Strategy for Growth: Become a Company Customers Want to Do Business With, Not Because They Have To

mall escalators

I recently bought a 21-inch monitor online for my home office. I was so excited when I received the unit. But something was wrong. And that’s why I’m writing about it here.

There was nothing wrong with the monitor and how it looks like. No dead pixels, no dents. The power supply is working. HDMI connection is displaying properly.

The problem was one of the screws for the vesa mount wasn’t working. I don’t know the exact term for it, but the inside thread (the part where the screws should attach) was loose or missing in one of the holes. The vesa mounts have a 4-screw attachment for a reason. It’s more stable you’d have less risk of it falling down. Plus, over time, 3 screws will put an uneven weight on the monitor and that might cause some other problems in the future. I don’t want to risk it.

So, I ended up contacting their customer service.

And it was very disappointing.

It seems like I can only chat with them for a few lines a day and I’d have to wait another 24 hours before I get a response. Because of my frustration, I even offered to bring the unit back to their physical shop to have it replaced or fixed. Not them. I offered to bring it.

All they said was I used the wrong screws — which was totally nonsense since I used the same screws on the other three and they were working properly. Then I apparently used the wrong one on this hole.


Anyway, the customer service rep said okay and asked me when I can bring the unit over. I said later today (that was in the morning. I had to finish some work and can leave around lunch time). Great.

I brought the monitor in. And more issues come up.

Apparently the branch nearest me moved to another spot for quite some time now. Their website didn’t reflect this change of address. Waze and Google Maps didn’t reflect this as well. The customer rep didn’t mention that they moved to another spot.

I was really getting frustrated.

By the time I got to the store, I was faced with parking issues. This is quite understandable. The rest, not so much.

I got in the store, spoke with one of the technicians there and looked at it. After a while, someone came in and told me that I had to leave the monitor and wait for a new replacement unit to be delivered.

That’s it.

They won’t replace it. They won’t fix it. They won’t do anything about it.

Note that I bought the unit from the same seller, but from a different channel (online marketplace instead of directly from that store branch).

I ended up leaving there cursing.

I don’t have my money. I don’t have my monitor. I wasted an hour or so of my life. I couldn’t work properly because of my frustration.


To remove this vent up anger, I walked around my village for a while. My health app counted 4.5 km in total. So, I’m guessing I walked an additional 2.5 km since my average for a day is around 2 km.

As I looked back at this experience, one thing came to mind— be a company that people want to do business with, rather than because customers don’t have a choice.

I came up with a couple of tips for how to do just that.

5 Tips to Be a Company Your Customer Loves

1. Put the customer at the center of everything

What ended up happening to me was very frustrating. Not enough communication. Not enough effort. Overall a terrible experience.

Put your customers at the heart of every strategy and tactic that you do and everything will fall into place.

To that company, I wasn’t the focus.

The customer service rep could have told me that their process is this or that. The store could have easily replaced my unit. They do have stocks for the same one I purchased but they said it was a different inventory and that their price is different.

If you’ve been reading the business section of my website, I’ve been continuously writing about value creation. That the purpose of a business is to create a customer. And to create a customer means to create value for them.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

2. Communication is key

The buying experience doesn’t start and end at the point of purchase. It stretches long before people get in touch with your company, and it spans even until the product has lived its useful life. Remember, you are a company, not a product.

What people remember is always how you make them feel.

In my case, I’ll have this article to remind me of them. And I’m pretty sure I will never buy nor recommend them to anyone ever again. They just got added to the list of companies I never go back to.

Creating content that addresses the different stages of the buyer’s journey is important because it shows that you are focused on your customers. In fact, that’s one of the key questions I have on the quiz I created to gauge whether you’re focused on your customers or on yourself.

3. Growth is achieved through repeat purchases

I have never seen an industry that grows solely through single purchases. If there are, please point them to me so I can learn more about them. Business growth is always achieved through repeat purchases and referrals from those happy customers.

Even real estate or housing shows that the industry’s first-time buyers only make up a third of the business. Those with physical locations like restaurants need much more higher percentage of repeat purchases (or higher average order value) in order to survive.

Treating customers like trash, just like they did to me, is not a great way to do business. Heck, I could simply namedrop them here and people will see this review online.

Guess you already know I won’t be buying from them again.

4. Don’t just sell products/services

This still falls under value creation for customers. But the idea here is to stop thinking that you’re there to sell products or services. Think of your company, and more specifically your role as a representative of the company, to help other people. To solve their problems.

Go beyond the sale.

People buy things not because they want to buy it. Rather, it solves a particular problem/want/need. We all attach value to things.

In my case, I needed a bigger monitor so I can work properly. I would have a bigger screen and I don’t have to sit close to my 12-inch MacBook. It helps with eye strain. But the bigger reason I bought a monitor is to help my back and shoulders. I sit in front of my computer for hours in my line of work. Hunching down on my Mac isn’t helping.

In fact, I’ve recently completed a 12-session rehab for my upper trapezius muscles — the ones running from the base of the neck to your shoulder blades to the lower back. I don’t want to go through that again.

Continuously looking down exerts great pressure on these muscles just to keep it in place. Did you know the average human head weighs 5 kgs or 11 pounds? Try holding that weight in front of you using one hand for 1 minute. That’s difficult. That’s what our traps are doing every time we look down.

Apart from my big monitor, I also got a desk mount. That way, I don’t have to look down on my screen and just look straight.

That’s why I bought a monitor. To help me with my health problems. That’s the value I’m looking for.

And now I’m back to my laptop, looking down, and my muscles are all tight again from the stress of everything that’s happened so far.

No value created.

5. Expect the unexpected

No product is perfect. Hardware of software, there will always be some form of problem that will come up. And that’s understandable.

Even that happens to big brands.

Two years ago, after coming back from the US where I bought a new MacBook, my keyboard suddenly stopped working properly. If I remember correctly, every time I press the “s” button, it either won’t work or continue producing a string of “sssss” on one click. And this was just within 3-4 months of buying that new MacBook. But upon taking it to the store, they told me they had to replace the keyboard which was coming from overseas. So I can either leave the unit there for a couple of days, or bring it back again when they get the new keyboard. Then once I leave it back, it would take 1-3 days to finish because part of their process is to check for other issues as well.

This is very different from my experience with the seller of the monitor.

The seller for my monitor didn’t tell me anything about the process. In my chat conversation, I offered to bring it to the shop to have it replaced or fixed. They said okay and even notified the branch I’m coming. Naturally, that’s what I’m going to expect when I get there— to get it fixed or replaced. But I experienced a different shitty process altogether.

Contrast that with my experience with Apple. They told me the timeframes and what to expect. They even gave me an option so I can still use my laptop.


If you want your business to stay in business, put your customers at the heart of everything you do. Redefine your roles, processes, and operations around the customer experience.

You already know that selling to an existing customer is easier than selling to a new one. It also costs way less to do that as well. And the other benefit is you can get more revenues through referrals as long as you provide your customers with a great experience.

And during times when you experience issues or complaints, again, put your customers first. Don’t pass them around, nor make it harder for them to do business with you.

Communicate early. Communicate often.

Don’t wait until some new company comes along and takes away all your customers. The key to growth is making customers want to do business with you and not just because they have no choice.

What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and How You Can Win in 2020 and Beyond

woman using phone

Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of making your website rank higher on search engines. There’s a lot of technicality involved in SEO like crawlers and indexing and many more. But that’s not the point of this article.

I’m going to write about two main aspects of search engine optimization: on-page and off-page. Together, they cover different ranking factors that search engines use to determine which websites show up at which positions when you type in a particular query.

No one really knows what these ranking factors are except for a few that search engines like Google disclose themselves. One of the most popular theories is that there are over 200 ranking factors that is being used by Google today. But it’s also being changed daily.

How to Win in Search Engine Optimization for 2020 and Beyond

There are a lot of experts and veterans in this field. I won’t claim I know everything about this. But there’s one thing I do know more than them.

I know how you can future proof your website from any of these changes even without knowing what to do. What I mean future proof by that is making sure that you don’t get affected by the changes drastically in the future. That way, whatever investments you make now will not be put to waste tomorrow.

Put your customers first.

That’s a very simple, yet very profound sentence in the world of SEO and digital marketing.

Why is this important? Let’s go through a little bit of SEO history first.

Brief History of SEO

The history of SEO goes way back to the 90s. But I’m not going to bore you with the details. HubSpot and Search Engine Journal both provide a detailed history of search engines.

One thing I’d like to highlight though is that the early beginnings of SEO, you can rank well by simply repeating your keywords enough times throughout your pages. Today, this has been widely eradicated, but sometimes people still do them.

The main reason for that is you can rank a page about topic ABC which has a low search volume, but stuff it with keywords about topic XYZ which has a high search volume. In this case, what ended up happening is you get people to see your websites about topic ABC despite them searching for XYZ.

As you can see, this is very frustrating as a user.

Today, this rarely happens anymore thanks for the algorithms used by search engines like Google and Bing. We’ve now entered another era of search engine optimization where its users are the main focus.

The War on Fake News

Fake news has been a problem long before the internet. Rumors and spreading gossips is one other way to look at this.

But the internet has made this even more problematic.

One of the hottest topics in the last decade is the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. While not necessarily fake news, it was a widely talked about topic because “personal data of millions of people’s Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political advertising purposes.”

It’s been said that this data has been used to intentionally sway voters.

This led Facebook (and other big tech companies) to be in scrutiny by the government and the public.

Thus, the war on fake news exploded on the internet.

And this brings us back to how you can future proof your business via SEO — focus on your users by giving them more value, instead of using hype or false advertisements to mislead them. Following this basic rule will help you to make decisions about whether to use a particular strategy or not.

Two Components of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you really want to learn more about the details of SEO, there are two separate components you need to know. These two work together to provide you an idea of how you can best approach optimization your website.

They are on-page ranking factors and off-page ranking factors. The main difference between the two is whether you have direct control over it or not.

As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of ranking factors for both on-page and off-page. And I’m not going to cover that. Some of it are technical which you don’t need to know.

I’ll just highlight a few basic ones that you need to know so you can get started with search engine optimization the right way.

On-Page Ranking Factors

On-page ranking factors, or search signals, are optimization techniques you have direct control of.

For example, the Backlinkto article that listed the 200 ranking factors broke it down into different categories and listed the first one about your domain.

While it has nothing to do with the contents of your website, your domain is the first place Google looks at when it comes to ranking your website. And this is also the reason why I always tell people to start a website right now.

On-page SEO is all about following the rules set by search engines like Google. If you want to rank well, you have to play by their rules. That is why keyword stuffing (the one I mentioned earlier) doesn’t work anymore — and is actually penalized.

There are a lot of things that cover the on-page SEO factors so I’ll just highlight the top 5 you need to do.

Oh, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore — the main theme is to focus on your users and provide them the best experience possible.

1. Website speed

Website speed is one of the most important things you need to fix first. Google announced that speed is a ranking factor for mobile searches and desktops since 2010. So if your website loads slowly, no amount of optimization will help you rank better.

In a Google Webmaster video, Maile Ohye, states that “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”

And this was already a decade ago. 2010.

Before going moving ahead, test out our website speed right now. Head on over to Google PageSpeed Insights and enter your URL.

What’s your score?

If you are like most websites, you’d probably be in the yellow or red zones. Meaning — you have a slow website.

Taking your time to improve website speed gives your users a better experience. After all, if your page doesn’t load, they can’t see it. If they can’t see it, what’s the point of you being online?

Compress your images

The biggest culprit found for slow websites is its images. The solution? Compress them.

There are lots of tools out there like like TinyPNG. But my favorite tool and the one I’m using right now on my website is ShortPixel.

You can use ShortPixel as a plugin on your WordPress website to make image compression done automatically. But you can use their image compressor manually if you want to try them out first.

When you get there, you will be asked to choose from different compression levels. I use the lossy setting. Feel free to experiment on which one is best for your website.

The point is this — make your images smaller so they load faster.

Feel free to create an account on ShortPixel. Use this link so you can get an extra 100 images that you can use to optimize your website. The free account only gives you credits for 100 images/month.

Reduce plugin/third party application usage

If you’ve tested your website speed via Google PageSpeed Insights, one of the items there that might probably show up on yours is to minimize third-party usage, keep request counts low, or eliminate render-blocking resources.

You don’t have to understand what those mean right now. But the most likely culprit is you are using too many tools on your website.

While you may always have used those tools in the past, consider removing them because they may just be there to make your website look pretty; thus, making it load slowly.

Optimization tweaks for WordPress websites

Now, if you are using a WordPress website, which you most probably are, then consider following these website optimization tweaks in order to achieve a 90+ score on Google PageSpeed Insights.

In other words, follow the things I mentioned there to make your site faster on both mobile and desktop.

That is a more comprehensive version. But if you want quick gains without the pain, take a look at these 8 steps to speed up your website.

2. Content

The next topic of on-page SEO is to create content. The easiest way is to apply a two-pronged strategy.

Without content, you will never rank on search engines. Let’s go back to the main purpose people search the internet — to find answers to their problems.

If you don’t create content, how will they find you?

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Cover the topic well enough

Covering a particular topic well is very important if you want to rank on search engines. It’s a bit ambiguous, sure. But it’s difficult to quantify what it really means.

There’s another way to look at this though — word count. Generally, the longer your content is, the higher its chances for ranking.

The most popular research that made long-form content popular is by Backlinkto. Here’s what it has to say:

Based on SERP data from SEMrush, we found that longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.

How is that? Because long-form content, at an average of 1900 words, you most probably covered the topic well enough. Meaning, you provided users some value on your content.

But that’s not always the case.

As shown in the examples mentioned here, you don’t need to always create content that long.

What matters is, as you guessed it, focus on your readers and users.

Tips to get started on creating content

Here are some resources to get you started.

3. User experience

By now, you sped up your website and started creating content. Great.

Now, it’s time to focus on user experience. Some questions to ask yourself are the following:

  • Is it easy to find what I’m looking for?
  • Are there too many ads or popups preventing me from reading what I want to read?
  • Can I quickly access common pages
    • About
    • Contact
    • Services/Products
  • Are the articles/content easy to read?

These are just some questions to get started. By focusing on the user, you will know which add value to them and which don’t.


Covering a topic means you need to reference certain terms/phrases, or even some research backing up statistics or statements.

Now, you don’t want to write content about them in the same article because while it may make your word count higher, it will not be relevant to the user anymore.

For example, this article is about SEO. In the previous section, I mentioned about the study by Backlinkto. If I explained what the study is, their approach, and all their findings, this entire article becomes too long and too technical. And that’s not what I want. Plus, it has already been covered by them extensively.

What did I do?

I just linked to them. That way, in case you wanted to learn more about the study, you can do so by clicking on the link. That’s an example of an external link — a link outside your own domain.

You probably also noticed that I added links in some sections to my own articles. That’s called internal linking. There are specific strategies you can do about internal linking, but the only thing you need to remember right now is to add links wherever they are relevant and can provide additional value.

Use of header tags

Have you noticed the different sections I have on this post? Some are bigger, while some are smaller.

I didn’t adjust their font sizes. Those are the use of header tags. If your website is built properly, you can simply assign those tags and it will display properly. Here’s what it looks like for WordPress.

Headers in WordPress
More formatting tips

Another way you can make it easier for your readers to read your content is to use formatting options like the following:

  • Bullet lists
  • Numbered lists
  • Bold text

See what I did there?

It makes it easier to read and understand what you want to highlight. Adding those formatting breaks the monotony of words. And of course, images help too. Together, these make your content more user-friendly.

4. Mobile-first

When was the last time you used your mobile phone to search something on the internet? Truth is, our phones have become so powerful that we use them more often than our computers.

According to Statista, 64% of Google searches are done via mobile devices. So it’s only logical that search engines prioritize ranking website that are mobile-friendly.

Here’s a quick mobile-friendly test by Google. Just type your website and it will tell you if your site is or not.

Now, remember our website speed test? Here’s another fact — A study by Google says that 53% of mobile site visits will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

What that means is even if your website is mobile-friendly, if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, more than half of visitors will abandon your page. And guess where they are going?

To your competitors.

Consider using AMP

I shared earlier how I achieved 90s score on both mobile and desktop on website speed tests. You can certainly follow that especially if you are using WordPress.

Another way you can easily speed up your website is by using AMP pages. It’s a technology developed by Google to “provide a user-first format for web content.”

You can see this when you search on Google via mobile.

AMP pages with lightning icon

If you noticed, there’s a lightning symbol that indicates which are AMP pages. Click on them and the page immediately loads.

If you have a slow website, especially on mobile, consider implementing AMP pages to get quick results while you plan or redesign your entire website.

AMP Plugin

I am using WordPress. So, I just installed the AMP plugin, configured my posts to be available fo AMP, and I’m done.

For example, if you search for the “stages of awareness” on Google, one of my articles will show up with the AMP lightning icon.

How AMP pages look like when you search on mobile

5. Schema

This is the last and probably important thing you need to think about implementing this year — schema markups or structured data.

There are different types of schemas and the easiest way to understand what they are and how useful it is for your website is through examples.

Let’s say you are browsing for instructions or recipes. You will notice that there are some results that show up that looks like this…

How Recipes Schema looks like in carousel
How Recipes Schema looks like with reviews and ratings

Or say you wanted to catch up on the latest news.

This is the biggest trending topic right now is currently happening in my home country.

How the news schema looks like

And a little bit of self-promotion on one of the articles where I have implemented the FAQ Schema.

How FAQ Schema looks like

All these are examples of websites using schema.

As you can see, adding schemas or structured data to your posts will help you rank more on search engines primarily because of two things:

  1. Most websites aren’t using them yet. So, with that logic, if you are using it, your chances for ranking are higher
  2. You gain a bigger search engine real estate. What this simply means is you occupy a big portion of the search engine results page that you have a higher chance of people seeing you and clicking on your website

Combining all these on-page ranking factors will help you show up on search engines. Focus on giving your users the best experience and Google will reward you. And that involves you making these changes:

  • Make your website load faster
  • Create helpful and valuable content
  • That can be read easily
  • Even on mobile devices

Off-Page Ranking Factors

The second category of SEO is off-page ranking factors. These are things you don’t have direct control over.

Here’s a simple way to look at off-page SEO.

If you think about it, Google’s algorithm was essentially about “if people are talking about you, you must be important.”

What that means is when people are writing about you, in this case, linking to your content, it sends a signal to search engines that your content must be valuable. Therefore, they put it up on their results pages.

The technical term for this are backlinks — links going from one website to your own website.

According to Moz, there are three main types of links, defined by how they were earned: natural links, manually built links, or self-created links.

  1. Natural links are editorially given without any action on the part of a page owner. For example, a food blogger adding a link to a post that points toward their favorite produce farms is a natural link.
  2. Manually built links are acquired through deliberate link-building activities. This includes things like getting customers to link to your website or asking influencers to share your content.
  3. Self-created links are created by practices such as adding a backlink in an online directory, forum, blog comment signature, or a press release with optimized anchor text. Some self-created link building tactics tend toward black hat SEO and are frowned upon by search engines, so tread lightly here.

Now, now all links are created equal. There are domain authority, page authority, anchor text, etc. you have to look into when it comes to backlinks. But I digress. All these are great resources for you to learn about off-page SEO:

  1. Moz
  2. Neil Patel
  3. Ahrefs

1. Focus on what you can control

Since you don’t have direct control over this so it’s best if you focus on creating high quality content.

Sure, you may invest in the self-created links, but that will only give you so much. The next option you might take is reaching out to people through link-building activities. But in order for you to do that, you need to create high-quality content.

2. Foolish to think you can rank without content

This brings me back to the biggest problem I see most website owners have when it comes to ranking on Google.

They think they can rank on Google by optimizing their website and not create content. By optimizing here I meant adding keywords and other technical stuff.

Sure, that may work. But most likely, it wouldn’t.

One way to look at on-page and off-page ranking factors is the Pareto principle:

  • 20% comes from on-page optimizations,
  • While 80% comes from off-page.

What this means is links from high authority sites carries more weight when it comes to ranking on search engines. If you have other websites linking back to yours, it sends a signal that what your website contains is valuable.

That’s why link-building outreaches have become popular.

But if the only content you have is your homepage, about page, and contact us, how valuable do you think that is for people who don’t know anything about you? What value would other websites get if they don’t even know what you offer or what you do?

Getting a high authority website to link to you means you have created content that is outstanding enough for them to mention you on their website.

And if you think about it, that actually makes sense. If it’s easy to rank on Google, most websites would already be there. But it’s not.

So, at the end of the day, focus on creating high quality content by putting your users first. Then, when you finally have something worthy, that’s when you spend time building links.

3. Distributing your content

One other thing.

Remember the self-created links? You can do that by distributing your content via different channels.

Social media is probably the first one on your list. And that’s a good start. But there are other places you can do so as well.

Medium and LinkedIn articles are one of the most underutilized distribution channels you can use.


Search engine optimization is a complicated and mostly technical topic. It covers a lot of things from website speed, code, and link building. Also, search engine algorithms change all the time.

The only way to make sure your investments in SEO don’t go to waste is to put your customers first. Focus on creating value for them and you will continue to rank on Google and other search engines for a long time.

How to Show Last Modified Date Instead of Published Date on Your WordPress Website

Be Present in the Moment

One of the primary functions of search engines like Google is to provide answers to users’ questions and problems. That’s why it’s important to create content that is helpful and valuable to them, rather than promote your products and services. And frankly, that’s the best way to future proof your business — by focusing on creating value for other people. 

This is also the reason why Google loves fresh content. Fresh content doesn’t necessarily have to be new content. Rather, it can be and “old” content, but updated to reflect certain changes; therefore, making it relevant and useful. 

And that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this article. 

Let me ask you a question. 

If you were looking for some resources about how you can install Google Analytics to your website and you came across this one I wrote. What comes to mind? 

How to Change Published Date on WordPress Posts

If I saw that, I’d probably take a look, but I’ll search for a more updated one. Because the contents of that page might not be relevant anymore. Depending on the topic, my leeway would probably be between six months to a year. If it’s older than that, unless it’s the only resource out there, I will probably not take it seriously. 

And I believe it goes the same for you. You want something relevant and updated. You don’t want to spend your time reading and following some instructions only to find out later that it’s no longer applicable. 

Now, what if you saw the same article and it looks like this…

Show Modified Date and Published Date on WordPress Posts

Now, we’re talking. 

Despite it being published a couple of years ago, you see that the date was recently updated. 

If you’re using a WordPress website, whether you’re running on the Genesis Framework or another theme, then you can easily make this change yourself. You can do this using a plugin, but I’m biased towards not relying on them, especially if you want to speed up your website and get high 90s score on Google PageSpeed Insights for both mobile and desktop

Preparatory Points

But before getting into it, I’d like to go through a couple of things. 

First, you can simply remove the published date and only show the modified date. In fact, that’s what’s most of the resources out there. They simply tell you how to replace the published date with the modified date. If that’s what you want, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that approach. 

But that’s not what I’m going to here. 

As you noticed in the examples above, the dates will be displayed depending on whether or not you actually updated the article. I also included a time element to it. 

For example, I published an article on January 1, 2020. The article will display “Published on January 1, 2020.” 

A year goes by and I haven’t updated the same article. It will still show the same thing. But if I edited it 6 months after, it will display both dates (or only the modified date which I’ll share below). 

But there’s another problem here. Let’s say I noticed a typographical error the day after. I went in and edited the article. The modified date has changed. So, if I don’t include the time element, it will display it both. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just weird.

Published on January 1, 2020 • Last Updated January 2, 20120.

Personally, I’d only want to display the modified date only if 30 days or so have passed. 

Finally, make sure you make a backup of your site first. While this is relatively simple, a single mistake can make your site inaccessible. 

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive right in. 

How to Show Modified Date Instead of Published Date

There are two variations of this that I will show you. 

First, as you saw in the example above, the published date and the modified/last updated date is displayed together. 

The other option is to only show the modified/last updated date. Just like this one.

Show Modified Date on WordPress Posts

This is actually how it looks like on my website right now. This is option two below.

I’ll show you the code you need to add to your functions.php file for each, then I’ll explain parts of the code in case you want to modify it yourself. 

First, login to your WordPress website. Go to Appearance then Theme Editor. Click on the functions.php file then scroll all the way down. 

Where to Find the functions.php File on Your WordPress Website

Option 1: Display BOTH Original Published Date and Modified Date

Add this code at the bottom of your functions.php file if you want both the published date and modified date to appear on your posts. 

// Published & Modified Date
function be_published_modified_date() {
	$date = get_the_date( 'U' );
	$updated = get_the_modified_date( 'U' );

	$output = '<span class="entry-date"><span class="label">Published on</span> ' . get_the_date( 'F j, Y' ) . '</span>';
	if( $updated > ( $date + MONTH_IN_SECONDS ) )
		$output .= ' <span class="entry-date-modified"><span class="label">• Last updated</span> ' . get_the_modified_date( 'F j, Y' ) . '</span>';

	return $output;
add_shortcode( 'be_published_modified_date', 'be_published_modified_date' );

You can edit the text you want by changing the “published on” and “last updated” to whichever you want. Hit save. Then check a post you recently updated but have been originally published a month ago. 

Option 2: Display ONLY Modified Date

Add this code at the bottom of your functions.php file if you want only the modified date to appear on your posts.

// Published & Modified Date
function be_published_modified_date() {
	$date = get_the_date( 'U' );
	$updated = get_the_modified_date( 'U' );

	if( $updated > ( $date + MONTH_IN_SECONDS ) )
		$output .= ' <span class="entry-date-modified"><span class="label">Last updated</span> ' . get_the_modified_date( 'F j, Y' ) . '</span>';
	else {
		$output = '<span class="entry-date"><span class="label">Published on</span> ' . get_the_date( 'F j, Y' ) . '</span>';
		return $output;
add_shortcode( 'be_published_modified_date', 'be_published_modified_date' );

Same as above, you can edit the text you want by changing the “published on” and “last updated” to whichever you want. Hit save. Then check a post you recently updated but have been originally published a month ago. 

How the Code Works

The code is pretty simple to understand. 

For option 1 — display both dates — here’s how to read the code:

  • Show original published date
  • If the updated date is greater than the original published date + 30, show last updated date. 

For option 2 — display only modified date: 

  • If the updated date is greater than the original published date + 30, show last updated date. 
  • Else, show original published date

It’s that simple. 

Over to You

By displaying the last modified date instead or together with the original published date, you show to your visitors (and Google) that you value them. 

You avoid giving them a poor experience by showing them outdated content. 

Did you find this helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

Customer Focus: What Does It Mean and How to Really Focus on Your Customers

Does your organization have a customer focus culture

I’m currently waiting inside a Globe store waiting for my number to be called. So far, it’s only been a few minutes, it’s a weekend, and there are a couple of people here already.

I know I’ll be in here at least 30 minutes.

So, I thought, why not use this time to start writing an article about putting customers first.

If you read any about us section of any website, you will see some variation of customer focus. You’d read phrases like customer-oriented, put our customers first, prioritize customers, or the classic, the customer is king.

As is often the case, it’s always easy to say (or write) something than do it.

So, what exactly is customer focus?

How to Know If My Company Is Customer Focused?

  1. Do you have an FAQ section on your website?
  2. Do you have an onboarding/welcome series?
  3. Do you have a unified database of customer information?

What Is Customer Focus

Customer focus is putting the experience of the customer first above everything else . This means meeting customer needs across the different stages they go through from purchase down to disposal.

It’s worth noting that that definition above includes everything your organization does that affects customer satisfaction — which is pretty much every business unit and department from marketing and sales, customer service, and even accounting and billing.

One particular tool that can help you develop a customer focus strategy is using the buyer utility map from the Blue Ocean Strategy. It helps you enter a mindset that is centered around customer needs and expectations.

According to HubSpot, customer expectations today are higher today than last year (or 10 years ago). This indicates that great customer service can become a competitive advantage.

Does your organization have a customer focus strategy?

3 Simple Questions to Ask Yourself Whether You Have a Customer Focus Culture in Your Organization

1. Does your organization have an FAQ section on your website?

One of the things customers look at when trying to purchase something is the FAQ section of your website.

And if they don’t ask, do not assume that they don’t want to fulfill this need.

Every single buyer wants to know the basic information, or at least find it very quickly should the need arises. If you don’t know this already, potential buyers are over 80% of the buying cycle before they get in touch with a salesperson from your company.

If you don’t have content that helps them in their research process, you’re guaranteed to lose them to your competitors who are investing in educational and helpful content.

Let’s say you sell clothes online. Some FAQs that your customers might want to know are the following:

  • How long is the delivery
  • Is there a delivery fee? How much?
  • What if the clothes don’t fit? Can I return them / exchange them?
  • If I return an item, do I have to pay for shipping? Where do I send it back?

Pro Tip: Once you have answers to these FAQs, create a page on your website if you haven’t already. Place them all there. Make it prominent so your customers can find it easily. After they purchase, include the top 3-5 FAQs in an email, then link back to the page itself.

By doing this, you are helping them find the information that they need. You make it easy for them to do business with you. You’re not hiding anything from them. This increases trust.

An organization that is focused on their customers will make it easy for their customers to get what they want or need.

Ariel (click to tweet)

2. Do you have an onboarding/welcome email series?

After buying something from you, a customer will have a lot of questions. Doubts can also creep in the form of buyer’s remorse.

The only way to fight this and create a better experience for your customers is to be there every step of the way.

The easiest way to do this is through a series of email (and/or any communication channel like SMS, on-site messages, notifications on your phone, etc).

The series is all about getting your new customers up-to-speed on your product/service.

Pro Tip: Create an onboarding/welcome email series. It’s usually 3-5 emails spaced a few days apart and differs per organization. Following the tip from the previous section, you can include your FAQs here. You can also use this series to further let them know that they made the right decision to buy from you.

By doing this, you reduce the chance of them thinking of returning your product or trying to get out of the contract. You also make it easier for them to adapt and be more productive.

For example, in the technology world, this is called the “Aha moment.” For Facebook, it’s getting 7 friends in 10 days

That’s why when you create an account with them, you’ll see notifications and UX designs on the app/website asking you to add friends, or do some other tasks. This is all part of their onboarding series to help you get up-to-speed with Facebook and avoid you from never using it again.

3. Do you have a unified database of customer information?

Contact management is one of the operational tactics most organizations fail at. This unified database is the “single source of truth” about your customers.

Oftentimes, marketing has multiple lists. Sales has a CRM. Customer service/support has a ticket system. Accounting has another software.

This is one of the reasons why customers get passed around when asking for help or support in something. They call customer service about an issue with their billing, then they transfer them to accounting, then transfer them back to sales.

An organization that is focused on their customers will make it easy for their customers to get what they want or need.

Of course, the followup question is this, “is it updated?” Does everyone who interacts with customers use or have access to this?

The best practice here is this database contains the exact timeline of the person — from the website visits prior the purchase, the items they purchased, how much, the tickets they submitted for support, and all other information.

That way, when they call customer service or @mentioned someone from the marketing team, they won’t reply with “please send us an email” or make them go through hoops just to get a quick answer to their question/problem.

Pro Tip: There is a lot of modern software that does this yet doesn’t break the bank. The most important part here is that the people who interact with customers or handles customer data have access to it. This makes the customer experience seamless.

Just ask yourself this question, “do you enjoy waiting on the phone or getting passed around multiple departments?”

Lastly, make sure that everyone actually uses it and updates the information as needed. Most of the time, you can add notes so that when people look at it, it’s easy to get a quick grasp of what’s happening with the account. And an important part here is to ensure there’s alignment among the different departments, especially around definitions like buying stages (lead, MQL, SQLs, etc.).

So, What Are You Going to Do Next

Putting your customers first is easier said than done. In most organizations, these words are merely lip service.

Don’t be one of those organizations.

Build (or change) your internal processes to make it easy for your customers, not your employees.

  1. Make it easy for your customers to find important and relevant information about you, the products/services they bought, and anything else that can help them trust you quicker.
  2. Continue to build a relationship with your customer — even after purchasing from you. Your customers aren’t stupid. If you don’t nurture this relationship further, they’ll find this somewhere else (your competitors).
  3. A focus on customers means their experience is prioritized over internal systems and legacy processes. If something is not making it easy for your customers, like refunds or support, change the process behind the scenes to make it easier for your customer.

Does your organization claim that the customer is king? Is this actually true? Do your daily operations support this? Let me know in the comments below!