Archive for January, 2008

Shopping Carts and Merchant Accounts

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Understanding and studying e-commerce can become a full-time business! My friend Paula has written an excellent blog entry about shopping carts and merchants accounts, which gives you an overview of what you’ll need to get started in e-commerce.

Also, from time to time I offer a free teleclass on ecommerce, setting up shopping carts, accepting credit cards, and everything that goes with selling products and services online. Check out our Calendar of Classes:


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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Website Planning
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SEO and Google: Going For The Big Win

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Nielson NetRatings reports that in November 2007, searchers used Google 57.7% of the time.

Google has been steadily increasing it’s marketshare, while Yahoo and MSN are declining. A look at this chart of search volume gives you some cold, hard facts:

Google = 57.7%
Yahoo = 17.9%
MSN = 12.0%

When I’m teaching my SEO For Everyone class, I focus strongly on getting good results in Google. Even if Microsoft buys Yahoo (as hinted about in this Motley Fool article), the combined result still won’t equal Google’s power and scope.

What does Google care about? Content. Pure and simple, Google loves a site with lots of content. And even better, Google loves a site where there’s continually new content. This is a vote for adding new stuff to your site. If you write a newsletter, add your newsletter articles to your site after each publication of your newsletter. Put a blog on your site. Interview people in your industry and put those on your site. Always be thinking of ways to add content.

Of course, Google loves a site that other sites link to. You can create a sophisticated link strategy, but here’s a hint: create content that others want to link to, and they will.

Should you ignore Yahoo! and MSN? No. But your first priority when optimizing a site is to figure out what Google wants and give it to them. You don’t even have to search far: Google Webmaster Central will give you some tips.

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Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Website Planning
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Go Look In The Mirror

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Who creates your calendar and books every waking moment of your time? Who asks you to work evenings and weekends to grow your business? Who forces you to work with clients who are not really a good match, or pushes you to sell, sell, sell when you are tired or sick?

Being self employed means you are the boss. You set the agenda. Alan Weiss has written a good blog post about it here.

If you’re unhappy with the way your business is going or how hard you are working, go look in the mirror. And ask yourself: Am I working hard because I have to — or because I THINK I have to?

Sure, there are times when we have to put in that extra effort to get a project done before a deadline. But there are too many self-employed people who complain that they are working 60- and 80-hour work weeks, as if working hard (to the point of illness sometimes!) is going to get you “extra credit” points in Heaven.

StartUp Nation reports from a survey: “80% of small business owners planned to work during the holiday break. 56% said they would even interrupt holiday dinner for an important customer phone call. ”

Did I hear that wrong??? You would interrupt dinner with your family to take a business call on a holiday???

The American Work Ethic tells us we have to work hard to be a good person, a good provider, a good citizen. I’m not against working hard, but if you are working hard all the time, perhaps now is the time to ask yourself, Have I taken the American Work Ethic too far? What’s the point of being self-employed if my boss is a tyrant?

And the next time you are feeling overworked and overwhelmed, cancel an appointment and go for a walk or take a nap. You can’t work at peak performance 24-hours a day.

(P.S. I give you permission to take next Friday off from work. I’m going to!)

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Category: Managing Projects, Tasks & Time