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osCommerce Webmaster's Guide to Selling Online

Book Description

Increase your sales and profits with expert tips on SEO, Marketing, Design, Selling Strategies, etc.

  • Turn your e-commerce site into a money-making enterprise

  • Full of practical tips and tricks to improve profit with osCommerce

  • Professional advice on choosing the best contributions

In Detail

If you have an osCommerce-based online business, you need this book. Packed with expert guidance on all aspects of building a better online, this book will make your store stand out from the crowd.

All approaches and techniques described here are proven to have worked well for successful osCommerce-based online businesses among the, over 650, all around the globe with which the author has been actively involved as developer, project manager, or online business consultant.

osCommerce is an open-source e-commerce solution written in PHP and MySQL that can be set up on various platforms. More than 10,000 businesses and sole traders all around the world benefit from its features and flexibility. The importance of the osCommerce community consisting of over 100,000 can not be stressed enough as this is where both online merchants and web developers can communicate and find solutions. There are many "contributions" — modules for osCommerce that further extend its functionality — making it suitable for almost every business's requirements.

Practical techniques and proven strategies to increase online sales: learn from an expert! This book is for anyone administering a small/medium sized osCommerce site.

Table of Contents

  1. osCommerce Webmaster's Guide to Selling Online
  2. Credits
  3. About the Author
  4. About the Reviewer
  5. Preface
    1. What This Book Covers
    2. Conventions
    3. Reader Feedback
    4. Customer Support
      1. Errata
      2. Questions
  6. 1. Increasing Profits and Sales with osCommerce
    1. Why osCommerce?
    2. What is the Book About?
    3. Profits First
    4. The Strategy to Profit
    5. Summary
  7. 2. Advertising an Online Store
    1. What can be Advertised?
    2. How to Advertise
      1. Tracking Efficiency of the Advertising Efforts
      2. Advertising in Search Engines
        1. Paid Advertisements
        2. Useful Tips and Best Practices
      3. Banners
        1. Banner Exchange
        2. Positioning in the Page
        3. osCommerce Banner Managements Facilities
      4. Pop Ups and Pop Unders
      5. Link Exchange
        1. Value the Links
        2. osCommerce Link Exchange Facilities
        3. Getting Backward Links
        4. Tracking Link Efficiency
      6. Affiliate Programs
        1. How it Works
        2. Getting Affiliates On Board
        3. osCommerce Affiliate Program Solutions
        4. Popular Third-Party Affiliate Program Solutions
          1. Commission Junction
      7. Newsletters
        1. Tips and Best Practices
        2. Designing and Sending a Newsletter
      8. Forums and Blogs
      9. Price Comparison Directories
        1. Export Data from osCommerce to Froogle
    3. Summary
  8. 3. Search Engine Optimization
    1. Why SEO?
      1. Balance between SEO and Usability
      2. Ethical SEO
      3. New Site SEO
      4. Expected Time Frame
        1. Page Rank
        2. Ageing Delay
        3. Plan Ahead for a New Online Store
      5. Google "Sandbox"
        1. What is a "Sandbox"?
        2. What is the "Sandbox" For?
        3. How the "Sandbox" can be Useful for Your Online Store
        4. What can be a Reason for My Store to be "Sandboxed"?
        5. Is My Online Store in the "Sandbox"?
      6. Google Supplemental Index
        1. What gets an Online Store into the Supplemental Index?
        2. How to Get Out of the Supplemental Index
    2. SEO When Switching to osCommerce from an Existing Website
      1. Preserving Good Page Rank
    3. Understanding External and Internal SEO
      1. External SEO
        1. Popularity—What it is and How to Measure It
        2. Listing in Online Directories
        3. Backward Links
      2. Internal SEO
        1. Content and Keywords
        2. How to Define Keywords?
        3. Avoiding Duplicate Product Page URLs
          1. Same Product in Multiple Categories
          2. Product Listing and Product Information Pages with the Same Content
          3. Multiple Front Ends Linked to the Same Back End, Even when Using Different Domain Names
          4. osCommerce Online Stores Using Product Feed Coming from Suppliers
          5. Other Websites Using osCommerce Store's Product Feed
        4. HTML Validation and Page Structure Optimization
          1. What should be Validated in osCommerce?
          2. How do we Validate and What are the Most Common Issues?
        5. Optimized URLs in osCommerce
        6. Page Title and META Tags in osCommerce
          1. Main Page
          2. Category Listing Page
          3. Product Information Page
          4. How to Do It in osCommerce?
        7. Main Page URL and Redirects
        8. Internal Linking between the Pages
        9. Site Maps
          1. osCommerce site map
          2. Google and Yahoo! Site Maps
        10. The robots.txt and .htaccess Files
        11. Navigation gets Optimized
        12. Contexts
          1. How to Write Context that Works
          2. osCommerce Contexts Authoring
          3. SEO for Contexts
    4. Hiring an SEO Specialist
    5. Tracking SEO Campaign Results
      1. Web Traffic Analysis
    6. Summary
  9. 4. Dynamic Content to Improve Sales
    1. Dynamic Content: What and Why?
      1. How Can We Make Users Participate?
    2. Different Types of Dynamic Content in osCommerce
      1. Reviews
        1. Third-Party Reviews Solutions
      2. Testimonials
        1. Attracting Customers to Read and Write Reviews and Testimonials
      3. Polls and Lotteries (Surveys)
        1. Attracting Customers to Vote in Polls and Participate in the Surveys
      4. News and Newsletter Archives
        1. Newsletters
        2. Text versus HTML
        3. Attracting Customers to Subscribe and Read Newsletters
      5. CMS, Blogs, and Online Magazines
        1. Existing Content Management Solutions
          1. osCommerce Information System and News Desk
          2. Third-Party Content Management Systems
          3. Built-In and Third-Party Blog Solutions
        2. Attracting Customers Read and Write Articles
      6. Forums and Galleries
        1. Integration with Third-Party Forums
        2. Integration with Built-In Forums
        3. Photo Galleries
    3. Summary
  10. 5. Building Customer Confidence
    1. Ensuring Server and Database Safety
    2. Information about the Business
      1. Information on the Main Page and Landing Pages
      2. Business Information—About Us Page
      3. Contacts (Addresses and Phones)—Contact Us Page
      4. Visual Image behind the Business Name
      5. Memberships and Regulating Authorities
        1. Seals and Awards
        2. Security (SSL) and Business Identity
        3. Where Should We Place the Images?
        4. What Makes the Difference?
      6. Multilingual Aspect
    3. Customer Information
      1. Terms and Conditions, and Policies
      2. Policies: Privacy Policy, Billing Policy, and Shipping Policy
      3. Help and Assistance
        1. Buying Guides
        2. FAQ
        3. Live Support
    4. Product Catalog
      1. Category Tree
      2. Page Load Speed Issues
      3. Search and Search Results
      4. Information in Product Listing
        1. Products Per Page
        2. Product Information in the Listing
        3. Product Comparison
      5. Individual Product Page
        1. Name, Price, Descriptions, and Attributes
        2. Images
        3. Product Reviews
    5. Placing Orders
      1. Security and Confidence
      2. Registration and Checkout Process
      3. Simplifying osCommerce Checkout Procedure
    6. Order Processing
      1. Charging Practices in osCommerce
      2. Notifications, Order and Dispatch Statuses
      3. Printable Documents
    7. Summary
  11. 6. Design to Sell
    1. Main Principles of E-Commerce Design
      1. Main Principle: Design for Sales
      2. Design Accompanies Products
      3. Page Load Speed Optimized Design
      4. Multiple Platforms and Browser Compatibility
      5. Unity of Design throughout the Online Store
    2. Design that Helps Sales
      1. "osCommerce" Design—Pros and Cons
      2. General Recommendations for osCommerce Design
      3. Product Information Presentation
      4. Prices and Purchase Facilities
    3. Design Matches Products
      1. Choosing Style
      2. Layout of Product Listing and Information Pages
    4. Design Matches Target Audience
    5. Design Compatibility
      1. Web Browser Compatibility
        1. How to Ensure Web Browser Compatibility
      2. Screen Resolution Compatibility
    6. Multicultural and Multilingual Designs
      1. International Sales
      2. Benefiting from Cultural Diversity
      3. Technical Aspects of Multicultural Design in osCommerce
    7. Design Recommendations
      1. Main Page
      2. Category and Search Results Pages
      3. Product Listing
      4. Product Information Pages
      5. Variants of the Shopping Cart Page Design
      6. Checkout Pages
      7. User Account and Order History Pages
      8. Important Design Elements
        1. Logo
        2. Font Styles and Sizes and Colors
        3. Quick Search Box
        4. Shopping Cart Box
        5. Currency and Language Boxes
        6. Breadcrumbs and Navigation Panels
        7. Category Tree
        8. Filter Box
        9. Login and Account History Links
        10. Control Button Colors and Positions
        11. Standard osCommerce Images
        12. Messages (Information, Warnings, and Errors)
    8. Fast Design
      1. Why Speed is Important
      2. How to Measure Page Load Speed in osCommerce
      3. How to Optimize Page Load Speed
    9. Branding
      1. Email Templates and Newsletters
      2. Downloadable and Printable Documents
      3. Downloadable Product Catalog and Brochures
        1. What to Include
        2. How to Generate Product Brochures
      4. Banners
    10. Updating osCommerce Design
      1. Why Change a Design
      2. Design Templates
    11. Summary
  12. 7. Improving Product Catalog
    1. Making Navigation More Obvious
      1. Category Tree
        1. Tree Levels
        2. Online Sales without the Category Tree
        3. Products in Multiple Categories
        4. Alternative Categories
      2. Shop by Brand
      3. Additional Filters
        1. Filters by Price
        2. Filter by Free Stock
        3. Filters by Additional Properties
    2. Product Listing
      1. Top Offers
      2. New Products
      3. Expected Products and Pre-Order
      4. Sorting Options
    3. Search
      1. Quick Search and Advanced Search
      2. Relevancy of Search Results
      3. Found Nothing—What Should We Do?
    4. Product Information
      1. Product Name and Description
      2. Additional Images and Image Galleries
      3. Associated Video Clips
      4. Manufacturer Information (Brochures) and Category Information (Buying Guides)
      5. Product Reviews
      6. Product Price
      7. Stock Levels
      8. Additional Features
        1. Recently Viewed Products
        2. Report Better Price
        3. Price Monitoring Feature
    5. Going International
      1. Auto-Detection
      2. Descriptions
      3. Currencies and Prices
      4. Shipping and Payment Methods
    6. Summary
  13. 8. Increasing Order Value
    1. Increasing Order Values for Customers
    2. Increasing Order Values for Store Owners
    3. Offers Being Reasonable
    4. Increasing Profits and Not Necessarily Order Totals
      1. Determine the most Profitable Products
      2. Determine the Best-Selling Products
    5. Selling Related Products Together
      1. Cross-Selling Products and Categories
        1. Cross-Selling Product to Product
        2. Cross-Selling Categories
        3. Cross-Selling Based on Customers' Choices
        4. Cross-Sell by Email
    6. Minimum Order Amount Strategy
      1. For Payment Methods
      2. For Shipping Methods
      3. Giveaways
      4. Freebies
    7. Complex Products
      1. Configurable Products
      2. Product Bundles
        1. Design of the Bundled Product Page
      3. Stock Control
    8. Design of the Shopping Cart Page
    9. Summary
  14. 9. Increasing the Turnover via Promotions and Special Offers
    1. Which Products to Promote
      1. New Products
      2. Best-Selling Products
      3. The Most Profitable Products
      4. All Clearance Stock Must Go!
      5. Special Purchase Price
      6. Product Bundles
      7. Products That are Too Expensive
    2. Recommended Retail Price and Purchase Price
    3. Special Prices
      1. Sale Manager Contribution
    4. Quantity Discounts
      1. "Buy One Get One Free" Discounts
    5. Discounts Based on Order Value
      1. Special Shipping Offers
      2. Giveaways
    6. Discount Coupons and Gift Vouchers
      1. Effective Use of Discount Coupons
      2. Making Customers Aware of Discounts
    7. Rebates
    8. Avoiding an Addiction to Discounts
    9. Winning Market Share
      1. Affiliate Program
      2. B2B Program for Trade Customers
        1. Making a Difference for Trade Customers
      3. Multiple Front Ends (Online Mall Solution)
    10. Summary
  15. 10. Improving Conversion Rates and Customer Experience
    1. Why Improve Conversion Rates?
    2. Conversion Rates in osCommerce
      1. Visitors to Customers Conversion Rate
      2. Customers to Repeat Customers Conversion Rate
      3. Conversion of Referring Sources, Media Types, and Advertising Campaigns
      4. Conversion of Certain Categories, Brands, and Individual Products
      5. Conversion of Pages and Page Elements
      6. Conversion of Website Navigation and Search Facility
    3. Paths that Convert Visitors into Customers
      1. Conversion Rate Drop during the Checkout Process
      2. Conversion Based on Browsing History
    4. Page Elements that Improve Conversion Rates
      1. Main Page/Landing Page
      2. Banners, Special Offers, and Featured Products Announcements
      3. Product Listing Page
      4. Product Information Page
      5. Shopping Cart and Checkout Pages
      6. Checkout Confirmation Page
      7. Checkout without an Account
    5. Wish Lists and Quotations
      1. Discontinued Products and Changed Prices
    6. Payment Methods
    7. Error Handling and Confirmations
      1. Customer Registration
      2. Payment and Shipping
      3. Order Confirmation
    8. Customer Account
    9. Back End Improvements
      1. Search Features
      2. Order Management
      3. Live Chat Support and Answer Phone
    10. Summary
  16. 11. Understanding and Using Reports
    1. Tracking Visitors
      1. Using Day-of-Week and Time-of-Day Statistics
      2. Using Statistics by Page Popularity
      3. Using Third-Party Solutions to Track Visitors
      4. Monitoring Day-to-Day Conversion Rates
      5. Reports on Referring Sources
      6. Reports on Keywords
    2. Tracking Sales
      1. Sales Forecast Reports
      2. Bestselling Products
      3. Bestselling Brands and Categories
      4. Most Profitable Products
      5. Report on Sales by Region
      6. Report on Best-Buying Customers
      7. Report by Net Profit
    3. Tracking Stock
      1. Report by Stock
      2. Turnaround Report
    4. Tracking Customers
      1. Report by Customers Who ...
      2. Using Reports when Sending Newsletters
    5. Summary
  17. 12. Repeat Customers
    1. Why Repeat Customers?
    2. Customers and Repeat Customers
    3. How to Keep in Touch with Customers
      1. Gathering and Using Personal Information
      2. Using Order History Information—Cross-Selling
      3. Using Order History Information—Re-Ordering and Subscriptions
      4. Unfinished Orders
    4. Loyal Customers
    5. Summary
  18. 13. Afterword