Wifi Tip

Don’t miss a thing with fast, reliable Wifi
Is your Wifi up to speed? Take a speed test to find out.
Plus, check out tips to help make the most of your signal.

Router Placement is Key
Place your router in a central, elevated, open location away from walls, metal objects and objects that transmit radio waves like cordless phones, microwaves, and Bluetooth devices.

Disconnect Unused Devices
Disconnect other devices and close all other programs, apps, and browser tabs on your device to eliminated network congestion.

Your devices and Gadgets Matter
Your smartphones, tablets and other Wifi-enabled devices all affect your internet experience. Older devices use older technology and operate more slowly, and can slow down your whole network.

Copyright Basics for Graphic Designers

As designers, it is crucial to know and understand some of the copyright laws, design patents, and trademark issues that exist today. Copyright laws exist to protect artwork, illustrations, photographs, and other graphical imagery. This doesn’t apply if you are a painter or if your work is a fixed form of creative expression. Under these circumstances, you own the copyright in your work the moment you create it. For any designer, it is imperative to get their seal on all the original pieces they create and they should also cite any borrowed graphics to avoid any unnecessary legal issues.

We have gathered some helpful tips about copyright laws straight from the people who know it best- lawyers.  We hope that these 10 tips on copyright laws will train you the basics on properly citing your work.

Original Article Here

How Does Google Find and Index Web Pages?

When a potential customer enters a query on Google, searching for the products your business sells, she is not searching the live internet. Rather, she is looking up web pages on Google’s index of the internet.

In a sense, this consumer is searching the recent, known web rather than the real-time, live web. So even before you worry about how well the pages on your ecommerce site will rank on Google, it’s important to understand how the Google search engine finds and indexes those pages.

Spiders and Sitemaps

Google uses two primary methods for finding ecommerce web pages: sitemaps and software called web spiders or crawlers.

A web spider downloads a copy of a given web page. Imagine for a moment that the Googlebot (this is what Google calls its web spider) lands on the “Checkerboard Slip-on” page of Vans.com.

This Vans product detail page includes many links. Googlebot will follow these links to discover other pages.

This Vans’ product detail page includes many links. Googlebot will follow these links to discover other pages.

Googlebot will note the content on the page — product name, description, price, images — but it will also track the dozens of links on the page.

Then, unless the link or robot.txt file explicitly tells Googlebot not to follow it, the spider will follow the links to every page and catalog what it finds. In the Vans’ example, this would take Googlebot through site’s product catalog, to many of the site’s informational pages, including store locations and gift cards, and even its content pages about skateboarding, snowboarding, and BMX.

Each time Googlebot encountered a link to a new page, it would add the URL to its list of pages to crawl. In this way, Googlebot can discover every page on the Vans’ website.

So let’s apply what we now know to help Google discover the pages on your ecommerce site.

First, the better job your site does with internal links — via topic clusters, for example — the easier for Googlebot to find all of your pages.

Second, focus on getting other sites to link to your pages. Link building not only helps to boost your rankings in search results but it can also help with page discovery.

Next, Google also uses sitemaps as a way to find ecommerce pages. A sitemap is a text or XML file that lists all of the pages you want Google to know about from your ecommerce website. You can submit the sitemap via Google Search Console.

Once submitted, the sitemap can help Google work its way through every page on your site. Just be aware that “using a sitemap doesn’t guarantee that all the items in your sitemap will be crawled and indexed, as Google processes rely on complex algorithms to schedule crawling. However, in most cases, your site will benefit from having a sitemap, and you’ll never be penalized for having one,” according to Google.

In short, if you want Google to find your ecommerce pages, (i) develop a good internal linking strategy, (ii) encourage links from other sites to yours, and (iii) submit a sitemap.

Helping Google

As Googlebot works its way through your ecommerce website, it will also take into consideration the page title and the contents of important tags, such as headers. This is why so many SEO experts recommend putting keyword phrases in a page’s title and H1 tags.

Google puts some weight on structured data, particularly in the JSON-LD format. This structured data markup helps Google understand what sort of page it has in view and may contribute to indexing and ranking.

Original Article

Building an Ecommerce Business, Part 11: Selling on Amazon

JANUARY 28, 2019 • ERIC BANDHOLZ

A fundamental decision for many ecommerce entrepreneurs is whether to sell on Amazon. The potential is high, but the competition is increasing tough, among other risks.

I am the founder of Beardbrand, an Austin, Texas-based ecommerce business that focuses on beard care and men’s grooming. This is episode 11 in my series on building an ecommerce business from the ground up. The previous installments are:

For this installment, I spoke with Mike Tecku, co-founder of Sky Solutions, which manufactures and sells Sky Mats, a floormat, in high volume on Amazon’s marketplace.

What follows is my entire audio conversation with Tecku and a transcript, edited for length and clarity.

Eric Bandholz: Tell us about your business — how it’s set up and what you’re selling on Amazon.

Mike Tecku: On Amazon, we started with roughly 20 products, and we’ve narrowed it down to five. Our best seller is the Sky Mats. It’s a floormat for your kitchen or your standup desk. Before that, I had an online company that sold photo booths for weddings — a franchise. So I have a long history of selling things online. This is our fourth or five year on Amazon.

Bandholz: So you got in early. Is it too late to start selling on Amazon, in early 2019?

Tecku: That depends. I’m not launching new products. It would take a complete dedication and a lot of money. The Amazon game has changed considerably. Three years ago I probably wouldn’t have told you what my best-selling product is. But now I don’t think anyone could beat me, meaning the system is entrenched. It’s hard to go up against someone with 4,000 5-star reviews and a long history of sales, which matters to Amazon’s algorithm.

Bandholz: So you’ve got to find a niche. Do you know of tools to help?

Tecku: Jungle Scout’s a good one. But I probably wouldn’t even start on Amazon. I would look at niches on a broader sense — camping, cycling, something you understand. To be successful takes a product that you’ve never even heard of, but there’s enough worldwide or nationwide demand for it to be successful.

If I were to start something now, I wouldn’t do it unless it could be a million dollar product. But to start a million dollar product today you would probably want to throw $100,000 at it.

Bandholz: Let’s dig into social proof. Reviews on Amazon are crucial. You have 4,000 reviews for Sky Mats. How do you get legitimate reviews?

Tecku: Well, it’s gotten much harder. Amazon has tightened the restrictions. There’s no way to pay for them now. It takes a great product and time. All of our reviews are real, and we’ve acquired them over in five years.

The best way to get reviews is to sell a lot of units. You’re going to have, perhaps, one out of 100 that take the time, even when you ask them in emails, and in inserts. And that’s probably a high conversion rate.

Bandholz: How do you identify a potential million-dollar product?

Tecku: Programs like Jungle Scout and DS Amazon Quick View will tell you what people are selling in a day and what their seller rank is. I don’t want to discourage people from selling on Amazon. Just have clear eyes. Is your company, Beardbrand, on Amazon?

Bandholz: No. We were on Amazon through a third-party reseller, but we pulled it at the beginning of the year.

Tecku: Right. It’s different with what you’re doing. You have developed social proof with lots of videos, building a brand and recognition. That allows you to charge a premium price on your website, at Target, or wherever you’re at. When you’re on Amazon, you’re a commodity in many ways.

Bandholz: Let’s talk about fulfillment — Fulfillment by Amazon, fulfilling it yourself, or even selling directly to Amazon.

Tecku: Sure, I do everything via FBA. I have not found a solution that is simpler and cheaper. If you don’t provide Prime shipping, you’re not going to be successful on Amazon; the conversion rate for Prime sellers is 30 to 40 percent higher.

Bandholz: What about Seller Fulfilled Prime?

Tecku: Yes, you can fulfill it yourself and obtain Prime status. But you have to apply for it. It takes a history, a warehouse, and employees. Or you can have a third-party fulfillment company do it. And I just don’t there’s a less expensive option than FBA.

Bandholz: So if someone wants to tackle Amazon, how else can they differentiate their products?

Mike Tecku: Your marketing is going to make 15 percent of the difference. You can take better photos and have extended brand content, such as the pictures right above the reviews. You need a trademark for your product, which takes about six months. You can put up a video, which is useful. But really, I think the biggest lever is coming up with a better product, and then communicating that it’s better.

Bandholz: Have you sold products directly to Amazon?

Tecku: I’ve watched a lot of my competitors do that. They are no longer my competitors because they don’t really sell. I would not recommend it. Amazon is run by people that are not entrepreneurs. They don’t understand their system and how to market products.

If you to sell directly to Amazon, you can’t touch your own website, you can’t control the price, you can’t control the image, and you can’t control negative reviews. Amazon does not care about the tiny product that they’re selling for you.

Bandholz: Talk about like the team and infrastructure that you’ve built to support your business.

Tecku: I have a business partner and one employee, who works about 20 hours a week. We pay him full time. He answers the 10 or so customer emails a day and communicates with our factories and gets the product on boats and, when they arrive in Los Angeles, gets them to different warehouses. I handle the product design, the listings, and everything forward facing. My business partner handles all the financial stuff.

Bandholz: That’s amazing. It’s just three of you guys.

Tecku: My partner and I are working just four or five hours a week. That’s because we’re making new stuff, or implementing improvements.

Bandholz: Are you buying ads on Amazon or on other platforms?

Tecku: A little bit. But when you’re the number one for all the keywords, there’s no point in advertising. Being ranked highly on Amazon is incredibly important. The difference between being ranked number three and number four is probably a doubling in sales and the difference between being ranked number one and four is probably a 10-times in sales.

From my experience and my peers’ experience, the only factor that matters for high rankings is sales — the number of people that search on a keyword and then purchased the product. That’s it.

Bandholz: This conversation has been refreshing. You’re making millions on Amazon and doing a great job, but it’s always challenging to build a better product than your competitors.

Tecku: You can’t just throw something up on Amazon and think it’s going to work. I don’t think you can successfully have an Amazon-only company anymore — not a new one, anyway.