Web Design vs. Web Development Explained

This post originally appeared at Web Design vs. Web Development Explained via ShivarWeb

Web Design vs Web Development

Whether you are developing an RFP for a large ecommerce website or are a small business looking for people or tools to build a website, you’ll likely run into the terms “web design” and “web development”.

Even though they are sometimes used interchangeably, they do refer to distinct aspects of a well-built website. Here’s the short version.

Web Design refers to how a website appears in a browser. Web Development refers to what appears on a website in a browser.

In other words, web design refers to a website’s layout, structure, color schemes, media placements, typography, etc while web development refers to the content, source code, and user interface that shows the user what they want. Additionally, development refers to all the logistics of storing & rendering the website as a whole.

Web design is usually short-hand for the “front-end” of a website while web development is short-hand for the “back-end” of a website.

But honestly, even this definition is so over-simplified that it’s a bit misleading.

Background

A long, long time ago, websites were simply a collection of HTML & CSS files. Everything that showed up in someone’s browser was inside the file that loaded. Back then, a web designer did everything…because creating those files was all that you could really do.

But a little bit later (but still a long time ago), different people started managing HTML / CSS differently. Websites had become so large, that it wasn’t possible to update individual files in bulk.

Instead, all the different parts of a website were split up and put into a database. Content, templates, layouts, media files, fonts, etc – everything became a line in a database. Websites had “content management systems” to assemble different bits of information from the database into an automagically built HTML file everytime a browser requested it.

And this is when web development really became separate from web design.

Web design became more focused on the look of a website and how all these automagically generated files would fit together across an entire website. They became the architects of the website building world.

Web development became more focused on the functionality of a website and how those automagically generated files would actually get…generated. They became the engineers of the website building world.

And to stick with the building analogy, the contractors became, well, software. Website software got much, much better to where it could do the actual building based on web developers’ and web designers’ instructions.

Software as Designer & Developer

Software has also become much better at both web design and web development, further blurring the lines about who is doing what.

In the WordPress world, web designers have been handing off a lot of design work to pre-made themes and templates, thus freeing up designers to focus on branding & graphic design. Web developers have been handing off code development to pre-made plugins, thus freeing up developers to look at bigger picture speed, security, and user experience issues.

In the broader Web, hosted platforms and builders provide centralized (i.e., “global”) web development so that customers can focus exclusively on design, marketing & operations. This extends not only to website builders, but also ecommerce sites – even enterprise grade ecommerce websites.

In fact, more and more hosted platforms and builders are centralizing design with customizable templates and media libraries.

Designer vs. Developer as a Customer

Websites are a bundle of tradeoffs. There will always be a tradeoff between convenience and control. There will always be a tradeoff between quality and affordability. There will also be a tradeoff between uniqueness and support.

Deciding whether you need a professional developer or designer is no longer purely about your needs, but about your wants and current resources.

If you want maximum control, quality and uniqueness then you’ll need a professional designer and developer.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you want maximum convenience, affordability, and support – you can grab a solid, all-in-one website builder.

There is no right answer and no “best” choice – it all starts understanding your own goals and what all is on offer so that you can find the best fit.

There is no magic to web design or web development. They are both solving the same issues that websites have had since the beginning of the Web. But they have both changed…and overlap more than ever.

Be sure to browse the related posts below…or get the Best of ShivarWeb email series below where I share everything that I’ve written about building & marketing websites for myself and clients.

  • Website Builders Explained
  • Website Costs Explained
  • Website Hosting Explained
  • Domains vs. Web Hosting Explained
  • Essential Guide to Hiring a Web Designer
  • Essential Guide to Ecommerce Platforms

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WooCommerce Review: Pros & Cons of Using WooCommerce for an Online Store

WooCommerce Pros Cons Alternatives for Online Store

WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress, which is the Internet’s most popular content management software.

Explore WooCommerce’s Feature Set

Explore my WooCommerce Setup Guide

WooCommerce was originally developed by a small theme / web design firm in 2011. It grew rapidly among the WordPress community due to its feature set, but also due to its business model.

Same as now, you could download & use the full WooCommerce plugin for free from the start. WooThemes made money by selling compatible designs, support, and from specific extensions (e.g. to connect to a credit card processor).

1 WooCommerce Install

In 2015, Automattic bought WooCommerce from WooThemes. Automattic is the software company run by Matt Mullenweg, the original author of WordPress software.

Ever since, the development of WooCommerce has been tightly coordinated with the development of both self-hosted WordPress and Automattic’s hosted WordPress.com software.

So that’s enough introduction. The point is that WooCommerce is legit, WooCommerce is growing, and WooCommerce can be a great fit for many storeowners…but not all.

Disclosure – I receive customer referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All data & opinions are based on my experience as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.

What is WooCommerce?

To run an ecommerce website, you only need a few additional features. You need a product listing, a shopping cart, a payment processor, and order functionality that will merge & manage all the order information within a database. That’s it.

Because of that, ecommerce platforms are very similar to general website software…with just a bit of added functionality.

And like general website software, your choice of software depends on your personal desire for control / customization vs. convenience.

It’s a bit like real estate. A house provides maximum control. But you have to deal with maintenance, contractors, and random issues. A hotel offers zero control or customization, but they take care of *everything*.

Ecommerce Real Estate Tradeoffs

WooCommerce lives on the more control / customization end of the spectrum. If Etsy & Amazon are hotels, then WooCommerce is a house.

WooCommerce is a software plugin that adds ecommerce functionality to WordPress, which is general website software (aka “CMS”).

And WordPress is part of a 3 part bundle that “makes a website” –

  • domain (your address on the Internet)
  • hosting (where your website files live)
  • software (what generates the files & pages that make up your website)

In other words, WooCommerce can help WordPress build a stand-alone store instead of a single-family home.

Now, this leads to the first overarching choice with WooCommerce.

Your choice is that WooCommerce is *part* of that 3 part bundle. It directly competes with other WordPress ecommerce plugins.

But…it also competes with other big bundled ecommerce solutions. And many big competitors deliberately bundle domain, hosting, software & ecommerce into a single, simple monthly price.

That’s great – and there are plenty of upsides & downsides to that bundling. But it’s important to be aware of since exploring the pros & cons of WooCommerce is a bit like comparing apples & oranges with other ecommerce solutions.

But – we’ll do it anyway. I love WooCommerce for what it is, but it’s not for everyone. Here’s a few pros & cons of WooCommerce both in comparison to direct & indirect competitors.

Pros of WooCommerce

Most ecommerce platforms have a series of strong advantages, and WooCommerce is no different. Here are a few reasons to use WooCommerce, not only instead of other WordPress plugins, but also instead of other ecommerce solutions.

Long-term Cost & Value

WooCommerce is free to download & free to use. If you have WordPress installed on your hosting account, you can navigate to Plugins –> Add New and add it to your website right now.

Explore my WordPress Ecommerce Setup Guide here.

WooCommerce is also fully functional with no add-ons or extensions.

That means that your annual website costs could be as low as ~$120/yr, depending on what hosting plan you have.

For contrast, the average low-tier ecommerce bundle with a hosted service like Shopify (review), BigCommerce (review) or Wix (review) will run around $360/yr for a single website.

But it gets even better for WooCommerce.

Since your main annual cost will be for a hosting plan, you can maximize the value of your hosting account with multiple websites.

If you had 4 small WooCommerce powered websites on your hosting account, then your annual per website costs would be $30/yr.

To run 4 small ecommerce websites with Shopify or Wix, your annual per website costs would be at least $1,440/yr.

For example, one of my earliest clients had a personal website, a home decor blog, a cat collar store, and an embroidery store – all on her same hosting account.

All 4 sites used WordPress, and the 2 store used WooCommerce. It helped her defray the costs and keep her 2 stores profitable – since they were side-hobbies anyway.

But it gets even better for WooCommerce.

WooCommerce comes fully-featured and fully supported with no transaction fees of any kind. There’s no “premium tier” to move to. Your long-term per-feature costs will always be lower with WooCommerce.

Also, almost all of WooCommerce extensions are flat-fee and under $100. You have access to a huge and rapidly expanding library of advanced, complex ecommerce features for flat-fee optional cost.

WooCommerce Extensions

And, lastly, since WooCommerce works within WordPress, you get a double cost benefit for any free or premium plugins that you already want to use with your website.

For example, the most popular Redirection plugin for WordPress is free. And it’s free for WooCommerce too, since WooCommerce is integrated with your website.

If you are already paying for speed, security, and anti-spam for your existing WordPress website (with something like JetPack), then you can simply extend that subscription to cover your store as well.

And, you can piece together any 3rd party software based on cost, need, compatibility, etc.

If we stick with the housing analogy with WooCommerce, you can sub-lease rooms to help with the rent, your home office can benefit from your general security bill, and you can add-on *exactly* as your budget allows.

Now…all these massive cost benefits for WooCommerce comes with a few massive caveats, which I’ll cover in the cons. But on face value, WooCommerce is an incredible short-term and long-term value for any storeowner.

Integration with WordPress

WordPress software powers more than 1/3rd of the entire Internet. And it’s popular for a reason – it works well, it’s incredibly versatile as software, and it has a huge community (both for-profit and non-profit) supporting it.

And WooCommerce benefits from all three reasons as well, since it’s been a part of the broader WordPress community for years now.

This seamless integration with WordPress is important because WooCommerce can pull features in from an entire universe of plugins, themes, tutorials, and values that simply does not exist anywhere else.

For example, Yoast SEO has long been a hugely popular plugin with lots of international translations, advanced SEO feature support, and good usability.

There is no hosted platform with anything like it (or like any of Yoast’s excellent competitors). But since WooCommerce is integrated with WordPress…Yoast is integrated with WooCommerce as well.

The same goes with popular themes. Themes will support the same PHP structure as WooCommerce. In fact, developers will often go ahead and add bonus features to WordPress themes to make it extra appealing to WooCommerce users.

Plus, WordPress has long upheld the values of the Open Web with full RSS support, nice permalinks, W3 valid code, cross-browser compatibility, and full control over your code, content & data.

Themes for WooCommerce

f you want to leave WooCommerce, it’s easy and well-supported. Your data is only accessible to you – and anyone you grant permission to (not the other way around).

Lastly, if you have an existing WordPress powered website and want to add ecommerce, WooCommerce makes it as seamless as any other plugin so that you don’t have to style & support a store on a completely different platform.

Support from Automattic

Automattic is a company founded by Matt Mullenweg, who is also the author of WordPress software.

WordPress software is free, open-source and community supported. But Automattic is the for-profit company that makes & sells tools for WordPress software.

They run WordPress.com, a bundled hosted service for WordPress software in addition to JetPack, a speed / security / utility kit for WordPress websites, and WooCommerce.

Now, there’s a whole universe of for-profit companies offering WordPress plugins, themes, support, etc. They all do great work, and I recommend many of them.

But for longevity, consistency, and building more 3rd party integrations, I think it’s in WooCommerce’s advantage to be owned by Automattic.

There are plenty of WordPress software companies, and plenty of good ecommerce plugins. In fact, some have features and setups that I like a bit better than WooCommerce (mainly for digital goods only).

But the bottom-line when comparing WooCommerce not only to other plugins, but also to Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, etc – is that you need a large company that will be around and have an financial interest in keeping the software cutting-edge.

Additionally, since Automattic is still private and venture-funded – they are still in “growth” mode, which only means more investment in features & customer service.

WooCommerce’s ownership is a huge advantage for choosing WooCommerce over other ecommerce plugins, and put it at parity with other ecommerce solutions offered by large, stable companies.

Versatility & Compatibility

A few fun facts about WooCommerce –

  • You can use it to sell memberships
  • You can use it to sell recurring licenses
  • You can use it to sell digital goods
  • You can use it to sell apppointments
  • You can use it to sell affiliate, drop-ship, or even Amazon products
  • You can “hack” it and combine to sell really anything you can imagine

The actual plugin is incredibly versatile and compatible with a huge range of uses. Like WordPress, your imagination is likely more limited than the tool is.

WooCommerce Extensions

The plugin automatically creates & manages a range of page types including products, product categories, orders, confirmations, etc

It’s compatible not only with most single-use WordPress plugins but also with large site-type plugins like the BuddyPress social network plugin and bbPress forum plugin.

In other words, you can create a niche social network with forum and online store all with the same WordPress install.

3rd Party Integrations

WooCommerce has a large & growing Apps & Extensions store. It’s a library of premium extensions that allow you to harness powerful 3rd party software for things like payments, shipping, cross-product listings, inventory management, marketing, bookkeeping, and more.

If you are an offline merchant who loves a 3rd party processor (like Square), then you can use an extension to add it to WooCommerce.

If you love your 3rd party shipping or inventory software, it will probably integrate with WooCommerce.

Ease of Use & Onboarding

This pro has a caveat – I’m assuming that you have worked with WordPress before. If not, this will actually appear in the cons section.

But, if you have, WooCommerce’s onboarding is amazing. They’ve upgraded the process to the point where my WordPress Ecommerce Setup guide isn’t nearly as useful as it used to be.

Woocommerce Wizard

When you add the WooCommerce plugin, you are instantly moved into a setup sequence that will help you list your first product, set up your page types, and get all your basic settings ready to roll.

You really can be set up to sell in minutes. And unlike some plugins that create a dedicated section for use, WooCommerce automatically folds pages, media and options within the existing WordPress install so that everything appears where you think it should be (e.g., media settings, categories, etc).

Control & Customizations

Since WooCommerce is a PHP-based plugins that integrates with your WordPress install, you have direct access to the code via browser and FTP.

You can add, remove, edit scripts and bits of code to your heart’s content. If you want to edit your checkout flow or your error codes or your analytics script or your CSS – then you just do it.

WooCommerce Permalinks

You are not limited by a platform’s plan or code access or script limitations. If you want to hire a designer or developer or marketer, you can hire from a huge pool rather than a narrow field.

There are even custom extension developers who will create whatever extension for WooCommerce that you want.

Do you run a store than needs to accept Dogecoin? Or a very specific shipping option? You’ll need to use WooCommerce – because no major ecommerce platform will be building that anytime soon.

Cons of WooCommerce

Every ecommerce platform has natural disadvantages since there is an inherent tradeoff between control & convenience. You’ll likely find a lot of WooCommerce complaints and issues around the Internet.

Here’s a few of the key disadvantages you’ll find with WooCommerce – and using WordPress as an online store in general.

Ease of Use & Onboarding

WooCommerce & WordPress both try to make ease of use & onboarding (i.e., moving a new user to an active user) simple, straightforward and intuitive.

There are plenty of guides around the Internet, along with prompts, Q&As, support, and more.

But the bottom line is that there is still a basic tradeoff between control and convenience.

For a beginner, WooCommerce has a learning curve that is even steeper than WordPress’ learning curve. When you install WooCommerce, you not only have to learn the basic jargon of an ecommerce store (listings, checkout flow, payment tokens), but you also have to learn the basic jargon of WordPress (permalinks, posts, pages, plugins, etc) and the basic jargon of any self-hosted website (difference between HTML & CSS, page load speed, etc).

WooCommerce Menu Settings

For a beginner with zero experience with WordPress or running a website, WooCommerce will require a steep learning curve. Now, it might be worth it if you have the time & patience to learn everything.

But compared to drag & drop basic online store builders like Weebly or Wix or even comprehensive ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce’s onboarding & setup is a huge downside.

Technical Maintenance

Sticking with the house / apartment analogy, you know how you can just call the landlord when something goes wrong?

Yeah, you can’t do that with WooCommerce. There is some semblance of support via your hosting company and Automattic (if you are a premium JetPack subscriber) and the WooCommerce community. But there’s no single place to just call and get something fixed.

In fact, like a landlord, there’s no one who will come by and just check on the HVAC filter, the roofing, and basic structure.

Running WooCommerce is really like owning a house. There are plenty of people who will help you maintain it. In fact, many are quite reasonable and even quicker than a landlord.

But…when it comes down to it, *you* and *you* alone are in charge of keeping your website maintained, available, and operating.

Plugins will notify you of security updates, but you will need to install them and manage any new conflicts. Your hosting company will give you support, but you need to know what questions to even ask. You’ll need to know how to troubleshoot.

This downside comes directly from the benefit of maximum control. With maximum control & freedom comes maximum responsibility.

Again, you can get customer support for WooCommerce. In fact, some hosting companies offer “WooCommerce Hosting” with management included.

But compared to online store builders like Wix & Weebly or ecommerce platforms like Shopify & BigCommerce, WooCommerce is lacking in simple technical maintenance.*

Shopify Backend

*The one caveat here is the WordPress.com option – they are a hosted version of WordPress run by Automattic. Since they bundle hosting, software, support & more – you can get many of the benefits of WooCommerce without this downside. They’ll take care of all the maintenance…at an extra price.

Speed & Security

With the continued growth of mobile and the profitability of hacking, website speed & security are more important than ever.

Like the situation with technical maintenance, WooCommerce leaves you basically in charge of speed & security – even though there are plenty of native & 3rd party options to help you.

WordPress & WooCommerce are inherently secure when installed with a good hosting company, maintained, and used with basic security best practices.

Additionally, WordPress & WooCommerce are inherently fast when installed with a good hosting company, maintained and used with basic speed best practices.

But your weakest link is the toughest part with both speed & security.

For hosted platforms like Weebly, Wix, Shopify or BigCommerce (and the WordPress.com option) – this is an area where they truly shine. Your website lives on their infrastructure with their team of professionals watching constantly for issues and keeping software cutting edge.

In fact, several have bounty programs where they pay hackers to deliberately seek vulnerabilities in their systems. They will also have direct partnerships with payment processors for real-time fraud alerts.

Overall, speed & security should not be an issue for WooCommerce storeowners – including beginners. But, like with owning a house, you are still the one responsible for any issues.

It remains a key downside of WooCommerce, especially if you store starts growing rapidly from hundreds of visitors to hundreds of thousands of users – which brings us to the next downside.

Growth & Scaling

Since WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, it has to work within WordPress’ basic functionality.

And WordPress’ basic functionality is not built specifically for ecommerce, it’s built for versatility.

This issue means that the way WooCommerce works starts to break down when you get above a certain threshold of “queries” – ie, requests of the database.

And unlike browsing content, or really any other type of functionality, ecommerce can generate *a lot* of queries, very quickly, and in a short space of time.

Imagine WooCommerce is a single dude standing between a group of customers and a library. Imagine they all need to request books and return books before paying you, getting change, and then leaving. Now, if they go one at a time, it’s fine. In fact, you can probably push the guy to handling several returns and new books at once.

But imagine they all show up at once, say, on Thanksgiving, and start shouting out lots of book orders. And they start giving books to put back…and they all want to pay all at once.

Well, the dude is going to get really confused, tired, and crash. Not because he’s not good but because it’s a not-ideal system.

That’s WooCommerce’s core problem – handing *lots* of add to cart and checkout events all at once.

Ecommerce platforms that are built from scratch for ecommerce like Shopify and BigCommerce do not have this issue. They use a completely different set of technologies to avoid WooCommerce’s inherent issues.

Now, before a bunch of WordPress folks’ start sending me emails, WooCommerce can absolutely scale to hundreds of thousands of orders. WooCommerce says that the issues is a myth and has examples to prove it.

All true. But it take a lot of work & expertise to make that type of scaling happen. Here’s an interview with a top WordPress expert on making WooCommerce scale…and even he discusses it like a huge project, not something built-into the product.

If you have a small, growing store, this is a non-issue. You can solve problems as they come.

But if you are starting what will be a large ecommerce site very quickly, it’s a critical disadvantage to be aware of – especially when looking at other Enterprise ecommerce options.

Potential Long-term Costs

WooCommerce’s price (free!) and potential long-term value are amazing for beginners and anyone on a budget.

However, you may have noted the potential need for 3rd party help, WooCommerce can become quite expensive.

One of my earliest clients back paid me $1200 to fix several emergency issues that she simply could not figure out before her sales deadline.

She had chosen WooCommerce specifically to control costs (rather than integrate with an existing content site). But it will take several years of no issues to recoup those costs compared to a Shopify plan.

Shopify Pricing

Since WooCommerce is not bundled with hosting and other software, it’s also easy to let regular costs get out of control. Once you start paying for automated backups, security scanning, managed hosting, CDN, premium plugin extensions, and more – your monthly costs may be much higher than anticipated (again, just like homeownership vs. renting).

Now, all these costs are *potential* costs. And if you have the time and patience, many storeowners would rather than potential costs that they choose rather than an high guaranteed cost. But it’s a potential downside to be aware of.

Future of Ecommerce

Ecommerce is changing rapidly. And the speed of change is happening faster everyday.

Apps like Poshmark, Depop, Pinterest, and Instagram are moving more ecommerce to happen seamlessly within apps via “headless” ecommerce backends.

In other words, some ecommerce platforms are simply inventory & order tracking systems where the actual shopping, cart, and payments happens within a 3rd party app.

In some ways, WooCommerce’s open structure should be an advantage. And yet, cutting edge ecommerce relies increasingly on APIs and direct integrations, which are not WooCommerce’s specialty.

Shopify is able to leverage its size, infrastructure, and tech team to create cutting edge integrations. Same with MailChimp, Square, and a whole universe of similar marketing tools.

And all that does not even start to discuss Amazon.

All that to say, WooCommerce does have a current disadvantage with ecommerce as it is currently evolving.

However, it could have a huge advantage as content becomes more important. And it will forever have an advantage as somewhere that you truly own & control. It’s this bet that Automattic has their money on.

It’s a potential downside to consider. There’s no right answer, it all depends on your goals, expertise, and view of the future. There’s a reason why so many website builders like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, WordPress.com, and GoDaddy GoCentral are adding basic ecommerce functionality.

All of which leads us to a few direct comparisons.

WooCommerce Alternatives

There is a whole universe of ecommerce solutions on the Internet. Compared to 2003, this is a really good problem to have. But as an online storeowner, navigating choices is still an issue. Here’s a quick rundown of the main alternatives to WooCommerce, along with links to further posts.

WooCommerce vs. Other WordPress Ecommerce Plugins

There are lots of ecommerce plugins, but most are pretty terrible. WooCommerce’s main direct competitors are –

  • Easy Digital Downloads – a focus on simple digital goods.
  • WP Easy Cart – a focus on simplicity but limited add-ons.
  • WP Ecommerce – a non-Automattic comprehensive option. Meant for developers due to limited support options & simple extensions.
  • NinjaShop – a focus on simplicity but limited add-ons.

WooCommerce can also run on WordPress.com as part of a hosted bundle. This option removes a lot of WooCommerce’s negatives, but also increases WooCommerce’s costs & removes some of the self-hosted freedoms.

WooCommerce vs. Shopify

I wrote a full comparison of WooCommerce and Shopify here. The short version is that unless you have a specific reason to use WooCommerce and plan on running a growing ecommerce store, then you’ll probably do better with Shopify.

WooCommerce vs. BigCommerce

I wrote a full comparison of WooCommerce and BigCommerce here. The short version is that unless you have a specific reason to use WooCommerce and plan on running a growing ecommerce store, then you’ll probably do better with BigCommerce.

WooCommerce vs. Wix

Wix is much more user-friendly compared to WooCommerce. However, Wix also constrains your options more than even WordPress.com and hosted ecommerce platforms like Shopify. If you have a small store and want drag & drop convenience, then use Wix.

WooCommerce vs. Magento

Magento used to be a much tougher competitor to WooCommerce until Magento’s sale. Now, self-hosted Magento is going away. If you run an enterprise site, then scalability will likely make your choice for you. You’ll want Magento (or other Enterprise options). If you have a small ecommerce shop, then WooCommerce will be a better option.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart

OpenCart is well-respected open-source ecommerce software. If you are building a ecommerce store from scratch and you want to host it yourself, then OpenCart is a solid option. However, it is declining in use (and with that, apps & extensions & developers). Unless you have a reason to use OpenCart, WooCommerce will give you access to a larger open-source community.

WooCommerce vs. Ecwid

Ecwid is less an ecommerce solution and more of an “anywhere shopping cart”. You can quickly add it to an existing website (ie, a plain WordPress website) and provide an ecommerce experience of a sort. However, it does not integrate with your backend. You also will have trouble competing for inbound marketing. It’s a good option to quickly add ecommerce functionality to your website without going through the WooCommerce setup process.

WooCommerce vs. Prestashop

PrestaShop is well-respected open-source ecommerce software. If you are building a ecommerce store from scratch and you want to host it yourself, then PrestaShop is a solid option. However, it is declining in use (and with that, apps & extensions & developers). Unless you have a reason to use PrestaShop, WooCommerce will give you access to a larger open-source community.

WooCommerce Review Conclusion

WooCommerce is the best ecommerce solution for 3 types of storeowners –

  • Storeowners with technical resources who want to heavily customize their store or use unique functionality.
  • Website owners who have a content-driven website and want to add-on a complementary, but seamless store.
  • Storeowners who are highly cost-conscious and feel comfortable investing time rather than money into running their own website.

If you fit those buckets, I’d highly recommend checking out the main WooCommerce website and using my guide to setting up your WooCommerce-driven ecommerce store.

If you don’t fit in those buckets, I’d highly recommend checking out a hosted solution. Explore my ecommerce platform quiz here. Or if you are building a small store (a dozen products), explore my online store builder quiz here.

Lastly, be sure to explore my guide to marketing your ecommerce store. So many stores fail, *not* because of platform…but because of a bad marketing plan. Spend as much time planning your marketing as you spend researching your store software.

The post WooCommerce Review: Pros & Cons of Using WooCommerce for an Online Store appeared first on ShivarWeb.

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Yahoo! Website Builder Review: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

Yahoo! Website Builder Review_ Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

Yahoo! Small Business Website Builder is known as an all-inclusive website builder that’s tailored to helping small business owners get up and running online quickly and easily. They’re also known for offering responsive websites, which means the site fits on any device (i.e. a tablet, phone, computer).

See Yahoo’s Current Plans & Pricing

Recently, I gave Yahoo! a try for a full Yahoo! review. But before I get into the pros and cons of my Yahoo! Website Builder review, let’s dive into an overview about tools to build a website.

There are so many considerations to take into account when choosing a website builder — and really, there are a thousand ways to get what you want in the end in terms of functionality, convenience, pricing, etc. The thing to remember is: whether you’re building a simple personal website or running a business, the way you build your site has a lot of consequences.

In the long-term, it affects your versatility, functionality, and, of course, your brand. In the short-term, it can certainly add/take away a lot of headaches. That said, just like choosing a physical house or office, there is no such thing as an absolute “best” or “top” choice. There’s only the right choice relative to your goals, experience, and circumstances.

What Is Yahoo! Website Builder?

On the wide spectrum of website building solutions, Yahoo! lives on the end that is all-inclusive and provides everything you need to get started and grow your website. It contrasts with solutions where you buy, install, and manage all the “pieces” of your website separately.

Using Yahoo! is sort of like leasing and customizing an apartment in a really classy development instead of buying and owning your own house. You’re still in control of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – but you leave the construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure to the property owner. That point is key because there’s usually a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.

Everything may fit together just right with a website builder like Yahoo!, but that may or may not be what you’re looking for.

As far as competition, Yahoo! competes with all-inclusive website builders like GoDaddy, Wix, Squarespace, Jimdo, and WordPress.com  (and Shopify for online stores).

Compared to their direct competition, they focus on speed, ease of use, and responsive design (again, web jargon for making your website mobile device-friendly). Yahoo! offers several website templates you can customize, and it also allows you to build your own pages from scratch using their premade sections that you can drop onto the page.

One other quick aside – a disclosure – I receive referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this post. My opinions & research are based on my experiences as either a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.

Pros of Using Yahoo! Website Builder

Here’s what I found to be the pros of using Yahoo! website builder — not just in comparison to direct competitors like GoDaddy and Wix, but as an overall website solution.

Straightforward Sign Up Process

One of the biggest pros of using Yahoo! Sitebuilder is how easy it is to get up and running on the platform. It’s basically just two steps — pick your theme, enter your information to create your account, and you’re in! Yahoo! automatically sets you up with their free plan, so you don’t even have to pull out a credit card.

Yahoo Sign Up Process

This is great for DIYers who want to get up and running as quickly as possible without the hassle of creating a detailed account, selecting a niche, etc.

Template Design / Functionality

Yahoo! also offers a wide selection of template designs that are responsive (AKA they look good on a mobile device, tablet, and computer). There are a wide variety of options to choose from, and all of the templates are really well designed.

Yahoo Website Options

Yahoo! Site Builder isn’t technically drag-and-drop (you choose from premade sections and “drop” those onto your page), but it is fairy intuitive to use. You can customize the styles on the page (like fonts and colors), and you can add premade sections and blocks, but you don’t get the ability to add elements willy nilly.

I did like how the software automatically matches a new “section” to your overall theme for you, so you don’t have to worry about changing the fonts and colors to match what you already have.

Yahoo Apply Website Style

The whole setup is like painting by numbers.

There are obvious drawbacks to this setup, which I will cover in the disadvantages, but it is a real advantage to having limited but accessible design options. It makes Yahoo! Site Builder a great option for small business owners / DIY-ers who want a website that looks professionally designed without having to hire someone to build something custom or spend much time tweaking the design themselves.

Free Starter Plan

Another benefit Yahoo! Site Builder is their free starter plan. In comparison to their direct competitors, Yahoo!’s free plan is fairly extensive.

While some website builders cap your pages or even your access to support with a free plan, Yahoo! offers unlimited pages, support, and even built-in SEO functionality on a page-by-page basis.

Yahoo SEO Elements

There are some cons with the free plan, such as limited storage, having to use a subdomain (ex: yourname.yahoosites.com), and extremely limited integrations — but if you’re looking for a simple site for a short-term project, this could be a solid option.

Some Product Integration

Another benefit of Yahoo! Site Builder is their product integrations. Aside from offering DNS and hosting services, Yahoo! also offers email functionality in their paid plans.

Yahoo Plan Options

You can also get ecommerce functionality, but Yahoo! separates ecommerce websites into an entirely different category (“stores” instead of “websites”) with their own unique pricing plans — which we’ll touch more on in a bit!

Cons

Of course, no review would be complete without looking at the downsides. Every piece of software will have complaints. Let’s look at the specific cons I found with using Yahoo! as your website builder.

Pricing + Plans

While Yahoo! is fairly easy and convenient for DIYers and small businesses, they do leave a lot to be desired when it comes to pricing. All of their plans come with storage caps, which means you’re limited to the photos, documents, files, etc. you store on your website.

It’s confusing to having ecommerce websites in an entirely different category. These websites come with different pricing plans, functionality, and specifications.

On the one hand, this is fine if you know that you want to build a shop from the get-go. But if you wanted to start with a website then add on ecommerce functionality, this structure makes it more complicated.

Yahoo Ecommerce

Limited Feature Set – Design

With any technology product, there is almost always a trade-off between convenience and control (think Android vs. iOS)

And you can really see this trade-off with the Yahoo! website builder. The convenience of their design setup is great. It’s straightforward and fast, and puts your focus on getting your content into a premade template. You can add pages and sections based on your specific needs, but for the most part, it’s got everything you need.

However, if you want to go anywhere beyond the basics of design, you are limited with the builder. You can’t add anything within the premade sections, you can’t create your own sections, and the elements you can change on the overall template are fairly limited.

Yahoo Design Functions Limited

If your website is growing, or becoming a bigger part of your business, the design limitations can be crippling. And unlike other website builders that attempt to solve this issue through apps, extensions, or access to the website code or HTML, there is no outlet for a Yahoo! website builder website (in fact, it reminds me a bit of Google Sites).

Limited Feature Set – Technical

The limitations on design also bleed over into technical limitations.

Technical limitations are features that you don’t know that you want until you want them, and then you find out you can’t have them.

These are things like integrations with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Ads, social sharing options, blogging, and a whole host of every intermediate to advanced marketing tools on the internet. Now, as I mentioned above, Yahoo! does give some integrations, like DNS / hosting services and email on their paid plans. They also allow you to insert code into the header of your website for things like analytics tracking (even on their free plan).

Yahoo Site Header Code

However, there are a ton of technical features that Yahoo doesn’t provide or that are extremely limited.

For example, let’s look at Yahoo’s SEO features. I can edit the page title, description, and keywords for the site, as well as edit the visibility. But aside from that, I’m pretty locked in to what I have. There’s no options for sitemaps, Schema, Open Graph settings – much less highly advanced options.

Yahoo SEO Limits

Even the additional add-0n products are limited. There’s not much to address marketing your site, aside from adding code for Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics or putting code into the header of your website.

Ultimately, Yahoo! leaves much to be desired when it comes to product integrations and additional technical features that can help you better market your website.

Ownership & Company Structure

My team, my clients and I have seen and worked with a lot of different software companies. One thing that I’ve noticed over the years is that companies have to follow not only the demands of their current customers, but also the demands of their business model. A company might be “good” or “bad” right now, but to know how they’ll be in a few years, it pays to spend a couple minutes thinking about their business model and how they’ll evolve to meet customer and market demands.

For example, anyone who understands that Facebook’s customers are their advertisers, not their users, can understand how & why they do the things they do. There is no inherently “bad” or “good” business model. Every model has tradeoffs. It just pays to know where you, the customer, fit in the picture, especially when you are building something as critical to your business as your website.

Yahoo! Small Business is a division of Oath, now called VerizonMedia. During the break-up and sale of Yahoo! in 2017, Yahoo! Small Business was bundled with other Yahoo! properties like Tumblr, Yahoo! Mail and bought out by Verizon, the American telecommunications giant.

In other words, Yahoo! Website Builder is a product of a division of a subsidiary of one of the largest corporations in the world.

That makes the 5 year outlook of Yahoo! Website Builder…complicated.

The potential upside is that if Verizon gives Yahoo! Small Business budget, resources, autonomy and a super-smart leader…Yahoo! Small Business could have the best products and best pricing on the Internet.

The huge downside is that if Yahoo! Small Business gets lost in the shuffle of corporate bureaucracy, then they could end up like Tumblr (another VerizonMedia property) where they’ve bled engineers, killed brand equity, and sent users fleeing for other solutions.

But in all likelihood, Yahoo! Small Business will probably end up like Blogger. A fine product, but one that is treading water within a much larger organization, especially compared with direct competitors who are either publicly-traded & focused on the SMB market (like Wix or Gator) or private & founder-driven like WordPress.com or Website Creator.

Yahoo! Review Conclusion

Yahoo certainly makes getting a website up and running easy, and given how intuitive it is to use, it makes the platform an okay choice for small business owners who need something that’s simple.

Check out Yahoo’s plans here.

However, like most all-inclusive website builders, there does come a point where there’s a tradeoff between convenience and control, especially when you factor in price. Yahoo’s pricing leaves something to be desired, especially when you get into the higher priced plans and take into account the technical limitations, even with the higher priced options. If you’re looking for something that offers more control and scalability, you’re better off elsewhere.

Not sure Yahoo fits your needs? Check out my quiz to find what the best website builder is for you based on your preferences.

The post Yahoo! Website Builder Review: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives appeared first on ShivarWeb.

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11+ GoDaddy Website Builder Examples for Inspiration

11+ GoDaddy Website Builder Examples for Inspiration

So you’re considering using GoDaddy as your website builder, and you’re looking for GoDaddy website builder examples for inspiration and confirmation that you’re making the right choice.

See GoDaddy’s Current Website Builder Pricing here…

GoDaddy is the big brand in the website services industry. From their Super Bowl ads to TV ads to online advertising, they are by far the most well-known choice for domains, hosting, website builders, and productivity products for small businesses.

And when it comes to their website builder (known as “GoCentral”), GoDaddy is known for its raw simplicity. The setup is extremely straightforward (fill-in-the-blank style), which makes it extremely appealing to DIY-ers with limited website building experience.

And while simple is great, there are some major tradeoffs, particularly in terms of functionality.

As we dive into examples of what GoDaddy websites look like in the wild, there is one thing to keep in mind when you’re evaluating a website platform: it’s not just about how the websites look. How they operate matters too. That’s the main consideration for all my website builder reviews & my guide to choosing the best website builder.

Think of it like buying a car. You have a make / model in mind, and you’re probably looking to see them drive by on the road to see how they actually look. However, you also care about how they operate. Does it accelerate well? Does it have the hauling capabilities you need? How is the gas mileage?

Looking at a website platform should be done in the same way. We collected the following GoDaddy GoCentral (their website builder brand name) examples not just to show you how they look, but how GoDaddy websites can function so you can be sure you have a website that fits both the style you want and the functionality you need.

Disclosure – I receive customer referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All data & opinions are based on my professional judgement as a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.

General Website Examples

Let’s start with a general round up of solid GoDaddy website builder examples. We’ve pulled these examples based on functionality, design, and usability. Again,GoDaddy works well for DIY-ers who want an easy-to-use website that they can throw up on their own without having to worry about the inner-workings. However, be aware that with this comes trade-offs (i.e. you give up control, functionality, customization, etc.)

Citizen Restaurant

If you’re looking for a straightforward website where you can post content (like menus), this GoDaddy website builder example is a great place to start for inspiration. The homepage is straightforward, with a simple call to action to sign up for the email list. The navigation is also clear, with the Dine and Drink tabs bringing visitors to pages where they can download a PDF version of the dining and drinks menus.

Augusta Blues Company

Augusta Blues Company

What stood out to us about this GoDaddy website was how it makes the most of its simplicity. By using a custom graphic on the homepage for the header image, Augusta Blues Company has added some custom flair to this straightforward template. We also found the navigation to be straightforward and easy to use, which is a key hallmark of a good website!

And for those who need to provide directions on their website, this GoDaddy website builder example showcases how you can integrate a map on the homepage. We particularly liked how August Blues Company paired the map with other contact information.

Augusta Blues Company Contact

Explore Similar GoDaddy Templates!

Wedding Website Example

Wedding websites are a great way to give guests information about the big day, show off your personality, and post updates / pictures / anything else you may want to share with those who are involved with your wedding. Given this website has a shorter lifespan than say, a business website, you’ll want something that’s easy to customize, edit, and manage. Here’s a great example of what you can do with a GoDaddy GoCentral wedding website:

Dave and Nuria

Dave & Nuria

If you’re looking for a simple, polished, easy-to-use wedding website, this example from Dave and Nuria is a great place to start for inspiration. It has all of the necessary information, from the itinerary for the weekend to how to plan your trip, and the RSVP is a simple contact form. It’s a great example of a plug and play website template that saves you time and money, which is especially useful for a site that doesn’t have a long lifespan!

Explore Similar GoDaddy Templates!

Photography Website Example

Photography websites are all about the portfolio of work. When looking for a GoDaddy website builder example to serve as inspiration for your photography, pay special attention to the layout options for your work. You want to be sure you’re showing off your photos in a creative way without sacrificing the user experience (AKA fast photo load speed, easy to navigate, high quality images, etc). Here are a few examples of GoDaddy photography websites we liked:

Anthony Friend 

Anthony Friend

What makes this GoDaddy website a great example for photographers is the layout of the portfolio page. The grid style makes it easy to get an overview of the photographer’s work without overloading the functionality or making it too difficult for visitors to get an idea of their style.

Richard Eads

Richard Eads Photography

Richard’s site provides another photography inspiration example, specifically in how the work is displayed. Notice how this GoDaddy website uses a carousel to feature photos, with a bar underneath that changes as the photos move. It’s a unique way to showcase Richard’s work in a way that’s interactive without being overwhelming.

Explore Similar GoDaddy Templates!

Ecommerce Website Example

Ecommerce websites are all about their products. A good ecommerce website should have high-quality product images, be easy to navigate, and keep the focus on what you have to offer your shoppers! You’ll also want to include strong product descriptions and an easy check out process. Here are a few of our favorite GoDaddy ecommerce website examples:

Popcorn Willy

Popcorn Willy

What stood out to us about this GoDaddy ecommerce website was the product page organization. The categories help visitors sort through what they’re looking for easily, and the ratings provide another layer of “trust factor” that’s key for ecommerce websites. If you’re looking for a simple way to list products, this website could be a great place to start for inspiration.

Better Living Market

Better Living Market

If you’re looking for a bit more “design flair”, check out Better Market Living. This ecommerce website uses a high-quality header image to spruce up the homepage, but still keeps navigation ultra-simple with the shop now button.

Something to note about GoDaddy website builder websites in general: while GoDaddy is known for its simplicity, that does mean limited design customization and functionality. For example, most websites have a similar, block layout. For e-commerce websites specific, the product pages don’t vary much beyond this layout.

Better Living Market Products

Again, you should choose your website builder not just on design, but on the functionality and levels of customization you need. If you’re looking for a more customized ecommerce shop, there could be better options for you.

Explore Similar GoDaddy Templates!

Artist Website Example

Need to showcase your art? An artist website is a great way to create a digital portfolio of your work. These websites should be easy to navigate, keep the focus on your artwork, and allow prospective clients / commissioners to contact you easily. Here’s an example of a great artist GoDaddy website:

Jules Art & Design

Jules Art and Design

Sometimes, less is more… and that’s exactly what makes Jule’s website so effective. The clean layout draws your eye right to her artwork, and the simple navigation at the top of the page makes it easy to find exactly what you need on her website. This is another example of a GoDaddy portfolio website that is a good fit for a DIY-er who just needs a place to showcase their work in an easily digestible format.

Explore Similar GoDaddy Templates!

Music Website Example

Similar to artist websites, music websites are all about the music. Which means if you’re creating a music website, you’ll need a player so visitors can listen to your work on your site. You’ll also want to give people the opportunity to connect with you by listing social media channels, tour dates, and places they can buy your albums! Here’s an example of a music website created with GoDaddy:

Telekinetic Yeti

Telekinetic Yeti

This GoDaddy music website keeps the focus solely on the music. In fact, the music page is a simple, embedded music player where visitors can listen to the band’s most recent album. While it could be more sophisticated, it doesn’t necessarily need to be. Again, it all comes down to your needs. If you wanted some advanced functionality on your music website (like full discography, Spotify integrations, Ticketmaster and Eventbrite integrations, etc.), GoDaddy may not be the best option for you.

Here’s how I’d recommend building a long-term music website with WordPress. Wix also provides a good drag & drop option.

Business Website Example

A strong business website showcases your services, gives customers the opportunity to contact you, and builds social proof. Visitors should be able to know exactly who you are and what you do when they land on their site, and should be able to easily navigate to what they’re looking for from your homepage. Here are a few examples of strong GoDaddy Website Builder business website examples:

Women Working in Technology

Women Working in Technology

Women Working in Technology has a fairly robust navigation, which goes to show just how much content you can have on your GoDaddy business website. However, the navigation keeps it organized with sub-menus, which means despite the large amount of content on the site, it’s easy to find your way around.

We also liked how Women Working in Technology used a video on their homepage to tell visitors what they’re all about.

WWIT-About

It provides a great way to make the site more interactive without having to build something completely custom!

Crescent Flight Ops

Crescent Flight Ops

Again, GoDaddy tends to skew towards block-style website templates, and while this business site by Crescent Flight Ops is a bit blocky, their color palette and use of different media types help with the flow. We included this website to show how if you wanted the simplicity, you could still make your theme look different by customizing the colors and actual content on the page.

Explore Similar GoDaddy Templates!

Personal Website Examples

Personal websites are exactly what they sound like… personal! Whether it’s a resume / portfolio website you use to get booked or a blog you use to create content, this type of site is all about getting your personal brand online and owning your space on the Internet. Personal website should be easy to edit, manage, and customize. Here’s an example of a GoDaddy personal website to use for inspiration:

Marc Whisnant

Marc Whisnant

It’s easy to get caught up in showcasing your personality and creativity on your personal website. And while adding in some flair is fine, you don’t want to sacrifice clarity in the name of creativity. Marc’s website includes the right balance of both. We loved how his work stands out in contrast to the black background, but isn’t overwhelming in its grid format.

We also liked how Marc included a downloadable version of his resume on the homepage. This is a great way to share your qualifications with those who may be looking to hire you.

marc resume

Explore Similar GoDaddy Templates! Or explore how I like to build personal websites.

Next Steps

At the end of the day, choosing your website platform goes far beyond design. Why? Because all web pages are made of HTML & CSS with a few scripts thrown in. This means that any website template can exist on any good web platform.

What YOU want to focus on is the design elements and functionality that are available on the platform you’re choosing.

If you feel like GoDaddy fits the design and functionality needs you have for your website, you can explore more GoDaddy templates here.

Not sure if GoDaddy is a right fit? Explore other website builder options here or see how GoDaddy stacks up against popular brands like Wix & Weebly.

The post 11+ GoDaddy Website Builder Examples for Inspiration appeared first on ShivarWeb.

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How to Promote Your Website Online (for free!)

How To Promote Your Website

So you want to promote your website online…for free, preferably.

By now, you probably know from experience that the “build it and they will come” philosophy is flawed. You can have great content — in fact, you need at least “good” content — but unless you know how to promote it, your site is a ghost town. But you also don’t have the budget to go straight to advertising online.

You don’t need a grab bag of tips and tricks. You don’t need best practices to “go viral”. Instead – what you need is an actual process to follow that you can consistently do – to create a “flywheel effect“.

Here is an exact, step-by-step strategy that I recommend to anyone who wants to promote their website online. The specific details vary, but it’s a pretty tried and true path for anyone who wants to promote their website.

Start with Definitions & Goals

Before you do anything, you’ve got to start with the foundation: what are you trying to achieve?

Aside – “making money” or “getting customers” does not count. The key is to get specific. Quantify your marketing in other words.

This is the part so many people either get stuck on or skip entirely. Usually, website owners just want to dive in and start doing, doing, doing.

While getting your site out there and testing is great, you need a balance. It’s just as important to test with the right methods as it is to collect a ton of data and learn from it

There are three things you need to figure out before you dive in:

  • what you’re promoting
  • who you’re promoting it to
  • how much you can actually spend on promotion

Let’s break them down.

What You’re Promoting (Your Product)

What is it that you’re actually offering/promoting on your website? A product? A service? Valuable content?

Whatever it is, you need to be able to define it and sell the value. What makes you different from the million and one others out there?

Remember, this doesn’t need to be your life’s mission. In fact, it shouldn’t be. You need to define your product in a clear and concise way. Keep it simple and to the point  — and make sure you emphasize why you’re different.

Who You’re Promoting It To (Persona)

A persona is marketing jargon for a profile of your target audience and having one is crucial to your marketing.

Before your start promoting your website, you’ve got to know who you’re actually promoting it to. What do they want? What problems do they have? How do you solve those problems?

Create 2-4 personas for your brand that outline your ideal customers. Be as descriptive as possible by including things like job title, favorite device, payscale, main frustrations and problems, end goals, what they do in their spare time, etc. Use this detailed guide by Moz to guide you through the process.

Remember that your personas don’t have to be the end all be all. The focus here is to define your initial target market that’s small enough you can effectively reach them but large enough to get some sales and feedback to polish what you’re offering (your product/website/brand).

Nearly every business started this way (think about how Facebook started by targeting college students).Here’s a podcast episode explaining this concept[skip to the ~11 minute mark].

How Much You Can Spend on Promotion (Time & Financial Budget)

Thinking there’s no overhead online is lethal. You’ve got to put real numbers behind what you’re doing. Marketing costs money or time… so put real goals in place.

Outline your budget, even if it feels arbitrary. Define your product/services costs, profit margins, and what kind of marketing spend gives you a positive return. Here’s a more extensive post on quant-based marketing.”

Lay the Foundation

Once you have your goals and definitions laid out, it’s time to lay the foundation. While “build it and they will come” is a flawed philosophy, once you start getting them to come, you need to be sure what you’ve created is decent and captures data.

This is divided into three steps:

Website / Destination Set Up

To promote anything online long-term*, you need a decent website. Whether you’re an ecommerce business who needs an online store, a local business with a brick and mortar store, or an educational website that needs a place to publish content, a decent-looking website will put you ahead and allow you to do more with your brand and marketing.

*Aside – when I say long-term – I mean that you don’t want your project compromised by the whims of a platform (I’m looking at you, Facebook Pages and Google My Business). For short-term projects, plenty of people do well with marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy while content publishers do great with a good email marketing platform.

If you don’t have a website yet, I recommend setting your own website up with a common, well known software like WordPress and hosting it on your own hosting account. I have a simple guide to doing that from scratch here. There is some learning curve, but it will provide maximum versatility.

For ecommerce shops, I recommend either using a high-quality hosted ecommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce or set up an ecommerce website with WordPress and WooCommerce.

If you have a website and know it’s a mess, use this guide to help you clean it up.

Create Focused Pages

Depending on what you’re goals are, creating focused pages can be an essential part of conversion.

Focus pages are landing pages that target a very specific need, but they don’t have to be complex. They are simply pages that visitors can land on and take a specific action (buy your product, sign up for your service, etc.)

Why use landing pages? Because nobody cares about or even sees your homepage. Your homepage is for people who already know who you are and are just navigating around to find what they already know exists.

Landing pages, on the other hand, are for new (or returning) visitors to land and convert (AKA take whatever action you want them to take). These pages should target what your audience is searching for on a granular level.

For example, if you’re an ecommerce business, you’d want to create product pages targeting specific product information (i.e. Blue Swimwear) or a specific audience (i.e. Swimwear for Women Distance swimmers).

For service-based businesses, you’d want to create service pages targeting what your customers are searching for (i.e. Atlanta Dentist or Root Canal Services)

For sites that are focused on content creation, think about pages that can organize your posts into broader topics and orient readers who land deeper into your site and encourage them to take additional actions (like reading more or subscribing). Use this guide to using category and tag pages in WordPress to accomplish this.

If you have way too many idea – then think about how to organize your site by topic / keyword.

Set Up Analytics

Before you start promoting your website, you need a way to capture data through an analytics platform. There are tons of options, but Google Analytics is the go-to solution (it’s also free).

If you’re unclear on what Google Analytics actually does, start here.

Depending on what you’re promoting (see above), you’ll want to set up specific goals. For example, if you’re an ecommerce website, you’ll want to make sure you have Ecommerce checkout set up. If you’re a local business, you’ll want to track thinks like clicks to call and contact form completions. Use this guide to set up call tracking in Google Analytics.

You should also link Google Analytics to Google AdWords and set up a retargeting audience with Google Analytics. And lastly, you should set up a Facebook Ads account and place a retargeting (audience pixel) cookie on your website.

Work on Getting Traffic

Now that you have the foundation down, it’s time to get people to your website. This where a lot of people get way too detailed… way too fast. Why?

Because not all marketing channels operate at the same speed. They’re also not all used the same way — they have different strengths and weaknesses. They complement and supplement each other instead of compete, and it’s all about how you use them together.

For example, the US Navy’s main war-going unit is the Aircraft Carrier Group. But it’s not just made up of an aircraft carrier. Instead, it’s a grouping of different types of ships that all do different things at different speeds so that the whole group together is nearly invincible.

A lot of business owners want to start with SEO or with a fully fleshed out social strategy. To keep to the analogy, that’s like sending your battleship and aircraft carrier to scout out for the rest of the group.

Bad idea. Battleships (aka SEO) and Aircraft Carriers (Social) take forever to get going and to turn. Save those until you know where you’re going. You do not want to invest hours and hours and tons of resources and thought into SEO and Social if you have no idea if they will pay off.

Start with channels that can speed up, slow down and change direction at will. That means 3 things: direct outreach, community involvement, and paid traffic, specifically AdWords Search Network.

Testing with Direct Outreach

It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of promoting something because you think it’s amazing. But here’s the thing — what if no one wants it?

Too often, we make assumptions for our audience. So before you go into a full-blow promotion plan and start running ads, emailing everyone on your list, and working on your SEO tactics, it’s good to get some validation.

Start by soliciting feedback from a small, targeted group. These should be people who are active in your niche, would ideally collaborate with someone like you, would give you some feedback and maybe even promote your website for you.

What we’re really doing here is finding complementary marketing “parents” — think of other bloggers and businesses your target audience also visits. There are infinite ways to do this process. The key piece is to find someone who shares your interests or has a need that you can fill. Here are some examples.

Friends & Family

Ok – friends and family will often be interested by default. They won’t be able to provide useful feedback. But here’s the thing – you are probably friends because you share interests. Additionally, you might share interests with your family.

Those family and friends are a great place to start with your outreach. It doesn’t mean spamming your Facebook page. It does mean not being afraid to show off your work personally to interested friends and family.

Individual Brands / Influencers

I hate the term “influencers” – and I don’t think that you can or should compete with big brands for social media celebrities. Instead, you should use your own advantage as a DIY website owner (rather than social media manager) to find people that you respect and listen to. Figure out what they need / want. Do they need co-promotion? Topic ideas? Reach out and pitch.

Individual Bloggers / Site Owners

A blogger of any size & influence will be deluged with pitches from big companies. Again – use your advantage as an actual site owner to go around the social media managers to reach small and up and coming bloggers. Use your agility to solve problems that agencies cannot quickly solve.

Journalists

Journalists have an infinite black hole of content that they need to fill. They are always looking for a story (not a product). If you can create a story based on your insider expertise, then you should pitch them. Keep it short, keep it relevant. Start with small sites and use successes to pitch bigger publications.

The good example is a local package delivery service pitching a story about “porch pirates” to news outlets in Philadelphia.

Complementary Business Owners

Your product probably pairs with other companies’ products. Swimwear pairs with beach resorts. Festivals pair with beverage companies. Wood refinishing pairs with historic preservationists. The list is infinite.

Find businesses where you can co-promote.

Vendors

Your vendors want you to succeed…because your success means more sales for them. Pitch your vendors on co-promotions.

Then, get to emailing and messaging. Send them to your landing pages or content piece to buy, subscribe, or review. Ask for feedback and referrals and keep notes!

Keep in mind that you are emailing people. It’s easy to get into a spammy quantity mindset. But remember that that a single, quality connection is worth way more than you can measure right now. Your goal is to get feedback and access. You cannot and should not make this a primary sales channel. Your goal is feedback to promote more effectively and more broadly.

Check out this case study or this post for even more detail.

Find Like-Minded Communities

To expand your direct promotion efforts means finding groups of individuals. And that means finding communities.

Communities can not only provide a lot more feedback – but you can also find opportunities to get sales.

The issue with a community is that you need to be a part of it. Nobody likes someone who shows up to promote rather than participate.

Even though you might need sales right now – you absolutely must set aside that need and look to the long-term.

Figure out what the community likes & needs. Provide that. Focus on being overly helpful rather than promotional. Here are some examples.

Industry Specific Forums

Whether it’s ProductHunt / HackerNews in tech or Wanelo for trendy shopping – there is an industry specific forum for everything. Find it and get involved.

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are super-accessible and cover topics on everything under the Sun. They are a great way to build an organic presence on Facebook now that business newsfeed organic reach does not exist. Use creative Facebook Open Graph searches to find the non-obvious ones.

Website Forums

Yes – website forums still exist. And yes, they can be extraordinarily powerful. Do your research and get in touch with moderators.

Blog Comments

Yes – people still read these. Set up alerts via Google or via RSS feeds and stay involved in relevant discussions on high-traffic blog posts.

Reddit & Crowdsourced Forums

Reddit is the world’s largest general forum – but everything from Kickstarter to Pinterest could technically be considered a forum. Again, find where your target audience hangs out. Focus less on teh actual platform and more on the people using it.

Amazon Comments

Ever noticed the “questions about this product” or the discussion sections on Amazon product? Yep – those have insane engagement…and provide an opportunity to piggyback on Amazon’s traffic. Look for complementary products / services to yours that your target audience is purchasing. Use your expertise to answer questions.

LinkedIn & Business Groups

This angle is similar to crowdsourced forums – but for B2B and vendor relationships. Discussions happen all over the place on the Internet. Everything from Slack to LinkedIn Pulse to IRC are open. They are all tools for people to connect. Think about who your people are and find where & how they talk.

Guest Posting

Do you know of high-traffic blogs that your target audience reads (not simply blogs in your industry)? Find out guest post requirements and go there.

Once you’ve found a channel that you feel comfortable with and “get” – focus on expanding your presence and being as helpful as possible. People will notice and talk.

Using Paid Traffic to Get Data

Jumping right into ads isn’t always the best approach for promoting your website. It can get expensive, especially for the return on investment. However, our goal here is a bit different.

Using some (even on a small budget) search advertising can be a great way to get data faster. Instead of relying solely on direct outreach and a content strategy that takes a few months to grow, we can get lots of data in a short amount of time by doing some advertising.

For a full breakdown of different paid advertising channels, see this guide about how to advertise your website online.

You should be doing a few different things with this data:

  • Looking at what keywords are driving conversions. AdWords gives you this information.
  • Looking at which landing pages (or content pieces) perform best based on your goals. How can you optimize those pages and use those findings to improve the ones that aren’t performing?
  • Determining which ad copy performs best
  • For ecommerce, identifying which types of offers do people find most enticing (i.e. free shipping, 20% off welcome discount, etc.)
  • Setting up retargeting campaigns – not generic “buy, buy, buy” campaigns but interesting retargeting ads that you can afford to do when your traffic is small. If you want to divert some paid budget to Facebook, follow this guide.
  • Once you have retargeting campaigns going, you should be looking at where your audience goes online. We covered this topic on this podcast episode.
  • Improving your ad campaigns in general

Understanding Organic Search

The world of organic traffic sources is wide and takes time. So while I won’t tell you it’s the best channel for immediate satisfaction, there are still some amazing results to be had.

For most, a successful SEO campaign would be a huge win due to the sheer volume of traffic that Google organic search can drive. Google processes over 3.5 billion queries per day and most of the clicks go to an organic result.

You’ll learn pretty quickly that in paid advertising, clicks for commercial keywords can be quite expensive. That’s a cost you don’t have to pay if you rank in the organic search results.

When you’re setting up your website promotion strategy, you’ll just have to know what it takes to get organic traffic and what it will take on your part to get it done.

SEO boils down to 3 components.

The first component is technical SEO.

Technical SEO is all about ensuring that Google/Bing bots can crawl and index your website effectively. It’s about making sure you’re not generating tons of duplicate content. Here’s “Technical SEO for Nontechnical Marketers”

The good news is that you are using WordPress or an HTML-based website builder (aka not Flash or Wix), you have the big barriers taken care of. THe same applies to ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Bigcommerce or a self-hosted store with WordPress + Woocommerce.

If you are already using a different platform, a technical audit might be the one SEO thing worth paying for. Mentioning a “stand-alone technical audit with recommendations” to an SEO expert can be valuable if you’re on a custom built site. Just don’t let them sell you on “ranking #1 tomorrow!”

If you are running WordPress, install WordPress SEO by Yoast and run through my guide for using it effectively.

If you are using Shopify or Bigcommerce, then your technical issues are 90% solved if you have it set up by the book (Shopify’s guide and Bigcommerce’s guide). You should just be sure to use their SEO-related toolset to implement your on-page content, which happens to be the second component of SEO.

The second component of SEO is on-page content and optimization

It is all about “targeting” the right keywords and ensuring that your website is laid out in a coherent way that is understandable by search engines and users browsing your website.

I wrote about the concept of keyword mapping and some basic on-page SEO concepts (like keyword research, title tags and meta descriptions, and using Google Search Console) previously.

Depending on what your goals are, there are a ton of different pieces of content that can bring in visitors. The goal is to bring in new people AND support sales. Don’t create keyword-stuffed content that won’t help customers on your website make a decision. Make the authoritative content that addresses problems, questions, etc of your market.

The great part about creating the absolute best content that you can find about everything your target market cares about related to your product is that it will naturally drive the third component of SEO – off-page factors.

“Off-page factors,” is the third component of SEO

This is SEO-speak for getting links, with the caveat that links are not all considered equal.

Sketchy links, the type that you buy for $5, can harm your website. However, quality links placed on a related or well-known website are the primary factor for getting better visibility in search results.

There are a lot of ways to get links. But the best ways that I’ve found for website promotion are:

  • Creating content that no one else has done well, and then promoting it. I wrote this guide to creating prequalified content. I’m a fan of this guide for the promotion angle as well
  • Hustle PR promotion – Find the blogs they read. Find the news websites they follow. Find the social media feeds they are involved with. Research and stalk every single one until you can craft a manual email pitch (see direct outreach above)
  • Get even more ideas in my guide to Ahrefs

Using Social Media

If SEO is your giant battleship, I think of social as your aircraft carrier. It’s easy to burn a lot of energy flying planes for no reason, but nothing gives you a tactical edge and far reach like your aircraft.

Social media experts make social out to be rocket science. It’s really not. Unless you started a business you know nothing about, you should know where your audience hangs out.

The key is to realize that you don’t have to be 100% present on every single social network. Effective social media is about having direct interactions where you build relationships and learn more about your audience.

So with that said, go ahead and claim your branding across all the various social networks, but focus on one or two that will generate an outsize of impact on your goals.

This is particularly effective for getting feedback on what you’re promoting. Similarly to direct outreach, you can use social media to solicit public feedback through forums like Reddit, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, etc. Just remember — it’s not about blasting your message out there for everyone and their mother. It’s about targeting the right audience. Find where they are and go there.

For the other profiles, learn how to automate them so you can have a presence without actually interacting. Set up alerts so you can “listen” even when you aren’t actively participating.

Lastly, remember you can make the process faster by paying to jump ahead. Just as you used AdWords or alternative channels to collect data on what works and what doesn’t for your website promotion goals, you can use social ads to test networks.

Next Steps

That’s the website promotion strategy I would map out for any website. It’s a long post, but it’s a plan you can implement quickly by breaking each section into small, doable steps.

Immediate next steps: start by defining your goals, personas, and revenue/budget. Then, put a plan in place that takes you through each phase of the process outlined above in a methodical manner. Go one section at a time and break each down into smaller steps you can follow without getting overwhelmed.

I’ve also written versions of this post for both local businesses and ecommerce websites.

The post How to Promote Your Website Online (for free!) appeared first on ShivarWeb.

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Newest Methods to Identify CNP Fraud

protected EMV credit card

The shift to EMV technology isn’t just affecting payments in-stores&#8212due towards the elevated impossibility of fraud in-stores, so many people are expecting that you will see a rise in card-not-present (CNP) fraud. We’ve already spoken about how exactly business proprietors can avoid fraudulent purchases for the current moment. But don’t get too attached. New, supposedly safer methods are coming.

We’re conscious of how difficult it’s to maintain ever-altering technology, so we’ve got your back. Here’s the safety technology you&#8217ll be listening to within the next couple of years.

3D Secure

This type of security is working for multiple banks, however the obvious leaders are MasterCard’s SecureCode and Visa’s Verified by Visa. The name is really a mention of the their three domain model: the acquirer domain (the merchant), the issuer domain (the financial institution) and also the interoperability domain (we’ve got the technology employed for the acquirer and issuer domains to speak to one another).

3D secure adds an additional security step during checkout, thanks to a card provider. The service utilizes a plug-directly into identify cards from participating banks and, if this finds one, it opens a pop-up window asking the client to go in a pre-set password to ensure their identity. This may a couple of things: first the possibility fraudster must know another, hard to collect, bit of information to charge the credit card. Also, when opening the pop-up window, the financial institution could see when the user is applying a proxy. On top of that, the issuer generally covers the price of any fraudulent purchases making it although the 3D secure system.

Sounds a good buy, right?

Well, 3D secure has existed for some time, and many individuals the U . s . States haven’t heard about it. There’s grounds for your. The safety programs happen to be slow to become adopted by online stores because of their badly considered technology and poor customer education.

Probably the most apparent issue is that 3D secure technology confuses customers. A great deal. Pop-up home windows, in the past, haven’t been employed for good purposes. Naturally, users will be suspicious once they locate one that’s requesting some kind of banking password along with other private information. Worst, from the merchant perspective, some customers may be so confused they abandon their purchase altogether.

We’ve got the technology has additionally become critique for asking people to create passwords at inconvenient occasions (a person who just really wants to buy their stuff isn’t prepared to produce a secure password), which makes it too simple to change forgotten passwords, violating user’s privacy by permitting organizations to determine the transactions, departing apparent vulnerabilities within their software, and pawning off liability charges onto customers.

Clearly, 3D secure systems have a methods to go. Nevertheless, 3D secure has already been beginning to become adopted by many people ecommerce websites, and, typically, we’ve got the technology does its job. Meanwhile, the manufacturers understand the requirement for fraud-proof technology, and therefore are focusing on making these programs more user-friendly and secure.

CAP/DPA

Hey&#8212remember the way i just stated issuers will work on making 3D technology safer? MasterCard’s Nick Authentication Program (CAP) and Visa’s Dynamic Passcode Authentication (DPA) programs are members of their solution.

CAP/DPA is essentially EMV for online transactions. The concept is the fact that banks will issue just a little hands-held EMV terminal known as a CAP readers (though a good phone application may be within the works too). To authenticate their identity, the client uses their nick card and PIN, and so the readers will produce a one-use password. Although this had been developed mainly for banking, issuers have recognized the potential of integrating it with 3D secure software&#8212the one-use password may be used along with 3D secure&#8217s pop-up service.

Issuers have previously began moving out CAP readers within the United kingdom for internet banking, and unsurprisingly, we’ve got the technology wasn’t quite as much as snuff. The United kingdom CAP visitors poor-quality and also have technological issues that fraudsters may potentially exploit in several ways.

Another apparent problem: in the usa, we don’t have nick-and-PIN cards yet. No PINs means not a way to ensure the consumer, which&#8217s not so secure whatsoever. However, because CAP/DPA is basically a method to bring EMV technology, a technology which has already proven very secure, to CNP transactions, theoretically it’s a very viable choice to lessen fraud online. However, we’ve got the technology isn’t there with regards to the CAP readers or American’s charge cards.

We’re going to need to wait a couple of years with this one, guys.

Tokenization Standard

However, tokenization is a kind of security you could implement at this time (and also the payment card industry encourages you to do this). Although this isn&#8217t going that will help you root out fraudulent transactions, it can help safeguard against data breaches. Should you don&#8217t utilize it already, this really is one you’ll certainly be thinking about, since MasterCard, Visa and American Express have announced their intention to create tokenization a worldwide standard online as well as in-store. Let’s be truthful: soon, you most likely won’t have the ability to neglected.

You’ve most likely heard about file encryption, and you’ve most likely heard about tokenization, however i wouldn’t be amazed should you didn’t be aware of difference. Here you go: file encryption works just like a secret code. You utilize a vital to secure and decrypt the information. Anyone who will get your hands on the encrypted data with no answer to interpret it’ll just visit a mess of figures. It really works very well&#8230 unless of course the interceptor finds the important thing, by which situation file encryption is totally useless. And you’ll be able to discover the key. However, tokenizing several is irreversible because there’s no link between the initial number and also the token. There’s no master key that may turn back tokenizing process.

Theoretically, when a customer enters their charge card number and verifies their identity (possibly though a procedure employing 3D secure), their charge card number is going to be substituted for a token number sent in the payment processor. The entire factor works exactly the same way casino chips do&#8211when you, the merchant, are speaking to money providers lower the road, everyone can treat time like it’s the customer’s real charge card number. Since everyone knows the token is connected with this particular customer which particular transaction, you&#8217re all on exactly the same page. But just like a poker nick, outdoors of this particular transaction, the token won’t work any longer. There’s you don’t need to store customer’s real charge card number whatsoever, and since each transaction features its own token, the information is basically useless to the fraudsters who steal it.

Clearly, tokenization isn’t a perfect solution. You may still find occasions once the customer’s real card data must be joined and transmitted (which means you can’t give up all of your other way of file encryption), the customer’s identity still must be verified to begin with, and tokenization won’t safeguard against account takeover.

What Exactly&#8217s the purpose?

That’s why we’re speaking about multiple forms of security: not one of them are 100% effective on their own. Theoretically, these types of security works together. 3D secure protects against application fraud, CAP/DPA protects against phishing and account takeover, and tokenization protects against information thievery.

There should never be one fool-proof method to finish fraud. We can’t cover the cost of a totally hack-proof system. But maybe, by using a couple of different, very secure methods, we are able to get close. Although individuals methods haven&#8217t quite showed up yet, they&#8217re searching promising.

The publish Newest Methods to Identify CNP Fraud made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Why Your Site Platform Matters (and the way to choose…)

Website Platform

Imagine building your house. Regardless of whether you or perhaps a contractor builds it &#8211 you’ll mainly worry about the look, layout, and if the cupboards have sufficient space, right?

But &#8211 you&#8217d also care on the certain level concerning the materials, engineering, and craftsmanship behind the curtain &#8211 even though you don&#8217t know precisely the way they work.

You&#8217d want the best materials to do the job, so you&#8217d possess a house that lasts that does what you would like it to achieve that isn&#8217t a discomfort to make use of doesn&#8217t cause you to dependent on that builder and doesn&#8217t break your budget.

It&#8217s exactly the same way with websites &#8211 here&#8217s why (and the way to choose).

The Fundamentals

An internet site includes&#8230

  • Files that may be read from your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Ie)
  • A spot for individuals files to reside where your browser have access to them

Optionally, an internet site may have a &#8220backend&#8221 system that assist you in making and manage individuals files.

Which &#8220backend&#8221 product is what we should usually call a &#8220website platform,&#8221 because hands-coding an internet site is generally too tiresome, way too hard to handle, and extremely quite unwieldy.

Kinds of Website Platforms

1. Site Builders

Site builders assist you in making your website, but don’t assist you to keep it in check.

They’re usually incorporated free with hosting plans, or are bundled on your computerOrMacintosh (for example FrontPage, DreamWeaver, or Illustrator).

Site builders perform the heavy-lifting to produce the files for the website &#8211 but they are typically difficult to maintain, update, and don’t permit you to manage content (like images, blog, etc) easily. I&#8217ve done reviews of Squarespace, Weebly and Wix who’re the 3 largest players within the space.

2. Cms

Cms make use of a computer database to keep your site information, then utilizes a computer language (for example PHP should you&#8217re curious) to produce, manage, increase the web site.

WordPress is easily the most popular (and it is free), but you will find countless them available on the market &#8211 including proprietary systems. Here&#8217s a exactly what the WordPress backend appears like:

WordPress Backend

3. Niche Platforms

Niche platforms they fit out by companies for particular purpose websites &#8211 for example eCommerce websites.

They often function just like a Cms, except that they’re owned and located with a single company &#8211 to allow them to personalize exactly for his or her customers.

There’s also free shopping carts that permit eCommerce &#8211 but limited website management.

Here&#8217s why the only goal&#8230

Cost

The woking platform you and your designer chooses may have costs. Here&#8217s things to bear in mind&#8230

1. There is nothing truly online for free. If something is free of charge &#8211 it will often be manipulative about upsells (I&#8217m searching to you, &#8220free site builders&#8221), or will need extra support and training (WordPress), or is going to be absolutely horrible (the remainder).

2. You will see upfront and lengthy-term costs. You will be able to lay them out and predict what they’re &#8211 including switching costs if you want to change later on.

Foundation

Although the primary reason for the web site would be the look, layout, and feel &#8211 the woking platform should have a very good foundation for the web site to grow, or simply wallow in it.

Here&#8217s a couple of questions you should ask your designer or ponder should you&#8217re selecting yourself&#8230

  • Could it be well-supported and frequently updated?
  • Could it be determined by a business remaining running a business?
  • Could it be determined by volunteers &#8211 and therefore are there many of them?
  • Is there good security?
  • Is there good Search engine optimization?
  • Am I Going To be determined by my designer?
  • Have i got the 100% legal rights to my technique for using it?
  • Could it be reliable?

Functionality

Will the web site platform do what you would like it to complete?

Could it be simple to use?

Does having the ability to easily update it matter for you?

(If that’s the case &#8211 you most likely wish to avoid proprietary cms, and builders).

Do you want eCommerce bundled, or 24&#2157 support?

How ShivarWeb Rolls

I personally use WordPress for everything. I&#8217ll also consider Shopify for many eCommerce stores.

Much like houses &#8211 there’s no right answer. As well as your contractor (ie, web design service) most likely has excellent reasons why they’re doing the things they’re doing.

But the thing is to understand and become a good consumer. Make sure to know why and what about your website platform &#8211 and when it’ll obtain the features that you would like.

The publish Why Your Site Platform Matters (and the way to choose&#8230) made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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Business News along with other Tales for June 2017

A part of our work at Merchant Maverick is remaining on the top of recent developments and trends within the industries that people cover. We learn so much from this news article, blogs, and message boards we frequent. A lot, actually, that you want to share our understanding along with you inside a more direct fashion.

Here’s phone most fascinating, thoughtful, and newsworthy articles, forum posts, and websites the Merchant Maverick team continues to be studying for that month of June.

General Business

Methods from the Trade: How Fraudsters Attempt to Scam You from your Hard-Earned Money Square
Square’s Lead of Risk Partnerships and Insights explores some tactics that scam artists use to split up retailers for his or her funds.

Men and women Entrepreneurs Get Requested Different Questions By VC&#8217s&#8212And it impacts Just How Much Funding They Get

Harvard Business Review

Research has shown the disparity between your questions requested to women and men affect just how much funding they&#8217re offered.

Marketing

31 Simple Marketing Cheat Sheets For Business Proprietors That Don&#8217t Understand Marketing Forbes
Marketing not your forte? Not a problem! This cheat sheet with 31 tips might help.

Why You Need To Craft an engaging Content Technique for Your Online Business

Entrepreneur

Inside a world where content is still king, the process may be the law from the land. If you’re not already boosting your content game, this is the time.

Merchant Services

Nick &amp Signature Or Nick &amp PIN? Fatt Merchant
What’s the main difference between an EMV transaction finished with a signature versus. a PIN? Do you want a PIN pad?

eCommerce

78 Percent of eCommerce Websites in danger Payments Cards &amp Mobile
Research reveals that from 60,000 sites around the Magento platform, 78% don’t have up-to-date security measures. On why you need to maintain security patches and updates.

The Two Winners in Amazon . com versus. Walmart Fight

Practical Ecommerce

Get updated on two greatest players in eCommerce: Amazon . com and Walmart. Visit a quick rundown of the current marketing and selling strategies.

Experts Identify 6 Emerging Influencer Marketing Trends

Ecommerce Occasions

Find out about macro-influencers and micro-influencers, and discover who may have a bigger effect on your company.

Just How Much It Is To Begin A Web-based Store And Really Should I Dropship Or Carry Inventory

My Spouse Quit Her Job

Find out about the startup costs for various selling platforms. Read about the variations between drop-shipping and storing inventory, in energy production as well as in results.

Reason for Purchase &amp mPOS

LevelUp, MonkeyMedia Expand Partnership  PYMNTS.com
LevelUp has strengthened its partnership with MonkeyMedia to pay attention to expanding its takeout, delivery, and catering channels, allowing for retailers using LevelUp to grow their choices and provide a much better experience for consumers.

POS Attacks increasing and Junk e-mail Rebounds, Trustwave Reports

eWeek

The safety firm Trustwave released its 92 page 2017 global security report in June. Among the findings of the report was that POS security breaches are rising in 2017.

Accounting

Cloud Accounting Software Not Forecasted to exchange CPAs Mississippi Business Journal
When 90% percent of economic proprietors are forecasted to become using accounting software through the finish of 2017, will CPAs and accounting firms be relevant? Discover in the following paragraphs.

3 Business Trends to think about When Selecting Cloud Accounting Software

Business 2 Community

Where’s cloud accounting headed next? Learn what’s new within the cloud accounting world and the way to make use of the most advanced technology to simplify your accounting.

Loans &amp Finance

Amazon’s Lending Business for Online Retailers Gains Momentum Bloomburg
Amazon . com&#8217s loan program, open to Amazon . com sellers, continues to be obtaining steam since its introduction this year. Is that this a course that you ought to make the most of?

The Program Makes Loans To Companies in Distressed Areas: Trump Really wants to Work

Fast Company

CDFIs are nonprofits which help companies and consumers in distressed areas with low-cost loans. These programs might are in danger when the federal government withdraws funding.

Fintech Lingo Described

Reuters

Fintech a.k.a. &#8220financial technology&#8221 is definitely an industry filled with confusing terms. This short primer will help you understand a few of the lingo.

4 Expert Definitions of &#8216The Perfect Pitch&#8217

Salesforce

Why is the &#8220perfect&#8221 VC pitch? Four investors share their opinions.

Highlights in the Merchant Maverick Blog

Analysis: Is Square the Least expensive Charge Card Processor for the Business?
Square remains well-liked by retailers due to its pay-as-you-go prices plan, but could it be really the best offer for the business? We crunched the figures to uncover the reality, and you will be amazed.

3 Methods to Increase Productivity at the office (Hint: You might be Surprised)

Discover a couple of the best way to remain productive at the office, in line with the Alternative Board&#8217s recent survey.

Exactly what is a Tax Lease?

Equipment leasing is filled with industry jargon and merely plain confusing language. Here, we explain one of the most common phrases tossed around: tax leasing.

5 Reasons Retailers Choose Shopify

We would have liked to understand why Shopify is really a well known platform, therefore we requested their users! Read why real retailers decide to host their online retailers with Shopify.

Top Small Company Loan Rates Compared

In the following paragraphs, we check out the eye rates and charges in the top small company lenders, so that you can understand should you&#8217re getting a great deal or otherwise.

Have you read any interesting articles this month? Share your ideas within the comments!

The publish Business News along with other Tales for June 2017 made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

“”

Using Search Console (Website owner Tools) Effectively

How To Use Search Console

Search Console (formerly Website owner Tools) is Google’s suite of tools, data &amp diagnostics to &#8220help you’ve got a healthy, Google-friendly site.&#8221

It’s the only real spot to get internet search engine optimization details about your site from Google.

Side note &#8211 Bing includes a separate but similar tool suite at Bing Website owner Tools.

Search Console (Website owner Tools) is free of charge. Any web site may use it. But, simply installing it won’t enhance your Search engine optimization, or perhaps your organic traffic. It’s a toolset &#8211 and that means you need to learn how to use Search Console effectively to make a difference in your website.

That stated, it’s really a bit formidable to understand. This tutorial goes through what each feature is, what you need to be utilising it for, and a few tips on be resourceful by using it.

Getting Began

To obtain began &#8211 you’ll need a website obviously. You&#8217ll have to link your website to look Console then take proper care of a couple of settings.

Verification

Google Search Console Verification

There are many methods to verify your research Console account. I favor verifying via Google Analytics because it reduces the amount of files / tags to keep.

If you work with WordPress, the Yoast Search engine optimization wordpress plugin allows you. Though bear in mind you need to keep that wordpress plugin active to keep the verification.

Yoast Webmaster Verification

When you’re verifying your bank account, keep in mind that Search Console treats all subdomains and protocols as different qualities.

This means that any vary from HTTP to HTTPS represents another website. Any vary from a World wide web subdomain to no subdomain differs. Your computer data is going to be wrong when the property you have verified with Search Console is different from the web site that Bing is serving within the search engine results (SERPs).

Understanding Settings

Site Settings in Webmaster Tools

Search Console Preferences

This is self-explanatory. Choose what language you would like your Console to stay in and select your email alert frequency.

I usually decide to receive All Issues simply to make certain I understand of all issues every time they happen.

Site Settings

Here you are able to set a frequent domain &#8211 often a non-World wide web version along with a World wide web version. This setting will help you help Google determine just one, &#8220canonical&#8221 subdomain for the website. A &#8220canonical&#8221 subdomain helps to ensure that your site is not in competition with itself within the SERPs.

Instead of depend about this setting, it’s easier to make certain you’ve got a permanent 301 redirect in position for your canonical subdomain. This solution ensures can have the right version to any or all visitors and bots. I personally use this Search Console setting to enhance the 301. It is also useful if you’re getting trouble obtaining a 301 redirect implemented.

You can also set the crawl rate for Googlebot. This determines the amount of your site Googlebot crawls everyday. Google’s goal would be to crawl because your website without overwhelming your server. They’ve sophisticated algorithms to make certain this occurs. But, if you feel your server gets hit too frequently, you are able to limit Google’s crawl here&#8230or consider upgrading your servers.

Crawl Rate in Search Console

Side note &#8211 Don’t even think that attempting to improve your crawl rate increases your rankings. It won&#8217t.

Change of Address

Change of Address in Search Console

If you’re moving to a different domain, subdomain, or protocol, this can be used tool to enhance the redirects that you ought to set up. Simply have both subdomains verified as qualities and employ the tool to inform Google concerning the move.

Google Analytics Property

Here you are able to link Search Console to Google Analytics. You want to do that, to be able to rapidly access Search Console data directly in the search engines Analytics.

Linking Analytics to Search Console

To link accounts, visit the Admin portion of Google Analytics. Click Property Settings. Scroll lower to look Console. Stick to the prompts.

Your reward in the search engines Analytics is going to be this screen &#8211

Google Analytics Search Query Information

Users &amp Property Proprietors

Add &amp manage everyone that may access your research Console. They need to be considered a Google Account (ie, Gmail or Google Apps).

Verification Details

Manage &amp keep your verification status here.

Associates

You are able to affiliate various accounts together with your Search Console. The most typical is YouTube, but other apps may appear because well. There’s nothing particularly to complete except monitor.

Associates in Search Console

Search Appearance

Before searching at these components, don’t overlook Google’s handy pop-up reference. It outlines the various SERP elements together with how you can influence each one of these.

SERP Elements

Structured Data

Structured Data Errors

This provides errors which help with structured data in your website. Not every websites have Structured Data. Structured Data are such things as name, address, telephone number, cost, product name, event name, etc. It may be implemented through various markups to assist search engines like google parse the information. The most typical markup is Schema. On it here&#8230

Data Highlighter

In case your website provides structured data, make use of the Data Highlighter whenever you don’t have the means to efficiently implement structured markup.

It’s simple to use. You stock up sample pages and tell Google if it is guesses are correct or otherwise.

Data Highlighting in Search Console

HTML Enhancements

This informs you concerning the two page factors that appear directly searching &#8211 titles on pages and meta descriptions. Google will inform which of them need improvement.

You may also make use of this tool to recognize related issues for example duplicate content. Make sure to click on the links to every problem to obtain details, then try to fix them.

HTML Improvements

HTML Improvements

Sitelinks

For many searches (usually brand terms), Google can have sub-pages directly within the search engine results. You can’t figure out what Google shows, however, you will easily notice it-not to incorporate certain pages.

Sitelinks in SERPs

Make use of this tool to demote a webpage (just like an admin page, low-content page, etc) in the SERPs.

Search Traffic

Looking Traffic section is easily the most relevant daily portion of Search Console. It’s where you’ll make the most helpful data for optimizing for search &amp growing organic traffic.

Search Traffic Report

Search Analytics

Looking Analytics is really a recent accessory for Search Console. It replaced that old (and far derided) &#8220search queries&#8221 report. Search Analytics will explain lots of helpful data about how exactly your site performs in the search engines Search. Before we break lower how you can manipulate and employ the information, there is a couple of definitions to check out &#8211 from Google. Google comes with an expanded breakdown on definitions here.

Search Analytics Data

Queries &#8211 The keywords that users looked for in the search engines Search.

Clicks &#8211 Count of clicks from the Search search engines that arrived the consumer in your yard. Observe that clicks don’t equal organic sessions in the search engines Analytics.

Impressions &#8211 The number of links to your website a person saw on the internet search engine results, whether or not the link wasn’t scrolled into view. However, if your user views only the first page and also the link is on-page 2, the sense isn’t counted.

CTR &#8211 Click-through rate: the press count divided through the impression count. If your row of information doesn’t have impressions, the CTR is going to be proven like a dash (-) because CTR could be division by zero.

Position &#8211 The typical position from the topmost derive from your website. So, for instance, in case your site has three results at positions 2, 4, and 6, the positioning is reported as 2. If your second query came back results at positions 3, 5, and 9, your average position could be (2 + 3)/2 = 2.5. If your row of information doesn’t have impressions, the positioning is going to be proven like a dash (-), since the position doesn&#8217t exist.

To effectively make use of the Search Console report, you have to alter the groupings to locate data that you’re searching for. Remember that you could change groupings once you use a filter (ie, you can try Queries once you have filtered for any page).

Listed here are my 2 favorite bits of data to drag.

Identify Why A Webpage Is Losing Traffic

  1. Check all metrics boxes
  2. Filter by page, pick a time frame
  3. Click to Queries, Countries, Devices searching for any offender

Search Analytics Investigation

Search For New / Revised Content Ideas

  1. Check all metrics boxes
  2. Filter by page
  3. Click to Queries
  4. Sort by Impressions
  5. Search for queries that aren’t proportional towards the page, but in which the page continues to be ranking
  6. Make use of this data either to revise the information to deal with that question OR produce a new page targeting that question

Search Analytics Investigation

Here’s a short video showing the way i consider the various tabs.

Aside &#8211 I’ve a whole publish on 15+ uses of Search Analytics effectively here.

Links To Your Website

Google understands the net via links. They are the primary element in Google’s formula. This can help you understand who links for you, what content will get linked most, and just what anchor-text other sites use to connect to you.

You will find three products to keep in mind when searching only at that section.

First, Google doesn’t provide you with its link data. Best SEOs &amp site proprietors having a budget uses something like Ahrefs to drag more helpful data.

Second, there isn’t any method to understand how Google makes use of this data for just about any given query. Don’t get too centered on any single link or string of anchor-text. Rather, apply it main issue marketing ideas &amp problem diagnosis.

Third, there’s more data within this section than you’d expect. The bottom line is to simply keep clicking for more information.

Links To Site Report

Here’s list of positive actions with Links To Your Website.

First, utilize it to understand kind of content will get links. You should use that data to complete more of what’s working.

Link To Site in Search Console

Second, utilize it to understand kinds of sites connect to you. Use that data to locate similar sites for content promotion. You may also utilize it to know just what amount of the web is junk e-mail.

Links To Site Who Is Linking Most Report

Third, review your anchor-text to make certain it’s telling usually the right &#8220story.&#8221 Search for junk e-mail terms that will show you in case your site continues to be hacked.

Anchor Text in Search Console

Internal Links

This enables you to comprehend the links in your site, and just how Bing is crawling your website. This can vary from a crawl by Screaming Frog, because this shows how the Googlebot continues to be crawling your website.

You ought to be by using this report to consider mostly one factor &#8211 outliers.

Internal Links

Sort their email list by most links &amp by least links. See should there be pages which are associated with even more than others. See should there be pages that needs to be associated with more frequently&#8230but aren’t.

Pages getting crawled more doesn’t equal greater rankings. But, links to pass through information towards the Googlebot through both anchor-text and link context.

For those who have underperforming content, it could underperforming since your internal links aren’t painting the best picture for Googlebot. This problem is typical in blogs where old content receives more internal links because it’s been around for extended (not since it is more relevant).

Internal Links Takeaway

If you notice pages which have more links compared to what they deserve &#8211 they could just be inside a stale category or tag page. According to that, you need to revise your category structure to coax Googlebot into crawling much deeper, more relevant pages.

Internal links could be overdone, but they’re even the simplest links to construct. The Interior Links report will help you do this.

Manual Actions

Google uses a mix of rewards, threats, bulletins and manual team reviews to trigger website owner behavior leading to higher, cleaner signals for that Googlebot.

If your Web Junk e-mail team member finds &#8220unnatural&#8221 marketing or website behavior. They will show you about this within this section.

Worldwide Targeting

If you’re managing a global operation, you may have location or language specific URLs. Worldwide Search engine optimization could possibly get complicated. This is how Google informs you associated with a issues.

If you’re moving out a brand new language or country-specific section, it’s important to reference this.

Mobile Usability

Google has mentioned it promises to demote websites that aren’t mobile-friendly in mobile search engine results. In ways, it’s a side-issue that users hate websites that do not work nicely on their own devices.

If Googlebot finds any common usability errors, you’ll locate them here. You need to fix them.

And bear in mind that simply since your site &#8220has no errors&#8221 does not necessarily mean that it’s mobile-friendly for users.

Google Index

Google stores copies of the website on its servers. This report can help you figure precisely what Google has &amp whether it aligns together with your actual website.

Index Status

For any Hyperlink to come in Google’s search engine results, Google should have a duplicate of this page &#8220indexed&#8221 on Google’s servers.

If your page isn’t in Google’s index, then it won’t get organic traffic from Google.

This can be used are accountable to make certain that the web pages that you would like to Google to index are actually indexed.

Index Status

Content Keywords

This report &#8220lists the most important keywords as well as their variants Google found when crawling your website.&#8221 The Information Keywords report can also be one of the most misinterpreted reports searching Console.

Content Keywords

It’s nothing related to concepts like &#8220keyword density&#8221 or the number of occasions you repeat a thing on the page. It does not have a great deal to use a URL’s relevance.

Actually, John Mueller stated in 2012 that content keywords &#8220are not associated with the way we view your website&#8217s relevance in web-search, it’s purely a count of words from crawling.&#8221

Therefore if it’s only a count of words from crawling &#8211 how if you work with it?

Two ways.

First, consider the Content Keywords how you checked out the interior Links report. Consider it as an entire. Don’t concentrate on the individual words. Will the &#8220theme&#8221 from the content keywords report reflect your site?

Content Keywords Usefulness

Were you to give the are accountable to somebody that had not been aimed at your website, are they going to have the ability to you know what your site is generally about? If so, then you’re good. If no, then you’re likely not detailed &amp descriptive during your site.

For instance, have a plumbing website.

  • Is the Homepage entitled &#8211 &#8220Home&#8221 or perhaps is it entitled &#8220Acme Plumbers&#8221?
  • Is the Services page &#8211 just &#8220Services&#8221 or perhaps is it &#822024/7 Plumbers in Atlanta, GA&#8221?
  • Is the Contact page form &#8211 just entitled &#8220Contact&#8221 or perhaps is it &#8220Get A Plumbing Project Quote!&#8221?
  • If it is the previous, you’ll just see &#8220Contact&#8221 and &#8220Home&#8221 and &#8220Services&#8221 within the Content Keywords report. You can start to determine plumbing, atlanta, drainage, etc.

Second, search for keywords that shouldn’t be there. Disregard the miscellaneous terms like pronouns. Search for stuff that do not have anything concerning your product, services or content.

If you notice anything for the blue pill, gambling, etc &#8211 your website continues to be hacked.

Blocked Sources

By May 2014, Googlebot can execute JavaScript and cargo CSS files to obtain a full picture of the website. For those who have blocked Googlebot from being able to access individuals files, you’ll discover here.

Do whatever this report informs you to definitely do &#8211 essentially, unblock all assets.

Remove URLs

To bar Googlebot from indexing a webpage that you don’t want individuals to find (ie, a coupon, thanks or internal resource, etc) &#8211 it’s important to implement a NOINDEX instruction.

But, that instruction doesn’t start working until next time Googlebot crawls the page. Meanwhile, this can be used tool to rapidly remove a URL from Google’s index.

Bear in mind the tool is only going to temporarily hide the URL before you can use a NOINDEX tag.

Crawl

To obtain your URLs into Google’s Index, Googlebot must crawl them (ie, &#8220click&#8221 in it. Which section helps improve Googlebot&#8217s crawl using your website.

Crawl Errors

This teaches you what errors Googlebot has experienced while crawling your website. The errors are listed by priority.

You may also click the URL to discover where that URL was linked from. With this information, you are able to identify and proper the mistake.

Crawl Error Report in Search Console

The most typical error is really a 404 Not Found error. If you’re able to switch the link, then change it. If it is from your exterior site, you are able to achieve to ask to get it fixed. Otherwise, you need to implement a 301 redirect from that Hyperlink to the most appropriate one, that will tell Googlebot how to locate the right URL.

There’s a caveat though. This report is also referred to as the &#8220go home Googlebot, you’re drunk&#8221 report. It’s normal to locate URLs and damaged links that don’t exist. Make sure to really check whether something is definitely an error or otherwise before trying to repair it.

Otherwise, I take a look report &amp fix issues about monthly to make sure Googlebot is crawling my content &amp links efficiently.

Crawl Stats

This provides you with statistics about how much Googlebot continues to be crawling each day. It shows 3 charts. Here’s what you’re searching for &#8211

Consider the Pages crawled each day and Kilobytes downloaded each day together. They ought to roughly reflect one another.

Crawl Stats in Search Console

If Googlebot is crawling lots of pages, however is not installing many kilobytes, then it’s likely crawling plenty of duplicate or thin content.

If Google bot is installing lots of kilobytes, however is not crawling many pages, then it’s likely encounter large assets (big images, PDFs, etc).

Make sure to operate a site:[yoursite].com search in the search engines to determine which Bing is showing within the SERPs.

Combine all of this analysis to understand a tough benchmark for the website. While you implement best practice changes (more internal links, faster website, etc), you’ll be able to consider anomalies &amp identify issues. If you’re managing a large website, you may also make use of this data to estimate how lengthy it will require Googlebot to locate &amp index site changes.

Note &#8211 if one makes any major changes to your website, there’s often a &#8220spike&#8221 in crawl rates.

Time spent installing a webpage report will help you identify server issues. If you’re seeing regular spikes, you have to run regular speed tests in your server. In case your speed information is also sporadic, then you should think about upgrading, improving or altering your site hosting.

Fetch As Google

Fetch As Google enables you to view a URL in your website the way in which Googlebot sees it.

Go into the URL and only &#8220fetch&#8221 it (Googlebot will crawl it) or fetch and render (Googlebot will crawl it and demonstrate how Googlebot sees the page).

After fetching, you are able to Send It In to Google’s index. This can be a effective tool when you really need Google to locate page changes at this time. Whenever you undergo index, Google may have the updated page in the index instantly. For those who have a brand new website section that should be re-crawled immediately, you may also tell Googlebot to crawl all linked URLs.

Fetch As Google

To identify a technical issue, you are able to click the page line to see both visual and source rendering that Googlebot has for that page.

You can find out if you’re blocking any sources Googlebot must see the page. Make sure to check both Fetching and Rendering tabs.

If Googlebot couldn’t access all of the page sources, you’ll discover what they’re, where they’re located, as well as their priority underneath the made page.

Fetch As Google Tool

Robots.txt Tester

The Robots.txt Tester tool shows any errors, warnings or unintended effects inside your robots.txt. Keep in mind that your website’s robots.txt is primary method for controlling how bots access your site.

Make certain your robots.txt file is blocking use of files that you simply don’t want crawled &#8211 with no more. It’s a blunt, but effective tool.

Determine whether your robots.txt file is blocking a particular URL using the tool underneath the dashboard. Note that you could switch Googlebot user agents if you’re getting difficulties with indexed video, images or news.

Sitemaps

Search engines like google use sitemaps to enhance their crawl of the website. Consider them like a &#8220map&#8221 of the website. As Googlebot crawls your website, it will likewise review your sitemap for guidance &#8211 and the other way around.

XML Sitemaps

Sitemaps need to be in XML filetype. XML Sitemaps should have couple of or no errors &#8211 otherwise Googlebot will begin to neglected (though it’s generally less callous as Bingbot).

Find errors that should be fixed. Utilize it to reverse engineer pages that aren’t being indexed.

URL Parameters

The URL Parameters tool is definitely an advanced tool for &#8220coaching&#8221 Googlebot’s crawl online which use page parameters. It’s mostly employed for large ecommerce websites.

You&#8217ll want to use it if Googlebot gets trapped crawling exactly the same page due to parameters. However, I’d recommend employing an Search engine optimization consultant you never know what they’re doing.

It isn’t effective (inside a positive way) by itself. You typically need to make technical changes for this compare unique car features together with your site’s crawl. Around the switch side, the URL parameter tool can hurt your site when used by itself incorrectly.

In case you really desire to use yourself to it, you have to make a catalog of your site’s parameters. Determine what each does whenever your website generates parameters and just how they behave.

Within the URL Parameters tool, you’ll then tell Googlebot what all of individuals parameters does. Also, you’ll give Googlebot instructions on how to handle individuals URLs.

Security Issues

Site hacks are harmful to you and your users. Regrettably, a hack will go undetected for some time. If Googlebot finds proof of a hack, it will show you here.

Other Sources

Google has numerous other sources focused on specific issues. You’ll find individuals tools here regardless if you are a nearby business, ecommerce store or perhaps a developer.

Resources in Search Console

Next Steps

Regardless of how small your site is &#8211 you must have a verified Search Console account. Make certain all versions of the website have established yourself.

Next, keep in mind that Search Console is really a tool. It doesn’t do anything whatsoever by itself for the website. Start finding out how to utilize it, exactly what the data means, and implement website changes to help keep enhancing your website &amp marketing.

Editor&#8217s Note &#8211 I authored this publish for DIYers and non-professional SEOs. Let me simplify a few of the jargon &amp data to ensure that non-professionals may use it effectively. I fact-checked all statements against Google statements &amp respected industry tests. However, should there be any details or phrasings that you believe are inaccurate, please get in touch!

The publish Using Search Console (Website owner Tools) Effectively made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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What’s eCommerce? Introducing Internet Sales


Intro to eCommerce

What’s eCommerce?

Quite simply, eCommerce describes any company that’s conducted on the internet, particularly individuals interactions which entail the exchange of products, services, and cash. Why isn’t it “O” for Online Commerce, or “I” for Internet Commerce? Well, nobody consulted me within the 1960’s when Electronic Commerce was initially created.

Technically, eCommerce continues to be conducted regularly in excess of half a century, only in the last fifteen years has it become commonplace – practically mandatory – for companies associated with a size. It’s started out laboriously slow business-to-business connectivity in to the fastest-growing industry on the planet. Today, nearly all new companies begin online, because of the considerably lower operating costs and streamlined chain of processes which are possible. But more essential than costs or efficiency is always that conducting business online enables any organization to possess global achieve, away from the gate.

A modest book shop run from the garage in San antonio might, might, succeed. But by leveraging the exponential development of the web and getting the world as his community, that’s precisely what Shaun Bezos did. And today, we’ve the enormously effective and industry-defining amazon . com.com, that is nearly symbolic of modern eCommerce.

With heroines like Amazon . com held because the defacto standard of what’s feasible for an internet business, the continues to be growing tremendously. Each year, eCommerce accounts in excess of $1.3 trillion in sales around the world. Time is growing in a staggering rate as more countries and consumers get on the internet (based on researching the market firm eMarketer). Figures like individuals are difficult to disregard a lot of companies now revolve entirely around enabling other users to begin their very own online companies. Merchant Maverick is devoted to evaluating individuals services. Until then, I’ll review the different techniques that eCommerce companies need to achieve their clients.

1. Online Marketplaces

You might or might not know this, but Amazon . com is really a confluence of numerous rivers its goods are sourced by many people a large number of individual retailers. If you’re a new comer to online retail, online marketplaces like Amazon . com could possibly be the best spot to join in. These marketplaces have many of the technical components taken proper care of, relieving you of this burden. They permit retailers to complete the things they’re doing best, instead of forcing these to dual-task because it specialists.

The marketplaces may also be somewhat niche, and therefore those who shop we already have searching for products inside your general category. Etsy is a superb example, where crafters and designers of stripes receive a typical venue. You won’t see lots of hi-tech gizmos on Etsy, but you’ll see a lot of crocheted baby hats. If hands-made, vintage, or next-trend fashion is the factor, Etsy is a superb spot for readers to locate you.

Quickbooks has curated a brief listing of 20 such marketplaces. These venues frequently have a hefty transaction fee for each purchase you are making. You can try this like a finder’s fee – the web site connected the store towards the shopper, enabling the purchase. Or view it as the price of conducting business – you outsourced all the technical components that you simply didn’t have time, expertise, or inclination to deal with on your own.

Lots of online companies start here. Individuals which are effective then possess the sources to graduate to more elegant stand-alone solutions, for example their very own website. Before we join in to beginning your personal site, let’s consider the next half-step-up in complexity the mobile store.

2. Mobile and Micro Stores

Mobile stores typically require minimal technical know-how. They achieve a wider audience than marketplaces, and permit for additional precise control of the merchant’s marketing campaigns. Mobile stores are simplified versions of self-sufficient websites, which we’ll enter into shortly. Mobile sites are miniature stores piggybacking on pre-existing websites just like your blog, social networking sites, or perhaps within emails.

An excellent example would be the business pages which are popping on Facebook. Just like everybody as well as their dog includes a Facebook page nowadays, so many companies. Facebook surfers can float on directly into your store, visit your products, and buy them &#8211 all without ever departing the Facebook website. The opportunity to achieve your clients even while they’re involved in social entertainment is a big chance, if your bit diabolical.

That will help you together with your marketing, Facebook’s ready-made social discussing tools do the majority of the meet your needs. Whenever you “like” that photo from the adorable kitten inside your news feed, that action is seen for your buddies. So when you “share” that photo yourself, all your Facebook connections obtain a fresh look at that cat. Exactly the same does apply for your products, meaning in case your goods are extremely popular having a couple of people, they’ll soon be extremely popular with tremendously more and more people, with hardly any effort from you. relatively speaking.

To understand more about how you can leverage this eCommerce tool for the business, read this article on Buy Now Buttons and social networking.

3. Websites

Here’s your bread and butter. Or perhaps in my situation, bacon and avocado.

Websites could be small , simple, with only the fundamentals. (The ‘business card my 6-year-old made in Notepad’ of web sites.) Or they may be the beacon of contemporary enterprise. (The Jarvis for your Tony Stark.)

From the modes of eCommerce that people cover in the following paragraphs, self-sufficient eCommerce websites are probab an actual store. As a result, they might require probably the most investment, technical understanding, and maintenance, yet they are able to potentially produce results that much cla the arena between entrepreneurs and large-big brands.

The fundamental listing of technical requirements which you’ll need to handle on your own:

  • Website name
  • Hosting company
  • SSL certificate
  • Credit Card Merchant Account and Payment Gateway
  • eCommerce shopping cart software
  • Webmaster (or development software)

This really is in no way an entire list, however these comprise the fundamental backbone of each and every eCommerce website. I’ll get into (much) greater detail in another article.

Some services available is going to do some, or even all, of the listing for you personally. For a small fee, obviously. Useful referred to as Shopping Carts, which provides the readers a correlation of what to anticipate. Developers like Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Volusion are the best-known carts, and provide their software by means of a regular monthly subscription. This is whats called SaaS, short for Software like a Service. There’s absolutely nothing to download or install simply on line online, as well as their particular tutorials will take you step-by-step through establishing your shop entirely within the cloud.

Other Shopping Carts obtainable and located by yourself servers, which helps the merchant to possess a lot more control and potential. These carts would be the epitome of eCommerce, filled with commensurate technical needs. But that’s for an additional article entirely.

4. Dropshipping

Finally, we reach the secret password of easy eCommerce (approximately lots of people think).

Dropshipping could possibly be the easiest method online businesses, since hardly any is needed individuals. Managing a dropshipping business requires no on-hands inventory, no web site to create and keep, and incredibly little marketing. In a nutshell, serving as a dropshipper means that you try to broker sales from a customer along with a vendor. Anything, nothing less.

But don’t be fooled. It is also the toughest. Dropshipping could be the easiest to begin and keep, but it’s the toughest to show any profit. Dropshipping typically includes attempting to move “junk items” like low-tech gadgets, novelty jewellery, and gimmicky clothing. Should you hit the jackpot, you may make thousands around the next craze. One particular trend was the now-ridiculed selfie sticks, which earned sudden recognition and become extinct of profitability as fast.

Dropshipping is way in the Ultimate Goal of eCommerce. It’s much more likely you’ll spend your time attempting to promote products which will generate couple of sales, and individuals sales is going to be low-dollar. However, if you’re a weekender e-tailer, dropshipping can bolster most of your earnings.

Conclusion

Prior to them getting began, it’s the imagine every would-be online entrepreneur that they’ll roll up out of bed at 10am, shuffle for their laptop, striking a couple of buttons with one hands while sipping coffee in the other. Voila! Money staying with you, right? Absolutely not. While conducting business online could make some problems basically vanish, it brings another group of challenges. Exactly the same business acumen and diligence are needed whether your small business is in brick-and-mortar or perhaps in “the cloud.”

If you’re studying this short article because eCommerce happens for you personally, Merchant Maverick has a lot of sources ensure you are on your path. We’ll assist you to uncover which Shopping Cart Software will best suit your needs, and we’ll illuminate the maze of internet Accounting. Curious about obtaining a company loan to leap-start your venture? We’ve got your back there, too.

Best of luck, and happy selling!

The publish What’s eCommerce? Introducing Internet Sales made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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