A quick overview of increasing website sales

There are normally 3 ways to improve your website sales

The first one is obvious – increase the number of customers. Even if this number is already growing, there are further ways you can improve the increase in numbers. You can improve the traffic to your site (perhaps by using SEO techniques or advertising). You can improve the percentage of visitor conversions once they land on your site – maybe the earlier post  can give you ideas here. Perhaps an affiliate program can gain you more customers? Above all, by building up credibility and trust you can increase future loyalty to your site.

Secondly – Allied to increasing the number of customers, is the need to improve your number of repeat customers. The use of social media, newsletters and/or a blog are very useful in this respect. The use of promotions can work very well to achieve more repeat sales. Some ways of improving repeat sales are:

i)  Discount coupons for further purchases

ii)  Freebies offered with high value purchases

iii)  Save customer data to use in pre-filled forms, to make further purchases easier. Nobody likes filling the same data over and over again before buying

Thirdly – Increase the value sold per transaction.

As before, you can offer a discount or even free gift, when purchasing a large value item. If you offer services on a subscription basis, you could entice a longer period take-up by means of a discount. Extended warranties on electronic devices can increase the sales value – but remember to hedge against possible breakdowns. In some cases you can sell a product with a higher luxury appeal – so for example offer Rich Sherry Mince Pies instead of just Mince Pies . Lastly, and this appeals to impatient customers with little time on their hands, you can charge a premium for extra-quick delivery.

These three methods of improving web sales are not unique, but I hope having them summarized here may help some e-Shop owners to quickly establish ways of increasing their turnover.

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An easy and free way to get your website on Page 1 of Google – Quick post

It normally takes a lot of time and research to get your web shop onto Page 1 of  Google search. Indeed for highly competitive keywords, it can be nearly impossible, even with the best seo people working on your side. But there is a quick way to put your website at the top of the list (so long as it has a physical location), and it’s free! Merely by registering your site with Google places, you can get your business straight to the top of Google (Google places are shown before the rest of Google search results). I initially read about this method at Clinkio and it is well worth checking out.

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Increase your Web Store earnings quickly and easily – Quick Post

There are lots of methods to increase the sales on your web store – you could spend months investigating SEO techniques, for instance. But a company called BrainSINS have brought out a product that they claim produces a sales increase of up to 30% ! They also claim it can be installed on your store website in a matter of minutes.

What is it that produces such devastating results? It’s their version of the “If you bought this, you may like this” recommendation utility as used by Amazon. They carry out the logic and customer analysis on their Saas database, which then allows your store to make targetted recommendations, and to monitor business trends.

It sounds almost too good to be true, particularly as you can try out their product on a free basis for one month, to see that it actually works. I don’t possess a web-store myself so I cannot vouch 100% for BrainSINS, no matter how good it seems. If anyone who has used this product and not found it as good as its publicity, please leave comments here. Otherwise, it seems like a quick and easy way to improve sales – I’m struggling to see a downside here!

Further Reading:

BrainSINS – Startups post

Why choose BrainSINS ?

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Security – Quick and secure way to remember several passwords

Ever since I can remember, in the world of work, there’s been a need to choose passwords. Yes, modern browsers can “remember” your id/password pair (this is not always secure – see the note on Firefox below), and various sites enable automatic retrieval of passwords, but periodically they force you to re-enter your password. It’s also highly advisable to keep different passwords for different sites, as a security breach on one site won’t then affect you on another – I make sure that anything financial has its own password set. I also make sure that my email accounts have separate passwords. But, short of writing down your passwords in a diary and keeping it with you (which poses its own security risk) how do you manage 30 or 40 passwords?  I find there are two approaches that makes this all easier and quicker (and a third way that is available on certain sites).

1) Convert a phrase to a mnemonic. This is currently my favourite – it allows you to remember passwords for various sites, yet is easy to recall. There are two parts – the first involves choosing a mnemonic for a phrase (this is the bit you have to remember). So it could be a catchphrase “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life”. This converts to a mnemonic of “wamitolhitol”. In itself this is not a strong password, so I capitalise a couple of letters and change the ultimate ‘o’ to zero ie “wAmItolhit0l”. Then, to make it unique, I insert (perhaps at the end) a couple of letters from the site I am accessing to the password. So for example with Facebook I utilise ‘AC’ (making “wAmItolhit0lAC”) with Twitter I utilise ‘WI’ (making “wAmItolhit0lWI”etc. Not the prettiest of solutions, but the standard approach makes it easy to use for various sites. You may wish to alter the approach slightly (perhaps by changing “i” to “1″) and make sure to choose the initial phrase that you can easily remember, but that others would find hard to guess.

2) Password manager – this is preferred by many people, and there are various utilities out there that offer this service. It means you generally only need to remember one master password (and occasionally other security details). RoboForm  is very popular with many users, but there are others such as LastPass  and 1Password . You can also get password managers as a browser add-on. One thing you should ensure is that your id/password pairs are not stored away from your computer, as hackers can then access 1000s of ids/passwords if they can break the storage security. Luckily the likes of RoboForm now save your id/password locally, so a security breach on their site shouldn’t give the intruders to your passwords, which are protected by your local master password. One important thing you may not realise is that if you use Firefox to store and recall your passwords, then it’s easy for someone with a couple of seconds access to the computer to look at your passwords by selecting Security=>Saved Passwords within Tools=>Options.

3) Lastly there is another method, that some sites are now utilising. They ask you to log in using credentials from elsewhere – OpenID, Twitter or Facebook perhaps. I like this method as it means you only have to remember one password. I wouldn’t use it to access my bank account though.

 

Further reading

Lifehacker on password managers

PC World – best password managers

(for geeks) web passwords by coding horror.

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Really Late Booking – Quick post

Ever need to book accommodation at really short notice? This app looks as though it would be very useful – and quick! Here’s how they describe their product..

Find a room for tonight at the best hotels with big discounts.
Book your room until 3 am tonight. Decide where you sleep at the last minute and save with our discounts.
Book in 30 seconds from your mobile in a few seconds, it’s easy and secure. Now available for Iphone y Android

To date this new app covers hotels in various countries in Europe. Their web site  is available in English or Spanish, and you can read more on this at the Killerstartups site.

 

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Automate tasks with IFTT – Quick post

I came across this article over the weekend, that I just had to mention here.

The author shows us how to automate repetitive and annoying tasks, using a utility called IFTT ( “If this then that..”). Well worth reading, if you ask me! And useful even if you don’t run an online business!

Automation with IFTT article

There are certain tasks that are repetitive and annoying to do but are necessary within an online business. What if you could automate a lot of those tasks. Those few seconds, minutes or hours per week it saves you add up over time don’t they.
Simply put ifttt means “If This Then That”. So if one thing happens then another is triggered. You can use “recipes” people have already put together like “If I favourite a tweet then I send it to a folder in Evernote” for example.

Sounds great! If you want to go straight to the site itself and start “putting the internet to work for you” then click here.

 

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Stop those distractions! Stay focused!

We (nearly) all do it. After booting up the computer we turn on Twitter, or browse our favourite message boards to see what’s new, and in some cases what is being said about oneself. Before you  know it, half the morning is gone, and you’ve achieved nothing. If only there was a tool to restrict your access to certain sites, or to monitor your team’s productivity? Well, there are several, and I’ll introduce you to some here. But if you need to check first how much time your team spend on social sites like Facebook or Twitter, try RescueTime or TimeDoctor to see how productivity is being hit.

The LeechBlock Firefox extension allows you to block distraction sites during user-specified time slots. More here on Leechblock – LifehackerArticle and you can download Leechblock here Leechblock Download. Alternatively, if you use Google Chrome as your internet browser then Focusd is a  Chrome extension you can use to achieve a similar outcome. On a Mac you have possibly the best tool of all -  Mac_selfcontrol which even blocks incoming and/or outgoing mail-servers, so you can get on with productive activities.

Of course you may wish to ban access altogether to a site. This is generally done within a browser – for example in Internet explorer you can select Tools => Internet Options => Content and then select the Enable button, followed by Approved Sites, where you can select sites that are always or (in this case) never viewable. In Firefox there is an add-on extension called (appropriately) Blocksite that will achieve the same desired outcome.

There is a drawback to the above methods, especially if they are self-enforced. There is nothing to stop you taking off the restrictions and going back to the bad ways. They are no substitute for self-discipline I’m afraid. My solution? Put a total block on your main computer, but if absolutely necessary use your smart phone to check Twitter, Facebook etc. If you do waste too much time, your battery soon runs out and acts as a hint to get back to productive work.

Have a happy and effective New Year!

 

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Find that answer – quicker!

It’s become a standard response when looking for an solution, to search on Google.

However, when you are faced with millions of results, many of which are duplicates, or worse, spam, how do you select the right response? Here I show you some ways to obtain the desired result quickly, and thus save yourself some valuable time.

1. Within Google. One thing I find annoying about search results within Google, is that they are not brought back in date order. You can force Google to show results from the last week, or month, by going into “Advanced Options” and clicking on the “Date/Usage Types” expander to signify the date of publication for that webpage.
There are other ways to modify your search within Google, so you quickly come to where you want to be. For instance suppose you knew the article on pandas was published on the BBC news site? You can specify your seach by entering “site:domain” as an operator, so in this case you could put into Google “site:bbc.co.uk/news/  pandas” There are a lot of other ways you can refine your search in Google, many on this site Improve Google Search skills

2. Google is not always your best option. For example, if you’re looking for extremely recent news articles, then Twitter can be your best bet. Take care to select the best search word though. If for example you are travelling to Spain and you’ve heard there has been a train strike in Madrid, then it may be a mistake searching just on “Madrid” – the chances are you will be snowed under with comments and links to Real Madrid articles. Better to search on “Madrid strike” or “Madrid train”. Twitter also can overwhelm with the number of results – so much so that various sites have sprung up, helping you put together a more accurate and extensive Tweeter search. Read more about it in the adjoining link: Twitter Search Utilities

3. Create bookmarks for specialised sites, and search on those for relevant topics. As a programmer I found that certain sites (eg StackOverflow and ServerFault) were far more useful to me when I needed a question resolving. There is even a site set up there for  WordPress. Another option could be Quora.com that now looks as if it will be an invaluable knowledge source as well.

4. Don’t rule out Message-boards and Forums. It depends on the site concerned, but often they contain a wealth of knowledge and have some very well-informed contributors. An example: try going to the adjoining site NotTheTalk (you’ll need to register) and post a query in the “Advice” or “Notes and Queries” folder. There’s a very good chance you’ll get your answer there, yet it’s a site you’ve probably never heard of.

5. Lastly, don’t rule out the old option of “asking a friend”. Even if they don’t know the answer, they may know the specific site to locate it.

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