Here is great article that talks about how great copy can dramatically improve your conversion. http://www.grokdotcom.com/2009/07/13/can-copy-create-added-value-on-its-own/
My collection of links to help with conversions:

http://videos.webpronews.com/2009/04/13/making-your-ecommerce-site-convert/

UserTesting.com – This is a fast and cheap way to get feedback on your site. $29.

Website Analytics

In: Websites

25 Mar 2009

Here is an article that lists out 15 other analytic companies (besides Google Analytics):

15 Other Web Analytics Solutions

Wholesale Websites

In: Suppliers

10 Mar 2009

This is  a collection of wholesale websites:

http://www.toptenwholesale.com/

I run into so many great sites but I often forget all about them in a week or two.  I just ran into another great SEO link today and decided to start putting this valuable sites in a post for future reference.

Google.com/DoMoreWithLess

LinkVoodoo - Free tool to measure your sites quality score and more. Check it out!

Google Insights – See what the world is search for

Google Trends – See search trends

SEOEggHead – SEO Egghead, Inc. is a web development firm started by veteran search engine optimization consultant, author of Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP, and programmer, Jaimie Sirovich.

SEO Software – Life of SEO software solutions.

Here is some brief information on PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliance.

If you transmit/process credit cards transaction you must be PCI compliant.  There is no way around this. You first will need to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire on a yearly basis.  You will probably need to hire a third party to scan your site to look for vulnerabilities.  Do not wait for your bank to ask if you are compliant.  You should be proactive and ensure your site is PCI compliant.

PCI compliance is required for all merchants, no matter how small your business is.  Some banks will give you a free years worth of scan.  Or you pay a company like McAffee $300 plus / year to do the scans for you.

Starting a Business

In: Resources

20 Jan 2009

So you are thinking about starting your own business.   It is exciting and scary at the same time.   Here are my thoughts for people thinking about starting a business.

First, make sure you are the type of person that should run a business.   If you don’t have the character and work ethic to be an entrepreneur, your failure is just a matter of time.   I often talk to people that think putting up a website constitutes their business plan and think success hinges on them simply ‘creating’ a site and saying I am open for business.  So, here are some basic traits and qualities of entrepreneur vs. employee

Does this describe you?
You love creating stuff from scratch.
You get pleasure in putting in hard work.
You are not above doing the ‘dirty’ work.
You understand your success depends on how good you are.
You love planing. You love thinking about how you can make your business better.
You hate excuses, they are just reasons for failure.
You are good at handling adversity.
You love change.

If you read through this list and thought this is just not you, you may want to seriously reconsider starting a business. Starting a business is hard.  It is full of challenges and you could lose a significant amount of money.

Having a unique idea that caters to a niche market also helps! :)   Good luck!

Live Chat  Software – use it to increase your web sales
Liverperson or other similiar live chat software, allows you to watch your visitors (live!) on your website.  In real-time you will be able to see what pages they are looking at, where did they come from (who referred them) and how they navigate your site. 

When I built my first website I didn’t have the knowledge or experience needed in building a site that is primed to close the sale.  I literally spent hours watching our shoppers.  It was an eye opening experience and I used this information to implemement changes that made a positive impact on the site.  So what can  you learn… here are a few things that caught my eye:

1. offers were not as great as I thought
I would create a graphic to an offer an put it up on the site.  What a great offer I would say to myself. I would put it up on the site and see visitor after visitor NOT click on the promo.   Why aren’t visitors clicking on this special offer? Is it the offer? Placement of the offer? The graphic not eye catchy enough?

2. people couldn’t find what they were looking for
I would watch shoppers enter the site and see they found our site by searching for a specific product (or line of products) that we sold.    Great! We sell that product and here comes the buyers.  In my disbelief I would see these shoppers leave our site before seeing the product (or product line) that they were searching for.  This told me our navigation was not user friendly and changes had to be made so shoppers could easily find what they were looking for.  Make sense?

3. lots of people left the home page (what!)
I thought I made an attractive home page that would start generating sales.  I could see people visiting our site and then quickly leave.   This made me go back and rethink the structure, content and graphics.

4. used the live chat feature to directly speak to customers
I used the live chat feature to speak directly with our customers. This gave me some insight to what our customers’ needs were and gave me ideas to how we could better meet those needs.

Those are just a few things I used the live chat software for.

Live Person – This is the service I use.   I believe the options below are cheaper and are worth checking out.

Other Options:
Provide Support
WebSiteAlive.com
Whoson.com
BoldChat.com

My Links To Remember

In: Websites

12 Jan 2009

This is where I am going to keep my links I don’t want to lose.

CraftySyntax.com – An open source version of live person. I have not used this yet.  I do plan on testing it and will post my thoughts once I have done so.

Here is another open source Live Help – Customer Service program.

and another: http://helpcenterlive.com/

As little as $6/month: http://www.chat4support.com/index.asp

Killer Startups – is a user driven internet startups community. Entrepreneurs, investors, and bloggers are staying informed on up-and-coming internet startups using our blog platform, where internet entrepreneurs submit their startup to see what others think about it.

http://www.springstage.com/ - A place for entrepreneurs.

http://sitetuners.com/ -Conversion Helper.

http://www.dailygyan.com/2008/11/10-online-photo-editors-that-you.html - This lists 10 online photo editors.  A great alternative to Gimp or Photoshop.

Adgooroo – helps manage and optimize online PPC campaigns

Finding royalty-free  images has never been easier.   There are a number of sites available to you.   They are free (completely free) images where you can download them and pay nothing.   These  sites don’t have the best selection and highest quality photos.  Depending on your needs, you may find just what you need without having to spend a penny. 

Most likely, you will need to join a photo site where you will pay a nominal fee (a few bucks a picture) for each download.   Finding the right pictures for your design project is crucial. Spending a few bucks to select the right image could make or break your project.

About this blog

This blog is simply my way of sharing some of my insights with you. It is my hope that this blog will help other entrepreneurs and business people.

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