E-commerce & Internet Marketing Blog: Tips and tricks in internet marketing. Latest trends in web design.

Get 0208 landline on your Skype phone

When Three first launched it’s Skypephone more than a year ago then I clapped my hands that finally I feel that I need to upgrade my phone – I can chat for free on my phone, I can make free Skype calls worldwide and I can receive for free calls to our 0208 SkypeIN online number. Unfortunately I figured out very soon that calls to 0208 SkypeIN number doesn’t arrive to my Skypephone.

Now, last week I found workaround for this problem. You just need to keep your Skype account with SkypeIN landline number loged in at home or office and also run the Skypephone manager software in same PC.  Skypephone manager will answer automatically all Skype and SkypeIN landline incomming calls and will put the call in hold until it calls to another Skype account that you run in your mobile phone. When you answer the call, it will make conference call so that basically for you and caller it seems that the landline number is in your mobile.

So thakee your home or office SkypeIN landline numbers of any country with you on the move with any mobile with Skype.

Nominate MODx best open source CMS @ Packt 2009

Winner of most promising open source CMS 2007MODx won in Packt Open Source CMS Award 2007 first place at most promising CMS as it was still quite in a baby stage but seen that something good will come out of it. In August MODx Evolution 1.0 released and before the end of 2009 MODx Revolution 2.0 will release so let’s help MODx revolutionise the open source CMS World.

In making their decision at Pact they are asking the judges to consider performance, usability, accessibility, ease of configuration and customization, scalability, security and community contribution. We believe that these are the elements that make up a fantastic CMS and MODx rocks on all these elements.

You can vote MODx as best overall CMS and best PHP CMS til 11th September and the links to do it are below. MODx will be automatically chosen and you just need to enter your name, email address and click “Nominate” – takes 10 seconds and it’s worth of the time as MODx really deservs wider recognition as best CMS.

Nominate MODx as best overall CMS 2009 & nominate MODx as best PHP CMS 2009.

Edit: Pact Open Source CMS Award Finalists

Overall Award Finalists:

1. DotNetNuke
2. MODx
3. SilverStripe
4. WordPress

Best Open Source PHP CMS Finalists:

1. Drupal
2. Joomla!
3. MODx
4. TYPOlight
5. WordPress

Please, vote for MODx in final now!

Importance of detailed written planning of web development projects.

Web development error fixing cost vs timeDetailed planning is most important. Every singe functionality that you want to see in website should be defined beforehand as the cost of developing it is cheapest before development starts and the price increases when development has begun as it was not planned by programmers when they decided how to build database, what frameworks / ready scripts to use, what technologies to use etc. Once the development has finished the price increases even more as time passes programmers forget the exact structure of the code as they start dealing with other projects.

Risks to fail

Web functionality development risksThere are always risks that project fails in certain amount. In worst scenario it’s not possible to deliver but in most cases deliverable doesn’t satisfy 100%. Most of the risks are eliminated by proper planning. If everything that is required is written down before coding starts then most of the risks are eliminated.

After planning comes communication. As programmers tend to speak more tech savvy language and customer often isn’t able to define properly his/her needs many requirements are not understood or are understood wrong.

If everything is planned properly and made properly clear between each other then there’s left quite a small amount of risk for process of programming and common sense.

Why MODx is best content management system?

MODx Web 2.0 CMS and frameworkThere are thousands of open source different content management systems around the web, I have used more than ten different CMS systems mainly Drupal, WordPress (great for blogging but can be also used for CMS) and Joomla but sice I found MODx two years ago I never use any other CMS if customer doesn’t want for sure use something else.

So, why it’s so much better than others? It’s SEO CMS!

Most important thing for us as internet marketing specialists is that none of other CMS’s aren’t really grasped in depth with search engine optimisation issues and MODx seems to be the first one taking it seriously. It has built in search engine friendly URLs so it takes less than a minute to have pretty URL’s that search engines will love. There is automatic (Google) Sitemap XML generator snippet that will update Sitemap XML automatically when you make any changes and URL normalization (canonicalization)  plugin that will enforce the use of unique URLs for every document to prevent duplicate content that can result beeing penaltised by some search engines. MODx has strong W3C web standards support enabling developers to build XHTML 1.0 Strict websites just as easily as coping the code from one place to another as it doesn’t have any templating engines, confusing layout rules or defined blocks like for example Joomla has. And you can edit highly customized META content of every page separatelly.

It’s fast!

MODx vs Drupal or even more MODx vs Joomla will bring into my mind also speed issue. It has powerful caching of all pages and there’s even no need to run speed test to understant that same website at same server loads way faster when it’s built on MODx (test gave average 0,03KB per second ) rather than Joomla as the slowest (0,11KB per second) or on Drupal (0,05KB per second).

Easy to use!

It’s easy to use! Just test drive it here or see screenshots – you just have your whole content on the left side visually apealling Ajax document tree logically structured exactly depending on customer’s needs. Just click on the pages you want to edit and you have different areas of your webpage different TinyMCE rich text editor editable.

Developer friendly = short deadlines and cheap development prices for customer.

And it’s also great and really easy to use for developers and advanced users. MODx as framework gives developer as much control as needed and has API and dbAPI, developers can build with ease any custom solutions with MODx. To customer it gives ability to get fast and cheap complex very dynamic solutions not just standard CMS with one main editable area + menu.

MODx started at 2004 by Raymond Irving, Ryan Thrash and Jason Coward and soon will be launching MODx version 1 called Revolution. MODx is winner of the 2007 Most Promosing Open Source CMS Award.

It’s good to be MODx developer – only positive suprises since we started developing our projects on MODx.

If you do some SEO yourself you pay less to professionals to get into the top!

Search engine optimisation DIYIf you have time to spare and you want to save some money then why not to do some SEO yourself? Basic on-site search engine optimization isn’t a rocket science and most of it can be done by yourself without any knowledge of HTML or any experience in internet marketing.

First of all you must have some understanding of what you’re doing and what search engines are doing. Your goal is to increase sales from your website. So, a) you need to convert as high % of your visitors into profitable customers as possible and b) drive as many potential customers into your website as possible. We’re going to talk about “b” in this post and pretend that your website is already highly converting. The goal of search engines is to suggest the most relevant websites for the keywords that were enteredon the first page of search results .

What are your keywords?

You need to guess what these people (who are your most desirable potential customers) type to search engine, who’s looking for any product/service that you’re offering or just looking for information in the topics that you’re expert in. Once you get a few keywords written down then you can use different keyword tools to work out more keywords, choose better ones and also see the search volume and amount of competition for different keywords. We have collected some free SEO DIY online tools here and if you join our free strictly anti-spam quarterly newsletter then we’ll send you more tools, tricks & tips, instructions, step-by-steb e-book(s) on how to reach the top and with every newsletter we will also choose one winner who will get £150 voucher to order anything from e-Stonia!

If you enter some of your keywords into Google Keyword tool or Google Sets from the SEO tools page then Google will suggest you new keyword ideas regarding what others with similar businesses use. Keyword Synonyms Finder will check the top 1000 Google results for your keywords by running a related word query. With these tools you can work out a longer list of keywords from where you can select the ones that seem more relevant to your business.

Content contains your keywords

Once you have this list, you need to analyze your website content with Keyword density checker to see what keywords actually appear in your content at the moment and if these are the ones that you want to. You need to write your content so that your most desired keywords are present in your content texts, page headers, page TITLE, image ALT tags and of course in META tags (to learn how to add META tags please read further).

It’s a lot of work but not complicated at all – you just need some logical thinking and an understanding about how Google’s robot sees your website. For example if you write a lot about “organic food” and mention here and there what kind of “shop” you are and how different you are compared to other “uk” shops then Google will think that it might be a good idea to send people to your website if they type “uk organic food shops” into search.

It’s always best to start off on the keywords with less competition. Get some traffic with those keywords, and THEN you can focus on the larger keywords. For example if you’re selling “organic food” then to get into the top with that keyword will cost you quite a lot of time and/or a small fortune but you can get into the top with “organic food london”, “healthy organic food”, “organic food for kids” etc. It’s always a good idea to repeat the main keyword with high competition a lot in narrower keywords with less competition.

META tags

META tags are a simple piece of HTML code you can copy between <HEADER> and </HEADER> tags into your website if you don’t have them yet. Here’s an optimal header area of your website unless you know what you’re doing:

<meta name="robots" content="index,follow" /> Don't touch this line.
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2" />  Comma
separated keywords here
<meta name="description" content="Your business description here" />
<meta name="abstract" content="Very short description here" />
<meta name="copyright" content="Copyright (c) 2009 Your Company." />

If this still seems too complicated you can contact us and in just one hour (which is free for our new customers) we will create your META tags and also show you how to optimize the rest of the your code. It’s the easiest part of SEO.

E-mail marketing is internet marketing strategy with best ROI

e-mail marketing todayWell worked out e-mail marketing strategy has better return on investment (ROI) than any other way of  (internet) marketing.  It’s simple: every penny or hour (as e-mail marketing can cost you only your time if you do it yourself) spent into e-mail marketing will most likely bring you more profit than any other way of marketing.

So, how to do successful e-mail marketing?

  1. Use right tools and follow the rules
  2. Build quality list
  3. Send goal orientated e-mail (newsletter)

Use the right tools and don’t brake the rules. Use software that…

  • Provides proper delivery reports showing you how many received the e-mal, how many actually opened the mail, how many clicked on the link in the e-mail and took the action you wanted them to take (click-through rates – CTR) and also bounce handling (both hard and soft bounces). How many unsubscribed (one-click unsubscribe link must be in every e-mail) and how many reported the e-mail as spam.
  • Provides personalised e-mails like Dear name, birthday greetings, location mentioned, sent out at the time when registered and of course sends information that the person is most interested. You can also send differently targeted e-mails to different sex or marrital status (title) or different age group (DOB).
  • Provides template based e-mails so you can send out nicely designed HTML newsletters.
  • And follow the rules: include your company name and address in every e-mail.
  • Use private IP! If you use ESP (e-mail service provider) who’s many customers share same IP address then you may get blocked by ISPs for mistakes just because of other ESP’s customers. Reputable ESPs work on removing spammers but it’s still better to run your own software from separate IP.

How to build a quality list!

Length of your e-mail list is important of course but the QUALITY of your list is way more important. My different customers have different sizes of lists. One of my customer has a list of over 10.000 and they make less profit through it than many of my customers that have less than 500 in their list!

Never buy lists, “borrow” lists or find e-mail addresses from business directories and yellow pages. Always let people sign up themselves because then you follow the rules and also build quality list – only people actually interested in what you are offering sign up.

To get people to sign up you need to offer them some bonus for signing up. You can offer free PDF, web based or phone training (half of it can be promoting your products/services), huge discount or whatever you can offer for free. It can be an offer to win something if five friends’ e-mails are entered. Be creative – think about what you would like to get for free if you were a potential customer of your business.

Of course you can also have “sign up for our (why useful?) newsletter” checkbox at your contact form, registration form, check-out process, etc. but also have the advert offering something when joining the list on every page of your website, in your e-mail signature, in your forum’s signature, etc. It’s also a good idea to write articles and post them into free sites and have an advert offering something when joined somewhere in your articles.

I for example offer free 1h on-site consultation in London or Skype/phone consultation over the internet anywhere in the world.

Send goal orientated newsletters

It’s easy to send out an e-mail but getting readers attention isn’t. Successful e-mail has to break through the clutter and the average consumer’s inbox is one of the most cluttered place. You have to give the reason to pay attention and it starts from the subject. First of all the e-mail must be opened so it is important to design ‘From:’ and ‘Subject:’ lines that get noticed. Subject line has to highlight the immediate benefit and avoid subject lines that look like spam.

Secondly, make sure your e-mail content is valuable (text) to your audience + interesting and nice (graphics). Here again you can offer free give-aways or valuable information that makes sense to stay in the list. From other hand you need to increase sales so you can give discount vouchers or extend urgent offers. Of course doing it all together you can also use space for promoting something and write effective call for action.

E-mail also has to have an inherent value. You can give useful tips and advice, provide instructions and directions, include important facts and research or add entertaining content or even viral video and “send to friend” form.

Well, start building your list slowly or with huge effort – you’ll thank yourself after a few years!