E-Commerce First Impression

E-Commerce First Impression

E-Commerce landing pages are like front doors… friendly, easily accessible and an invitation to the visitor to enter. That’s how you want cyberspace visitors to perceive your landing page. You are selling products and/or services on your e-Commerce site, and you need to have a landing page that invites readers in to take a look. There are some tips that you can consider as you build your front door to make it as friendly and inviting as possible.

Once the visitor clicks on your well-placed ad, he enters your landing page, your front door. His/her eyes go immediately to the area above the fold and to the upper left side of the screen. Put the information there that you want your visitors to see first. Write headlines that pop. Don’t add fluff; make sure the visitor knows what you are about. Your message should be clear to the reader, and it should define the value of your product or service. Remember that pictures always speak louder (and frequently more effectively) than words.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. Content on your page needs to be organized so it’s easily followed. Columns help visitors browse your pages, and they help search engines identify who you are. But research suggests a single column produces more conversions than multiple columns on a page. Take a look at the composition of your page and minimize columns if at all possible. Keep your copy easy to read and understand. If your visitor has to wade through a morass of language that is difficult to follow, you will lose him/her.

You will also lose your visitor if you require a sequence of clicks on several pages to complete a purchase. If I’m in a store trying to purchase an item and find the process lengthy or otherwise frustrating, I’m likely to leave and go somewhere else. There are too many options in the world of commerce to have to put up with being challenged when trying to make a purchase. Try to make buying your product or service as easy as possible; preferably, one click on the landing page should get the customer to the page to complete a purchase. No eCommerce site reaches 100% CTR. But yours will increase if you make the process simple.

Finally, it’s important to remember you are promoting your brand. Some of the tips will need to be individualized for your particular site. You won’t want a page full of energy if you determine a less forceful approach is desirable. Likewise, don’t create a calm and pastoral page if you want an edgy feel. Your brand needs to be compatible with the tone of your page; each needs to complement the other for maximum appeal for visitors.

If you keep the ‘front door’ concept in mind as you create your landing page, your chances for visitors to become customers will improve.

What Is Blogging-Stay On Top Of Newest Technology

What Is Blogging-Stay On Top Of Newest Technology

There are some people who like to stay on top of every new thing that comes along. These are the people who just love being associated with the “cutting edge” and they are technological risk takers of sorts. They have no problem with those things that fail because the “next big thing” is right around the corner. For example, when blogs first came along they never asked themselves “what is blogging”; they charged ahead and just did it.

Okay, you are reading this, so we will assume that you fit into a different category. Perhaps you are not wary of new things, but you prefer to have some idea of whether they are going to benefit you first. This is, in a lot of ways, the smarter approach. You don’t have to jump on everything new, but you are willing to incorporate technology into your life if it can help you in some way…and now you are at the point where you need to know what blogging is.

A good place to start is with the definition of what a blog is. The word ‘blog’ is actually a contraction of ‘web log’, which can also be thought of as a journal. That’s way most of the early bloggers started out; they would post regular updates to their blog and the better ones generated large-scale interest.

While many people still use blogs in this way, a segment of bloggers started using them in other ways. Now blogs are used as more of a framework for all kinds of websites. In fact, you could visit a website that is really a blog, and you would never know it.

WordPress is perhaps the most-used blogging framework. It is easy to install and it can be used free of charge. The real beauty of it though is all of the plug-ins that are available for it. Plug-ins are applications that give additional functionality to the basic WordPress set up. You can find plug-ins that help you to process payments, set up membership sites, schedule posts, change the look of your site, and much, much more.

The question of what is blogging used to have a simple answer, but as mentioned, blogging is evolving. But when talking about blogging in its purest form it all comes back to making regular updates to a website. You can have a blog that is about some aspect of your life (your job, being a parent), a topic that interests you (political beliefs, hobbies), or your opinions on just about anything (pop culture, news).

If you are just blogging for yourself, then you can do it however you want. If you want to get a lot of people reading your blog then you need to provide fresh and interesting content that gets people to spread the word about your blog. You can also use your blog to make money if that is something that you are interested in.

3 Easy Ways To Generate Website Traffic

3 Easy Ways To Generate Website Traffic

There are literally hundreds of ways that you can generate website traffic. They all work, but what you need to keep in mind is that they may not work immediately, so start with one, master it, and then move on to the next. As you do this, you will find the ones that you like better, or the ones that work better for your business and website, or both.

Here are just three popular ways to generate website traffic.

1. YouTube. YouTube.com is one of the most visited sites in the world (with over 73 million visits per day) and its visitor numbers continue to climb. If you want to be where the people, and your potential leads or customers, are, sign up for an account on YouTube, post a video, and put your link in the description of the video. YouTube also allows you to put your website on the video itself, but it is not a do-follow link so it is just there for visual purposes. As with all of your marketing efforts, you need to do some keyword research before preparing your video. Pick a keyword that you want to use, use it in the title of your video, in the tags of your video, and in the description of your video. The video must be under ten minutes long but you can do a very effective video for under a minute, which is another great advantage to using YouTube to generate traffic to your site. It doesn’t take much time, and it’s absolutely free. If you further want to leverage your video, you can submit it to one of the video submission sites which then sends it out to other popular video sites.

2. PPC. Most people think of Google Adwords when they hear the term pay-per-click advertising. Google is the best place to start because it is inexpensive to register (only $5.00) and it currently gets the most traffic. Again, you need to pick your keywords carefully. If you have a low budget, start out with the most uncompetitive keywords, use them in the first lines of your ads and even choose for your ad to show only when someone searches exactly that keyword. This will get you fewer clicks, but they will be more targeted. Once you start gaining ground, you can start to target more competitive keywords as well. You can also try the other PPC platforms like Yahoo and Bing. They have less visitors but the bids are also less expensive.

3. WordPress. You can really use any blogging platform to get traffic to your website but WordPress is very good from an SEO point of view, meaning you can get some incredibly effective, and free, plug-ins that will help you raise the ranking of your website. Include the link to your website in your posts and when you comment on other blogs to generate website traffic.

Create A Website That Sells In As Little As One Hour

Create A Website That Sells In As Little As One Hour

There are many reasons to have a website. They range from personal vanity websites to photo galleries to full blown e-commerce sites. Making money on the web costs less than almost any other type of business you could start. There are countless ways to make money online. Learning to create a website that sells will get you started on the e-commerce journey.

Determine what you plan on selling. Information sells better than almost anything else on the internet. Best of all, it has little cost attached to it. Simply create a digital product, throw up a sales page and you could be making money within the day. Sites that can help you get started selling digital products include Clickbank.

Become an affiliate and sell other people’s products for a commission. This method is as specialized as any other listed here but is effective. Sites like Clickbank will let you promote digital products, hard goods – pretty much anything, and make a commission on every sale. You will still need to get traffic in order to make money but you can make money selling other people’s products and services.

You could also choose to sell hard goods. The easiest place to do this is through an auction site like Ebay. Using Ebay’s auction site, you can literally sell anything you would sell in a retail store. In fact, people even sell things like real estate, cars and more. The great thing about something like Ebay is that they have already paid millions of dollars to get traffic to their website. You pay Ebay a percentage of your sale in return for access to that traffic. There are lots of people making a very nice living selling goods through Ebay. It is even possible to sell digital goods like e-books through Ebay.

One of the simplest ways to get a website built fast is to use a web site builder. These web site builders will allow you to throw up a professional looking website in as little as an hour. Many have e-commerce capabilities and help you get started selling online in no time at all. Good web site builders will allow you to edit changes quickly and easily. They will offer things like unlimited pages, lots of disk space for images, lots of bandwidth where you won’t have to pay if anything extra if you get a surge of traffic.

Whether you build your website from scratch or use a web site builder, you too can cash in on the revolution sweeping the world that is the internet.

What Makes An E-Commerce Shopping Cart Provider Stand Out?

With more than a hundred e-commerce shopping carts to choose from, selecting one is really a matter of preference with careful product evaluation. But what makes one provider stand out from the rest? See the answer below.

Features

Different shopping cart providers offer similar and unique features that are useful to the consumers and beneficial for you as a merchant. While choosing which features to have may depend on the size of your business, a good shopping cart provider offer a wide range of feature options for different business needs.

Integrated Online Marketing and Promotional Tools

With a right shopping cart, you can increase traffic and increase sales virtually over night. How? Shopping carts affect the costumer’s response to your website. The more useful tools it has, the more it can attract new costumers and persuade existing costumers to buy your products. Through integrated marketing and promotional tools like catalog and product comparison, your costumers are able to make easy and wise decision on which products to buy.

Promos, sale, discounts, free shipping and coupons are powerful marketing strategies that can attract more costumers. Shopping carts offer these features.

Product review is another powerful feature that can increase sales. In a study conducted by CompUSA and iPerceptions, 63% of costumers are more likely to buy for the sites with product ratings and reviews.

User-friendly Interface/Ease of Use

Costumers are very impatient when it comes to purchasing products and services online. The last thing your costumers want to you is figure out how to navigate your shopping cart. A user-friendly website is important to keep potential costumers browsing. A user-friendly shopping cart is crucial if you want to keep your costumers stay and complete the transactions.

Payment Options

Different online costumers prefer to use certain types of payment. While most would like credit cards, many are still hesitant to enter personal information online and choose other alternative modes of payment like Paypal, checks and money orders. A good shopping cart service should cover all these.

Hacker-Safe Ordering Page

Earning your costumers’ confidence is important in any business. That is why you have to make sure that your costumers are properly protected when they enter their credit card information to your website. Wise costumers often look for SSL certificate seal on a merchant’s website. This seal is a guarantee that the site is hacker safe. Make sure that you have one.

Full Order Management System

A good shopping cart guides costumers throughout the process of purchasing, checking out, payment and shipping. These services can be provided fully by a hosting company or are linked from different services. Payments can be through major credit cards, PayPal, money orders and checks. Shipping can be linked to major shipping carriers like UPS, DHL and FedEx.

Costumer Service/Support

One of the best ways to gauge if a particular e-commerce shopping cart provider has a good costumer service is by sending questions though their email address. How fast did they reply? Did you get a template reply? In business, time is money; and personal touch is a plus. Costumer service should reply a personalize message as soon as possible. Another way to test how good the costumer service is is through its technical support. In running an effective e-commerce store, the availability of good documentation is important.

Os Commerce – An Intro

Os Commerce – An Intro

Executive Summary

eCommerce platforms are being commoditized. Enterprise level solutions are coming down in price and new open source solutions are being made available to anyone with an internet connection for free.

The most robust of these open source solutions is OS Commerce (OSC) – a community driven eCommerce solution that is flexible, scalable, and user friendly. As eCommerce becomes even more a part of mainstream retail, OSC will provide businesses of all shapes and sizes with the functionality and capabilities of the big boys. This brief examines some of the advantages of OS Commerce and provides insights into how it can help your business.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Maybe so, but you CAN get an eCommerce platform for nothing. Offered for free at www.oscommerce.com, this eCommerce solution provides tons of bells and whistles and provides a user friendly interface to manage the administrative portions of the store. The code is based in the PHP scripting language and runs on the Apache web server – a user also needs access to a SQL database to initially upload the files that manage the categories and products within the admin section.

Now that sounds complicated, but really anyone can do it with some concentrated effort. Much of the documentation online regarding OS is very thorough and provides step by step plans on how to get your store up and running. Any newbie to this type of work will likely come across some roadblocks, but the OS Commerce community forums are only a click away to start trouble shooting.

The solution is community driven, meaning that like minded OSCers are ready to help out their peers with answers to posted questions. Yes, at times this can be extremely frustrating waiting for an answer, but it is very rewarding to overcome a technology bug on your own.

Contribute to the Cause

The best part of OSC is the number of contributions that can be added to your site at any time. Again, there is no cost for these enhancements and upgrades – just the need to be patient in your installations. In most cases, contributions are located on the OS commerce community section and are downloadable via zip files. After opening the file, read the “read me” file which will walk you through the file additions, subtractions, and code changes needed to make your enhancement work properly. If you explore the OS platform be sure to upgrade with the following contributions.

Ultimate SEO URL’s by Chemo

This cool contribution allows the site owner to create static URL’s out of a database driven site. This will dramatically help in search saturation as more pages are able to be indexed. Its no secret that search spiders like traditional urls better than ones that are dynamic and this contribution helps achieve that.

Easy Populate

No need to input product data manually, this contribution allows you to import data from a basic excel file into your store. A true timesaver!

Featured Products

If you have an ecommerce store – certain products are more attractive to sell than others. This contribution allows you to tailor the featured products that you want to showcase within both your home and category pages.

Final Thoughts on OSC

Myself, I am a marketer. But after learning OS I really feel like I have some programmer blood in me! This platform is easy to use and perfect for a small to medium size business in getting online. Yes, there will be headaches along the way but stay with it and you will overcome them and soon have an ecommerce store to bring you in a new revenue stream.

Hiring A Web Designer

Hiring A Web Designer

It is very important to find a web design company that understands your online strategy. The company you hire must be dedicated to your business needs. Finding a company that is committed to your success can be challenging. Don’t ever higher the first company you interview. Even if you fall in love with the person you speak with you should evaluate other companies. Don’t make a decision until you have interviewed at least three design companies.

The company you choose has to appreciate your needs and not the other way around. You hire the web designer to help you create a website that helps you succeed online. The design is not about serving their ego. Their artistic ambitions are only of interest as long as they serve your needs. Don’t agree to any technology unless they can prove how it will help you sell more, create more customers, educate your visitors, generate more leads, etc.

Make sure that the company understands your goals. It also helps if they understand your business. When you interview Web design companies ask to see if they know anything about your industry. Find out if they understand the trends in your market. Of course, they don’t have to be experts in your area, but it helps if they have a basic understanding of your business.

If you have a service business you are going to have very different needs than if you were an online retailer with 500 products. Web sites for service businesses are usually very rich in content. For example, an accountant’s web site may include a large number of articles about accounting advice or tax strategies. A website created for e-commerce is going to be focused on selling products. Such a site is going to be equipped with a shopping cart, a database driven backend solution, online chat, etc.

The functionalities you desire for your website is going to have the greatest impact on expense. A three-page web site that serves as an online business card is going to cost much less than a fully functional e-commerce site. A complex e-commerce site is going to cost significantly more because of the technology required.

Web Store – Why Do You Need One?

 Web Store – Why Do You Need One?

Internet has opened a new era of business opportunities. Each day, thousands of new consumers are joining the Internet. More and more companies are adopting Internet as their primary sales and distribution channel. According to Forrester Research -The survey of 130 U.S. companies indicates consumers spent $76 billion shopping on-line in 2002. This represents a 48 percent increase over 2001, and projections for 2003 come close to $100 billion, representing 4.5 percent of total retail sales.
As a business you probably understand that in order to stay competitive you must integrate ecommerce to your present business strategy. A little research will show you that there is an extensive array of technology and solutions for enterprise and web store building available in the market. You also perceive that ecommerce sites can cost you from a mere couple of hundred bucks to hundreds of thousand of dollars. How to choose something from so many options that will exactly fit your present need?
Although, this might look like a daunting task, a little preparation will definitely help you taking the right decision in your quest for an appropriate ecommerce solution. To understand your requirement better and create a proper ecommerce strategy, you have to ask yourself a number of questions. Below I jotted down some of the questions that, hopefully, will spur your imagination.
What should be the look of my web store?
Do I need a database for my product catalog?
How should the purchase order generate on my web store?
Do I need to handle different pricing system for dealers, wholesalers and end customers?
How do I bill my customers?
How easy can I make my web store to navigate?
How many search options should we have?
Can I show my customers a product comparison table?
What should be my merchant account gateway system?
Finally, how much should I invest to build my web store?
If building an ecommerce site from scratch feels too overwhelming to you and you are a small business, my suggestion is – to build a web store with one of the providers similar to Yahoo, Bigstep, Rusbiz etc.
The web stores that you can build directly on the Internet have all the necessary features like shopping cart, product catalog and payment gateway as any regular ecommerce site. In most of the cases, you construct web store online from templates and easy-to-use editor and you hardly need to know html or other script languages.
You can order your Web Store from Rusbiz right now.
The benefits of using a web store that you can build online are enormous.
Quick to build: If you have all the materials handy, you can build a web store within a day.
Easy in use: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to build a fully functional ecommerce site. Step by step procedures of making pages from templates allow anybody to create a professionally looking web store in no time.
Affordable: Although, some of the providers charge commissions on your sales, as Yahoo does, in most of the cases your expenses are less than US$ 100 a month to have a good web store.
The only disadvantage you have with this kind of web stores is you might not be able to give the customized look and feel to the site as you intend to. Then again, once you start generating enough sales through your web store, if you must, you can always build an ecommerce site by hiring web design companies.
If you are still hesitant in starting online business using web stores I would suggest you to read the following eventual benefits that you may have from ecommerce.
Increase your sales & profits
If you are a brick and mortar company, online commerce will definitely increase your sales and with it profits.
Enhance your company image
Today, even small companies understand the importance of having a website. Planned, sophisticated and professional website creates positive image of the company and help building brand name.
Reduce costs and save money
If required features are available on the website practically all business processes are possible to carry out on the Internet, which allows you to reduce overhead costs, costs incurred due to documentary mistakes, document processing costs, etc.
Improve customer service
Frequently Asked Questions pages, forums, Internal Messaging Service, chat lines, etc. all these features help you effectively running your customer service.
Become a global player
Thanks to the reach of Internet you are no longer confined to a certain geographical boundary any more. You can sell products to any place of the world 24 hours a day.
Add sales channels
By joining e-marketplaces and B2B exchanges you can significantly increase the number of sales channels available to you.
Reduce supply chain cycle
If you automate supply chain processes through Internet, you will be able to shorten the entire cycle from months to days. You will be even able to eliminate certain phases of your supply chain process.
Market products and services
There are numerous ways of getting traffics on your site and popularize your products. In fact, you can get more people in your web store than it is physically possible to accommodate in a bricks-and-mortar shop.
Compete with large companies
On the Internet you may successfully compete with the behemoths of your industry and even curve market shares out of them.
Low start-up costs
Normally, starting a brick and mortar business requires significant cost involvement. On the Internet – opposite is true! To start a business online you hardly need any major investment.
No entry barrier
As you know, many businesses in real world are tightly controlled by certain groups. On the internet there is no such barrier! Anybody can start any business of his choice.
No need to close existing sales channels
By adopting Internet as a sales channel you do not loose anything as your web store only complements existing sales conduit.
If you are new to ecommerce world, I would advise you to go slow! First create a plan with long term and short term objectives. Try implementing your plan gradually. Make sure that you do not spend too much money on your initial ecommerce project. Remember! Over 80 percent of all software projects do not finish in time within the budget; and do not work as planned!

Make More Money with Marketing Metrics

Make More Money with Marketing Metrics

Do you measure the results of your marketing tactcis? You should. Knowing which marketing endeavors pay dividends will save you time, money and effort by allowing you to focus your marketing budget on tactics that work. Learn how to measure the effect of your marketing efforts to make more money.
Do you know how effective each of your individual marketing tactics is? Many small business owners market in a vacuum. They spend money on brochures, advertisements and web sites with no real way to tie specific results to specific endeavors.
If you are unable to associate leads and sales with the specific marketing efforts that generate them you have no way of knowing what is working as an effective marketing mechanism and what is not.
The money you invest in marketing your company is precious. In order for you to maximize your marketing dollars you need to know the results individual marketing efforts generate. When you know the results of your marketing tactics you can make intelligent decisions about how to better allocate your marketing budget.
For instance, if you concurrently run a direct mail campaign, a search engine advertising campaign and weekly ads in industry periodicals without some method to discern results you will not know which effort generates the lions share of any new business.
If you don’t know that your direct mail campaign yielded 90% of your revenue with a 2% response rate, you are powerless to make the wise decision to reinvest in the direct mail campaign and make changes to or drop entirely the other campaigns. What’s more, if you can figure out how to double the response rate of your mail campaign, you can nearly double the revenue your marketing campaign without spending money on search engine marketing and periodical advertisements.
Measuring your marketing results will help you save money by allowing you to eliminate unproductive marketing tactics and at the same time, will help you make more money by allowing you to reinvest in productive marketing tactics.
Do you have a method for measuring the effect of your marketing?
Here are four tips for gathering the information you need to make wise marketing investment decisions.
Use a Database
Start by designing a database to keep track of individual marketing efforts and the leads and sales they generate. Make sure you include fields to track the dates of your campaigns, campaign descriptions, the number of leads generated and sales made. Once you have a central storage location for this information you will be able to make queries to glean the information you need to make wise marketing decisions.
Ask Questions
When you or your staff speaks with a prospect on the phone make sure you ask how they heard of your business; was it a referral or an ad in the local newspaper? It’s such simple way to gather valuable information many small business owners overlook it.
Be sure to ask your prospects how they heard of your business.
Make It Easy for Your Prospect to Help You
Make it easy for your prospects to properly identify the marketing piece to which they respond. If you have multiple phone lines into your office you can easily accomplish this by assigning a unique phone number to individual marketing efforts. This way, you or a staff member can ask what number your prospect dialed or, if you have the right phone system you can look at the phone to see which line the call is on.
Data Entry Should Be Easy Too
Once you or a staff member have garnered the information you seek from your prospect, make it as easy as possible to have this information to be entered into your database system. If you employ a staff, make certain everyone is up to speed on your latest systems. Training is a must.
Move Your Marketing Forward
The idea is to gather as much information as you can about which marketing mechanisms generate the best (and worst) response, who is responding and why they chose to respond.
Once you have this information you will be better able to think like a future client, cater your marketing material to their needs and generate more leads and sales.
What are some other steps you can take to measure the effect of your marketing efforts?

5 Benefits to an Internet Marketing and Advertising Company

5 Benefits to an Internet Marketing and Advertising Company

Companies generally rely on outsides sources for their regular advertising needs. They turn to graphic designers, advertising agencies, and communication firms to handle all of their communications, both external and internal. With that being said, many companies buck this trend in terms of Internet marketing and advertising, attempting to do it on their own.

There are various companies that will provide you with the Internet marketing and advertising help that you need. They will provide you with the tools necessary to grow your business through Internet marketing. You simply need to agree to hire an Internet marketing and advertising company for this style of marketing.

There are plenty of reasons for you to turn to one of these marketing companies for your needs. These five benefits will help to show you how your own company can benefit from the professionalism of an Internet marketing and advertising business.

Walking you Through the Process

An Internet marketing company is going to hold your hand through the entire online marketing process. They will be able to show you all of the right moves in marketing, taking you step-by-step through the process. They will be able to show you things that you never would have considered on your own, making your marketing campaign more successful and sustainable.

Brainstorming Ideas

Internet marketing companies are going to work with you to try to make your business successful. They are going to bring ideas and creativity that you would not have on your own. This brainstorming push will help to come up with new ideas that will push your company forward.

Writing the Copy

It can be difficult to write clean and concise copy that connects with your target audience. Internet marketing companies have the experience necessary to write this copy. They will be able to write directly to your consumers, clients, and potential customers. This connection is crucial for the overall success of your company.

Presenting Multiple Options

An Internet marketing company will be able to provide you with multiple options and possibilities. You will be able to see what you can do with Internet marketing and choose the package that is right for your company.

Feedback

Many Internet marketing companies will be able to provide you with the feedback that you need to understand the success of your campaign. They will be able to show you how successful the campaign is, how your target has responded, and will break down the tactics that worked and the tactics that didnÕt work. This information will be crucial for your Internet marketing future, helping to you be as efficient and effective as possible.

Professional businesses will help you to get the most out of Internet marketing. An Internet marketing and advertising company is going to give you the best that they have to offer, providing you with the marketing tools that you need for success. They will help you to come up with new ideas, will write your copy, and will help you to evaluate the success of your strategies. If you want to have successful Internet marketing you need to hire a professional company.