Jul 292015

Behavioral Economics is one of my favorite subjects and that is an area Dan Ariely frequently talks about. Ever wonder why so many infomercials and Internet Ads offer something for FREE. Like Buy one get one Free or get the item FREE just pay for S&H? Even eBay nudges its merchants towards giving free shipping as they show significantly better buys when free shipping is offered even though the total cost may be the same.

Watch the video - you'll learn something.


Jul 282015

So you developed this super duper website and you think you are all set for life. Not so fast. What about ongoing maintenance? What? Yes - ongoing maintenance. The underlying operating systems on servers change over time. The code in which the website is developed changes over time. Some commands get deprecated, that is, newer commands and functions are introduced and the older ones are no longer supported. New security patches are introduced to plug previously unknown security holes. If you don't keep your website maintained, sooner or later some parts of it will stop working, it will start looking broken down and worst of all you may get hacked.

In addition, newer displays and devices are introduced every few years and your website may not be compatible with them.

Did all that convince you about the need for ongoing maintenance? Good. The next question is who do you hire for ongoing maintenance? You can hire the same people that developed the website if you are comfortable with them. Or, you can hire an alternate company to do it for you. Some people prefer to pay a monthly retainer fee and then a little extra per hour for hours worked, others pay a flat per hour fee for as many hours as required.

Some people prefer to float bids and ask for fixed priced quotes for ongoing maintenance. That is the worst approach. The companies and Freelancers that may bid have no idea of your underlying code and it's like throwing darts in the dark. They want your business and may bid low to win your business. But if upon starting work they find the work involved is a lot more than they anticipated, they will abandon ship. You will have to go through the bidding process all over again and hope the next guy won't abandon you. What a waste of your time. If you value your time, you will not do any such thing.

The best approach is to hire a company or individual for the long run. Let them get familiar with you and vice versa. The peace of mind, comfort level and website uptime is worth more than the difference of a few dollars.

If you prefer to talk to the provider about issues and improvements on the phone during your business hours, then hire someone locally or an international provider who has an office in your country.

Ongoing maintenance can also take care of additional functions and features that you or your customers may be asking for. A website is an asset. It must adapt and grow with your business. That means you must prune and add quite regularly especially if you are in the world of ecommerce or provide a service through the website.

I hope that helped.

Jul 032015

Shall I hire on an hourly basis or a fixed cost basis

Take a look at the following Ad by a client looking for help:

"The site was built using Magento.

I am looking for someone well-versed in Magento and Google Shopping to fix issues that my current web company are unable to resolve, as well as help me improve and develop my existing site.

I would like someone to be able to complete assigned tasks for a fixed price per task."

This guy is asking for the impossible. He is expecting an outsourcing company or a freelancer to guess how much work there is to be corrected or upgraded. There is no way the client can provide all the code detail to explain the issues. Without that the developer has no way of coming up with a good estimate. So the poor guy takes a wild stab at it. The client asks for 10 quotes from 10 different companies and they are all very different. Then he goes about saying these guys are all scammers and trying to fleece me. He does not realize the fault lies with him. None of these 10 companies have a good idea of what awaits them on this abandoned website.

What should you do if you have a similar situation? Easy. Hire a developer on an hourly basis. You may interview several developers and go with one that you feel comfortable with. Then let him asses the current situation and take care of the issues.

Jul 032015

Many years ago, Amazon enabled merchants to open e-commerce stores on their platform similar to Yahoo Stores and others. They were called Amazon Webstores. For a while it generated extra revenue for Amazon. It has reached a stage where I guess it is no longer important to them, besides there are so many other platforms now available for creating an e-commerce store that it doesn't really hold much importance in the overall e-commerce world.

Migrating from Amazon Stores to a third party ecommerce platform

Amazon sent out emails to its client-base, there are thousands of them who are hosting their e-commerce stores on the Amazon platform and they have given a very generous time of over a year and a half. So by June of 2016, they expect people to have moved from the Amazon Webstore platforms to their own independent platforms.

If you have an e-commerce store on the Amazon Webstore platform, what are you to do? Do you have a plan for Migrating from Amazon Webstore to a third party ecommerce platform? Well, don't despair; just go and talk to a developer or a company who specializes in ecommerce. Tell them how big your store is, how many products you have, what kinds of payments you take, do you sell your own stocked items or are these drop shipped items or there is a mix and which countries do you ship to.

Based on that, they will suggest a suitable platform for you and these days hosting is so in-expensive. You will be very well taken care of within a few weeks you will have your own independent e-commerce website and you will not be harmed in anyway by Amazon closing its platform.

Good Luck!

Jun 302015
How much shall I spend on my website -

This is a very common question and there is no easy answer to that. You know your budget; you know how much funds are available to you. Just keep this in mind that, your website in this day and age is the face of your business, it should represent what your company is about. If you are a company that sells based on price, then you shouldn't have a high end looking website. If on the other hand you want to project an image of high end, high quality, then you better spend and make a really good website.

Now what does that mean? Spend what? Spend how much? Well, a really good high end high quality website, if it is just an informational website would cost you between $2,000 and $4,000 because there is a lot of work that goes into the design part of it. To a casual observer it may not be that clear but those who are looking for quality they will understand, appreciate and respect your business accordingly.

If it is an e-commerce site, or it has very specific functionalities and you want to project a high quality image with all kinds of options and user interfaces that are geared to make life easy and comfortable for the client or customer then budget $5,000 to $10,000.

Now on the other hand if you just want to throw up a basic website to announce your new book keeping service for the small business owner, you can get a website set up for $500 to $1,000 to $1,500 range.

Some people expect, in part this is because they don’t know, they come up and advertise in freelancing portals 'Make me a quality site and I will pay you $40'. It does not work that way. People sometimes have heard that if you outsource something, they are cheap. Yes but not that cheap.

Compared to what you pay in your local city, yes outsourcing is significantly cheaper, probably one third or a quarter of the price you would pay locally- but not free. If a locally developed project costs $40,000 to $45,000, outsourcing will bring down the cost to $10,000 to $15,000.

Be realistic and if you are not sure talk to people, understand and just take a little time and then go venture out with a small project. Over time you will get the hang of it.

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