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Running an E-commerce Website in 2014

Running an E-commerce Website in 2014

It is becoming increasingly convenient to shop online. The simple fact that people are now using their mobile phones to shop online is proof enough. While commuting home from work, they use the Wi-Fi networks in the subway, for instance, so that they can order the things they need. They pay for them using their PayPal account (or some other online payment account), and when they get home, the things they need are waiting for them.

Retail is evolving and traditional shopping is expected to be a thing of the past in a not-that-distant future. Even clothes, the things you need to try on before purchasing, can be ordered online, since most companies that do this have a well-established system by which you can check whether or not what you are purchasing will fit your body.

Bearing this in mind, one has to agree that if you want to sell something, be it a product or a service, you have to have a website. Period! Without it, you will soon be lost in the sea of competition and you will find yourself facing bankruptcy issues. Here are the major points to consider to set up and run a successful e-commerce website in 2014.

Getting started: Design

Web design image

    The starting point of every website is its design. It can be extremely challenging to establish that. 2013 website design trends indicate a minimalistic approach. If you go for a flashy design that is filled with images, links, loads of pages, videos and so on, chances are that your visitors will get confused and they will simply close your site’s tab and move on to something else.

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    Your homepage is what matters most. It should feature your logo, one great big high-definition image (or a slider with HD imaging) that represents what you do, your basic info written in a cool and easily readable font, some contact info in the footer and that’s it. The header of your site should have links that lead to your other pages. You see, if your homepage looks simple and concrete, when your viewers see it, they will want to learn more and they will stay on your site. You can check out some pretty cool designs here.

    Your products page is another very important page and this one has to be well organized as well. You should have categories and the products should be listed in those categories. Each product has to have an image (sometimes several images), a description and a price. When it comes to pricing, you should make sure that you use a secure online payment method. To read more about this topic, follow this link.

    When it comes to shipping, make sure that you provide your readers with valuable shipping information. They have to be informed about that. Also, use a stable and valid shipping company. Try to find someone who has been in the business for a long time and who knows his or her job well. A lot of packages get damaged while shipping and that is something you will want to avoid.

    Make sure that you don’t forget to add a contact page so that your customers can ask for more information, and even more importantly, do not forget to answer their questions as soon as you can. The first rule of retail is that the customer is always right.

    Moving on: Functionality

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    Functionality image

      The next item on the agenda is functionality. Let us presume that you have a cool-looking website and that you are happy with it. That site will be worth nothing if it is not functional, fast loading and well programmed. It will also be unusable if it is not responsive. As mentioned above, more and more people are switching from their PCs and laptops to mobile phones and tablets for online activity. Your website has to be accessible via these devices as well. Also, with the launch of the new iPhone’s retina display, you have to ensure that your site is, as they say, retina-ready. So, your web designers and developers have to be well informed, they have to follow the newest trends and they have to be ready for everything.

      A website’s functionality is a pretty grand topic and there is a lot of talk about it on the net. To get you started, here are some useful articles that might help ease the process.

      Your Domain

      internet browser

        Registering a domain can be quite a pickle, as they say. You see, the net is full of websites – millions upon millions of them. The chance that someone registered the exact domain name you were looking for is high. This can be quite a problem since, frankly speaking, your domain name is very important. It should be relevant, original and related to your business. If you already have a name in mind, you should check and see whether or not it is already taken. Some experts suggest that if it is, you should consider going as far as changing the name of your firm, so that it corresponds with an available domain name.

        You should check out this link, where you will find the top sites for registering a domain in 2013. Dwell on this for some time and make the right decision.

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        Hosting

        When all the things above are done right, it is time to find appropriate hosting. For start, here’s a low-cost hosting guide for those who are looking for a cheap and reliable hosting service for their e-commerce website.

        Generally speaking, there are two types of hosting – shared and dedicated hosting. Here is the difference between the two:

        1. Shared hosting features one great big server computer that functions as a host for several websites.
        2. Dedicated hosting features one great big server computer that functions as a host for just one website.

        Logically, the second option is the thing to go for. It will be more expensive, of course, but if you go for shared hosting, chances are that a lot of things will go wrong. These machines tend to get overloaded and this can have a very bad result. You can even end up losing a lot of clients. As the owner of an e-commerce website, you will probably have a lot of resources there (images, videos, loads of text, etc.), which will make it difficult for a shared hosting server to function. So, if you have just one server that is dedicated for your site and your site only, you can be sure that things will run smoothly and you won’t have to worry at all.

        Promotion

        Now, that you have your site up and running, it is time to let people know that your site is out there. After all, what good is website if no one visits it? This is where search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM) come into play. The goal of these practices is to make your site recognized by Google and other search engines, so that people can find it and visit it.

        You have to be aware that this is a process that takes time. For instance, amongst other things, you will have to write various articles related to your business and you have to post them on various relevant blogs, which will bring traffic to your site. Furthermore, you will have to register your company on various social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc.) and you will have to provide your readers or followers with relevant, up-to-date content at all times. So, apart from taking a long time initially, this process never stops – the more you grow, the more things you will need to do.

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        Promotion social media image

          Also, you should not only promote your site online, but offline as well. Make sure that you have a link to your site printed on any and all promotional material you have at your disposal.

          This is yet another very popular topic on the net – meaning that a lot of people posted a lot of relevant articles recently.

          Let’s wrap it up

          As you can see, running an e-commerce website is no walk in the park, but if you do everything as outlined above, your efforts will be worth it. The retail industry is changing and people are realizing that they have the world in their pocket: they just take their phone out and presto – everything is there. Who knows what e-commerce will represent in 20 years or so, given the fact that it was a “fairytale” 20 or 30 years ago? It is up to you to follow the trends! Good luck!

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          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          SEO Consultant

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          Published on November 8, 2018

          How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

          How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

          After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

          But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

          Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

          Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

          Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

          Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

          The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

          1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

          Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

          With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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          Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

          Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

          For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

          Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

          It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

          2. Set your own boundaries

          Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

          Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

          Here are some important traits to consider:

          • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
          • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
          • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

          These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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          3. Continuously invest in yourself

          Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

          You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

          Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

          Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

          Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

          It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

          4. Document the value you bring

          Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

          To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

          A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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          Here are some ideas:

          • joesmith.com
          • joeasmith.com
          • joesmithprojects.com

          Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

          During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

          5. Hide your salary requirements

          Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

          But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

          The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

          Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

          6. Do just enough research

          Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

          Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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          Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

          Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

          7. Get compensated by your value

          Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

          Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

          Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

          You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

          The bottom line

          You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

          You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

          Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

          Reference

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