The Importance of Your eCommerce Site for Your Business

It is plain to see why a poorly designed website can be a major problem to online businesses, most especially during the holiday season, which covers 20% to 40% of the yearly sales.

In this regard, those who need data validation can refer to the stats that explain the importance of your brand's presence on the Internet:

  • Before people shop at a physical store, they often check websites of online stores.

  • Customers search online for the prices and availability of goods so they would know whether to shop online or at physical stores.

  • During an economic crisis, consumers exercise caution when shopping online to stretch their budget, resulting to an increase of website traffic.

  • Shoppers that tend to purchase downloadable gifts like eBooks, music and FB credits, among others, will likely buy more.

Optimize Your Online Site Immediately

Now that you are aware of your site's importance, what should you do before the holiday season approaches? It is never too late to try some of these strategies:

Prepare for unexpected traffic.Plan ahead of time to make sure that your site can manage all the orders. Anticipate peak loads, observe the responsiveness of your site and assessment application performance way before Cyber ​​Monday.

Increase the speed of your site. Use a CDN (content delivery network) for a speedy delivery of relevant content with videos and images to your consumers.

During the holidays, most shoppers use their mobile devices to search online before heading for the stores. Therefore, it would be wise to incorporate an in-store experience with info regarding your well-timed and relevant personalized website and mobile apps.

Find ways to let the customers easily find your products on the web. To improve exposure, submit a feed to the top online shopping comparison engine, Google Product Search. Try the Amazon Marketplace or add pay-per-click ads to Amazon Product Ads' product and category pages. This way, shoppers will be able to view your ads when they find products that are similar to yours.

Although social media is not the main channel for searching, it has targeted the main stream and has since gained importance, specifically to GenY shoppers. Transform visitors into sales channels by including social sharing in product pages. Display good customer service in public by resolving issues with customers on networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

People who are low on budget usually search online before buying, so it is a good idea to follow the example of various sites in making it fun, simple and efficient to shop on the web. Provide product filters, rich product details, comparison tools, well-designed navigation and recommendations. Enhance the images of your best-selling products, emphasize your value propositions and make sure that shipping and return policies are clear.

Fix your leaky conversion funnel immediately by adding simple and cost-efficient website usability and feedback tools.

Whenever possible, ask for the visitor's email address and try to squeeze a lot of value out of each sign-up.

Try to employ remarketing campaigns so you can target consumers who take time to buy.

Experts Tips to Start An Internet Home Business

The start up costs for an internet home business are next to nothing compared to the offline world of business start ups.

In fact it is a lot more simple to start and grow a business on the internet.

Of course you need some knowledge to begin your internet home business enterprise. But you do not need a “Bacc” to do business on the web.

All you need is some computer knowledge and some internet marketing basis and a good dose of determination.

Here is some basic tips on how to start an Internet home business.

== 1.Write Your Business Goals ==

It is important to set goals and objectives and then take action to accomplish them. This will be your Business Plan.

Here Are Some questions you should ask yourself:

- Why do I want to start up an Internet Home Business?

- What product or service can I provide?

- Do I have the knowledge and expertise to provide this service?

- Do I know enough about the competition?

- Where will my customers come from?

Take the time to write down your questions and answers and thoroughly research your chosen market.

== 2. Choose A Product or Service To Sell ==

On the internet you can find houndreds of product or services to sell.

You can sell your own product by creating your own, or purchasing resale rights or being an affiliate with a good internet company.

Do not put your personal gains first. Make sure that the product will deliver what it promises. When you promote a product that leaves the buyer dissatisfied, you’ll only be ruining your business. So sell solutions and the money will come.

== 3. Business Domain Name ==

One important first step is to choose the best domain name you can. Keep it as short and simple as possible.

Think of domain name like “Google” or “Yahoo”. They are short and easy to remember.

I know that some people say to use keyword in youre domain name. But if you choose “Internet Business” there is a million of site with this term.

So are you going to use for example “AprofitableInternethomebusiness.com” it might be a nice name but it is too long and not simple.

== 4. Web Site ==

Having A good business website is essential to succeed with an internet home business.

Here is the thing you have to plan to build your website

A) Decide on the website design (color schemes, buttons, special effects etc). However, you may have a preference for a certain color or look. To help you choose a design, you may wish to check out other people’s websites or work with your web designer’s pre-set templates.

(B) The content. There are many items you may wish to include on your website. The most common ones include:

1 Products And Services

2. Contact Information

3. Pricing

4. Testimonials

5. Frequently Asked Questions

6. Resources & Articles

7. Refund Policy

8. Privacy Policy

9. About Us

10. Site Map

11. Useful Links

12. On-line store

== 5. Choose a Web Hosting Company ==

What is a Web hosting Company?

A Web host is a company that provides server space for your website. You can think of a web host as a commercial building. The web host provides space for your website just as a commercial building provides space for your shop or office.

What are some of the things you should look for when choosing a web host? The criteria for choosing a free web host and a commercial web hosting solution are slightly different though they do overlap.

A) Web Space

Does it have enough space for your needs? If you envisage that you will expand your site eventually, you might want to cater for future expansion. Most sites use less than 5MB of web space. Indeed, at one time, one of my other web sites, thefreecountry.com, used less than 5MB of space although it had about 150 pages on the site. Your needs will vary, depending on how many pictures your pages use, whenever you need sound files, video clips, etc.

B) Bandwidth allotment

Nowadays, many free web hosts pose a limit on the amount of traffic your website can use per day and per month. This means that if the pages (and graphic images) on your site is loaded by visitors beyond a certain number of times per day (or per month), the web host will disable your web site (or sometimes send you a bill).

It is difficult to recommend a specific minimum amount of bandwidth, since it depends on how you design your site, your target audience, and the number of visitors you’re able to attract to your site. In general, 100MB traffic per month is too little for anything other than your personal home page and 1-3GB traffic per month is usually adequate for a simple site just starting out. Your mileage, however, will vary.

C) Reliability and speed of access

This is extremely important. A site that is frequently down will lose a lot of visitors. If someone finds your site on the search engine, and he tries to access it but find that it is down, he’ll simply go down the list to find another site. Slow access is also very frustrating for visitors (and for you too, when you upload your site).

How do you know if a host is reliable or fast? If you can not get feedback from anyone, one way is to try it out yourself over a period of time, both during peak as well as non-peak hours. After all, it is free, so you can always experiment with it.

== 6. Shopping Cart ==

No e-commerce website is complete without a secure shopping cart. There are many shopping cart options. Many e-commerce business owners make the mistake of using Pay Pal to accept payments, which immediately tells visitors that their company is very small and not professional.

A good alternative to Pay Pal is a remotely rented shopping cart. Remote shopping carts take the burden of maintaining security and credit card numbers off your shoulder and places the responsibility on another company. Remote shopping carts can usually be configured to look similar to your website.

In fact, your customers may not realize that they have left your website to place an order. The remote shopping cart provider will give you the HTML to add to your website. When your potential customer clicks on the Buy button, he or she is taken to the remote shopping cart to enter the personal information and payment details.

Depending on your choice of a shopping cart, you may or may not need a merchant account to process transactions. Some shopping cart services allow you to use their merchant accounts for a slightly higher fee.

== 7. How To Promote Your Business Website ==

Write An Article: Write an article promoting your site or product. Write an article on a hot topic many people would like more information on and submit it to various e-zines. How do you find out what’s hot? Visit a few of the message boards and see what questions are raised often.
Search Engines: Thousand of search engines exist on the Internet. But, you should only be concerned with the top eight or ten. You should manually submit to the top eight: Alta Vista, Excite, Yahoo, Hotbot, Lycos, Northern Light, Infoseek, Webcrawler, and use one of the FREE automatic submission services like * SubmitPlus * to handle the smaller search engines.

Directories: List your site here too. Directories organize sites into categories. Good examples of Directories: Yahoo, Magellan.

Ezine Listings: If you have an e-zine to promote along with your site. Why not list it with one of the many e-zine services on the Internet. E-zine Library is a good one to start with.

Free Classifieds: You will have to submit to a ton of FREE classifieds to get any significant traffic. Why? You are competing with thousands of other Ads. Remember to work on your Ad copy and make it attention grabbing. Go to one of the popular search engines, type in Free Classifieds, and surf to the top 20 classified sites for beginners.

Often, these sites will lead you to several other Free Classified Sites. In response you’ll get a stack of e-mail thanking you for listing your site while barking their promo. Best to get one of those free email accounts. Hot mail is a good one. So is Yahoo mail.

FFA Pages. Free For All’s are worth a try. Be prepared for a avalanche of e-mails from FFA web site owners. If your title is attention grabbing you will get a few clicks. Good Attention grabbing headlines, FREE, Limited Time, Limited Offer, Proven, Secrets, and many more if you brainstorm. Check out the sales literature delivered to you by regular mail. Check and see what headlines grab your attention. And why? Incorporate them into your Online Ads.

Tell Friends And Family: If your friends, family, acquaintances, have an Internet Connection, e-mail them telling them about your new website, and ask them to visit often. Offer a FREE incentive if they tell a few friends to surf over. Perhaps, a FREE Ad in your e-zine.

Leave Business Cards or Flyers: Leave these promo pieces with small businesses in your community. All relevant contact information; Email address, URL, telephone number, should be included. Offer a freebie to anyone who visits your site. A free e-book, report.

== 8. IN CONCLUSION ==

Think of your first six months primarily as a training period. Do not expect large earnings until after you’ve educated yourself.

Even the most dynamic, highest-earning entrepreneurs in the industry took MONTHS to begin seeing an income of any real significance with their internet home business.

Do not be a negative thinker and do not let the negative attitudes of others (even if they’re family members, friends, or peers) influence you.

All the great men and women in history had to welcome the naysayers who said it could not be done – and then went out and did it. Think for yourself!

As long as you think positive and focused on your internet home business target you’re on the right way to a rich life, which is directed by you and it will lead you to tremendous success and personnal satisfaction.

Copyright © Michel Richer, The Internet Home Business Specialist

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PERMISSIONS TO REPUBLISH: This business article may be republished in its own free of charge, electronically or in print, provided it appears with the included copyright and author’s resource box with live website link.

Courtesy of: http://hombyz.com : For All Your Internet Home Business Needs

Building Background – Benefits of Using Sentence Frames to Build Background Knowledge

Even as native English speakers we sometimes struggle with just the right word to explain, describe, clarify, or elucidate what we want to convey. We always understand more than we can speak. One of best ways to engage English language learners (ELL) in actively acquiring new material is to connect their background knowledge to the new topic. So, let's give them some brackets to help them use language.

We will be most successful if we remember to always start with the concept or theme.

# 1 When beginning a new topic, let pairs pretest one another. Write this sentence frame on a board, overhead, or PowerPoint, or make your own blackline master with the sentence frame repeated four to six times on a page so you can cut them into strips to hand out to the pairs.

A: "Do you know anything about (topic)?

B: "I'm not sure, but I do know _____."

Egypt "I think it could be _____ because I learned _____."

After students copy the sentence frame, or use the handy strips, erase the word 'topic' in the first sentence. Write in the topic for today. It may be a theme, or a characteristic, or an emotion.

  • Read the sentence frame aloud to the students.
  • Read it again, and this time the students should repeat after you.
  • Give them sixty seconds (yes, really time it, using the entire sixty seconds) to look at the word and think about everything they know about it. No talking. No writing. Just thinking.
  • Next, let students use another 60 seconds (yep, time it again) to write words and phrases to capture their thoughts about the topic.
  • Finally it is time to talk.

This is time well-spent. Your lesson will be stronger and more relevant. Your students will be engaged. You can continue to spiral the content, connecting it to what they already know or previously learned. The ELs will build confidence as they are encouraged to think, write, and talk about what they already know.

# 2 Plan more opportunities for pupil interaction. Here's another sentence starter than can be used with individuals, then shared in small groups.

This new theme of _____ reminds me of a time in my life when _____.

# 3 Make sentences frames with the word 'because' to have students explain connections between previous learning and the new topic.

"I think the next topic will be _____ because our last lesson was _____."

This kind of sentence frame encourages prediction according to prior learning. This is a good time to show the students how much they have learned and how it all links together.

# 4 After reading a story, a sentence frame can be used to let students speak with a partner. You can expand this speaking activity to include a second partner, like elbow- partners and across-the-aisle partners. Provide a sentence frame:

For example, "I think _____ is a hero, because _____."

# 5 Ask students to make comparisons to concrete objects in linguistic ways. Hand out objects to students and give them some time to think and write again, before speaking.

Try this sentence frame with a variety of objects:

I am like this _____ (Snickers bar), because I am _____ (nutty).

I am like this _____ (Matchbox Ferrari), because I am _____ (small and fast).

I am like this _____ (red pencil) because I am _____ (my face is red because I have to talk aloud).

The objects you use can be almost anything!

Now that your imagination is raising up, make up some brackets to use tomorrow.

  • Think about how you would want the smartest student in the school to speak.
  • Then use your target vocabulary and academic language to make a sentence frame.
  • Encourage your ELLs to speak in complete sentences in all conversations in the classroom. This will increase their academic vocabulary, which maximizes learning, and builds confidence.
  • Kids like to feel smart!

10 Email Marketing Strategies to Dramatically Increase Your Sales

Email marketing is one of the most profitable strategies available to the online entrepreneur (and offline business owners, too).

Consider this: About 99% of your website visitors will leave without buying anything from you on their first visit. But by creating a great opt-in offer you can at least get their contact details — and then use email marketing to follow up, build relationships, and turn them into paying customers.

And email marketing is by far the BEST and CHEAPEST way to stay in touch with your customers and build rock-solid relationships with them — so they’ll buy from you again and again! (This is called the “lifetime value” of your customers, and it’s extremely profitable.)

Email marketing just plain works! Just take a look at these statistics from PostFuture:

  • There are now more than 1 BILLION Internet users worldwide — and 90% of them use email.
  • 70% of users receive opt-in email from online businesses.
  • 82% of online buyers have made at least one purchase in response to an email promotion.
  • 32% have made an immediate online purchase in response to an email.

With numbers like these, you can understand why I’m always stunned to hear about a business that STILL hasn’t started to take advantage of email marketing strategies.

If you’re stuck for ideas on how to use email marketing to ramp up your profits, here are 10 proven email marketing strategies to get you started…

Email marketing strategy #1: Develop relationships and establish credibility by offering free information

Sending your subscribers valuable, free information — such as an authoritative eBook — will help them get to know and trust you. Once you’ve established your credibility, you dramatically increase your chances of converting subscribers into lifelong customers.

You can offer anything from a free report to a free trial version of software… whatever you think your subscribers would like!

Email marketing strategy #2: Encourage repeat visits by announcing regular specials

Once you’ve started collecting email addresses, you can send your customers and subscribers regular updates letting them know what your specials are. Sending regular discount offers is a great way to get your customers familiar with you and your site — and turn them into regulars who will buy from you again and again.

Email marketing strategy #3: Host “Customer Only” events

Suppose you own a restaurant, and you’ve been collecting your customers’ email addresses. You could send each of them an email invitation to an exclusive wine-tasting evening for regular diners only. Rewards like this are one of the best ways to capitalize on the lifetime value of your customers.

If you own an online business, you can set up a special page on your site that is accessible only to customers — and then send them an email telling them how to take advantage of the specials you advertise on that page.

Email marketing strategy #4: Include promotions in appointment reminders

If you are running a service business, as opposed to a retail business, you can still capitalize on the power of email marketing by sending appointment reminders to your clients.

If you’re a karate teacher, for example, you could send your new clients an email three days before their first lesson, reminding them where you are located and when they need to arrive. In that same message, you could include a coupon that offers them 25% off their lessons if they bring a friend to enroll as well!

Email marketing strategy #5: Follow up with your hottest leads

You can use email to follow up with people you have spoken with personally, but who have not made a purchase. Offer to answer any additional questions they may have, and let them know that you are available to speak with them at their convenience. This can dramatically increase your chances of closing a sale by providing your leads with extra information they’re not expecting.

Email marketing strategy #6: Offer electronic “loyalty coupons”

This is a great way to get your existing customers to buy from you again and again. Simply send each of your customers a coupon that they can print and bring with them into your store or use on your website. It is always a good idea to make your coupons valid for a limited time only to motivate your customers to make a purchase from you as soon as possible.

Email marketing strategy #7: Send follow-up offers to your customers

Follow-up offers are one of the most powerful ways to build a profitable business. because they build on the trust you’ve established to close the initial sale — and turn first-time buyers into regular customers.

How profitable can follow-up email be? My team once sent our customers a follow-up email introducing them to a product that we thought they might like. The entire process of writing the email and sending it out took about 20 minutes — and the result was a direct profit of $74,000!

Email marketing strategy #8: Encourage “Send to a Friend” referrals

Email is a great way to encourage referrals because it’s easy for people to forward messages to their families, friends, and coworkers. Make sure every newsletter, offer, or eBook you send to your subscribers reminds them that they can forward your message to anyone they think might be interested.

You could even run a promotion that gives your existing customers something for free every time they personally refer a new customer to you.

Email marketing strategy #9: Deliver your product electronically

Suppose you’ve written a book and you’re currently selling paperback copies through your site for $29 each. By creating a digital version of your book — which is WAY easier than you’re probably thinking — you can simply email it to your customers.

And since you won’t have to worry about things like printing costs, warehousing, packaging, and delivery, you can DRAMATICALLY increase your profit margin!

Email marketing strategy #10: Use email to sell your knowledge and create recurring revenue

If you are an expert on a particular topic — and just about everyone is — then you’ve got a successful business based on a paid-subscription newsletter waiting to be born.

Of course there are tons of other email marketing strategies you can put to use. And once you realize just how easy it is to use it to drive sales, you’ll be thinking of all kinds of new strategies yourself!