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3 Holiday Ecommerce Tips for your Volusion Site

November 21st, 2010

Volusion eCommerce Holiday Sales

The holiday season has always been a big one for ecommerce sites. From the kick-off cyber Monday straight through to the end of the season, pushing your product line hard between now and the end of December is an absolute must. There are, though, a few different kinds of tactics that you can try during the holiday season to keep customers coming back again and again to your Volusion site.

  1. Create a sense of urgency. By creating an updated version of your landing pages and your home page for each day of the season, customers can watch the countdown begin. Even if you simple place an actual countdown on each page, it will help customers feel the need to make their purchases almost immediately and keep them from abandoning their shopping carts before they finish the actual purchase.
  2. Shipping, shipping, shipping. One thing that keeps some customers away from ecommerce sites as a whole is the shipping charges involved, and while you may not be able to offer free shipping year-round, you might be able to cut your customers a break during the holiday season. There are a few different ways to do this. December 17 is national free shipping day, and there are very few ecommerce retailers who don’t participate. Alternately, offer free shipping if your customers place a minimum order with your site. Amazon has been doing this for years with their customers, and it encourages shoppers to place more in their cards just so they can qualify for the free shipping offers. You could even create an in-store pick-up option for your local customers just for the holiday season.
  3. Promotions mean everything. Almost every customer is looking for a great deal during the holiday season, and whether you put a clearance category on your site for your overstocked items or you create a low cost stocking stuffer category to help shoppers get the best possible deal on your site, this is the way to get people shopping on your site and keep them there to make those larger purchases.

The holiday season may be what’s standing between you and record year-end profits. Spruce up your shopping numbers this season! Visit MyOfficeHelper.com, the Volusion experts, for information on how we can help you now.

10 Worst Web Design Mistakes

October 19th, 2010

In the world of web design, there are a multitude of Web design disasters and HTML horrors. Let’s look at what we believe to be the top 10 BEST if you want to annoy your visitors and drive them away from your site.

1. Specifics, Where Art Thou?

Users visit sites because there’s something they want to get done, perhaps even purchase your product. The critical letdown of a website is not being able to provide the details users are looking for.Website Designer

At times, the answer is simply not there and you lose the sale because users think that your product or service doesn’t meet their needs due to lack of specifics. Other times, the particulars are buried deep under a thick layer of featureless slogans. Such hidden information may almost as well not be there since users don’t have time to read everything.

The most terrible example of not answering questions of users is to not listing the price of products and services. Price is the most particular piece of information customers need and if you don’t provide it, it diminishes their understanding of a product line.

2. Unsearchable Search

Search serves as the lifeline of the user when navigation is unsuccessful. Simple search usually works best even though advanced search can at times help. Search should be presented as a simple box since that’s what users are on the lookout for.

Search engines that are exceedingly literal diminish usability just because they’re not able to deal with typos, plurals, hyphens, and other variants of the search terms.

Another problem is when search engines prioritize results solely on the basis of the number of query terms they contain instead of the importance of each document. Much better if your search engine calls out “best bets” at the top of the list Searchparticularly for essential queries such as your product names.

3. Texts Written in a Single Block

One solid wall of text is annoying and boring for an interactive experience.

In order to draw users into reading the text, well-documented tricks should be used such as subheads, bulleted lists, highlighted keywords, short paragraphs, the inverted pyramid and a simple writing style that’s easy to scan.

4. Font Size That Can’t Be Resized

Unluckily, CSS style sheets provide websites the power to disable a Web browser’s “change font size” button and give a fixed font size. Almost 95% of the time, this fixed font size is tiny which reduces readability for most people above 40 years old. Let the users resize text according to their preference.

5. Links that Don’t Change Color

It helps you understand your current location if you have a good grasp of past navigation. It’s easier to decide where to go next if you know your past and present locations. A key factor in the navigation process is the link. Knowing which pages users already visited frees them from visiting the same pages over and over again unintentionally.

When visited links don’t change color, users become more disoriented. That’s why it’s important that users can tell the difference between visited and unvisited links by showing them in different colors.

6. PDF Files for Online Browsing. Duh?

Users don’t like encountering a PDF file while they’re browsing because it interrupts their flow and because standard browser commands don’t work, even simple stuffs such as printing or saving files are not that easy. Also, PDF layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper, which hardly ever matches the size of the browser window of the user. Even more, PDF is difficult to navigate so it’s important to switch any information that must be browsed or read on the screen into real web pages.

7. Designs That Appear Like Ads

Web users have learned to stop paying attention to any ads that get in the way of their purpose-driven navigation. Unfortunately, they also ignore legitimate design elements that look like common forms of advertising. Thus, it is best to avoid any designs that appear like advertisements. Keep in mind the following:

Banner blindness – Users never look at anything that appears like a banner ad because of the shape or position on the page.

Animation avoidance – Users don’t pay attention to areas with blinking or flashing text and other insistent animations.

Pop-up purges- Users close pop-up windows before they are even fully delivered.

8. Low Search Engine Visibility Page Titles

Search is the most significant way for users to discover websites as well as to find their way around individual websites. The page title is your primary tool to catch the attention of new visitors from search listings and to help your existing users to find the particular pages that they need.

Also, page titles are used as the default entry in the Favorites when users bookmark a site. For the homepage, start with the company name followed by a brief description of the site. Unless you want to be alphabetized under “T” or “W,” never start with words like “The” or “Welcome to.”

For other pages, begin the title with some of the most well-known information-carrying words that describe the essentials of what users will find on that page. If all your page titles begin with similar words, you have relentlessly reduced usability for your multi-windowing users.

Taglines on homepages also must be short and promptly communicate the site’s purpose.

9. Popping New Browser Windows

Users dislike unwarranted pop-up windows. Web designers open new browser windows thinking that it keeps users on their site. But the approach is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the typical way users return to previous sites. Frequently, users don’t notice that a new window has opened, particularly if they are utilizing a smallBad Website monitor where the windows are maximized to fill up the screen.

10. Defying Design Conventions

According to Jakob’s Law of the Web User Experience, users spend most of their time on other websites. This means that users form their expectations for your site based on what’s usually done on many other sites. If you diverge, your website will be harder to use and users will certainly leave.

Need a new website or ecommerce site? MyOfficeHelper is the Volusion expert and web design team for you.

Awesome Website Plugin – WIBIYA Toolbar

October 12th, 2010

Wibiya ToolbarToday Wibiya’s toolbar can be found on many popular sites and well-known brand pages. Let’s explore the reason why Wibiya has become the sensational tool it is today.

Wibiya is a social network application and navigation tool with great conversion features. The benefits of Wibiya for a site are numerous.

1) Communication

Wibiya helps you communicate with your site visitors. Using Facebook, Twitter, recent posts, and announcement tools, Wibiya offer numerous ways to notify visitors about the latest information, deals, and promotions on your website.

2) Global

With its Translator tool on the widget itself, Wibiya presents a positive experience to visitors from other countries. The tool will translate an English site to more than 15 languages.

3) Share

Sharing your favorite pages is easy with Wibiya, utilizing Twitter, Facebook, and Share buttons. All these tools are on the Wibiya toolbar widget.

4) Reduce Bounce rate

By having your visitors engaged with social networking tools, notifications, updates, and sharing tools while remaining on your site, Wibiya helps solve another issue that site owners have. Your visitors will stay on your site longer and, therefore, reduce the bounce rate of your site. This is great news for conversions of leads and sales, as well as for SEO purposes and ranking on search engines. A low bounce rate is known to help search engine rankings of a website.

5) Conversions

With such a sleek tool like Wibiya, your site should be tripling its sales right away! Well, maybe not, but if use Wibiya correctly you will find that your visitors trust you more, engage with you more, and will buy from you more.

As a tech geek, one of my favorite points of Wibiya is that it does not affect the page speed of the site and it is optimized well for usability on the site.

In summary, let’s just quote what Wibiya says about itself:

Wibiya provides an interactive and user-friendly web toolbar that allows you to integrate a host of web applications directly onto your website.

The Wibar web toolbar has many advantages, allowing you to add features and tools for your website’s visitors to use without leaving the page.

This will promote your website’s content, while increasing time spent on your website and the interest your website generates.

Download Wibiya for free now!

SEO Success Story: #1 on Google for “GSM Cell Phones”

August 26th, 2010

Search Engine OptimizationAbout six months ago, MyOfficeHelper was approached by a long-time customer, BigtimeWireless.com, for search engine optimization on their site. Their site deals with one of the most competitive retail markets online: cell phones.

Though they mainly sell unlocked cell phones that can be used on any carrier network worldwide, we found that many people use the following search terms as well when looking for a cell phone online: “unlocked mobile phones”, “gsm cell phones”, “gsm mobile phones” and more. In addition to these generic terms, we also needed to make sure Bigtime Wireless would rank for long-tail terms as well such as “HTC unlocked cell phones” and specific products such as “HTC Magic A6161″.

After optimizing the pages and doing extensive research, we implemented a rigorous SEO strategy that so far has proved to be effective.

Here is a sample of some of the ranking achieved for BigtimeWireless.com in the past few months for Google US results:

Google Rankings SEO

BigtimeWireless.com Google Rankings

Take note that a search for “gsm cell phones” will bring in more than 207 MILLION results, and BigtimeWireless.com ranks #1 in Global results and #3 in USA results. That’s right…our SEO skills and expertise in Volusion ecommerce will help you succeed.

Is your site ranking well? We would love to hear your success stories. Please post your comments below.

Top 5 Web Design Infographics & Comics

July 25th, 2010

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you are a web designer or just someone that needs pictures while reading, likes comics, and adores  infographics. As we know, a picture is worth 1,000 words – which is why 2010 is the year of the infographic.  Here is a list of our top 5 favorite web design infographics:

Read the rest of this entry »

Vork’s Volusion Voyage (Part 1)

July 12th, 2010
Vork, you’ve been with this company a long time; perhaps too long. You’re
nicely mannered, dependable, and you wear ties that give us all a good
laugh, though I doubt that’s your intention. We like you Vork, and we value
you as a human being, despite your many obvious flaws.
By gum I do wear
snazzy ties. I bet
he’s about to give
me a raise.

Vork’s Volusion Voyage (Part 2)

July 12th, 2010
All that mushy stuff having being said, however …
You’re expendable.
We’re downsizing.
You’re outa here.
Now go ahead and clean out your desk. And don’t take home any “souvenirs”
like paper clips, sticky notes, and the like. Toodles, Vork. It’s been real.

Vork’s Volusion Voyage (Part 3)

July 12th, 2010
I think it was the fourteenth century French author and poet J.J.
Shakespeare who said
“This really, really stinks
like a really, really stinky thing.”
What am I gonna do now?