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Three Basic Steps To Prevent 20 Years of Ecommerce Advertising & Internet Marketing Mistakes

With 20 years marketing to consumers, I have literally worked with thousands of products, been associated to successful brands and to those not so successful. I have made online, offline, and over the line mistakes, but in this article I will keep you from making as many of them. If you get paid to market or advertise for others, you can’t afford not to read this.

Thousands of people get this wrong. They apply advertising systems that have been in place for decades, to e commerce advertising and Internet marketing, regardless of what they know is right for today or what will provide the end result of e commerce. We all know that the Internet is changing, always changing, and the search engines and consumers depend on that. They want things to change. Why do Internet marketers depend on the same concepts to entice consumers to websites? They build brands and website traffic through keyword listings, banner advertising, email marketing, and paid advertising on Google AdWords, or Yahoo.

Listen to this closely. Reflect on a few questions. What are the main ingredients that make you successful, not only in the online marketing industry, but in life? Are they intelligence, devotion, passion, and maybe for you…beauty? Those always help. Do you believe that if you are a true marketer, your best assets are your heart, your gut, and your ears?

For the success of the Internet advertising & marketing business, or anything that depends on consumer behavior, advertisers and marketers must begin to listen to consumers. That is the first step. It sounds simple and it should be an easy concept to grasp, especially for a marketing professional. Time and time again, top marketers, advertisers, and e commerce professionals make the mistake of ignoring the consumer. That has been happening since the Internet’s infancy. Remember the late nineties, when Yahoo purchased Broadcast.com, then promptly made many our friends and marketing associates enough money to buy anything they had ever dreamed of, during their short 20-something lives?. It seemed that we were all successful, but we we did one thing wrong. What was the mistake? We did not listen to our consumers. We did not hear them. We followed advertising systems and practices that have been in place for decades.

Next, we must begin to take what the consumer is sharing with us and apply the information to business applications, which further influence the consumer. This second step can be applied to e commerce, Internet Advertising and general marketing practices. Follow your gut on this one. Track your success and apply what is trending success.

The third step is simple, but the place where most online marketers fall short; work hard and have passion for what you are doing. Follow your heart . This is the basis for a wealth of e commerce information. Listen to your heart, go with your gut, and always listen to others, especially the consumer. You will gain so much from it.

The Days of Expensive Ecommerce Shopping Carts Are Now Over – Prices Over $1500 Are an Overcharge

I have been actively creating ecommerce shopping cart websites for myself and clients for over 15 years now; during this time, there has been a drastic change in both the platforms and technologies used to create ecommerce websites, but precious little change in the prices that some unscrupulous ecommerce companies are willing to charge their unsuspecting clients.

Here’s what got me thinking

Just the other day I came across a company ( who shall remain nameless ), who we’re specialist in Magento ecommerce websites – charging their customers upwards of $3000 in order to have a shopping cart website built for them. As someone who works with Magento on almost a daily basis, my first thought when I came across their prices was: ‘but why?’

Why $3000 to me just seem ridiculous

You see; Magento is an open source ecommerce platform that is given away for free by most companies that offer cPanel website hosting – so where exactly does the company I mentioned get their “$3000+” figure from?… is it purely a labour charge?

I really hope this article serves as both an educator and money saver for anyone who is looking to set up their own ecommere website.

How to set up your own ecommerce shopping cart website

Setting up your own ecommerce shopping cart website really is not hard once you have the know how. There are just a few important things you will need:

  1. A Domain name (www.YourWebsiteName.com).
  2. Website hosting ( This is where your website will “live” on the internet ).
  3. A payment processor
  4. SSL certificate
  5. A nice theme & design for your store

Step by step

1. Domain Name

In order to find and register your website domain name, I recommend you use a well established domain registrar such as Godaddy.com.

On the Godaddy.com website you will be able to search for the availability of any domain name, register domains, and change the nameservers of the domain in order for it to point to your web hosting.

2. Website Hosting

Who you choose for your websites hosting will play a very important part in whether your ecommerce website set up process is troublesome or stress-free.

I recommend that you choose a web hosting provider that provides the “cPanel ” environment with their hosting – as this allows for easy installation of several free ecommerce shopping cart platforms, including: Magento, Zen Cart, Os Commerce and even WordPress.

Once you are inside cPanel, you can then look for the ecommerce software of your choice and commence the installation process.

The ecommerce platform you choose will be dependent on your needs, requirements and level of ability.

3. Merchant account / payment processor

Gone are the days when you had to have a massive budget and a perfect credit rating in order to be able to accept and process payments via your website.

You can now simply sign up for an online payment processor such as PayPal, who will handle all the payment processing and fraud checking for you. They will usually take a small per transaction fee for their troubles.

4. SSL Certificate

Although not essential to do business, it is essential to make sure your customers will feel comfortable about submitting their personal information via your website – as everyone cares about their personal information.

Installing an SSL certificate from a reputable provider encrypts your customers sensitive personal information.

Offer your customers extra peace of mind by clearly displaying that your website encrypts their personal information via SSL.

5. A nice theme and design for your store

Although not essential, having a nice theme for your ecommerce website can really help to create a good first impression.

The majority of ecommerce platforms out there will have a universal theme that everyone who installs the shopping cart will receive. For customers landing on your website first impressions count; it can be the difference between a sale or not.

I recommend that you invest in a professional theme for your ecommerce website as it should pay dividends in the long run.

I really hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it – and that if you are in the market for an ecommerce website you’ll realise there is absolutely no need to pay ridiculous prices for an ecommerce website.

Finding Tax Preparation Information Online

Finding a place to prepare taxes online is not too difficult these days. Finding good advice on how to prepare your taxes can be another story. Tax preparation advice can come from a variety of sources, including government, enterprise, and non-profit. This article covers a few of the major ones.

Government Sources

Believe it or not, one of the best online tax preparation resources is the IRS. You’ve got to watch your “.govs” and “.coms” though. “Irs.com” is a cleverly disguised informational site fronting for an online tax preparation service. Despite the official-looking building the bare-bones look, all clicks lead to the multi-tiered submission options that may get your taxes to the real IRS, and will put a little cash in their pocket at the same time. I think the actual IRS.gov site looks a bit better, to tell the truth, and that is where you’ll need to go to get actual tax information from the government.

http://Www.irs.gov has gotten better every year at spelling out their procedures and rule changes in plain English. They have finally chosen to begin with the assumption, as the rest of us do, that preparing tax returns is destined to be a confusing process. Just as their telephone interaction has improved, so has their website. It’s designed for the consumer, not the accountant and it’s a good place to start.

Enterprise Sources

H&R Block is something of an eight hundred pound gorilla in the tax preparation game; not only have they been operating a storefront network for generations but they have also acquired one of the two major tax prep software programs, Tax Cut. Their web site has a collection of related articles that may be of value; topics include tax scams, higher education deductions, the alternative minimum tax and other issues that you could spend significant time searching for. If you’re lucky, they’ve written it up – and their articles are professional and thorough. Other than that, the site is interested in selling its online and software versions of Tax Cut. http://Www.hrblock.com

There are online tax preparation services galore these days. Some of them hook you up with an accounting firm, a few of them will sell you a software package and send it to you, but most of them walk you through the forms online. When you’re done, you can file your federal form electronically. Some, though not all, of the online sites provide state returns as well. You can find a comprehensive list of the services out there on Yahoo at http://dir.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Business_to_Business/Financial_Services/Accounting/Firms/Tax_Accounting/Return_Preparation/Online_Preparation_and_Electronic_Filing/

If the notion of putting your entire financial soul online through a faceless website makes you nervous – it should. The e-thieves know opportunity when they see it, and tax forms are a great resource for identity theft. Microsoft has a good page on the subject, with multiple recommendations and resources for protecting yourself during the electronic tax preparation process. It’s worth a look at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/privacy/taxes.mspx.

Google has an excellent page on tax preparation that provides categories of services such as online services and software packages, tax forms and tax law. They go on to provide an excellent list of specific sites for tax preparation information. It includes some commercial sites but also lists specific IRS pages, consumer tax information sites, consumer review sites for online services, and sites with advice comments from professionals.
http://www.google.com/Top/Home/Personal_Finance/Tax_Preparation/.

Non-Profit Sources

AARP has a tax preparation assistance program that is staffed with trained volunteers. This service is essentially an old-fashioned face to face arrangement, just as you would go through with an accountant. However it’s free of charge and it’s national in scope. You can visit their site and learn about how it works and where to find their assistance sites at http://www.aarp.org/money/taxaide/taxpreparation/. Last year they prepared returns for two million people.

These are just a selection of starting points; it remains, as always, a personal choice: e-rendering unto e-Caesar what is e-Caesars’s.