Becoming an Online Reseller

A lot of people know that they want to start an online company.  One of the easiest ways is to become a reseller.  The reason is that another company has done all of the hard work in the development, testing, branding, and creating the product.  The main challenge in this scenario  is to find a product that will make you money.

Your first step, obviously, is to find a source.  You can search the Internet for products, attend trade shows or find niche magazines.  If a company doesn’t have a reseller program, you can contact them to make your pitch.  Often, you may find that they would be more than happy to have another salesperson working on their behalf.

Once you have located a product to resell, you should understand how wide your audience is. Is this a product that can bring in a large volume of business?  Researching the competition, also,  is important during this stage.  Find out if there is something that you can do better than the rest – whether it’s with the price, the features, better service or some other area.

In finding a product, don’t get too caught up in the fact that you may not be a subject matter expert in the field.  Most companies will help get you trained and can give you the right tools so that you’re a success.  Additionally, you don’t need to have a great amount of passion for the product itself.  Instead, you should have a passion for the business and sales that it can possibly bring.

The ultimate attributes that you should seek when becoming a reseller are if the product is in demand; how high are the start-up costs and if the company can support you in becoming successful.

Don’t Make Me Think – Using Common Sense in Web Design

When creating your website, you should take into account what is going on today.  You may not have noticed that there are very distinct things that web designers do in order to make the web pages look modern, appealing and easy to use.  What is the key for today?  Simplicity.

Fortunately, web design evolves as everything else does and today web sites are better than ever.  More designers have more experience and finally understand how to create something better than they did even a few years ago.

Even if you don’t have the experience, you should make sure that you pay attention to the features that all great designs have.  They are:
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  • A Clean Layout
  • A Site That Goes Below the Fold (people know how to scroll)
  • A Reduction of Three Dimensional Effects
  • The Use of a Plain Background or Soft Colors Such as Grey
  • No Strong Colors
  • Clean Spaces and No Crowding the Site With Design
  • Big Easy to Read Text
  • An Orientation Towards the Center
  • The Content is Designed vs. a Designed Page
  • Few Icons – It is Clutter and Confuses People

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These are easy things to keep in mind even if you’re not an expert.  One of the best books that I’ve read and continue to use as a guide include:  Don’t Make Me Think:  A Common Sense Approach to Web Usablity by Steve Krug.   His book points out that too many small businesses, unnecessarily, create cluttered sites and, thereby, force people to think.

When you have an online business, it is critical for you to remember that people came to your site because they have a problem to solve.  If they don’t think that they have landed a possible solution within a few seconds, they will hit the back button quickly.   Make sure that your site doesn’t cause needless headaches by following the guidelines listed above and you stand a shot at increasing sales!

Inner Light Spectrum

Importance of Photos in Print and Digital Media

As cheesey as the line is ‘A picture can say a thousand words’ that line is true. A well taken, cropped, and digitized photo can provide more information and insight into a product or service than an entire written page of inforamtion can provide by itself.  Figures point that in print media only 5% of readers may notice an article title, but almost 100% or readers see and look at photos. The combonationation of good writing and great photos can help draw people to read what you are advertising. In the eDirectory system the showcase business listing allows for the listing owner to upload multiple photos into the listing photo gallery along with a large displayed logo image. These images that are uploaded into the photo gallery can help to highlight the products and services the listing is avertising to potential clients and site visitors.

On the market today there are may high quality photo editing software programs that allow a user to transform a well taken picture into an eye catching picture. Toptenreviews.com lists the following as the top ten free or paid for photo editing software programs:

  1. Adobe Photoshop Elements
  2. Corel Pain Shop Pro Photo
  3. Serif PhotoPlus
  4. Ulead PhotoImpact
  5. ACDSee Photo Editor
  6. PhotoSuite
  7. FotoFinish
  8. Photo Explosion
  9. PhotoImpressions
  10. PhotoStudio

Each of these programs will allow one to improve thier already taken photos and then resave the changes so they can be easily uploaded into the eDirectory photo gallery system. The eDirectory photo gallery systme requries that the photo be saved into either .gif or .jpg format, which can easly be accomplished in any of the above 10 photo editing programs.

Ad Tech in April

We are excited to be exhibiting at ad tech in San Francisco on April 21 – 23. The event will be about digital marketing and will bring in a host of experts covering SEO, SEM, local search, mobile search, and how social media and search are being utilized in concert to create entirely new marketing platforms.

The event is bringing exciting speakers who will educate advertisers, publishers and technology leaders the power of digital video, applications and widgets, local marketing and other methods to attract an audience.

We will be on the second floor, so come see us if you plan on going.

Purple Haze

Achieving Clarity in your Website Content

The content within a website is the number one tool that is used to help bring people back to your site in the future. Keeping this content as informative, yet as concise as possible, is not an easy task. Yet if this is achieved you may come to find that the vast majority of the visitors to your site are returning visitors because they have come to discover that they will consistently find clear and quality information on your site.

There are several things to remember when working to make the information on your site as clear and concise as possible:

  1. Keep your content focused on your target audience
  2. Use simple words and phrases
  3. Think about proper word choice when explaining things to your audience
  4. Express Ideas and concepts with the most simple language

One tool that many professional writers employ, that is important for web writers as well, is keep your sentences short. The average sentence falls between 15 and 20 words. When sentences begin to reach the 30 to 35 word mark they begin to feel like a run-on sentences, and the focus of the audience can be lost. When editing your website content, you should look for the same key points as those editing print media. When writing a sentence be cognizant of works such as ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘who’. These words can tell the editor that the sentences could possibly be broken into two separate sentences and can help with clarity.

One of the last things one can do to help make sure their content is clear and concise, is have a 3rd party review the work. The 3rd party can consist of a professional editing company to your next door neighbor or friend. It is always import to have a fresh set of eyes review your content as they can provide quality feedback and information that could be helpful to a first time or returning viewer to your site.

Down

Over the past 12 months many companies and industries have felt the effects of down-turn in the United States economy and our path towards the current economic recession. Large corporations such as Circuit City and Linens and Things have closed their doors and held large sales to sell any remaining products. As many of the larger business begin to close their doors it can open up many opportunities for smaller new companies and entrepreneurs to setup shop and try to make their way in to a unique niche market.

Despite the recession, there are always opportunities to generate a small second income with a minimal investment and a good deal of effort. The online directory market is still popular because companies need to be found by potential customers who are willing to spend a little money to gain products and services and keep the economy turning. People are still spending money, and it can take a directory of businesses to help people find and be found.

With the eDirectory platform you can create an online networking community where businesses and consumers can come together. One of the most beneficial aspects of the eDirectory software during the current state of the economy is the low startup costs and how your directory will come pre-populated with information of your choice. The eDirectory startup platform offers 3 packages the basic, eCommerse, and Owned License. The basic package can be up and running for less than $1500 and includes the leased license, hosting, portal package, full day on-site training, as well as 1000 business listings to get you started.

This starter package is ample to get you started on making a bit of secondary income during times of economic depression. From there it takes a bit of patience and a lot of hard work to get your directory out to the public and make the public aware of the new products that you are offering to them.

Starter Kits to Meet Current Demands

Since money is tight, is it really a good time to start an online business? You bet, according to Entrepreneur magazine.

“To begin with, internet startups have low overhead and startup costs–as low as $3,000, thanks in part to inexpensive, yet robust e-commerce software and services on the market. What’s more, the business can be set up in a home office attended to at nights and on weekends, allowing new entrepreneurs to keep their day jobs. In addition, many budding entrepreneurs can set up their online businesses in less than one week,” outlines Entrepreneur.com.

What separates successful start-ups from those that fail during economic downturns? Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs co-director and Professor of Management Raffi Amit says entrepreneurs who get started now “will be in a better position because they will be lean and super efficient with less competition.” He notes that a positive side effect of the economy is the ability to negotiate with vendors for better deals, which helps reduce expenses.

We, at eDirectory, are one step ahead.  We are proud to announce our new Starter Kits.  With these, you get the eDirectory software, hosting, our portal package, business listings and on-site training from one of our professional trainers for a very low price.  These kits have the essentials for getting a business off the ground including the personalized advice that you will get from our customized training session.

These offering have been designed to keep your efforts simple.  You purchase the license, we populate your directory with listings and then you get trained on how to sell your directory so that you can get business advertising dollars.

While it will be challenging to compete with the major retailors, with our innovative software and the business know-how that we provide, you will have the essential ingredients during this recession while so many other people wait to ride out the current economic times.

Video Killed the Radio Star

The social media environment is the next wave of effective marketing. Social media is  defined as ‘information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable  publishing technologies that is intended to facilitate communications, influence adn  interaction with peers adn public audiences, typically via the internet and mobile  communications. (Wikipedia, 2009). One of the most popular forms of socail media is making  a video and posting them online.

Almost all internet users have either viewed or posted this form of social media online.  Some of most popular video postings sites on the net today include YouTubeGoogle Video,  Vimeo, and Yahoo Video.  These sites allow users to post videos, some free of charge, as  well as search and view and almost endless variety of videos. One of the nice things many  of these sites allow a video viewer to do is add the video URL or video snippet code to  their own personal site.

The eDirectory software allows many of its members to post videos to thier listings. The  video feature, available via snippet code only, is pre-built into the Showcase business  listings only. Here is an example of what the video snippet code looks like that needs to  be entered into the eDirectory:
[message type="custom"]<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie”  value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/lnRJlY2lKC0&hl=en&fs=1″></param><param  name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess”  value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/lnRJlY2lKC0&hl=en&fs=1″  type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”  width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>[/message]
Adding a video into a listing can be a great took to enhance the users experience while  viewing their listing and information about their company. It allows for the user to gain a  large amount of knowledge about the company in a short period of time and can be created to  be catchy and entertaining as well. A video, accompanied with a strong write-up about the  company can be a great partner in highlighting the visitor about the strenghts of the  company and encourage visitors to contact or continue reading about the company.

Forecasting Sales

Sales forecasting is the practice of analyzing so that you can estimate what your sales will be. Key steps that you need to undertake are:

• Understand trends in your industry
• Determine the size of your market
• List your competitors
• Refer to last year’s figures

Understanding trends in your industry

Experience may have taught you that about 20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales. You should identify the 20% and then develop a profile of your market. An example of this would be: 20% of my customers are medium businesses from large cities in the U.S. They are purchasing agents in the Finance industry. While their pockets are deep, they tend to go with the lowest bidder.
Learn about the trends that drive this market by doing research with trade magazines and online sites where this demographic may reside.

Determine the size of your market

Know how big your trading area is and gather as many available statistics of this area that you can. If you’re a retailer, for example, you will want to know how far people tend to travel in order to shop. How much does the average household spend?
Establish the approximate size and location of your planned trading area. Use available statistics to determine the general characteristics of this area. Use local sources to determine unique characteristics about your trading area. You can get detailed information from the Chamber of Commerce or even use your local directory to determine the size and characteristics of your market.

List your competition

Who are the companies that you tend to hear about often? Are you in a crowded space or does your company stand out as being one of the few offering your product or service? You should estimate what percentage of overall sales you will get when compared to your competitors. If you’re a market leader, there is no reason that you should get a nice sized slice of the pie. Determining where you stand against your competitors will help you figure out how to forecast incoming revenue.

Refer to Last Year

You should look at sales revenues from the same months in previous years to use a base to determine incoming sales for the upcoming year. You can adjust these figures with the rate of general growth in your industry. So, if your industry expects a 10% growth in sales, you can use last year’s figures and increase them by 10%. Other factors that can impact last year’s figures can include the economy, different sales size, new products and or/services.

Omaha Stylee

I have decided to resurrect an old topic, because it is so important to drawing immediate attention to your directory. Style Customization! Having a unique look and feel to the directory can help separate you from the competition. One of the most important things to supply to the design team when beginning a style customization to the eDirectory is a quality mockup. A mockup is a layout model of what you would like the final look of the site; it provides a visual presentation of the website structure.

When beginning to create a mockup or when you are searching the internet for a premade template it is important to consider the following list of questions:

  1. What is your business area? (Look for a mockup that fits well in your industry)
  2. Which basic modules do you want customized?
  3. Describe the content you want in the following area: Left Column, Right Column, Middle Column
  4. What are the items you want in the top and bottom navigation bar.
  5. What are your color preferences?

When providing a mockup for the application of a design to the eDirectory we look for the following file types:

  • Photoshop (PSD)
  • PNG Files
  • Zip Files containing the .html / .css files

It is best to include a mockup of the Homepage of the Directory; Front, Results and Detail pages for each module you wish to have customized, as well as pages illustrating the layout of the Advertise with Us page and the Contact Us page. To accompany the specified files, it can help to have a detailed word document further outlining what is in the files.

If you are unsure of the final design of your site there are many reference areas you can use to help you come to a conclusion regarding your design. You can do the following:

  1. Create several rough drafts and compile them into a final solution
  2. Review current websites to help you gather ideas for your own
  3. Review and purchase pre-made templates from sites such as Template Monster, Dream Template, or Theme Forest.
  4. Consult a website designer to discuss your needs and design a completely custom template

Designing the look and feel of your site can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of beginning a new online business and directory because it allows your inner creativity to come out. It also helps you to create a look and feel that you think will draw visitors to your site and take you ahead of the competition.