How to Write Gourmet Blog Posts

 How to Write Gourmet Blog Posts

A Single Serving

Single-Servings, Please

Well-crafted, relevancy-rich blogs are like gourmet meals: they’re served up in stages.

Attention spans are short. Demand for relevancy is high, and everyone needs a bit of time to digest one course before going on to the next.

The best blogs are short and intellectually or emotionally nutritious. Just enough, ruthlessly edited for readability and comprehension.

When you think you have a lot to say, say it – then edit it down by half. If it’s still more than three or four short paragraphs, break it into a series of posts, spaced a few days apart.

Just like a gourmet meal.

 

Google

 

Read More

TechTown Mentor Celebrates First Thanksgiving as a Citizen

Faris Alami, ISM Owner

Faris Alami

When 18-year-old Faris Alami arrived in America in 1990, he was fleeing Sadam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Faris and his family were stateless Palestinians residing in a Kuwaiti border town.

Fortunately, he was welcomed to America by a cousin residing in Arizona.

“That Thanksgiving, everything was very strange to me. I couldn’t make sense of a country that dedicated a holiday to turkey,” Faris says. “As a kid my exposure to America was in stories of ‘Cowboys and Indians.’ What that had to do with turkey was beyond me.”

Over the next twenty years, Faris lived two lives. One was as any young man in the United States, gaining an education, falling in love, building a business, starting a family. The other was the fate of a stateless immigrant trapped by circumstance, hounded with the threat of deportation by the Department of Homeland Security.

After a long and arduous struggle, Faris was finally granted resident alien status in 2009. In December 2011 he traveled to Kuwait and saw his family for the first time in 20 years. And on November 8, 2012, he was sworn in as an American Citizen.

Faris is the owner of Integration Systems Management in Troy, Michigan, and holds a position at Wayne State University’s TechTown business incubator. “I am so grateful to finally celebrate this holiday as an American Citizen, and to know all that freedom really means to us as a people,” he says. “For the first time in 20 years, I feel secure. I thank God for America, for my wife and family, for the thousands of people from around the world who supported me through this journey.”

Faris notes that there are several Muslim holidays that are similar to American Thanksgiving, such as Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Eid feasts generally include goat or sheep dishes served with salads and cheese pies, hummus, and other traditional Arabic foods.

He celebrates Thanksgiving with his American in-laws, making it a true international holiday by bringing an Arabic side dish. “One day, I might even cook a turkey Arabic-style,” he says with a grin that can only come to a man who is, once and for all, a true American.

For more information on Faris Alami, visit http://www.myisminc.com

Read More

Are your Shopping Cart Customers Abandoning you Before the Deal is Done?

Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is often caused by visitors getting confused & frustrated with the purchase experience on your website.

During a monthly check up with a retail client, we discovered that 68% of people who had clicked through to their Shopping Cart in the last 30 days also clicked out of the cart before a sale was completed.

68%?  OUCH!  As if that’s not bad enough, in the visitor-to-sales ratio, this customer was losing tens of thousands every month as a result.  Shopping Cart Abandonment, as our client is experiencing, has become such a huge problem that even “big gun” researchers are setting up studies.

ComScore’s Online Shopping Customer Experience Study (2012, Commissioned by UPS), for example, indicates that 57% of those who abandoned a shopping cart did so because they were unable to see shipping charges until after they had entered in significant personal information.  55% said the shipping charges made the cost of the product too high.  Other areas of dissatisfaction included long delivery dates and a lack of payment options.

Our client’s e-commerce professional only recently added tracking for the shopping cart ­– and the data collected does not make the client happy.  The data shows that users simply hate the shopping cart, and therefore click off the site without completing a transaction—to the tune, as we said earlier, of tens of thousands of dollars each month.

Fortunately, the tracking evidence was exactly what we needed to approach the client’s e-commerce professional and justify working together for a solution.

We didn’t want the issue to continue for a moment longer, and we needed feedback in order to improve the cart and reduce abandonment.  So, we performed a quick, informal “Usability Test.”  This is the process we followed:

  • Found a person unfamiliar with the site.  Asked for their assistance in our quest to fix it.
  • Requested that they perform a specific objective related to a “conversion” (in this case, “Buy 1 of this specific product”) while one of us observed silently.
  • Let them know that we would not answer any questions.  We needed to observe them as if they were browsing the site alone, just as normal users would.
  • Asked them to “think out loud” as they moved through the site.
  • Tried not to let our mouths drop open as the frustrations rolled in!

Within 15 minutes, we were able to assemble a list of findings just from having a new pair of eyes move through the shopping cart.  And guess what?  Our user, in frustration, wanted to abandon the cart before they completed the purchase.  It was just too confusing!

Now we know what was causing 68% of the client’s online customers to give up on their purchase and click away!

Read More