Archive

Creating an Ecommerce Website

Selling products on-line requires a very different setup from your run-of-the-mill blogging site. Lets look at the things you’ll need to think about when setting up an eCommerce website and help to explain why they cost more to design.

First let me tell you what we’re not going to cover in this article.

We’re not assuming that an eCommerce website is a single web page with some PayPal button codes inserted onto it.

The PayPal buttons are great and work very well for those selling a handful of items, but we’re taking eCommerce to the next level and giving the customer a better on-line shopping experience.

Most modern eCommerce website are applications. They have a user interface, administration settings, store data in a database and follow a work-flow of processes. We’re going to touch on some of these areas.

The Basics

An eCommerce website can be thought of as a play with actors performing it’s scenes.

The main actors in an eCommerce website are:

* The Customer – buys products

* The Website Owner – ships bought products & gets paid

* The eCommerce Application – interface between all the actors

* The Payment Gateway – handles payment transactions (more on this later)

* The Merchant/Business Bank Account – Website owner’s business bank account (more on this later)

The main buying process of an eCommerce website (‘the play’) happens as follows:

1. Customer browses product catalogue

2. Customer adds product to basket

3. Customer buys product and enters check-out process

4. eCommerce Application contacts a Payment Gateway

5. Payment Gateway provides secure customer shipping and payment details entry form

6. Customer securely enters shipping and payment information

7. Payment Gateway contacts Website Owners’ Merchant Bank Account

8. Merchant Bank Account processes payment transaction and returns control to Payment Gateway

9. Payment Gateway returns Customer to eCommerce Application

10. eCommerce Application notifies Customer of successful (or failed) payment

11. eCommerce Application notifies Website Owner of purchase

12. Website Owner ships product to Customer

Of course there’s a lot more detail going on in each step, but hopefully you get the general idea that setting up an eCommerce application is a tad more complicated than your regular blog-style website.

Where Do You Start?

Sounds silly right, but the first step you need to do is think about the types of things you’ll be selling on-line.

Are these products?, i.e. physical items that require packaging and posting or services provided by yourself or another provider e.g. Professional Yak Grooming.

How may products or types of services are you going to offer? Local or International? Are some seasonal? Do you have a finite stock level for particular items? Do you plan to use special offers & discounts? Do you even like yaks?

This leads to customer and payment questions.

Who are your customers? Where are they? How are they going to pay; credit card, cheque, PayPal? Which bank account will I need to set up?

And then there are the support questions.

How do you handle returned goods? How do you refund payments? How do you handle complaints?

Having a think about the products and services you’re going to offer is vital because the first thing a web designer is going to ask you when you’re requesting a quote is “How many things are you selling and to whom?”

The reason is of course time and costs.

Selling 50 products to a UK only customer base using PayPal requires a very different setup and hence costs, to one selling 1000+ products internationally and taking credit card payments.

Lets look closer at some of the important eCommerce application areas.

The eCommerce Application

Essentially, an eCommerce application is a bespoke Content Management System (CMS). So as well as updating posts and blogs it specialises in updating products and services and supporting commerce functions.

Like any CMS, the application splits the eCommerce website into two major parts; the front-end or shop-front where the customer can browse and buy goods and the back-end where you login to an administration dashboard and manage the website options, including the product catalogue.

The Product Catalogue

This will likely be your most important concern and is central to any eCommerce website design.

The product catalogue is where all your goods-for-sale data lives. The product name, description, cost, stock level, pictures etc. are all stored in here.

We sometimes get people asking which files their products are stored in and they get in bit of a tizzy when they can’t find them on the server.

Usually, product catalogues are stored in a database, but don’t worry – you don’t have to know how to use a database. The eCommerce application does that for you through the product catalogue interface in the Administration Dashboard.

Being able to manage this yourself is vital, otherwise you’ll be going back and forward to the web developer and the costs will rack up.

Thankfully, the eCommerce applications that we use, Magento and WordPress e-Commerce, once installed, allow you to manage your own product catalogue from within the web browser.

The Magento product catalogue has advanced options and allows for things like adding discount codes, customer reviews, product videos etc., whereas the WordPress e-Commerce catalogue offers a simpler solution while still covering the essential requirements you’ll need to sell stuff on-line.

So how do you go about entering and updating all this product information?

The Admin Dashboard

Accessing a special web page on your site and entering a username and password will take you to the options part of your eCommerce website. This is commonly known as the Admin Dashboard.

Here, you will be able to update almost every aspect of the website including accessing the product catalogue, shipping costs, currency exchange rates, payment gateways, sales reports etc.

Whichever eCommerce solution you choose from us, we’ll setup some or all of your product catalogue and make sure that customers can purchase items and that you get paid through a payment gateway (more on that late

The Shop Design

Of course your shop will need a look and feel to fit in with your business brand.

Again, just like other CMS’s a web designer will be needed to develop a theme or template which will transform the default shop-front into whatever design you have in mind for your customers.

Themes can be bought off-the-shelf for both WordPress e-Commere and Magento and you can apply these yourself, however, you may prefer to have a design exactly the way you imagined it and different from any of your competitors.

Themes are applied from the Administration Dashboard. You may be able to change a few aspects of the theme, such as your logo, background colour, text colour, however, you’re not going to be able to move parts of the theme around to different areas of the screen. A web designer will need to do this by updating the theme’s code.

Domain Name and Website Hosting

You will of course need a domain name to trade with and a hosting plan to store the website files and databases.

It’s usually best not to purchase a hosting plan until you’ve spoken to a web designer and they have given you an idea of the best solution to implement.

Many of the cheaper hosting plans that are offered to you when purchasing a domain name, do not support databases or database applications. They may charge an extra setup and yearly fee for setting this up.

So try to avoid buying a hosting plan until you talk to a web designer and have an idea of the type of eCommerce solution you’ll need to implement your ideas.

Merchant Bank Accounts vs Business Bank Accounts

Certainly in the UK, you must have a business bank account to legally trade as a business.

Business bank accounts can be used just fine with an eCommerce application but you will need to setup a Payment Gateway service to handle the payment transactions and get the customers money into your bank account.

If you’re opening up a business bank account and your account manager knows you’re going to be running an eCommerce website you may be offered a merchant bank account which is a specialised version of the business account.

The merchant account gives you a Merchant ID number and access to a Payment Gateway service that the bank uses or owns.

It’s likely you’ll need to pay for the setup of a merchant account and it will incur fees, usually on a per-transaction basis.

If you have already setup a merchant account then you will need to make sure your eCommerce application can support the particular payment gateway your bank has given you access to, otherwise you won’t get your money.

e.g. Lloyds TSB uses the Cardnet merchant payment gateway. Royal Bank of Scotland uses the WorldPay merchant payment gateway.

If you were a Royal Bank of Scotland business customer with a merchant account, you would need to make sure your eCommerce application supported the WorldPay gateway.

You don’t need to use the particular merchant account that your business bank offers to trade on-line, but you do need a payment gateway of some sort to handle payments.

That leads us nicely onto payment gateways.

Payment Gateways

We’ve touched on this in the previous section. Essentially, a merchant bank account will give you a payment gateway to use, but you’re limited to just the one that your business bank is affiliated with.

A payment gateway is a service offered by a company.

It handles the payment part of the eCommerce application when a customer proceeds to the checkout to purchase an item.

The payment gateway collects the customers details and payment information securely and contacts your business bank account to complete the money transaction.

This is great for security too as your customers banking details aren’t kept on your eCommerce website, so that’s one less thing to worry about securing.

There are many different payment gateway services with different features and options. As a supplied service they all charge a fee for their use. The fees can include a setup charge and a % commission of the total price of a transaction.

Some payment gateways allow you to pay a monthly or annual fee if your number of transactions are high. This can work out more cost effective for you if your single transactions are high volume but low individual cost.

You’ve probably heard of some of the more well known gateway service providers and not known what they. You’ve also likely used them without even realising they are there. Some of the popular payment gateways are:

PayPal, Google Checkout, SagePay, WorldPay and ChronoPay.

It’s great that you have a choice and the services are very competitively priced so take some time to check out which is best for your business model. If you need some help, we’d be happy to meet up and walk you through the options.

Some payment gateways offer two types of general services; hosted and inclusive.

Hosted Payment Gateways

These options usually don’t require a set-up or monthly fee, however, transaction costs can be higher than an inclusive service.

The PayPal Website Payments Standard service is a good example of this.

Essentially, it limits your customers to having a PayPal account (they must register with the PayPal site) and when it comes to check-out, the customers are transferred from your eCommerce website to the PayPal website for the information gathering and payment transaction, then upon completion redirected back to your eCommerce website.

The downside of this method is really from a branding point of view. You have very limited control of how the payment gateway service, PayPal in this case, looks and operates before it redirects back to your website.

Some customers can be put off by redirecting to another site as confidence in security can be questioned (although PayPal in this instance has a very good reputation).

You’re also limiting the payment method to just those customers who are willing to use the payment gateway’s choice of payment. In this case, the customer must have a registered PayPal account.

A similar process happens if you use the Google Checkout payment gateway.

So what’s the other option?

Inclusive Payment Gateways

Inclusive payment gateways will allow your customers to go through the whole checkout process without (the appearance of) leaving your branded eCommerce website.

I added in “the appearance of” because in some cases your customers will actually leave your website and use the payment gateway service, however, the way it is implemented and embedded makes it looks as if it’s all part of your website and business brand.

So what’s the catch?

There’s usually a setup fee, a minimum subscription period (say 12 months), a monthly fee and of course a whole heap of conditions that apply.

Some particular conditions to look out for are thresholds on the number of transactions per month, or total monthly funds transferred. Payment gateway services can charge extra or insist you upgrade your service if these thresholds are exceeded in a similar way that mobile phone companies will charge you extra if you use up all your inclusive talk or SMS time.

The best benefit of using an inclusive payment gateway is that the whole customer experience from browsing to payment is hosted on your own website. This gives the customer a greater sense of confidence that their data will be kept safe and makes your whole business look and feel more professional.

A good example of this type of service is the PayPal Web Payments Pro.

Securing The Data

If you’re using a payment gateway then the good news is it’s unlikely you’ll be storing sensitive customer payment details on your eCommerce website.

Those types of data will be kept securely in your payment gateway account.

Of course you will be collecting a whole lot of other important and confidential customer information such as name, email, perhaps address, likes, dislikes, a username and password for your site.

All this information needs to be kept secure and your eCommerce application will help with that. The Administration Dashboard will have lots of sections that control who and what can see parts of the collected data.

But that’s not the only security you’ll have to think about. Do you know what happens when you fill out a form on a website and click on submit?

If you have a look at the top of the web browser in the address bar you’ll see the website’s URL address. Most sites will start with http://

(For those that want to know, URL stands for Uniform Resource Location and HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol)

Any web page starting with http:// is transferring data to and from a web server in Plain Text.

This means, that the web page contents, code, images, text, form data are all sent in a format that’s readable to humans. OK, it may not be that readable, but in essence all the information is there in English characters (or whatever language character set your website uses).

Now for some more techie stuff.

When your web page is sent to or received from a web server, there isn’t a 1-to-1 direct connection between your website and the server. The web page data is transferred through hundreds of networks across different countries and through thousands of routing computers and other network devices before arriving at your computer.

This means that at any point during it’s travel, your web page data has the potential to be intercepted and read by whomever.

There isn’t much you can do about the interception part but there is something you can do to make it a darn lot harder for somebody to read and use your eCommerce web page data.

SSL Certificates

Now we’re talking.

Let’s skip the techie bit and quickly tell you what these are and what they do.

You buy an SSL certificate from a web hosting company (annual renewal most likely), install it into your eCommerce website and it encrypts your web page data. Hooorah!

You’ll now notice that parts of your website, likely those that require personal form data to be collected and sent, now start with https://

The addition of that little “s” letter, standing for “Secure”, means that the web page data is encrypted when sent and decoded only at the two end-points; your computer and a web server.

Anyone reading the page in between will see garbled non-readable characters.

You may also see additional signs of a secured web page such as a closed padlock icon.

We would strongly advise you buy an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate and get this installed and configured for use with your hosting account and eCommerce website.

In Summary

Creating an eCommerce website requires a fair amount of planning.

You’ll need a good web design and web development team to implement your business venture.

It will cost you more and take longer to create than a regular blog or brochure-ware website because of all the design and setup.

You’ll make money – and that’s what’s it’s all about after all…

We hope this helps you start your eCommerce website journey. Of course there’s a heap of things we just didn’t have the time to cover.

Learn more about eCommerce at our website.

Source by Wil Brown

Web Solutions to Your Online Marketing

The evolution of technology especially on the online world opened a new door for a lot of business minded people to launch their money making ideas on the internet. A lot of internet marketing strategies keep popping up aiming to set business on its ear generating sales and tripling it simply through various ways of advertising.

But before launching on a series of advertising techniques you have to remember one thing: setting up your own website. Having your own website is like setting up your own store with various advertising strategies in the storefront (like a banner, tarpaulin etc.) to attract people to go inside and see what you are selling. Your website is where all your ads lead your target consumers. If your various ads happen to maneuver the people to your website, they will never take a second look at it if it so unappealing and that would mean no profits for you. For your website to appear interesting and thus successful you have to apply web solutions. Web solutions consist of web designs and other web development systems that help your website sell by utilizing different tools in making it attractive.

There are quite handful of web hosting companies that provides web solution. These companies handles your web content to make it attractive through applying graphics, interactive customer database (audios, videos), build communities like blogs and forums and other features that helps you website get that unique look and much set above the rest of the websites. They also take care in website maintenance including content security, internet advertising and marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), and other website promotions. Remember that your product is not the only thing that matters when you do online business. You have to reach out to your target consumers first before they come to you for your product or services. That is why a web solution is such a convenient way to deal with it.

And we all know web traffic paves way for a wider chance for your product to sell. You get to increase your product sales online without you worrying about maintaining your website or working out a way to advertise it. All you have to do is focus on your product. All other things are simply taken cared of by a web solution.

Source by Steven Magill

8 Top SEO Tips for Webmasters

There is a lot of advice available for web developers… some free, and some very expensive! How do you know what works? If anyone tells you they can guarantee to get your website in the top ten of search engine results, be careful – that is a downright lie, unless it is in the sponsored results which you pay to advertise in! No-one can guarantee results in the natural search engine listings, as I found out after shelling out £600 on my credit card. Fortunately, I managed to claim the total amount back with the help of my credit card company. If you are prepared to spend the time and effort to optimise your own website, you can get it right up there on MSN, Google and other top search engines. You will need a little patience… it can take up to 2 months for changes in your website to be recognised by search engines. You do not need pay to promote your website. Your running costs can be kept low with budget web hosting, and doing your own SEO work. Here are 8 of my top tips to help you on your way!

1. Website page title – this will be the heading found in search engine results. Make it a descriptive sentence which includes your main keywords. Limit the title to 80 characters (including spaces) to be “robot friendly”.

2. Page description – this will be the descriptive text found in search engine results, so make it attractive to potential clients, and include 2 or 3 main keywords. The recommended maximum is 200 characters (including spaces).

3. Keywords – use words relevant to the website page, imagine which words customers would search for and use those. 20 keywords is the recommended maximum.

4. A quick way to check the number of characters is to copy and paste into a word processing package such as Microsoft Word – highlight the text, click on “Tools”, the “Word Count” for results.

5. Search engines check for consistency between site tile/description tags and the actual page content. So use keywords in the descriptive text which match those in the Title and Description tags.

6. Domain name: if the name of your website contains one or more of your main keywords, this can help improve search engine results. You may wish to choose a name that customers can easily remember, so they can find you easily on the internet, and recommend you to their friends!

7. Alt tags – add a description to images and include main keywords.

8. Research your competitors … do a search for your keywords, and see which companies are listed on the first page of results. If there are a high number of results listed, you may wish to consider using different keyword phrases, so that you target a more niche market with fewer results.

Source by Lin Parker

An Introduction to Cloud Servers and Their Benefits – Part 1: Definitions

The concept of cloud computing appears omnipresent in our modern world as we rely on on-demand computing to manage our digital lives across multiple devices – mobiles, tablets, laptops – whilst at home, in the office or on the move. This trio of articles introduces the key component in cloud computing, the servers that underpin each service and provide the computing resource, as well as describing how they provide some of cloud computing’s most notable benefits.

Definitions

Cloud Servers: As mentioned above, can be defined as the servers that are used to provide computing resource for cloud computing. In essence they are servers which are networked together to provide a single pool of computing power which cloud based services can draw resource from.

Cloud Computing: Describes any computing service whereby computing power is provided as a on-demand service via a public network – usually the internet. Broadly cloud services can be categorised using the three following models:

  • IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service:
    • Pooled physical cloud server and networking resource (without any software platforms). Instead of the user being provided with a single distinct physical server, multiples thereof or shares therein, they are provided with the equivalent resources – disk space, RAM, processing power, bandwidth – drawn from the underlying collective cloud servers. These IaaS platforms can then be configured and used to install the software, frameworks, firmware etc (e.g., solution stacks) needed to provide IT services and build software applications.
  • PaaS – Platform as a Service:

    • Virtualised software platforms using pooled cloud servers and network resource. These services offer the collective physical resources of IaaS together with the above-mentioned software bundles so that the user has a preconfigured platform on which they can build their IT applications.
  • SaaS – Software as a Service:

    • Cloud based applications provided using pooled computing resource. This is the most familiar incarnation of cloud computing for most members of the public as it includes any application – such as web based email, cloud storage, online gaming – provided as a service. The applications are built and run in the cloud with end users accessing them via the internet, often without any software downloads necessary.

How Cloud Servers Work

Traditional computing infrastructure models tend to revolve around the idea of single server being used for a particular IT function (e.g., hosting, software applications etc), whether it be that that server is a dedicated server – i.e., for the sole use of that client – or shared across multiple clients. Shared servers may have used the one software/platform installation for all of their IT functions/clients or they may have delivered Virtual Private Servers (VPS) where each client has distinct operating environment which they can configure.

Cloud computing can deliver similar virtualised server environments but they use resource drawn from not one, but a multitude of individual physical cloud servers which are networked together to provide combined pool of server resource. In a sense, it uses a platform that could be considered as a form of clustered hosting whereby the resource demands of an individual client’s IT functions are spread across numerous distinct servers. However, with cloud hosting the resource pool has enough capacity, with sufficient servers, to provide resource which multiple clients can tap into as they need to.

Within the infrastructure of cloud services, cloud servers are networked with what are called hypervisors which are responsible for managing the resource allocation of each cloud server. In other words they control how much resource is pulled from each underlying cloud server when demands are made of the pool of servers, as well as managing the virtualised operating environments which utilise this resource.

Source by Stuart P Mitchell

Domain Extension Meanings

Domain extension meanings describe what the domain extension is intended to be used for. These meanings include three main types of extensions, .com, .org, and .net. The domain extension .com is intended for business or commercial use and is the most recognized and widely used of all the different types of extensions. The .org and .net stand for organization and network. The .org extension is intended for non-profit and trade organizations while .net is intended for businesses that are directly involved with the basic framework of the Internet.

Other examples of types of domain extensions include .biz, .us, .info, and .mobi. The domain extension meanings for those four types of  extensions are very unique. The .biz extension is intended for small online businesses. The .us extension, one of the newer ones, is intended for United States businesses. The .info domain extension is intended for information-resource sites and .mobi is for mobile device websites.

Types of domain extensions like .co.uk and .eu have country specific meanings. For example, .co.uk is the Internet code for the United Kingdom and .eu is intended for the European Union.

There are even types of  extension used for personal websites. The domain extension .me can be used for family related websites, a personal blog, or even a creative endeavor like showing your poetry or other artistic accomplishments. Another personal domain extension is .name.

Educational and governmental domain extensions include .edu, .gov, and .us. The .edu is intended for college level or post secondary websites, the .gov is intended for United States governmental agencies, and .us is also used for public schools and state and local governmental agency websites.

Another type of domain extension is .cn. This extension is intended for and registered by organizations and businesses from various different countries. Since television and entertainment play a huge role on a global level it would be inappropriate to leave out the .tv or me.tv domain extensions. These extensions are used by people, businesses, or any other organization with video, entertainment or media websites.

The diversity of the different types of domain extensions associated with the various domain extension meanings is vast and unique.

Source by Pete Flemming

London’s Web Development Scene

The recent opening of East London’s Tech City has given further momentum to the city of London in it’s attempts to become the major location for new internet start-ups and small businesses in Europe, citing these new technologies as providing ideal growth for the future. It is fair to say that Tech City is not the only important development in this city, though, and just serves as a headline for the media who placed a spotlight on this particular news item.

Aside from this Google-funded change there have also been several other communities of tech-related small businesses occurring elsewhere in this large city whose population continues to swell. There has been a growing demand for web developers and programmers to cover the new opportunities created by these start-ups and many of these places have been filled by new arrivals in the UK who have quickly adapted to the rising demand in London for people with their skills.

The youthful nature of London’s population also is ideal for these equally young companies who cannot always offer the security that older employees might require. The ability to be at the cutting edge of new technologies and ideas will always appeal to those who are looking to push themselves aggressively forward.

There has been a fluctuating recession with in the UK since around 2008 but despite this there are still many who are willing to risk everything in pursuit of their dream business, and feel able to cope with the difficult economic climate. Young start-ups have the advantage that such businesses may actually need very little capital to get going, with just a few staff and low overheads reducing the risk greatly on potential losses.

Web developers from Eastern Europe and Asia continue to be drawn to London because of the burgeoning web scene where opportunities for those with the necessary skills are wide ranging and to suit any possible type of role one might desire.

London holds an impressive array of small to medium sized design agencies as well as a host of corporate companies who fit in a range of different industries, such as Finance, Local Government and Commerce. Many web employees will try roles out at different types of companies before deciding upon which they prefer, be it the flexibility and fast-moving nature of small companies or the relative stability of the larger corporate firms.

The current Government, as at 2013, have realised the importance of tech companies for the future, too, and have started to add their own schemes on top of private sector-led campaigns to aid and encourage the next generations of UK entrepreneurs and tech-minded individuals.

Source by Tom Gurney

Trans Atlantic SEO: Is A Call Center The Same As A Call Center?

"We (the British and Americans) are two countries separated by a common language."

GB Shaw

There is a patina of friendly competition that spans the north Atlantic, and misunderstandings can be humorous and worthy of retelling many times over a whiskey. As an American replied when asked, by an Englishman, 'why he pronounced words in such a curious way', he said 'perhaps we went to different schools'.

Well, different schools it may be, but language is changing on both sides of the Atlantic, and anyone with a website that wants to take advantage of two of the biggest markets in online business, should know exactly when search engines find it important.

It was Noah Webster who changed many words to their present form. Slowly he Americanized spelling. He chose s over c in words like defense; he changed the re to er in words like center; changed traveler to traveler, and although at first he kept the u in words like color or favor, he changed them in later editions of his dictionary.

So what are the ramifications of for SEO.

Let us take as an example www.opexhosting.com .

OPEX are a provider of call center solutions in the UK, so on the face of it would use key phrases like call center, or contact center, with the 'er' ending as they are spelled in the UK.

It is not, however, quite that simple.

A tool that says it provides results depending on what market you are aiming at is the yahoo search marketing keyword tool (Overture).

If I type in 'call center' in the section designed to exhibit UK results, I find that the UK spelling does not come up at all in the singular spelling of the word. It seems that the UK spelling of 'call center' has dropped from the radar entirely.

Are we getting confused about spelling in old blighty? It wouldn't be the first time. We might drive 60 miles, but then run 100 meters, a hot day can be over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is cold at sub zero degrees centigrade, cars are filled in Litres, but a car that does 50 miles to the gallon is doing its bit to save the planet.

Not giving in I went back to my trusty keyword tool and tried again with 'catalog', and it came back with results spelled 'catalog'.

Smelling a rat I popped across to the overture bid tool, and found that the bids were exactly the same for the US and UK spellings. It seems that yahoo search marketing (or what used to be overture) bundles US and UK spellings in the same pot. I was not going to get any meaningful data here.

I then took a look at the keyword suggestion tool at wordtracker.com which finally gave me some recognisable results. Using its own database of searched for terms, It told me that 570 people per day were searching for call center (US) and 92 were looking for a call center (UK). So UK English is, most probably, still being used in England.

But how do search engines react to the different spellings?

Google does take notice. If we type 'Contact center' into Google we get different results to 'contact center', as we do for 'color' and 'color', so Google does not just bundle the results into one big lump.

How do the results differ? Well for a start in the US version of Google, which seems to get from 70% to 80% of Google traffic even in the UK, 'call center' gets 947,000,000 results, and 'call center' gets 157,000,000, which is a very similar ratio to the wordtracker results at around 6 to 1 US to UK spellings.

If we look at google.co.uk results are, of course, biased more towards UK results, including spelling. But with many UK websites reporting only 25% to 30% of Google traffic coming from the UK version its search engine, we find ourselves in a quandary.

If we do a search on 'call centers', in Google's US version, using the English spelling, the number two slot is a website that does not have the UK version of the word in it.

Put simply.

If you are an American or an English site, with any keywords that require different spellings for each side of the pond, and you want to either capture the other market or even, in the case of UK sites, be sure of covering all angles in your own market, best optimize for both.

So how do we do that.

One way is to maintain a .co.uk (or .com.au etc) and a .com site. This risks tripping over Google's 'duplicate content' algorithm made popular in the jagger update, and marketing efforts, like link building, would have to be for two separate sites.

Another possibility is to use both UK and US spelling in the same site content. But how does this look in a site that is trying to tell its visitors that they are an eloquent business proposition. Well, it is possible to put alternative spellings into things like meta tags and image alts. It's perfectly legal, although Noah Webster might turn in his grave.

Source by Dominic Reid

Hiring Professionals for Custom Web Design Services

Is your business website failing to grab the attention of Internet surfers? Are the web designs unable to meet the customers’ expectations? Is your website lagging behind to give considerable business leads? All these serious issues need to be resolved before they start hampering your business. And, to run an online business successfully you might require professional web design services.

Nevertheless, each business follows unique ideas and strategies. From small companies to medium enterprises to large organizations, industry owners keep interest to have custom website design services for their online firms. After all, a website represents the professional image of the company in the virtual world of Internet. Once introduced over the web world, a site comes across scores of its competitors in the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo etc. And, in this competitive edge an effectively configured website can only find a remarkable virtual space.

With the large selection of web pages over the Internet, visitors are likely to switch on from one site to another. They usually tend to spend considerable time on that site which appears to be visually appealing and interesting. The graphics, logos, flash, banners and many more elements within a site should carry the potential to catch the eye-balls of the visitors and compel them to click on to its several other internal pages. The more a website carries the ability to hold its visitors, the maximum profit it assures to its owner.

While looking for business web design services, you will find a good number of professionals offering assistance at the expense of minimum budget and time. Before associating with them, it is necessary to understand that your business stands apart from your competitors and comprising with its quality might ruin your industry in the long run. Besides, you might have specific thoughts to put down into your online identity. By hiring inexperienced web designers, you may fail to bring your creative thinking into your business websites.

In order to get flawless website design services, you can consider looking for those companies which have adept web designers and developers. You can look for some web-based companies who have gained remarkable name in the market. There are a few companies which undergo research and analysis on vendors to provide web-based services. You can contact them to get detailed information about the professional web design services available in and around your city.

A few reputed service providers offer quality web-based packages to their clients. Other than designing services, their package is inclusive of content development, search engine optimization, social media optimization, web application development, web hosting and many more. They have various kinds of custom web design services to fit into the varying needs of their clients. You can consider contacting them to experience smooth operation of your online business firms.

Besides bringing down your creative business ideas, a few adept professionals are known for giving counseling services. They have in-depth understanding of website designing with respect to the ongoing market trend. They take pleasure in making the clients comfortable with the various designing themes to make the best selection as per the specific business interest.

Source by Shubh Mukherji

GDI – What’s the Real Story Behind GDI?

GDI or Global Domains International is a web hosting company, based in San Diago, Ca. GDI promotes and markets the.ws domain and is the brainchild of Michael Reed and Alan Ezeir. While GDI has been in the marketplace since 1999, they are a relative newcomer to the MLM world. Let's take an unbiased look behind the scenes to see what GDI is all about.

What is the.ws extension?

Most people familiar with the internet know, and have seen websites with the.com and.net extensions. Those outside the United States are also familiar with the extensions that have been assigned to their country, for example Canada has a.ca extension, the United Kingdom a.uk extension, and the United States a.us extension.

The Samoan Government has been assigned the extension.ws, and GDI has worked out an agreement for the exclusive rights to market the.ws extension for domain names world wide.

The Good:

For $ 10 a month GDI will offer your own domain name, website hosting, 10 email addresses, and web site builder. They also offer a free 7 day trial period, for those people just "window shopping".

They also offer each affiliate a business plan with income up to 5 levels deep, for any person you introduce to GDI. While this is a modest $ 1.00 a month (and yes there are specials and bonuses), you are getting a 10% "piece of the action" of their $ 10 a month income.

The Bad:

While GDI is definitely using 22nd century technology to bring the Internet to the common person, I do not see and 22nd century marketing and training from the company. For the modest investment needed to start with GDI, I do understand that the company can't do everything. It will be up to those individual associates who are truly interested in pursuing a venture with GDI to make that investment and get some some professional marketing training outside of the company.

In Conclusion:

GDI is providing a product that everyone who has a presence on the internet needs. The output of their website builder is comparable to other products on the market, and their "buy in" of $ 10.00 a month is rather modest.

Teaming up with a good network marketing training company, a future with GDI looks very promising.

Source by Patrick Logan

Importance of Website Statistics

The Internet, as a medium of communication, has risen in importance at a breathtaking rate. Regardless of your industry, it has become a key element of the marketing channels which are used to reach consumers of products or services. It is hardly imaginable that an organisation would exist without a website, so the general assumption is that your company has one and that you can be found on the web, but how do you measure the performance of this important resource?

Conventional wisdom tells us that our business needs a website but when meeting potential new clients one of my questions is, “What is the purpose of your website?” This more often than not gets me a look which says, “Are you serious?” or “Whose idea was it to pay this madman to talk to us?!”

The problem I find is that most of the time the answer is vague, because nobody has really thought about this. When the website designer got the phone call asking him to create a website for you, he wasn’t about to talk himself out of a job by asking questions like these!

Before we undertake any marketing activity we first need to decide the objectives and measurable results that can demonstrate whether or not this activity made any contribution to our revenue and profits. The lack of this approach to marketing is the source of many the frustration, disillusionment and lack of faith in marketing. Therefore asking website owners to communicate their expectations from a website is perfectly natural and logical question.

The general expectation from commercial websites is that they should generate revenue or leads, yet I am amazed by how often this ‘sales’ channel is neglected. So the next question I ask is, “Can you show me your last quarter website statistics?”

Normally this is when I really see the “Get this madman out of my office!” look. Yet it is a perfectly reasonable question. If I asked you to give me the same information on the performance of your sales people or your telesales agents, you would be able to produce it in a flash, and most of you can probably recite it from memory! So why don’t you have the same information available on your most hardworking ‘salesman’? After all, unlike your sales team, your website doesn’t have holidays, take a lunch break, get stuck in traffic or go off sick – and it never goes home at night or for the weekend!

Let’s talk some specifics…

  • Hits on your website = Cold calls. How many did he make?
  • Visitors to your website = Appointments. How many did he attend?
  • Bounce rate = ‘No thanks, you’re not for us’ responses. How many did he get?
  • Website visit length = Appointment length. How much time did he spend in prospect meetings?
  • Referring sites = Referrals. Where did his sales leads come from?

Now you can see why this is not the ranting of a madman, but is instead a perfectly rational question. If you don’t know the answers, then you may have just found the leak in your marketing budget.

You need this data in order to ensure that your website is working for you, and that the money you’re spending to promote and manage the site is being used effectively. For example, by tracking your conversion rate, you can even identify which lead generation campaign is working most effectively. You wouldn’t spend money on other marketing activities without a detailed understanding of their impact and a clear measurement of their effectiveness, so why let your website get away with it?

Source by Ali Zartash-lloyd