Up until this point, I’ve never ever considered recommending Shopify to new shop owners. Even though it’s one of the most popular fully hosted shopping carts around, there were always a few aspects of Shopify that I just could not get over.
For one thing, they charge a transaction fee which is something that I absolutely detest because you have to forfeit a percentage of your sales which directly eats into your profits.
Right now, Shopify’s basic plan charges a 2% transaction fee. And while you can get that fee reduced to 1% for paying more every month, any percentage transaction fee is a pretty big negative in my book.
For example if you look at my online store, I’d be easily paying over 10-20x more to run my shopping cart on Shopify vs the current open source solution I use today. The other thing that I really dislike about …
I wanted to start off this post by letting you know that this is NOT just another generic “How To Speed Up WordPress” article.
I’m not going to regurgitate anything that can already be found on the web. I’m not going to tell you that you should install a caching plugin, enable compression, minify your css/js etc….
After all, you should know how to do these things already. And if you don’t, you can find this generic information on hundreds of other blogs.
Instead, this article contains everything custom/semi-custom that I’ve implemented in the past month or so to speed up my own WordPress blog and basically prevent rogue accesses from bringing down my server.
And the reason it’s “little known” is because the techniques I’m about to describe will be very specific to your own blog depending on the traffic patterns you are seeing.
Note: If you have a slow blog …
A while back, I wrote an article and made a video on How To Start An Online Store, Own Your Website And Sell Online Without Any Technical Knowledge Required.
Photo By Red Fishing Boat
And in that article, I demonstrated how anyone can launch a powerful online store for free based on the open source shopping cart OpenCart, without knowing how to code or program.
It’s fast, simple and the best part is that you own the code, you have full control and you call the shots!
But after running my online store course for quite a while now, I’ve come to realize that going the open source route may not be for everyone.
While I usually advise that everyone who is interested in opening an online store give open source a try (or license 3rd party source code) and host their own website, some people require a little extra hand holding in order …
After answering questions and critiquing online stores for over 4 years on this blog and running an online store course for the past year, I’ve noticed many common patterns and mistakes that new shop owners repeatedly make. And the funny thing is that most of these mistakes are crucial things that people often take for granted or don’t consider carefully.
In fact, most newbies that email me with their questions are obsessed with starting a website.
They are worried that they won’t be able to figure out how to launch their store.
They are worried that it will require too much technical expertise to start an online business.
They are worried that it will cost too much to design a website.
What’s ironic is that starting your website is probably the easiest task of all. With fully hosted shopping cart solutions like Big Commerce and Volusion, anyone can start a website without …
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past year, you are probably aware that Pinterest is a very hot topic among bloggers and small business owners. Not only has Pinterest’s user base been growing at an exponential rate but more and more businesses are starting to use Pinterest to market themselves online.
In fact, I’ve probably read over 80 Pinterest articles in the past 2 months alone. And of those 80, I’d say that a good 50 of those articles have been “free” tutorials and guides on how to use Pinterest to market your business.
One of the problems with reading and digesting all of this information is that after a while, every article starts to sound the same.
And what bugs me is that very few of these posts provide any real life case studies of how Pinterest has affected their businesses.
Is everyone just jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon …
This post is part 2 of a 3 part series on how to create your own online store and own your own website without any technical experience required.
The main point of these articles and videos is to convince you that you don’t need to rely on the Ebays, the Etsys or the Amazons of the world to sell goods online. There’s no reason to pay hefty selling fees when you can own your own online shop and keep all of the profits for yourself.
In part 1, I showed you how to create your own fully featured online store website with just a few clicks of the mouse. Today, I’m going to show you how to make your website transactions secure with SSL and how to install credit card processing on your online shop.
No Technical Experience Necessary
In an informal poll that I conducted with my newsletter readers a …
Based on the emails that I’ve received during the past year, there are a lot of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com readers that sell on either Ebay, Etsy or Amazon and have a strong desire to open their own online store. In fact after conducting a short survey, I created a video tutorial a few months back on how to install an open source shopping cart from scratch for free.
Photo By SheeShoo
However, this video got mixed reviews from my audience because it was too technical. Several readers tried to follow the instructions but got stuck trying to figure out how to use some of the free tools I recommended.
Another set of readers were turned off by the amount of typing of “random” commands into their terminals.
The reason I created that video the way I did was to show you at a fundamental level what was needed behind the scenes to set up …
As part of my free mini course on how to start an online store, I recommend 2 different credit processing services, Paypal Website Payments Pro and Merchant Plus which is an Authorize.net provider.
But the problem with recommending more than one option is that you still have to make a choice. And making the right decision largely depends on the nature of your business and the volume of payments that your shop processes.
The reason I decided to recommend more than one option is because both services have their pros and cons which I’m going to talk about in this article today. I’ve used both credit card processing solutions before so I’ll give you my breakdown and let you make the call.
Which One Is Cheaper?
The first and foremost criteria that most people use to select a credit card processor is price. But when it comes to credit card processing, …
Every year, my wife and I hire a professional photographer to take pictures of the kids and the family. While this is not cheap, it’s something we like to do because the kids are growing up so fast and we want to have photos for every stage of their development.
What’s funny is that hiring a photographer is only a small portion of the overall cost. Buying all new matching outfits for the kids and my wife is what tears a hole in my pocketbook and gives me heartburn.
For all of you who know me well, I’m pretty cheap and seeing the clothing costs for these photo shoots makes me want to faint. In fact, I don’t even bother checking the credit card bills during this time because I’m that terrified.
The other day, my wife was shopping online at a kids clothing “boutique” and probably spent a …
To be honest, I’m a little bit late to the Facebook and Twitter game when it comes to using social media with my online store. And the reason I’ve waited such a long time before applying these services to my business is because I was never fully convinced that it was a good use of my time.
After all, I have many tasks on my plate and very limited resources so I have to prioritize my time accordingly. But lately, I’ve been hearing way too many success stories with Twitter and Facebook to ignore them any longer.
For example according to Search Engine Land, many ecommerce companies have seen huge increases in sales and traffic after implementing Facebook Likes for their websites. Here are a few examples.
Levi’s jeans found that referral traffic increased 40X after implementing the Like button
Giantnerd.com’s revenues increased over 100% after implementing the Like button
My daughter is now 3 years old and as she continues to grow and mature, it’s becoming much easier for the two of us to communicate with one other. Finally, she can put together simple sentences and convey what she wants and needs using words instead of grunting or crying.
The problem is that she’s also getting smarter and harder to negotiate with. Once she wants something, she’s tends to have a one track mind.
Daughter: Daddy, can I play with your phone?
Me: Not right now my love
Daughter: Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone?
Me: I said not right now
Daughter: I picked up my toys off the floor…
Me: Mommy made you do that so that doesn’t count
Daughter: Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Can I see your phone? Please Daddy?
Me: AHHH!!! …
My wife and I put it off for as long as we could. Our friends teased us about it. We had visions of the both of us crouched over on our hands and knees scrubbing the floors all day. Potty training was the one aspect of parenthood that my wife and I absolutely dreaded.
Unfortunately, we had to bite the bullet sooner than we wanted to because our preschool forced us to take action. In order for our daughter to advance to the next class level, she had to be potty trained or be held back with the younger kids. And to make things worse, we recently had brand new carpets installed. (Bad timing. I know)
Photo By SpaceNinja
Yet in many ways, what instigated my wife and I to start our business and to potty train our daughter were very similar. Some external event forced …
Early on when you first launch your online store, one thing is certain. You will not be receiving many visitors and customers will have a hard time finding your website. But rather than view the lack of traffic as a negative, this is the perfect time to do some targeted conversion testing using Google Adwords and Google Analytics. Why? Because you have so little web traffic, there is less data to interpret which makes sifting through your Google Analytics reports much easier without having to create complex filters out of the box.
Below I’m going to describe how my wife and I tweaked the conversion rate and diagnosed the early problems with our online store website using Adwords and Google’s free web analytics tool. Incidentally, if you have not signed up for Google Analytics, you should do so right now. It’s an extremely powerful tool …
As many of you who follow my email newsletter are aware, I recently switched my email marketing provider from Mailchimp over to Aweber and I thought that it would be interesting to compare the two services.
For all of you who are not doing email marketing for your business, you really should consider doing so. Having an email list or newsletter is the best way to mobilize your audience to take action. It’s also a great way to maintain an active community of readers/customers for your site. In any case, this post is not about trying to convince you to use an email marketing provider, but if you are in the market for one, this review may help you out.
High Level Comparison Between Aweber And MailChimp
For those of you who don’t like to read and just want to cut to the chase, I’ve summarized the distinguishing features between …
When most people think about entrepreneurship or starting their own business, the first thing that comes to mind is the risk that is associated with being your own boss. Perhaps that is why entrepreneurship is such an exhilarating and sexy term. It takes guts to go out on your own.
Photo By Better Than Bacon
But the funny thing is that most of the successful entrepreneurs I know are very conservative and don’t like taking risks at all. Ironically, my entrepreneur friends are some of most risk averse people I know! I happen to fall into this same camp as well. Sure, I would risk a good amount of money to start my own business but would I ever bet the entire bank or stake my livelihood on a business idea? Hell no!
One of key aspects of entrepreneurship is knowing how to mitigate risk. …
Whenever I think of duct tape, I think of my favorite television superhero MacGyver. What?!? There’s a ticking time bomb set to explode in 10 seconds? Take that stick of chewing gum, some duct tape and disarm that bad boy. It wasn’t always pretty, but MacGyver always got the job done no matter what the situation. He was never concerned with how elegant the solution was, he just did what was necessary to help his client.
If Macgyver was a real person, who wouldn’t want him on your team? The truth is that every small business needs a duct tape guy. Because the duct tape guy is the guy who will make sure you launch your business on time. He’s the one thinking about and developing concrete ways to market your business. He’s the one getting things done while others …
The other day, I came across a heated forum discussion that went back and forth debating over the definition of a “true” entrepreneur versus just a regular small business owner. The thread was over 5 pages long and participating in this discussion were a wide variety of different business owners. Some of them ran brick and mortar retail stores. Some of them ran small-medium sized internet consulting or software companies. And some of them were freelancers looking to eventually start their own firms.
Photo By maubrowncow
The main crux of the debate was whether a person opening a brick and mortar business like an ice cream store or a freelancer with no employees could be considered a true entrepreneur. Where do you draw the line between true entrepreneurship and just running a small business?
As the two sides argued back and forth, I couldn’t help but think…who …
In order to build wealth effectively, we all have to be frugal to a certain extent. We have to watch our spending. We have to analyze our expenditures and cut back on the fat. We have to make sacrifices to make sure that we can save enough money for college and retirement.
Photo By Edward Kimuk
Fortunately, my wife and I both share the same principles when it comes to spending money (ie. we don’t spend frivolously). Otherwise, we would be seriously screwed. But after analyzing last year’s expenses using Quicken, I feel all frugalled out. We have pretty much cut back as much as we possibly can without drastically affecting our lifestyle.
If we look closely at last years expenses, we cut spending by another 4% over the year before. We are going out to eat less thanks to my wife’s desire to …
I’ve heard a ton of business ideas. I’ve listened to and read many business plans. And the one thing that always strikes me is how little most people think about the viability, profitability and end goals of their small business. Is the goal to become a millionaire? Is the goal to just make a living? Is the goal to just do something fun?
Photo By Reinvented
Perhaps this explains why in just the past year alone, I’ve seen many brick and mortar businesses open up their doors only to close down just a short while later. Perhaps this is why I know of several acquaintances who are in limbo with their business. They don’t make much profit yet they are literally working their butts off for the equivalent of minimum wage.
Granted, a lot of this might have to do with the current economy and the …
When most people think about starting a company or business, they think of the Microsofts, the Googles and the YouTubes of the world. They tend to think big because the media focuses on these multi-million dollar success stories and over glamorizes the risks and rewards.
Photo by MarkyBon
In fact, the media tends to portray entrepreneurs like lottery winners because that’s what makes the news. Because the chances of creating a company like You Tube or Facebook are so slim, most people shy away from starting their own business because they think it’s just way too risky with very little chance of success.
Just the other day, I had one of my readers email me that they were afraid to go out on their own because they didn’t want to risk everything for a measly 1% chance at success. A 1% chance at success? Where the hell did he …