Trump slams ‘so-called judge’ for blocking immigration ban

A federal judge on Friday put a nationwide block on US President Donald Trump’s week-old executive order temporarily barring refugees and nationals from seven countries from entering the United States.

The Seattle judge’s temporary restraining order represents a major setback for Trump’s action, although his administration could still have the policy put back into effect with an appeal.

The White House said late on Friday it believed the ban to be “lawful and appropriate” and said the US Department of Justice would file an emergency motion to stop the judge’s order taking effect.

How Trump’s abrupt immigration ban sowed confusion at airports and agencies

The ruling by US District Judge James Robart in Seattle is the most comprehensive legal admonishment of Trump’s January 27 executive order prohibiting immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria and four other nations from entering the US for 90 days. Judges in Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles and Alexandria, Virginia, have issued orders that are less sweeping.

“It is not the loudest voice that prevails on the Constitution,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said outside the courthouse. “We are a nation of laws, not even the president can violate the Constitution.”

Shortly after the ruling, US Customs and Border Protection told airlines to board travellers affected by the ban. The US State Department is working with the Department of Homeland Security to work out how Friday’s ruling affects its operations, a spokesman said, and will announce any changes affecting travellers as soon as information is available.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer released a statement late Friday saying they “will file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate.” Soon after, the White House sent out a new statement that removed the word “outrageous”.

“The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people,” the statement said.

Robart’s ruling followed an earlier decision by a federal judge in Boston declining to extend a temporary restraining order allowing some immigrants into the United States from countries affected by Trump’s three-month ban.

The Seattle judge’s ruling takes effect because it considered the broad constitutionality of Trump’s order. Robart also explicitly made his ruling apply across the country, while other judges facing similar cases have so far issued orders concerning only specific individuals.

Trump originally asked for ‘Muslim ban’ and he wanted a way to do it ‘legally’

Washington Governor Jay Inslee celebrated the decision as a victory for the state, adding: “no person – not even the president – is above the law.”

The state’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, said: “This decision shuts down the executive order right now.” He said he expected the federal government to honor the ruling.

The challenge in Seattle court was brought by the state of Washington and later joined by the state of Minnesota. The judge ruled that the states have legal standing to sue, which could help Democratic attorneys general take on Trump in court on issues beyond immigration.

Trump’s edict, signed without advance notice, threw airports across America into turmoil as travellers from the affected countries who were already en route to the US learned upon landing that they couldn’t leave the airport. Some of those people were lawful US residents holding green cards and work visas. Some travellers were required to return to their points of origin, generating spontaneous protests at international terminals.

The US has provisionally revoked tens of thousands of visas of people from the seven countries, which also include Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. A provisional revocation means the US has invalidated a visa for use to travel to the US, the state department said. The US may restore the visa’s validity later without requiring a new application.

Who can save the world from being trampled by Trump?

Trump has argued the order is needed to protect Americans from terrorists. He tweeted on Friday, after referring to an attack by a knife-wielding man at the Louvre museum in Paris, “We must keep evil out of our country!”

The decision came on a day that attorneys from four states were in courts challenging Trump’s executive order. The Trump administration justified the action on national security grounds, but opponents labelled it an unconstitutional order targeting people based on religious beliefs.

Earlier on Friday in Virginia, US District Judge Leonie Brinkema extended to February 10 a temporary restraining order barring the federal government from enforcing the president’s ban as it might apply to legal permanent US residents. The judge deferred ruling on state Attorney General Mark Herring’s request that she issue an order requiring the Trump administration to account for what the Democrat contends was a failure to immediately obey court orders putting the measure on hold.

Also on Friday, Hawaii’s Doug Chin became the sixth state attorney general to sue or support lawsuits seeking to block Trump’s order.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg, Associated Press

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Easy Marketing Investments to Improve Your E-Commerce Store

Posted by KaneJamison

At least once or twice per month, I talk to a small e-commerce store owner who wants to invest in content marketing. Often times, I have to break it to them that they’re not ready for content marketing.

You see, before you spend a bunch of time generating traffic from your target audience, it’s important to make sure those visitors get the best experience possible while browsing your store.

So, in this post, I want to give store owners and e-commerce newbies a clear idea of where they can invest their time before investing in more paid and organic traffic to their sites. Many of these can be accomplished for less than $1,000 or a few hours of your time.

With a few small-scale investments you can help drive performance on conversions, SEO, and more.

So what are they?

  1. Rewrite Your Weak Product Descriptions
  2. Take Better Product Photography
  3. Build Lookbooks & Product Collections
  4. Start Adding Product Videos
  5. Upgrade Your Review Software & Process

Let’s look at these opportunities in detail, and better yet, show you some actual examples of what your site could look like.

Rewrite your weak product descriptions

From product details to features and benefits, product descriptions must pack a lot of information in a short format. You may have overlooked some missed opportunities.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, consider investing in improved product descriptions.

1 – Does your current product page copy speak only to your ideal customer?

If you’ve built buyer personas for your brand, make sure the copy addresses the appropriate persona’s unique pain points and concerns. Bland descriptions meant to appeal to everyone – or just bots – aren’t as effective.

This high chair example from 4moms.com focuses on the three things that matter to their audience: single-handed adjustments, spilt-food prevention, and easy cleanup.

2 – Does your copy focus on benefits rather than features?

You can list features all day long, but customers really want to know how your product will make their life better.

The Amazon Echo sales page does a great job of focusing less on the technical features of the product, and more on the cool things you can do with it.

3 – Are you describing your product with the same words that your customers use?

Using the same language that your customers do will help you better communicate with your target audience in a way that sounds natural for them and touches on their pain points.

A simple way to find these words is to do some reverse engineering. Start by looking at customer reviews and feedback you’ve collected (and those of your main competitors as well) to pick out common words and phrases that satisfied customers are using. From here, you can tie that customer language back into your own descriptions.

I was shopping for a new tent last week and saw this awesome reviewer on Amazon drive home a point that the copywriters had missed. If you read that entire review, the phrase “family tent” is mentioned about 13 times.

But if you read the product description, “family tent” only shows up once. The description fails to mention many of the benefits covered by the reviewer: lots of pockets, sleeping arrangements, ability to catch a breeze but keep the doors closed, etc.

There’s an opportunity here for a competitor in the tent or outdoor space to improve their own product descriptions for the same tent (or even put together a larger guide to family tents).

4 – Are you telling your product’s story?

The folks over at Rogue Brewing understand that the people buying gifts from their website are probably passionate about well-made products, not just well-made beer. Here’s a great example from their site that tells the story of their 28-year search for a decent beer shucker (bottle opener):

Take better product photography

Photography matters. Research from BigCommerce suggests that 67% of consumers consider image quality “very important” when making a purchase online.

Good product photos do more than just show shoppers what you’re selling – they provide context and help customers visualize using your products. Plus, high-quality photos will reduce product returns that happen due to misleading images.

So what can you do to upgrade your product photos?

Smartphones aren’t going to cut it

Use a DSLR camera, not your smartphone. Although modern smartphone cameras can take higher resolution photos than ever before, you’ll get better results from a DSLR. Lower-end models start at around $500 – try finding a used body online and spending more money on a better & cost-effective fixed lens that can handle video, too.

Build a cheap lightbox

Create a lightbox for well-lit photos with a solid white background. For less than $10, you can build your own lightbox that will vastly improve the quality of your product images.

Use creative angles

Shoot products from multiple angles. Be sure to include several images on every product page. The more perspectives and viewpoints you have, the better customers will be able to judge your product.

It’s OK to tweak & process your images to make them pop

Process your images with filters that enhance color and overall image quality. Photo filters resolve poor lighting or color issues and vastly improve your product photos. Just try not to get carried away with dramatic filters that distort the color of your products, as this can be misleading for the buyer. Here’s a good example from ABeautifulMess.com showing the difference before and after image edits:

If you don’t have time or the inclination to take your own photography, outsource it to a professional. No matter what route you go, know that upgrading your product page photography is well worth the investment.

Build lookbooks & product collections

You can also provide more context for your products through lookbooks, which showcase your products in use. The term “lookbook” is mostly common in the fashion industry, but the concept can be extended to a variety of industries.

The photos in the lookbook for Fitbit’s Alta model of fitness tracker help shoppers envision themselves wearing them. Fitbit’s lookbook also establishes a brand lifestyle promise – impossible with product photos alone. Even better? The various photos are clickable and take you to the product page for that color/style of wristband:

Product collections are another great variation on this strategy. In this “Mediterranean Collection” page on Coastal.com, shoppers get an opportunity to shop by “style,” and to see examples of the glasses on actual faces instead of just a white background:

As I alluded to before, this isn’t just an opportunity for fashion sites. The trick is to make sure you’re showing your products in action.

Plenty of other retailers have an opportunity to show off their product in use, like these photos from the Klipsch website showing off their soundbars in various settings:

Car accessories? Same thing.

Heck, even office furniture is easier to purchase when you see how it looks in a workspace.

Start adding product videos

Adding video to product pages is another relatively low-budget improvement you can make, yet it has extreme value for shoppers and your bottom line.

Why? Because video’s ability to quickly educate shoppers is a powerful conversion tool. Eyeview Digital reported that including video on landing pages can improve conversions by as much as 80%, and ComScore indicated that online shoppers are 64% more likely to buy after watching a video.

So how can you put video to work on your product pages?

Whether you’re demonstrating a how-to or simply showcasing a product and outlining product details, adding video on your product pages provides a whole new experience for online shoppers that helps overcome purchase objections and answers their questions.

Video also allows you to give shoppers a more complete overview of the product and to go beyond static pictures with a story element. These engaging visuals can help shoppers envision themselves using your products in a way that photography alone simply can’t.

Zappos is well known for including videos on what seems like every listing, but what’s more impressive to me is how much personality and brand voice they show off. While shopping for boots recently, I have to say Joe was my favorite video personality:

Click image to open product video in a new window.

If you’re up for taking this on with a DIY approach, it’s reasonably easy to create your own product videos at home with the right equipment. Or, outsource this project to a local professional or videographer for hire.

Upgrade your customer reviews software & process

In the current e-commerce landscape, competition is fierce – and there’s always someone willing to deliver cheaper and faster.

That’s why social proof is more important than ever before. Research from eConsultancy shows that 61% of consumers indicate they look to product reviews before making a purchase, and that product reviews are 12x more trusted than product descriptions from companies.

Customer reviews make your product pages more effective, allowing shoppers to evaluate the product based on real customer opinions – and can help you spot product issues.

I’m listing a few common platforms here, but you should really check out Everett Sizemore’s guide to product review software, which has some great insights on the performance of the entire marketplace of product review software options, including technical SEO concerns:

Traditional product reviews may not be right for all stores…

The best option for you will depend on the tool’s ability to integrate with your store, your preferred functionality, and your budget. Sometimes, traditional product reviews won’t be the best choice for your product or store.

In this example from ThinkGeek, they’ve opted to just let people leave Facebook comments rather than any product reviews at all. Which makes sense, because they’re Star Trek garden gnomes, and it’s not like you need to tell people whether they were the right size or not. Even better than Facebook comments, they also solicit product photos via social media on their #geekfamous hashtag.

Here’s another example where my favorite wallet company, SlimFold, simply highlights great product reviews that they received from press and customer emails. While it makes it harder for them to solicit new reviews, they only have a handful of products, and this format allows them to put more emphasis on specific reviews.

There are many different tools that will allow you to showcase elements of social proof like ratings and reviews, so take your time carefully reviewing different options to see which is the best fit for your needs and budget, and if normal product reviews aren’t the right fit, feel free to take a different approach.

Make enough of these small investments and you should see big improvements over the long term.

Tackling these small investments – as your schedule and budget allows – will dramatically improve the overall user experience and the effectiveness of your e-commerce store.

Consider which aspects are the most important to complete first, and then start doing your research and put together a strategy for how you’ll prioritize these site upgrades. With a well-thought-out plan of action, you can focus on the projects that will drive the best results for your business, rather than trying too many different tactics all at once.

Looking for more ideas? Take a look at our guides on product page optimization, category page optimization, and conversion rate improvements for e-commerce.

This is by no means the complete guide to investing in your e-commerce store, so in the discussion below, I’d like to hear from you. What creative ways have you improved your e-commerce site content in the past that boosted conversions or organic search?

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Trump to take office with lowest approval ratings of any new president in recent history – except on jobs

Donald Trump is poised to take office with the lowest approval ratings of any new president in recent history, but despite a chaotic transition Americans trust the billionaire on one crucial point: jobs.

Since the real estate developer’s White House win in November, companies have lined up to announce new factories or jobs in the United States, including air conditioning manufacturer Carrier, Japan’s SoftBank, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Amazon with a headline-grabbing promise to create 100,000 jobs.

The latest additions to the growing list: Wal-Mart announced Tuesday it would invest $6.8 billion in the United States and create 10,000 jobs, General Motors announced $1 billion in new US investments and pledged to create 5,000 new jobs.

Trump – who since his election has wielded a mix of threats and incentives to push an America-first jobs agenda – has been quick to take credit.

“With all of the jobs I am bringing back into the US (even before taking office), with all of the new auto plants coming back into our country and with the massive cost reductions I have negotiated on military purchases and more, I believe the people are seeing ‘big stuff,’” he tweeted on Tuesday.

Trump last month denounced the $4 billion price tag on the next presidential plane, which is currently under development, threatened to cancel the order unless the price came down.

A peek into the Chinese factory that makes a fortune from Donald Trump masks

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of the aviation giant Boeing, visited Trump Tower in Manhattan on Tuesday, telling reporters he and Trump were “on the same page” about the cost and value of the jet.

The president-elect’s message appears to be resonating.

Sixty-one per cent of Americans believe it is likely the 45th president will be able to create good-paying jobs in economically challenged areas, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday.

The same percentage expects Trump to do a good or excellent job in handling the economy, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released the same day.

But this confidence in Trump’s ability to boost American job creation stands out as the exception, with polls suggesting an overall distrust of Barack Obama’s successor.

‘Apprentice’ contestant Summer Zervos describes alleged groping by Trump in defamation suit

Trump is half as popular as Obama was when he was preparing to take office in January 2009, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll. He is less popular than any other incoming US president of the past four decades, going back to Jimmy Carter.

The latest surveys confirm the findings of other recent polls.

Trump slammed the findings, pointing out that a majority of surveys ahead of his November 8 electoral win predicted victory for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

“The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before,” he said on Twitter.

Meanwhile in Washington, where preparations for his inauguration are underway.

On Sunday, organisers carried out a rehearsal of the ceremony and parade, with a military officer who is the same height as Trump standing in for the president-elect.

Miles of barricades were going up, blocking off the central axis of the city running from the White House to the Capitol, where Trump will be sworn into the highest office of the land at noon on Friday.

Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers and protesters were expected to take in the ceremony from the sprawling National Mall.

Watch: six things you need to know about the US presidential inauguration

Some 28,000 security forces will ensure the safety of the event, with some already on duty in the streets of Washington.

One major security challenge is the hundreds of thousands of protesters expected to descend on the capital, for both the inauguration on Friday and a major protest march planned for Saturday.

Protests during presidential inaugurations are not unusual, with George W. Bush targeted by anti-war demonstrators in 2005 after his re-election.

But this year, more than 40 Democratic lawmakers have said they are boycotting the inauguration, the vast majority of them in support of Congressman John Lewis, a 76-year-old icon of the civil rights movement.

The Georgia congressman Lewis made waves last week when he told an interviewer that he does not see Trump as a legitimate president, citing intelligence that Russia interfered in the November election.

Trump lashed out on Twitter, criticising Lewis’s district as crime-infested and saying the man who marched with Martin Luther King was “all talk talk talk – no actions or results.”

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