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7 Simple E-Commerce Tips for Beginners

If you are just starting an ecommerce business, you might find a few tips to help you get off the ground helpful.

Starting an ecommerce business is much easier, faster and less costly than launching a traditional brick and mortar business. In many ways, the principles of sales and business are the same, and in many other ways, an ecommerce business is vastly different than a traditional business.

Here are 7 basic tips to help you with your ecommerce start-up:

1. Your domain name is one of the most important things about your ecommerce business! Choose a name that describes what you sell, incorporates some of your best keywords, and is short and very simple to brand.

2. Keyword research is essential! Take the time to research and find the very best keywords for your products and niche. Remember that with an online business, being found by the search engines is crucial to your success.

3. Use best SEO practices when building your website! This means using your main keywords in page headers, page files, content, within text links, anchor text, alt tags, image titles, and more.

4. Use good website design principles. This means using harmonious colors with text that is easy on the eyes. Research has shown that dark text on a light background is best for the human eye. Avoid flash and a jangling clash of colors, fonts and content that is too long or crowded onto the web page.

5. When using social media marketing and display ads on websites, target your consumer audience for best results. For example, Friendster and Bebo are predominantly younger people. So, if you are selling products mainly in use by senior citizens, you need to go somewhere else for marketing.

6. Make your checkout process as quick and easy as possible. If it is too involved with too many detailed steps, you will lose a lot of sales! Only get the information that you need to make the sale, anything else like an opt-in for your email marketing subscription list can come after the purchase has been made.

7. Display trust and safety symbols prominently! One of the biggest factors in making or losing an online sale is trust. You must let customers know that your website is safe and secure.

There are plenty of other things you will need to do, but just observing these simple rules will help you get your home dropshipping business or other ecommerce enterprise off to a flying start!

If you liked this article, you may also like this one:

history of ecommerce

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Dropshipping: A Profitable Home Business With Quick Start-Up

If you are looking for a home business with a fast start-up, and that will begin earning you a profitable income in a hurry—dropshipping is for you!

Dropshipping is undoubtedly one of the fastest, easiest home business to get off the ground, and better yet…..it is amazingly low cost to start up!

There are so many venues available for you to sell your dropship products. Here is just a sample of the many platforms on the internet where you can begin selling right away:

eBay

Amazon

Boocoo Auctions

Bonanzle

eCrater

Overstock

Etsy

CraigsList

iOffer

And many more

Alternatively, you may opt to set up your own website. There are turnkey solutions available at nominal fees that will enable you to customize the design and layout of your online web store.

These come complete with shopping cart software and payment gateways. All you have to do is add your products and start selling!

One such service is 3D Cart. 3D Cart is a partner of Drop Ship Access, one of the most trusted names in the dropship product sourcing industry.

Drop Ship Access has over 1 million high quality, name brand products to help you get your home dropshipping business off to a flying start! 3D Cart makes the entire process that much easier if you decide to opt for your own website.

3dCart Shopping Cart Software solutions offer category, product, and customer management tools you won’t find in many similar products. Plus there is a FREE 30 day trial!

Between Drop Ship Access and 3D Cart, you can select which products you want to sell, set up your online dropshipping store and be in business almost instantly!

Tired of that same old grind working for somebody else? Get out of that rut today and find out how much better life can be when you are your own boss, working for yourself and making money for YOU instead of somebody else!

describe the image

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Want to Increase Traffic to Your eCommerce Dropship Business Blog?

A business blog can do wonders for building your brand and promoting your ecommerce dropship business, but many entrepreneurs are stymied for ideas to help drive traffic to their blog.

The fact is that the more traffic you can drum up to your blog, the better off you are!

After all, the whole idea is to use blogging as part of your social media marketing efforts, and you need people in order to be successful at this.

So, here are some tips for boosting traffic flow to your blog:

  • This tip is simple, but effective: If you want to get traffic to your own blog, then make it a habit to post comments on other people’s blogs. Don’t choose just any old blogs to read and comment on, of course. You should comment on blogs that correlate in some way with your own ecommerce product or business.
  • Use social bookmarking tools such as Digg or StumbleUpon to get a good stream of visitors to your blog. Being designed to help internet users share their favorite sites, if you get a lot of votes on Digg you might be promoted to the front page, which will reap you a lot of traffic!
  • Don’t forget SEO for your blog. This is vitally important! The search engines regularly crawl blogs, so besides providing plenty of fresh content for Google and the other major search engines, make sure that your blog is using best SEO practices.
  • Start a continuing series of interesting blog articles, something that will be of value to your targeted audience. By arranging these articles in a series, you can hopefully keep visitors coming back for more.
  • Article marketing is yet another way to boost traffic to your blog. You can try submitting articles relevant to your industry on eZineArticles or Helium, and place a link to your blog either within each article or on your “About Me” page. If you use Helium for article marketing, you get the added bonus of making a bit of money, too!

Keeping a steady flow of traffic to your blog is a giant step toward building a thriving, profitable home dropshipping business or other ecommerce enterprise.

Start your own online dropship business today!

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Tips for Building an eCommerce Business Blog

According to internet marketing analysts, having a blog for your ecommerce business is a great addition to your social media marketing efforts.

If you don’t yet have a business blog, but are eager to get started, here are some tips that may prove useful for establishing a blog that will help build your brand and grow your online dropshipping business or other ecommerce website:

  • Check out the fantastic FREE blog platforms available to you on the World Wide Web. The following three blog platforms have much to offer a blogger. Plus they’re all extremely user friendly. You can set up your blog and start posting in a matter of minutes!

Blogger.com
WordPress.com
Tumblr.com

  • Choose a name (web address) for your blog that incorporates the name of your online web store or product. For example, if the name of your ecommerce business is Better Ink Pens, then make the URL for your blog something like BetterInkPensBlog. You get the idea.
  • Make sure to use images in your blog. Internet research has shown that viewers respond more favorably to blog posts with images, and that images do more to keep a reader engaged than a post without images.
  • Choose pleasing colors, but nothing too busy or distracting. Human beings can most easily read a dark text on a light background, so bear that in mind. Don’t choose a font that is too fancy or off the wall because these tend to make your content hard to read.
  • Don’t make your blog posts too lengthy! The average internet viewer only scans content instead of actually reading it. If you drone on too long, you will probably lose the attention of your readers and that will be that. If you have an exceptionally long piece to write, break it up into segments.
  • To be successful in business blogging, you must provide fresh content on a regular and frequent basis. The search engines love fresh content, so make sure you have it for them! Getting noticed by the search engines is a must if you want to build your home dropship business or other ecommerce enterprise!

So, if you don’t have a blog for your business—get started without delay! It will be well worth the effort!

Start your own online dropship business today!

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Tips for Improving Conversion Rates in Your eCommerce Store

Driving traffic to your ecommerce site is important, of course, but improving your conversion rates and turning more of those visitors into paying customers is equally important!

Based on findings from studies conducted by internet retail analysts, ecommerce merchants report conversion rates of anywhere from 1% to 4%.

So, if you can improve on those percentages, you will significantly boost your sales and thus your profit!

Here are some tips for improving your conversion rates:

  • Show and Tell: Show your products with great quality photos and plenty of them, and tell visitors everything they need to know about your products in order to make a buying decision.
  • It’s All About Me: Or it is for your visitors, anyway. They don’t really want to be told how wonderful your widgets are or even how great your company is. They want to hear about what is in it for them if they buy what you’re selling. How will it help them? What can your product do for them to improve their lives in some way?
  • Be Up-Front: Put your most important info above the fold, which means on the top half of the page, and display it prominently right up front so that visitors see it first.
  • Have Great Landing Pages: If you are running PPC ads and/or display ads, visitors might be arriving on different pages other than your home page. So make sure that these landing pages are appropriate to the targeted traffic. In other words, if someone clicks through to your website from a display ad about canoes, don’t direct them to a landing page all about tents.
  • Keep It Active! Maintain an active voice instead of a passive voice. An active voice uses strong, vivid words that convey a sense of NOW, and this is exactly what you want to convey to would-be buyers!
  • Use the KISS Principle: “Keep it simple, stupid.” The infamous KISS principle works beautifully on your website. Keep it easy; make it as quick and effortless as you possibly can to guide visitors through the entire process of browsing and buying.

Improving your conversion rate will be a huge shot in the arm for your ecommerce business!

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7 Quick Tips for eCommerce

If you are an ecommerce entrepreneur, you are probably always looking for new ways to improve your site as well as your sales!

Here are 7 quick tips to help you fine tune your ecommerce website:

1. Make your website friendly to any and all users, regardless of where they might be in the purchasing process. Some might be basically window shopping. Some might be doing price comparisons. Some might be doing research about what types of widgets are available and what sort of bells and whistles each type has. Some might be there specifically to buy. Accommodate all of them!

2. Make your website content pack a punch and sing a song that grabs and holds the attention of visitors! If you can’t write killer copy and content yourself, then hire a freelance writer to do this job for you. It will be well worth the investment!

3. Have attention grabbing headers, and make sure each header uses good SEO techniques. Besides wanting to get the attention of potential buyers, you want the search engine crawlers to pick up those headers. So, use your best keywords and incorporate them into your headers!

4. Have good calls to action! This is vital to the success of your online business! Ask for those sales! Make your calls to action loud and clear. This is not the time to be subtle or ambiguous. If you want the sale—ask for it. Leave no room for doubt about exactly what it is you want the person to do next.

5. Have great photos and plenty of them! Nothing is more off-putting than a website with poor quality, blurry photos. How can you possibly expect people to buy something they can’t even see? Especially online! Always remember that you are asking visitors to purchase something they can neither see nor touch except in the virtual world of the internet. So have lots of great quality photos!

6. Have a community where your customers and visitors can interact with each other and with you. A lot of websites don’t do this and it’s a huge mistake. If you make visitors feel at home, and give them a sense of belonging—they’ll be true blue and loyal!

7. Monitor your website frequently to make sure there are no broken links, slow loading pages or other booboos that slow your site down or cause glitches. Streamline the entire process from the time someone lands on your site until they purchase and checkout!

Use these tips to keep your website running like a well-oiled machine and watch your

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Get Free Traffic to Your Dropship Website With Ad Swaps

You can get free traffic to your ecommerce dropship website with ad swaps!
What is an ad swap?
An ad swap is when you agree to let someone else put their ad on your website, in return for them allowing you to put your ad on their website.
It’s extremely simple, and can be quite effective in generating traffic for you.
First of all, you need to ad swap with someone whose ecommerce business correlates somehow with yours.
For instance, if you are selling dropship pet products such as food and treats, you might ad swap with another merchant selling pet crates or pet doors.
You get the idea.
In order for your ad swap to be effective and fair to both parties, there should be:
No conflict of interest. You certainly shouldn’t do an ad swap with a competitor or with any merchant whose basic message conflicts with yours. In other words, if you are selling vegetarian cookbooks, you shouldn’t ad swap with someone selling frozen steaks.
Good placement of your ad and vice versa. As they say in the real estate game: “Location, location, location.” Your ad needs to be in a good spot on the other merchant’s website. By the same token, you should display their ad in a prime location, too.
Equal exposure. If you have a high traffic website, you shouldn’t ad swap with a merchant who has a low traffic website. If you do, you’ll be getting the short end of the stick.
High relevance to your website. As noted above, the most successful ad swaps are between two merchants whose products complement each other. Your products don’t necessarily have to be in the same niche, but there needs to be relevance.
Don’t make the mistake of falling into a page view trading ring!
This is nothing but a totally nonproductive cycle because the traffic isn’t going to produce legitimate buyers, just other merchants like you—all of you looking at each others websites to stack up page views.
Ad swaps aren’t currently in fashion but they do work, and can help increase traffic to your ecommerce dropshipping website!

Start your own online dropship business today!

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5 FREE Social Media Marketing Tools for your eCommerce Dropship Busines

These social media marketing tools can be extremely helpful to you in building your ecommerce dropship business, and best of all….they’re FREE!

TubeMogul: TubeMogul gives you FREE video syndication. It provides a single point for deploying your uploads to the top video sites, and also delivers powerful analytics on the who, what, and how your videos are being viewed. TubeMogul tracks standardized analytics way beyond mere “views.” It analyzes per-second audience dropoff, audience geography and much more. With TubeMogul, you can use automated submission to send your video to the 12 biggest sites, all at the same time!

Click Here for FREE TubeMogul Video Syndication

SocialMarker: A FREE service that will aid in submitting pages and web pages to social bookmarking and social news sites such as Delicious, Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon and many others. Heads up: Social media marketing calls for a LOT of submissions to be effective. SocialMarker makes it easy to submit to multiple social sites!

Click Here for FREE SocialMarker

Keyword Discovery: A fantastic FREE tool to use for keyword research! You simply enter a “seed” keyword into the search box and this handy toll will generate the top 100 keywords for you. Keyword research is vitally important in social media! Using the right keywords can mean the difference between going viral—or not. Handy for your dropship business!

Click Here for FREE Keyword Discovery

Picnik: Picnik offers a great FREE video editing program! It can come in really handy when you’re adding photos or images in social media marketing. It’s very fast, has scads of cool special effects, and does the basics like crop, resize, etc. as well.

Click Here for FREE Picnik

Jing: FREE software that will let you add visuals to your online conversations. You can snap a picture of your screen, record video of onscreen action….and share instantly with your online friends. Great tool for social media!

Click Here for FREE Jing

These 5 free tools can be a great help to you in social media marketing for your ecommerce dropship business!

Start your own online dropship business today!

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How to Avoid the ‘Bah Humbug’ Spirit from Consumers this Holiday Season

A new study from Shop.org shows that not only are consumers looking to save money this Christmas, but retailers are starting marketing efforts early. Most are offering free shipping along with getting an early start by promoting their products on social sites (and so should you).

“Of those intending to run free shipping offers almost 80 percent will make them conditional, which usually means a customer must purchase a specific item or spend a set dollar amount to qualify.”

They are also getting their social networking sites ready for the holidays – especially their Facebook fan pages (60.3 percent).

Here’s what else retailers are doing to make this holiday brighter and improve profits.

Discounts and Coupons

Discounting isn’t exactly a small business’s favorite marketing method right now, but this year coupons are king. Online shoppers are hunting for deals. The second annual Benchmark Survey on Consumer Coupon Behavior said 30 percent of shoppers go for the retailer who offers coupons. More than 20 percent will leave one store for another if the second store offers a coupon.

A positive part of offering coupons is they’re an easy sell to bloggers and coupon sites. Announce it in a press release and blog about it yourself. Then send short pitches to bloggers, people who tweet about deals on Twitter and coupon sites. That will get the word out quickly.

Focus on a DIY Christmas

I consulted my favorite tool to identify trends online – Google Insights for Search. If this isn’t telling about people’s mood…Google searches for “homemade Christmas Gifts” – are up 80 percent. That means if you can offer guides, tips or directions for the DIY crowd, you’ll be a hit. Martha Stewart is especially well-positioned to help with this, and searches for her ideas are up too.

Here’s what else is hot this year:

Here’s another telling sign. Christmas hasn’t come yet and people are already searching for after Christmas sales (+70 percent).

Other rising searches:

Christmas tree shop +50 percent
Christmas music online +40 percent

It’s not too late for SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (paid search ads) Campaigns

You can create content to help you come up higher in search engines for searches that have to do with the holidays. Write blog posts and articles that tie into the holidays and use holiday keywords. There are also online directories you can submit to that have holiday categories. And if you’re running ads on search engines, consider making new ad groups geared towards the holidays and bargains.

Consider Cause Related Marketing (Giving Back)

There’s nothing like giving to get you in a holiday mood. Your customers will see your human side and you’ll give to your community. It’s a winning marketing strategy.

Lisa Williams from MEDIA forte marketing told me about Oregon Growers in Hood River. Here’s what they are doing. They will donate a jar of marionberry jam to the Oregon Food Bank for every order they get through December 31st.  They are also donating jam to anyone who becomes a fan of their Facebook page. Additionally they are coordinating gift baskets from Hood River farmers and producers of local food to go to the food bank. Then they will leverage social media by getting bloggers involved by giving them recipes that use Oregon products.

Lisa is working with the association she belongs to, the local board of SEMpdx (search engine marketing professionals of Portland). They want to collect food or cash donations for the Oregon Food Bank.

I don’t know about you, but that makes me excited for the holidays.

So if you haven’t already, start preparing those gift guides, offering tips for holiday savings and sending out press releases about holiday sales and promotions. Then leverage social media and hopefully the song you’ll be singing this holiday season is more “Holly Jolly” than Elvis’s “Blue Christmas.”

Editor’s note: this article was originally published at the American Express OPEN Forum and is republished here with permission.

* * * * *

Janet Meiners thaelerAbout the Author: Janet Meiners Thaeler is an Evangelist for OrangeSoda Inc. and the principal blogger for their corporate blog and Twitter account. She regularly advises clients on blogging and social media strategies. Her own blog is Newspapergrl.com (and Twitter account @newspapergrl). She is passionate about online marketing and is always looking for new insights, resources and trends to help her clients.

From Small Business Trends

How to Avoid the ‘Bah Humbug’ Spirit from Consumers this Holiday Season

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Headsmacking Tip #14: Offer Testimonials, Get Links

Posted by randfish

What motivates a link? Sometimes it’s referencing data/research/news or given because you’ve produced something interesting and valuable. Sometimes it’s because another site has licensed or adopted content/widgets/badges from you. But, in most cases where an editorial link is given, I find that the underlying motivation is because that link provides some benefit to the linking site. This brings us to the fourteenth tip in our headsmacking series and possibly the tactic that will provide you with the lowest hanging link building fruit yet.

Let’s start with a look at the sidebar of MindValleyLabs’ Blog:

MindValleyLabs' Link to SEOmoz

Not too shabby, right? The link comes from their homepage and every blog post they publish and points back to our homepage, sending over plenty of nice link juice as well as some decent traffic (from those interested in learning who SEOmoz is and why we like MindValley so much).

Now let’s look at Matt McGee’s Speaking Presentations Testimonials page:

Matt McGee's Testimonial Page

Again, this link is great for search engines (there’s only a handful of other external links on the page), it’s relevant and it provides traffic as well as search engine benefit.

The next step isn’t too hard to figure out: Go give testimonials!

I’d wager that most of you have between 2-5 dozen contacts who would love to get something positive written from you about them that they can publish on their site. It’s not hard to get started; simply make a list and start sending emails. I’ve provided a brief template you can use below:

Hey Thomas,

Long time no see! I hope all is well with TomsBlog.com and wanted to reach out to offer my help. I’ve been really impressed with the work you do – your posts are inspiring and educational time after time. I’d be more than happy to provide a testimonial you could publish on the site if you’d like – just let me know and I’ll send something over. It would be my pleasure to share the benefits I’ve received with the rest of your visitors :-)

Best wishes,
Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder, SEOmoz

Testimonial links have a number of qualities that make them absolute gems in the link acquisition world:

  • You can often customize the link location and anchor text (so long as it’s relevant and sensible) – just ask when you send over the testimonial (or, better yet, send over the exact HTML code that will embed the right link so all the receiver has to do is copy + paste)
  • Testimonials are frequently sitewide, but even when they’re not, they tend to reside on popular, important pages (even homepages sometimes – an otherwise impossible place to get a link)
  • They’re 100% editorially given and meant as a true reflection of the relationship you’ve built – that’s precisely the kind of link the search engines want to count
  • They provide strong benefits to both parties in the deal; everyone’s a winner
  • They’re not nearly as awkward or bizarre as a standard link request and the probability for acceptance is very high

Start a list and get cracking – you have nothing to lose but your link poverty :-)

p.s. As with all link building tactics, if you go overboard (abusing this tactic to excess on in a manipulative fashion), the search engines may not take it well. This is a great way to leverage existing relationships and contacts to help bring in links, but if you’re plotting how to use this to earn hundreds or thousands of links, you’re likely treading on dangerous ground (unless you’re a reporter for a major publication, in which case every business you mention is likely to be linking back to your articles about them).

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