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Blogging 101

Techniques That Can Help You Build an Online Store

by Holly Duce on March 21, 2014

The idea of an online store can be very enticing for many people who have always had the business itch, but never the cash flow to open a store of their own. However, the Internet is littered with loads of failed startups over the last two decades. Those businesses figured that a large marketing blitz would take care of the hard work. Memorable commercials can help a business in the short term, but they’re not the only thing that needs to go right for the company to succeed. A steady website is the most vital piece of that long-term success, as it will be the front for all the work the company does to the general public.

Luckily, plenty of techniques and tools out in the market a novice seller can seriously consider purchasing with the aim of building a solid web presence. Finding the right Internet provider for your web access shouldn’t be all that difficult, as there are many out in the market that fit any budget. Getting the right design for your marketing will be a little more difficult, but it’s also easy to scan through the various designs available. The final piece of learning how to start to build an online store is getting a quality CMS system, however. That can take a little more trial and error, but will be worth it in the end for anyone involved with the business.

How a CMS System Can Help Spread Word of Mouth

Of course, being a rookie business owner doesn’t absolve one from making bad decisions, and the choice of CMS system is a pretty major one. What the term stands for is content management system, and it’s essentially the spine of any working website. A good CMS can allow for easy access for any potential customer, and withstand the increased interest from worldwide consumers. They can also make it easy for people to modify the amounts of stock available, and keep in contact with the warehouse handling the stock. The numbers of each item can be tracked and changed automatically, depending on what’s needed.

What to Avoid When Looking at CMS Options

Anything in business can be a huge failure if things go wrong, even with the increased familiarity of the technology involved. Even as CMS becomes standard, there are still possible issues to remember. Smashing Magazine once listed the most important elements to a CMS and leading the list is core functionality. Essentially, that’s the ability to do what you need the system to do. A blogging CMS would allow you to create pages, a commerce-based CMS needs the ability to upload photos of items and keep stock numbers current. Choosing the wrong CMS would sink the potential business before it got started.

Other Elements That shouldn’t be skipped

Lastly, all of the online techniques involved in crafting a website are without a doubt important. But the vital parts of customer service have equal stature, all the more crucial when considering the size of the business and the people involved. When someone gets a bad item or their order isn’t fulfilled, that falls on the store’s management to make it right, or else they’ve lost that customer for good. The lack of customers hurts that much more when the size of the potential market is small to begin with. So the typical business process any company goes through is made quicker by the use of online shopping. These days, any mistake is magnified and pointed out much faster than ever before.

If a small company bungles an order, that’s potentially serious for the long-term health of the business. If you’ve got a personal touch and remember to either email the customer, telling them that their reworked item is on the way or offer a refund, they’ll be willing to give the management a pass. Think of it as a second chance given because of a little bit of kindness. That can be worth all of the technological advances in the world to a happy customer. When something like that happens, it’s not uncommon to see the customer give the company a second chance.

However, that also means the company’s margin for error is just that much smaller. If another order is bungled, it’s a pattern that the customer will notice and move somewhere else to get the items they wanted. If this happens frequently, it’s down to the people in charge to make sure that the problem is resolved and fast. That could mean workers would lose their jobs or an overhaul of the CMS is needed, in which case the supervisor’s original research on CMS systems would need to be overhauled. For the majority of people on staff, it’s definitely not an appetizing possibility.

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Photo Jan 23, 12 21 31 AMIf you want to build an online store to sell your products, it is important that you pay the utmost attention to your website design. After you have come up with an awesome web design for your online retailing business, you have to ensure that it meets certain requirements to make it standout. According to inchoo.net, it is important for a company to ensure that they all they need to know prior to building an online store.

You will also have to audit the quality of your site and find out if your website is a magnet for prospective customers:

Website Recognition

Your website needs to be recognized by your target customers as soon as they land on your webpage.  If your target customers do not recognize your existing website when they land on it, then your web design needs some work. In online retailing, it is important for your target audience to recognize your site immediately when they see it. What is the point of having a website that no one will recognize for providing the product they are in search of?

Striking Images

No visitor to your website will stay a moment longer if they see blurry images. Are the product images on your website clear or slightly blurry? If the customer has to squint in order to make out the displayed image, then there is something wrong with your site design. When you build an online store, ensure that your website design includes bright, clear and crisp images. Remember, shoppers cannot touch or feel the product you are selling, so you have to provide clear images of the product to improve their online shopping experience.

Proper Web Design

It does not make sense to have an ecommerce website design that actually leaves shoppers confused. Ensure that your web design is navigable and looks elegant at first glance. Some ecommerce website vendors provide world class tools to help you create a store online that can compete with the world’s best websites.

Font and Color Combination

You will need to ensure that you maintain a very thoughtful mix of font styles and colors on every single page. The color you pick for your website design shouldn’t be to suit your own taste but to appeal to your website visitors.

Use of Whitespace

You should not overdo the look of your web design. You will also need to keep some blank spaces in order to maintain a balance in your website design.

Stay Clear of Distracting Images

As an online store owner, you will need to make sure that your customers do not get distracted by links animations and other images.

Organizing On-page

Be sure to organize all the on-page content. Describe products in a sensible way to ensure that your shoppers make well-informed purchasing decisions.

Your Target Market is King

Your website design and every other thing that will be included in your site should keep prospective users in mind. Invest extra time in ensuring that your website’s color, content and layout turn out well.

Descriptive Links

When you a store online, it is very important that you provide proper description for destination webpages.

Global Standards

The web design and flow of information should be carried out keeping in mind the global standards of online marketing.

Easy Site Navigation

A good site should be very easy to navigate and should suit the needs of the visitors’. Include features that will make it easy for visitors to link back to your site’s pages and to also set up a really good relation from the business POV (point of view).

Other things to consider when you build an online store are payment processors, shipping costs, user account, blogging pages etc. Many well-known and trusted ecommerce vendors offer tools that will help you create your online store and start accepting orders the same day. All you have to do is to select a theme, customize your website, add products and start processing your customers’ credit cards immediately.

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So, you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or building a website, but you’re not really sure where to start.  Consider a free website builder.  It’s easy to do even if you’ve never tried to make a website before.  You don’t need any programming or HTML knowledge.  Website builders use preset design formats and layouts where you can insert your own graphics and customize the templates just by clicking a few buttons.

There are many sites to choose from.  Easy Website Builders allows you to compare different website building services.  Make an informed decision with a star rating and detailed review.  Some sites are free for 30 days while others are free indefinitely.  Read reviews from other customers and decide for yourself which free website builder you would like to use.  Achieve your goals ust when you though it was impossible to get started on your site.

We were compensated for this post, however, all opinions expressed are our own.  See Mommies With Cents disclosure policy for more details.

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Blogging 101: Writer’s Block

by Holly Duce on May 3, 2011

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We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!

Last week talked about Keeping Your Content Fresh.  Sometimes that is easier said than done.  What if you’ve got writer’s block?  It happens to the best of us but there are a few things that may help.  Having a schedule is beneficial not only for you, but your readers as well.  Take for instance, this Blogging 101 series.  It’s posted every Tuesday.  So, every Tuesday I have a pre-determined topic to write about.  Readers who are interested in this topic will know to visit on Tuesdays to check it out.  We have several series spread out throughout the week so we always have something to write about.  A great resource if you are a mom blogger is The Social Moms Blog Writing Prompts.  They offer a topic or a question each day to inspire you and keep you writing.  Those are two methods we use to keep our content fresh and avoid writers block.  Do you have any other suggestions?  We’d love to hear them!

When Mindy and I started out we had no idea what we were doing. We learned as we went and even though it’s been a few years, there is still so much to learn! We are learning new things all of the time and it’s so much fun! We’ve had help along the way and we want to pay it forward. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, we invite you to fill out the form below.

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Blogging 101: Keep Your Content Fresh

by Holly Duce on April 26, 2011

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We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!

We’ve talked about how to gain readers here, here and here but now lets talk about keeping readers.  The most important thing you can do to keep the readers you already have is to keep your content fresh.  The topic or genre of your blog determines how often you need to post new content.  Since our blog is mostly time sensitive bargains, deals and freebies we aim to post at least 8 posts per day.  Many other bloggers in our genre post quite a bit more and some post less but almost all of the successful ones post daily- 7 days a week!  If your blog focuses on a topic like gardening or cooking you’ll likely be able to post something every few days and still keep your readers but it’s important  not to have a lot of time lapse without an update or readers will stop checking in.  If you’ll be out for awhile you can post a little note saying when you’ll return so readers don’t think you’ve abandoned them.

When Mindy and I started out we had no idea what we were doing. We learned as we went and even though it’s been a few years, there is still so much to learn! We are learning new things all of the time and it’s so much fun! We’ve had help along the way and we want to pay it forward. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, we invite you to fill out the form below.

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Blogging 101: What is PageRank?

by Holly Duce on April 18, 2011

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We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!

Today’s questions is What is PageRank?

This is Wikipedia’s definition:

“PageRank reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.

PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page’s importance.”

When someone asks you what your PageRank is, they are most likely referring to your Google PR score as defined above.  The algorithm used to determine your PageRank takes many factors into account including how long your blog has been established, how many readers visit your page, the length of time they spend on the page and more.  The score is bases on a scale of 0-10.  The higher the number, the better. To find out your PageRank, visit this site.  Knowing what determines your PageRank can help you increase your score and where to focus your energy to improve it.

When Mindy and I started out we had no idea what we were doing. We learned as we went and even though it’s been a few years, there is still so much to learn! We are learning new things all of the time and it’s so much fun! We’ve had help along the way and we want to pay it forward. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, we invite you to fill out the form below.

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Blogging 101: Spring Break Homework Assignment

by Holly Duce on April 12, 2011

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We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!

It’s spring break this week but Blogging 101 students aren’t completely off the hook. Take this week to review our previously covered Blogging 101 topics.  Let us know if you’ve tried any of our suggestions.  Please also take a moment to suggest a topic you’d like to see covered or ask a specific question you’d like to see answered using the form below.

When Mindy and I started out we had no idea what we were doing. We learned as we went and even though it’s been a few years, there is still so much to learn! We are learning new things all of the time and it’s so much fun! We’ve had help along the way and we want to pay it forward!

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Blogging 101: How to Gain Readers Part 3

by Holly Duce on April 5, 2011

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We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!

Today’s question is: How do you gain readers? (see part 1 here and part 2 here)

The good news is there are lots of ways to gain readers. That bad news? They all take a time commitment and effort. We’ll take a couple of weeks to cover different ways to help you gain readers.

In parts 1 and 2 we covered guest posting on other blogs to broaden your reach and being social with other bloggers, and on Twitter and Facebook to gain readers. This week our suggestion is to think outside of the box.  Just because your blog is online doesn’t mean you can’t connect with people in the real world.  Have some business cards made up (get 250 free business cards and pay only the cost of shipping) and hand them to moms at playgroups, families at church or post them on bulletin boards around your community.  One year I handed out our business card with a lolly pop attached to Trick or Treaters on Halloween.

Mindy and I also have our website address in big vinyl letters on the back window of our mini vans.  I’m not sure if it has brought in any traffic but it couldn’t hurt.  That’s nearly free advertising!

Mindy had a great idea to have tee-shirts made up with our website address on them.  She was going to wear one while at the airport.  It’s a busy place and there can be a lot of sitting around, people watching…who knows?  We could gain a few loyal readers that never would have found us otherwise! Tees can be made on the cheap here.  They can be worn anytime you know you’ll be around a crowd or even when you are out doing your grocery shopping.  Speaking of shopping, why not get a personalized reusable shopping tote bag too?

Do you have any tips on how to gain readers? we are always learning and would love to hear your suggestions! Next week we’ll go over another method for gaining readers so check back! For more tips, see all of our posts in our Blogging 101 Series.

When Mindy and I started out we had no idea what we were doing. We learned as we went and even though it’s been a few years, there is still so much to learn! We are learning new things all of the time and it’s so much fun! We’ve had help along the way and we want to pay it forward. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, we invite you to fill out the form below.

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Blogging 101: How to Gain Readers Part 2

by Holly Duce on March 29, 2011

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We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!

Today’s question is: How do you gain readers? (see part 1 here)

The good news is there are lots of ways to gain readers. That bad news? They all take a time commitment and effort. We’ll take a couple of weeks to cover different ways to help you gain readers.

Last week we talked about being social with other bloggers, and on Twitter and Facebook to gain readers.  This week our suggestion is to guest post on other blogs.  Have no idea what I’m talking about?  Let me explain.  A guest post is an article written by you.  It can be a tutorial or an article on a topic you are well versed in (or anything really, as long as the content is suitable for the blog you are submitting it to).  It is shared with another blogger to be posted on their blog with a link back to your own.  Guest posts are great for a number of reasons.  As you will soon find out if you haven’t already, blogging is a lot of work.  It’s important not to leave your blog dormant for days at a time or readers will lose interest and think you’ve abandoned them.

Lets say you are planning on taking a family vacation.  Depending on the type of blog you have and your commitment, you probably won’t be blogging much from the road.  You can schedule posts ahead of time so your blog is on a sort of auto pilot but scheduling a weeks worth of posts ahead of time is a big task.  We probably get at least one email a week from fellow bloggers asking for guest post submissions to help them with content so they can take a little time off.  Even if you aren’t asked directly, you can email a few of your favorite bloggers and offer to submit a guest post to them.  Chances are, they’ll be grateful as long as the post is thought out and well written.  Some bloggers will require that the content has not been published elsewhere, either on your own blog or as a guest post on another blog, but many won’t mind if it has been.

It doesn’t hurt to write a short bio to include with your guest post and makes it easier on the blogger you are submitting it to.  Include a link to your blog and a short blurb about who you are.

Why is submitting a guest post beneficial to you?  Your content will reach new potential readers.  If they like what they see, they’ll hope over and check out your blog.  As you can see, guest posts can benefit both the writer and the blogger who publishes it.  Reach out and meet some new bloggers in the process!

Do you have any tips on how to gain readers? we are always learning and would love to hear your suggestions! Next week we’ll go over another method for gaining readers so check back! For more tips, see all of our posts in our Blogging 101 Series.

When Mindy and I started out we had no idea what we were doing. We learned as we went and even though it’s been a few years, there is still so much to learn! We are learning new things all of the time and it’s so much fun! We’ve had help along the way and we want to pay it forward. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, we invite you to fill out the form below.

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Blogging 101: How Do You Gain Readers Part 1

by Holly Duce on March 22, 2011

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We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!

Today’s question is:  How do you gain readers?

The good news is there are lots of ways to gain readers.  That bad news?  They all take a time commitment and effort.  We’ll take a couple of weeks to cover different ways to help you gain readers.

A great way to gain readers is by being involved in online communities and being social.  Engage with readers and other bloggers on Twitter and Facebook.  Start a dialog or interact with them.  Follow or fan people that interest you- they are likely to follow or fan you back.  Visit other blogs and leave comments. Building relationships will establish a solid readership of people who will visit your blog again and again.

Admittedly, this isn’t one of our strong suits.  Mindy and I have three small children each making time something we severely lack.  We tend to do these things in bursts when we have time.  Unfortunately, that isn’t often.  It’s fun to be social though and an easy way to gain and keep readers.

Do you have any tips on how to gain readers?  we are always learning and would love to hear your suggestions!  Next week we’ll go over another method for gaining readers so check back!  For more tips, see all of our posts in our Blogging 101 Series.

When Mindy and I started out we had no idea what we were doing. We learned as we went and even though it’s been a few years, there is still so much to learn! We are learning new things all of the time and it’s so much fun! We’ve had help along the way and we want to pay it forward. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, we invite you to fill out the form below.

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Blogging 101: Where Do You Find Your Stats

March 15, 2011

We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us! Today’s question is: Where do […]

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Blogging 101: Using Google Forms for Giveaways

March 8, 2011

We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us! Today’s lesson is: Using Google […]

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Blogging 101: Sponsored Posts

March 1, 2011

We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us! Today’s question is: Where do […]

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Blogging 101: What is the etiquette on sharing deals posted by other bloggers?

February 22, 2011

We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us! Today’s question is: What is […]

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Blogging 101: Social Spark

February 15, 2011

We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us! Today we want to introduce […]

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Blogging 101: how do you get companies to know about your blog so you can host giveaways?

February 7, 2011

We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us! Today’s questions is “How do […]

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Blogging 101: How to Make a Button

February 1, 2011

We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us! Today’s questions is “How do […]

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Blogging 101: What is the first step to starting a blog?

January 25, 2011

We’ve had some readers express interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents! If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us! Today’s questions is “What is […]

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New Series: Blogging 101

January 24, 2011

We’ve had some readers express some interest in learning about blogging so we’ve decided to make it a weekly series on Mommies with Cents!  If you are interested in learning how to start your own blog or to cultivate and grow the one you have, we welcome you to join us!  If you have a […]

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