Latest Updates

Social:

Nine Common E-commerce Website Mistakes

Most e-commerce websites have problems when they first launch online. From large and elaborate shopping venues to simple or turnkey solutions, new sites often experience glitches. No website — and no site designer or developer — is perfect.

While it’s hard to predict the problems a website may encounter, companies can often prevent them with a little forethought and planning. Most mistakes are also easy to fix after they are discovered. Here are nine common e-commerce website mistakes, along with a few solutions.

1. Wrong Shopping Cart

E-commerce businesses should do their homework before they choose a shopping cart for their websites. With so many platforms available, it’s important to pick the right one. The best shopping cart meets all of a company’s needs regarding features, functionality, integration and budget.

2. Inadequate Site Security

Some people are hesitant to shop online due to security concerns. Many businesses, especially small ones, have a problem convincing shoppers to use their sites. In an era when significant hacks have stolen sensitive customer data, digital certificates and encrypted connections just make sense.

3. Poor Site Navigation

Customers will leave a website if they can’t find what they want quickly and easily. Companies should make sure their shopping sites are easy to navigate so customers can find what they’re looking for. Their contact information should also be easy to find.

4. No Search Function

People who can search for products on-site are more likely to make a purchase. Many turnkey systems don’t provide adequate search functions. Fortunately, businesses can use website plug-ins to integrate search capabilities into shopping carts.

5. Low Quality Photographs

The Internet is a visual world. Customers who shop online give up the ability to hold a product and inspect it. For this reason, it’s important for e-commerce businesses to provide good photographs. Professional photos are better than stock images, and photographers should shoot the products from all angles.

6. Stock Product Descriptions

Many retailers use manufacturer descriptions to sell their products. While stock descriptions are an easy way to create content, they do nothing to differentiate a business from its competitors. The solution is simple: Companies should write unique product descriptions or hire a freelancer to write them.

7. Difficult Checkout Procedure

A long or difficult checkout process can drive away customers. One-page checkouts are the best option; they take customers through account creation, billing, payments and shipping — all on the same page. Merchant account services make the process easier for shoppers and businesses alike.

8. No Mobile Version

It’s a mistake to ignore mobile customers. According to Business 2 Community, mobile commerce made up one-fourth of e-commerce sales in 2013. That number will continue to grow as more people rely on their smartphones and tablets for research and shopping.

9. No Social Presence

Many companies underestimate social sharing. By making content easy to share on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, companies can maximize their web presence. A social presence will drive awareness and sales.

 

Connecting Small Businesses for Big Business Productivity

Starting a small business used to entail the purchase of a large, wired phone system and connecting one main computer to a modem. Today’s networking possibilities are almost limitless with cloud and WiFi connectivity. Save your database with a reputable networking company to avoid hardware and backup headaches, for example. Your small business will feel large without all the frustrations of a corporate lifestyle.

VoIP Calling Ease

Voice over Internet Protocol bypasses the local telephone company and places calls through a broadband connection. You aren’t at the mercy of the telephone company if lines go down, for instance. VoIP provides crisp calls across the globe with a very low monthly rate. Networking companies often set up small businesses with VoIP to help them spread their own networking abilities with vendors around the world. Even videoconferencing is possible with this technology.

Shared Information

Many companies share or transfer information between hard drives, sometimes as many as a dozen different computers. Today’s networking solutions use a cloud strategy. Instead of saving data to an internal computer, its moved to a remote hard drive at the networking provider’s facility. They manage all the hardware and software updates, allowing you to simply upload and download as necessary. This reduced maintenance management helps employers concentrate on profits and customer care.

Device Management Made Easy

It seems like a new device innovation appears each month for businesses to integrate or completely ignore. With a networking provider, devices are tested for the small business. A provider representative may stop by each quarter, for example, to show you new phones or other devices. You have the option of upgrading or declining. However, any changes are strictly the job of the provider, including any necessary licenses. You’re paying for their expertise to vet any new hardware or software for your team.

Configurations by Professionals

While you concentrate on boosting the bottom line, your network provider researches bandwidth and matching it to your hardware configuration. It’s their job to keep your system running at optimal speed. If any added device slows the system down, it hinders everyone’s productivity. The provider tests and verifies all additions or adjustments to keep your business working steadily toward a better tomorrow.

Integrated Safety

With hacking and security issues as a top concern in the business world, your networking provider should offer you a listing of all their protective measures. From firewalls to intricate passwords, they should be checking your system periodically for any hacking signs. Breaking into a database could result in lost proprietary information or significant profit loss. Ask about all security measures before deciding on a company. Their reputation often precedes them.

With no long distance charges and nearly limitless hard drive space, cloud and modern networking systems only boost your profits over time. It’s always best to contact a networking professional to see your regional choices for your overall business needs. The initial investment is worth your rise in popularity with customers and vendors.

 

Around The Web

last update: September 19, 2014

Why the Internet Saves Lives Everyday

internet-cable1

One of the scariest times in a persons life, is when they suspect that something may be wrong with their health. The Internet helps everyday people to stay informed, seek support and to obtain all of the information they desire on a given topic when it comes to illness or adverse affects that they may be suffering from prescriptions or medical treatment. Further, consumers can reach out to online information and support at the very moment that they need to, without having to wait for business hours, appointment times or inconveniently interrupting other aspects of their day. While it is never advisable to self-diagnose, it is tremendously worthwhile to utilize the Internet as both an initial, and as an ongoing resource when looking out for your own health. The Internet is valuable in determining the next necessary steps to take in order to gain an expert opinion and to validate beliefs.

How The Internet Can Save Your Life

Presently, non-emergent, traditional, healthcare can be a serious challenge when it comes down to it. Patients are stuck with drawn-out appointment times, getting duped into seeing nurse practitioners in lieu of real MD’s, and then once seen, having to further wait for what can be an unreasonably long time while physically at their appointments. Getting in to see a doctor is important, but the Internet can help save your life by determining the severity of symptoms, what they may lead to, and by providing a list of intelligent questions that can be ready at the time when you do come face to face with a doctor. When consumers utilize correct information from the Internet, and use that information as a basis for research, it accomplishes much of the groundwork and saves time for everyone.

The Internet Helps Makes Patients Aware of Potential Adverse Treatment Outcomes

The Internet saves lives in more ways than one in regard to healthcare. With advances in treatment options, new prescription drugs constantly being marketed, and a variety of medical devices designed to heal patients unfortunately, brings with it opportunities for serious medical recalls, adverse medical side effects, and injury or death. The Internet allows patients to gain understanding, read up to date research, warnings and recalls and to know when it may be necessary to involve an attorney. Implants, prescription pills and routine medical treatments have all been news-worthy topics, so knowing which avenues to surpass when it comes to personal medical care can again, save your life.

Being sick or suffering an injury has never been something easy to go through. The Internet however, can offer an extra layer of support, comfort and guidance in order to prepare and educate you on available options and an avenue of positive outcomes. Complex, detailed information on prescription drugs is also readily available so that patients can troubleshoot symptoms and propose alternative solutions to their physicians that result in both time and monetary savings. When the doctor has a starting position with their patients already established, they can more effectively and promptly help treat them.

 

More Technology Means More Options for Parental Controls

Parents can have more control over their children’s gadgetry than many of them realize. Parental control options are available for almost all major gadgets, including automobiles. In some cases, there is nothing to buy, as modern televisions and video games come with these options. Even when there is software to buy, however, it is well worth the money, especially when it comes to your child’s driving habits.

Internet Parental Controls

Internet safety continues to be an issue, especially for parents of children who use a computer at home. While a computer and Internet access can be terrific homework and study aids, many parents are concerned about predators and negative influences from the Internet. One solution to this ongoing problem is to use parental controls. Parents can choose from a wide selection of filtering software, which limits which Websites your children can access.

You can also set a time limit for computer or Internet use and block times when the computer is not to be used. Parents can set up parental controls immediately on any computer running Windows by using those controls that Windows provides. Additional functionality, including activity reports, can be purchased from a variety of service providers.

Television Parental Controls

Even with the wide variety of content on television today, you can still ensure your children only watch the shows or the channels that you approve of. If your TV set connects to the Internet, you can purchase software that reports all activity to you and filters out content that is inappropriate for children.

Modern TVs contain a V-chip that allows parents to block television shows by ratings; however, many television sets also let you set up a pin number and block certain channels. If you subscribe to cable TV, you have numerous options for parental controls.

Video Game Parental Controls

Parents are wise to choose age-appropriate video games for their children. However, when parents play video games or when there are children of multiple ages in the home, it may seem difficult to ensure that younger children are not exposed to inappropriate video games. There are ways that parents can ensure that their children only have access to the video games the parents authorize. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) publishes a guide that explains their ratings and offers sound advice for parents about video games and parental controls.

Vehicular Parental Controls

One of the hardest things for parents to do is to turn over the car keys to a child. While it is inevitable that your children learn to drive, thanks to parental controls, you don’t have to cross your fingers and hope that your child drives your new car safely and responsibly. Some vehicular parental controls limit the speed at which the vehicle can be operated. If you’re worried about your child not wearing his or her seat belt, you can fix it where an alarm sounds until the seat belt is fastened. You can also opt for GPS tracking, which provides a report of everywhere the vehicle has been.

Making Technology Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

ucm263335

Scheduling wellness appointments used to be one of the only ways to stay on top of a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes or obesity. Doctors had all the devices necessary to test your vital signs and make suggestions. Today’s technology puts daily medical monitoring in the palm of your hand. From wearable gadgets to smart meal planners, creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easier than ever with mobile technology.

Fitness Tracker Data

Appearing like a normal bracelet, fitness trackers use a small microchip to record active minutes and stepping counts. You sync the tracker to a computer or handheld software app to see your activity up to the minute. Because many doctors ask for 10,000 steps each day for everyday fitness, these trackers make it possible to keep up with the count with almost no effort. You’ll see how many calories you’re burning just by being your everyday self.

Logging Daily Meals

Although it’s not automatic, logging daily meals is simple with today’s software configurations. You download an app onto your smartphone or tablet and add foods as you consume them. Quantifying your meals gives you a real analysis of your healthy lifestyle. If a fast food hamburger is a weekly meal, that calorie count could be altered with a better food choice. It may be possible to eat more healthy food in volume compared to high-fat selections, such as an entree salad versus a double cheeseburger.

Home Healthcare Alarms

Part of wellness care is help for home healthcare aids, such as wheelchair or bed alarms. If an elderly person is confined to a sitting or lying position, an alarm sensor can be installed under the cushion. When the person’s weight isn’t applied to the cushion, an alarm signals the aide. This technology can save people from falling and hurting themselves significantly.

Non-Invasive Glucose Devices

Newer technologies are starting to emerge to help people replace previous invasive testing procedures. Diabetics must prick their finger to check blood sugar levels. As an everyday occurrence, this process is painful to sustain. Gadgets allowing diabetics to check their blood sugar through the skin, such as a tool attached to an earlobe, are beginning to be used in medical circles. Making medical care easier only encourages better overall health.

Portioning with Scales

A simple gadget to improve wellness is a basic food scale. If you understand proper portioning, you can eat some decadent foods, including prime rib. However, it’s the size of the portion that’s the main issue. Eat only small portions to reduce calories but still curb those cravings. It’s healthy to eat a treat periodically, just not during every meal.

Diligence and consistent awareness of your health are necessary components of a healthy lifestyle. You must be honest with yourself as you log meals and count calories. The same could be said for poor glucose readings. Talking to your doctor about questionable readings is still crucial. You want to live a long and active life.

  • Follow TechVert

Social:

How Modern Tech has Made Home Buying a Breeze

6-11-b

In the days before the Internet, home buyers had to research homes the hard way. The process was tedious and drawn out. You couldn’t just hop on a website such as GuaranteedRate.com and get your pick of the latest mortgage and loan options.

But today, with all the online, one-stop shopping websites for home buyers, the process has been tremendously simplified. With the abundance of tools at a prospective home buyer’s fingertips, many people leave the real-estate agents in the dust and do their own research from the comfort of home.

1. Easier access to comparables

It used to be standard practice to depend on a real-estate agent to run the numbers on homes in a given neighborhood that are similar to the one you’re looking at. Many home-buying websites provide you with automatically generated facts about homes that have the same features — complete with the age, number of rooms, number of bathrooms, type of construction, and even price.

In no time at all, you can access such information and generate your own comparables, thus saving loads of time, before you ever meet with a real-estate agent for a walk-through on a house.

2. The virtual walk-through

In the old days, you met with a real-estate agent and scheduled a time to do a walk-through on a promising home. This could force agents to reschedule until everyone was able to agree on a time.

More and more websites provide a digital walk-through for residences on the market. This is especially great when you’re trying to research a new home to purchase from out of state.

3. Mortgages and loans

Another area where technology has changed the process of buying a home is in locating financing. Online sites now put consumers in touch with banks that compete to give home buyers the best rate on mortgages and loans.

An example of an online trend is a hard-money loan. Instead of obtaining financing through a traditional bank, hard-money loans are funded by investors who simply want to earn a return on their money.

The interest rates on hard-money loans are typically higher than at a traditional bank, but they often don’t require the person seeking the loan to jump through as many hoops to get financing. The recent introduction of Dodd Frank regulations has made it more difficult to obtain loans from both hard-money lenders and private lenders.

4. County records

Another extremely useful move was to put county tax and real-estate records online. In the old days, if you wanted to do any extensive research on a home, you had to drive down to the courthouse or county records office and poke through the hard files.

Now a person who’s seeking to buy a home out of state can get access to a lot of important information. If you visit the county appraiser’s website for the region you plan to move to, you can easily determine the just value of a property according to the county assessment.

That will tell you if other websites are inflating local prices or a home is being offered at a significant discount with respect to the county’s assessment of its overall worth. In addition, the annual taxes on a property can be researched. And if you’re fairly adept at reading a property’s hard file, it’s also possible to perform your own quick-and-dirty title search, and make sure there are no clouds on the title that could pose a problem down the road.

No matter how you slice it, advances in technology have made the online real estate-purchasing process a lot smoother for the home buyer.

Social:

4 Things Virtual Startups Need

virtualstartup

Tech startups are finally getting attention for thriving outside of Silicon Valley as entrepreneurs are wising up. Many businesses don’t require any type of physical office at all, and those that do don’t need to be in high cost of living areas such as San Francisco and New York. There are more and more small businesses and startups going old school with modern versions of garage businesses and offering telecommuting up to 100 percent of the time for most employees. Ready to find out what you need for a virtual startup?

First, make sure your business idea is a good match for this environment. Unless you need to physically see customers in person, such as if you’re opening a brick and mortar shop, you probably don’t. If your dream is to be a business owner and be able to work from anywhere in the world, there are plenty of industries where this is possible. Simply find a great storage unit deal and you can call “the office” anywhere from Minnesota to Mumbai.

Here’s what you need to get started:

1. The right cloud technology

Storing, sharing and editing documents in the cloud will keep your entire team on the same page. This also minimizes the odds of double work (there won’t be any “old copies” to mistakenly work from) and is also more environmentally friendly. Plus, you’ll save money on ink and paper, too.

2. A solid video conferencing option

There will come a time when you’ll need to meet with big shots such as angel investors via video, and scheduling team meetings on video chat can be a lot more effective than phone calls since much of the body language can still be read. Choose an affordable (or free) option that works with your needs.

3. Everyone having access to quality technology

It’s certainly legal to require new employees to use their own equipment to do a job, but you can’t require them to have certain equipment unless you pay for it. At the very least, ensure everyone is either Mac or PC, and if you really want to attractive better talent provide your employees with work computers and any related accessories.

4. The right crew

Not everyone is cut out for telecommuting, and some people need a boss physically breathing down their neck to accomplish things. However, everyone really wants to be a telecommuter type. Vet your applicants carefully.

Virtual environments can thrive or flounder, but you can make a huge difference starting with the setup of the landscape.

Social:

It’s 2014 … and Yep, Content is Still King

PlainWritingHeader

As we head into the downhill side of 2014, technological advances are continuing to alter the arena of Internet marketing. In addition to placing more primacy on responsive web design and mobile optimization, this year marks the era in which the design and maintenance of high-quality apps has become an integral element of effective online advertising campaigns.

Despite the perpetually evolving nature of Internet marketing, however, content remains king. This means that if you want to build their brand in the online sphere into the future, you should still place your primary focus on the creation and publication of high-quality content.

If online growth is indeed your current business objective, consider implementing the following three strategies:

1. Stop spinning

As more businesses understand that content creation and publication is an integral piece of Internet marketing campaigns and they act on that knowledge, you will likely find it ever more challenging to devise or locate blog posts and web articles that have a distinct and innovative flair. Creative, original content is uniquely eye-catching, but it may be harder to recognize amid all the noise on the Web.

It’s not even a question of avoiding plagiarism; even useful content can be lost in the shuffle if it doesn’t sound lively and interesting. So if you want to catch and keep the attention of prospective clients for your business, you need to do all you can to avoid posting content that contains phrases and concepts that are generic, trite, or derivative.

2. Guest post

In discussing the reality of guest posting in its article ”A Guide to Navigating the Politics of Guest Posting and Hosting,” Supple Solutions comments: “For the most part, guest posting and hosting are both worthwhile. They are an acceptable means of generating backlinks, for instance, and for expanding the perspective of a blog.”

In other words, if you’re interested in moving forward this year, you need to invest time in creating exceptional content that’s worthy of guest posting. In addition to reaching a new pool of potential readers and customers, guest posting gives you the opportunity to develop relationships with web domain owners who might become your business partners.

3. Make it scannable

As more people go online to do business and shop, research regarding how people analyze the content they encounter has become prominent. Among other things, it’s been found that most people who read online do not examine content in its entirety.

Rather, they skim through it to find the information that’s of greatest value to them. Since this is the case, making your content “scannable” is an effective way to ensure that people gravitate toward your blog posts and/or web articles when they’re searching for information.

To ensure that your content is as scannable as possible, remember to include textual elements that divide it up and highlight, such as headers, bullets, and numbered lists.

In order to develop a substantial reputation online, you have to enact the proven strategies that will accomplish your goal. By using some or all of the content-boosting ideas outlined above, your company should be able to build brand awareness and the dynamic, expansive online presence you desire.

More on TechVert