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7 Attitude Adjustments for Ecommerce Success

To the internet entrepreneur, Ecommerce is an expansive frontier waiting to be tamed. However raw the marketplace is though, it is important to recognize that internet retail is not too different from brick & mortar retail. I work at an Ecommerce development firm and I can attest to the capability of the internet to provide a solid online business with enough customers to flourish. What few retailers fail to realize is an online storefront takes more care and planning than their physical storefront. While there is less overhead, the clientele is more fickle. While more people see your product, a lower percentage of them will actually buy something. These differences mean you have to take more care in constructing your users’ online shopping experience, and adjust your attitude towards the new age of retail.

Here are some ways you can prepare yourself and your business for Ecommerce success:

1. Plan ahead:
At my job, we get calls from potential clients who have product launches 2 months out and they want full-featured websites to be ready in time for their first shipment and television commercials. It just doesn’t work like that. The design process alone can take up to 2 months for a product that depends heavily on branding. Functional specifications, estimations, scheduling, and pre-production revisions all take time - not to mention you also have to wait in line for development with the other projects your chosen firm has taken on. Then there is the quality assurance and bug fixing. If you want a truly realized website, give your project 5 months minimum.

2. Invest in your storefront:
“What can I get for $3000?” Nothing. Your Ecommerce website is a storefront like any other. How much money would you invest in a brick & mortar establishment? My guess is over $200,000. You don’t need nearly that much of an investment in your Ecommerce store, but it is important to keep that perspective. Half as much will get you something truly respectable. With equal parts design, development and marketing, a solid investment will ensure a solid showing on the internet marketplace. Remember that you’re not only paying for hours put in during the actual development and design, but also the planning, strategizing and quality assurance. The mentality towards approaching an Ecommerce project should not be that of reducing costs, but instead to increase profits.

3. It’s more than just a website:
Once you have your online store, as wonderful as it is, nobody is going to know you exist unless you get the word out. Search engine optimization, search engine submission, paid advertisements, promotions, email campaigns and word-of mouth all play a vital role in getting customers to your store. Without a diverse approach to attracting customers, your site will simply fail to make you money. It is also worth noting that without an astronomical budget for all of this marketing or brand recognition, an unfocused target audience is equally as dooming. The game has progressed enough to the point where it takes a significant investment to break into a general market. Know who your customers are/will be and market directly to them.

4. Respect the marketplace:
I hear a lot of strange comments from hopeful Ecommerce website owners; they have this spiteful view of internet customers, assuming that if they cast their net wide enough, they’ll catch a few sucker fish. The methods they use include attaching suspect handling costs to every shipment to make up for their suspicious discounts, or using sub-par imaging to represent their product. These Ecommerce evils stem from the perception that the internet is still an untapped market; a lawless frontier with nothing but enthusiasm drawing the masses to digital storefronts. This is *so* 1998. The internet has matured. Quality of service and presentation will earn you a solid customer base that will be hard to shake.

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9 Things to Buy to Save You Money

When it comes to saving money, most people immediately think that they must reduce their spending in order to do it.

This isn’t always the case. There are a number of items that can actually save you money by purchasing them. These items may cost you some money upfront, but they’ll ultimately more than pay for themselves in the savings they provide.

Here is a list of things you should buy to help you save money:

1. Programmable Thermostat
Manual thermostats usually cost households more money than the programmable variety, because of how people use them. When someone wants to heat or cool a room, they usually adjust the thermostat temperature beyond the true temperature they desired in hopes of making the house cool or warm more quickly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t affect the speed at which the room temperature changes and the over-compensation means that the room ultimately gets hotter or cooler than it needs to be — which costs extra money.

In addition to over-compensation of the desired temperature, manual thermostats also are adjusted more often to get the room to the desired temperature. People increase the temperature when the room gets a little cold, then decrease it when it gets too warm. These manual adjustments are rarely as effective, and can automatically be done more efficiently with a programmable model. The constant manual adjustments cost a great deal of money over time, which a programmable thermostat can help save; it pays for itself in a few months.


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7 Things To Know About Reverse Mortgages

What is a Reverse Mortgage exactly?

A Reverse Mortgage is a unique type of loan that allows seniors to get cash out against their homes equity. Unlike second mortgages or home equity loans, no payment is required until after the borrower moves out, sells the home, or passes away.

How do I qualify for a Reverse Mortgage?

To be eligible for a reverse mortgage you must be a homeowner no younger than 62 years of age. Your mortgage must either be paid off in full or have a low remaining balance. Before moving forward with a Reverse Mortgage you are required to receive more information from a HUD-approved counseling service. You can contact the Housing Counseling Clearinghouse at 1-800-569-4287 to receive a list of HUD-approved counseling services as well as a list of FHA approved reverse mortgage lenders in your area.

How is a Reverse Mortgage different than a home equity loan?

With traditional home equity loans you are required to make monthly mortgage payments once you receive the loan. Reverse Mortgages don’t need to be repaid until the borrower passes away or permanently moves from the residence. A home equity loan balance will decrease over time and a Reverse Mortgage balance will increase over time.


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Enabling Your Employees To Think Smart - Seven Principles of Creative Probl

When faced with a problem, our instinct is to attempt to solve the problem straightaway. A Smart Thinking strategist is likely to adopt a different approach. They ask: Should I really solve the problem, diverting my energy, resources and time towards it? If the problem is insignificant or if it is a problem that is not worth the effort, why waste the resources in the first place? The most important benefit of this type of thinking is you are able to maximize the use of your resources. According to Nadler and Hibino in their book titled Breakthrough Thinking: The Seven Principles of Creative Problem Solving, they argue that competent people approach a problem by ‘questioning the purpose of solving it’. This strategy enhances the effectiveness of managing the problems.

The authors citing research that document the breakthrough solutions to problems list the following seven basic principles for effective problem solving.

Each problem should be seen as unique – Despite the presence of similarities between problems for each encounter, we must learn to recognize that when solving each aspect of the problem we must consider the uniqueness of the situational needs (context). Only then we will be able to develop solutions that will meet the unique situational needs.
Focus on the reasons for solving the problem – This is essential if you would like to minimize the waste of resources – money, materials, manpower, machinery and methods. Only when we are able to focus on the purpose(s) we are in a position to view the larger picture of the situation. Instead of asking what is going on here and what is wrong, learn to ask what are we attempting to achieve out of this situation. This will trigger our mind to seek a large number of desired solutions. To keep going for more and more solutions, we should learn to ask: “What else…?”. This will help us to develop as many solutions as possible.
Seek solutions with a long-term perspective – Whenever possible identify the ideal and desired solutions and then work backward, so that you can work on practical short-term solutions that will become part of the long-term solutions. The authors describe this practice as ‘The Solution-After-Next Principle’.
View the problem(s) from a systems approach – Once we learn to view each problem as part of something else, we are beginning to adopt a systems approach in managing problem. The realization that each problem we face is part of larger problem enables us to anticipate the problem(s) we may face when implementing the solutions. This will enable us to develop appropriate strategies we are likely to encounter in implementing solutions.
Learn to work with minimal information – Many of us are trained to seek out a full set of information that is complete and comprehensive when managing problems and work related challenges. Having too much of information in hand may prevent us from considering new and innovative solutions. The intuitive element goes missing with too much of information.
Keep the people factor in mind when developing solutions – As far as possible, involve the people in developing solutions. Their participation and involvement are critical for the overall success of the proposed solution. Keep the solutions broad and flexible so that those who will be managing the solution will have some degree of flexibility. A Standard Operating Procedure type of solutions should be avoided.
Incorporate timeline principle – Each purpose developed to manage the problems should be in the right sequence. Only then we can maximize the outcome of the breakthrough solutions.

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Search Engine Optimization With Sitemaps

I just wanted to share a little Search Engine Optimization experiment I ran to confirm the theory that Google likes content rich sitemap pages rather than just a bunch of links pointing to different pages on your site. I also wanted to look at a way of funnelling Google page rank to all the internal pages on my site as quickly as possible

I have heard from a few search engine optimization companies that sitemaps are good ways of helping search engine spiders find all the pages on your site but have you every thought that using good quality sitemaps can also help your internal pages attain a very high Google page rank very quickly

I was reading a Search Engine Optimization article about how Google likes pages with good quality relevant content and how they wanted to serve this quality content to their surfers. I decided to run a little experiment with sitemaps. I build two types of sitemap, one with just links to my article pages and the other with the same links but these links were also surrounded with relevant search engine optimized content.

Sitemap without search engine optimized content

http://search.freefind.com/find.html?id=85113844&m=0&p=0

Sitemap with search engine optimized content

http://www.search-engine-optimization-review.com/seo-sitemap-11.html

I created content rich sitemap with a neat bit of sitemap generating software that generates pages by using the title and description of your internal pages.

http://www.search-engine-optimization-review.com/sitemap.html

I started an aggressive reciprocal link campaign and my index page shot up to a PR 5 within 60 days.

http://www.search-engine-optimization-review.com Google page rank 5

Both types of sitemap pages gained a PR 4 but the funny thing was the pages that were linked from my content rich sitemap pages gained a PR3 but the sitemap pages with just text links to my internal pages were only a PR 1.

Six months after creating these sitemap pages the article pages linked from the content rich sitemap pages had attained a PR 5 but the article pages linked from sitemap pages that had just text links with no content had attained at the very best a PR 2.

I have come the conclusion that Google does like quality search engine optimized content rich pages and using these sitemap pages to funnel Google page rank to your important internal pages is a wise thing to do.

My advice is to build your sitemap pages with content surrounding the links to all your internal pages so they are only two clicks away from your home page.


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Stocks Rally Again After Core Wholesale Inflation Shows Slight Rise

Stocks surged again on Thursday, launching the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its best two-day advance since last July after data showed that wholesale inflation, excluding energy and food costs, is rising at a gentle pace.

The market was unfazed by the Labor Department’s headline producer price index, which rose 0.9 percent in May due to surging gasoline prices - a bigger increase than in April and higher than economists predicted. Investors instead were pleased that the core PPI, which strips out often-volatile food and energy costs, posted a small 0.2 percent rise, as expected, after a flat reading in April.

If core inflation is under control, the Federal Reserve is unlikely to lift interest rates, a possibility that started dogging the market last week, when the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note passed 5 percent for the first time since last summer.

The 10-year yield edged up on Thursday to 5.23 percent from 5.21 percent on late Wednesday, but stayed well below the peak of 5.295 percent reached on Tuesday. The market’s initial dismay over rising bond yields and the diminishing chance of a rate cut seems to have abated; with Treasury yields appearing stable, the market is more at ease with the idea that the Fed probably won’t lower rates this year.

The consumer price index, an inflation gauge that is even more closely watched by the Fed than the PPI, will be released on Friday.

The Dow rose 71.37 or 0.53 percent to 13,553.72. The Dow has risen 258 points over the past two sessions, logging its largest two-day point gain since July 18-19. The blue chip index is still 122 points below the record close it hit on June 4, but it is up 287 points from 13,266.73 - the trough it tumbled to on June 7, after rising yields started spooking investors.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 7.30 or 0.48 percent to 1,522.97 and the Nasdaq composite index climbed 17.10 or 0.66 percent to 2,599.41. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies climbed 4.58 or 0.55 percent to 837.12.

Rising stock markets overseas also gave Wall Street a boost. Japan’s Nikkei stock average gained 0.62 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1.38 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 2.19 percent and France’s CAC-40 advanced 1.90 percent.


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Start Using Getting Things Done Now

A quick primer into Getting Things Done (GTD)

Process
For each item you collected you do the following steps:

Identify what the item is and what it means
If the item is not actionable:
throw it out - or
defer it by putting it into your ‘tickler‘ file - or
file it as reference
If you need to do one action:
apply 2-minute rule first: if it can be done in 2 minutes, do it - or
delegate it and track it - or
defer it to the action list
if you need to do multiple actions:
tag the task as part of a project
put a reminder on the project list
Organize
When you complete processing your inbox, you collate the remaining tasks amongst the following categories:

Next Actions - tasks that need to be done now
Calendar - tasks that must be performed on or by a specific time or day
Projects - groups of tasks that you need to complete
Wait For - groups of tasks that you have delegated or care about
There may be other categories, but that is up to you and how you decide to organize your work.


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The Value of Search Engine Marketing - SEO

Search engine marketing vs traditional offline marketing. Most often, traditional offline marketing such as TV and radio ads cater to the masses. Out of the tens of thousands of TV viewers or radio listeners, there may only be a handful of prospects who are interested in your services or products. Sometimes, having spent thousands of dollars on the

Search engine marketing vs traditional offline marketing. Most often, traditional offline marketing such as TV and radio ads cater to the masses. Out of the tens of thousands of TV viewers or radio listeners, there may only be a handful of prospects who are interested in your services or products. Sometimes, having spent thousands of dollars on these advertising channels doesn’t produce effective targetting at all! It all comes down to ROI and target marketing.

Search engine marketing produces high conversion rates. Research has also shown that search engine campaigns produce more purchases, catalog requests, newsletter subscriptions, and software downloads compared to banner ad and email marketing campaigns.

Should You Hire In-House Search Engine Optimizers? Although many firms perform SEO in-house, research shows this may not be the best option. Most marketers spend less than 1 percent of their budget on SEO, even though optimisation can increase site traffic 75 percent or more.

Search Engine Marketing Company - Outsource vs In-HouseA search engine optimisation expert can get you better rankings quickly. That’s because the experts spend all day submitting and maintaining listings so they can offer a range of choices in methodologies and pricing that result in the right strategy for your business, product/service and industry.



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Mary Kay Ash: She Never Wavered - 47

When Mary Kay set up her company, she drew upon her vast amount of experience with other direct selling companies that helped her to weed out the things that could destroy a good consultant.

The Strategies that made Mary Kay Successful - 6

Consultants couldn’t buy on credit.

When Mary Kay set up her company, she drew upon her vast amount of experience with other direct selling companies that helped her to weed out the things that could destroy a good consultant.

In the case of offering credit to the consultants, she has seen that policy destroy good professional relationships when a heavy debt load created bad feelings between a company and their sales consultants.

While this obviously would have caused a slower rate of growth in the beginning of a consultant’s tenure with the company, in the end it would have them on solid footing as they reinvested their profits to build their business.

Most the time with offering credit, it only creates bad feeling and experiences … rather than the help it was created for.


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Don’t Be Fooled by $1 Salaries

A handful of CEOs in the AP executive pay list take home a salary of $1 a year or less. But all of them manage to make millions anyway, illustrating the point that if you’re running the show, your salary doesn’t mean much. “Salary has become such a minuscule component of CEO compensation that it is now largely irrelevant.”

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