Most people think an e-commerce site is only for selling physical products on line.  They think of the internet as a place to offer books, DVD’s, fashion items, etc. and that all products and services of an e-commerce site are only available on line. While this is true for a lot of e-commerce sites, not every e-commerce site involves selling physical products.  E-commerce can be an important part of every business.  If you are running a business based on services rather than actual physical products – e-commerce can be relevant to your business as well.

Businesses that are selling services need to understand that e-commerce transcends physical goods.  Service oriented companies can use the online community as a payment channel for things such as exercise classes, beauty services and tickets that will be consumed in a separate physical location.  By offering on-line promotions and sales opportunities to potential customers, businesses like these can reach a broader sales base and facilitate the purchase of their services.  Using an on-line payment system opens up an entire new way to offer and sell your services.

Selling your services on-line for future consumption can also be a market research tool.  Selling your services on-line can help you collect information on your most loyal customers and reach out to them.  You can use the information gained from on-line analytic sales tools to enhance your business as well as enhance the customer experience.  This information allows you to offer a different kind of personalized customer service.

Lastly, in today’s world the ability to purchase services on-line offers convenience.
Not having to run to the store to buy a subscription or gift certificate is a time saving way to increase revenue.

So whether you are selling beauty services or exercise classes, consider e-commerce for your site.  If you are not doing so – you may be missing a valuable sales and marketing tool.

 

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The mobile web is growing at a phenomenal pace.  Chances are you are reading this on a handheld device such as a tablet or smart phone.   Just a few short years ago, it was a good bet that you would read articles like this one on your PC or laptop.  More and more people are accessing the internet on a wireless mobile device – so it is vital that your website be mobile friendly. So what ARE the things you can do to optimize your website for mobile devices?

1. Have a fast-loading site.
Many mobile-web users who are using their phones to access the Internet are using a slower 3G connection. You can help these users out by making sure your website code is clean, which will not only make for a faster-loading site, but faster downloads as well.

2. Don’t use flash. Not all mobile devices can see flash. Make sure you have an alternate HTML version of your site as well.

3. Have simple navigation.  Mobile users are viewing your site on a small screen. In addition, there is no mouse and not all mobile devices are equipped with a touch screen. Keep the number of links to a minimum and make overall navigation easy and intuitive. Links are not always easy to “click” on a smart phone, so a cluttered navigation scheme may be frustrating.  Mobile users typically won’t browse for more than a few minutes. Most just want a specific piece of information. Make sure major services, major products, phone numbers, addresses are easy to find and view.

4. Don’t use too many images.Images are important for a website but when you have too many they can overwhelm and slow up loading on a small screen. So use images, but be selective about what you use.

Lastly, be sure to check out your site on a number of devices. Never assume your site looks great or works well across multiple platforms and devices, because it may not — and if it doesn’t, you may lose potential customers.

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You’ve decided to create a website or blog for your new business.  The developer and everything you read suggests using WordPress.  Should you listen to them? Depending on what you are looking to do, it may or may not be the best solution.

Word Press is a free and open source content management system (CMS) and blogging tool.  It is a very popular software used for web design and development and can be beneficial in saving time and cost. It has a reliable framework that has been around for a good amount of time.

As with many content management systems WordPress is simple and easy to use.  If you can create a Word document, you can publish a new article to your WordPress website. Once it is set up, you can update it any time you want.

WordPress sites can be customized by most web development professionals.  Many features such as newsletters, contact forms, and music players can be added to WordPress sites.  However, WordPress while good for some features is not necessarily for others. If you are developing an e-commerce site or sell products, WordPress would not be recommended. There are many inexperienced webmasters and novice programmers that use the platform simply because they can just search plugins.  However, not all plugins are good. Many plugins created by developers are glitchy and do not work properly.

If you are on a limited budget and do not have much functionality or are truly creating a blog WordPress can be a great cost effective solution. We would not recommended developing any robust business applications in an open source platform unless budget really restricts you.  Your project requirements and the scope and functionality of your website should determine if you should use WordPress.  We have seen many projects where site owner was dead set on using WordPress and their project ultimately was a compete failure because the platform just was not good for what they wanted to do. You should find a knowledgeable reliable and trusted website consultant that can guide you in how you should develop your business concept and determine what is right for you.

 

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