in addition to traffic estimates and keyword information.

ubersuggest example check website traffic

Curious? Sign up for a free account using your Google login to check it out.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of the most popular and complete SEO audit tools out there. Its organic search overview report gives a good idea of the kind of organic traffic a site is getting and which keywords are bringing the traffic. You can use that data to go after the keywords that are bringing your competitor traffic.

Ahrefs only gives you an estimate for a site’s organic traffic. It won’t tell you anything about its traffic from sources like social media.

Ahrefs organic check website traffic example

A test done by Ahrefs showed their tool underestimated unique organic visitors for 74.14% of the websites they looked into.

Ahrefs has a seven-day trial. After that, you need to opt for one of their paid plans.

SEMrush

Like Ahrefs, SEMrush is a complete SEO audit tool with an extensive range of features. One of those is its traffic analytics report, which shares data such as an estimated number of unique visitors, traffic sources, top pages, and more.

SEMrush also shows you which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Based on this and the keyword’s search volume, you can estimate how much traffic each keyword brings to your competitors.

semrush check website traffic example

SEMrush has a free version that includes the total organic traffic of a site and its five top-performing keywords. If you want more details, you need a premium subscription.

SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb offers an overview of a site’s total traffic, its top traffic sources, and which countries traffic is coming from. However, it’s crucial to know SimilarWeb has a limited pool of data, and it often won’t return results for small or recently-launched websites.

In a test by ScreamingFrog, SimilarWeb came out as the most accurate website traffic checker when compared to Ahrefs and SEMrush, overestimating organic traffic by just 1%. However, for high-traffic sites, Ahrefs returned more accurate results.

SimilarWeb has a free version that gives you an estimate of a site’s monthly visits and five keywords it ranks for. If you also want to know about unique visitors and other keywords it ranks for, you have to pay for the premium version.

Serpstat

The free version of Serpstat gives you an estimate of a site’s total traffic, its top-ten keywords, and its ten best-performing pages. It also gives you an idea of a site’s traffic evolution over time. For more detailed data, you need a paid plan.

check website traffic on serpstat example

SE Ranking

SE Ranking allows you to check a website’s organic traffic and the keywords it ranks for. It has different pricing plans depending on how many features you need, how often you want your rankings to be updated, and how long you’re willing to subscribe. There’s also a 14-day free trial if you’re going to do a test run.

Quantcast

Quantcast doesn’t look like a website traffic checker initially, because it focuses on data for publishers and marketers who want to grow their audiences. However, whenever a company signs up to Quantcast, part of their data becomes publicly available.

The downside is you can only look up sites that use Quantcast, and while there are over 100 million websites that do, there’s a chance your competitors don’t.

Quantcast has a limited free version that’s mostly targeted at getting data about your website. You need a paid edition for more statistics.

Alexa

Alexa has both a free and a paid version. The free version is somewhat limited, only giving you a site’s Alexa rank based on its Alexa rank but not its actual traffic. To get an estimate of that, you need to sign up for the premium plan (or the 30-day free trial).

It’s also good to know Alexa only has data on sites visited by the millions of users in their data panel and some direct sources. It’s possible you won’t find your competitors there.

While using one of these tools is the easiest way to check website traffic for your competitors, there are other methods you can use. They take a bit more work, but they can get you more accurate results.

Checking Website Traffic Without Tools

Here are some ways to check for website traffic without using free or paid tools like what we’ve mentioned above.

Look For an “Advertise With Us” Page

If your competitors offer advertising or other collaboration opportunities, they’ll likely have an Advertise page on their websites. If they do, they might even list their traffic right there for you to see.

To quickly find out if a site has an Advertise page, enter this search phrase in Google:

site:domain advertise with us

Don’t use ” ” to indicate you want an exact match for “advertise with us” as they might be using a different name. Nevertheless, this search should make their advertising page pop up at the top of the search results— if they have one.

One thing to pay attention to when you check website traffic this way is when the Advertise page was last updated. If an Advertise page hasn’t been updated in six months or more, you can assume the data on there isn’t correct.

Look for a Media Kit

A media kit or press kit usually includes not only traffic statistics but also information about the site’s audience and where the site has been featured.

While some businesses have their media kit on their websites, they’ll often link to a pdf. Still, you should figure out if your competitor has one by searching:

site:domain media kit

Other terms you can use are “press kit,” “press pack,” and “media pack.”

As with pulling website statistics from Advertise pages, it’s important to check when a media kit was last updated, so you don’t work with outdated numbers.

Conclusion

There are several methods for checking competitors’ website traffic. You can use a tool, do some digging, or straight up ask them. While utilizing tools will often give you results in the most efficient way, it’s essential to realize that any traffic stats are estimated.

If you want to check website traffic for your site, installing and using Google Analytics is the way to go. It tells you exactly how much traffic you’re getting from which sources, making it easier for you to analyze what you need to work on next.

What’s your favorite way to check your competitor’s traffic? Go ahead and tell us in the comments.

The post How to Check Website Traffic For Any Site appeared first on Neil Patel.