SEO or Search Engine Optimization
If your business is in a competitive field you may want to consider doing SEO work on your site. However for most sites the first thing to ask yourself is, “How search engine friendly is my website?” When you type in your business name and you can’t find your own site in the search engine results, you’ve probably got problems with your site structure. I’ve seen this happen many times.
Does this sound familiar? My (insert relative or in-law here) created my site for me. And now they are really busy, divorced from your relative, not speaking to me, living in another country and can’t work on my site anymore or I don’t want them to work on my site. This is really good news in disguise because chances are they are not professional website designers and don’t really know how to create a website that is search engine friendly. They probably know nothing about search engine optimization. You haven’t really saved any money. In fact it has cost you in lost sales and reflects badly on your business. Not to mention the yearly hosting fees you’ve been paying.
If this is you. You are not alone. I’ve seen many really badly created websites that have done nothing for the business owner. Contract the services of a professional website designer to create a site that search engines can index.
Posted in Website Rant.
– December 2, 2010
There are many shopping carts around. The trouble is choosing one that has the right features for your product.
I have tried many shopping carts, while looking for suitable features for my clients’ needs. I’ve tried out many demos and it is really difficult to know exactly what you need until you actually use the cart. This is because the demos don’t usually allow you to get to test out every part of the store.
One cart I have used in the past only let you configure 3 weights for shipping. If your products are books and your customer orders 1 book, that is predictable but if they order 30 you could loose money on the shipping. Books are large and heavy and can cost a lot to ship.
There are many different ways to calculate shipping for example by weight of each item, number of items ordered, size of package, fixed amount added to the total, by price range or by a percentage of the total amount. Confusing isn’t it!
Canada Post prices shipping mainly based on the size of the package. That can be hard to calculate if your customer orders 3 items and you have calculated the cost of shipping based on one product per order and they fit into a compact box together. One tries to be as fair as possible but it isn’t easy.
Shipping is an important consideration when choosing a shopping cart for your product.
Here is a shopping cart that I highly recommend. CoreCommerce is a fully functioning cart with the ability to try it out for one month free. Upgrades happen automatically, support is free and hosting is included in the monthly fee. Different levels are available depending on how many products you have for sale.
Posted in Website Rant.
– October 21, 2010
How much is it to add e-commerce to my site?
I hear this question all the time. Let me ask you this, what features do you want on your site? How many products are you going to add to your store, what shipping methods do you want? Many shopping carts only offer one or two methods for shipping. Many calculate shipping by weight. Would that work for your products? Others offer shipping by the total. Does that work for your products? Shipping can be one of the most problematic things about e-commerce stores.
If you want a lot of featues in your store count on paying more money to get them. If you need anything customized for your products in the store, count on that costing a lot of money. If you are selling over 100 items in your store, that will also cost you more money.
There are many basic shopping carts out there that are cheap but they have limited features available. Think about your products. Do you offer the same product in a different colour or size? Then you need the ability to add options to your products. And sure enough when I have found the perfect cart that has all the features a client is asking for, they ask for another feature that the cart does not do. That’s going to blow the budget in a big way.
Another option is to pay monthly for a fully featured cart that can handle your product line, shipping and feature requests. Sometimes support is included in the price but often it is not. If something goes wrong be prepared to pay for support tickets to get help from the cart developers.
If you want to add e-commerce to your site – be prepared to settle for a basic cart or budget for a fully featured cart. In terms of shopping carts – you get what you pay for.
Posted in Website Rant.
– September 2, 2010