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DIY eCommerce – Tips on How to Build an eCommerce Business

Tips on How to Build E-commerce

If you are ready to start your own business and take charge of your own destiny, but you do not have the financial ability to buy your own franchise or open up a store, you can consider starting an online e-commerce business. Starting an online business or e-commerce shop can be easy if only you have the right products that people need and a solid marketing plan. The following are important tips on how to start and build e-commerce:

Have a Clear Understanding of How to Build an Effective Online Business:

Ecommerce-services-list-leftThere are plenty of online businesses that you can look at to get ideas and inspiration.  To build your own unique business, you will need to do something or provide something that no one else does, or package up services or products in order to be a cost savings to your clients and a work/job stretcher for you. No matter what you are offering, you can bet that there are hundreds or even thousands of online stores offering similar products or services. Therefore, it is essential to first have a clear understanding of what you want to offer and how to build that effective business. You can do this by first looking for customer needs to satisfy, and then  work tirelessly on packaging ways and means of satisfying that need.  This is the first step in starting any business, including an online ecommerce business.

The eCommerce Part of the Business:

paypal logoPart of this budget is the building of the website and online shopping area.  If you have a few items, you may get away with the very inexpensive paypal buttons.  The PayPal account costs nothing and each transaction only costs 2.7 to 2.9% depending up a few variables.  But it is very affordable.

If you want to grow your store from one to 20 or even hundreds of products, you will need to get a fully-equipped shopping cart functionality.  The most affordable package for this is to build on WordPress and use a shopping cart plugin like WooCommerce.

Know and Identify Your Financial Target/Goal:

For every business to succeed, having adequate financing for the business operations is very important. You need to understand how much money you need to invest in the business and how you might get out of the business. This is called budgeting; you need to have a budget that will guide you in everything you do as far as the success of the business is concerned. Although it might seem to be cheaper than starting a business locally, there are certain costs you must incur when building e-commerce.

But the good news in starting an e-commerce is that you may be able to do much of the business building, including the ecommerce, by yourself.

Identify What you are Willing to Give in Return:

E-commerce, like any other business, involves giving something in anticipation of receiving returns. For this reason, it is important to identify a product that you are willing to offer to customers. The product in itself must be quality and competitive enough to fight other products already on offer in the internet market. You might write a good description of your product but the quality of the product is poor. This, will in the end, make you lose customers as they will realize that your product is not good for them.

Online Marketing – Constantly promote your E-Commerce:

online-marketing-graphicFor you to achieve success in an online business you need to always promote your products and business. You can do this by adding a link or URL to your email signature, make your presence felt in the ever-expanding social media platforms, create an interesting blog about your industry and products can benefit from, and also have a professional website design and content-driven web pages.  Basically, be social. Try and interact with your audience and be helpful and nice to your visitors.

Building an e-commerce is not as hard or as complicated as it seem but the hardest part is registering success. For more information on an overview of what is needed in eCommerce, check out this video I have made showing you a birds-eye view of what is needed to begin your new eCommerce adventure:*

The above video gives you information about what is needed.  Be sure to check out my other videos on my YouTube Channel as I am working on a new series for people who want to build their own ecommerce on WordPress.

If you find it a little overwhelming and want to check out some eCommerce Web Design Packages, have a look at deerfieldwebdesigner.com

 

 

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DIY SEO – Tips on Adding Search Engine Optimization to a Website

SEO Tips For More and Better Traffic:

search-iconsEvery blogger out there should make search engine optimization a priority and part of his or her growth strategy. Basically, SEO means finding ways to increase your website’s or your blog’s appearance in search result pages (SRPs). This also means generating more traffic to your website and/or blog. This is mostly focused on Google search engines since Google, at the time of this writing, really owns online search.

The fundamental goal of SEO is to create a great seamless user experience and to let search engines know your intentions so that they can recommend and match your blog or website to relevant searches. Google wants to deliver the best content to the searcher and is presently using sophisticated artificial intelligence in order to deliver that. The following are search engine optimization tips:

MONITOR YOUR SEARCH RESULTS FROM THE BEGINNING:

You will not understand the importance or benefits of SEO unless you monitor your search standings. It is important to keep an eye on your page rank with tools like the Google toolbar as well as Google Analytics. You should also regularly check your referrer log to track where your visitors are coming from. Google Analytics allows you to compare traffic for one day, to one week, to one month and even a series of months, years, etc. Once you begin instituting your new SEO strategies, you will be able to see your traffic and engagement of your customers grow and grow.  You will be able to see what blog posts and/or types of information people are searching for, which ones are more popular. Then you can start streamlining your posts to those specific topics and subjects.

By keeping an eye on your seo strategies and which ones are working the best, you can slowly build your website traffic at the same time as increasing your Google search ranking.

UNDERSTAND WHAT SEARCH ENGINES ARE LOOKING FOR AND WHAT THEY ARE NOT LOOKING FOR:

table-of-contentsSearch engines refer users to websites and blogs that are most relevant to what the users are searching for on the internet. Content is determined by the theme that is being given, the titles and descriptions given. Performance is also determined by how fast your blog takes to open and whether everything works properly.

The search engines also look for whether your blog has authority in terms of good content and how your blog looks in general. Is it easy to navigate around and is it safe? It is presently giving preference to websites that are more secure than others, so you may want to install a SSL certificate in order to give your website a bump if you haven’t already.

Google search engines use artificial intelligence, so think in terms of setting up your pages in tables of contents formats so that the search engines can determine the layout of information.  Use headlines, sub-headlines, lists and bullet points when organizing information.  These are more easily understood in the world of artificial intelligence.

CAREFUL WITH THE KEYWORDS – DON’T STUFF IT!

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DON’T DO IT!!!

Do not over-use any keywords, avoid the use of purchased links and make it easy for visitors to navigate through your website.  It is important to use keywords so that your audience can find the necessary information.  However, there are alleged SEO experts who still use “keyword stuffing” in an attempt to fool the search engines.  Google has coded its way through this gimmick a long time ago.  So use the necessary keywords where they are needed, but do not overuse them.

If you use a keyword or two three or four times when relevant in a blog post, this is okay.  Once you start using it more than this, you tend to lean into the area of being flagged by the search engines as keyword stuffing.  Remember:  Don’t do it!

UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE:

Although this may seem obvious to many, it is often disregarded. It is essential for you to sit down and focus on your audience and what you are offering them. Focus on providing your visitors adequate and accurate information on your goals and solutions to what they are looking for. Do not just write content without your audience in mind.  Remember, when writing for your audience, try to save them time, compile information that makes things easy for them to understand.  This is the type of information blog readers are looking for.

SOCIAL MEDIA – OPTIMIZE FOR MULTI-CHANNELS:

It is important to use the keyword strategies on your blog and to also extend this strategy to other off-site platforms. This is called multi-channel optimization. Some of the multi-channels include; social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Include these links in your blog and let your followers sign up for notices on new blog articles.  Don’t forget to optimize email strategies too!

CONTENT IS STILL KING:

Having great content is by far one of the most essential SEO website strategies you must know. People love reading new, fresh and useful content. Therefore, ensure that your content is fresh and updated on a regular basis. Write informative, accurate and timely content. With the blog, you can frequently write new and exciting content for your visitors to read. It also gives your blog a personal voice.

For you to fully benefit from search engine optimization, you need to follow best SEO blogging tips and practices. Ignoring the basics of SEO will not only leave your blog’s foundation a mess but it will prevent you from fully maximizing revenue opportunities.  You can learn this and more about blogging by watching this video:

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DIY – Search Engine Optimization – How to Add SEO to your Website

How to Add SEO to Your Website:

seo logoNow that you have built your website, or had a website built for you, how do you get traffic to your website?  This is where search engine optimization comes into play.  Long ago and far away when the internet was young, it was much easier to get traffic because there weren’t that many websites out there.  Now, there are probably billions of websites and you are competing with all of them for traffic.

Every business with a website should make search engine optimization a priority and part of their growth strategy. Basically, SEO means finding ways to increase your website’s appearance in web visitors’ search results.  This also means generating more traffic to your website. The fundamental goal for SEO is to create a great, seamless user experience and to let search engines know your intentions so that they can recommend and match your website for relevant searches. The following are tips on how to add SEO to your website for a do-it-yourselfer:

Google Owns Search:

google-analytics-graphicGoogle presently petty much “owns” search.  It has some competition from Microsoft Bing, but most other search engines get their own search results from Google.  Google changes its algorithms every so often and at the time of this writing content is still king.  Google search wants to deliver the websites with the most authority, the most activity, who stand out “as authorities” on any subject.  When you do search engine optimization for your own website, you need to keep up on these changes so you will not “violate” any of the so-called rules of legitimate SEO.

For example:  At one time web developers were “stuffing” pages with keywords to try to make their pages come up higher in the search engines.  Google’s search engines are using artificial intelligence and they recognize when there is keyword stuffing.  This strategy not only does not work, it will result in the page being “demoted” in the search results.  This is one example of why it is important to keep up to date with all changes instituted by Google.

Monitor your search standings:

You will not understand the importance or benefits of SEO unless you start monitoring your search results. It is important to keep an eye on your page rank with tools like the Google toolbar. You should also regularly check your referrer log in Google Analytics to track where your visitors are coming from. This will give you a perspective on where to focus your attention and help you better strategize and even know your market better.

All Google tools work together.  You should be signed up and research how Google Analytics works.  This will help you track your traffic easily and be able to strategize for specific and better traffic.

Understand your business model:

know-your-business-modelAlthough this may seem obvious to many, it is often disregarded. It is essential for you to sit down and focus on what you offer in terms of products and your main goals. Focus on selling your products online and giving your visitors adequate and accurate information on your goals and products. Do not write content about things you are not offering.

One easy way to keep focused on your business model and “delivering content” is asking yourself:  How can I save my clients/customers valuable research time by compiling and organizing much-needed information for them?  How can I explain complicated concepts in my area of expertise in a way that anyone in any walk of life can understand?  This will keep you within the boundaries of delivering great content for your customers.

Optimize for multi-channels:

It is important to use the keyword strategy on your website and to also extend this strategy to other off-site platforms. This is called multi-channel optimization. Some of the multi-channels include; social networks Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. You can also use Email, and other offline channels, for instance, TV ads and radio ads.

If you choose to do search engine optimization yourself, remember that you will be covering not only your website traffic, but today you really need to also cover other popular social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  There are others, but these three are the crucial ones.  Be sure to see our other DIY articles on these subjects in the Blog Categories List to the right.

Content:

People love reading new, fresh and useful content. Therefore, ensure that your content is fresh and updated regularly. The best way to ensure that your site gets fresh content on a regular basis is to integrate a blog. With the blog, you can frequently write new and exciting content for your visitors to read. It also gives your blog a personal voice.

If you are thinking about creating a blog, the video below will give you an overview of how to create a blog post in a WordPress application:

Link to other websites:

link-iconAn easy and effective way to direct more traffic to your site is by simply developing relationships with other sites by linking to these sites. You can also ask the webmasters of these sites to also include a link to your site.  This is called a “backlink” and it is very valuable in the world of SEO.  When other websites link back to you, this helps to create the impression of “authority” in your particular field.

For you to fully benefit from SEO, you need to follow best practices. Ignoring the basics of SEO will not only leave your website’s foundation a mess but it will prevent you from fully maximizing revenue opportunities.

 

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DIY Marketing – Facebook Marketing Tips

FACEBOOK IS GROWING LEAPS & BOUNDS:

facebook-ads-1Facebook is fast evolving. What started out as a place to share photos has evolved into a powerful network with over 1.8 billion active users. With this, this social media platform is giving ecommerce website owners, marketers, and even normal people to market their products and even make actual sales. However, with the ongoing trends in the internet marketing industry people are faced with a myriad of challenges on how to sell online. Here are Facebook marketing tips you should know:

Post at non-peak times:

A huge number of Facebook users open their accounts during peak times particularly between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. When they visit their accounts, they could have an average of over 1500 potential stories to see and go through from people they follow, friends’ updates, groups and pages. When you post at these times, chances of your target audience not going through your advert or post are very high. Therefore, if you want to get the right audience post at non-peak times when most of the Facebook users are not so actively involved in posting things but a good number of them are reading new posts. Non-peak times can be at 8:00 pm to late in the night.

Engage your fans and audience by asking questions:

For you to get the attention of your audience it is advisable for you to ask questions and give solutions to issues faced by your audience. This way you will be demonstrating your expertise in your field. Ensure that you respond to all your customers’ questions and enquiries within the shortest time possible. This will build trust and confidence among your audience and they will always look forward to interacting with you on various issues concerning your products.

Use videos:

You can use post short video clips on your Facebook page to demonstrate how your product can help in solving a particular problem. Customers love to watch videos that answer their questions. On top of that Facebook Live, the latest feature on this platform allows you to go live and interact with your audience by responding to some of their issues. You should, however, ensure that you post high quality videos that are related to your products and what you are marketing. Here is how you can add pictures and videos:

Add a call to action:

Call To Action GraphicNever forget to add a call to action on your posts. You can post a powerful advertisement, video, link or just an update on your Facebook page, but the moment you forget to include an elaborate call to action request, very few users will bother checking out your products. A call to action directs your audience on what to do next or where to go. You can also interlink your Facebook with your website and blog by creating links as can be seen in this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U4Z5jkHftc

Increase Customer Base and Boost Website Sales:

Facebook is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world and when you learn how to use this platform well to your advantage as a marketer, you can increase your customer base and boost your sales.  Everyday Facebook is offering new and improved ways to reach your targeted market.  As of this writing, you won’t get better demographic targeting than what Facebook has.  They know who everyone is, their schools, what groups they belong to, who their friends are, what magazines they are fans of and more.

Easy to Do But Still No Time?

If you are researching DIY online marketing techniques and just don’t have the time, contact DeerfieldWebDesigner.com to find out about our Facebook Advertising Plans and Courses to see if it is possible to combine efforts with another small business owner or have us do your Facebook marketing for you.  You can also delegate your Facebook marketing to a virtual assistant or Fiverr tech.  Either way, let us help you get up and running with Facebook advertising.

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DIY – Websites with Built-in Marketing Strategies – PART 1

shopping-cart-graphic

When building any website, it is important to think about marketing strategies right from the beginning.  Below are several web business scenarios that will help you determine what type of website you will need and some of the strategies you will want to incorporate.  Be sure to see Part 2 of this article that goes over the various email and social media strategies that you may want to build right from the beginning.

WHERE WILL YOUR CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS COME FROM?

ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES:

open-shop-graphicAre you an established business that already has a clientele and you just need to finally get a website?  You have the easiest website path.  An “informational” website consists of the basic HOME, ABOUT US, SERVICES, CONTACT US and maybe one other page that is unique to your business.

If you want to build a website or redesign a website and a built-in marketing strategy or two, you can opt for a few “extras” as described below.

NEW START-UP BUSINESS:

If you are just starting out as a brand new business, it is important to think about where you plan to google-analytics-graphicget your customers and clients from.  Will you need to advertise on Google Adwords or maybe Facebook?  When designing a website, it is important to know ahead of time where your customer/client streams will come from.

Be sure to pick a web designer who can set up Google Analytics so you can watch the website behind the scenes and find out where the best flow of traffic is coming from.  It is a good idea if that web designer can also sign you up with local-business avenues:  yp.com, yelp.com, google maps, etc.  Many of these directories will have a free listing so be sure to choose a web designer who can offer you these services.

BUSINESS TO BUSINESS:

Will your business be offering services to other businesses and you will rely on emails and phone numbers to secure potential clients?  Your web designer will be able to help you with these types of sign-up forms and contact forms.  They will also have information about purchasing emails for a “grand opening”.

If you know you will be emailing monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, try to get your web designer to add a “beautifully branded” email for you that can be easily changed with your different offers.  If your web designer does hand-coding, they will be able to code a beautiful email template for you that matches your website.

HIGH FUNCTIONING WEBSITES:

MEMBERSHIP WEBSITES:

membership-website-graphicThese are websites where you want people to join your club or organization and become “members”.  This requires quite a bit of functionality to make the website interactive with your visitors and hopefully new members.  Depending upon what type of functionality you need, be prepared to pay more than the average informational website.

REAL ESTATE WEBSITES:

real-estate-websites-graphicIf you are an real estate agent or real estate broker and you want to start your own agency, there is website software available that will enable you to upload new properties for your specific agency or agents, as well as tap into the MLS listings in your area.  You will need to find a web designer who can build this type of website for you.

ECOMMERCE WEBSITES:

ecommerce-solutions-graphicAll stores, shops, or shopping carts are called ecommerce.  Anytime you need functionality on your website, you need ecommerce.  All ecommerce will need to be set up to function between your buy-now buttons or shopping cart, a merchant service company, and ultimately, to your bank account where your profits will be deposited.

 

SMALL ECOMMERCE:

buy-now-or-shopping-cartIf you are selling one to five items, you can get away with a PayPal hookup and the use of html button codes.  The setup of a few PayPal buttons is easier than an actual full ecommerce shopping cart; so if you only have a few items to sell, you may opt to PayPal buttons.

A PayPal Standard Business account will allow your clients and customers to use a PayPal account, if they have one, or they can use a credit card that PayPal will process without an account.

If you are starting your online ecommerce business with only a few items, but your goal is to eventually build a large ecommerce store, you should not be tempted to go the route of PayPal buttons, but rather invest in a shopping cart system that can accommodate thousands of items, which most shopping cart software does.

EMPLOYMENT WEBSITES:

Will you just want one page on your website that you can occasionally post a job opening for your company?  Or do you need an actual high-functioning job board like monster.com or something similar?  There are various ways to set either of these scenarios up and it is important to speak to your web designer ahead of time as to what type of job board functionality you will need.

GALLERY WEBSITES:

photo-gallery-iconAre you an artist, hairdresser, landscaper or some other artisan that will need to upload new photographs on a pretty regular basis?  You will need a website that will allow you to upload pictures from the back end of the website, or you will need a monthly maintenance program with your web designer so they can update your website when you email them photos.

If you are pretty computer savvy, and build your website on wordpress, you can get “training videos” from some web designers on how to operate your website from the back end.  This alleviates the need for a monthly maintenance charge.  If you know you will have the time to do updates, then this option may be for you.

PRIVATE CLIENT PORTAL:

client-portal-iconDo you need a private client portal like a banking or investment company?  There is software that will allow this type of website, but this information will be needed at the start of the design of the website.  This requires a high level of functionality with some serious security, so this would be the main focus of this type of website.

There are many types of website businesses out there.  If you will need a custom website built based upon specific needs of your business, be sure to contract with a web designer who can customize a website for you.

Be sure to see the next blog post about Build-In Marketing Strategies.

 

Click here to read Part 2 of this same series!

 

 

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