One of the most challenging parts of running a digital business is all the techie stuff, right? Learning how to create web pages and opt-in forms and autoresponder emails and … (sigh) … shopping carts and payment processors and video hosting.
For those who want to set up a membership site or online course, there’s more software again. Plus, you need to cross your fingers and hope all the tools you’ve chosen will integrate and play together nicely.
Apart from the time spent learning all these tools, there’s the cost!
I know many successful online business owners who are fed up with all the monthly fees for these tools, but yet they know they need them. If they’re frustrated with this, make no wonder it’s hard for beginners and small business owners to make a profit.
Thankfully, change is on its way…
Over the last couple of months I’ve been fortunate enough to be given early access to some brand new software that is about to be launched.
This software is called Kartra (yes, that’s an affiliate link, in case you’re wondering) and I have to say, I’m loving it. This was created by Andy Jenkins – a very successful internet marketer – after dealing with these frustrations himself.
Here are my thoughts after testing this software…
This ONE system contains a number of advanced tools that all sync nicely with each other.
Tools such as:
The Kartra website builder is very easy to use, with many ‘drag and drop’ features. You can select from one of the templates and edit it to suit your needs, or you can start from scratch.
It’s easy to clone pages too, which means that if you want to create a page that’s similar to one of your existing pages you can simply clone it and edit as necessary.
The website builder also includes a large selection of stock images that you’re welcome to use. Although it’s good to be able to use your own photos – which you can still do – having access to stock photos within the website builder saves time. You don’t need to go looking for the right image, download it, then upload it here. (However you can still do that, if you want to.)
The Kartra website builder is ideal for businesses selling digital products. Unlike some of the other website builders around, their templates are extremely flexible. I know some others that are good … but they often limit how much you can edit the templates, which can make it frustrating.
If you sell physical products, you might like to try this out but I don’t think this website builder is going to have everything you need just yet.
For bloggers… continue using WordPress for your blog. (Or Blogger, but I prefer WordPress.)
Kartra’s website builder is not meant for blogging. However you can use both. Use the Kartra pages for your general web pages and keep your blog separate. You can easily create pages in Kartra and then integrate them into your WordPress site (and some other website platforms too).
You’re able to use Kartra’s address for your web pages – meaning that you don’t have to register a domain name or arrange a hosting account if you don’t want to. Or you can integrate your own domain name and/or sub-domains.
Kartra’s support documentation and videos show you how to do this.
This is one of my favourite parts of Kartra and the main reason I was keen to try it out.
I’ve been using World Internet Office – a form of 1Shopping Cart – for my shopping cart and email management for the last 11 years. It’s been great and is very good at what it does.
However the one thing it lacks is something that is growing ever more important in today’s online marketing, and that’s marketing automation. That is, the ability for you to send content to subscribers or customers based on their previous actions.
For example, I like to send new subscribers a ‘Welcome‘ email from me, introducing myself and what they can expect. However some people subscribe to several different lists for different purposes (or after purchasing different products). I don’t want them to receive a ‘Welcome‘ email every time they are added to a new list.
In Kartra I can set this up so that subscribers get ‘tagged’ with “Welcome” and are sent the ‘Welcome‘ email. If they then subscribe to another list or purchase a different product, they won’t receive that initial ‘Welcome‘ email again because the system can tell that they’ve already been sent it.
This is a simple explanation, but there’s SO much more you can do here. It makes it a better experience for your subscribers and customers and is better for business.
There are other programs that can do this – and do it very well. Although they can be very expensive or complicated.
In testing, I found Kartra much easier to use than Infusionsoft. But then again, I am already familiar with Infusionsoft so that may have helped me to pick up Kartra quicker as the concept is similar.
Also, for anyone who has a business selling physical products, you may find Infusionsoft better for your needs. It has a lot more features that are useful for these types of businesses. But for an online business, Infusionsoft can be too confusing (and expensive), with a lot of features you will probably never need.
For me, I’m almost finished transferring from my current system – which has served me very well – over to Kartra. The last of my customers are being transferred across this week.
The other thing you’ll find within Kartra is their ‘Done-for-you’ campaigns. These campaigns were set up by leading internet marketer, Frank Kern, based on some of his most successful campaigns ever.
All you need to do is edit them as needed to suit your products, payment links, emails and so on. This makes it super-easy to get started with your campaigns.
Frank Kern shows more about these ‘Done-For-You’ campaigns in this video:
When you send emails, you can integrate your Kartra account with one of a selection of email providers or you can send it direct from Kartra.
Plus, you can send from your own email address or from your Kartra email address that they set up for you.
I use my own email address. This was extremely easy to set up following their tutorials.
Kartra includes a shopping cart however it’s not a payment processor. So that means that you set up all your product payment links from within your Kartra account but you integrate it with a payment processor that actually processes your customers’ payments.
At this stage there’s four payment processing integration options you can choose from – PayPal, Stripe, AuthorizeNet or BrainTree.
You can set it up with multiple options too.
Personally, I use my own merchant account linked through eWay. However Kartra doesn’t integrate with eWay at this stage. So in the meantime, I’ve set up both PayPal and Stripe integrations instead.
The other point to note here is that Kartra’s shopping cart at this stage isn’t designed for physical products. You may be able to find a way to work around this but otherwise, if you sell physical products, you may want to use something different for your shopping cart for now. (Although I expect this will be improved over the coming months).
The Kartra membership site builder is another feature I particularly like. You can create a membership site where users have their individual log-in details and can access online training or courses.
It allows you to drip-feed content, which is often useful in online courses. Plus one of the best parts is that you can upload your content – videos, audios, images, text/PDF documents – direct to your Kartra account. No more having to create an account with a video hosting service to upload your videos, then create the code to copy/paste into your membership site. Nope. This is all handled directly within your Kartra account.
When I first tried the membership site builder, I must admit… I was disappointed. There’s not a lot of flexibility (although again, I expect they’ll be adding more features and options to this in time.)
However I now realise that this is in fact a good thing. No more time-consuming distractions deciding on the fonts and colours and layout. Just select a few settings, add your content and you’re good to go.
It’s very clean and simple, which makes it easy for members to navigate too.
Here’s an example of the layout:
Previously I have used WishList Member on WordPress sites for my membership sites, and those I managed for clients too. I still love WishList Member and it still has its place.
For sites that are quite complex, including tailoring content and processes to individual members, I’ve left them on my WordPress/WishList Member sites. I recommend the same for others.
But I’ve moved my simpler, more straight-forward membership and online course sites over to my Kartra account.
However Kartra does also integrate with WishList Member, along with Digital Access Pass, aMember, OptimizePress and S2Member. So if you have a membership site based on one of these platforms and you’d like to continue using that, you can still integrate it with Kartra for things like your email management and shopping cart.
The Kartra Help Desk is a pretty cool feature. It allows you to set up your own Help Desk – including a Live Chat option, if you want it.
For someone who wants to get away from using their email address for customer support or who is ready to outsource this task, Kartra’s Help Desk may be ideal. Although it’s a little too basic for me at this stage.
It’s easy to check things such as a customer’s order number or products purchased as their support ticket links to their customer account, within your Kartra dashboard.
Also, I really like that you can add other uses, so you can easily outsource your customer support but still have a central place for all relevant team members – including yourself – to be able to access the necessary information.
There’s a number of feature requests in the queue to make this system better. While I haven’t changed to Kartra’s Help Desk yet, I’m looking forward to doing so in the near future. (Which will also mean I can cancel my current help desk software subscription).
One last feature of mention is the Kartra University. This is a training area that all Kartra customers get access to and it walks you through how to use the various tools.
There are a lot of features within Kartra however they’ve kept it as simple as possible. (Oh, I love simplicity!)
The dashboard is easy to navigate and once you get a basic understanding of how it works, you’ll soon be able to get more advanced with it … if you want to.
If you sell digital products, I highly recommend that you at least check out this software. Personally, it’s already saving me time and money. Not to mention being so much easier than paying for and logging into just one account instead of several.
I see this as a tool that can help get an online business up and running quickly, professionally and affordably.
You can find out more about Kartra by clicking here.
If you’re interested, you can get a 14-day trial for $1. Then – as long as it’s still available – you’ll be sent a code so you can get a 25% discount on the cost if you decide you like it.
This is the best way for you to try it out for yourself to see if it’s something that fits your particular needs. If you decide it’s not for you, just be sure to cancel your account before the trial ends.
Click the image below to watch the official video that explains the software in more detail:
Disclaimer: If you end up being a Kartra customer via the links in this post, I will earn a referral fee. This helps me to be able to create more free content to share with you. But that’s not why I’m recommending Kartra. I’m using it – and loving it – myself and believe this is worthwhile for other online businesses.
Have you noticed an unexplained decline or increase in traffic to your website since March?
If so, Fred might be to blame.
“Fred” is the unofficial name given to the Google update that was implemented during March. This is where Google updates their search algorithm … the data they use to decide where each web page should show in the search results for specific search terms.
If you use the Google Search Console to monitor your traffic you may notice that there was no traffic – or not traffic STATS, at least – for a small time around the 8th-9th March. This is when the update was brought in and stats don’t seem to have been recorded during that time.
While Google will never say exactly what changes were made and what they’re now looking for, sharing of on-going monitoring and research can give us an idea of what sort of sites might be affected.
From what those investigating these changes are saying, it appears that sites with “shallow” content are the most affected by a drop in the search engine rankings. That is, sites that have more ads than content or where the content is not of particular value and is there to support lots of ads and/or affiliate links.
That said, it’s important to note that ads and affiliate links themselves are okay. They’re not the issue, when they’re used properly. It’s when the main focus of the site is those ads or links, rather than being able to offer genuine value to readers.
On 13th March Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted that:
“DYK there’s no inherent problem with affiliate links? The problem is when a site’s sole purpose is to be a shallow container for aff links”[NB: DYK = Did you know]
So, affiliate links and ads on a site are still okay. You just need to use them properly.
If you do include ads or affiliate links on your website, make sure that:
Other things that seem to be targeted during this update are issues such as slow page speed, duplicate content, duplicate titles and other quality factors.
There’s a good post on the FatJoe.co site – The Google Fred Update – What It’s Targeting And How To Fix It – that shows an example of two sites that are both making money by selling affiliate products or advertising. However one is offering value to readers and is a higher quality than the other.
Here are my top 10 suggestions to help your site if you think it may be one of these “shallow” sites. In fact, these suggestions are worth following regardless of whether or not you were negatively affected by this Google update.
Sure, there’s other things you can do to improve your site. But focus on those 10 points above and you’ll be off to a good start.
Remember … Google is not your enemy.
They simply want to ensure that people searching for information are provided with suggestions for the most helpful sites for their searches. So by giving people what they want you’re giving Google what they want and helping your site too.
I’ve been helping business owners grow their businesses for almost 20 years now and there’s one question I get asked more than any other. That is:
“How can I get more traffic to my website?”
Now to be honest, that’s probably not the right question to be asking. Getting more traffic doesn’t necessarily mean anything. If it’s the wrong type of traffic, all it means is that you get more people visiting your site (and possibly leaving again before even reading a single word!)
What you really want to know is:
“How can I get more quality traffic to my site;
visitors who like what I offer and who will buy my products or services?”
Am I right?
Well, the short answer here is that there are a number of things you can do and some traffic generation strategies are going to work better than others for some markets. There are also strategies that might work for a little while, but then something changes and they’re no longer as effective.
Or in some instances, they can cause LESS traffic to come to your site. Take, for example, some of the now-outdated back-linking and black-hat SEO strategies that were so popular just a few years ago.
Then Google made some tweaks to their search algorithms and overnight, 1,000s of websites lost their high-ranking positions in the search results or were removed from the search results altogether.
Some online business owners who relied on that traffic lost their entire income stream quite literally overnight. (HINT: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket … or one income stream. More on this another time.)
What I’ve been working on in recent months is a system that helps you to not only get more traffic to your website, but to also increase your leads, subscribers, customers, repeat customers and referrals. All this then leads to an increase in profits as well as helping you (or your business) become a leader within your industry. Or as an INFLUENCER.
Actually, it’s a system that I’ve been using with great success for years now, with solid foundations that will last long-term. But in recent months I’ve been documenting the process and refining it further. I want to make it as easy as possible for others to implement too.
Now I’m working on a fantastic video for you, to explain this system in the simplest way possible.
This video contains my answer to that most-asked question:
“How can I get more traffic to my website?”
I hope to have this video ready for you by next Tuesday. If you’re subscribed to my email list for updates, keep an eye on your inbox then. If you’re not already a subscriber but would like to receive updates via email, enter your details in the form in the top-right of the sidebar of this page. That way you won’t miss out.