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WordPress, Shopify, Drupal, etc: How to build an ECommerce website

I gave this presentation for the “eCommerce Sales and Marketing:Strategic Uses of Social Media Tools to Sell Your Product(s) and Market Your Business!”  sponsored by the Delaware Economic Development Office.

You can view the presentation here: http://prezi.com/vtkfr3cvdis6/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share 

You can download a .PDF version of the Presentation by clicking this link

WordPress, Shopify, Drupal, etc: How do I get started selling online, what’s required and what are my options?

What is E-Commerce?

e-com·merce
ˈēˌkämərs/
noun
noun: ecommerce
1. commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet.

Commercial Transactions include: B2B , B2C, mobile payments, utilities, in-app purchases, etc. Basically, anything that involves the exchange of money, over the Web.

This video gives a great explanation on how E-Commerce works:
 
 

How do I get Started Selling Online?

Your checklist for getting started on creating an eCommerce Website:

Choose a Product or Service to sell:

Do some brainstorming. If you would like to sell a product, go to www.alibaba.com and find someone who can help make your dream a reality. If you provide a Service, start with a Website that showcases your Portfolio of work, include a Quote Request form and look into ways to get your customers to pay you, on-line.

Choose where you want to sell your Product or Service:

Selling Products on-line means that you do in fact have the World at your fingertips and your customers can & will come from all over the World, to your Website (with Marketing in place, of course). Selling Services online is a bit different, mainly because your Service area will be limited. It’s important to determine a Target Market though, to make the most out of your Marketing $$$. There’s no sense in advertising a Plumbing business in California, that’s based in Delaware (unless, you can subcontract in other areas, this is common for IT and Web businesses).

Get set up on an on-line marketplace and/or build your own Website:

Most consumers will go to the Web first, to research your business and the competition. Do not discount the power of having a strong Web Presence.

Tips for a solid E-Commerce Website:

1. Have your Address, Phone # and Email Address / Contact form, very visible. Make it easy to reach you
2. Good Photos: A picture is worth a thousand words
3. Include a Video
4. Have engaging Product Descriptions
5. Simple Registration Process
6. Quick & Easy Checkout
7. Respond to Customer Service requests, quickly
8. Start an email subscriber list
9. Clearly state policies and terms, earn your Website visitors trust
10. BONUS: Experiment during the Holiday seasons with colors, design elements, etc
11. BONUS, BONUS: Offer coupons. Who doesn’t like getting a deal?

What are my Website options?

1. Online Marketplace like eBay, Amazon, Etsy (artists and crafts)
2. Build your own Website: WordPress, Shopify, etc

While you have the option to choose the DIY option, I suggest you still hire a Web Expert to help build your Website and help you market your Products or Services. Like you would hire a Contractor to build your physical store front, hiring a Web Expert to build your Website puts you into a professionals hands.

What’s required to sell online?

1. Product / Inventory List that’s organized to include “product attributes” such as “size” , “package-type”, “weight”, Color (“blue”), etc. An organized spreadsheet from Excel or QuickBooks would do fine.
2. Shopping Cart Software. There are TONS of options out there (show graphic of all shopping cart software). I suggest using WordPress or Shopify.
3. Shipping acct with Fedex, USPS, or UPS
4. Merchant acct with PayPal, your Bank, Merchant Processor, etc
5. Secure connection via a SSL Certificate, for secure transmission of credit / debit card information
6. You must know your Sales Tax rate, if you live in a State that charges Sales Tax and you have a physical presence in that State.
7. Analytics to track Website visitors, terms used to find your Website, etc. You need to know how and why people landed on your Website. Even better, knowing how and why they purchased from your Website.
8. A Marketing campaign. How do people know about your Products or Services, if they haven’t heard about you? Social Media, Print Advertising, Commercials, etc. You have to Market your business.
9. Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions. The Privacy Policy outlines how your customers data will be stored and used, while they have an account on your Website. Terms & Conditions are rules which one must agree to abide by in order to use a service.
10. FAITH. You gotta have it. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

What’s next?

E-commerce can be a very rewarding venture, but you cannot make money overnight. It is important to do a lot of research, ask questions, work hard and make business decisions based on facts learned from research. Don’t rely on “gut” feelings, do the leg work. Put in the time to experiment to see what does, and doesn’t work.

Using Roboform Everywhere to manage your online passwords

Remembering all the passwords needed to manage your online accounts can become a very nightmarish experience. I’ve gotten tired of clicking the “I Forgot my Password” link on probably every website where I have an account and started using RoboForm Everywhere. RoboForm remembers your passwords so you don’t have to! Just remember your one Master Password and RoboForm remembers the rest- it’s that easy!  This has seriously saved me a bunch of time.  Maybe it can save you some time as well.

roboform_everywhere_overview_imageUse RoboForm Everywhere if any of the following apply to you…

  • Would like to access your unlimited Logins, Identities, Bookmarks, and Safenotes on multiple desktops, laptops, tablets, USBs, or mobile devices.
  • Would like to keep all of your passwords and other data in sync between all of your computers and mobile devices.
  • Want a secure automatic backup copy of all your RoboForm data.
  • Would enjoy the convenience of managing your RoboForm data from anywhere at any time.
  • Want free upgrades to the latest version of RoboForm at all times.

Right now, you can get RoboForm Everywhere for $9.95 for the year. The normal cost is $19.95. Help yourself by saving the frustration that comes with remembering passwords!

-Demetrius

Finding the Best Web Hosting Service

Finding the Best Web Hosting Service

Locating the best web hosting service can be a complicated chore. There can appear to be a limitless amount of options for your choice with each one claiming to be the top company or the most affordable. Without knowing fact from fiction, it can be almost impossible to sort out the good from the bad. You need to make this a step-by-step process if you wish to find the best web hosting service possible.

Assess Your Needs

You first need to assess your web hosting needs before selecting the best provider to meet these. What kind of website do you have or are you going to create? A small personal site has totally different criteria than a large commercial one. If you have e-commerce needs for selling products and accepting payments, your site will have both file storage and bandwidth requirements that a small information-only website will not need.

Plan for Unexpected Growth

However, it is extremely important to determine what your present hosting requirements are while, at the same time, making sure both your planned and unexpected growth is taking into consideration. Choosing a host at that proves inadequate for future needs will result in the need to find a suitable provider when that time arrives. This can be both a difficult chore moving files as well as an unnecessary cost avoidable when choosing the best web hosting service from the start.

Pricing Does Vary

Do not be surprised finding a broad variety of pricing for hosting services. The best web hosting services will offer dedicated servers that will cost significantly higher than any offering from budget web hosting that includes only limited bandwidth. Additionally, you will find competition from remote parts of the globe offering temptingly low pricing but don’t bite quickly. Pricing, although extremely important when making a choice for the best web hosting service, should not be your single concern. Professional websites, specifically ones seeking to engage in e-commerce, need to look beyond free and extremely cheap web hosting services.

These may be quite suitable for small personal or family fun sites, but rarely, if ever, meet the needs for online marketing.

Nuts and Bolts Web Design offers shared web hosting for only $95.88/yr!

Weird and Wacky Anchor Text is Appealing

Weird and Wacky Anchor Text is Appealing

Your website content linking doesn’t always have to be straightforward and straight laced. Often, using humor, turning a witty or funny phrase goes a long way toward gaining you higher search engine ranking. Website designers are even known to use misspelled phrases on purpose acting as anchor text, which is the links you see occurring in content copy the middle of a sentence, or perhaps as a header or sub-header.

Supply a Snippet

A good recommendation whenever you ask other websites to link to yours is supply a snippet of HTML code they can easily place on their page as well as request the same from them. This allows you to decide what the exact phrasing is providing the anchor text that links back to your site. Always vary your choice of anchor text phrasing when exchanging site links so you do not confine your choice to only one phrase.

Get Those Anchors Away

Use anchor text for linking internally on your site as well as for all external purposes. Always include an ample amount of anchor text links on your landing page, or main page, since this is the predominant page visited and will get the most hits. The appearance of “in-line” links in your text copy will compel visitors to click-through to your other pages. Do this because you will be providing visitors with additional useful information and will make their “stopping by “enjoyable. This will also help enhance your sear engine likability which improves your ranking. Using anchor text links is a great website design with a wink at SEO tactics, but when providing searchers with links to quality, useful information, you should receive “word-of-mouth” referrals. This will create additional site visitors based upon their associates having a productive experience at your site.

Make sure your anchor text links always make sense since they will be read by human beings. Also, search engines will read then just like people do.

Go Organic SEO or Pay For It?

Do you believe there are still a handful of online entrepreneurs who still believe their old marketing techniques will help them surpass the competition? There is a great need for some type of SEO-based intervention for these people who believe the inclusion of a “Click Here” link will provide the needed attraction compelling net surfers to visit your site. If you have been involved with a site that is in desperate need of changes, you may want to brush up on current SEO practices, you know, ones that are being presently used in the 21st century like organic search engine optimization or possibly pay-per-click.

Sounds Familiar, Huh?
Most commercial website owners have, indeed, heard about both organic and paid-for marketing techniques but, for some reason or another, fail to incorporate these into marketing any existing business. Want success? Follow a couple of tips using organic methods before shelling out any hard-earned dollars for Pay-Per-Click.

Organic is Long-term Commitment
Unlike methods used paying to get site traffic, organic SEO techniques depend upon building, and maintaining, momentum which will involve a long-term commitment. SEO tactics will bring you to accumulating link-building campaign information, creating relationships with other webmasters as well as getting noticed by certain respectable publications. You need to be in control and meet certain milestones that will return a realistic assessment about your present image and how effective your current optimization efforts are paying off.

Let the Pros Do What You Don’t
An experienced SEO expert will determine the best keywords to use. It’s best to consult with an SEO expert who is better suited to make changes in your marketing plan since it will be necessary to overcome all the adverse impact heaped upon you from either previous activity or conducting none at all. A professional will determine the best SEO practices suitable to meet your needs and goals – once these are established.

Nuts and Bolts Web Design can help with your SEO needs.  Call us at 302-533-7631 to discuss.