Knowledge

Confidence in Building Your Website

Every day, there are millions of people all over the world that dream of starting their own business. To me, it’s always felt like that was our intended purpose, to be truly free from anyone’s chains. It has never made any sense to me, that I work for someone while they do far less and make way more money than I do. Why can’t I be that guy?

The truth is, we all can be that guy, or that girl. We all have the power to create a business doing what we love. Many people lack confidence today. I’m not sure if that is because everyone has turned to their devices more than physical face to face meetings or what, but in any case, people lack confidence. It’s understandable, people are afraid to fail. The truth is, 99% of the time, failure leads to success. When we try something and fail, we learn a tremendous amount from our mistakes and over time, correct and correct so much, that whatever we’re working on becomes perfect.

You have to choose to be successful. You have to wake up every morning and choose to do the right thing, no matter how difficult it may be for you, physically and emotionally. Our emotions are such a major players in our success. It’s important to just love yourself, love your failures and love your success. Carry yourself high because you know you’re trying your best at everything that comes at you.

Creating a business online is a huge deal and if you don’t make it a huge deal, then it won’t be. You need to stand firm and believe in your business. When people ask you what you’re doing or why you’re so busy, don’t be afraid to tell them you’re building an online business. Put yourself out there and be held accountable for your success. Telling people that you’re working on a website will help you stay the course, for fear that others will portray you as a quitter or a failure.

If you’re serious about creating a website, creating a real business, have confidence in yourself and just do it. Believe in who you are and trust yourself, have faith and confidence in yourself because you can do it. I promise.

Create a Website – Choosing The Right Niche

Before you can create a website, you need to know the direction you are going. By this, we mean that you need to find your niche. What is a niche? Dictionary.com defines a niche as:

A distinct segment of a market

Basically, a niche is a very specific category. Let’s say that you want to sells toys. Selling toys online probably has a lot of competition so what you’re going to want to do is narrow that down as much as you can, or at least as much as you need to. To figure out how much you need to, just look up your competition using something like a keyword analyzer (visit us regularly to see when we explain that in our marketing campaign). Sticking with toys, let’s say you’ve narrowed that down to balls. Baseballs, basketballs, footballs, pool balls, etc.. You now have a niche and with that, you can begin creating a website.

Finding the right niche is so important to your success online. If you have too much competition and very little capital, you are almost certainly going to fail. It would be wise to make a list of categories and break down each category as much as you possibly can. Once you’ve completed your list, start from the bottom of your list up and analyze your competition. If you’re using a keyword tool, you should be looking for specific keywords. We’ll stick with the balls for this example.

Let’s say you typed into the keyword tool, “football”. Undoubtedly, you would see that football is searched millions of times per month. The odds of you striking gold using the term “football” are very slim. Ideally, you’ll want many keywords surrounding your niche that have low competition. Being more specific will allow you to get to the top of search engine rankings much easier and much faster. Finding keywords with 6000-12000 searches per month will help you achieve success. If just 5% of the people searching for “glow in the dark football” visited your website and there were 8000 searches per month for that keyword, you would land 400 FREE visitors to your site for mastering just ONE keyword.

Let that sink in for a while.

 

Create a Website – You Should Use WordPress

Choosing to create a WordPress website needs to be a priority for anyone who is trying to start an online business on a budget. Real life can be challenging, for many people, it’s hard to just save an extra few hundred dollars per month – that’s real life. Most people want to get out of the whole that their in and a lot of them look to starting their own business. The question quickly come, however, “what will my business be?” and that is it. People get lost because they doubt themselves, have no idea where to start and completely underestimate the amount of time and money that it will take to create a successful business.

Unless you’re a skilled craftsman with some decent capital, chances are you’re going to be interested in creating an online business. Why? I’m not going to explain that in detail, it’s pretty obvious. You probably lack the funds, the knowledge and a big beautiful building to put it all in. With an online business, your business can be however big you want it to be for substantially less than having a physical business.

So why should you create a website with WordPress? WordPress is free to install. What is WordPress? WordPress is a content management system that helps you create stunningly beautiful websites with no middle man to control your site. YOU control your site and everything within it, all you need is a domain, a host and if you’re looking to sell, an SSL certificate. That is it. Using WordPress, you can very easily have a beautiful, shop ready website within 1-3 days.

There is so much more to say about WordPress.

We really do value your time and effort and look to help you achieve your goals.

Come back again to learn more.

ecommerce Dictionary

Below you will find some very common words you’ll hear or read a lot on your ecommerce journey.

A

Affiliate – an individual or business who promotes the products or services of another for a commission. Ecommerce sites run affiliate programmes to encourage other website owners to refer traffic, paying a commission on each sale through a given affiliate link.

Amazon Marketplace – the largest 3rd party ecommerce platform, choosing to sell on the Amazon Marketplace can help significantly boost volume through your store. Amazon charge fees on every sale through the Marketplace, and also offer Fulfilment By Amazon, where they handle the fulfilment process for your business at extra cost.

B

Blog – an essential for any ecommerce business, a blog is simply an online log of content relevant to your market. These should be bolted on to your ecommerce site, and most platforms you choose to run your site will have an in-built blogging function, so you can attract both traffic and links to your store.

C

CMS – Content Management System, a back-end interface that makes editing content more user-friendly, e.g. WordPress.

Conversion Rate – The percentage of visitors to a given page that convert into customers.

CTA – Call To Action, the heading or phrase on your page encouraging the visitor to take action and click your buy button. CTAs have a proven impact on conversion rates.

CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation, the process of tweaking design, layout and text on your site to delivered a measured, consistent hike in conversion rates.

D

Dropshipping – A type of ecommerce arrangement where the manufacturer or distributor ships directly to your customers, often in generic packaging. This means you don’t hold stock, but expect to pay a greater cost per item sold.

Domain Name – the web address of your online store, for example www.myshop.com.

E

Ebay – an ecommerce giant, auction site Ebay allows retailers access to a market of buyers. Sellers pay a listing fee and a percentage of the sale of the item on Ebay, with the option to auction or set a Buy It Now price. Ecommerce sellers often use Ebay as an alternative 3rd party marketplace, in addition to selling through their own site.

Ecommerce – online retail, the process of selling products online and on mobile through shops, 3rd party marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay, and other channels.

Evolutionary Algorithms – a type of algorithm put to use in generating artificially intelligent ecommerce systems, evolutionary algorithms test variables, find a winner and reset on loop, optimising the sales funnel to drive gradual, consistent improvements in conversion performance.

F

Fulfilment – A third-party service which looks after warehousing, stock management and delivery. Usually charged at a set per item price, outsourcing fulfilment can save significantly on the costs of processing stock.

G

Google Analytics – the industry standard for analytics, Google Analytics is a free tool you can link up with your website, enabling you to track traffic through your site and their interactions with you funnels and goals. Google Analytics provides invaluable insights about your website, which can be used as a basis for identify growth hacks.

Google Webmaster Tools – the main channel of communicating with Google as a website owner, Google Webmaster Tools gives feedback about your website and your Google rankings, from Google, so you can tweak and optimise your website performance for better results.

I

Inventory – inventory is the stock in your business. As your store progresses, you will need to regularly check inventory levels, to ensure you are keeping an eye on shrinkage and minimum order levels, and that you are not promoting products you don’t have in stock.

L

Long Tail – Long tail is the phrase used to describe individual, highly specific keywords and search terms, which in volume can add up to a significant amount of traffic. Think of Amazon – millions of product pages each attracting even just a handful of visitors every month can soon add up into substantial traffic flows and sales.

Landing Page – a landing page is a page your customers will land on, either from paid traffic or search traffic, designed to maximise the chances of conversion on a desired action. In some cases, a landing page will be used to capture email addresses, or will simply pitch a product directly to the website visitor.

Logistics – logistics is the process of getting your stock in and out, turning around the stuff you buy into the stuff you sell to your customers. Logistics proves an increasing challenge as your business scales, and many ecommerce businesses choose to outsource their logistics function.

M

Margin – margin is the profit percentage of a sale, after the cost of goods and expenses have been factored in. Margin percentage is an essential metric in establishing the level of profitability in a given sale or product line.

Multi-Channel Ecommerce – multi-channel ecommerce is the process of selling goods and services across multiple different channels and devices, including online and on mobile.

O

Outsource – hiring third party providers to handle elements or functions of your business on your behalf, outsourcing is commonplace in ecommerce, on everything from web design to logistics and fulfilment.

Olark – an industry leading IM chat support client with analytics functions, useful in increasing conversion rates and providing more comprehensive support to customers and leads on a real-time basis.

P

PPC – Pay per click, a form of advertising where you bid on specific keywords and pay every time someone clicks your advert (and is directed to your website). Google Adwords is the most well-known example of a PPC network.

Payment Gateway – the payment processor used to handle transactions on your ecommerce store, your payment gateway can be either on-site or off-site, depending on what works best for your model.

Paypal – one of the leading payment processors, preferred by a number consumers over any other single payment method. Owned by Ebay, Paypal is an essential component of your ecommerce payment setup.

Pay Per Click – a type of online advertising where you bid per click on highly targeted traffic, paying online for each click through to your website, rather than paying for impressions or some other metric.

S

SEO – Search engine optimisation, the process of setting out your website and building links in a Google-friendly way, to ensure your website is given the best possible ranking within relevant SERPs.

SERP – Search engine results page, the page that is generated by searching for a given phrase on Google. SEO is all about moving up the SERPs, so your website is clickable from position number 1 of page 1, or as close to that as possible.

Social Signals – Social signals are a ranking factor in Google, drawn from social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Similar to links, they allow Google to determine which websites people are more likely to be interested in looking at, as one element of the wider ranking equation.

Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest and others, social media is a collecting of platforms where businesses can tap into targeted audiences through advertising, or through a comprehensive social media strategy.

Split Testing – Testing two separate elements of your ecommerce mix to establish which performs better, side-by-side testing to optimise your

T

Traffic – the levels of visitors coming to your site from a number of sources, traffic is the ‘input’ side of the ecommerce equation. More traffic generally results in more business, equivalent to footfall in the ‘real world’ environment.

U

Usability – the ease and efficiency with which your customers can use and interact with your website, central to the quality of their experience and your conversion rate. Usability now also extends to mobile and tablet devices, and the experience your ecommerce store offers across these channels.

W

Wholesale – the stage in the supply chain before retail, wholesale deals in bulk volumes. You may be buying stock wholesale, or selling wholesale to another trade party.

WordPress – WordPress is a free, open source blogging platform, used as a basis for creating ecommerce stores and a series of other websites. WordPress ties up with WooCommerce and others to provide ecommerce functionality through the WordPress platform.

WP Engine – the best hosting solution for those running ecommerce stores on WordPress, WooCommerce is robust, fast and scalable to meet the needs of your business as it grows.

Ecommerce Resources

Check out the following helpful resources for improving your ecommerce journey.

Ecommerce Blogs:

Get Elastic – www.getelastic.com – The most subscribed ecommerce blog on the Internet, Get Elastic features loads of information, including infographics, interviews and how-to’s, so you can learn more about the world of selling online.

Groove Commerce – www.groovecommerce.com – Groove is a digital marketing agency, specialising in working within the ecommerce sector. Their ecommerce blog is another of the most read blogs in the industry, and a great source of tips and tactics for building a successful ecommerce business.

Shopify Blog – blog.shopify.com – Not just for those using Shopify as their preferred ecommerce platform, the Shopify blog has tons of great ideas for online shop owners. If there’s something you don’t understand, or a topic you want to explore further, you’ll almost certainly find high quality resources on the Shopify blog.

E-Commerce Times – www.ecommercetimes.com – Packed with analysis, opinion and plenty to get your mind ticking, E-Commerce Times is more akin to a magazine than a starting point. This is good for keeping up to date with the latest goings on in ecommerce, so you never fall behind the market.

Ecommerce Forums

Shopify Forum – ecommerce.shopify.com/forums – Great for those who base their business on Shopify, particular when it comes to working out specific features and troubleshooting problems. You can also discuss ecommerce more widely, and there are a range of highly informative discussions already there that can help both active and non-Shopify store owners alike.

Webmaster World – www.webmasterworld.com – Aimed at website owners and internet marketers more generally, Webmaster World has a lot of information on ecommerce, and a lot of members who are actively engaged in this line of business. You can learn so much from how others are doing things, and Webmaster World is the perfect community for developing your knowledge.

UK Small Business Forums – www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk – With more of a general small business focus, the UK Small Business Forums are a good place to find information about business legal factors, tax, and technicalities, as well as broad-brush discussions on ecommerce and selling online.

Helpful Services

Moz – www.moz.com – Moz offers a huge range of search engine optimisation tools, aimed at SEO professionals and serious website owners. Over time, as you become more concerned with drilling down into the statistics of your search engine placement, you will come to appreciate how useful their services are if you haven’t already.

Majestic – www.majestic.com – Majestic is a rival to Moz, offering similar tools for SEOs and website owners. With Majestic, many of the features are available as part of a free account subscription, and between the free service levels available on Moz and Majestic, many people are able to gather the basic intelligence they need to get an edge on their market.

Paypal – www.paypal.com – Paypal is the undisputed king of payment processors, but for many that’s a reluctant title. Paypal is comparatively expensive, and prone to being a little oversensitive to fraud – often to the merchant’s disadvantage. However, the vast majority of your customers will have Paypal accounts or be able to set them up instantly, and it is a trusted payment processor for both sellers and buyers alike.

Stripe – www.stripe.com – The new kid on the block in some respects, Stripe is one of few serious alternatives to Paypal. Slightly more technical to integrate, Stripe is much cheaper than receiving payments by Paypal, and has support for a wide variety of payment methods.

Google Webmaster Tools – www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ – A must for any website owner hoping to rank strongly in Google, Webmaster Tools is a free service offered by Google that can help you drill down into the technical performance of your website. Identify where your site is ranking and how it’s doing, as well as identifying specific issues with crawling or indexing your site. This is Google’s chance to communicate with you as a website owner, so you can be altered to problems before they hamper your rankings long-term.

Google Analytics – www.google.com/analytics/ – The best tool there is for tracking traffic and visitor behaviours on your website, Google Analytics is another free service for website owners courtesy of Google. Reporting happens in 24 hour periods, but the depth of reporting information and tracking options that become available are hard to rival.

Marketing Tools and Links

Facebook Ads Power Editor – https://en-gb.facebook.com/help/162528860609436 – The Facebook advertiser’s best friend. A much more robust tool than the in-built Facebook ad manager, you can exercise a much greater degree of control over your advertising variables with the Power Editor. Only compatible with Google Chrome web browser.

Hootsuite – www.hootsuite.com – A nifty little application for managing all of your social media profiles, Hootsuite makes it possible to cross-post from a single account, so you don’t have to keep jumping in and out of Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks you use.

eBay Auction Listing Creator – http://www.auctionlistingcreator.com/ – For those selling through eBay, Auction Listing Creator allows you to list products en masse with attractive listing designs and layouts. Providing sellers with enterprise level features, Auction Listing Creator is great for those selling at scale on eBay.

This useful index of common words surrounding ecommerce was created by Ecommerce Guide. Ecommerce guide offers excellent tools to help you and your business succeed.

Finding The Right Host

Choosing The Right Host

Finding the right host for your website is important. When you get your website up and running, you're going to want a reliable host to host your website on their servers.

 

Security

The number one thing that you should be concerned about with your website is security. Your visitors and potential customers must feel safe when they go to your website. Make sure your host offers SSL encryption before starting your own website. If you're accepting payments online, you really have no choice but to protect your website. There are a lot of different encryption services and companies out there, just make sure that your host offers great security measures.

Speed

When choosing your web host provider, you'll want to make sure that they offer great speed. You want your page to load as quickly as possible and while there are other factors that can slow down your site, your host needs to have good server speed. Google's algorithm has an emphasis on the speed of your website. For ranking purposes, you want your site to be as fast as possible.

Reliability

This last one in a way also goes back to your website's security. When you have 500 people all on your website at the same time, browsing around, becoming members, adding to their shopping carts, purchasing products, you're going to want a reliable server. The last thing any of us want to experience while on a website is a crash. Not only does is get in the way of our current interest, but it also makes us feel vulnerable due to todays online theft problems.

Why You Should Build A WordPress Site

WordPress is masterful. I’ve been asked why creating a WordPress website is better than just making one through Wix or Shopify.

1. The Cost

The best reason to use WordPress is because it is significantly cheaper than Wix and Shopify. A WordPress website is great because not only is it very user-friendly, you have full and complete control over your website. When you create a website with Wix or Shopify, you have to pay a fee and you get very limited control over your website. Owning your own WordPress website, however, gives you complete control over your website and there’s no monthly fees. Just drop in, set up and go.

2. The Lack of Accessability

As I just mentioned above, the problem with choosing to have someone else your website just limits your websites ability. Here’s an example, with WordPress, you can set up your own store, have a blog, 2000 pages, unlimited videos, etc and never have to pay a single fee. Other sites charge you to do each one of those! The accessibility that WordPress allows you to have is second to none.

3. Control

When you have your own WordPress website, you control everything on it. Do you enjoying coding? You can with WordPress. Not great or even interested in coding but desire very specific features on your site? No problem, with WordPress, you have access to thousands of free and paid plugins that you can add to your website. The process couldn’t be any easier, either. With WordPress, you can simply find the exact plugin that you’re looking for, view, read reviews, view samples, click install and poof, it’s done. In a matter of minutes, you could be ready to start accepting payments right from your website, straight into your bank account.

4. e-commerce

The #1 reason to use WordPress is definitely the cost and you’ll see that right when you create your e-commerce store. With WordPress, you can simply download the WooCommerce plugin, install the Stripe payment management plugin, set up your banking information and you’re ready to make money online – sent straight to your bank account. With Stripe, your customer finds a product on your website, adds it to their cart, goes through a standard checkout process, pays securely, and the money is in your bank within 24 hours.

It’s not rocket science, take a look at the monthly prices above, folks. You can get everything the advanced Shopify package offers for a whopping $299/month, or you can build it yourself with ease and quickness with WordPress. The choice is yours, build a website with limits for $3588/year, or build your own website with WordPress for mere dollars, or even completely free with a free hosting service.

The choice is yours. Learn how to create a WordPress site today.

 

Marketing Your Website

There are billions of people on the internet today. Many people think that it is difficult to get visitors to their website, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting traffic to your website should be one the easiest parts about running your website and or business because it is the most important part.

There are many sources of traffic and you need to know them all. Let’s focus on the following:

Social Media and Search Engines

Social media is becoming the best way to advertise your website. Facebook has an advanced targeting system that allows you to target your audience very finely. For example, let’s say that you are running a business that sells older jewelry. Maybe your target crowd are people that are 50 years and older. Let’s refine that even more with 50-year-old people or older, that are women, that are in groups about jewelry and that purchase jewelry online. With Facebook, you can do that.

Facebook is typically well priced. I highly recommend using Facebook to market your website.

Search engines are also a great place to market your website. You may pay a bit more, but your website will be displayed when someone searches for things that are relevant to your website. The difference between social media and search engines should be obvious. People go to search engines to search while they go to social media to socialize. While people may start searching more and more through social media, for right now, the predominant search is still performed on search engines.

Stay tuned, though. Facebook is trying to change all of that. Facebook is trying to become somewhere you never really leave. One day, you will browse the internet on Facebook, purchase items through Facebook, receive all of your invitations, addresses and more all on Facebook. This is their plan and it should be watched.

Which one should you pick?

The truth is, you should be marketing on all major social media platforms and all major search engines. This takes capital, time and good management skills. Creating a successful marketing strategy is key to building a successful business. For your website and or business to be successful, you need to learn the power of scaling your marketing budget.

Find The Right Web Host

Before you create a website, you need to have a web hosting provider. Having a good web host provider is very important for your online business.

What is a web host provider?

A web host provider provides a home for your website. Your website, if not saved on a personal server, must be placed on a secure server to be accessed by people on the internet. A web host provider hosts your site on their server, usually for a fee.

What are the major differences in web hosting providers?

The most immediate difference will be pricing from one provider to another. Most web host providers will offer a fantastic initial deal, such as $1.99 per month (paying one year in advance $23.88) or $3.99 per month (paid each month). Once your first year is over, you will likely pay near double what the initial offer was. Another key difference is what you receive from the hosting company for free. For example, one host may offer you unlimited space on the bottom tier package while another may offer one year free SSL on one domain.

What about using a free host?

If you’re on a strict budget, you may be interested in find a free host. While this is possible, it is not recommended as many have poor security and frequently have banners placed on your site. Online businesses have overhead like any other business. Thankfully, finding a place to host your site, is much cheaper than leasing out a building.

Do I really need an SSL certificate?

If you plan on selling anything on your site, you definitely need to have an SSL certificate. Up in the top left corner or the search bar, you will see a lock or some type of green visual aid that lets you know the site you are on is secured. When a site is secured, you can securely send and receive money through the website. Sending or receiving money on an unsecured site is extremely dangerous because hackers can view and capture your information. It’s not just transactions that an SSL certificate keeps safe. Cyber crime is on the rise and is one of the U.S. governments greatest concern. It is possible that a hacker can view and transfer information on your computer while on an unsecured site. So make sure your purchase an SSL certificate for your website.

When searching for a web hosting provider, compare multiple sites to see which company gives you the most bang for your buck. Look at the special offers included in each of them and do your research on the companies customer support and check out the sites that they host. Finding a reputable host company will save you pain in the future because of the tools they offer, especially if you’re new creating websites.

Our personal favorite is 1 and 1. Below you will find links to other reputable hosting sites.

 

1 and 1

iPage

GoDaddy