Energize Your Website

Greg Jameson's Ecommerce Blog

Posting to Instagram from your laptop instead of your phone

You are going to want to read this, even if you don’t use Instagram. It can be used for seeing how your website looks and behaves on a mobile device that you don’t have. If you do use Instagram, this is going to save you a ton of time and frustration!

Despite it’s popularity with younger generations, Instagram is a very limiting social media platform, especially for business. It does not allow you to share or schedule posts, and you can’t add links to a post (except for paid ads or stories if you have a business account with over 10,000 followers). While other social media platforms all work on a laptop, Instagram does not. You must use a cell phone to post anything, which is both cumbersome and annoying. But there is a solution! In today’s article I’m going to show you exactly how you can post to Instagram from your laptop.

Now some of you might be asking, why would you even want to do that? Instagram was designed as a phone app – the idea being that you would take a picture with your phone, then share it instantly to the social media network. But there are at least three very good reasons why your cell phone is not the best tool for the job.

There are at least three very good reasons why your cell phone is not the best tool for posting on Instagram: DSLR photos, editing, and typing. Click To Tweet

For many of us, we want to take professional level photos using a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera with high quality zoom lenses and optics. Once you take the photo, you have to edit them using a program like PhotoShop or PaintShopPro, upload them to the cloud, then download them to your phone before uploading them to Instagram. Or email them to yourself and retrieve your email on your phone. Either way, what a hassle! If you want to edit the photo, the tools for doing so are much better on a laptop. Creating a meme is hard enough, much less an infographic! And finally, once you upload the image to Instagram, typing in a description on a cellphone is not much fun if you have more to say than a short sentence or want to paste in something you’ve already written.

So, here is how you do it! […]

How much should you expect to pay for a website?

Business owners and web designers alike struggle with this question because there are so many variables involved, including the fact that many site builder programs are “free.” Of course you and I know that free software does not equate to a free website, but what does it really take to build a website and why are the costs so variable? I have done significant research on this topic and the results are actually more consistent than I initially thought. Here are a few things I’ve discovered.

1. Simple site builders are available for the DIY crowd. These include Wix, Weebly and Square Space. And you can certainly do it yourself with these tools if you are looking for a simple site to get started. But you will likely be disappointed or frustrated as soon as your business starts to grow or you decide you want some special feature that these tools don’t offer. Even something as simple as adding a tracking code to your webpage for advertising purposes like Facebook or AdRoll ads will quickly show you the limitations of these platforms. The initial costs of these platforms are free, but hosting costs for an ad-free site is something you will have to pay for. If a web designer builds a site for you on one of these platforms, expect to pay $1000 to $2500 for the design and $120 per year for hosting. Website maintenance is covered in point #4 below.

2. Using a full blown content management system like Joomla, Drupal, or the internet’s most popular CMS, WordPress, will cost you more. WordPress currently runs almost one-third of the entire internet, so that is what I am going to concentrate on in this article.

Many of the world’s most-recognized companies use WordPress as the foundation for their website. Examples include Target, UPS, Walt Disney, Best Buy, Xerox, NASA, CNN, CBS, Time magazine, Vogue, People magazine, Samsung, Whitehouse.gov, Forbes, General Motors, NFL, Singer, AirStream, Macy’s Toyota, Alaska airlines, and many, many others. In fact, 54 out of the top 100 companies of Inc.5000 are running their website on WordPress! When you choose WordPress as the platform for your website, you are in good company. While popularity is nice, it is really the flexibility of WordPress why you would choose it as the foundation for a business website.

WordPress is “free,” but […]

Mistakes To Avoid While Building An E-Commerce Website?

A ecommerce expert once said that business has moved from the marketplace to the market space. It’s very hard to comprehend this statement considering that the marketplace itself is a space. I believe that what he is saying is that business has gone cyber, hence the use of space (as in cyberspace). There are lots of proofs to back this claim. The internet has also caused an increase in the development of small and medium scale enterprises. This is because it provides the best of opportunities at the minimal of cost to establish your business. Not everyone will have the financial strength to seek help from a very good magento ecommerce agency. Furthermore, the information the ecommerce development company you want to consult uses in serving you is made available km the internet. The internet has made life easy by giving you access to the basics on how to go about on your journey to becoming an ecommerce enterprise owner.

Despite the long epistle of how much the internet can be of help when starting up your own ecommerce enterprise, you could easily get lost while trying to find your way. There are high chances you will or are already making a mistake in the process of building your website. This is probably the reason why your website has not lived up to its full potential. An official website is a necessary for your business and so is having a website that is worth calling and official website. It is somewhat better that you don’t have a website at all than having one that will drive your business to the ground. This article will open your eyes to “Mistakes To Avoid While Building An E-Commerce Website”.

Not having a mobile friendly website

Are you for real? Like you could be a business owner in the year and still not have a website either having a mobile version and/or is optimized for mobile viewing. Considering the fact that your website is an ecommerce website and your potential customers as well as the general public would rather access. This is a mistake you must avoid when building your ecommerce website and you should seek to rectify if you are already guilty of it. By making this mistake you are depriving yourself of the much needed traffic and depriving people of the opportunity to have their needs met. You can either format your website to enable mobile viewers have full access to your website or have two versions (mobile and desktop versions) for your web visitors to choose from.

Having a poor design

If there is a mistake that is more criminal than my previous point then it is the mistake of designing a mistake and calling it and ecommerce website. The aspect of web design is so broad that it should be an independent writeup on its own. It covers a number of issues such as content, navigation, website loading speed and so much more. When designing your website, it is good your choose your content management system based on feedback given by other users rather than  just the description given by the developer. Nobody can assess a product better than it’s user, not even its producer/manufacturer. This is because nobody believes that he or she is doing something that’s not good enough.

Having non-descriptive, unclear or on actions

The issue of call to action is a very tenacious one as you can easily go off track by trying to do the right thing. I have witnessed a case where I had to turn down the opportunity of taking a call to action as the call to action button was just all in my face. It was very flashy, so flashy that I left the content of the message and started on the PowerPoint display before me. Despite all that, it is best that you use a very clear call to action. Always use buttons as against the use of links. You should […]

Take Charge of Your Website!

Any web developer knows that it takes a large amount of work to design and launch a new website. Once that website is up and running, however, you’ll need to continue working to manage it. If you’re handling website management for a company, understand that annual site management will need roughly the same amount of financial resources as designing and building the site in the first place. Which elicits this question: Should you maintain your business Web site yourself or pay someone to do it for you?

If you’re handling website management for a company, understand that annual site management will need roughly the same amount of financial resources as designing and building the site in the first place. Click To Tweet

Some of the worst advice I’ve seen asks this question: Could your time be better spent doing more important things like, oh I don’t know, running your business? If so, then you have no business building and maintaining a Web site. WHAT? Your website IS your business – it is your online presence and you absolutely NEED to maintain it yourself. Turning this task over to someone else is like turning over your business to a third party and expecting that it will succeed. Granted there are some tasks that can (and in many cases should) be outsourced, like server  requirements, software patches, and the like, but think about it this way: If you have a physical store and decide to hold a sale, do you hire an outside party to come in and create an end-cap display of the products you are promoting or do you make the decision and change your store yourself? Your website is no different – you need the skills to update your website yourself based on the needs of your business at any given point in time.

I have recently been sharing a series of videos about maintaining your own website in a free online course called “Take Charge of Your Website!” In the final video […]

Guest Post: How To Get More Of Influencer Marketing

It is important that any ecommerce development company understands how to effectively use influencer marketing to quickly build a brand online and raise awareness among the target audience. The purpose of Influencer Marketing takes a step further than Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing  done by any Magento ecommerce agency as it harnesses the power of genuineness and belief thus aiding brand promotion at a fast pace.

Before using an Influencer tool on your product, you have to be sure what kind of influencer to use; whether a real influencer in the form of a person behind that has a face and its own following or a feature account based on a specific topic and just repost things.

Benefits Of Influencer Marketing

  1. It builds trust quickly as a result of influencers’ positive relationship with their fans as there is respect and possible recommendations
  2. It increases brand awareness by expanding reach and positioning online however, it depends on the value of the content being provided by the influencer.
  3. It helps in building winning partnerships as connecting and engaging with an influencer can be the beginning of a powerful relationship. It opens doors to further opportunities

Key Points In Making Most Of Influencer Marketing

So you have got your product and you are not getting enough people to buy from you. These key points should stand as a guide for you to get most out of your influencer.

Understand The Difference Between Advocates, Influencers and Microinfluencers

It is important to understand these differences. If you have thousands of people following you on YouTube with massive engagements; that’s a true massive influencer doing his job to promote your brand in exchange for monetary or product compensation, based on the size of the audience and potential reach on social networks. if you got 50,000 followers across all your networks; probably that’s a micro influencer responsible for the human-to-human marketing that combines brand loyalty, trustworthiness and relevant influence to drive bottom line performance, unless it’s a very niche type of industry while Brand advocates, also known as super fans, brand enthusiasts or brand loyalists, are your customers who are most likely to naturally drive positive word-of-mouth about your brand.

Preach To The Right Audience

You can reach a million people, but if your audience doesn’t like what you preach, then you have wasted all your money. Preach to the right audience and you will succeed. You can do these by learning what’s important to your audience, speaking their language, stay top of your mind with retargeting and most especially; know your organic keywords.

In Most Cases Micro-Influencers Are More Effective Than Advocates

Sometimes, the advocate influencer can make your company […]

Affecting Behavior

Long time readers of this blog know that I wrote the #1 best-selling book, “The Influencer Effect.” Since then, influencer marketing has become a “thing” (those two events are not necessarily related, as I don’t claim to be responsible for causing a change in the rise of influencer marketing). But influencers are not just someone with a large following, they are someone who do affect our actions.

I recently interviewed Tom Ross, the founder of DesignCuts.com for my podcast (listen to that interview at the 20MinutesofInfluence.com). Tom talks about how he used to have hundreds of thousands of viewers each month – but he wasn’t making any money. Like so many of us, he was chasing what he calls “vanity metrics.” this is a dangerous path for many of us. We all want more traffic to our websites. We want more people liking our social media posts. we want more followers. In fact, most influencer marketing platforms use these metrics to measure effectiveness of a marketing campaign. But those metrics don’t put money in your pocket. when it comes to influencer marketing there are really only 3 things that matter:

  1.  Engagement
    Traffic and visibility are important, but you can buy advertisements to achieve those results. When working with influencers, you want an expert that actually causes change in the behavior of your customers. Sidney Pierucci, Founder of ESPLMedia, says “Because they are personally invested in their crafts, micro-influencers are trusted sources of recommendations for followers. The Game’ isn’t just getting eyeballs; but getting eyeballs that care!”Because they are personally invested in their crafts, micro-influencers are trusted sources of recommendations for followers. The Game’ isn’t just getting eyeballs; but getting eyeballs that care! - Sidney Pierucci Click To Tweet Engagement can include clicks to the website, likes, comments, video views, number of sales, repins on Pinterest, retweets on Twitter, and shares on Facebook, among other social interactions.But simply having a large number of followers or getting lots of traffic is not what is important – getting someone to take action is what matters.In my interview with Tom Ross, we talk about how you can accomplish this through your relationship with your customers, understanding your audience, and having a passion for what you are offering.


  2. Content
    Influencers are content creators. I read an article recently about the history of influencer marketing and they were trying to make the case that Aunt Jemimah, Santa Claus, and the Marlboro Man were early influencers. No they were not – those were corporate images that were drummed up for advertising purposes, but they were not content creators. An influencer is someone who […]

WordPress 5.0 is Here!

The WordPress development community has been anticipating this release for most of this past year. Some of us have installed pre-release versions of the software and have been testing it and learning it for months. Today (December 6), it was finally released to the public. You can read the details here: https://wordpress.org/support/wordpress-version/version-5-0/ The biggest change is in the editor, which now uses blocks to layout pages. I will be covering the use of this editor extensively in my upcoming online course coming out in late January. Yes, there will be a learning curve, but this release is going to allow WordPress to remain the dominant web development platform for years to come. If you are unsure of when is the right time to update to this latest version (especially since it is right before Christmas), let us help you! […]

California Enacts Nation’s First Anti-Bot Law

Chatbots are everywhere now – I use them on this site and on my Facebook page. They are a great way to communicate with potential customers quickly. But as of September 28th, they are also illegal (at least in California) unless you specifically disclose to someone that they are communicating with a bot. (That’s not a problem for me, as I tell people right up front that they are chatting with my automated bot). But the “Blade-Runner_Law” as it has become known, is interesting in that it targets two specific groups: politicians and ecommerce. The law actually takes effect in July 1, 2019, and it may lead to other states adopting similar policies. The law is in response partly to the “computational propaganda” deployed most notably during the 2016 US election cycle, trying to influence a vote, but also covers trying to deceive a person about the content of the communication in order to incentivize a purchase or sale of goods or services in a commercial transaction. You can view the complete act here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1001. I don’t see anything in there about robo calls, but that is one area I’d like to see enforced, not only for political calls, but those claiming to be with Google, Microsoft, or even the IRS.

Bots are here to stay, regardless of the law, as they are simply a great way to handle customer service, technical support, online sales, and political ads. Click To Tweet

Bots are here to stay, regardless of the law, as they are simply a great way to handle customer service, technical support, online sales, and I presume, political ads. I don’t have a problem disclosing the fact that you are communicating with a bot, especially if you have the opportunity to opt out and get to a real person when the bot is incapable of handling your issue or request.  Chatbots in particular are a great way to augment online sales, and I am going to spend some time showing you how to use chatfuel to create you own online sales assistant in my upcoming online course that will be release mid-January. Make sure you are on the list by signing up for my free class at:

https://webstoresltd.com/freeclass

We are going to cover all aspects of running an online business, and bots are only a small part of what you will be learning. Plan on joining us and learning from the hundreds of customers I’ve helped over the past 20 years.

[…]

Colorado the most recent state to require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax

I just got an email from B&H Photo stating that they would now be collecting sales tax in Colorado. Sadly, this is not because they are opening a store here (I love their New York store!), but instead because of a new tax law. The email stated, “All reputable retailers are complying with the new laws and collecting sales tax.”

Sales tax has long applied to brick and mortar business in the United States, but eCommerce businesses have been operating largely tax-free outside their home state. The new ruling overturns a decision made in 1992 that said businesses were exempt from sales tax unless they had a substantial connection to the particular state they operated in. This has opened the door for states to tax sales for businesses that do not have a presence in their state.

Based on a June 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, states now have the opportunity to start collecting sales tax at the point of sales, rather than on the point of delivery. The Colorado Department of Revenue issued a press release that requires online retailers to begin collecting sales tax as of November 20, 2018., even if they have no physical presence in the state.

“Tax collection at the point of sale eases the process for our residents and creates a level playing field for Colorado businesses, as out-of-state retailers will be required to collect state sales tax, just as in-state retailers do today,” Colorado Department of Revenue Executive Director Michael Hartman said in the release.

Per the Supreme court’s ruling, “there is a small-seller exception for retailers whose in state sales of products do not exceed $100,000 or 200 transactions annually.” Wholesale orders are not taxed, only orders being shipped directly to consumers.

Per the Supreme court's ruling, there is a small-seller exception for retailers whose in state sales of products do not exceed $100,000 or 200 transactions annually. Click To Tweet

“The [Colorado Department of Revenue] will ensure fair, efficient and transparent implementation of this decision,” Hartman said. “We will pave the least burdensome road possible for businesses to comply with these regulations.”

“Out-of-state retailers were not required to collect sales tax on sales prior to the registration deadline,” the release said. Visit Colorado.gov/tax/sales-tax-changes  to register for a sales tax license if you plan on selling online into Colorado going forward.

The best way to manage this retail nightmare is to utilize WooCommerce as your shopping cart platform and install JetPack.  With JetPack,  it’s possible to enable automated tax calculations. With automated taxes enabled, you won’t need to set up any tax rates manually — it will be taken care of for you!

This is not just an issue if you sell more than $100,000 or have 200 transactions in Colorado. It is an issue you must address for every state as they adopt legislation to take advantage of the tax ruling. Detailed information about which states […]

The busiest shopping weekend of the year – are you ready?

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday traditionally mark the busiest shopping weekend of the year, and the start of the holiday shopping season. How do you compete against WalMart and other big box stores to get your share of the holiday revenue? Here’s some tips to help you get the most out of your sales and marketing efforts this year:

1. Create the Perfect Product Sales Page

I just wrote a new (very short) ebook about creating the prefect product page that will literally help you sell more. You can get it for free this week on Amazon (I’m looking for reviews!). Check it out at: https://amzn.to/2ToXcgM

2. Use your email list

You do have a list of your customer’s emails that you’ve been collecting throughout the year, don’t you? Send them special coupons just for existing customers.

3. Throw a party.

Have food and drinks available for your special guests. Treat Small Business Saturday as an open house to retain your customers over the long haul.

4. Free gift wrap.

Do something that the big box stores are unable to do, especially during busy times.

5. Provide an incentive.

Have your customers bring in a friend, and give them a small gift for doing so.

6. Whether people are shopping online or in your store, create a deal.

Customers don’t just randomly flock to the big box stores this weekend – they go there because they know about and/or are expecting deals they don’t normally get. As a small business owner, you too must offer deals to bring customers into your store and your website. Don’t disappoint them, or you may end up disappointed yourself.

Customers are expecting a deal this weekend. Don't disappoint them, or you may end up disappointed yourself. Click To Tweet

It should go without saying that if you really want to take advantage of this shopping weekend (or holiday shopping in general), you need to market what you are doing. Make it different than just saying “come into our store” or “visit our website” – give them a reason to do so. then tell the world what you are doing to make this season special. Tweet about it. Post to Facebook. Write blog posts, Send emails – really step up your marketing so you get seen above the crowds and the noise being generated by the big boxes. Consider retargeted ads (see my post from a couple of weeks ago: https://webstoresltd.com/2018/11/07/how-can-i-get-more-traffic-to-my-website/).

What are you doing to attract customers this holiday season? What are doing for Black Friday/SBS/Cyber Monday? I’d love to hear your thoughts! […]