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Online Business Etiquette

business agreementDo your online “handshake” by answering your email well and carefully speaking on social media. Your manner can affect people’s perception of you. Learning the technical side of your business is not enough, but knowing how to deal with people can create a long term relationships with your clients.

To help you more on your online etiquette here are some rules to follow:

  • Be neutral. It is wise to be unbiased when communicating with another person. Do not be sarcastic, aggressive, make innuendos, and most of all, never try to be funny. These tactics could lead to escalation or even misinterpretation.
  • Pay attention to your grammar and punctuation when texting, posting, emailing, or blogging. Write complete sentences and use words that are real and credible. Do not use emoticons. That is good for social media but not in business virtual communication.
  • Do not use social media as a space to write an essay. Post brief messages. Do not use emoticons, shorthand, or other web-friendly irritants that will make you less professional. Also make sure you are familiar with the operational rules before using these tools. Practice self-control at all times. Incorporate important details in your business profile which includes contact information and company news.
  • In all your online dealings, consider the receiver. Know that another person is on the other side. Be civil; show your character but make sure that you are honest.
  • Think about your identifiers for yourself. Choose a professional user name. Never try to be cutesy. It is better if you use your business name as your user name. It is wise to have an email address that has your own domain name.
  • When a conversation needs clarification, it is time to use the phone. Too much text messages may create confusion. Should you need to email, be respectful by making it simple and easy to read. You can use the important information first and then use short paragraphs. The use of bullets can likewise make it look short but organize.
  • When you need to video call your client, do not allow yourself to be distracted. Turn off everything like your phone or your email. Pay attention to your client and look at the face not just the screen. Be interested in what your client is saying or what the client is asking. Be present at all times.
  • Email messages should not be lengthy. Be concise. Again, check your grammar and punctuation carefully. Your salutation should be polite using proper titles such as Mr. or General unless, of course, you are now in the first-name basis. Stay professional and never send chain letters, forwards, and jokes. If you need to send a large file, ask permission and cross-check the software compatibility.
  • Never use negative marketing to showcase your competitor’s shortcomings. Consumers know that you are using the tactics to bash your competitor. Besides, consumers can research online and know if it is true or not. Focus on how your product can meet the needs of the consumers.

What If Someone Stole Your Website?

database codesIf you have a business, chances are you own a website. What will you do if someone stole it from you? If you depend on your Uniform Resource Locator (URL), someone else can control your website’s domain name and from there, other things could happen. The perpetrator could actually control all of the site’s content. The person could even rerouted the content to any location he or she chooses.

Getting your site back will not be easy but it is worth the fight. Here are the things you could do when someone steals your website.

  • Look for the email address of the offending website. If you can’t find the email address, go to WHO IS to know the registrant. Who Is will help you in providing the website’s owner, and other relevant details. Take the list of all the contact information.
  • Know who is hosting the offending website. You can verify it by using WHO IS HOSTING THIS. Get in touch with them. No decent company would want to deal with piracy.
  • Use the Way Back Machine and review all the past reviews on your web site. This is a proof that your website has been online longer than the offending website.
  • Furnish a link to the Google Cache to show that the Google Spiders found your content earlier as compared to the offending site.
  • Do screenshots of all the materials that were copied. In cases where a whole site was copied, save the source code to compare it with what you have.
  • Gather all the proofs and evidence. This will include screenshots, the dates that the users commented on your blog in answer to the original post.
  • Have your MySQL records.
  • Get all the original graphics and images, preferably unedited and include the file date.
  • Gather the backups of your site in the past including the modified dates.

The next step is to contact the perpetrator. It is important to let the person know that he or she has done a major mistake and you know about it. Your reason for this are:

  • To let the person know of the theft.
  • Ask for the person to remove, modify, make correction and ask for compensation.
  • Open a communication between you and the perpetrator.
  • Let the person know that you have gathered information.
  • And that there is a paper trail of enough evidence.

Start the conversation with the thief carefully maintaining a professional tone and attitude even if the respond is unprofessional. Give them a chance to tell their side of the story and change their ways. Do not threaten and continue to be professional and this might be solved faster than you think. If all was done and yet no positive result, it is time to consult a lawyer.

To avoid future problem, choose a stronger password and make sure you change it from time to time. Use another computer just in case someone in your household by chance clicked malicious links. Use an antivirus software and constantly scan your computer for spywares. You can also get a Cyber Risk insurance. Prevention is better than losing what you have built online.

Choosing the Right Domain Name

Browsing on laptop

What is a great domain name?

 A domain name is an important part of your branding. It is your online identity and it is similar to choosing the right company name. A great domain name can create an impressive first impression. You have to think it through and make sure the name fits your business. What name should you prevent from using? How to choose the right domain name then? Use these tips to help you select the apt domain name.

Unique Branding
Create a domain name that is yours. Do not follow the suit of the popular websites. It should stand out over existing brands. For example, book related websites are: BookDepository.com, BookOutlet.com, Booktopia.com.au. They all contain the word ‘book’. Wordery.com definitely stands out over the generic name of its competitors.

Keep it short
The longer your domain name is the higher the risk of mistyping or misspelling it. The top websites approximately have 6 characters. Look at Yahoo.com, Google.com, Amazon.com. Try to create a website name between 6-14 characters. Keep it simple and concise. The shorter domain name is always a better choice.

Avoid truncated words
Make your domain name easy to type. When you say it, people should be able to spell your domain name correctly. When names are tough to spell, people might mistype your website and you will lose potential customers. The worst thing is that they will get redirected to a totally different website. Your website visitors should be able to type your domain name without difficulty. Refrain from using u instead of you, fave or fav instead favorite, luv instead of love, and so on.

Easy to say
Not only the name has to be easy to spell, it should also be easy to pronounce. You should be able to pass it along effortlessly. If people takes awhile to understand on how to say and spell your website name, you might have to consider other options.

Make it extensible
Consider the long term plan of your business. Do not get tied into a name that will limit your brand. If you use the word ‘book’ in your domain name, make sure you will only cater to books and book related products. If you plan to sell DVDs  and other multimedia products in the future, consider all the possibilities. You can experiment on different names and if you need help in looking for remarkable available domain names, this website will definitely help you.

Check the availability
Since your domain name is a crucial part of your branding, it should also be available in the different social media websites that you will be using. Make sure that the name is available and no other business is using it. It is ideal that your website and your social media usernames are the same so that people can easily find you in all places. You can use this website to check usernames across various platforms. Certain usernames are already taken. Avoid trouble by not using domain names that already have trademarks. This is a serious note that you need to remember in order to avoid law suits and legal issues. It would be a shame to have to use another name after already launching a brand online.

Must Haves for Mobile Commerce Sites

Person Shopping using Mobile Phone

Shopping online at mobile websites

Smart phones and mobile devices are changing our lives. These devices are becoming a substitute for the big and bulky desktop computers. Mobile users are slowly moving away from the conventional ways of online shopping. They prefer to use their mobile phones to buy things they need, schedule appointments, and pretty much everything.

The whole website should be scannable.

Give your website visitors an overview of your entire website. Allow them to freely browse different sections of your online shop. Provide a category list of the products that you are currently selling. Most users do not scroll down while browsing on mobile. They just mostly scan. They do not read things on screen the way they read other printed materials. People browse on their mobile because they already know what to buy. Mobile purchases should be quick and easy.

Homepage should not be too crowded.

Your homepage should provide easy access to everything, but do not put too much photos. Most importantly, there should be a search box. You should highlight the search box so that first time visitors can easily find the products they wish to purchase. If they cannot find a search box, they will abandon the page. It is no more complicated than that! Other than that, you can advertise the latest deals and promotions like a discount coupon, a free shipping deal, or something that can entice them to buy more items.

Pagination links should be clickable with your thumb.

Add pagination links to each page of your mobile website. Searching a website without pagination links is like finding a needle in a haystack. These links are helpful when you are browsing for a certain product in a huge pile. These pagination links are necessary for your customers so that they can browse your website conveniently. Your website will also load faster because the pagination links divided the items into pages, and when you have a speedy website, customers are happy. You would be helping your customers if you provide large clickable areas. Give these links some space and do not put the page numbers too close to each other.

Notify customers on restock.

When people are shopping online, it cannot be avoided that some items get out of stock. Most websites do not have an email function for these unavailable items. (Personally, it is such a hassle that I would have to constantly check a website if they have restocked the items that I want.) If you cannot notify via email, at least, tell the customers if the current inventory is low.

Customers can shop as guest.

Mobile e-commerce sites are helpful when customers are doing their last minute shopping. These people just want to buy something and the registration form is a huge barrier to be honest. Do not force them to register or to login. Instead, highlight benefits of registering – like free shipping, detailed package tracking, and exclusive perks – so that they will be more compelled to register. If they had a satisfying shopping experience, they themselves will decide to register and buy more items at your website.

Six Things to Do Before Launching a Website

Website Check

Things to Check on your Website

When you have a website, it looks so easy and simple from the front end view. Behind the professional and stylish appearance, there are a lot things to deal with. One slight mistake can trigger massive consequences. There are several ways to blow things out of proportion. Indeed, it can be very stressful at times. Websites may differ from purpose and design, but generally, there are things you need to double-check before launching your very own website.

  • Proofread Page Content

Take time to read everything. Read your content over and over. Even if you read it numerous times, read it again. Ask people to read it. They might find some mistakes – misspelled words, grammar, and punctuation errors – that you missed. Make sure to break texts into short paragraphs, and the header and alignment formatting are reviewed. When clicked, the company logo should always redirect to the main website page. Check if the company contact details are complete and precise.

  • Check Links

Click on all your links to verify if they redirect to the correct item or page. Make sure these links are obvious and site visitors can recognize them as links. Moreover, the link description should not be ambiguous  and it should have an accurate description depending on the content. For example, the About Us page should not have a link like this: …/wp10d9.html.  A page not found (404) error would definitely discourage site visitors. Make sure there is a designated page that will help website visitors when the error occurs. If not, they would tag your website as unreliable. This link checker might help you if you are unsure of your website links.

  • Functionality Check

This is the most crucial part. Check all the forms – login, registration, comment , check out – if they are working accordingly and the data submitted are correct. Make sure these forms have an appropriate thank you message confirming the data given. Verify that the social media icons are working correctly so that sharing your content to various social media sites can be done without a hitch. Lastly, inspect your third-party and e-commerce software are functioning without complications especially if you are selling items.

  • Cross-Browser Check

Your website should be responsive in all browsers and across all devices. It should work not only on desktop browsers, but on smart phones, and tablets too. Text may be readable on desktop, but too small for mobile users. You can check how mobile friendly your website is by using this link.

  • Test the Visuals

Images, audio files, and videos should be viewable and working properly in all devices. Make sure that the videos are playing properly and its sound is audible. All images should be optimized for the web. Examine if these images have the relevant caption and alt text. Ensure that the file sizes are not too large. More huge images would mean longer time. Thus, it would mean a slower speed for your website.

  • Website Back Up

Before launching, make sure you have a copy of all your data in case of malware attempts against your website. Back up your data regularly so you do not have to constantly worry if something  fails to work properly. All ongoing pages should be saved on a regular basis.

More Effective Strategies to Gain Conversions

Sales and Conversions

Tips on gaining more customers.


Online shoppers are very choosy and fickle. They cannot decide what to buy at times and you have to guide them on what they could purchase. These tips will help you on gaining their attention and making them click that add to cart button.

    • Keep it clean.
      White space is a good thing. Do not cause a mess on the homepage. You must learn how to keep the homepage minimal. Like what I mentioned on the previous post, the goal is to show less products so that the customers can have more focus on what to buy. Avoid having too many moving images on the homepage. Remove all the unnecessary details and unrelated products. Always go for a simple, yet professional design. It will definitely help you in gaining your customers’ trust.
    • Only show what is needed.
      Do not show irrelevant details that will not interest the customers. You only need to show the main features of the product. Indicating the technical specifications the beside product is not required. Utilize call-to-action buttons like “Read more…” links throughout the website. CTA buttons are really helpful in organizing the website and know that they are not only limited to the “buy now”, or the “shop now” buttons.
    • Guide your customers.
      Your website should have a certain structure so that they can easily scan the page. It should not be a crowd of different unrelated products and scattered descriptions. There should be a flow on where they need to focus their attention. You can use arrows to point a important video presentation or point out purchase link. Keep the flow going and always suggest where to go next. Avoid a dead end on any web page. Make sure a page leads to somewhere with more beneficial information.
    • Follow the Gutenberg Rule.
      The Gutenberg Rule describes the reading activity of most people. Reading starts from left to right and top to bottom. People usually look at top left first and end at the bottom right. This is why in most websites, the buttons that will redirect to another page usually are placed on the bottom right and the highlighted products usually are in the top portion of the page.
    • Prepare your customers for their next purchase.
      If you have managed to made a sale and the customers are satisfied with their purchase, use this time as an opportunity to present enticing offers to your customers. You can give out discount coupons for their next purchase, suggest special offers that might spark their interest, or even offer a free shipping on the next order. Once they bought a product, they will more likely to purchase more. Use the “Thank you” page to advertise other products.

 

Whatever tips and strategies you might decide to apply, please remember to never comprise the quality of your service. Great customer service is the best tool to gain conversions. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Do not underestimate the power of online reviews and testimonials because it will surely help you gain more customers.

Nine Helpful Links that Will Save Your Life (Part 3)

internet, security, archive

Internet Safety and Security

Do you want to send large files without installing any software?  Is this particular website safe for you to visit? Are you doubtful of this file you just received? Check out the websites I listed below. There is NO need to fill in long registration forms for most of the websites indicated. It will undeniably help you in making your life easier and most importantly, it will save you time.

 

    • Box Oh! – If you are fond of online shopping like me, this website will simplify shipment tracking for you. Whether your package is shipped via USPS, UPS, DHL, or FedEx, it is all identifiable using this easy to use website.
    • Flight Stats – You got your packages covered with Box Oh! How about flights? There is no need to worry. Just provide the airline company together with the flight number and Flight Stats will track the flight for you.
    • Plus Transfer – With Plus Transfer, you can now send massive files easily. The file limit is 5GB of data. You do not need to install anything and you do not have to register as well. Now, that is definitely a plus!

 

      • Jotti’s Malware Scan – An online virus scanner that allows you to scan questionable files. This is going to be your best friend if you get a lot of email attachments. Scan them all first with Jotti’s Malware Scan. They use 18 scanners such as BitDefender, Trend Micro, ESET, Kasperky, and many more. Note that there is a 50MB limit per file, but you can upload 5 files at the same time.
      • Norton’s  Safe Web – Norton is an antivirus software program by Symantec and the company created a website to check if a particular website is safe and secure for users to browse. Just simply paste the link or the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). After, Norton will give you a report on its trustworthiness including its ecommerce safety information in case you will buy an item on that site.
      • Gmail – What is so special with this Gmail link? It will let you sign up to Gmail without your existing Gmail email address. It means you can give out any email address (Yahoo, AOL, etc.) and Gmail will send a verification email if it is really your account.

     

    • Archive.is – This website allows you to capture a webpage. It means that even if the original website gets deleted, goes offline, or for whatever reason, you stored a copy of the page. A unique link will be provided of that particular page and the contents of the page are unchangeable, of course. This is useful when you are monitoring a price change, an item listing, or even a derogatory social media post.
    • Archive.Org – You should not confused this with Archive.is. This is your internet time machine. You can visit old versions of a website. You can use Archive.is to contribute to Archive.org. There are over 294 billion web pages saved here including popular websites like CNN, IMDB, Amazon, Yahoo, and more.
    • Who Is Hosting This? – Discover who is hosting a particular website. Know details about the host, servers, and IP address. They also have an in-depth analysis on the different hosting websites. You can also compare various hosting sites, and even get hosting coupons.

Let’s recap! Part one is about online diagrams, layer-based image editors, and private notes and chat rooms. Part two is about random numbers, timers, and timezone, and eBooks. Lastly, the third part is about internet security, file transfers, and web archives.

Nine Helpful Links that Will Save Your Life (Part 2)

internet, browsing, friends

Easy to use websites!

Do you want FREE Kindle books? Do you need an online grammar checker to scrutinize your manuscript? This guide will help you with all those and more. Like in the previous post, there is NO need to sign up for most of the websites listed. These links are guaranteed to help you in getting things you want without having to register and submit any personal information.

    • Dot Epub – Are you going to be traveling? Do you do need to read a whole web page? Save a particular page to an .ePub file so that you read it while you are on the road.
    • Google Images – Reverse image search using this tool. We usually search for images. Hey, guess what? You can now search using images. Simply upload a photo and get results pertaining to that photo.
    • Hundred Zeros – How will this save your life? This is will save you from getting broke. It is pretty much the same thing. This site is dedicated to eBooks. The creator collated a list of free Kindle books in this simple site. You can browse through a vast selection. Once you have chosen one, you get redirected to the Amazon page of the book. If you are a veracious reader, do not miss this hidden gem.

 

      • Adobe Color – If you are a designer (whether a web designer or an interior designer), this tool is really helpful. You can experiment on color palettes here. You are given a guide to the different color rules -complementary, analogous, triad, compound, etc – so you will not end up mixing and matching the wrong colors!
      • Copy/Paste Characters – Do you want to insert special characters to a document you are type? Maybe you wish to use emojis in a presentation? (Life is boring without emojis, right? ☺) See what I did? You can get them all in one place. As the name suggest, you just have to copy and paste.
      • Random.Org – Number generators are helpful during giveaways. If you are planning one soon, just go to Random.Org. It will generate a number for you. You do not need a bunch of paper strip and a fishbowl. Drawing winners are now made easy! Everything that concerns randomness is here. There is an Integer Set Generator, List Randomizer, Clock Time Generator, Geographic Coordinate Generator, and so on.

     

    • Polish My Writing – Need help with your writing? Polish My Writing will do it for you. Just paste your document on the text box and it will check your writing. Spelling errors are in indicated red, grammar corrections are in blue, and style suggestions are in color green.
    • E.gg Timer – Timers are not for baking only! You can need a two-minute timer for brushing your teeth or a timer for doing 8 reps. Health is wealth after all. E.gg Timer has every timer you can think of. You can even make your own customized timer.
    • Every Time Zone – As an online gamer, my face lit up when I saw this website. I am never good at math. I hate doing calculations. I have missed multiple online events because of the differences in time zone and  I am never good at remembering all the dates. Whether you are scheduling a meeting with overseas clients, you have a multi-city flight to familiarize, or you need to attend a game event like me, this site really simplified everything about time zones!

 

Missed the previous post? You can catch up here. If you want more helpful links, you can visit this link.

(MORE) Website Blunders to Avoid

accident, mistakes, be careful

Careful on making these mistakes!

There is nothing more frustrating than finding your way through a convoluted website. Satisfy your customers. Show them that you care for their needs by not driving them away.  Clearly, you would want a smooth transaction online and withdraw from anything annoying. Here are MORE blunders to avoid that may help you in achieving that functional website:

  • Tiny Pagination

Pagination is a type of navigation that provides users access to multiple pages of a certain website. When you search terms on Google, numbers 1 to 10 appear at the bottom of page. A next button is also visible for you to click and to navigate your search results. Same is true on websites that have a lengthy list. In some forum sites, the pagination provided are microscopic and insignificant. Help your users by not wasting their time. These list of pages numbers are necessary!

For example, the products on an online shop are divided into several pages. Pagination helps on making your website load faster because not a lot of items are displayed all at once. Thus, your users are satisfied because they can conveniently browse your website.

  • Complicated Sign Up Forms

Certainly, you have visited Facebook during the 24 hours. I am sure you noticed that if you need to create a profile, you just need to fill in a few text boxes. You only need a name, an email, a password, birthday, and gender. Viola! You can now access the whole of Facebook.

Time to ditch long and boring forms! You are providing a hindrance for people to access your website. Keep the forms short and brief. In some online shops, you can even buy items without registering. There is no need to ask for heaps of information because you might end up saying goodbye to potential clients.

  • Too Many Animations

Do not bombard your main page with moving images. Viewers of your website will not know where to look first. Focus on specific products that you want to display first. Utilize the use of pagination. It is exceptionally hard to direct customers to a particular product and also, numerous shifting images can be truly irritating.

  • Bizarre Font Styles

Reading a lengthy text with unconventional typefaces can be frustrating. (Oh, hello eye strain!) Typography is the central part of designing. Do not make reading a painful task to do. Make your website easy to read and to navigate. If possible, use San Serif typefaces.

  • Not Mobile Responsive

People are always on the go. They probably will not leave their mobile phones behind.  It would be a huge loss if you ignore the effect of mobile users. Choose a website design that is responsive in all platforms, whether your website will be browsed on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone.

 

Perfection is hard to attain, but these tips will definitely improve the performance and the conversion rate of your website. When designing your website, always put yourself in the shoes of your viewers. Because if they had good experience on your website, they will patronize it and they will tell their friends about it. You will gain rewards in multitude of ways.