Wherever you travel, when you transfer money internationally, there will be 2 types of fees. The 1st one is the oversea transfer fee and the 2nd one is the exchange rate fee. With this special service, you can save up to 80% of those fees and it is pretty fast. It supports up to 46 currencies and more currencies are soon to come. Here are some examples USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, GBP, SGD etc. I’m using it and it took 2 business days from Germany to Vietnam to transfer it. A little bit about Transferwise: It is a London based company started from 2011 and it is worth about $3 billion with over 5 million costumers transferring over €4 billion every month. Besides, it is funded by the Billionaire Richard Branson and some other investors like Andreessen Horowitz.
I’ve transferred with the regular bank 500€ to Vietnam and the fee was 36,55€, which is about 7,31% fee! If I do it with TransferWise, it will cost me only 7,39€, which is only 1,48% fee. What a TransferWise review!
You can check on this website, how much the fee will be, if you send money from one country to another country. There you can see, that it is significantly lower, than any other money transfers. So in this example, you save about 30€ for every 500€ bank transfer from Germany to Vietnam. On top of that, they give you a better exchange rate! At that time according to Google, it is only 25,821.59! It’s not only cheaper than banks, but also cheaper than Paypal or exchange offices. You can save even more money compared to Western Union, which charges about 10%, because of its high exchange rate fee.
UPDATE 25TH MAY 2018
Now they start offering a multicurrency bank account in $, £ and €! No fees! With a MasterCard debit card. Very handy while traveling, because you can use it worldwide with the advantage of real exchange rate, so you also can save money while traveling and with the TransferWise app, you can see in real time your expenditures.
It is also very easy and fast to open this multicurrency bank account, because everything happens online. You don’t need to go anywhere to register for it. Just upload your ID and that’s it. You will get your debit card within a week and I get an US American bank account, Australian bank account at the same time etc.
By clicking on this link you will get the first 500GBP transfer for free. Check it out: Transferwise.
Local SEO is SEO in local places. For example you can be ranked for best bars in Los Angeles. Why is it important? Because almost half the search are local search. People want to know, where the events, tutor, bars etc. in their area are. So if you have a local business selling e.g. walking tours for tourists, you should do local SEO. Same like doctors, attorneys, accountants etc.
Onpage SEO. If you don’t know, what it is, read this! What is onpage SEO? In terms of local SEO the location should also be in the domain name. Subdomain name is also fine. Besides, the location for example Los Angeles should also be mentioned on the title, header and meta tags.
Offpage SEO. If you don’t know, what it is, read this! What is offsite SEO? Register your business on Google My Business, so that you can be seen on Google Maps too! The more positive ratings you will get, the higher you will get ranked locally. Additionally, you can use directory sites like yellow pages, yelp, tripadvisor etc. Then use geotagging in social platforms and e.g. business facebook fanpage. Location. The closer you are to downtown, the better it will be for your ranking. Furthermore getting mentioned on local newspapers, institutions, authority sites like commercial chamber etc. is definitely helpful too. The contact details of your contact page should be the same like on the Google My Business listing.
That’s basically it. Quick and easy. I hope, you like this article about local SEO. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.
How an Editor’s Career Crisis Led to a $500 Million Dollar Startup
Recently a YouTube channel and a Facebook page caught my eye. It’s called Yitiao — meaning “One Article” or “One Piece” in Chinese. For the past three years, Yitiao published one or two highly produced short videos everyday, showcasing well-designed homes, architecture, crafts, photography and art. These videos are mostly narrated in Mandarin Chinese, although subjects range from China to around the world.
It was clear that these were made deliberately for the web, and more specifically for mobile, as the length of videos ranged from 3 to 5 minutes. I knew this was an expensive operation to maintain, based on the consistent production quality and release schedule. There had to be a disciplined full-time team dedicated to sourcing stories, travelling to sites, shooting the footage, and doing post-production. These are not trivial tasks, definitely not the feat of amateurs.
Two questions gnawed at me as I watched more videos. Who was behind this company? How did they make money?I pondered.These two questions later led me to discover a new business model and the story of Yitiao — a startup that is currently valued at 500 million (USD).
The more I researched, the more I found its origin story fascinating. This is my telling of how Yitiao came to be.
The Story Began in 2013
The then 40 year-old Xu Husheng sat in his office, located in the former French Concession neighbourhood of Shanghai. As he gazed at the plane tree leaves just below his fifth-floor window, he felt a sense of anxiety.
That feeling was quite unfamiliar to him, because life was predicable and well-off. His job was stable, his salary was good, and everyday he pedalled his vintage bike to work, in a mere 15 minutes — a real luxury for most Shanghainese. At 40, he had become the editor of a popular magazine, a dream job that afforded him abundant time to be with his 5 year old daughter, to read whatever books he wanted , and even to play with family cat. 
The last real anxiety he felt was eight years ago. Back in 2005, he took over as the acting chief editor of the Bund magazine. His ascension was a last ditch effort by the executives and the board of directors to save the company — it was losing subscribers and hemorrhaging money.
According to many retellings of the same story, Xu’s timely pivots turned things around. Before his arrival, the magazine focused on social issues and current events. While this positioning had its audience, Xu realized that for most young city dwelling Chinese professionals, an audience that was rapidly growing in size and affluence, these subjects were utterly uninteresting.
To them, the world of entertainment, fashion, and culture were way more interesting. Xu tapped into this insight and revised the Bund to be more international , while working hard to land timely interviews with big name celebrities. Adding a dash of glamour and a clean graphic design, the magazine pulled away from its pack.  In a few years, the Bund became one of China’s most circulated periodicals. In 2013 alone, it raked in close to 200 million RMB (30 million USD) in advertising revenue. 
On this warm spring day in 2013, Xu noticed a sharp decline in sales numbers. This was the reason behind his sudden anxiety. Little did Xu know then that 2013 would become the worst years in history for China’s magazine and newspaper industry. Magazine and newspaper booths in most cities would generate less than $20 (USD) a day in sales. Even at the best locations, with heavy foot traffic, daily revenue hovered around $50 by the end of 2013. 
Looking back with today’s knowledge, the reason for this couldn’t be more obvious. 2013 marked the inflection point in the adoption of the smartphone in China. The number of smartphone users had surpassed the US for the first time, and at the same time WeChat announced that it had reached 300 million monthly active users. 
Xu had always considered himself a traditional media person. He did not use WeChat, nor did he dabble in desktop social apps such as QQ or Renren, both of which had gained popularity among China’s youth, years before the smartphone’s arrival. However as 2013 progressed from spring to summer, he couldn’t help but to notice the correlation between the rise of smartphone and decline of the magazine and newspaper industry. 
WeChat Public Accounts
Soon after that day, Xu decided to see for himself — replacing his feature phone with a smartphone. First thing he did was to install WeChat. It was on WeChat that he noticed the existence of public accounts, which are accounts that any individual, business, or organization can setup. These accounts can publish content and communicate with their followers, similar to Facebook Pages.
Any WeChat users could follow these accounts by searching keyword or by scanning a QR code.
When WeChat first launched public accounts in 2012, mainstream media were still oblivious to its later powers and simply ignored it. However as its functionalities improved, and as the number of WeChat users skyrocketed, public accounts became the main way news spread in China.
Xu’s office also caught the Public Accounts bug by mid 2013 — every department had created their own public account. However, as time progressed, it became apparent to Xu that traditional media simply couldn’t move fast enough to come out on top of this storm. He had to make a move.
Two is Less Than Five
In November 2013, Xu found himself talking with the New Media executive at Southern Weekend, arguable the most popular weekly newspaper in China. They conversed for hours. Xu came out feeling dazed. But he was not confused.
That same night, Xu downloaded several hundred media and information apps on his iPhone and followed several hundred public accounts on WeChat— staying up until 4am, browsing, clicking and reading. He lamented before finally sleeping, saying “my rice bowl is really going to be broken” — a Chinese idiom describing one’s livelihood being eradicated.
Seeing that it would be impossible to retire early, as he had hoped when he turned 40, he decided to do something about this right away. 
Finding That ‘Something’
Software is eating the world. The web is eating software.
Xu realized that videos are eating the web. He looked to the premier video sharing platform of the world — YouTube, for inspiration.
Hopping over the Great Firewall with VPN, he watched the most viewed videos on YouTube. But due faulty VPN connections, he had to first download the videos, then watch them offline. In a few months, he had amassed over 6000 clips with a combined size of 60GB.
On YouTube, as Xu put it, “over half of the most popular video were about lifestyle, there are many popular videos about teaching how to make clothes, how to cook, how to fix things”.  While in China, the overwhelming majority of content was still about entertainment, memes and celebrity gossip.
He gave the example of Michelle Phan, a YouTuber with millions of subscribers, whose videos were mostly of herself facing her camera, next to a mirror, explaining and showcasing fashion, cosmetics and other lifestyle tips. Xu noted that she eventually was able to use her success to launch a cosmetics company with a valuation in the hundreds of millions.
To Xu, there was no reason why lifestyle videos couldn’t succeed in China.
Armed with this discovery, he returned to work. His proposal was to setup a video team. To his surprise, this was met with strong resistance immediately. One his superiors responded by saying that they were in the magazine business, not the video production business, and that he should leave that to Shanghai’s various TV stations.
They simply didn’t see what he saw. But Xu felt a dire need to capture the opportunity and redefine what a media company should be. He later described that period like this:
It was very difficult to transform from within. I felt as if a huge tsunami was about to overtake a village, yet the villagers were still talking about how to fix the broken windows. 
The debates eventually took its toll. Xu handed in his resignation two months later. He talked about it like this: “The decision was simple. At the worst, I’ll just be a small Shanghai-based video production company making short promos for different companies. I was confident that I could still make ends meet.”  
Show Me the Money
Because of his previous life as a leading editor, he was able to secure meetings with many angel investors. But few were interested to invest after hearing the pitch. His proposal didn’t have a clear path to revenue and the media business had its own baggages in China, given the political environment.
Despite the odds, one VC firm — Whales Capital did invest, however, with a final test. In the final round of negotiations, the investors at Whales asked Xu to commit $160,000 USD of his personal money into the business as a sign of conviction. Xu agreed without hesitation, despite it being a sizeable chunk of his savings.
And because of this, the deal closed quickly.  With the money in the bank, Xu went about renting an office and hired a group of six, then ten, mostly fresh-out-of-school college graduates from various programs and started learning and making videos together.
They initially tried to make their videos just like the ones on YouTube, adopting similar speaking, lighting, editing techniques and styles.
The resulting videos felt lively and fast-paced, and in many ways indistinguishable from those of the YouTubers who inspired them. Yet something didn’t feel right.
It was very costly to source subject matter experts in topics such as fashion, makeup, or cooking, who also wanted to be in front of the camera, essentially acting and teaching. When they did find the right content creators, it didn’t make much sense for them to work with Yitiao, as they could simply work directly with the video platforms, and shoot less high produced by still engaging videos on their own. 
What made matters worse was that China didn’t have a de facto video distribution / subscription platform like YouTube. The video audience was scattered across sites like Youku, iQiYi, Sohu, and Tencent Videos. It was impossible to gather them all.
Xu and team realized that they had to make breakthroughs in both content and distribution in order to succeed. “Why are we trying to make videos like these kids on YouTube? They are doing their thing, but that’s not us.” One team member calmly expressed her frustrations at a company all hands.
They didn’t have an answer to her question.
But they decided then that they should learn their craft regardless of their direction. The team kept going. They focused on improving their skills for twelve hours days, 100 days straight, by shooting and editing a few dozen videos without ever releasing them publicly.
It Should Feel Like a Magazine
In hindsight, this 100 days was the team’s learning curve. And surprisingly the process actually allowed them to find their direction.
They realized that they didn’t want the videos to feel amateurish or funny, as China’s internet had plenty of content like that already. What was interesting to them were those shot in a magazine style, that showed interesting stories and lifestyles. 
Seeing that there was something interesting there, they quickly ditched tutorials to focus on stories, with topics that range from architecture, design, art, to craft — all subjects that Xu was already familiar with. On September 8th, 2014, they released their first public video on the various video platforms. It was a four minute clip about a Shanghai antique shop named Brocantic.
The difference was apparent from the first scene.
The shop owner Camille stood in front of an old neighbourhood alley as a long exposure shot captured cars passing by in a blur. The entire video featured her narration to accompany the moving images, as it documented item to item in the shop. The video ended with a still of the shop’s address and hours info.
Before releasing the video publicly, Xu showed it and other a few other similar clips to his investors. He received this comment:
We really like these videos, but they won’t get any traction online.
This was the typical response Xu got when he showed these videos to people. Their experience gave them the impression that these are niche content, suitable for only a small audience. They were right in that these videos were not going to go viral, but Xu knew two things they didn’t:
1People who enjoy magazines, like them for their content, not their form factor. Fundamentally the shift was not in people’s taste but in their preferred medium — from paper to mobile / digital. The type of content that people liked were largely the same. So if an audience existed for the Bund on paper, it also should exist online.
What was clear to Xu was that the techniques of arranging imagery and text on paper (aka graphic design), no longer engaged the audience of WeChat and other social media. The Magazine spread simply could not exist on a small screen. The hunch that Xu had was that video was the form factor that could capture attention on digital / mobile. Compared to texts and images, videos are much harder to create — good video skills were not as proliferate as good graphic design skills.
2What the critics overlooked was the size of China’s population. Even a niche audience could be in the size of tens of millions. What was emerging as a theme was that people who would be interested in Yitiao’s content was China’s growing middle class — same as the customers of the Bund magazine. When a reporter later ask about the size of China’s middle class, Xu smiled and said simply:
I think Jack Ma said it was 300 million.
He continued. “It’s actually very difficult to discuss the middle class of China. What are the differences between China’s middle class and those of Japan, US, and Europe? I’d like to simply think of the middle class as a group of people with higher education, with more disposable incomes, and perhaps an aspiration to a higher quality of living. This is what I would define as the target audience of Yitiao.” 
1 Million Followers in 15 Days
By the fall of 2014, WeChat has emerged as the messaging platform for China. Many WeChat public accounts have gained tens of millions of followers. Riding these two waves, Yitiao decided to focus growing their audience on WeChat.
They decided to act on this new product called GuangDianTong (GDT or 广点通) . It’s a targeted advertising platform developed by WeChat’s parent company, Tencent. Like the advertising platforms from Google and Facebook, GDT also advertised based on bids for a specific audience.
Yitiao only had 1.25 million dollars available, yet they still put in $315,000 into GDT in the first week.  This was a calculated gamble by Xu.
They had planned to release a dozen videos in the first two weeks of launching on WeChat. If it was possible to gain one million followers within that time, that news in itself would become a spectacle. The effect of such an event would be a long-tail of new followers weeks and months down the road, based on the media coverage alone.
Xu reflected on that decision: “based on the metrics we were seeing (from GDT), it was probable to assume that the money will translate into exposure as well as followers. We just didn’t know how many. What we were confident in was that even if even we only captured a small audience based on the wide exposure, we can still survive on native advertising, and overtime the money can be recuperated. So even though the decision was risky, the risks were actually calculated.”
Spending big on GDT proved to be an effective strategy — in two weeks time, they gained nearly one million followers on WeChat. Xu later compared to his decision-making process to crossing a deep crevasse:
If you look down, it is very scary, and few dare to make that leap. But if you ignore the depth and just look across it, you’ll realize it could be less than a meter wide — a distance that you can easily jump across. 
Aside from GDT, influencers also provided valuable fuel for subscriber growth in the first two weeks. First, because of Xu’s connections, several celebrities shared Yitiao videos on their own social feeds. Second, despite the none of the dozen videos going viral , each was niche enough to turn heads on its own, because they appeal to influencers within specific industries to share among their own followers.
For example, the video titled “Architectures’ New Wave” circulated in the architecture enthusiasts scene; Another video about tea was viewed among the fans and lovers of tea; The one about a boutique hotel was widely shared among hotel industry.
The reason for this was that not only were the videos highly produced, the protagonists in each video were all individuals who were doing very interesting work in a particular industry. Xu’s decades of editorials work showed its strength in the effective sourcing of these stories.
What became clear was that most of China’s top sites aimed for the mass public audience. Audiences who preferred editorial and highly produced content, although perhaps that group only accounted for 10% of the total, were always overlooked and even ignored. But given the scale of China, that audience alone could be in the tens, if not hundreds of millions.
Mobile Video Growth
Yitiao grew to six million followers in seven months. In three years time, China’s mobile video audience as a whole would grow from 56 million to 353 million.
This hawk like ability to pinpoint social, economic, and population trends before they hit mainstream was what led to the pivot at the Bund nine years earlier. And it seemed that Xu managed to pull off the same transformation once again. His former colleague Dai Guo Feng noted. “In terms of positioning and taste, there isn’t another person like Xu in China.” 
How to Retain Followers
To retain followers, the videos’ quality and released schedule both needed to be maintained. Xu thought that the best way to do that was to codify the production process.
They key is to make the sourcing of story, shooting, editing and distributing of content repeatable and efficient. The team analyzed their previous work and iterated on a template.
The level of details that ended up in the final template was extremely meticulous. For example, for cinematography alone, the number of long, tracking, panning, and dollying shots were spelled out.
For narration, a 950-word template was created to establish a logical order of storytelling. It could be used to tell any story in no more than ten points. In terms of timing, every minute and half, as the audience got bored, a new thread of points were revealed to refresh their attention. Another example was to show the most interesting footage at the beginning, because if the first 5–10 seconds weren’t interesting, many viewers would churn immediately.
Despite not having directors, producers, or scripts, the quality of the videos was kept consistent as a result. But this method did create some tensions among the team. Xu spoke candidly about how there is a constant struggle between artistic freedom and product discipline. 
“Often I have to remind people that they are not here to create art, they are here to build a product. If their goal is to to create art, which is a noble goal, they should pursue that, but not at Yitiao.”
What is the Product?
Revenue soon became the elephant in the room as their audience grew. Naturally, the team turned to advertising.
Given the coarse and ineffective styles of popup advertising, and blocker videos, the team decided against that early on. They initially focused on native advertising.
Xu pointed out that content and marketing have always been intertwined. He gave the example of Michelin, a tire manufacturer that publishes the renowned restaurant guides. The guides were initially created to helped drive demand for automobiles, back at a time when the auto-industry industry was still nascent.
That model seemed to be a perfect match. Yitiao had attracted a group of viewers who had, by pressing the follow button, informed Yitiao of their desire to keep up with content that showcased more ways of living with quality.
In this sense Yitiao could be the “Michelin Guide” of lifestyle products — a media platform that connects people with products and brands that match their tastes. In order to do that, Yitiao must first discover products, then present them, and then connect the audience to them.
The team began working on this idea after reach six million followers in mid 2015. However, soon after, Xu realized just connecting the audience with products wasn’t enough — many of these shop had little to no online presence and many more simply couldn’t figure out how to do ecommerce. This meant that there was no way for them to expand beyond one city.
Unless Yitiao Pivots to Ecommerce
The need to for Yitiao to venture into ecommerce was apparent.
Rather than linking videos to shops and websites, Yitiao could integrate both the marketing and selling portions of the whole experience and allow their supplier companies to focus on creating great products. This way customers can truly enjoy the benefit of buying directly on Yitiao.
As the team pondered this idea without fulling committing to it, they soon reached ten million subscribers. It was clear then that there existed a bigger opportunity than advertising. The hypothesis they came up with was this: “Users love our content, because we showcase interesting products, designers, and indie brands. Why don’t we allow them to place orders right there?” 
In late 2015, the Yitiao created a lean test. The first item available for sale on Yitiao’s WeChat public account was a series of reprinted vintage style textbooks from the Republic of China era (1912–1949). This is a niche item with a relatively high price tag — 120 USD, but it tapped into the buzz around retro books and furnitures — people often acquired them as furnishings and collectibles. 
From a business perspective, the risk was minimum. Having these orders placed in advance would help book publishers budget their prints and eliminate stockpiled inventory. To test the profitability of this model, Yitiao even charged a hefty commission — 30% percent of the sale price. As Xu later put it, “this would be the cost to access to the aggregated high-intent target audience that individual Taobao shops would not able to reach on their own.”
The experiment was a surprise for everyone. In only two days, over 430 copies were sold, grossing $47,000 USD. A week later, the publisher not only cleared their inventory, they had to add more prints to match the influx of new orders.  By mid 2016, this book series alone would gross over $300,000 in sales. 
This proves their hypothesis and gave them the confidence to proceed. Content aside, Yitiao began selling products.
Don’t Sell Products, Sell Stories
With the newly hired technical staff, Yitiao built up a robust shopping experience inside their WeChat public account by early 2016.
They named it “Living Hall”. Two weeks after launch, Living Hall would gross over $1.5 million USD.
They continued the technical efforts and launched a stand alone iOS app seven months later. The app and the public account had the same interface so that users can access Yitiao wherever they preferred.
The difference between Yitiao and traditional ecommerce is that Yitiao treated ecommerce content like media content. Instead of showcasing a product’s specifications and features, Yitiao focused on what the story behind the object was.
They typically chose well designed products, and told stories about the inspirations and the craft behind those designs. “We called this adding warmth to cold objects. The value was not just in the products, the value was in how people used the products. A lot of that can be conveyed through storytelling — by revealing inspirations, problems and successes behind each object.” Xu explained later. 
One of their most interesting cases was the novel S. It had an innovative format for a novel. The printed text formed its own complete story, but added to it were scribbles in the book margins from two people . These marks and annotations by these two voices were done throughout the book. Included in the book package were also photos, maps, and documents. Altogether these artifacts added a story on top of a story.
This book sold only 20,000 copies in America. Yitiao contacted the publisher and secured presale rights for 25,000 copies in China. Again the results astonished everyone. In two days, the presale copies were all gone. Over the subsequent years, the book grossed over $656,000 USD. For someone who came out of the publishing industry, Xu realized that this was unprecedented.
The next case even further solidified Yitiao’s belief in this model.
Mao Wang Radio was a brand that designed and manufactured a retro style radio. It had were many sales channels, but its Yitiao presence was the fastest growing. By the end of 2016, they’ve grossed over $1.1 million on the platform.
Reflecting on Growth
Yitiao was growing at a rate of two million followers per month for the year 2016. By 2017, it had reached 30 million followers. Fast forward to the end of 2017, with more than 500 suppliers and tens of thousands of SKUs ranging from cosmetics to furnitures, the company’s ecommerce business netted more than 234 million USD in revenue. 
They’ve also raised three more rounds of financing and amassed a war chest of several hundreds of million. Through this process their valuation also grew north of $500 million USD. 
Xu reflected on why their business grew so quickly.
“If you look at our videos, they are all about people, whether they are designers, artists, authors or just someone with an unique perspective. It is very natural to discuss their lifestyles, objects in their lives, and their products. This is something that audiences feel acceptable. When a story’s angle is about a person, how that person tells their story, and their challenges, the details of their lives become much closer. The objects, spaces, and products behind that person become much more interconnected with us.”
He continued. “Many of the small yet beautiful brands struggle to survive because they cannot reach their audience, and many of the larger and more banal platforms such as Taobao and JD.com cannot easily good products that match the tastes of the middle class. I think Yitiao has created a path in that middle space. That’s why we’ve been successful.”
“For people who don’t mind spending a little extra, the cost of searching and browsing is actually very high. It is almost impossible to compare the various items on their functions and utilities. Yitiao aims to be that trusted platform where quality has been vetted and where shopping is more about feeling rightthan comparing right.” 
The effect of Yitiao’s success has reshaped China’s media and ecommerce landscape. More and more startups are creating videos, some are directly copying Yitiao’s model. Content-to-Ecommerce has become the new buzzword of the day.  Also as the proliferation of content and ecommerce ramps up, Yitiao’s user growth has plateaued.
We want to be better than MUJI.
One of the executives said in an interview in 2016. But how? The executive didn’t elaborate. Making such a bold statement made Yitiao appear arrogant in hindsight.
Indeed, there are many challenges ahead. Their current bottleneck revolves around the need to vet tens of thousands of products and they enter the platform. Judging from user feedback online, the process is somewhat flawed and has not been able to scale well, now that their SKU is in the tens of thousands.
Perhaps another Achilles’ heel is its inconsistent customer experience, which is indicative of a bigger problem, that aside from product curation, a fantastic ecommerce experience requires quality assurance, operational excellence, efficiency in logistics, and above and beyond customer support — a whole slew of efforts that Yitiao’s model doesn’t account for. 
It’s impossible to know how big the issues are in aggregate, but online reviews reveal that issues are common. One user wrote about her experience and went on to speculate that the product she bought was not in fact an original import, as claimed on Yitiao. This was a serious accusation for a platform that prides itself on quality and trustworthiness.
There was no follow-up to that thread, so it’s impossible to know what happened. Another user claimed that out of three dozens of products she ordered on Yitiao, only about a dozen were satisfactory.  She explained that it was impossible to return most of those items, because they were labelled as “rare” and “sourced with great difficulty”, which are euphemisms for “no returns”.
Aside from these reviews, there has also been pushback on Yitiao’s content. This Weibo post illustrates that sentiment.
The protagonists in ‘Yitiao’ videos, either own hotels, or built houses by hand for their loved ones, or bought islands, or spent $400k renovating rented residences in the center of Beijing. Rather than calling it Yitiao, it should be called The Rich.
— BaoZhaTaiZi, (V — verified Weibo) 
Xu admitted that the content and format of their videos cannot stay the same forever. There is a need to refresh and redesign that is much faster than magazines, he said in an interview in 2016. 
However, despite these challenges, Yitiao strives forward. Similar to how Michelin created content to expand the appeal of the entire auto industry, and how IKEA created meticulous showrooms to bring lifestyle and design education to customers, Yitiao is combining content, lifestyle and ecommerce in new and interesting ways. There is a long way to go, but so far it’s been an exciting ride.
I hope, that was an inspring story about an editor’s career change. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.
Landing page is a special website creating mostly for lead generation. If you don’t know, what lead generation is, read this! Lead Generation. By the way, the picture above is my website. Check it out: SEO Services. Most visitors see it after clicking on an online ads e.g. Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads etc., which is part of digital marketing. This website doesn’t have much information. Only the most necessary information like your advantages you will get by filling out the contact details. In this example it is getting more traffic, leads or sales as an offer. Other landing pages offer free ebooks, podcasts, courses, guides, cheat sheets, webinars, trial software etc. Another feature is, that it has a call to action button. In this example, it is „Get a quote“. Other call to action buttons can be „Submit your property“, „Get started“, „Subscribe“, „Make an appointment“ etc.
So all in all a website is to inform for example about their services, how many staffs they have, about their history, testimonials etc. So it is more about information. A landing page is specially designed for lead generation. To get contact details from you in exchange for nice incentives.
The number one key performance indicator is the conversion rate. Conversions mean, that someone clicked on the call to action button for example to request a quote, to sign for the newsletter etc. The conversion rate is the percentage of the amount of the web visitor clicking on the CTA button out of the total number of web visitors. A typical conversion rate is about 2% to 5%. A low conversion rate can mean, that what you offer is not appealing enough. The design of the landing page is not intuitive or just simply you didn’t target the right group.
One of the best way to increase your conversion rate, is to do A/B testing also known as split testing. A term from the web development, which is kind of out of topic, because it has nothing to do with marketing, but never mind, it is digital marketing. Don’t forget about that. A/B test is showing your web visitors 2 versions of your landing page to see, which one of them has a higher conversion rate. The 2 version can have different texts, pictures, call to action buttons etc. For example you can find out, whether a red logo converts more than a blue logo or the call to action button should be below the picture or next picture.
The big advantage is, that investing in A/B tests give you more leads than increasing the budget for paid traffic, which is money saving and effective. When you run the A/B test, having a look at the bounce rate is also a good indicator, whether your design is appealing enough. To be able to get a reliable conclusion, you should have enough traffic, which shouldn’t be a problem for ppc campaigns. Besides running the variation with 302 temporary redirect, so that it won’t have impact on SEO. A wine company could increase 200% of conversions! A good A/B test tool is Google Optimize.
That was basically it about landing pages. I hope, you like it. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.
Let’s face it. Your blog is stagnating. You keep checking your traffic for signs of growth but … none! The chart is as flat as a pancake. You desperately need to do something different, but what? Be honest — you’re baffled by all the options. And the endless stream of advice from the traffic experts only makes things worse. Don’t worry though. You’re not alone. At Canva, we were facing this challenge with our design blog, Design School. So we completely reengineered our blog strategy — and the results blew us away.
Find out exactly what we did. And how you can do it too: How to increase your traffic within 60 days!
Step 1: Reverse Engineer Your Competitors’ Content
If your traffic has stagnated, a common response is to generate more content. Because more content equals more traffic from Google, right? But quantity of content often comes at the expense of quality, so we took some time to consider our content strategy.
How to increase your traffic: First, we revisited our original vision for Design Blog — to teach and inspire people to learn design. And while we still loved that idea, a vision isn’t the same as a goal. We needed something more concrete and actionable that we could implement. So we decided to focus on improving the quality of our content. And our goal became to create the best possible content to teach and inspire people around design.
But to do that, we needed to find out what the best content on our topic actually looked like. So we reverse engineered the most popular content of our competitors to find out what content performs best.
This process is useful for two reasons:
It reveals the topics that are most popular among your target audience.
It reveals what type of content works well. For instance, are list posts the most effective? Do successful posts use lots of images?
Here’s how we reverse engineered our competitors — and how you can do the same.
If you’re not sure who your competitors are, perform a simple Google search using keywords or phrases common to your topic. Bloggers that rank in Google for those terms are likely to compete for the same audience as you.
Use Buzzsumo to Find Socially Popular Posts
The first tool — Buzzsumo — is indispensable, which is probably why it’s so popular among content strategists. In a nutshell, Buzzsumo shows you which pieces of content performed well on social media for any given topic or website.
Here, for example, is a screenshot of Smart Blogger’s top-three posts in the last year (according to the number of shares each post received):
Competitor analysis is invaluable because there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for quality content. Different types of content perform best for different audiences. So, from Smart Bloggers’s top-three results, what can we conclude?
First, big lists do well. And if you study Buzzsumo’s results for the rest of Smart Blogger, you’ll see this pattern plays out nicely. Also, if you look at Copyblogger and other popular blogs in this space, you’ll find a similar trend.
Second, people like comprehensive resources. And they would rather be given the answers (e.g., the exact words to cut from their writing) than be given broad principles that require more work to interpret.
This is also true in our space where there’s more demand for free templates, icons and color-combinations than for information on how to create them. Here’s the takeaway. Buzzsumo can quickly give you direction for your content. Not just the popular topics, but the most effective type of content too.
Use Quora to get Fresh Angles on Popular Topics
The second awesome place to do research is Quora. If you’ve noticed from your Buzzsumo research that particular topics perform well, Quora will give you a unique sell for those topics by finding new angles to take.
After all, you don’t want to just copy your competitors. Their top-performing content can point you in the right direction, but tools like Quora can help you add value by covering topics that haven’t yet been fully explored.
For example, in our Buzzsumo research, we found that articles about fonts consistently performed well for other design publications. To double-check our finding, we plugged this keyword into Google Keyword Planner and found that keywords related to “font” received nearly 800K monthly searches as a whole:
Going back to Quora, here’s an example of the results when I searched for “fonts”:
After examining these results, we decided to write an article about choosing fonts. But we didn’t stop there.
You’ll notice that the first result has a grey star next to it, which is Quora’s way of determining which questions have high-quality answers. We noticed that lots of the answers in the thread were from design authorities. And such answers had an impressive amount of upvotes.
So we added this touch, too, by framing the fact that a designer had written the post in the title. (The majority of our writers are designers, too.) This article was the result, and it received over 5k shares.
Study Blog Archives to Discover Evergreen Topics
In addition to using Buzzsumo and Quora to benchmark the popular content in our space, we studied every post several of our major competitors ever published. It was a lot of work, so why did we do it? Because most content research tools have a flaw — they are biased toward the new.
Due to the sheer amount of content published on the web, many of these tools will only surface the most recent ones. Buzzsumo, for example, only goes back to the past year. That’s a problem because some topics will always be popular. We call this evergreen content. Grammar tips, for example, are useful today and will still be useful 50 years from now. If you don’t look at historical content, you could miss these important topics.
A positive side effect of this exercise is that you also get a clear vision of what your community looks like. The more familiar you become with your community, the better your content will be as a result.
How to increase your traffic. Step 2: Find Out What Your Readers Really Want
Other than your competitors, you have another useful source of content intelligence: your readers. Because while content research can reveal topics that are already popular, it won’t reveal the topics that readers are only just beginning to get excited about. Here are a couple ways to find out what your readers want to read about right now.
Come right out and ask them
It seems obvious, right? Yet not nearly enough blogs do it. If you go to Design School and subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll get a personal thank-you note. In that note, we also ask people about their biggest challenge — even if it has nothing to do with design. And many people tell us! This achieves two useful goals.
How to increase your traffic: First, it shows us the conversations already in their minds. And even though our subscribers often think a particular issue has nothing to do with design — like increasing traffic, for example — in truth, design can help them solve a lot of these issues.
How to increase your traffic: Second, it shows them that we care. It’s easy to get caught up in your own strategy and let blog traffic feed your ego. But in the blogging world, your fans’ success is your success. Content that is genuinely helpful is genuinely engaging — and this principle should drive your editorial process.
Observe their reading and sharing habits
Never assume your readers are only interested in your content. Don’t consider them consuming content elsewhere an insult; instead, learn from what else they like to read. You can do this manually by clicking through the Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook pages of people who’ve shared your posts on these platforms.
Or, use Buzzsumo and select the option to “view sharers” on any of your articles.
From there, you can investigate further by looking at other links they’ve shared.
You’d be surprised how many of your readers also frequent this other blog you’ve never heard of. In fact, this was how we discovered a lot of our competitors to begin with!
How to increase your traffic. Step 3: Follow The Data — Not Your Gut
Now that you know what your competitors write about, and what your readers want, you should have a long list of topics you know there’s a demand for. You should also have an idea of the quality you should be striving to meet. That’s the benchmark set by your competitors. But while the research process may already have given you some ideas for what types of content are popular, don’t make any guesses or assumptions without analyzing the data in full.
Below is the checklist we used to determine our new quality standard, along with our findings. The questions evolved naturally from seeing where our existing content differed from our competitors’.
How to increase your traffic: These research-backed findings replaced our gut-driven approach we had used to determine what our articles should look like. The lesson: make decisions based on hard data — not guesswork. You’d be surprised how many people go through steps 1 and 2 but are reluctant to implement their findings.
They would say things like:
“But really, who is going to read 3,000 words online!”
“But I don’t want to write about <popular topic>. It’s been written to death!”
“These topics are so shallow. I want to write about something deeper.”
But we found that following the data led to significantly improved results.
How to increase your traffic. Step 4: Pick the Best Headline You Can (But Prepare to be Wrong)
The previous three steps will give you the data you need to create the content that realizes your vision for your blog. You won’t be surprised to hear that headlines are crucial. But you may be surprised to learn that you’ll never find the perfect one. Not on the first attempt anyway.
How to increase your traffic: We simply decided to change it and repost it — and it’s since received more than 70,000 shares across various social media networks. The point is that by adjusting the title and re-posting it on social media, we made what would be just-another-post into a viral one. You can do this kind of headline evolution manually or invest in a plugin like Kingsumo, that will do it automatically for you.
How to increase your traffic. Step 5: Create Content That’s Concrete and Credible
Having the right headline only gets you so far. We knew we’d never realize our vision unless the content truly helped people learn about design. So another change we made — led by our research — was to use lots of examples and case studies in our articles. And even though this was revealed by a study of our topic — design — a lot of evidence suggests it works great for many other topics too.
How to increase your traffic: For us this meant a shift away from the tutorial based articles we created in house. Although they were already quite popular (many receiving up to 1k shares), that seemed to be the extent of their potential as articles. (They were secondary to our hugely popular interactive design tutorials.)
And a great way to demonstrate credibility is to publish a case study. Like this one you’re reading right now. I am not a “certified content strategist” — but I’ve created and applied a successful content strategy for Canva, so that gives me credibility, right?
How to increase your traffic: The other trick for grounding your content in the real world? Make your posts concrete. That means include step-by-step instructions — tell people exactly what to do. Instead of saying, “Promote your blog,” do what Brian Dean did with this post. He made liberal use of screenshots and examples — complete with templates you can use right away. Compare that to a generic post about blog promotion and you’ll realize this: concrete advice proves you know what you’re doing.
How to increase your traffic. Step 6: Add Images (No, More Than That)
I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Visual content gets shared more. (Jeff Bullas wrote about how articles with images get 94% more views than those without.) Like most bloggers, we thought we understood this, so we always included a featured image with our blog posts to make it more social-friendly. But looking back, we didn’t really understand the power of images. We thought we did, but we didn’t. Not until we conducted our research.
How to increase your traffic: While we were studying our competitors, we noticed how they not only have multiple images in each post, but they also often have many of them. So we decided to systematically increase the number of images in our posts to see the effect. And sure enough, the more images we used, the more traffic increased. Here, for example, is our traffic from Pinterest in the same period:
Look what happens when you search for Design School on Pinterest. It’s flooded — not with featured images, but with graphics from our picture list posts.
However, this doesn’t mean you should randomly pepper your posts with stock photography. The images need to make sense in context — and add value to your post. Like the screenshots and charts in this post. Or take this post on Design School as an example. It’s one of our most popular posts on Pinterest, getting over 700 pins. And it wasn’t a particularly lengthy post — but it does contain a lot of relevant images. If you don’t know what type of images to create for your blog posts, Pamela Wilson has a great article about that here.
The Results of our 60-Day Content Experiment
We ran our content experiment on our Design School blog for sixty days — from the end of January to the end of March 2015. Compared to the preceding three-months period, we saw a 226% increase in traffic:
Oh and guess what? Our traffic from social during that period increased too — by nearly 500%! Even though we’d all but ignored our social media growth strategy during that time. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:
How did we manage it? It was a result of the strategic changes we made to our blog. Not our Facebook page or any other social platform. Our content was higher quality and resonated more strongly with our audience, so they naturally shared it more on social media. Pretty awesome, right?
Stop Stagnating and Start Strategizing
Blog stagnation is a terrifying prospect. Because stagnation is usually followed by decline — and then demise. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. A bold new strategy can jolt your blog out of its rut. But how will you find that strategy? On what will it be based? The latest recommendations from the expert du jour?
An unidentifiable gut feeling about the right direction to take? Or something else altogether? In truth, building a popular blog is not about holding out for the perfect strategy. It’s about relentless testing and knowing that you don’t need to do everything right to succeed. It’s about research, experimentation, and gaining a deep understanding of your readers and your competitors.
At Canva, we shifted our strategy and it made a huge difference to our traffic — in just 60 days. We couldn’t have done it if we skipped any the steps above. We’ve had our breakthrough; now it’s time for you to have yours. Because visions are far more exciting when you can see them made real.
Lead generation is to convert strangers into someone, who is interested in your products and services, which is called a lead. Now, when you call that lead, it is not a cold call any more, because that person already knows you, which leads to less rejections. In terms of marketing, lead generation is also called as inbound marketing, because potential customers come to your website to inform themselves. So you don’t have to catch their attention. That would be outbound marketing. It is already the 2nd step, which is called convert. In terms of sales funnel, it is already the 2nd step, which is called interest. So before that is awareness. In this article we focus on online lead generation. One of many ways to make someone aware of your products or services is to do SEO. Read this! What is SEO?
In terms of digital marketing in order to convert someone, who are aware of what you offer to someone, who is interested in your products or services, the best way to do it, is to use landing pages, where you can get contact details from that person like email address, address, age, phone number etc. Anything, that you need to know from that person in order to further market them into the next step of the sales funnel, which is the decision phase. In order to get those leads, you have to give them some incentives like free ebook, cheat sheet, trial software, demos, courses, newsletters, podcasts, webinars etc. Another way to generate leads is to use social media. You can run contests e.g. on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. A fun way of lead generation. By the way LinkedIn is the best social network for lead generation by far. Additonally, you can answer questions on Quora. Here is an example: Quora – How can I generate more leads? Besides blogging consistently also creates leads. There is also a lead generation tool. One of the most popular tools is Lead Formly, but my Agency is also able to provide you a great landing page: Sites4Businesses and SEO: SEO Services.
Buying leads is like doing cold calls. Those people don’t know you and they might label you as spam and put your emails e.g. in a spam folder. That’s why lead qualification is important. Read this! Lead qualification. Many businesses struggle with high quality leads. In order to get that, you have to provide high quality content, promotion and SEO. SEO helps you to get the right people on your content. Read this! What is SEO?
If you want to know, whether you are getting enough leads, you can do a benchmark to find out, whether you are doing well compared to others. So costs per lead can vary between $10 to $100. To get a lead from the IT industry is the most expensive, where the costs is about $100, but how do you calculate costs per lead? Just divide the ppc with the amount of leads you have. So if you spend e.g. $5000 on ppc ads like Facebook Ads or Google AdWords and you get 50 leads out of it, the cost per lead would be $5000/50 leads = $100 per lead. Most of the companies have less than 1000 leads per month, but those, who gets leads are also more successfull. So getting leads is crucial.
Many business owners feel that they don’t need SEO because they obtain most of their business through word of mouth referrals. Although word of mouth marketing is an effective way to bring in business and build up your reputation, it’s not a scalable way to grow your business. Search engine optimization, on the other hand, is. Read on to learn six ways, how SEO can boost your business.
SEO is an important part of referral marketing because people who hear about your company will want to look it up, but they won’t always remember the name. However, if they remember that it was a tailoring service in Chicago, for example, they can type that into Google and, if you’ve done your SEO homework, find your business.
Casual conversations that are great for word of mouth marketing are bad for remembering things. If your word of mouth leads are coming from a situation that isn’t conducive to writing things down, you could be missing out on a lot of business.
3. SEO Shows You Care About Your Business
SEO is a basic way to get your website found online and is extremely important for businesses without a storefront. Optimizing your SEO shows that you care about your business and makes it easier for people to see that.
4. SEO Bolsters Your Business Reputation
Getting to the first page can give you a sense of accomplishment (and maybe even power), but it does more than that. As a potential customer, you feel that you can trust companies that rank high in Google searches. If a customer can’t find a business on the first page of Google, we usually think there is something wrong with the business. SEO boosts your ranking in search engines, putting you at the top of the page and at the forefront of the minds of your target audience.
5. SEO Makes Other Businesses Take Notice
Customers aren’t the only ones who notice when you rank on the first page in Google searches. Competitors and other businesses do too. One of the basic marketing concepts for small businesses is being in someone’s mind or first in their Google search when they’re looking for a business like yours.
It’s easy to get referrals from customers who already know about your business. But there’s something better than that – Referrals from other businesses who have customers of their own! The bigger the referrer, the bigger the buzz about your business!
6. SEO Gives You Targeted and Sustainable Traffic
The traffic you will get is targeted, so there are more likely to buy your products or services. Besides the targeted traffic is sustainable. Once the work is done the traffic still keeps coming without further do.
7. SEO Builds Credibility and Awareness
Google is a trustful software. If you are ranked on Google, it means, that you are trustworthy. It is a fact that people trust the listing of Google. It also means, that your brand is reputable.
8. SEO Is More Efficient
Compared to online paid advertising ppc, SEO has a higher conversion rate. Why? Because your ad can display on top right away regardless, if you are trustworthy or not. That’s why people trust Google results. Organic traffics have up to 3x times higher conversion rates.
A lot of people assume that the rich live in mansions, take lavish vacations, and dine in fancy restaurants every night. Nothing could be further from the truth. A small percentage of the well-to-do may live that way, but as Thomas Stanley and William Danko pointed out in the best-selling Millionaire Next Door, most of the people in the nation’s highest tax brackets live modestly and look no different from the less affluent.
They own moderately priced used cars and drive them until they’re on a first-name basis with their mechanic. They live in modest homes in average, middle-class neighborhoods. They clip coupons. They cook and eat at home. They buy their clothes off the rack and on sale. They drink beer rather than champagne. Most importantly, they don’t spend more than they earn–they live well below their means and invest the surplus in things that are important to them and will provide for their long-term well-being.
2. They don’t try to keep up with the Jones‘.
They don’t try to impress anyone. They don’t belong to exclusive clubs or host lavish parties. If they belong to a social or sports club, it’s usually to network or further their business interests. When they engage in such activities, they usually get a return on their investment. They understand that lifestyle creep–buying a more impressive home, driving a pricier car, or wearing fancier clothes–is a danger to their pocketbook.
3. They work for themselves.
The rich tend to be entrepreneurs in boring but stable industries. They understand that it’s difficult to increase their own fortunes if they spend their days working to pad someone else’s bank account. They know that when you own your own business and can supply a product or service for which there’s a steady need, you will likely do well and never want for an income.
4. They don’t provide financial life support to others.
They worked hard to earn their money–they didn’t inherit it or win it in the lottery–and because it wasn’t handed to them they believe that it shouldn’t simply be handed to others. When family or friends ask for a loan, they may say yes but there will likely be conditions and it will likely be for something that empowers the recipient (i.e., money for education or a business venture).
5. They make sure their money works as hard as they do.
They save religiously. They invest in their retirement (and non-retirement accounts) without fail. They educate themselves about their money by tracking how much is coming in, how much is going out, and how to get the best return on their money. Ultimately, the rich achieve that status not through their earnings but through their day-to-day habits–habits all of us can try to emulate.
I hope, you like this article about money habits. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.
There are some tricks bloggers use to increase traffic. Here are some hacks!
Tag people. Whether you share your content on Facebook or Twitter, you can tag them too to make them pay attention to your post.
Use long tail keywords, because it is easier to get ranked for it.
Add social sharing buttons for easier sharing. Besides, it is also a signal of social proof. I have an article, which is shared over 500 times! That way you also know, that this topic is in demand and you should write more articles about it.
Submit your blog articles. You can submit it to Bizsugar, Hacker News, Reddit etc.
Blog as much as possible. The more content you have, the better insight, you will have, which blog article people wants to read or are interested in.
Join HARO. Haro stands for help a reporter and it can give you backlinks.
Be active on Quora to gain more reach. It has about 200 million visitor per month!
That’s basically it. Quick and informative without much blabla. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.
Do you like sleeping? Do you like money? Here is an article about, how to make money while sleeping. Do you remember in the past we were warned to be careful about being in debt because interest never stopped charging us, interest never slept, never took a day off, never took a holiday. Well the reverse is true, as well.
Is your money making money while you sleep? Does it sound too good to be true? Since we still live in the age of the internet, it’s not that difficult to earn extra money on the side. With that in mind, here are 11 ways that you can actually earn money while you sleep.
If you’re knowledgeable in a certain area, then you can start creating products, such as eBooks or videos, and selling them on your blog. It may take a lot of work to create and market your products, but once all the leg work is over, you can just set back and collect the proceeds.
Create a membership community:If you’ve proven yourself to be a authority figure, then you can create a membership community where you pay a monthly fee to receive additional high-quality content and information that’s not available to non-members.
One of my favorite examples is Timothy Sykes who makes more than $100,000 per month in passive income through his membership community which discusses how people can make money in trading penny stocks.
Flip websites: If you’ve put in the time and effort in building a website and you have gained a lot of traffic, then you may be able to sell it to an interested party by listing on marketplaces like Flippa.
Create your own ecommerce store:You can also launch your own eCommerce store by using Shopify. They literally give you everything you need to sell products online from a complete online shop to including buy buttons on your social media channels. US Americans like dropshipping.
Invest in stocks: When you invest in stocks you become a stakeholder. That entitles you to a share of their profits. Investing in stocks has been a popular way to earn a passive income for years, and thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to research and invest in stocks on your own.
Rent out your property: The bigger the city you are in, the more rental income, you can get. Besides, it will be also easier to find tenants.
Now, you have a rough idea, how to make money while sleeping. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.