Want a better ecommerce site, learn by example.

I along with thousands of website owners am always trying to improve my ecommerce sites. Hopefully that little font tweak that I make half asleep at midnight will lead to some huge increase in sales. Most likely not, but maybe…

In truth, one of the best ways to get good ideas about what to change on your website, is by looking at other websites that have their crap together. Not every mega site does the right things, and you definitely don’t want to go start incorporating every bell and whistle that you can find, but these sites spend a lot of money on testing, so if they have some feature on their site, is it normally for a reason.

Here are some sites with very good features, some of which may be a good idea for your website. These are only ecommerce sites that sell products through a shopping cart and checkout system.

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Using WordPress for your Intranet website

Intranet websites can be extremely beneficial for small and medium businesses, but they are often overlooked, or simply ignored. I think that any business who’s employees spend a lot of time on computers, and any business that has constantly updating news and information can greatly benefit from using an Intranet website.

A few years ago we decided to create an intranet website for the company. We compiled a list of everything that we needed in order to have a successful intranet.

Important factors of our Intranet:

  • Simple publishing platform in a blog format (Reverse chronological).
  • Commenting and discussion management.
  • Several static, easily accessible pages.
  • Ability to upload documents.
  • Integration with RSS.

After looking at a handful of idea, including some complicated CMS systems and custom programming, we decided on a blog publishing platform. WordPress was by far the most inclusive, easily editable, and free program that was available at the time, so it was an easy choice when we finally decided to get started. Upgrading is simple, and WordPress support is readily available.

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Some Excellent Free Vectors

I recently was referred to a website giving away free vector elements for websites.


There are some great buttons, glass shapes, backgrounds, headers and a lot more. The blog looks new, but the free stuff is super high quality. Check them out


Website Security Auditing


I purchased a security scan and audit for my main website this past week. The scan was done by a company called Acunetix.

Basically, a security scan is scan done by another server that attempts to exploit known and malicious vulnerabilities in a website’s code and programming.

If you run an ecommerce website, I highly recommend getting a scan like this, even if you already do a PCI / CISP scan on any regular basis. This was a complete eye opener for me.

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Comments Off on Two great articles for business website owners.

Two great articles for business website owners.

I have been running, managing and setting up ecommerce an B2B websites for several years and every once in a while I come across an article or blog post that is exceptionally useful.

One of the best articles I have ever found for business websites is on the entrepreneur.com website and was written July 2006. The article Hit the Sweet Spot, is a simple guide covering seven areas your marketing must address to successfully sell to business owners. I printed this article out and it still sits on my desk six months after is was published. It is easily applicable to both websites and any other sales environment. Every point in the article is spot on, and it has statistically proven itself to help with the sites that I have applied it to. For people tasked to market a product to business owners, and entrepreneurs, this article is the foundation of what your marketing needs to contain. It’s more or less the seven commandments of business marketing.

The second article which was recently was recently written by Andy Beal is a great post, Five Secret Strategies to Add $1 Million in Revenue to your Interactive Marketing Agency in 2007. While the article is initially targeted at companies providing services mainly SEM / SEO services, they are very applicable to all businesses. Andy touches on using PR Firms and press releases, both are some of the more commonly overlooked areas that can really boost a business when used effectively.


Holiday rush or holiday meltdown

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for many retail businesses and ecommerce websites in the US and other countries.

Unfortunately for many B2B companies, the holiday season happens to be the dead zone for annual sales. My personal industry slows down about a week before thanksgiving, and with the exception of a few days in December, doesn’t pick back up until mid-January. Interestingly enough, I can spend the same on advertising during these dark hours and get a 70% less return on each dollar I burn.

Bad Holiday Business

Since there is little (Not Nothing) a business can do to maintain their level of sales, or sign-ups, the holiday offers a perfect time to make changes.

Here are 5 things you can do on your B2B website this holiday season when times are slow, to make your site even better when traffic picks back up.
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Why both natural and PPC traffic are important.

Pay per click advertising has become a completely integrated part of search engines, and many website owners fail to see the value in either natural traffic or PPC traffic.

A while back I found a table that compared the click through rates of Natural and PPC search traffic. I cant seem to find the original source any more, so my apologies for not citing the source of this information, although it was a reputable source.

I have placed the data from that table into an easy to follow graphic model of a common search engine result page.

Comparing PPC and Natural Search Click Through Rates

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Using Ajax with a Business Website

Taking a step away from my previous post critisizing the use of Ajax and other dynamic website features, Ajax does have uses in business and other website designs. Ajax has an ability to simplify a user’s experience on a website when used properly. It ‘can’ provide very user friendly interfaces that work smoothly, quickly, and better than traditional programming.

However, Ajax creates a usability gap when a measurable percentage of visitors don’t have javascript enabled on their web browser. Coincidentally, business and ecommerce websites are a group that often has that measurable percentage. Traditionally, business and ecommerce websites and their images in general rely on clean, simple, and static features. Their visitors know exactly what to expect, what to do, and how to so it, and that creates stability both in the minds of customers, and for the people running the website.

For business websites, care should always be taken to provide non-javascript friendly alternatives because the visitors without the ability to interact with the Ajax application, may be the best customers.

A savvy website owner asks the question, How can I integrate Ajax into my business website while still maintaining a usable website with a professional appearance?

Here is my list of usable Ajax for the business and ecommerce website.

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Website Hosting (Data Backup, and Redundancy) – a few tips

I was looking over one of my websites a few weeks ago on a Sunday evening, and I started getting major errors on the site. I logged into my server, and after finding nothing obviously wrong, I gave the server the command to reboot.

About 5 minutes later, after the site didn’t return, I realized that there was a real problem. I called my host and asked them to check my server out. They proceeded to reboot the server, several times, and again nothing. After several minutes of diagnostics, the cause was traced the the primary hard drive, which had failed, mechanically.

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Situations where Overture kills AdWords

I recently launched a service with my company and started a pay per click campaign for this particular campaign. I created my keywords and a similar ad for both AdWords and overture, set my cost per click, and added the new campaigns to each account.

Now, the Pay per click campaign so far has been the most successful that I have done in the last three years, so I am very happy with the results thus far. However, I am not happy with AdWords.

Overture has a running 12%+ conversion rate with this campaign, and has been getting well over 100 visitors per day. AdWords has a 0% conversion rate, and has only sent 20 visitors total. The ads are very similar in content, and I’m currently bidding over two times as much in AdWords than overture. So, what’s the problem?

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