July 29, 2008

Show Your Customers that You Care

If you have a web site that sells products or services, it is important that you show your customers that you care. Just like any other brick and mortar company in the real world, today's web site businesses depend on repeat visitors, quality products and customer service. If you are serious on building a long term ecommerce business online show your customers that you care.

A great way to show your customers that you care is to build a well organized web site that is easy to navigate. Make sure that you web site is easy on the eyes and looks professional. Do not have any popup ads on your web site or too many flash advertisements. One of the worst things that you can do is to welcome your visitors with a pop up and then 100 flashing advertisements. The site will look like a spam site and people will leave immediately.

Make sure the information that you give about your products and services is clear and concise. It is also important to make sure that your refund or exchange policy is clearly viewable and that there is an easy way for your customers to contact you if they have any problems. So if you are building long term business online, make sure that you show your customers that you care.
Many people that start doing business online usually are amazed at how complicated it can get to send out a few packages each day. If you are selling lots of merchandise and do not have the proper software you can be wasting your time and creating big headaches for yourself. Here are some tips on choosing shipping software for auction and ecommerce sites.

There are several great shipping products that can make your ecommerce site and auction site business run smoothly. Most shipping software is inexpensive, easy to use and filled with great features.

You can usually find great shipping software that costs only a few cents a day to use. Many larger businesses can purchase shipping software with important features for less than $50 each month. Depending on the size of your business will determine the shipping software necessary.

Whether you run a stand alone database or pull sales information from an Ebay payment processing program, shipping software can cut the time it takes to create labels, calculate postage and keep records to minutes each day.

Many shipping software programs work flawlessly with other great ecommerce packages and can have you completely automated so that selling your items online can be economical. Some of the larger shipping programs also offer great customer support so that if you have a glitch or an important question you can get help and your questions answered immediately. So if you are looking for a great way to automate your online auction site or ecommerce business look into shipping software.

July 20, 2008

Protect Yourself from Auction Scams

If you buy or sell on big name auction sites you should protect yourself from lots of online scams. Every day people lose thousands of dollars due to online scams on auction sites. Here are some ways to protect yourself.

Online scams are very prevalent on Ebay and other auction sites. If you buy an item make sure that the buyer has a positive rating and has some history, usually ten or more purchases or sales. Most of the time, a scammer will have a brand new account with no history.

If you buy an item on Ebay prefer to pay with Paypal. Paypal has excellent buyer coverage and doesn't give the seller any credit card information If you never receive your item you can contact Paypal and request your money back. Usually if there is no proof that an item was delivered you will receive your money fast and easily.

If you are a seller it is important to state your return and exchange policy clearly. Most people fall into trouble when they do not state a return and exchange policy or the policy is not clear. Also make sure that your packages if expensive have tracking numbers. On very expensive orders make sure an item is insured by you or the buyer purchasing the item.

If you sell specific merchandise such as DVD's or CD's make sure that an exchange can only be given for defective merchandise, you don't want a person buying your product, copying it and returning it.
If you have a web site that you would like to monetize, one of the best ways to create profit is to sell other merchant products on your site. The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you share the commission when you either produce a sale for them or produce a lead to their web site. The affiliate merchant sells the product, collects the money, and then sends you the commission once or twice a month.

There are many affiliate marketing sites, each with their own products and each with their own ways to pay their affiliates that sell for them. Some of the well known affiliate sites are Commission Junction, Clickbank, Amazon and PaydotCom.

If your web sites can reach lots of visitors that buy your featured affiliate products you can make lots of profit each month. Many top affiliate sites make thousands of dollars each month just by having their visitors buy other merchants affiliate products.

Most affiliate marketing sites are free to join for affiliates and can be free or cost a few thousand dollars for merchants wanting their products to be sold. Affiliate marketing sites usually just require your contact information and bank information if you would like direct deposit each month or bimonthly to your account. If you would like to monetize your site, look into affiliate marketing sites.

July 18, 2008

Know Your Customer, Increase Your Business

Your business may be making you a profit, but are there things you can do to make it better? Do you offer your customer the best possible transactions? Taking the time to get to know your customers can increase your business. That doesn't necessarily mean getting to know each of them on a personal basis, rather knowing their needs, their wants, predicting the goods or services they will purchase, and being prepared to keep up with changes in the market.

Figuring out the needs of your customers can be tricky. Not only are the needs of the market continually changing, but different demographic classes of the market will want different things at the same time. To find out what your customers need, pay attention to overall business trends. This will help you keep up with what is going on it the business world. It is also important to keep an eye on the competition.

It is very important to know what your customer wants. This varies significantly from knowing what they need. The needs are the things they can't live without including a quality product or service. Wants are added perks that the consumer is looking for. Often, it is the want that is offered that will help a consumer choose between your business and another.

Survey your customers
To find out what customers want, ask them. Customer surveys are a great source of information. You will find out exactly what your customers like and don't like. It is better to offer a short survey with open questions that allows them to express their opinion than pre-formatted boxes that they check off. A want just about every customer out there wants is quality customer service. Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than making a purchase, then not getting any support when it doesn't work properly or you have questions about the product or service.

Forecast customer habits
Often, it is quite easy to predict the products or services an ongoing customer will make. For example, they may increase their order close to the Holidays or reduce their order in the summer time. Regardless of the pattern, it will provide you great information to forecast sales with. You will also be ready to meet the needs of these customers better if you are aware of them, leading you to be able to plan ahead for them.

Demands change
Finally, your business has to be willing to keep up with the changing demands of the market. If you decide to stay where you are, be prepared to lose the majority of your customers who the competition who is staying on top of the changing market needs.

Taking the time to really get to know your customers and what they need, want, expect, and plan for changes will allow you to be a better provider of goods or services to consumers. This in turn will earn you the continued loyalty of the customers you have as well as make your business appealing to the rest of the consumers out there.
As we discussed in part one, having a great work history and ethic does not guarantee that you will retain your job. There are many culprits to blame, such as changing economic times, technology replacing humans works, and outsourcing work to foreign companies. The only real way that you ca retain your job is not put yourself in the position to be fired. This may seem impossible, but is really quite simple. You have to become your own boss.

Perhaps you are not worried about loosing your job, but you realize that you will never have the chance to advance any further in the company you are working for. Your monetary resources are capped out, and you will not be able to provide any better of a lifestyle for you and your family unless your pay increases. Again, the only way you will be in total control of your finances is to become your own boss.

The only way to be the boss is to start your own business. "But I do not have very much money, if any at all." you say. Well in today's culture there are quite a few businesses that can be started for little or no money at all. This is not a get rich quick scheme, I am not saying that you will be making five grand a month from the very beginning, but I am telling you, that no matter the amount of money that you have, you should still be able to start a business without much fuss.

Here are some more examples of businesses that require little or no money up front:


Are you good with numbers and organization? If you are, you may want to think about starting a book keeping business. This business is pretty easy to market since every type of person, and business may need someone to update their business books.

The only thing you may need for this type of job is a program(if you are using a computer) and the necessary paperwork. If you have to supply the paperwork, you can charge additionally for this.

You will want to advertise residually at local tax places or office stores. If you want to target businesses you may want to look into local business directories. If nothing else, you can put an ad in your local newspaper and go from there.

Home Organization

If you good are at organization, then you may want to consider starting a business organization business.

You may want to consider supplying the materials needed for organization such as boxes, labels, shelves, etc. If you provide the materials, then you will be able to charge for it. You may also require your clients to buy the materials themselves. Whatever you decide will work.

Home organization is best advertised at home stores and in your local paper.

Language Translation

You will help break through barriers caused by language difference and improved communication. Businesses will call you when they know they will be dealing with clientele that speak a different language, typically in advance. Every once and awhile, you may be called in an emergency situation. The pay depends on the amount of people you will have to translate for, and if you are notified ahead of time or not.

If English is your second language, or you just have a liking for foreign languages, you services will come in handy for local businesses that deal with multi-cultures.

If you do not know a foreign language, but you are still interested in language translation as a career or business, then translation books and programs number in the thousands, even for the newest user. It just takes a little time and energy to learn a new language.

Contact local business, doctor's offices, and government agencies and ask if they are in need of translation services.

July 12, 2008

Find an Office

If you are looking to sell items on auction sites such as Ebay, there are a few ways to make your selling more profitable. Many people jump into Ebay and start selling before they realize that like anything else, it is a business. If you would like to sell on Ebay and make a healthy profit, here are some great tips.

It is important to find an item that you can sell that can make you a healthy profit. There are many items that sell well on Ebay, unfortunately though the market is saturated and there are dozens of competitors that are at each others throat. If you are just starting out, choose an item that doesn't have a lot of competition and that is easy to sell. You might find one or two items that will earn you a few dollars a day. And actually a few dollars a day profit is good when starting out instead of losing money.

Auction sites can cost a lot. Figure in fees such as listing fees, final purchase fees, payment processing fess and shipping fees, so do your homework, and figure out exactly how much an item costs to sell. Most auction site sellers only make a dollar or two on an item, even though they get it dirt cheap. Unless you have a special product don't expect to make wide profit margins. A few bucks is typical.

It is also important to state your product, return policy and shipping policy clearly. You don't want a person taking advantage of you or your product. Make sure everyone that enters into a transaction with you is well informed. So follow these tips to selling on auction sites.
If you are thinking of expanding or would like to set up a home base, for most small businesses finding an office makes sense. Most offices for small businesses are surprisingly affordable and can be much a more effective work environment than working from home.

While many people love working from home, if you think your work productivity lacks because you are constantly being distracted at home, you may find finding an office is the perfect answer. Office's for a few people or even one or two people are very affordable and you can usually deduct the entire cost or partial cost on your taxes.

Most people that look into finding an office are amazed that it can be very affordable and easy to set up. Usually phone lines, internet and sometimes even furniture are included in the price of renting an office. Most small offices can be found for less than $1,000 per month and many are less than that. Many small businesses find an office a great way to go legit, not considering themselves a home based business any longer.

If your business has been hiring labor, guiding your labor and managing them is much easier in a true office environment. Many home businesses that find an office usually see a spike in productivity as labor and the business owner can focus better and work together. If you have a small business and would like to find an office to expand or manage your staff better, take a look at the above tips.

July 5, 2008

Sign Up to Be an Affiliate

If you are looking for a great way to increase your profits and expand your business, signing up to be an affiliate is one of the best ways. Signing up to be an affiliate marketer is one of the best ways to cash in on the best products and services being sold on the internet. Here are some tips.

Many products and services that are offered on the internet can be sold through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is an easy concept. If you are the owner of web sites, blogs or forums that receives traffic, turn this traffic into revenue, by offering your visitors great affiliate products. As an affiliate marketer, you are paid for either producing a sale or producing a lead. If you sign up to be an affiliate, you will receive a special link with your private code in the link. Every time one of your visitors clicks your link and buys an item, you are recognized as the seller and are given a huge commission. Many commissions usually range from 10% all the way up to 50%.

The great part of signing up to be an affiliate is that it costs you nothing. It is usually free to join, free to sell a product and once the product is sold, you only have to collect your money. You do not have to worry about delivering the product or any tech support involved in the product. Signing up to be an affiliate is a super easy way to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars off of other people's great products and services.
Software can be extremely expensive for a small business or an individual. Many software programs can cost hundreds of dollars each and a whole suite of software programs can cost close to a grand. For students, small business owners and individuals that need the power of specific software there is another alternative rather than spending hundreds of dollars or downloading software illegally off the internet. Many people are choosing to buy used software.

Used software is perfectly legal. Used software is similar to buying a used CD. The person that originally owned the software uninstalls the software from his or her computer and sells the entire software, CD, instructions, and all to a new buyer. There is a huge market for used software and you can always find great deals

No matter what kind of software you are looking for, you can usually find it in used form. Windows, MS Office, Adobe Photoshop are all available in used form and hundreds of dollars less than what you would pay normally. Some great places to buy used software are online at auction sites and ecommerce web sites. So if you are looking for great software without the high price, check out used software.

July 1, 2008

Ways to Make Your Affiliate Website Successful

An affiliate website is defined as a website that sells other's products or information for profit. This is one of the best types of investment sites simply because you do not have to product any of the products, just the website to market them.

Here are a few ways that you will maximize your profits from your affiliate website.

1) Join affiliate programs that offer high commissions. Each affiliate program is different, especially when it comes to the amount of money is paid for each referral. If you are only going to make a fraction of a penny each sale, why bother when they are thousands of other programs that offer much more?

2) Join 2 or 3 tier programs. A "tier" program allows you to not only sell their product or service for profit, but it also allows you to recruit others to do the same. Once you recruit others, you then gain profits for each of their sales as well. A 3 tier program allows you to collect profits for the people your recruit AND the people they recruit. Essentially, you make money off of their efforts.

3) Join affiliate programs that offer lifetime commissions. Lifetime commission means that you not only make money on the initial sale, but you will also earn commission each time that customer comes back and buys something additional.

4) Join Google Adsense. Google Adsense is by far one of the most profitable and well known affiliate program on the internet today. Instead of making money based on sales, you make money based on when someone clicks on the link. Perhaps one of the best features is the fact that the ad generated by Google Adsense is targeted towards the content on your website. This means that the customers that visit your website are more likely to click on the ads because they pertain to what they were looking for in the first place.

Alternatively, Google also allows you to place a search box on your site, and you will be paid each time someone uses it and visit a link.

Because Google Adsense changes its links to match the content on the page in which it is found, it can be used easily on every page of your website, including pages with other affiliate links on them.

5) Join affiliate networks. An affiliate network is a website that offers a wide variety of products and services to sell on your website. This allows you to easily search for affiliate program in which you want to market. It also will monitor all of your commissions from the various programs, add it to one account, and then send you one check once the amount in your account exceeded your specified amount. If you have ever tried to manage several affiliate programs at once, you will greatly appreciate this feature.

6) Optimize your website. You will want to make your page friendly for both search engines and your visitors.

Search engines use bots to scan and track your website in order to index it. You must provide these bots with easy to read code, keywords, and content. Use keywords and information that describes the product you are trying to sale.

More importantly, you will want to make your page friendly for your visitors. Make sure you have a clear, easy to read website that remain constant throughout.

Make sure that your pages load quick, as you may have some customers that are on dialup. Make sure you include a navigation menu on all pages of your website, which leads not only to the type of product that they are looking for, but also other categories as well. You never know if some may be looking for a specific item, but may also stumble on something they were technically looking for, but something they are still interested in none the less.
If you have a laptop and are looking to use the internet when you are away from your home or office, look into WIFI. WIFI is a way for your laptop computer to easily access the internet from any place that offers a wifi hot spot.

WIFI has been around for a few years, but since the technology has expanded and has become affordable, more and more people are using it. Wifi hot spots are popping up all over America and today, there are several cities that are making their entire area one huge wifi hot spot so that everyone can enjoy internet access whether they are at home, at the office or at the park.

Wifi usually only requires a wifi card to enable internet access. Most laptop computers today come with these wifi components already built in. A wifi hot spot is very easy to find and most cafs and restaurants set up their own wifi hot spots so that customers can bring in their computers and surf the web while purchasing coffee or lunch. Many hotels and airports are also adding wifi hotspots. Many of these hot spots charge for using the service. Usually the cost can be $5 to $10 an hour or a small fee for a day or months unlimited use. So if you are looking for a great way to access the internet no matter where you are, check out wifi.