Tip of the Week September 24, 2012
Volume: 2 | Issue: 38

Thanks for indulging us over the last few weeks with our Web-focused weekly tips. We here at BookManager just want to stress the importance of having a good web presence and maintaining it. And since we feel quite strongly about the matter, in a tender way of course, here is a checklist of sorts that applies to both your own site, and/or your BookManager-hosted WebStore.

Web Checklist

Google yourself
How do you look in the results? Do you even show up? Are there pictures? Store hours? Contact info? Is the information displayed current? So many questions we know! Try googling a few other bookstores in your area as well, see how they show up - are they doing something that you're not? Take notes!

Get a domain name
Keep it relatively short and simple, something that is easy for your customers to remember and easy enough to "brand" - think about putting it on receipts, bookmarks, bags, signs, etc! It's also worth considering getting both the .com and .ca domains for your store, since it's usually only a few dollars extra. And, if you have a BookManager WebStore, don't forget to contact us to link up your domain with the site. We have helped a few stores register with netfirms, but there are many options out there - so don't hesitate to ask us for help!

Site logo
Keep it clean and simple. Feel free to even include some basic/brief info such as store hours, phone number, or even website - so in a glance, people simply see your logo and know some of the important details about you!

Personality
Does your site have flair? Besides making sure you have done the basics, like putting your hours/contact info, have you added some staff pictures? Or some fun staff picks and lists? One of the most important parts of having an online presence is ensuring that the same charm and pizzazz your loyal customers have grown to love in store, is also featured on your sites. It should simply be an extension of your staff and your store, so it is vital that you and your staff are involved in "look" of the site.

Sign up with Google Analytics AND Google Places
Google Analytics lets you track the visitors and traffic on your site - it's a free, simple and easy way to know more details about the customers that are visiting you. It also provides important information, like what keywords were used to get your site, as well as what pages are clicked, etc. Signing up with Google Places is simple and one of the best things you can do to increase your searchability. When a customer looks you up, it's nice to see your site, a map, as well as any pictures you may have uploaded to your site. It makes you stand out, so taking the few minutes to do it is absolutely worth it. Remember, phone books are a way of the past - people are using the internet, and Google, to search for stuff - including you!

Maintenance
Admittedly, there is some time and effort required in the beginning to get your site up and running and feeling polished enough to make it "live" - but once you have done all that, it's easy to maintain it - and that, is the key. We have all been to sites that have super old posts and information that makes us instantly wonder, "geez, is this place even still open?" People look to the internet now for information, and that includes your store, so we can't stress this enough - it is absolutely crucial that you keep things fresh and current on your site. Again, look at it like your store; if you take the time to update the displays and windows, then you should definitely take a couple of minutes a week to do the same online.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions - we have worked with quite a few of you to get the ball rolling on your online stores, so we have some experience. Even if it is just hand holding, or a virtual high five, we are here and ready!

and now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Brushing up your Searching Techniques

These apply to both your regular local inventory keyword search, as well as a PgUp TitleLink search.

1 . Using the $ symbol after your keyword. The $ acts as a "within" and includes variations on the word. This is a good way to search if you or your customer doesn't have too much information about the title, except for say, one keyword. Example, I am searching for Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk With Me, so instead of typing the full title, I will simply key in Sleepwalk$ and hit either enter or PageUp. My results will include titles that have the word sleepwalk, as well as other similar words, such as sleepwalks, sleepwalkers, sleepwalking, etc.


2. Using the ! symbol after your keyword. This will locate titles that specifically have the keyword you entered, and no variations on it. Using the same example, Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk With Me, the ! symbol would actually be better suited to my needs - as it will exclude other forms of the word, and get me just titles with sleepwalk.

3. Using the edition, supplier, class, author, notes - basically, most inventory fields in the keyword search. This is a super great time saver, especially if you, or your customer has specifics about the book they are looking for. Again, using Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk With Me as the example, simply type in the keywords field sleepwalk mike - and I will get all results with both mike[author] and sleepwalk[title] in them, so this is a quick way to being up different editions of just this title.

Now, along a similar note, you can use the other fields of the inventory card to narrow down your search results even more. Again, using Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk With Me, let's say my customer wants to just know about the paperback [pb] editions of this title - simply type in sleepwalk mike pb and viola! - only paperback results.

So, continuing on with the different inventory card fields, try to use things like supplier, class, notes etc, in combination with a keyword to bring you a more specific search result. Say the customer comes in saying, "There is this Mike guy from the comedy channel who wrote a book about sleepwalking - I'm looking for the paperback edition of that - you got it?" You can use the keyword, edition, author AND notes fields to bring up exactly the title your customer is looking for. It's like keyword searching magic!

And of course, you can use the $ and ! symbols along with most fields of the inventory card to get more accurate search results. Play around with a variety of different searches in the keyword field, and get familiar with the various results. Here at Mosaic, we use the keyword field 80-90% of the time to find the titles our customers want - we find that the different combinations of searches we are able to do, returns both broad or narrow results - but they are always specific to the information we enter in the field, thus making our searches super efficient. Type in some keywords now and see for yourself!