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Setting Up An ECommerce Business In Three Easy Steps

The consistent and thriving growth of the internet has allowed new opportunities to open up within trade and marketing sectors of business, providing new ways to sell and buy products and services for everyone and anyone. Not so long ago, starting up your own business was often a particularly hefty job, especially when you had to source the funds to open up a physical location in which for your business to run. Many fresh business owners had to quit their regular job and obtain bank loans before they could start to build their company at all, and up to fifty percent of them didn’t succeed at all. These days, if you are willing to invest your time and energy into learning all you can about the internet and the market that you are interested in, then you may find more trade opportunities open to you than you had realised. Typically, it is possible to anyone with the right attitude to establish an ecommerce business with reasonably nominal funds and minimal risk. So where do you get started? Well, a little bit of research will tell you relatively quickly there are a few things you need to get done when you’re launching an eCommerce business and you want to ensure your success.

1) Open a business checking account for yourself and get a business credit card. As many people will inform you throughout your journey, it is absolutely essential that you keep your business and personal assets separate from one another. As soon as you have decided to start your eCommerce business, open up a business checking account and get a business credit card. Remember, if you are on reasonably good terms with your bank, it may be a good idea to talk to them first, as they could offer you a discount or preferential treatment.

2) Study your competition and make your business stand out. Before you start designing the website for your eCommerce business, it’s always a good idea to check out your competition. Go online for a couple of hours and browse the types of sites that similar companies to the one that you aim to produce have. Bookmark the sites that you like the best and make notes about things that you may want to use on your own website. Write down what it is that you like about these things, and send the links to your designer or web developer, as this could help to speed up your designing process, saving you money. Remember, however, even if you want your website to be somewhat similar to other sites that you have seen, you should be sure that it still stands out from the competition – the last thing you want to do is blend in.

3) Choose your eCommerce solution. There are various eCommerce shopping cars and platforms out there that are designed especially for small businesses, but you need to decide which one is right for your business. Before you sign up with any software, see whether you can take a free trial.

Carol Friel is an ecommerce professional. She often visits www.ecommera.com.

Best Practices: Customizing WordPress Sites

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Thanks to WordPress, you don’t have to look too far for ways to take your business to more people. A website or blog is a great way to connect to your customers and potential clients. WordPress gives you any number of options to do just this. What’s more, the site is constantly upgrading on what it has to offer both in terms of themes and in terms of security. Customizing WordPress sites is important – the defaults are not setup the best for you.

It helps you create a space for your own site, allowing you to stand out in a crowd. The amount of effort taken to make a website your own, shows your commitment to creating something of quality. This will bode well for your business, product or service too. Attention to detail also creates a sense of involvement for the reader of the website. Here’s how you customize your WordPress site.

Style Sheet

The easiest way to customize your WordPress theme is to change the style sheet. Since each theme comes with a CSS file, this is simple to do. You can change the entire theme if you so choose. This includes, headers, images, colors, typography, calendar, lists and structure. Work on each aspect individually and ensure that they all go together in the end. Use the CSS file and the individual aspect file to help you do this. For instance, you’ll find picture, header file, search box and navigation in the header div.

Take the ‘About’ page seriously

Seeing how the whole purpose of the customization process is to create a connect with the audience, it makes sense to take more time with the About Page. Bring in a picture, tell your story but don’t go overboard. The idea is to show your true side so that the customer can feel confident in your products.

Get help

We recommend Thematic, the open source theme framework that gives you a wide range of grid layouts, plugin styles and areas to fill with widgets. Being open source, you have a lot of help too. Or Sandbox that works with CSS and is great for beginners.

Work on the comments

A simple way to differentiate yourself from the rest is through the author comments style. Try a highlight author comments plugin that does the work for you. Your comments are shown in a different style and for this, all you need to do is give WordPress a sample of the CSS style you’ve used in other posts.

Create an avatar

No one wants to see your website and see an outline of a torso where a face needs to be. Gravatars, or globally recognized avatars are great when you need to create an identity of your own. You can use it not just on your site, but also in forums, communities and other online spaces you might want to inhabit. This 80 X 80 pixel image needs to be created by the user and you can decide the ratings of the choices given to you and whether or not the avatar displayed in the first place.
These are just a few of the ways you can customize your WordPress website. As you gain more experience and learn the ways of the platform, you can do more to claim this space as your own.

This is a guest post by Ethan Millers of bw9.com, a site that offers savings and current information on comcast cable and internet,click here to know more, as well as other Comcast.com services.

WordPress Books:

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cron mysql backup

The official logo of the database query MySQL
Image via Wikipedia

Check out this little nugget I found over at the Rackspace Cloud Knowledgebase – CRON MySQL Backup.

Man – you cannot say enough about getting a good backup.  This shows how you can get it done over at Rackspace’s Cloud sites – it looks pretty universal, so if you are not on the Rackspace Cloud…it may still work.

But if you’re not hosting there – check them out.  They are a very good hosting company with good support.

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Mono and Mono Develop

The subject of mono and mono develop came up today in an interview.

Mono
An open source, cross-platform, implementation of C# and the CLR that is binary compatible with Microsoft.NET

MonoDevelop
An open Source C# and .NET development environment for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X

I really want to learn more about these projects.  I have invested a lot of time with WordPress, and it is simply amazing.  For me, pound for pound – the best web front end.

But I really, really like .NET.  My favorite thing to use .NET for is our scripts and services.

Here is a post from a mono developer blog.

So this can be a bridge between different parts of the development world.

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A printer printer (nope, I meant to say it twice)

Construction on a building in Kansas City
Image via Wikipedia

I heard of these about a couple of years ago – and was simply facinated.  Here is a post I found at Dev Hardware:

Back in 2004, Bowyer set an idea in motion to create a 3D “‘printing” machine, along the lines of an industrial rapid prototyper that creates solid shapes from extruded molten plastic. Commercial versions of these machines are nothing new, and are available easily enough as long as you have $30,000 or so to spend on one.

The important thing for Bowyer was to create a version that just about anybody could afford. He figured the best way to achieve that was to design a machine that could replicate itself, and to minimize the barriers to entry by releasing all of the designs under the open source GNU General Public License.

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So basically this thing can print itself.  Wow.

Also – I remember them speculating this could be a new model for how structures will be created as well.  XXL printers would be constructed “around” a building site and then the printer would go to town and just build.

It’s an amazing concept and seems to be coming into reality.

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