Stamps.com Blog

Stamps.com Blog

Get the latest information on the mailing and shipping industry.

How Google’s Search Console Tool Can Help Webmasters

May 4th, 2018 Comments off

Google Search Console is one of the best resources for webmasters out there — and it’s absolutely free. While many site owners and webmasters may currently use some of the tool’s features, they might not be taking full advantage of everything it offers. If you are in charge of your company’s website, you can maximize its marketing potential by becoming a Google Search Console expert.

What is the Google Search Console?

When your website is not working as it should, you risk losing potential clients and current customers. Identifying these issues quickly is key to ensuring your website ranks high in Google’s search rankings.

The Google Search Console helps identify certain technical issues that could impact your SEO rankings.  will send you notifications by email whenever there is a problem with your website. You can also monitor Google SEO rankings to make certain your site is at or near the top of the list of search returns. You can learn about spider crawl issues that can drag down your search rankings. This resource allows you to monitor, in real time, problems that can make your website a liability instead of a marketing asset.

3 Important Features to Use in Google Search Console

Google Search Console offers a number of features that allow you to identify potential issues and correct them quickly. The following are just a few of these tools:

1. Keyword Reports

You will have access to a report that tells you how many keyword searches on Google brought people  to your site. The report can be adjusted by month and the  information allows you to refine your SEO strategy to target specific keywords that will generate more profitable traffic to your website. You can adjust the reports to see important metrics such as impressions, click-through rate (CTR) and the average position of your site’s ranking for specific keywords.

You can also filter your data by device (i.e. mobile, tablet and desktop) and country to see if any traffic patterns exist.

2. Total Website Pages Indexed by Google

This data displays  the total number of indexed URLs (pages on your site) that Google has discovered and is showing in their search results.  These pages could be any page on your site, including pages that you do not want to show in Google.  If there are pages that are not indexed, a common problem with new content, the Google Search Console will provide options for site owners to add the URL to the Google search platform.  The system will also allow you to remove URLs or identify URLs that are being blocked by tools such as robots.txt or the XML sitemap.

3. Site Errors/Problems

Sometimes there are technical issues in the server that are preventing Google from properly indexing your website.  Google Search Console provides a “site error section” that alerts you to these technical issues and provides you with tips to correct the erros.. Google warns that a 100 percent error rate in any of the categories indicates your site is down or misconfigured. An error rate below 100 percent may indicate that the site is overloaded or not configured properly. In either case, the issues might be transient, but they will still require investigation. The Google Search Console helps you identify and address these issues quickly to minimize the impact on your client base.

The Google Search Console is an invaluable free tool that helps ensure your website’s success. Additionally, it makes your job much easier by continually providing the information you need to optimize your site’s search position

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

Shipping to Mexico with USPS

April 24th, 2018 Comments off

Did you know that 48% of all Mexican imports come from the United States? And with an expected 84.9 million Internet users in Mexico by 2019, it couldn’t be a better time for e-commerce sellers to open their markets to online buyers south of the border.

Here are the basics on shipping your products to Mexico vis USPS.

Available USPS Mail Classes to Mexico

  • Priority Mail Express International. For date-specific delivery and a money-back guarantee, you’ll also appreciate 3- to 5-day delivery on packages up to 70 pounds.
  • Priority Mail International. With similar features to Priority Mail Express International (above), Priority Mail International delivers within 6 to 10 days.
  • First Class Package International Service. If you’re shipping small, inexpensive items to Mexico, First Class Package International Service is the economical choice for packages up to 4 pounds, with 7- to 10-day delivery.
  • Stamps.com International Flats Service. Stamps.com offers customers a special rate on shipping merchandise in Flats/Large Envelopes — up to 65% off international package rates.

Important Restrictions to Note

As with all international shipping, it’s vital to understand prohibitions and restrictions to Mexico.

Prohibited and restricted items include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Electronic Cigarettes
  • Weapons
  • Furs
  • Precious Metal
  • Plants
  • Seeds
  • Tobacco

Lastly, here’s some sweet advice for U.S. shippers – as Mexico is the birthplace of chocolate, understandably the country takes that product seriously. If you sell chocolate or products made of chocolate, you must obtain prior authorization for these items from the Mexican Secretary of Commerce.

Printing International Postage for Mexico via Stamps.com

It’s simple to ship to Mexico with Stamps.com! Here’s a rundown on the benefits you receive when you take advantage of Stamps.com’s services.

  • Discounts on international shipping rates. Save up to 5%!
  • Directly fill out Customs Forms. Save time – the Stamps.com interface automatically inserts your e-commerce order data into the Customs Form.
  • Insurance savings. When you use Stamps.com, enjoy savings of up to 40% on international insurance.

The Bottom Line

Our South of the Border neighbors represent a tremendous opportunity for e-commerce sellers. With several cost-effective shipping options to Mexico, plus extra benefits to Stamps.com users, you could soon be enjoying a fiesta of new business and simple solutions.

Categories: Shipping Tags:

USPS Rules for Mailing Knives

April 13th, 2018 Comments off

Whether you need a good chef’s knife to carve up large cuts of beef, or a paring knife to core a tomato, knives come in handy for a variety of uses. They represent an important consumer product, but can you mail knives and other sharp instruments through the USPS? The short answer is that it depends on the type of knife.

Switchblade knives

Switchblade knives are severely restricted with the USPS. They are defined by the USPS as knives having “a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle, or by operation of inertia, gravity, or both.” Only supply and procurement officers are allowed to purchase and mail switchblade knives. If you’re a dealer or manufacturer of switchblade knives, you would still only be able to mail switchblade knives to procurement officers representing civic, county, state and federal governments. Mailpieces with switchblade knives should not be identified as such on the outside of the parcel.

Pocket and kitchen knives 

What if you’re sending a pocket knife to a manufacturer for repair? Or mailing a sushi knife to a friend? These knives are mailable. However, keep in mind that mailable knives must be cushioned and secured within the packaging. This would prevent any sharp edges from poking through the packaging. Make sure that there is no content shifting. Inner packaging is recommended, and if possible, sheathing the blade in question. Use plenty of cushioning material. This also goes for sharp-edged implements like ice picks, hatchets, stilettos and saws.

The best rule to go by when mailing knives and sharp instruments is to avoid mailing hazardous items that could cause injury to postal workers: loose knives; badly packaged, sharp objects; and automatic, ballistic, and auto-open blades.

International mail 

When mailing internationally, keep in mind that some countries, such as Denmark, Uganda, Japan and the United Kingdom, explicitly prohibit certain types of knives.  Learn more about USPS international listings.

As always, stay sharp and keep informed! For more information on domestic USPS regulations regarding mailing knives, please see:

https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c4_013.htm

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Shipping to Military Bases – Military Mail FAQ

April 2nd, 2018 Comments off

Care packages and letters are some of the best ways to send your loved ones a slice of home when they are deployed abroad. At Stamps.com we often receive questions from customers looking to send packages to military destination so we compiled a list of the 10 most frequently asked questions about Military Mail:

How do I format a military address?

Like a domestic address, a military address lets postal clerks know where to send your mail piece, so the address must follow a specific format. This special address must include:

  1. The full name of the addressee. Mail sent without a full name will not be delivered
  2. The unit or Post Office box number
  3. A three letter code associated with the type of location. APO is used for Army and Air Force installations. FPO is used for ships and Navy installations. DPO is associated with U.S. embassies overseas.
  4. The “state” of the addressee. Rather than an actual state or province in a foreign country, the “state” for a military address should be:
  • AA for Armed Forces Americas
  • AE for Armed Forces Europe, Armed Forces Middle East and Armed Forces Africa
  • AP for Armed Forces Pacific
  1. The 5-digit zip code for the military unit. All military zip codes will start with a 0 or 9.

Example:

CPT John Doe

Unit 45013 Box 2666

USAG J

APO AP 96338

 

What is my best option for shipping to a military base?

Due to security restrictions, the USPS is the only carrier that can deliver mail and packages to APO/FPO/DPO locations. While carriers such as FedEx and UPS offer delivery to countries where military personnel may be stationed, packages from these private carriers cannot be delivered directly to a military base.

Should I include a country in the military address?

No! One of the most common mistakes when sending military mail is including a country in the address. Typically, including a country in the address will result in a delayed or rejected mailing.

Is Military Mail considered international mail?

No. In 1959 the Department of Defense and the Post Office Department agreed that the USPS would be required to provide continual mail service to military personnel and their families worldwide. Because of this agreement military addresses (APO/FPO/DPO) are not considered international addresses by the USPS, even though they may reside in foreign countries.

How much does it cost to send a letter to APO/FPO/DPO addresses?

When sending a letter to military addresses, you are only required to provide domestic postage. The current cost to send a domestic First Class Mail letter is $0.50 at the Post Office or $0.47 for Stamps.com customers.

How is Military Mail processed?

Letters and packages addressed to military personnel are first sent to Miami, New York City or San Francisco before being shipped to their international destinations. Once the letter or package arrives in its destination country, it is handed over to a Military Postal Service representative who transports it to the Military Post Office, from where it is distributed to the service member’s unit for delivery to the recipient.

Do I need to fill out a customs form when shipping to a U.S. military base abroad?

Since the recipient country may have restrictions on what can be imported, mailpieces addressed to a military destination must include a properly completed PS Form 2976 or PS Form 2976-A.

What is the estimated delivery time for Military Mail?

The transit time for sending mail and packages to military addresses varies by destination and mail class. See the table below for delivery time estimates:

Can I ship electronics to military destinations?

Many electronics are prohibited from being shipped to military destinations. A good rule of thumb is anything that sends a radio, satellite or phone signal is prohibited for being shipped to military bases. Prohibited items include mobile phones, cordless phones, GPS hardware and software, and FM transmitters.

 

How should I package shipments to Military destinations?

Be sure to package shipments securely enough to withstand up to six weeks of transit. Consider the destination of the package and extreme temperatures or conditions the packages may need to endure. If your package contains fragile contents add adequate cushion.   If any portion of the box looks like it is sagging or can be easily depressed, add packing material on the inside.

Categories: Shipping Tags:

How Stamps.com Can Help you Send a Birthday Card, or Even a Birthday Cake

March 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Birthdays are cause for celebration, but they can be also stressful if you’re the kind of person who never wants to forget a special event.  How can you make Stamps.com work for you when it comes to celebrating someone’s special day?

Mailing cakes

Mailing a birthday cake sounds risky, but if you really want to make someone’s day, you can follow some guidelines that will help you pull this off.  Most cake-sellers would recommend mailing a cake that contains fondant icing to ensure it keeps its shape during transit. Keeping the cake cool is also important, so some recommended tips include freezing the cake prior to mailing, lining the cake with gel packs, and placing the cake within a Styrofoam cooler with plenty of dry ice. Keep the cake snug and secure by using a box that prevents a lot of movement, and cushioning the cake with packing peanuts.  In your Stamps.com program, we recommend selecting Priority Mail Express as your mail class.

Mailing birthday cards

Don’t want to send a cake? No worries! Sometimes all you need is a birthday card to remind someone that you’re thinking about them. If you want to send a card or letter, you can print postage on various envelope sizes, including sizes #9, #11, and #12, and the NCR Greeting Card Envelope (8 3/4” x 5 3/4”).  Have a funny birthday card with a strange shape? You can also use our Custom Layout Designer to create custom envelopes and postcards of non-standard sizes.  In the Stamps.com software, click on “Envelopes” in the left navigation bar and look for the envelope icon next to the “Printing On” drop-down list. For an extra-special touch, send the card with a Custom NetStamp! This product allows you to put your own image on a sheet of NetStamps labels. Once you design and order your sheet, we’ll send you a sheet with your image. You can then run the sheet through your printer and decide what kind of letter or postcard postage you need with our Stamps.com program.

Mailing gifts

If you want to mail a gift like a shirt, mug or book, you can use Stamps.com’s powerful platform to select the mail class that will fit your needs. Under our “Packages” section, you can easily print a trackable label on plain paper or on one of our self-adhesive labels. You can create a barcoded shipping label for USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and receive the discounted Commercial Base rate. If you want to use your own box, just select “Package/Thick Envelope” as your mailpiece and print out a barcoded shipping label. Make that birthday special!

Categories: Letter Mailing, Shipping Tags:

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