10 Advantages of an e-Commerce Store over a Physical Store

Buying on ecommerce store is becoming a norm nowadays. According to marketers ‘80% of internet users in the country will purchase via any digital channel in the coming year’

As an individual, a budding entrepreneur, retailer or a business, a website optimized for ecommerce is an ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE. But beyond being a requirement it comes with a variety of valuable benefits.

Gone are the days when it is compulsory to buy goods or pay for services rendered in person. Thanks to ecommerce, this traditional method trading has been revolutionised. The task of shopping is now easier, more fun to do and business hour time is not a limiting factor with customers having the freedom to shop outside the business hours. All these are made possible by the availability of the various online ecommerce stores.  The convenience which ecommerce offers has conversely made consumers lazier. Why make the long journey to a retail outlet when you can access it from a mobile?

10 Advantages of ecommerce store for a business

 

COST EFFECTIVE & AFFORDABLE

Running an ecommerce store is highly cost effective as you avoid costs that would affect your real world counterparts. Some of these avoided expenses include

  • Staff: An ecommerce store doesn’t require the hands-on attention required by an entire team of employees. Processes such as inventory management, billing and operational costs can be fully automated.
  • Physical Store Bills: With an ecommerce store, you will be saving money for physical store expenses like rent, storage shelves, electricity etc. The only amount required for an ecommerce store is for the design and development as well as occasional maintenance.
  • Advertising: Ideally, having an ecommerce store does not exempt you from this, but it makes the process easier and measurable and the pricing is more affordable. You also overcome the location constraint usually encountered when advertising. It means that you will reach more people and have a higher chance of these people becoming customers on your ecommerce store.
  • Travel costs: your customers no longer have to spend money travelling to your physical store to make purchase. This is a factor that will benefit your business as the advantage of saving by your customer will conversely increase the likelihood of making sales.

 

NO GEOGRAPHICAL AND TIME BOUNDARIES

Visitors and customers have access to your ecommerce store all the time from any location in the world and they will be able pay for products and services at their own convenience. At whatever time they choose, either at 10am or 4pm or at 1am. Ecommerce gives the advantage of being able to purchase anything at any time with ease. Ecommerce not only remove geographical and time boundaries, it also offer the benefits of being able to purchase practically anything at any time, 24/7 with ease.

 

BETTER EQUIPPED TO TRACK CUSTOMERS BEHAVIOR:

Having an ecommerce store gives you the chance to keep track of your customers’ buying habits and also monitor their purchasing behaviours. With this, you can be able to adopt new plans and approaches to engage and constantly deliver what your customers want. An ecommerce store will give you access to data that can help you to determine customers’ buying pattern and the product they will likely purchase.

 

EASIER TO ENGAGE:

When running a physical store the number of customers you can attend to at the same time and the amount of information you can convey is limited. But with an ecommerce store, you can engage with several customers easily at a go and deliver customized messages that will motivate them to make purchases. Ecommerce makes it easier to engage with your target customers.

 

GAIN NEW CUSTOMERS THROUGH SEARCH ENGINES:

Search engines are becoming a part of our daily tools and you can take advantage of this to meet huge number of people searching for your product or services. You do this when your ecommerce store is positioned on the first page of search engines through a well-planned SEO strategy. A strategic SEO can lead to an influx of people to your ecommerce store which a physical store simply cannot be able to do because people are constrained by physical location. Increase in traffic to your ecommerce store can increase significantly your potential paying customer.

 

GET CUSTOMERS TO SELL YOUR OWN PRODUCTS:

Today’s customers have become savvy when it comes to taking decisions to make purchases online. One of the things they look out for are ratings and reviews by other who had earlier used the product or service. This trend is on the rise and it is not going down any time soon. Encourage customers who made purchases on your store to leave a positive review about your product or service and visitors to your ecommerce store will be encourage to make purchases based on the positive reviews of other. This can be your greatest means to turn these visitors to paying customers.

 

BETTER EXPERIENCE:

Just like a real physical store, having a well-designed (structural and functional) ecommerce store that delivers the right information to customers is perhaps one of the first steps to engage with your audience. An attractive and inviting ecommerce store will make visitors stay longer and explore the website the more. That extra second spend will increase their chances of making a purchase leading to improved revenue.

 

EASIER TO LOCATE:

Locating the address of an ecommerce store is much easier than locating the address of a physical store. A visitor only needs the URL to locate an ecommerce store unlike a physical store that can be buried in an obscure part of a street. Even with a detailed map as a guide, locating a physical store can sometimes be demanding for visitors. There is no doubt that locating a physical store is much more difficult that an ecommerce store.

 

EASIER TO FIND PRODUCTS:

No longer do to customer need to search through a physical store to get a product. With the search option available on every ecommerce store, a visitor will only have to input the product in the search form and press ‘search’. Immediately, they have their product with the options to customize their search criteria and access to other related products. With an ecommerce store, information is easily available and visible to visitors and customers at a glance.

 

ECOMMERCE IS ECO-FRIENDLY:

This is an advantage on a broad scale. It not only affect you and your customers alone but the whole society at large.. Ecommerce aids the environment in a number of key ways

  • Reduced paper usage – By consuming less paper required for day-to-day physical store records, you are saving trees and preserving the habitats of valued species.
  • Less vehicular traffic – Since you are saving customers the trouble of travelling on the road to your physical store, you are subsequently aiding the environment by minimising traffic and air pollution.
  • Optimum use of energy and resources – Also since you are not using a physical store location, you will be helping to conserve valuable energy and resources like water, electricity and land. You may have an office space but the rate of consumption will not likely be like those of a physical space.
  • It should be noted, however, that having an ecommerce store alone is not enough to ensure more sales; rather strategically deploying and supporting it with other digital media channels that communicate the unique selling point will increase the chances of higher conversion rates and ultimate success.

 

 

In conclusion, having a physical store also has its pros and cons but if your target markets are also on the internet, then you should use that to your advantage by having an ecommerce store as well. However, if your target customers are not digitally savvy, then a physical store will be well suited for your purpose.

 

TOP WEBSITE FEATURES USERS EXPECT IN A BUSINESS WEBSITE: WEBSITE FEATURES THAT CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS TO GROW

The following are top website features that visitors look out for when visiting a website. These are top website features users expect in a website especially business websites. Implementing these website features will help your business maximise its presence online, and realise its true potential on the internet.

The quality of a website – user interface and overall user experience – will decide the fate of a business online. Therefore, having a professional, feature-rich website with great user interface will give visitors a great user experience they will not forget quickly and they will keep coming back for more. This will in turn bring the desired benefits for your business.

The opposite will also happen with a badly developed website. Having a website with these website features will spell doom for your business. Visitors will not stay longer and will likely not return because of the bad experience they have. Especially if the website contains any of these common mistakes.

Users like to visit websites that are simple yet rich in features. Websites they can handle easily and get loads of benefits from. Visitors expects website that don’t take time to load and let its users find information quickly. Websites with easy to read contents; either it is texts, images, videos, pictures, infographics or anything else. They want legible fonts and the right blend of colours. Users like websites that works, where everything is clear, easy and enjoyable to use. Websites with excellent usability fare far better than those that are difficult to use.

Without much ado, the following are the top website features that should not be missing from your website. A business website lacking one or more of these top website features will not be able to leverage the internet the way it should and will not realize true its potential online.

USER ORIENTED CONTENT & DESIGN:

Users like to visit website that attend to their present need. Websites they can handle easily and get loads of benefits from. Users visit website they can gain the right information from, website they can easily get familiar with – the business, its products or services. To have a user oriented website, you need to get to know your target audience and their need. You need to know their ever changing preferences. This will guide you to produce contents that will suit and meet their needs. Also visitors like to visit websites with fresh ad updated contents.

RESPONSIVENESS:

This is a feature that cannot be overlooked in a website.This feature will ensure that the website scale to the screen size of the device used to access it. A responsive website will give users the same experience no matter the screen size. Not all visitors will visit with a desktop computer; the use of smartphones, tablets and other handheld devises has grown considerably. Websites needs to cater for this category of users to take advantage of this trend. If a website cannot be comfortably viewed across devices and screen sizes, then it is sure to lose a whole lot of visitors.

EASY NAVIGATION:

Users like to visit website where they can easily find their way around. The last thing you will want to do is to confuse your users. A confused visitor will quickly leave your website. Users want websites where the menu, navigation icon and links are visible so they can reach any part of the website with ease. Visitors often avoid websites with one or more dead links (dead links leads nowhere). So ensure that the links, navigation icon and links are visible and are directing to the necessary page. The navigation feature should guide users easily through all the pages of a website.

CROSS BROWSER COMPATIBILITY:

A website that is cross-browser compatible is the website can be viewed with any type of browser. It is not uncommon to find website that are not multi-browser compatible or that cannot be accessed from the users’ browser of choice. Having a website with this feature can discourage users with such browser from further visits.

SEO FRIENDLY:

At this time where a good Search Engine visibility and ranking makes all the difference, having a website that is not SEO friendly is better imagined. This great feature in a website will position the website for search engines to crawl and index the site, making it visible to the people searching for its content. The appearance of a website on search engines will greatly increase its visibility and reach.

CONTACT FORMS:

Having a contact form gives users the opportunity to contact businesses in an easy manner. Without these website features, you will be depriving visitors of this opportunity and they are likely to leave frustrated by their inability to reach you. Contact forms are also a great way to get information about users.

SEARCH FORMS:

This feature will allow visitors to find any information with ease. Top websites will always have this feature. With the search features, information is easily available to site users at the click of a button.

FAQs:

Good websites also have this feature to clear the doubts users may be having about a product or service offered on the website. FAQs give answers to the basic question a user might want to ask and provide helpful information related to the website or business.

Top Common Website Design Mistakes You Should Avoid

It is important to ensure that your website does not contain any of these top Website Design mistakes when you are building a website or engaging the service of a website design company. Having a mistakes on a website can cause the website to lose customers, and that is money out the door.

Website Design Mistakes #1: Spelling Mistakes

This is the number one common error often found on websites and sometimes not so conspicuous or noticed. Nevertheless, it is unprofessional to have words that are spelt incorrectly on your website. It is a sign of laziness and not being meticulous. Often content for your website is produced quickly and may miss the normal spell check that you would do on marketing materials. So after producing the contents for your website carry out the normal spell check and double check for mistakes.

Website Design Mistakes #2: Blurry Images

Images that are not clear or blurry will not pass across the intended message and can be a huge turn-off for some people. Pictures to be used on the website should be taken by professional photographers and given to professional graphics designers for proper editing. Just like with a spelling mistake, using blurry images on a website is a sign of carelessness. This mistake is non-forgivable mistake in my opinion.

Website Design Mistakes #3: Non-Standard Link Colours

The standard text link colour for a website is blue. This is because most web users are used to seeing the colour ‘blue’ as a link to another page, so when you change the link colour to another one you are likely to confuse them and cause them not to click a link. Except you have chosen to use a single colour different from blue (most people use their brand colour) as your text link colour and it is consistent throughout the website. You are making a mistake when you use more than one colour as your text link colour. When trying to navigate a user using text links try to stay with the standard blue.

Website Design Mistakes #4: Complex URL’s

Visitors or users of your site who like a certain page will at times try to remember the page so they can easily navigate back to the page. This is why you should configure your URL to be as short as possible so that it can be easily committed to the memory. URL’s which contain things like www.example.com/?abs9217!89.php  become confusing to the visitor and will distract them from further visits unlike a URL that contains something like www.example.com/about-us

Website Design Mistake #5: Bad Text Layout

This has to do with the organization of your text and images. Newspapers usually break up their paragraphs into short and sharp sentence groups for a reason; you should do the same for your website. By making short and sharp sentence groups you will entertain the reader for longer and achieve your goals of conversion.

Website Design Mistakes #6: Poor Navigation

You website visitors should be able to know where to go to find the information they need. Making your navigation links hard to locate will discourage users and cause them to lose interest in your site. Believe it or not, navigation plays an important role in how long visitors stay on your site and in the long term how you are able to achieve you goals.

Website Design Mistakes #7: Broken links

Bad links that do nothing when clicked or lead to “404” error page can causes misery for your users. Test your site to ensure that all links work and are directing to the right page.

Website Design Mistakes #8: Using Frames

Developers who are often in a hurry to produce work quicker try to cut corners by using frames, which is a great mistake. The effect of this technical mistake is that URL’s will stop working, navigation will be difficult and the page cannot be bookmarked. Using frames slows computer response and tie up system resources. All these result in a negative user experience – visitors will not be pleased – and can dramatically affect your website in the short and long term. Using frames was a cool thing back then but now it isn’t cool anymore.

 

Mistakes happen, but some mistakes are costly. There are many mistakes that are often made with regards to website development and it’s important to avoid these mistakes. These website design mistakes should be avoided in all ways. And if they are present, they should not be overlooked as a trivial thing but should be corrected. Some website design mistakes can spell doom for a website.

Feel free to share your thought and opinions. I appreciate them.

 

, ,

WordPress Security: How is WordPress Website Hacked?

Having your WordPress website hacked is one of the biggest nightmares for any website owner. From one moment to the next, your site is shut down. Traffic plummets and all the energy, effort, time, and money you put into your site is on the brink of being lost entirely.

As much as the developers behind WordPress and the entire WordPress community are working round the clock to make better and more secure versions of WordPress, the hackers are also trying by all means to find new vulnerabilities they can explore. Vulnerability is a weakness that allows attackers to compromise a product, in this case a website.

Getting backed your WordPress Website hacked is hard work, however, not as hard as winning back your audience’s trust or getting your site off spam blacklists.

While getting a WordPress Website hacked is never pleasant, it is much more common than you would think. The security of a website is not a luxury. Every day the attacks on websites are getting more and more sophisticated.

My intention is not to alarm you, but I want to present the situation exactly as it is so you can make plans to improve your website security.

Beside these, WordPress as the most CMS platform is also leading CMS by the number of attacks!

This is compulsory reading for any WordPress website owner, so take notice! WordPress websites get hacked through

  • Hosting Service provider: The WP White Security informs us that 41% of the hacked websites take place because of the hosting provider. Some host service providers have security loopholes that hackers take opportunities of to hack a website.
  • Out-dated WordPress, Plugins and Themes Version: using out-dated WordPress files, themes and plugins is one of the most used vulnerability that hackers use to get the control of a website. A smart hacker can obtain lots of data by hacking plugins or themes that are not update. Collectively, this account for 51% of hacked WordPress websites. If you have heard about Panama papers, it is believed that behind this huge data loss is a vulnerable version of an extensively used plugin called Revolution Slider as reported by WordFence.
  • Weak Password: Almost 8% of websites are hacked due to weak passwords. Using strong password is a widely spread security tip known by almost everyone, so there should be no excuse for getting hacked this way. Hackers sometimes use sophisticated methods to steal your account credentials but sometimes they use brute-force i.e. they use extremely fast software solution try various combinations of username and password to enter your website. If you use admin as username, then you have made the work pretty easy for hackers.
  • Unsafe Computer: A website is still vulnerable even if the above loopholes have been covered. Another way WordPress Websites are hacked hackers used to break into a website is to infect the computer of the website admin with a virus. Periodically, an admin will check the website and can get hacked by the virus stored on the computer files.

The Golden rule of Website security says that “it is better to prevent than to clear”. It is therefore important to take proactive measures to assure a secure website or blog.

This is the end of the post, read carefully and make necessary adjustments where necessary. If you do then the chances of being hacked are low and you can fully focus on other aspects. Still website security is a dynamic field and you should stay updated all the time.

, ,

Top 5 Useful Tools to Scan Websites for Virus and Malware Infection

Aside from periodically scanning our PCs for viruses, there is also a need to scan websites for virus or malware infection. A virus or malware infection of any website can have overwhelming consequences on the overall performance of the website, the hosting server and the site owner.

There are several websites offering useful tools online for webmasters to scan websites. These scans provide useful information and helpful security tips.

Some of these providers have also WordPress plugins to scan WordPress powered websites. These plugins will scan websites for malware, trojans, backdoors, worms, viruses, shells, spywares and other threats as well as JavaScript code obfuscation, exploits, malicious iframes, malicious code injection, malicious code obfuscation, auto-generated malicious content, redirects, hidden eval code and more.

Here are some of the top tools to scan websites

Sucuri Online Scan

Sucuri is a famous provider of website security solutions with specialization in WordPress. Their scanning tool works as a magnet to attract new customers. Obviously, it lets you know if your website is suffering from injected spam, defacements or malware. Sucuri has a WordPress plugin that can be easily installed and configured for use. It is a security suite meant to complement your existing security posture with seven key security features:

  1. Security Activity Audit Logging
  2. File Integrity Monitoring
  3. Remote Malware Scanning
  4. Blacklist Monitoring
  5. Effective Security Hardening
  6. Post-Hack Security Actions
  7. Security Notifications

Virus Total

VirusTotal is a simple tool to scan websites and it does a great job at that. It allows scanning a file or a URL and provides information about the viruses found. Using Virus Total is absolutely free. This great tool facilitate the quick detection of viruses, worms, Trojans and all kinds of malware on you website detected by website scanners and antivirus engines. VirusTotal is a subsidiary of Google. In spite of its simple design, behind this tool is an active community waiting for you to join them.

SpamHaus

SpamHaus is a great security help for any type of website. It has two distinct tools: IP Address Lookup and Domain Lookup. The first tool is useful to determine if an IP address is associated with spam or illegal activities. It is called the SpamHaus Block List (SBL). The SBL is used both as a sender IP blocklist and as a URI blocklist. It is very effective as a URI blocklist. As example, if you noticed that an IP address attempted multiple times to login to your website you should check it and find additional information about.

The second tool, the Domain Lookup informs if your website is on their list of spam sources. I wish you to never be added on this list, but in case that you are, SpamHaus offers you information about how to resolve your security issues and finally, be erased from the list.

Quttera

Quttera is another impressive free tool that should be used periodically to scan websites. It is a cloud based application that scans websites and generates scan reports. It checks URIs for suspicious scripts, malicious files and other threat hidden into legitimate contents on websites. It analyses a lot of files, therefore it takes some minutes before listing the result. Due to the multiple scan website being analysed simultaneously, it is possible to get a message requiring you to try the service later. It’s not Ok, but the services are free and top-quality, so a little bit of patience is golden!

The Quttera Web Malware Scanner plugin provided in the WordPress plugin repository scans your WordPress website for known and unknown malware and other suspicious activities.

Acunetix

Unlike the previous tools, this requires a subscription, but it’s similar in terms of efficiency and usefulness. Acunetix is a security leader and their online scan offers lots of precious information. It detects and reports a wide array of vulnerabilities in applications built on architectures such as WordPress, PHP, ASP.NET, Java Frameworks, Ruby on Rails and many others. Acunetix Vulnerability Scanner can be used to scan for vulnerable WordPress plugins and can also be used to conduct other WordPress specific configuration tests such as week WordPress admin passwords, username enumeration and WordPress configuration file disclosure. The Acunetix WordPress plugin identifies malicious plugins, themes and URL within website pages.

Do you use any other tools not mentioned here, please let me know so I also check them out.