This was the slide show from my presentation at Highlight Midwest. really enjoyed the unconference and can't wait for the next.
Past E-commerce Posts
Although I have been an affiliate marketer and SEO for years, I have learned a lot more about e-commerce specifically in the last two and a half years. That is the reason why these posts may overlap or contradict each other (see slide #2 - Strategies are like belief systems).
The methods grow and evolve over time and gradually turn into a blueprint I can follow again to begin new similar projects more efficiently. That is one of the the uses of this blog. Not only is it public, it is also my journal. By retracing my steps, I can prevent past mistakes and measure my progress.
- My last e-Commerce tips post - This was my last attempt at a complete strategy.
- Rank beginner tips for setting up a camera and using Photoshop for product pictures - I lost some of my pictures on this post in a hosting issue and because I was a bit lazy with FTP backups. Anyone better at photography, Photoshop or Gimp, please jump in. I can use all the help I can get. We have 12,000 products in our offline database. Some parts are from companies that went out of business, so we have to take our own pictures a lot of the time.
- Optimizing your e-commerce site for search engines - This is the extended version of slide #4.
- E-commerce webmasters need to be early adopters - You don't need to sign up for every new social network, but get around enough to know what can be useful and learn to assess the value new technology and sites quickly. Think outside of the box. Follow people in niches that are more mainstream than yours to get ideas. Techniques trickle down slowly sometimes. There are many levels, varieties and cliques of marketers. The only reason to reject an idea is ethics and reputation. Can you help a community and being traffic back to your site without marketing to it? An extended version of slide #8.
- What to do about hotlinked images - This post is part joke. But some of our images are the only available ones online. I figured it was better to get other people to advertise for us than block hotlinking. It other words, use watermarks.
- How e-Commerce webmasters can leverage their vendor's data and resources
- How to structure e-Commerce categories - A good category structure is good SEO. People like to bag on SEO's. Here is an example where it works out for users and traffic to your site.
Tools to Build and Run Your e-Commerce Site
- Magento - I have only started using this software a few months ago, but have tried tons of paid and open-source e-commerce apps. This one is by far the best. And yes, it is free and open source.
- WP e-Commerce - A Wordpress plugin that will add a store to your size that is extendable with both free and paid addons.
- Open ERP - I didn't know what ERP software was until a few months ago. I spent a months searching for inventory control software. What does ERP software do? Takes care of tasks that should be automatic and saves time. This was can connect to Magento and control inventory, P.O.'s and products updates. In can also replace software like Quicksbooks. This takes out that bottleneck. And, yes, free again.
- vTiger - This is CRM software. It does about the same thing as Open ERP but seems a bit easier to use. I am vague on both of these two programs because I have yet to make a decision or find the time to put them through their paces but I know solutions when I see them. We currently used Filemaker. And yes, vTiger is free also. And it has a mobile version. I found out about this software through a forum post on the Magento site.
- Open Office - Don't pay for this type of software either.
- The Gimp - The free alternative to Photoshop. it has been around for a long time.
- Inkscape - This one is free and does vector graphics.
- Nvu - A free alternative to Dreamweaver.
- FileZilla - A free FTP program.
- Scribus - Free desktop publishing software.