I know, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Your website isn’t about you, it’s about your users.
Ok, but what if my users really like highlighter yellow, but I can’t stand to look at my own website because of it?
Well, you may have a point. Let’s chat.
For business owners entering into the website redesign process, personal preference can feel like taboo at this point.
In the presence of design and development professionals, why do your opinions matter? And, since you need to be focused solely on your users, your ideas around how your brand is presented are null and void, right?
It’s a hard truth: not everyone who comes in contact with your brand will end up buying from you. But with the help of an e-commerce marketing funnel, you can turn more people’s curiosity into paid purchases.
When some business owners hear the words “marketing funnel”, they start to think of the most convoluted way to market their e-commerce business.
I’m here to tell you, that’s not necessary.
You can easily design an e-commerce marketing funnel that can help to optimize your marketing efforts and increase your online sales. The truth is that the not-so-secret sauce to a successful e-commerce store is an amazing marketing funnel.
For this e-commerce marketing funnel, we’ll be focusing on the following:
Let’s get started!
To give you an idea of how you’ll be setting up your e-commerce marketing funnel, below is Sumo’s perfect representation of it:
Smart Insights found out that, on average, 43.8% of your site visitors view a product page, and only 3.3% of them end up making a purchase. That’s a drastic drop, but it gives you an idea of how many visitors make it down an e-commerce funnel. This is what happens during a buyer’s journey.
Understanding your buyer’s journey is important because ultimately, every good funnel is modeled after your customer’s first point of contact to the final stage of making a purchase.
In the first three stages of your funnel – Awareness, Interest, and Decision – the buyer’s journey plays a significant role in pushing your potential lead to the last step, making them a repeat customer.
Buyers in this stage: This buyer recently interacted or found your content online, through a social media post, or they may have visited your website for the first time while searching online for a particular topic or keyword.
They’ve just been made aware of your brand, but they probably aren’t familiar with your services or products. They might not have even considered the solution to the problem your products can solve.
During this stage, your first impression matters the most. Blue Corona found that 47% of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less before they opt out, making your website load time just one of the many things that can turn people away from the first stage of your funnel.
If only people would come to our website and make purchases without a second thought. Unfortunately, that’s not how people shop online.
Before we even consider the buyer that just landed on your website or came in contact with your brand, you’ll need to do a few things to bring more of them your way. Not everyone knows about your brand, so your job is to work on your awareness.
Overall, no matter what you do for this stage in your ecommerce funnel, your main goals for this stage are building your profile and trust among new visitors and potential customers.
78% of respondents said that companies’ social media posts impact their purchases. If you don’t have a presence on social media or you’re not as active, you’ve missed out on more than your fair share of new customers.
Brands like Glossier grow a cult-like following on social media where customers consistently spread the word on their products online and off. Instagram is a large part of the brand’s success and increase in sales. In fact, when they first launched in 2017, they relied solely on Instagram to promote their products. It proved to be the right move.
When you take a closer look at Decoding Glossier’s Instagram Marketing Strategy, being proactive on Instagram pays off when it’s done right.
When you use social media, be sure to cover all your bases if you want to see real results. You can download your free social media checklist here (no email required!).
Pro Tip: Looking for more ways to harness the power of social media? Here’s a guide to point you in the right direction to find out Which Social Media Marketing Platform is Right for Your Business.
Forbes found that 74% of consumers say there has been a direct link between watching a video on social media and purchasing something.
Brands like Home Depot have been leaders in video content marketing for their products and services, raking in millions of viewers per month. This video, in particular, has over 75,000 viewers and the engagement to match.
Promote your video on social media and other platforms to not only boost visits to your website, but to also keep potential customers on your site for longer. You can create videos like:
Pro Tip: Despite the popularity of Instagram and Facebook, video content on Youtube lives longer and grows in engagement when compared to the two. YouTube is also the second largest search engine in the world. Consider putting your video content there first if you’re serious about video marketing and use these 18 Powerful Ways to Grow Your YouTube Channel.
Today, having a website for your business is just as important as the products you sell. 48% of people report that a website’s design is the primary factor in determining the credibility of a business. If your website design is outdated or unattractive, then you can be sure to see organic traffic turn back just as quickly as it comes.
The perfect example of a brand that’s seen a significant improvement in sales due to their website design would be the health brand New Chapter.
They used rigorous A/B testing to create the best possible user experience. Adding quizzes, product bundles and everything in between, New Chapter provides a personalized, choose-your-own-adventure experience for its customers and prospects.
New Chapter’s marketing team reported that in less than one year, their store has gone from a $0 to a thriving, seven-figure website, due to their extraordinary site design.
Pro Tip: From navigation to your home tab, there’s a lot that goes into creating a well designed website. Instead of clicking around to see what works, here’s a detailed guide on Website Creation Fundamentals That You Could Be Neglecting to improve your website.
If awareness is the name of the game, you should already know that SEO is the most important thing on this list. With 1.17 billion unique searches every month, you want to be at the top of the list when people search for topics or keywords related to your business once they click that search button Google.
Being #1 on Google drives 32.5% of the traffic to your website. That 32.5% decreases the further down you are in ranking.
If you haven’t been getting enough traffic to your website, your SEO ranking could be the main culprit. You can use this Ecommerce SEO Checklist to take an inside look at how you can improve your SEO.
Clothing brand Misguided takes their SEO marketing very seriously. In January 2018, if you Googled “jeans and a nice top”, not only would you get Misguided as the top result, but you’d see a news carousel pop up with articles from The Sun, Metro, Cosmopolitan and POPSUGAR showing off Misguided products that matched the search.
This all started with Misguided answering a tweet from a customer with a meme.
— Missguided (@Missguided) January 3, 2018
Which goes to show that SEO and social listening can make a powerful pair when looking for ways to increase sales and awareness.
— Missguided (@Missguided) January 15, 2018
Create a blog on your website to build up your SEO ranking. A blog allows you to create shareable and relevant content that your potential customers are searching for online. For example, Beardband sells, as you’d expect, beard oils and grooming tools. They write articles showing the reader how to take care of their beards and what types grooming tools would be best for them, helping to soft sell Beardband products.
If you already have a blog or you’re just starting you can try these (6 Tips to Easily Optimize Blog SEO for Search Engines)[https://blog.wishpond.com/post/65898762922/blog-seo-how-to-easily-optimize-your-blog-for-search] to grow your traffic and increase sales.
Buyers in this stage: This buyer has come in contact with your content more than once and is considering making a purchase. At this stage your content marketing is starting to pay off, your brand has begun to build trust with this buyer.
About 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying, and 71% of consumers believe it’s very or somewhat important that they recognise a brand before they make a purchase. This means that now more than ever, you need to be on the consumer’s mind before they lose interest or forget and buy from other brands.
That’s because they’re still in the consideration stage, not the purchasing stage. At this stage, it’s time to capture those leads with your newsletter, demo videos, downloadable content or connecting with them via social media.
During this stage in your e-commerce marketing funnel, a lot of potential customers either get lost or leave the funnel completely because they were left alone and their interest cooled. Avoid the mistake of relying solely on awareness to get your visitors to the purchase stage.
Here are some ways you can engage with your visitor in the consideration stage of your e-commerce marketing funnel:
Offering an email newsletter or free course teaching people about your products and the problems or pain points they solve with customer reviews.
Creating a content upgrade, such as a free eBook, a product sample, or a checklist to help your visitors solve their problem.
Engaging with your followers on social media by messaging them, tagging them, and responding to their comments.
Share your testimonials and reviews on all your online platforms. You want to make sure that no matter what stage or platform your potential customer is on, they see people who enjoy what you have to offer (and so potentially see themselves enjoying it as well).
Testimonials are so powerful that over 55% of shoppers claim that testimonials and reviews influence their buying decision.
The first step is to add a product review section to your ecommerce website. 78% of online shoppers value the availability of product reviews by other shoppers, as well as the opportunity to add their own. Reviews are simply UGC in words and comments.
Popular e-commerce stories like Amazon can attest to how powerful “the read reviews before buying” culture is on a website. Because of that, Amazon has maintained a strict policy towards safeguarding the trustworthiness of its reviews by banning sponsored reviews.
23% of consumers say that recommendations on social media influence their buying decisions and 86% of millennials say that UGC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand.
Taking all of this into account, UGC is one of the best ways to market your brand in this stage of your ecommerce funnel. Plus, UGC is free advertising from trusted customers.
User Generated Content is any type of content that has been created and posted by an unpaid customer, influencer or fan. It can refer to pictures, videos, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between, as long as it’s promoting your brand.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is why nothing compares to seeing another person rave about your product to the world. Preview App is an Instagram scheduling tool that prides itself on its community of Insta-savvy content creators who love their app.
Pro Tip: Take a look at Hubspot’s The 10 Best User-Generated Content Campaigns on Instagram, take notes and learn about ways you can incorporate some of that UGC magic into your online and social media efforts.
The key to writing your product descriptions isn’t exclusively to sell. Rather, it’s to explain how you solve a problem that the buyer has. You should ensure that your product’s benefits speak to someone who needs or wants to buy this to make their life better.
When Amazon promoted the new line of products from Belei, they didn’t talk about the price or list reasons you should buy it. They spoke about how each product was made without parabens, phthalates, or sulfates, and that they’d never tested on animals, targeting environmentally-conscious shoppers.
Another example is Bean Bar, who add a little personality to each one of their brews. Both in store and online, they speak about how the benefits of their products and what makes it so special.
Buyers in this stage: At this point in the funnel your visitor is has moved far from browsing products and is thinking of making a purchase…but they haven’t.
They’ve seen your content and customers that rave about your products. Now it’s time to give them a nudge towards the shopping cart.
Good customer service is hard to find, online and offline. If you were interested in buying a product from your favorite store and the sales rep ignored you, how often would you buy from that store?
Poor customer service cost more than the customer service rep you’d be paying. U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service.
You have to treat your e-commerce store just like a brick and mortar store. Yes, your customers can order and check out on their own, but they still need your customer service to help them complete the purchase.
To offer great customer service, you can add the following to your site and checkout process:
1. Live Chat
4. FAQ Pages
Take a look at Fashion Nova’s customer service efforts on their e-commerce website:
Fashion Nova even has a dedicated Twitter account for customer service to help their customers every step of the way.
90% of online shoppers prefer free shipping, even if their package takes longer to arrive.
88% of consumers say free return shipping is an important factor in their purchase decisions; that’s why this brand offers it with every order.
Toyshades is an example of how one brand increased sales with free shipping. They incorporated shipping costs into all their sunglasses, so they’re able to reduce friction associated with shipping costs during the checkout. They found that when a site had free shipping, it encouraged 93% of shoppers to buy more.
The buyer in this funnel has successfully passed the awareness, consideration, and the decision phase of your marketing funnel.
Once this visitor has clicked the “Complete Order” button, you’ve got yourself a sale. The problem is, you’ve lost a few leads going down the funnel, and the ones that are here are a bit hesitant.
So how do we make sure this buyer doesn’t change their mind, or start second guessing their purchase?
Just like an in-store customer, they want to look around for the best deals to make sure they’re saving before they make a final purchase. Which most likely means the visitors in this part of the funnel have already scouted out your competition and they’ve shortlisted your website.
At the end of the day, your job here is to convince the visitor that you’re way better than the competition.
Below are a few ways to tip the scales in your favor.
Earlier, we spoke about how important it is for consumers to find the best price for a product. Some die-hard deal seekers are willing to search high and low for the best deals before they pull the trigger and complete a purchase.
Discounts aren’t about losing money. As an e-commerce owner, they’re a way to build customer loyalty and increase the lifetime value of each customer. That’s how important they are to your customers.
You can showcase discounts everywhere. On popups, website banners, and sidebars. Never wait until after a user reaches the checkout to give them a special promotion.
With Wishpond’s Pop-up builders, you can offer your shoppers a free discount and offer with seamless integration and beautiful templates for opt-Iin pop-ups, sidebars and welcome mats that are sure to drive sales.
Most people choose to shop online because of the ease and convenience it provides, which is why some customers don’t mind creating user accounts to purchase products, while the majority just want to get in and out with their order without any hassle.
Account creation factors into 75% of customers who leave e-commerce stores without buying anything. If we’re crunching the numbers, it’s the reason [22% of users end up leaving a website], and 28% of all shoppers say that it’s part of the reason they never completed a purchase.
I’m dropping a lot of numbers here, but it’s to give you an understanding about how important account creation is in affecting your sales.
ASOS gives customers the option to sign in for orders using social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Users get quick access to user accounts, and companies get all of the information they need to proceed with the order.
You want to make your customers’ buying process as easy as 1-2-3, or they’ll get frustrated and leave. To avoid that, you can provide more than one trusted payment method.
Every day, new e-commerce websites are popping up, which makes consumers hesitant about who to trust with their credit card or banking information. One wrong slip and their account can get hacked. That’s why trust and transparency are crucial for e-commerce success.
Take notes from Shein, an online clothing brand that sells fashionable pieces to a global audience. They offer the most popular payment methods aside from your typical MasterCard and PayPal features.
It stings when you’re this close to getting a sale when a customer abruptly abandons ship and leaves their cart.
But don’t hold it against them. Maybe they were planning on completing their order when their boss needed an email asap, or they got lost in the rabbit hole of social media and forgot to complete their order.
The average cart abandonment rate is 67.91%, and it’s growing year by year. The best way to get customers back on track is to have a shopping cart abandonment strategy,. That means cart abandonment emails with discounts, offers, and free shipping, exit pop-ups and opt-in forms, and so much more. Here are 5 Proven Strategies to Combat Shopping Cart Abandonment.
Congrats! You now have a paying customer. This may be the smallest section and the most profitable.
But you don’t want a one night stand – you want a long term commitment; you want a repeat customer.
Never make the mistake of thinking that a customer might come back. That could give your competition the edge to steal away new or existing customers. Now is not the time to relax, so consider the following helpful tips if you want to increase your repeat customers.
The magic of retargeting ads is that they’re seen by people who simply clicked or visited your website or online content once. One click is all it takes.
Retargeted ads are mainly used on Instagram, Facebook, and Google. Retargeting works by placing a small cookie in a user’s browser. If that user leaves before making a purchase, you’re able to show them targeted ads to encourage them to come back.
Ready to create your own retargeting ad? Take a look at this guide on The Anatomy of a Retargeting Ad That Converts to help you get started.
Posting every now and then isn’t enough when it comes to social media. Now more than ever, social media is a competitive playground for business. Once a customer decides to follow you you need to be active to keep their attention on a busy social media feed.
Social media marketing isn’t just for new customers starting at the top of your funnel; it’s also for customers who need to be reminded of how awesome your products are and why they need to keep buying from you.
Wendy’s is a brand known to show off its personality and engage with customers on all of their social media platforms.
Social media contests are a great way to pick up sales and grow engagement with your brand online. Running a social media contest is relatively straightforward, as well as deciding what type of social media contest you want to run.
BarkBox sells monthly subscriptions of dog toys, treats, and chews. In 2016 they created their branded hashtag #BarkBoxDay to help drive awareness for their products. Since then, the hashtag has been used by over 173,665 Instagram posts and counting. and is a trending hashtag among the doggie community.
Barkbox doesn’t have many giveaways or contests on their page. Instead, they collaborate with dog-themed brands that host giveaways and contests aimed at getting more followers.
— slickdeals (@slickdeals) July 6, 2018
Book a free call to learn how our team of contest experts can help you create high converting social media contest today.
There you have it, the complete guide to set up an e-commerce marketing funnel that gets you customers and sales.
Before you’ve even finished setting up your e-commerce marketing funnel, you’ll begin to see potential customers come your way.
The key to continued success is to always be refining your marketing funnel. A/B test your funnel, try to add new designs or items, because no two marketing funnels are the same. One size doesn’t always fit all. You’ll need to find out what works specifically for your e-commerce store.
That’s a wrap!
What do you think? How do you plan to tackle your e-commerce marketing funnel?
Why do marketers routinely ignore one big thing that can make or break their marketing strategy?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Dan Gingiss talks about why customer experience trumps marketing every time – and how you as a marketer can create viral customer experiences.
Dan is an author, podcaster, keynote speaker, and noted customer experience expert who has headed up social media and customer experience for a slew of Fortune 500 companies. He has made it his business to curate examples of the best and worst customer experiences and distill the lessons learned into actionable strategies for companies looking to take their game to the next level.
In this week’s episode, Dan shares both why customer experience is so important as well as how marketers can develop a customer experience strategy, including actionable tips on things like writing marketing copy and getting more in touch with what your customers actually want and need.
This week’s episode of The Inbound Success Podcast is brought to you by our sponsor, IMPACT Live, the most immersive and high energy learning experience for marketers and business leaders. IMPACT Live takes place August 6-7, 2019 in Hartford Connecticut and is headlined by Marcus Sheridan along with special guests including world-renowned Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith and Drift CEO and Co-Founder David Cancel.
Inbound Success Podcast listeners can save 10% off the price of tickets with the code “SUCCESS”.
Some highlights from my conversation with Dan include:
Resources from this episode:
Since I joined the IMPACT sales team back in January of 2017, I’ve negotiated 100+ transactions between our company and new clients.
Through that process, I have dealt with a range of people on negotiating our agreements ranging from the legal counsel of global corporations to working directly with the company founders.
What I found surprising across all of these negotiations was how much of the transaction/timing/effort centered around discussing/clarifying terms in agreements like the Master Services Agreement (MSA), or the agreement we have with our clients.
In recent years, the e-commerce industry grew from $1.84 billion in 2016 to the estimated $3.45 billion this year.
Such growth causes a great increase in competition between businesses and motivates e-commerce marketers to look for new and effective ways to attract new clients and retain the existing ones.
Joseph Sugarman, one of the best advertisers from the 1990ies, compiled a list of psychological selling tricks that will help any seller or marketer to efficiently communicate with the customers and encourage them to make a purchase. Though being introduced dozens of years ago, these strategies remain relevant and are widely used in the field of e-commerce.
However, you can make use of them as well if you tune them to your business. Ready to learn how to sell more? The answers are below.
Let’s start with the most powerful and efficient motivator, which is a sense of urgency.
You can create a sense of urgency by:
A sense of urgency works amazingly well, especially if applied correctly. The information about the limited sale can be placed on the homepage and the information about limited product quantity will be relevant on the product’s page.
Even if a customer knows what he wants, he still needs to be convinced to buy from you. This is why you need to place a value proposition on almost every page of your online store (product pages and catalogs are a must!).
Such value props often come in the form of banners that inform shoppers about free delivery, a discount on the first purchase, or similar offers.
Shoppers trust other shoppers the same as they trust family or friends. Use it for your benefit and incorporate real customers’ reviews to your store.
Place the reviews on the product page so the shoppers can immediately estimate the item. You can also add an option of leaving a comment and/or rating right on the page – that would contribute to the level of interaction between your brand and the customers.
You know that feeling when you receive something for free and feel like you have to give something back? That’s reciprocity and it can be a powerful motivator for the shoppers to buy from you.
If you send them an email with a discount or an incentive in the form of “thank you” for being a loyal customer, they will most likely feel the urge to give you something back. Most likely, it will be a purchase or, at least, a visit to your website.
Identify your target audience and appeal to their emotions by adjusting the website design and content correspondingly.
Holiday seasons are the best periods for impulse buying but you can evoke emotions with your shoppers in low seasons as well. Incorporate pop-ups with relevant and appealing messages and keep the tone of your store consistent and friendly.
People love to collect items and they love to get rewards for completed actions. This is the reason many online stores incorporated a system of reward points or bonuses that later can be exchanged for the products.
The Bright Star Kids store offers personalized supplies for children and has a system of reward points. The actions that are requested from the customers are really simple: fill in your Birthday date or log in with the social media account. But in exchange, the user receives a significant amount of points which they can use to buy products from the store.
Everyone loves surprises but expect them to be relevant and high-quality. This explains the growing popularity of subscription boxes that come in all forms, sizes, and content.
A subscription box works by the following scheme:
This is a good chance for you to cross-sell, help people learn about your products and build a long-lasting relationship with the clients.
Once someone completes the action, they tend to stay consistent and carry on with the expected behavior. This is caused by a sense of consistency that the majority of people have.
You can benefit from it when asking to sign-up for a newsletter. Once the person signs up, they will feel like the next logical step would be checking your store and, most probably, buying from it.
The big advantage of brick-and-mortar stores is that they offer shoppers to actually try and experience the product. This creates a sense of involvement which may further lead to a completed purchase.
However, modern technologies allow online stores to incorporate the option of “try-on” and delight the users. Augmented reality gives shoppers a chance to “try on” beauty products, footwear, clothes, and even furniture – all that via a smartphone device and with a few taps. Ikea app is a good example of AR use in e-commerce.
Personalization is now a big thing and a must-have for any online store that wishes to sell more and retain the customers. Customers are willing to spend more money and even wait longer for the products that are personalized – so give them a chance to do so!
One of the most popular and efficient forms of personalization is the section with personalized product recommendations. It will show recommendations based on the shopping behavior of the users and their preferences.
There was a famous “jam study” that revealed: customers buy more if presented with a limited number of options to choose from.
Keep this in mind when arranging the product catalog and product display. As well, do A/B testing to see what’s the best option for your store and what motivates the customers to engage.
Everyone loves a good story and every business has a unique story behind. Help people learn about it by incorporating a video into your homepage.
The use of a video proves to greatly increase conversions and contribute to the customer experience. Just make sure that the video is not too long and is engaging enough to make the user watch it till the end.
Before the customer pays, they need to know exactly what they are paying for. So it’s your responsibility to provide them with accurate and descriptive information about the products.
Keep it short and informative and include a value that the user will get from purchasing this item. As well, you can add credibility via your blog where you can explain the aspects of creating your products and why they are worth paying attention to.
This technique is really popular among e-commerce marketers. Anchoring is putting a lower price next to the initial one, which was higher. This way, the customer learns that the product is now more available and thus, be more likely to buy it.
It is important though not to do it too often – otherwise, shoppers will doubt whether you really offer a discount or just trying to attract them by any means.
We already spoke about the importance of incorporating the value proposition and statement on the product page – and you also have to justify the price.
This is a good opportunity to upsell and raise your sales. If you incorporate a side-by-side product comparison, it will help the customers choose the most suitable product specifically for them. And it may turn out that the purchased item is more expensive than the one they intended to buy.
Customers are generally impatient and online customers expect lightning-speed service. The average site load time is 3 seconds or less, otherwise, users leave it.
In order to keep up with the customers’ expectations and deliver high-quality service, optimize your store to load faster. There are numerous factors that impact the site load speed, from UX to server load. Consult with the developers and run a test on PageSpeed Insights to identify problematic areas.
Even in the 90’s honesty was considered a significant competitive advantage. A brand that was honest about its flaws stood out among the competitors that did their best to hide them.
Be honest, transparent, and straightforward. Such an approach builds credibility and right away establishes a trustful relationship with the customers.
Being extremely social, the majority of people love to belong to different groups. So when displaying a group of products on your store, you can place a message like: “Are you ready to join the X team?”
When naming a group, specify why a customer should become a part of it and what benefit it brings. You can offer an incentive like a discount or regular secret sales to encourage the shopper to take action.
Support your product offers with an authority: testimonials, an involved influencer, or a list of your awards.
Shoppers need to know you are credible enough to trust you. As well, incorporate the security badges to the store to show that all transactions are 100% secure.
Shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores tend to wander around and “shop with their eyes”. Give your online customers the same opportunity by implementing wishlists and “save for later” buttons.
Wishlists are awesome because they help manage the purchases, eliminate the pressure of shopping “right away”, and can be shared in social networks or via an email. They also help you out if an item is out of stock: the user will be notified once the item appears in the store and will most likely buy it.
The marketing strategy that you will build also depends on the e-commerce platform that your store runs on.
Shopify is considered the best option for small or medium sized businesses that do not require extensive functionality. However, if we speak about extensive marketing options, Magento is the platform of choice.
It is well-known for its customization and flexibility and allows you to do almost anything to your store. As well, the platform has over 5000 free and paid third-party extensions (like social media integrations). You can learn more about Magento customization and hire a developer here.
Summing up, every business requires different marketing and selling strategy based on its products, target audience, and set goals. What’s essential for any marketer to remember is: keep all your marketing efforts aimed at the customer.
Everything you do should bring value to the shoppers – and happy shoppers, in return, will gladly bring value to your business in the form of sales.
Irina Linnik a marketing specialist at Onilab– a Magento troubleshooting company. Being a savvy e-commerce observer she always keeps abreast of innovation and covers the latest industry trends.
Her goal is to inform the readers in a clear, understandable and enjoyable manner and help them navigate through the vast and ever-changing business environment.
Irina has over 5 years of experience in freelance writing and has helped numerous companies communicate their message across various channels.
Having a website is an important marketing tool used to share information about your business and to generate sales online.
In fact, if your brand doesn’t have a website you could be losing out on great opportunities for your business.
According to the eCommerce Foundation, 88% of consumers will research product information on your website and social media pages before they make a purchase online.
But with no website to browse you may have just lost out on alot of potential customers. It’s time to make your own website or improve your current website for the better.
In this article, I’ll show you the 10 best website builders along with their pros and cons so you decide which one works best for you.
Starting at $24.50 /month
Best for Beginners
If you’re new to creating websites or if you want a website built with just a few clicks, Wix is the best site for that.
Wix is a hosted platform, so you don’t have to pay for hosting.
You’ll have the flexibility to build your website using over a hundred free and paid templates with a site builder that comes with an easy-to-use drag and drop editor.
Wix also offers a new feature that allows their AI program to create and select a website template, you can also tell the program what industry you’re a part of like fashion or business, the program will ensure to pick something that suits your need or goals.
Wix also comes with free and paid app integrations, a few created by Wix, other created by third-party apps like MailChimp or Google Analytics.
Cons of Using Wix Website Builder
Apart from templates and basic drag-and-drop options Wix has available, you won’t be able to do a lot of customization to your site unless you’re going to hire a developer or if you’re willing to add lots of code to your site.
Starting at $16/month
Best Templates and Designs
Squarespace is another top website builder I’d recommend to both first time and veteran website builders.
Squarespace is a popular, hosted website builder, known for its great designs with sophisticated and it’s easy-to-use templates. It provides first class hosting for your website, so you don’t need to take time out to fix or make updates to your website.
You can select, customize and use a variety of website designs that easily allow you to add your information with ease with a point and click feature. You can start typing anywhere on your template so you have more control of your template. You can also use multiple templates for the same website all at once, that’s a perk most website builders don’t offer or allow for users.
Your average setup time can range from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on what you’re using your website for and how much information needs to be added to it. The overall setup is smooth and straightforward without any hiccups.
Squarespace is e-commerce friendly site that allows you to add inventory, complete orders, accept payment, discounts and more.
You can also integrate e-commerce apps and tools to help transition your buyer’s online experience better.
Squarespace also holds it’s placed in the top five website builders with great SEO optimization and page speed.
Cons of Using Squarespace Website Builder
Squarespace offers third-party app and service integration, but it’s limited and can add more work on your side. My advice, fight through it if need be. If you intend to use payment plans, you’re only allowed to use Stripe, Apple Pay, and PayPal, with no option to add additional payment gateways like Visa or Mastercard.
There’s no free account so you’ll have to pay to play. You can preview your website, but it won’t be live until you select a paid plan to launch it.
Starting at $3.84/month
Best Website Hosting & Price
HostGator is a well-known global provider as one the best hosting website since 2002, so it comes to no surprise that they went out and made their own website builder called Gator.
Gator comes fully hosted by HostGator, of course, so you don’t have to worry about managing software, updates or backups, which takes away a lot of headaches when building a website. Good hosting can make or break your site, when the chips are down you can bet on GatorHost to keep your website up and running.
Gator provides over 200 website design templates that are also mobile friendly; each is customizable with a drag and drop features for images from a stock image photo library or your own photos, text, columns and contact forms, all with the option to configure.
Gator has one of the lowest prices as a website builder; each paid account comes with a free custom website domain name which gives it an edge over other website builders that usually require you to pay.
The best thing about Gator hands down as to be that since it’s a paid product, your data won’t be sold or see any unwanted ads on your website.
Cons of Using Gator Website Builder
Gator’s blog or e-commerce templates aren’t as well designed or functional as other website builders. You may feel a bit stuck with designs and features because you can’t hire a developer to add or modify your site.
Gator doesn’t offer a free account or a free trial so you’ll have to pay to if you want to create your website, so if you decide after trying Gator that you don’t want to use it you’ll have to go through a refund process.
Starting at $29/month
Best for E-Commerce & Sales
Shopify has been providing websites for customers since 2006 and has grown since with over 1 million active users and counting. Shopify is one of the most flexible and dare I say easy website builders to use, which is why it’s always listed in the top website builders year after year.
Shopify is an all in one website hosting solution with a 360 approach for managing and selling on your e-commerce website with inventory management solutions. Add unlimited products and third-party apps to optimize your store, like Wishpond.
If you need a wide range of free and paid store templates, by industry or aesthetic, what you can choose from shopify comes in neck and neck with Squarespace.
Shopify, unlike most websites allows you access customized marketing and sales analytics and storage.
You can track your orders and inventory in your Shopify dashboard and your sales reports are simplified without all the complex mumbo jumbo terms.
Your Shopify store comes with flexible payment options like Shopify Payments, which includes apple pay, stripe, VISA and MasterCard or you can add third-party payment gateways like direct bank deposits.
Shopify isn’t only good at e-commerce, they have great SEO features for blogging and online classes.
If you don’t like the website design or feel the need to add or change anything you can hire a developer.
I might want to add that Shopify has done a great job at providing customer service no matter what paid plan you decide to go choose. The turn around is usually between 2-10 minutes depending on the issue.
Cons of Using Shopify Website Builder
Shopify prices are a bit higher than other website builders, and they didn’t offer a free plan, but there is a 14-day free trial to try to see if the website works for you.
Starting at $7/month
Best Multi-Lingual & Mobile Friendly
This website builder belongs to one of the biggest website host, 1&1. Like Gator after years of hosting websites, 1&1 created their own website builder.
Known by experts website builders, Ionos provides premium website designs that come at an affordable price, and you’ll get an amazing discount on your first payment.
Your paid account comes with a domain name and email address, so you don’t have to pay extra or go searching to find a domain or email host somewhere else. They provide industry-specific and mobile-friendly templates so you’ll find something no matter your niche.
What separates Ionos from other website builders is its ease in creating a multilingual website with a Ionos Business plan (for just $10/month).
No matter what your paid plan your website will have an SSL Certificate and access SEO tutorials so you can optimize even further for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Cons of Using 1&1 Ionos Website Builder
Ionos doesn’t allow third-party extensions or apps so you’ll have to move back and forth between your Ionos website and your third-party app. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of work.
The Ionos website builder and online store builder aren’t the same, and you can’t switch one from the other, so you want to start an online store, then you need to sign up for their online store builder, not a website builder.
There’s no free trial but feel free to use your money-back guarantee after, but I’ve seen a lot of reviews about Ionos poor customer service.
Starting at $29.95/month
Best For Scalable Website
When it comes to e-commerce sites, BigCommerce comes in neck and neck Shopify for the top spot — used by brands like Kodak, Ben & Jerry’s and Skullcandy so you can trust that if you’re looking for a website that grows with you and your business, BigCommerce is the website builder for you.
Each BigCommerce website is fully hosted, with up-to-date secure servers and fast page loading speeds. Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce isn’t just for e-commerce, you create a website for events, downloading services, and blogs with drag and drop website templates.
If you want to use BigCommerce for e-commerce, you can access multiple sales channels. For instance, you can sell through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, eBay, Amazon, and more all from your website.
Customize your shipping, flexible tax systems, and drop shipping features to get your business up and running.
And great news if you’re a WordPress fan, you can integrate it with BigCommerce for e-commerce flexibility and twice the website speed and security no matter how much traffic you’ve got.
BigCommerce provides multiple payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, Visa Checkout, Chase Pay, Apple Pay, Square, Amazon Pay and unlike other website builders BigCommerce doesn’t charge you a transaction fee no matter what payment method you use.
Cons of Using BigCommerce
For BigCommerce the interface from the back end, it can be more difficult to use than Shopify and other website builders. So you may have to click around a few times to get the hang of everything.
Starting at $8/month
Best Landing Pages
Compared to all the website builders listed here, Strikingly is like the new kid on the block compared to the older companies listed It launched in 2012 since then has helped brands like TribeWanted and OneHelping to host their websites. It’s easy to setup and doesn’t require coding if you’re new to website building.
Strikingly may be young but it falls in line with providing customizable and mobile-friendly templates. It has one of the easiest website editors compared to Wix and Squarespace.
Your site also comes with built-in analytics so you can track the traffic on your website and built-in HTTPS for added security for your website.
Unlike most of its website builders, it offers a free 14-day trial and a free account. Strikingly is also known for giving great customer service based on the reviews of new and old customers. Their customer support seems to have a fast turnaround for any problems or questions you throw their way.
Strikingly hosts your website for you, but offers the chance to change your hosting or add your domain name for paid accounts. You’ll also get 5 GB of monthly bandwidth so you can don’t have to worry about storage when you start your website.
Cons of Using Strikingly Website Builder
If you’re planning to create an e-commerce store, you must upgrade your account to add products, and depending on how many products you’ll be adding to your store you’ll need to keep upgrading.
You need to upgrade to get more than one page for your website or add up to 300 products to your site. However, the pro account is more affordable than other pro accounts from competitors like Squarespace and Shopify.
Some people find that Strikingly isn’t very SEO friendly because of the lack of metadata and alt-text features in some areas. Some reviews say adding an SEO plugin sometimes does more harm than good. I’d say try it and see it for yourself.
Starting at $8/month
Best Easy Set-Up
One the easiest website builder around, Weebly is great for website beginners who need to have their site up and running in just a few clicks. It offers designed templates that allow you to customize without the hassle of learning code.
Weebly like most, if not all, of the website builder on this list, is a hosted platform, so they manage all your software and upgrades on the back-end, so you don’t have to think twice on your end.
You’ll also have access to an app center where you can add the apps you need to optimize your website.
Feel free to make your site multilingual, so your international visitors can browse with ease.
Unlike other website builders, Weebly offers a free plan you can try with unlimited bandwidth and sub-domain with helpful SEO guides.
Weebly is a must have for someone who isn’t as tech savvy and needs to create a DIY website.
Cons of Using Weebly Website Builder
For website speed and performances, it’s come in last against its competitors. Weebly isn’t as adjustable as Wix or Shopify, or as pleasing as Squarespace. But it’s still easier to use than all three.
There’s no restore option, so when you edit your template or website, you’re stuck with the changes unless you go through all the trouble of changing it back yourself.
Starting at $4/month
Best For Website Customization
I’ve used WordPress for the past four years and can attest to its many pros and cons.
WordPress allows you to create your site with themes or templates free or paid. WordPress gives you the flexibility to add code in your theme, add over 50,000 (paid and free) plugins to optimize your site.
You have full control of your website allowing you to make it into an e-commerce store, membership course, community forums, online portfolio, simple landing page and more.
Keep in mind that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different website platforms. The key difference between the two is that with WordPress.org you have to install the WordPress software on a web server.
Cons of Using WordPress Website Builder
To get WordPress customer support you must have a paid account if you have a free account you have to upgrade or the majority of your support will come from FAQ to guide yourself through the problems.
There is a steep learning curve but once you get the hang of everything you’ll be fine.
If you’re looking for a website to host your e-commerce store, I wouldn’t recommend WordPress because you must install and code your payment system in yourself or search for a (paid) plugin that won’t rob you with fees.
Starting at $$5.99/month
Best Domain & Hosting
One the most established and trusted website builders, domain and hosting site. GoDaddy has been hosting and creating websites before you even knew you needed one. It’s improved its website builder over the years with a few added features to keep up with updates and needs of their customers.
Before you even build your website, you can buy a custom domain or an email along with your GoDaddy Plan. Which cuts out the hassle of having to buy them or buy them at a far higher cost with other sites like Squarespace and Shopify.
Unlike other website builders, GoDaddy gives you step-by-step instructions as you build your website from start to finish even if you’re not a web building pro.
The website builder is great if you’re not a tech savvy and need something up and running for your business or blog.
You had over 300 template designs and added e-commerce tools like a built-in shopping cart, inventory management, online payment gateways and access to sell from third-party sites like Amazon or Etsy, so you can sell on your store right after you’ve designed it.
Website templates also come ready with a mobile, tablets, and desktop versions of each page.
You can show off your social media with simple integration right on your user dashboard.
You’ll always have access to 24/7 support via phone, chat or email so happens you can get help right away. Your site is SSL certified for security.
Your website will have an ad, but only one, in the form of a footnote it can easily be removed at an affordable cost.
Cons of Using WordPress Website Builder
Email customer support isn’t as reliable as chat or email so keep that in mind if you use GoDaddy.
The SEO settings are very basic and can affect your Google rankings if you’re not watching. My recommendation would be to install a third party SEO tool to help.
Even though GoDaddy has improved, its website builder the set up is nowhere as fast or sophisticated in design as the rest of the website builders on this list.
Here are the 10 best website builders ranked from highest to lowest:
What about you? What’s your first pick when it comes to the best website builder?
Let me know in the comments below and show off your favorite website builder.
Although Adobe Creative Cloud is complex and has so many features,the software has capabilities for users of all levels, from beginner to professional. Meaning, you don’t need to be an expert in photography, videography, design, or web development to use Creative Cloud.
Now, let’s review a list ofAdobe Creative Cloud appsso you can learn more about the software’s functionality.
Here are some of the main features of each of these applications to help you get a better understand of what makes them unique.
Photoshop is an imaging and graphic design software ideal for working on, creating, and modifying photos, sketches, and illustrations. It allows you to simulate images, manipulate 3D artwork, and edit videos.
InDesign is a layout design software for creating and publishing posters, books, magazines, and PDFs. The application can help you make simple animations.
Illustrator is a vector graphics software, which makes it ideal for creating illustrations for web, video, mobile, and print. You can make one of a kind drawings, logos, color swatches, and typography with the application.
Lightroom is a cloud-based photography software — meaning you can access your photo content from anywhere via any device. The application allows you to edit, share, organize, and store your photos.
Adobe XD is a comprehensive website development software ideal for user experience (UX) designers. You can create and share web page prototypes throughout the design process to ensure you achieve the UX you envision for your site.
Adobe Premiere Rush is a mobile-friendly software for creating and publishing high-quality video content while on the go. The app has a built-in camera so you can shoot, edit, and share videos and then upload them to your social media channels all from your mobile device.
Adobe Premiere Pro is a video-editing software made for working on film, web, and TV content. The application includes features which allow you to improve your video’s audio quality, change its color grading, and implement motion graphics.
After Effects is a motion graphics and visual effects software for creating unique transitions, film titles, and introductions. You can make text, logos, and characters move in virtually any way with the app.
Adobe Audition is an editing software for creating, mixing, and restoring audio. The app includes waveform, multitrack, and spectral displays so you can choose the option that’s compatible with your audio.
Adobe Spark is a storytelling software for creating social graphics, video stories, and web pages. The app allows you to brand any content you make and design images or videos for web and mobile.
Character Animator allows you to transform any piece of art, or one of the software’s built-in character templates, into an animation. You can also use your webcam to add your movements and expressions to the animation in real time.
Dimension is built for graphic designers looking to create photorealistic images. The software allows you to make product mockups, package designs, and custom logos. Realistic 3D images can also be created by incorporating the right materials, backdrops, lighting, and perspective in any piece of work.
Acrobat Pro is a cloud-based document-reading and PDF tool — meaning you and your team members can review, share, and organize important PDF files from anywhere and any device. You can have multiple reviewers on one document and easily collect everyone’s comments on the shared PDF.
Animate allows you to create unique, interactive vector and bitmap animations for web, video games, and apps. You can sketch characters or draw animations and make them come to life with a variety of tools the app offers.
Lightroom Classic is a cloud-based photo editing app for mobile and desktop. You can enhance colors, remove parts of an image completely, stitch photos together to create a panorama, and alter distorted images.
Bridge is an organizational program for all of your Creative Cloud apps and work. It allows you to determine personal and team assets as well as browse, organize, preview, and make batch edits to files created within any of your Creative Cloud apps.
Media Encoder is a media processing application used to manage your content across all of your Adobe applications. You can ingest, transcode, and output media in any format you need for your projects and designs.
InCopy is a software made for working with copywriters and editors. You can track changes, make layout suggestions, style text, and share documents. You can also review a document simultaneously with other editors, without writing over each other’s comments and suggestions.
Prelude is a video logging, metadata entry, and ingesting tool used for creating a rough cut of your content. Its integration with Adobe Premiere Pro makes it easy to transition into more thorough video edits whenever you’re ready.
Fuse allows you to create 3D characters for Photoshop. The modeling app makes building human-like characters and models for your projects simple. You can then pose, animate, and continue to modify them once in your Photoshop project.
If you’re looking to access the Creative Cloud while on the go, check out this list of Adobe mobile apps which will allow you to do just that.
We’ve curated this list of 15 things you can do with Adobe Creative Cloud to give you an idea of the wide range of functionality it provides. As you read through this list, remember there are thousands more features that Creative Cloud offers.
As an Adobe Creative Cloud user, you may find yourself thinking of new designs, modifications to a current creation, or ideas you want to add to your project while on the go. If this is the case, you can always access your work through the Adobe Creative Cloud mobile app which allows you to view, sync, and modify your work via a mobile device.
The Creative Cloud app is available for download through iTunes and Google Play. However, there’s a catch — depending on your Creative Cloud plan, you may or may not have access to the app for free. If you have one of the less expensive subscriptions, you may have to obtain the Creative Cloud mobile app independently. Another option would be to purchase a mobile app for the specific Adobe Creative Cloud application you need, such as Photoshop or Lightroom.
Whether it’s reviewing written content, photos, videos, or website design, you can receive real-time reviews and feedback from your team members in just seconds with Creative Cloud.
No matter what you’re creating or where you are in the process, the software makes it easy to collaborate and conduct content reviews in real time. This is because of the Creative Cloud’s synced, live editing feature which allows you to view changes, edits, and commentary immediately after they’re added. As previously mentioned, there are even ways to easily leave content reviews on PDFs, which is often a time-consuming, and sometimes impossible, task.
As a Creative Cloud user, you’ll have access to thousands of fonts you can download and use in any of your projects, in any app, with Adobe Fonts. You can browse, activate, or deactivate your fonts within your various apps whenever you choose. Once a font is activated, you can use it offline if needed — your edits will be reflected once you reconnect to WiFi.
There are a number of ways you can create animations with Adobe Creative Cloud depending on your needs. Start by sketching a figure or background in an app like Photoshop or Illustrator, or use a provided template. Then, you can turn it into a life-like character or a 3D object in After Effects or Animate. There are animation options within these apps suited for web, cartoons, TV, film, and mobile.
It’s safe to assume you’ll be working on various designs and projects once you get Adobe Creative Cloud. So wouldn’t it be nice if you had a place to display all of your efforts? Well, there is — it’s called Adobe Portfolio and you’ll have access to it once you download the Creative Cloud.
Adobe Portfolio is a digital portfolio-making website. You upload your Adobe work directly to Portfolio and display it in any way you want. With dozens of customization options, a responsive design, live editing, and custom domain options, you’ll be able to display your content in a way that makes you proud to share it with potential employers, coworkers, professors, friends, and family.
As a Creative Cloud user, you’ll have access to Adobe Assets (which you can only view and use by signing into your account at assets.adobe.com). Adobe Assets include thousands of unique, royalty-free creative aids such as vector graphics, patterns, and icons. They’re used to enhance your work, add to your creativity, and help you build or design anything you desire.
When using Dreamweaver to build your website, you may want to apply Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to help you style your web pages. Although this feature is for more advanced Creative Cloud users, it works in tandem with HTML and is a great option if you want to have more control over the visual elements on your web pages.
With the Adobe Creative Cloud, you have the opportunity to hand-draw images and backgrounds in specific apps like Illustrator or Photoshop. Depending on your Creative Cloud plan, you may have access to one of the mobile apps, such as Illustrator Draw, which allow you to use your finger to draw images directly on your mobile device’s screen and implement them in your project immediately.
A color swatch saves and displays a variety of chosen colors, patterns, gradients, and tints. You can create and manage custom color swatches for your projects in various Creative Cloud apps like Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.
While working on your projects, you may find yourself hopping between different Creative Cloud apps — meaning you might also want your custom color swatch to move between apps. Creative Cloud allows you to do this with the click of a button. For example, if you create a custom color swatch in Illustrator and you need to move over to Photoshop to continue working on an image, you can simply import your color swatch and use your custom palette there.
These days, it’s critical for websites to have responsive layouts — meaning they automatically adjust in size to fit the screen they’re being viewed on, such as a desktop computer or mobile device. If you’re building a website with the Adobe Creative Cloud, ensuring your site has a responsive design is simple. This is because of the standard capabilities and features that come with software like Dreamweaver, which is the application you’ll most likely be building and coding your site with.
There are several ways you can take a photograph and transform it into a vector graphic — or a drawing — using Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign. This prepares the image you’re working with to be modified and scaled as much as you want, without causing it to lose any quality.
Wireframing and prototyping are major components of website, app, and software design. They provide designers with a simplistic view of what their site will look like and how their pages will be structured prior to it going live. Wireframing and prototyping also give you the opportunity to review some of the real content being created for the website so you can realistically envision how it’ll function. You can apply wireframing and prototyping techniques with Adobe XD, InDesign, or Photoshop.
When you get started with Adobe Creative Cloud, you may feel slightly overwhelmed by the vast amount of tools, features, and capabilities included with the software. This is expected — and it’s also why there are dozens of resources available to you — for free — to help you work through everything from the simplest, surface-level problem to the most specific, high-level roadblock. We’ll review a list of available resources and types of support shortly.
Have you ever seen a logo, billboard, or another piece of advertising with a font you just loved? Maybe you thought, “That font would be perfect for my project!”
Good news — with Adobe Creative Cloud, you can actually match the font from an image you import to Photoshop. This feature allows you to review the font options Adobe “matches” to the font in your imported photo. It also browses the Adobe Font library to find any other possible matches for you to choose from.
Many people adjust the gradient, saturation, and luminance of their photos every day, whether it’s on Instagram, their smartphone, or an editing app like Photoshop. But the Creative Cloud allows you to adjust the color of your video footage just as easily. With the help of the tools available in Premiere Pro and After Effects, you can correct the color and luminance of your video footage so it fits the look of your site, meets broadcast standards, or is simply easier for viewers to watch.
Now that we’ve reviewed just some of the many things you can do with Creative Cloud, let’s discuss the various plan and subscription options you have as a user.
Here’s a look at the Adobe Creative Cloud plans and pricing options. They’re based on type and number of users you have, as well as your specific needs.
Depending on the plan you choose, you may have the option to pay monthly or annually. We’ve created the following chart to give you an overview of your options. There are more specific customization options within each plan to consider, so be sure to review the Adobe Creative Cloud plans and pricing page in depth prior to making your decision.
Note: If you’re buying Adobe Creative Cloud as an institution, you’ll have to use Creative Cloud Enterprise.
As mentioned earlier, learning Adobe Creative Cloud may seem like an overwhelming task, considering the level of functionality and number of features the software offers. Don’t let this deter you from getting started — there’s no shortage of resources and tools to help you throughout your experience.
There are resources to help you determine which apps and services are ideal for your needs, including review sites like Capterra, TechRadar, and G2Crowd. You can use these sites to read customer and professional reviews about their experiences, likes and dislikes about the Creative Cloud. You can also learn about the individual applications and what makes the software unique.
Once you have determined your Adobe Creative Cloud plan of choice, you can use one of the many resources — created by Adobe — to help you become comfortable working in the applications. Here are a few of the tutorials Adobe offers:
Lastly, online learning platforms, such as Lynda, offer access to a number of Adobe Creative Cloud training sessions, classes, and tutorials for you to browse and purchase.
Adobe Creative Cloud is an ideal software option if you’re in video, photography, design, or web development. It includes a wide range of tools and resources to help you reach your creative goals.
Determine how Adobe Creative Cloud can help you, choose a plan that meets your specific needs, and get started creating today. And when in doubt, review one of the many resources available to assist you through any challenges you may encounter along the way.
Originally published Mar 6, 2019 7:30:00 AM, updated March 06 2019
In the marketing world, color is integral to what we do.
Countless hours are spent deliberating color palettes and design layouts because choosing the wrongs ones can have detrimental effects on how consumers interact with your product and/or brand.
Computers permeate nearly every aspect of our existence. According to the 2018 National Urban League Equality Index ™, a computer is in 93.6% of white homes and 89.3% of Black homes in the United States. The prevalence of digital experiences has also created a significant increase in tech industry jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics collectively defines the tech industry as any industry in which at least 14.5% of jobs are in STEM occupations. STEM workers include engineers, IT, scientists, and the managers of those employees. In the 2015-2016 academic calendar year, only 8.2% of all degrees conferred to Blacks in STEM fields compared to 12.8% of degrees and certificates conferred to whites. Not surprisingly, just 5.7% of total Black employment was in the STEM field compared to 8.5% of white workers.
The tech industry has a diversity problem.
During Black History Month, we want to bring the technologists who helped shape MarTech as we know it today to the forefront. Despite significant roadblocks and oppression at every turn, Black Americans have had an incredible impact.
Here are 8 notable Black Americans that have made a difference in the tech industry:
If you’ve ever watched an animated video, played a video game, or visited a website, you have John Henry Thompson to thank. Known as the “Father of Lingo programming,” Thompson created a scripting language to render visuals in computer programs. Flash and shockwave programs found in animation, video games, and website design are all thanks to this object-oriented programming language known as Lingo.
Carrying over 200 foreign and 47 United States patents, James Edward West is responsible for creating a more compact and cost-effective version of the microphone. By placing polymer electret film on one side, he was able to convert sound into high fidelity electrical signals. His invention is still used in most phones and tape recorders today. At age 88, he is still an active inventor.
The first Black woman to receive a patent for a web-based software invention was Janet Emerson Bashen for LinkLine. The web-based Equal Employment Opportunity case management and tracking software was invented by Bashen and she obtained a patent in December 2007. Since 2007, she’s earned many more patents and continues to innovate in software today.
One of technology’s top innovators, Dr. Mark Dean is a computer engineer who helped design the IBM personal computer. Dr. Dean led multiple teams throughout his time at IBM, creating the first color computer monitor, the world’s first gigahertz chip, and the Industry Standard Architecture systems bus, a component that allows multiple devices such as modems, keyboards, and printers to be plugged into a computer. Today, Dr. Dean still holds three of IBMs original patents, and over 20 patents overall.
In 1970, Valerie Thomas worked on the image processing systems for the first ever images of space to be sent to earth via satellite. By 1980, Valerie Thomas invented the illusion transmitter. The device creates optical illusion images that appear to be real and in front of the two concave mirrors used to create them. As one of only two women to major in physics at Morgan State University, Thomas’ work with NASA contributed to research on the ozone layer, satellite technology, and Halley’s Comet. She retired in 1995 with numerous NASA awards under her belt.
With over 200 patents under her belt, Dr. Marian R. Croak is a leading expert in voice over internet protocol (VoIP). Dr. Croak also pioneered the way that people donate to charity via text-based donation. In 2005, she filed the patent for text-based donations to charity, revolutionizing charity donations forever. In 2013, she was inducted to the Women in Technology hall of fame and in 2014, she became the VP of Engineering at Google. At Google, she led the team for Project Loon which used balloons to extend network coverage and led the deployment of wifi across India’s railway system.
You can thank Lisa Gelobter for the above gif as she was integral in the creation of Shockwave Flash, the technology that blazed a trail for web animation. Later, she was a member of the senior management team for the launch of Hulu, playing a major role in the emergence of online video. During Barack Obama’s presidency, she served as Chief Digital Service Officer.
Kimberly Bryant launched Black Girls Code in 2011 as an organization devoted to teaching young women of color computer coding and programming languages. The six-week program focuses on giving an underrepresented population the chance to learn about a wide range of technology concepts including robotics. Bryant is an advocate as well, stating to Fast Company, “[our organization is] unapologetically black. My goal is to make sure the girls understand there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is about taking pride in our culture and advancing our culture.”
As the importance of a diverse workforce comes in to focus, it is vital for companies to stand up and recognize the contributions of marginalized communities and to create new opportunities for these voices to be heard. With amazing contributions like the ones outlined above, MarTech—and the world—depends on the innovation and contribution of Black Americans.
Who would you add to this list and why? I’d love to hear about change-makers and innovators in the comments below.