Ten Tips for Effective eCommerce Website Design

Creating an e-commerce website is one of the most popular ways to get into business on the internet. No matter what type of product you sell, it is very important to pay attention to the design of your website. After all, your e-commerce site will be judged by its design, and only good impressions will turn visitors into customers.

One: Color Choice

Color says a lot about your e-commerce website. You should avoid clashing or brightly garish colors as well as bright text on bright backgrounds. The colors you choose must not only look good together but be representative of the products that you sell. For example, a baby clothing e-commerce website could be pastel shades of pink, blue and yellow. An electronics e-commerce store could be very effective in grays with electric red or blue accents.

Two: Layout

Above all, the layout of your site must be user-friendly and neat. There should be enough white space around different columns or blocks of information.

Three: Header Graphic or Logo

The header graphic or logo should, of course, fit in with the theme of the website. You have to be careful, however, to make sure it is not overpowering your e-commerce product pictures. They should be the focus of your website, not the logo.

Four: Navigation

Navigation and product menus must be easy to find and organized. Each product category should be on a separate line in vertical navigation or separated with a mark of some sort in a horizontal navigation. Product categories should not be mixed in with such website needs as a contact page and terms of service.

Five: Product Pages

Product pages on an e-commerce website should be dedicated solely to the product. While navigation should remain in the same place, all extraneous information should be removed. You should be sure to include a quality product picture, a keyword rich description, any options available, and price.

Six: Important Information

Your e-commerce website should include information necessary for the sale of goods. Displayed in the navigation menu should be linked to shipping information, payment information, and any guarantees or special regulations for purchase.

Seven: Contact Information

Contact information should always be included on an e-commerce website. Not only is it essential if a customer has a question or problem with an order, but it also increases the value of trust in the business.

Eight: Shopping Cart Checkout

Your shopping cart software must include a secure connection for checkout. Customers will not give out their payment information over an insecure server. Besides being securely protected, your checkout page should include basic information about shipping times and guarantees. The checkout process should include no more than three steps.

Nine: After Purchase Page

After your e-commerce customers make their purchase, they should be automatically taken to a website page that thanks them, and gives information about order processing and shipping times. This is also a good place to offer coupons for future purchases, special sale reminders, and try to upsell your products.

Ten: Optimization

Of course, like any website business you have on the internet, you should optimize your website for search engines. Since e-commerce websites do not usually have a lot of article content, you must put keywords in tags and product descriptions.

Having effective e-commerce website design is essential for creating trust in potential customers. It is also important to make your site easy to use, or internet users will go on to another website quickly. You must present a professional image if you want people to buy things from you.

Finance for Morons: What’s a Mortgage?

A mortgage is a loan used to purchase a house.
There are several ways to get a mortgage. The “old fashioned” way is through a bank or a “home savings and loan” company. The more contemporary way is through a “mortgage broker” which is a company that sells mortgages for a mortgage company like Countrywide.

The recent housing collapse has discredited the mortgage broker business. Thousands of businesses related to this sector have failed. So we’re back to the “old-fashioned” mortgages.

What makes a mortgage different from a personal loan or a credit card loan is that the property being purchased is the “collateral” for the loan.

Collateral is a “guarantee for a loan” in case you can’t pay it. If you stop making the monthly payment, the lender will take the property. This is called “defaulting” on loan.

(Right now, the value of the property is declining, so, when people default, the bank is left owning a property that won’t cover the mortgage. That’s why banks are failing – the loans they made are turning into money-losers. With such a huge potential loss, the banks are willing to renegotiate, and settle for less profit so you can keep paying off the loan.)

When a house is being foreclosed, people will often say “the bank is taking away my house.” This isn’t true. Until the mortgage is paid off, the bank practically owns your house. You just get to stay in it while you pay off the large loan.

It beats renting if you don’t have many repairs to make.

There are different kinds of mortgages, but the two main categories are “fixed rate” and “adjustable rate.” The fixed rate mortgage retains the same interest rate until the loan is paid off. The adjustable-rate mortgage has an interest rate that can drop or rise.

When interest rates are low, it’s best to lock in a low rate. The bank will give you the low rate only if you have great credit – that’s because they’re competing for your business. When you’re a reliable borrower, everyone wants to lend to you.

When interest rates are high, it’s best to get the variable rate mortgage. The interest rate is likely to drop. Again, they will do this to discourage you from refinancing.

(Refinancing is the process of getting a new mortgage. The first mortgage is paid off with the new mortgage, which has a better interest rate or different terms than the first mortgage.)

Of course, if you have bad credit, they will try to keep you at a fixed rate, high-interest mortgage. You’ll need to refinance later when interest rates drop.

This all seems unfair, but, it’s all pretty consistent with the goal of banks, which is to make a profit by lending money. If you want to avoid these hassles, try to save money into a savings account, consistently, so you won’t need to borrow so much money.

There’s a lot more to mortgages, and you can search the web for a lot more information.

Getting Your Finances in Order Before You Get Married

Love and money go together like bees and honey. This I tell you couples, you cannot have one without the other.
You may have guessed it. Money is the number one fight among married couples. However, before you take that big step, each person should always have his or her financial state of affairs in order. If you have a huge credit card debt, live from paycheck to paycheck or you are sticking up Paul to pay Peter, then perhaps you should think twice before walking down the aisle. Moreover, if both of you are having thorny money issues, then maybe you should postpone the nuptial, because, money dilemmas will not disappear after the wedding. If money problems are not resolved first, the cash flow troubles will only get worst.

This is not to say that money problems will not develop over time; they may, due to various unforeseen events. However, as a newly wed couple, you want to start out with a fresh slate. The last thing you want is to go into a marriage with accumulated debts from your single days, or end up being responsible for someone else’s bad arrears, which can put a strain on the marriage. If you are a saver and plan to marry someone who is a major spender, you will want to protect your assets, especially if you have minor children.

Whether your income is low, medium or high, the best defense for reducing money quandaries is to manage your money wisely right from the start. However, if your money troubles have gotten out of control and you cannot see you way out of a financial mess, you and your future spouse may want to seek out a financial planner.

A financial planner can provide assistance in making your money work for you. As a couple, the planner may evaluate your financial history, assist you in developing a financial plan and continue to review your investment options and make recommendations according to market events. You can both also attend local or national seminars and workshops in money management sponsored by community centers, colleges, churches, brokerage firms, financial groups or professional associations.

One of the best ways to choose a reputable financial planner is through recommendations from peers, business associates, lawyers, accountants, or individuals who have had investment success. Be certain that any planner you intend to employ has the skills and the expertise to meet your needs, has extensive knowledge in taxes, insurance, estate and retirement planning matters and has the insight in investment and family budgeting.

Before you select a financial planner, you each should know what your short and long term financial goals are. You each may have different objectives that may clash or place additional tension on your relationship. Matters to consider in examining each of your needs include family size, how much cash you will need for retirement and what your budget can afford now and in the near future. What is your own money or investment philosophy? Do you enjoy risky ventures, do you seek the comfort of solid, blue-ship investments or do you want to diversify your money. By examining these issues, you will be able to communicate your intentions clearly, so that your financial planner can put together a portfolio that will continue to work for both of you as your objectives change.

For many couples, a pre-nuptial agreement may be the best step to take, to protect the money you have accumulated before coming into a marriage, which should be separate from the assets you accrue during the marriage. If you plan to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement, consider the following:

  1.  A pre-nuptial agreement is most important if you are going into a second marriage, own a business or are an executive. Other situations may also justify an agreement.
  2. You do not have to be rich to have a pre-nuptial agreement.
  3. A pre-nuptial agreement is divorce insurance and can cost from $1,000.00 to over $25,000.00 depending on the amount of assets involved.
  4. If you decide to have a pre-nuptial agreement, have your own lawyer.
  5. Always disclose all assets. If you do not, the agreement may be invalid.
  6. As you grow financially, update the contract.
  7. If you both reconsider, termination of the agreement is valid, but tearing up a pre-nuptial agreement will not hold up in court.

Of course, managing your money wisely begins at an early age. However, it is never too late to start overseeing your finances so that after you say “I Do,” you and your spouse will not end up working hard for your money. Instead, your money will be working hard for you.

How to Organize Your Business Finances by Estimating the Costs

If you have effectively analyzed the target markets, you need to put into place an attention-getting plan and learn how to demonstrate benefits regarding the company; then you can start earning money in return for giving satisfaction.
When the people see you are keeping your promises then they will also develop loyalty to you and your business, which results in natural sales. But heed this word of warning: making money by selling is just theoretical until it’s in your bank account. There are lots of reasons why somebody can withhold payment. If you aren’t careful, you can easily lose the control of where the money goes when it arrives on your desk.

There are several parts to effective financial management for your business: estimating costs and living by budget; making projections of your profit and cashflow; developing a reliable collection method and expense control program via a dependable accounting system; as well as managing your tax.

There are lots of people with very good ideas–folks who demonstrate the discipline to handle their business’ money. One of the main reasons that businesses fail early is due to budget constraints.

A key to efficiently managing your company’s finances is to never be overwhelmed. Also there are lots of convenient methods to learn how you can manage your money, and seminars at the local colleges and Small Business Development; also do it yourself books, PC programs and government tax classes. Using these methods a few hours a week, you will create a sound system to manage your money.

Let’s take a close look at the first step to set up reliable financial management: financial estimates.

Not starting with sufficient cash, identified as being “undercapitalized”, is probably seconded only by not researching the business concept as a major cause of the failure of small businesses, and this outcome is a result of insufficient advance planning at time of pre-launch phase.

Initially you should estimate what your family costs are, and how you will assure that the business income is enough to cover them. First you must sit down with your family and discuss the minimum sum of money that the household should have every month. Ask every member of your family to offer few ideas as to where a few of the expenses can be reduced.

Knowing your costs upfront, you should also be honest about your present debt situation. If your family is already struggling to meet the biils each month, then you must be sensible about your capability to take on financial responsibility.