Category Archives: Web Sites

Learn To Build An Ecommece Site

HOW TO BUILD AN ECOMMERCE WEB SITE – WITHOUT WRITING A LINE OF CODE
A 3 Part Series Exclusively for Members of the Web Sellers’ Circle

If you’ve sold on eBay or Bonanzle, Amazon or Etsy for any time, you’ve probably wondered if you couldn’t make more money by also selling on your own web site. This short series will teach you how to build such a site – no matter your level of technical expertise. 

This 3 Part Series is an exclusive Web Sellers’ Circle Seminar. You must be a member to register.

EPISODE 1 – LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR YOUR STORE
Wednesday, March 24, 7:00 EDT; 4:00 PDT

This episode will cover the 5 tools you must have for an eStore

  • A PayPal account
  • A Domain Name
  • A Web Hosting Account
  • A Web Site Design
  • A Shopping Cart & Inventory

Where do you get them? How musch will it cost? How hard will it be?

EPISODE 2 – BUILDING IT OUT
Wednesday, March 31, 7:00 EDT; 4:00 PDT

This episode will get you beyond the bare essentials. We’ll cover optimizing your software for ease of use (for both you and your customers); SEO; Privacy Policies and Contact Forms.

Plus the most important Add-Ons and Plugins – where to find them and how to install them.

EPISODE 3 – ADDING THE SHOPPING CART
Wednesday, April 7, 7:00 EDT; 4:00 PDT

Finally, we’ll look at several shopping carts, both free and paid versions.

  • How do you integrate your payments with your cart?
  • How do you add inventory?
  • How many items do you need just to start?
  • How much does it cost?

If you are following along with the classes, when this series is done, you’ll have a fully functioning store online, ready to sell and accept payments. And you’ll have done it all yourself – like the enterprising bootstrapper you are. Congratulations!

Remember- these classes are a part of the Web Sellers Circle membership package. No charge to register if you are a member. All classes will also be recorded for posting on the site.

I hope to see you on Wed., March 24 (7 PM Eastern, 4 PM Pacific time)

Check here for information on how to register for the How To Build an Ecommerce Web Site class(es)

Find out more about Joining the Web Sellers Circle here  Huge savings on annual memberships now available.

Are Things Harder Than They Need To Be?

cannot see over the wall

Stopped By The Barrier

No matter how fast you run or how hard you work, when you run into a wall, you are stymied.

Sometimes you can only peer over the wall, wondering why everyone else seems to be getting ahead.

Sometimes you just bang your head into the wall until you give up.

The wrong tools turn a simple job into an endless chore.

Installing and updating WordPress should be insanely easy these days.

If your web hosting comapny makes it hard – find another web host.

Annual hosting plans from companies like BlueHost or HostGator offer everything from unlimited domain accounts to one click installs for applications like WordPress or Simple Machine Forums – for less than $100.00.

Your time is worth money – and saving $2.00 or $3.00 a month is no savings at all when your website doesn’t perform correctly.

Here’s a checklist. If you answer no to any of these questions, your life is harder than it needs to be.

  • Can you install the latest version of WordPress with a simple mouse click?
  • Can you update WordPress from within your blog with a single click?
  • Can you browse, install, and activate plugins and themes without ever leaving your Admin panel?
  • Can you keep your web site, plugins, and themes patched and up  to date easily?
  • Can you host multiple web sites and blogs, each with its own domain name, on a single account for less than $10.00 per month?

On the other hand, if you answer “Yes”  to these questions, your web site needs upgrading:

  • Are you charged over bandwidth limit fees?
  • Are you running out of space for video or audio files?
  • Do you have to enter an FTP password and configure FTP settings if you try to use WordPress’s plugin or theme updater?
  • Is updating plugins such a hassle that you are afraid to even try the new WordPress version upgrade?

I use and recommend BlueHost orHostGator (and I earn a small commision if you buy a plan after clicking on these links), but there are other good, inexpensive web hosts as well.

Any time you spend reviewing hosting options for the new year will be time well spent.

Don’t struggle with your site unnecessarily. Make it a New Year’s Resolution to spend your time creating content – not struggling with outdated service providers. Once you see how easy it can be, you’ll never agree to run an obstacle course again.

Photo by Giuseppe Bognanni Released under Creative Commons License

Last Chance To Enter To Win Free Web Site Set Up

logo


On Monday, we will be drawing the name of the winner of the How to Make Money Online With Free Web Sites Giveaway contest.

The contest is open to any member of the Web Sellers Circle – even the $1.00 Trial Members.

You can find full details and rules here: Register To Win

In a nutshell, here’s what’s happening:

You supply the domain name and a web host with CPanel. We’ll do everything else

We’ll

  • Help you choose a profitable niche
  • Help you sign up for a Google AdWords/AdSense account
  • Help you sign up as an Amazon Associate
  • Help you create a Commission Junction account
  • Help you register for eBay’s Partner Network
  • Build a web site using WordPress
  • Optimize the web site for best Google rankings for your longtail keywords

In return – you’ll own the web site and keep all the money generated through affiliate links!

What’s the catch?

  1. You must be a member of The Web Sellers Circle to be eligible ($1.00 Trial members are eligible)
  2. We cannot guarantee your acceptance in any 3rd party affiliate program (Amazon, EPN, CJ etc)

Nor can we guarantee that you’ll make lots of money. In fact, it is rare to strike it rich with just one web site. But by working with us and observing how to build a site, you’ll have all the tools you need to add another 5, 10, or 100 such sites to your web hosting account. The more you do – the more potential you’ll have to make a tidy affiliate income.

So don’t miss this chance to put the Web Sellers Circle to work for you. There just isn’t a down side.

Great Savings on Web Hosting From BlueHost

Bluehost.com has a limited time offer that is an amazing bargain for anyone who wants to start or move a blog, web site, forum, or Google AdSense page(s) – or any combination of all of the above.

Bluehost’s normal price for unlimited domain with unlimited bandwidth is $7.95 per month. The sale price is

  • $4.95 per month with a 12 month contract
  • $3.95 per month with a 24 month contract

BlueHost uses web standard LAMP servers – Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP – with Fantastico and Simple Scripts so you can host a WordPress blog or a SimpleMachines forum with just a couple of mouse clicks.

I’ve hosted my sites with BlueHost for years, and I recommend them from experience. If you want to take advantage of this offer, click on the banner below.

Bluehost.com Web Hosting

It is an affiliate banner and I will earn a commission if you click on it. But that’s not the primary reason I’m mentioning this offer on this blog (which is hosted on BlueHost). I recommend BlueHost because they are reliable, inexpensive, and they have good customer service.

If you’d prefer not to use an affiliate link – just go directly to www.bluehost.com and sign up. You’ll get the same offer at the same price either way.

And either way, it’s too good an offer to pass up if you need a hosting service.

How To Start A Membership Site

Time to Catch The Wave

Time to Catch The Wave

Recurring monthly income is the Holy Grail of internet sellers.

Everyone wants a predictable revenue stream that grows over time and appreciates in value but does not require an endless investment of time and talent.

Membership sites are the #1 solution for a growing segment of web site owners – including Ghost Leg Media.

Ghost Leg Media and CloverCity Sells have joined forces to produce a new membership site called The Web Sellers’ Circle. It’s a site dedicated to the needs of the online small business owner. We’re a resources and skill center, offering support, training and tutorials in topics ranging from selling on Bonanzle to producing your own DVDs.

We’ve got big plans and high hopes.

For the next few weeks, while we get the site architecture firmly in place, Web Sellers Circle will remain free to join – just sign up to view our exclusive interviews with internet entrpreneurs from Bonanzle, Vendio, MerchantRun, NeatoScan and more.

That’s just a small taste of what the site will offer.

As we get ready to launch, I’ll blog about the process of starting a membership site, including:

  • Choosing a platform
  • Finding a niche
  • Accepting payments

If you’ve ever wanted to start your own membership site, this is your chance to follow the behind the scenes progress. Learn with us as we gear up for the final preparations before throwing open the doors.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Web Sellers’ Circle itself, please head on over to Web Sellers’ Secret and read about the Charter Members Sign Up package.

Photo by tylerdurden1 Released under Creative Commons License

Use The 301 Redirect To Avoid Broken Links and Google’s Wrath

A 301 Redirect Prevents Lost Visitors

A 301 Redirect Prevents Lost Visitors

You’ll eventually find it necessary to move or rename a web page.

However, old, out-of-date URLs will remain in your readers’ bookmarks and favorites, in other web sites’ links, in email sig files – in all sorts of places you cannot control.

When a customer who hasn’t visited your site in many months uses an old, out-dated link, they get a “404 File Not Found” error and the sale is lost.

Just as bad, Google has the old URL squirreled away in its vast memory – and you suddenly find a once busy site penalized or delisted because the link leads nowhere – even if all you did was change the htm extension to html!

You can avoid this problem with a simple bit of code called a 301 Redirect.

In the past, webmasters used metatag redirects or javascript redirects to send readers or buyers to a page other than the one whose address they’d typed into the browser address bar. Today, this practice is seen as inherently deceptive because it is used and abused by spammers and crooks.

To stay on the side of the angels – and on Google’s good side – use the 301 Redirect in a file called .htaccess

Here’s how:

If your website is hosted on a server running Linux or Apache, you probably already have an .htaccess file in the root directory. Use your favorite FTP program to download the .htaccess file to your own computer. (If necessary, you can also create a new .htaccess file by just opening NotePad and writing out the redirect command and then naming the new file .htaccess NOTE: do not use the .txt extension)

Before you make any changes to an existing .htaccess, be sure to create a back up copy. If anything goes wrong, you’ll want to revert to the original file, and the simplest way to do that is to just upload it again.

Open .htaccess in Notepad and add this simple command:

Redirect 301 /original/original.html http://www.yournewURL.com/new.html

Save the changes, being sure to change the File Type to “All Files” so that NotePad doesn’t add a .txt to the end of the file name. It must remain .htaccess

A few things to note:

  • There is no “http://” or “www.” in front of that first URL.
  • There is a single space between parts of the command: Redirect [space] 301 [space] old URL [space] new URL

At first glance, this may seem like arcane mumbo-jumbo. But it is really straight forward and not at all hard to do. A little time spent experimenting will be more than repaid in improved SEO.

A 301 Redirect can be also be very useful in other ways. You may, for instance, want to give shoppers an easy way to find your eBay store. Rather than hoping they’ll recall a complicated eBay URL, just send them to YourStore.com/ebay/ and use the 301 Redirect command in .htaccess to permanently send that URL to your eBay store.

If you’d like to learn more, Steven Hargrove has many scripts and detailed directions on his site.

Photo by by Number Six (bill lapp) Released under Creative Commons License

12 Tips For Moving Your Web Site

Moving Day

Moving Day

Moving a web site, especially a well established web site with lots of links and good SEO, from one hosting company to another,  can be tedious and time-consuming but it does not have to be difficult or nerve-wracking

Some tasks are probably already part of your everyday maintenance. If you regularly police bad links and other errors, you are already ahead of the game.

Here are 12 steps for painlessly switching web hosts for a traditional web site, without losing visitors or search engine rankings:

TWELVE STEPS FOR A TROUBLE FREE MOVE

  1. Check your web site’s account with the hosting company.  It should list the renewal date. You don’t want to put the move off until the last minute. If at all possible, give yourself anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to complete the move.
  2. Choose a new web hosting company and open an account with them while your old account is still active on the host you are leaving.
  3. Your new web host will send you a welcome letter with a temporary internet address, FTP instructions, email set up instructions, and Name Server addresses. You’ll need all this to get your files up on the new server. Test it and save it.
  4. Take a good look at the structure of your site. Is there anything you should clean up or change before the move? Fix errors, dead links, etc., that you find before you transfer the files.
  5. Back up your old web site. If your current web host uses C Panel, you will probably have a back up wizard that will zip your site and download it to your PC. Note that although you will have a choice between a full back up and a partial back up, you may not be able to restore your site on the new servers with the full back up.
  6. If you cannot use a back up wizad to back up your site, try downloading everything to your computer via FTP. Remember to recreate the directory structure just as it exists on your web site.
  7. Upload your files to the new web host, using the temporary address they sent you when you opened the account. If both web hosts have C Panel, you may be able to upload your back up and then restore it on the new site.  If you can’t use the back up wizard, just FTP the files, taking care to recreate the directory structure exactly.
  8. Test the links on the new site (using the temporary URL to view it in our web browser).
  9. When you are confident that everything is working correctly, change your Name Servers to point to your new web host. This is done through your domain registrar (i.e., GoDaddy). If you access the old server’s Admin or Account areas (including C Panel) by typing in your domain name, you will be locked out after changing the name servers – so make sure you have cleaned up everything, including email, on the old web host before completing this step. (Check with your old web host and find out if you can get into your Admin area using an IP address other than your domain name.)
  10. You may be tempted at this point to delete your old account – but don’t! It can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours for the new Name Server information to become universally available across the internet. While other gateways are updating your address, you do not want visitors – including Google – to find themselves in a black hole, with nothing to see but an error message saying that your site no longer exists. Protect your visitors and your search engine rankings by keeping your old site alive just a little longer.
  11. Inform everyone that your site is moving. Put a notice on the site. If you send out newsletters, tell your subscribers. Warn visitors that they may see the occasional glitch and ask for their patience. Set up your email through your new hosting service, if you will use their POP email. Check and double check the links on the new site. Make sure there are no missing files. Ping your new address to test it.
  12. Carefully monitor traffic that is still going to your old web site. It should drop to almost zero by day 3, while traffic at your new web host should climb to your old levels. Between 4 and 5 days after you changed the Name Servers, cancel your old account.


Congratulations! You have officially moved to your new home, and you haven’t left anything or anyone important behind. In fact, if you hadn’t told them, most visitors probably wouldn’t even have noticed the move.

Photo by saguayo Released under Creative Commons License

Register With A Registrar Then Host With Web Host

HOW TO BUILD A WEB SITE FOR YOUR BUSINESS – PART 4

Web domain registrars are in a low-price competition with each other. The basic service they offer – registering your domain name – is not the sort of thing that builds high margin, repeat traffic. So, to keep the cost of domain registration low while still turning a profit, registrars will try to upsell other web services to new clients.

There is nothing shady or unethical about this. In fact, the upsells probably subsidize the extremely low cost we currently pay for domain registration. The problem is, registrars are usually not very good web hosts or email providers.  The all-in-one packages they offer will hobble your business.

When you take the first step to getting a web site – be aware of the difference between a web host (the company that rents you server space for your web site) and the domain registrar (the company that makes sure your domain name is unique).

To get the job done right, these will be two different companies, doing two different jobs. It is a little bit more work for you at the start, but it will save you hours of work, and possibly hundreds of dollars, to get it right from the start.

REGISTRARS

GoDaddy.com is an excellent choice for registering your domain name. They offer low prices and reliable service. They will also offer you email accounts, web hosting, blogs, various privacy options for your domain registration, etc. Stay away from all the add ons. Just buy the $6.95 domain registration and move on to selecting a web host.

WEB HOSTING

There is an acronym for the services you want in a web host: LAMP. That stands for

  • Linux
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • PHP

Not Up To The Job

That configuration is ideal for most web sites because it gives you access to low cost/no cost server operating systems (Linux and Apache) to keep expenses down, while still offering database capabilities. So many web applications, like WordPress and Joomla, require PHP and MySQL that you are tying your hands behind your back if you host your site on servers that do not use them.

While there are hundreds of low cost web hosting companies around, BlueHost or HostGator have very good reputations. Both offer Linux servers with PHP and MySQL, both have Fantastico for one click installation of complicated programs like bulletin boards, blogs, and shopping carts, and both offer unlimited domains on one low priced account.

Don’t get wrong footed when you start out. Your investment in GoDaddy’s limited web and email programs will either hamstring your service or go to waste. As soon as your business begins to grow, you will dump them like a pair of old shoes.

OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES:

  1. How To Build A Web Site For Your Business Part 1
  2. Add On Domains and Parked Domains
  3. Fantastic Fantastico

Photo by Sammis Co Released un Creative Commons License

How To Install WordPress with Fantastico

Many business owners begin blogging by opening an account at WordPress.com. While there are advantages to using WordPress.com as a hosting service, they don’t compare to the benefits of hosting your own blog on your own site.

Worry about complicated installation instructions and bewildering Linux commands stops many people from taking advantage of Open Source software such as WordPress. But there is no reason to hold back. It’s a snap to install WordPress on your web site if you have CPanel and Fantastico, which come as standard features in most Linux hosting plans. Although WordPress says that a normal, manual installation takes only five minutes, with Fantastico it takes about one minute. You don’t need any skills or network saavy.

This short video will demonstrate how easy it is to add a WordPress blog to your web site. Click the start button to begin watching.

Sorry – Technical Difficulties With Video – It will be reposted soon

If your hosting company doesn’t offer Fantastico, switch to a different web host! I’ve used BlueHost for the last 3 years and can recommend them highly. A quick web search will turn up many other Fantastico enabled web hosts.

Fantastic Fantastico

How To Build A Web Site For Your Business – Part 3

The average low cost web site is hosted on a Linux server. Whether you personally use – or even know the first thing about – Linux is unimportant. Choosing a Linux plan like BlueHost’s is a good idea. Linux is a very stable server platform and it is free (unlike Unix and Microsoft server software). That’s one of the reasons Linux plans can be so inexpensive.

Linux has another advantage in web hosting. The web master’s (that’s you) connection to the server is usually a simple, graphical interface called CPanel. CPanel has a point and click structure that allows you to configure email accounts, upload files, add domains, and perform similar administrative tasks.

One of CPanel’s hidden gems is Fantastico De Luxe, which can be found under Software/Services.


Fantastico in CPanel Software/Services

Fantastico in CPanel Software/Services


Fantastico is a collection of One Click instllation scripts that will give you access to some of the most popular open source applications on the internet. For instance, among its many offerings, Fantastico includes WordPress, Joomla, Simple Machine Forums, and OS Commerce. All can be added to your web site by simply pointing and clicking. If you’ve ever tried to install any of these programs manually, you’ll appreciate what a dream one click installation is!

If your business web site requires anything beyond the most basic HTML pages, be sure you web hosting company offers CPanel with Fantastico. Anything else is just too much work.