EBiz Tips for Beginners

Your SEO Keywords Could Be Hurting You

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most important things you can do for your online business. It’s critical to place search engine Keywords not only on your home page, but on all the pages of your site. However, even people who do this religiously and do a good job of it could be unwittingly sabotaging thier own sites by overlooking something very simple.

The problem is this: text editors (word processing programs) and site-builder programs don’t all recognize the characters on your computer keyboard in the same way. You can end up with extra or unexpected characters in your site’s Keywords that you don’t realize are there, and those characters can ruin your SEO efforts.

In a recent Chris Malta Personal EBiz Workshop here in Orlando, we were analyzing one of the attendee’s web sites. We took a look at her web site’s Keywords and found that she had used apostrophes in some of the words. Her site builder program misinterpreted those apostrophes, and inserted slashes before each one, which rendered those keywords unrecognizable to the search engines, and useless to her site.

The word was “Children’s”. As far as she knew, and as far as her web site builder software showed her, the word “children’s” showed up properly in her keywords. However, when we looked at them outside of her software, the keyword was actually showing up as “children/’s”.

Not good.

So, do yourself a favor and do a View Source on your web site’s Keywords when you publish your pages. In Internet Explorer, all you have to do is go to your page, click the “Page” tool in the upper right hand corner of your browser, and click “View Source”. You’ll be able to see the “code” behind your web page. Look for your Keywords and double-check them. This could save you a lot of wondering and worrying about why your site isn’t making sales!

Hey, keep in mind that Registration is now open for my June and July Personal EBiz Success Workshops. Check it out Here now!

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Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 EBiz Tips for Beginners 4 Comments

Yahoo Store - How Much Money Will It Make Me?

This exact question has come up in both my Private EBiz Forum and at my Personal EBiz Workshops, so I thought I’d share the answer with everybody. The fact is that Yahoo Store won’t make you any money at all. Yet, I still recommend Yahoo Store very strongly. How does that make sense?

It doesn’t, until you realize that the question doesn’t make sense. Yahoo Store isn’t going to make you any money because it’s not thier job to make you money. Same goes for eBay and Amazon. YOU are the one who needs to make the money.

Okay, so I’m nit-picking semantics here. I know that. But there is a basic misconception in that question, no matter how you phrase it, that needs to be corrected. What people are asking here is “Which online sales platform (Yahoo Store, eBay, or Amazon) am I going to earn the most money on”.

The real answer is that it’s not the platform you choose that determines how much money you make. It’s the COMBINATION of your Products and your Pricing that determines what Platform you sell on. Let’s look at those three Platforms and understand why this is.

eBay
eBay is bargain-land. Let’s not make any bones about that; we all know it. eBay is the web site that pawn shops use to decide how much they’re going to give you for stuff you pawn. When a Buyer shops on eBay, they’re looking for low prices. So, if you have a steady supply of Products that you can sell for really low Prices and still make a profit, eBay is a good Platform to use.

Amazon
Amazon is like putting your stuff in someone else’s store. Ever been in a grocery store when the Coca-Cola guy is there putting up Coke banners and promotional stuff? Notice how he looks around to see that nobody’s watching, then quietly tears down the Pepsi banners and puts his Coke stuff up? That’s called Merchandising. Amazon is not exactly like that, but it’s similar.

Amazon won’t come right out and say it, but they prefer sellers who have larger quantities of the same products to sell over and over again. If you have 500 pairs of black size 9 shoes, 500 pairs of black size 10 shoes (and so on) to sell, then Amazon likes you. Amazon is like a giant department store, and you get to rent shelf space there. If you can continuously re-stock that shelf space with lots of product for Amazon, you’re in thier “zone”. You’re who they really want as a Seller.

You can sell smaller quantities of products on Amazon, but when you have smaller quantities you pay more for them at wholesale, and you have to compete on price with people who have paid less for larger quantities. On Amazon, the lowest price usually wins. So, Amazon is best suited, in my opinion, for those who can buy in larger wholesale quantities and sell at competitive prices.

Yahoo Store
Yahoo Store is my Platform of choice. When I say “Yahoo Store”, I’m actually referring to any online store that you own and manage yourself, but Yahoo Store is by far my favorite way to build and run an online store.

Owning your own online store gives you the most flexibility to earn real money. When you’re selling on eBay or Amazon, it’s really easy for the Buyer to see all your competitions’ prices, and again, the lowest price usually wins. However, when you have a Buyer in your own online store, there are no competitors’ prices there. People actually have to go out and search online to find competing prices. This gives you that extra edge to grab somebody’s attention with your product presentation and the personality of your site, and that extra edge is often what makes the sale.

When you have your own online store, you can generally sell products for higher prices (and earn higher profits) than you can elsewhere.

So again, Yahoo Store, eBay or Amazon are not going to make you any money. That’s not thier job. Thier job is to provide you with a place (Platform) to sell from.

When you choose the right Platform based on your unique combination of Products and Pricing is when you make your money.

NOTE: My new Personal EBiz Success Workshops are open for Registration for June and July. Click Here to find out more!

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Monday, May 25th, 2009 EBiz Tips for Beginners 1 Comment

AT&T: How NOT To Provide Home Business Customer Service

While paying my bills today, I couldn’t find my AT&T Long Distance phone bill. While trying to find out how much I owed AT&T Long Distance, I was put through a process that made me wish I wasn’t using thier services at all. It was frustrating, annoying, and a great lesson for anyone in Home Business who wants to keep customers coming back through that all-important Customer Service channel.

It took me over 20 minutes on the phone to find the answer to one simple question: How much did I own them this month?

The trip down Pan’s Labrynth started with an innocent call to thier 800 Customer Service line. It was answered by an automated system that spent way too much time telling me how great AT&T is, that they’re merging with Bell South, and finally giving me some of those dreaded Automated Menu choices to key into my phone. I navigated my way through the initial menus to get to Billing and Payment. Then I navigated through some more choices to get to Account Balance.

Then, I learned that whatever genius is programming this system has a twisted sense of humor. I was calling to get my Account Balance because I couldn’t find my bill. The system told me that if I wanted my account balance, I had to tell them what my account balance was. The system told me that if I didn’t know my account balance, I should look on my bill, and key that balance into the system to verify that I really was who I claimed to be.

Let’s see…I don’t have my bill, so I’m calling to get my Account Balance. The AT&T phone system tells me to look on my bill and tell it what my Account Balance is, or it won’t tell me what my Account Balance is. Dead end.

There was no obvious way to back up in the menus and make other choices, so I had to call back and try to reach a live person. I knew that this was going to be even more fun. After navigating my way through at least half a dozen main menus and sub-menus that plaintively tried to cover every concievable little thing I could possibly be bothering AT&T for, I finally got to one that sounded halfway promising, so I navagated through those sub-choices. After all the choices were exhausted and I still hadn’t gotten to a live person, I waited a few seconds more after the last option, and the system finally, grudingly, asked me if I wanted to speak to a representative. I indicated that I did, and was connected (at last) to an obviously outsourced person outide the US whom I could barely understand.

I told him that I had lost my bill, and needed my Account Balance. He asked me to look on my bill and give him the numbers that came after my phone number. (Sigh). I explained again that I didn’t HAVE my bill. So, after mentally processing that fact for the second time, he asked me for some other identifying info, which I gave him.

He asked me if I had AT&T Residential Service, which I don’t. I just have the long distance service through AT&T. He wasn’t very happy about that, and wanted to know why I didn’t use AT&T for my residential service as well. I told him I didn’t care to discuss it; I just wanted my Account Balance. At long last, he told me what that Balance was.

Then, he started asking me questions about my other communications services. Did I have AT&T for my online service. Did I have AT&T wireless. He explained that AT&T was merging with Bell South and I could change all my services over to AT&T. I told him I liked everything just the way it was, and didn’t want to change anything. The sales pitch went on. He did his best to make me sound foolish for not switching over to AT&T for everything. I kept saying “no”, but he kept on going. This went on for some time.

Now, most people, having the information that they came for in the first place, would have simply hung up on him. However, I was getting curious to see exactly how far this would go. In my business, WorldwideBrands.com, my Customer Service reps are taught to get our customers the information they want as quickly as possible without any kind of a sales pitch. Call it old fashioned, but going after someone’s wallet when they’re just trying to ask you a simple question is not my idea of Customer Service OR marketing, no matter what the hard-sell marketing “experts” claim.

The AT&T rep sounded positively panicked about the fact that AT&T wasn’t the absolute center of my communications universe, and was determined to push and push untill I gave in. I became certain that AT&T was monitoring those Reps’ calls to be sure that they sold something virtually every time they had contact with a customer, which is a common practice in Call Centers, especially outsourced ones.

Anyway, after a great deal of frustration with both AT&T’s automated system and thier hard-sell outsourced Csutomer Serivice center, I finally convinced this guy I wan’t going to buy anything form him today.

Just when I thought my ordeal was over, THEN came the “satisfaction of service” questions. The rep wanted to know if I had provided him with satisfactory customer service. I was tempted to say no, but I didn’t want to get forwarded to a supervisor or have to explain my answer, so I said yes. Then he wanted to know if I was satisfied with AT&T services. I said yes. Then he wanted to know if there was anything else AT&T could do for me or any other services I wanted to hear about. I was highly tempted to tell him that AT&T could take thier automated customer-trap designed to keep people from talking to live reps and shove it somewhere uncomfortable, and do the same for their hard-sell call center tactics, but I didn’t because I just wanted to get off the phone.

Finally, we hung up. I had easily been twenty minutes just finding out what my Account Balance was.

Is this a lesson for Home based business? Yes, of course. These large businesses are frankly pissing people off on a huge scale with these twisted automated systems that try to keep you away from talking to human beings, and the hard-sell tactics you end up being subjected to if you ever DO get to a live person. It’s not just AT&T. They’re ALL doing it.

Take a lesson from these jackasses. They’re not servicing customers. They’re pissing off customers. Honestly, if I had another option besides AT&T for my long distance service in this area right now, I’d be on the phone signing up for it right now.

When you deal with your Home Business customers, talk to them. Make it quick and painless. Give them the info they want, and let them go. They have other things to do besides listen to your sales pitches. Don’t fall for the pseudo-educated marketing idiots who tell you that every contact needs to sell something. Every contact WILL sell something all by itelf if it is a short, sweet, pleasant contact.

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Friday, November 28th, 2008 EBiz Tips for Beginners 3 Comments

Making Money Online: Getting Legal Fast

Anyone who’s serious about making money online knows that you absolutely can’t do it without setting up a simple legal business. You can’t accept payment from your customers, you can’t work with real product wholesale companies, etc., etc., if you don’t have a legal business and a Tax ID.

Everyone who wants to run a home based business wants to do it quickly. Unfortunately, there’s one place in the getting legal process that can slow you down. Just about everything having to do with getting legal in your online business can be done, well, online! Filing your business name is easy. Getting an EIN number (federal tax ID) is easy, and so on. You can also get that all-important Sales Tax ID online, but you shouldn’t!

That’s the one thing that slows you down. Sure, your State web site will tell you to apply online, but once you do that, it can take weeks to actually get the Tax ID in the mail.

The smartest and fastest thing to do if you want to get your home based business legal and running quickly is to actually go to your State IRS office in person and apply for your Sales Tax ID. In most States, you can walk out of that office in just a few minutes with your Tax ID in hand, and start to make money online. So, for this one piece of paperwork, do it in person and save weeks of your vauable time!

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Sunday, November 16th, 2008 EBiz Tips for Beginners 4 Comments

Your Home Based Business Can’t Sell Video Games!

This is something I see over and over again. People asking me where they can get XBox, Playstation, and other video game consoles to sell in their online businesses.

The fact is that you can’t sell these game consoles online, unless you’re already a big box store. The manufacturers of video game consoles keep their sales limited to the big box stores, for several reasons. The most important one to them is that they don’t want their products devalued in the marketplace by a home based business selling them just over cost. This causes major problems in the manufacturers’ relationships with those big box stores, who are their biggest customers.

So, you need to be a big box store and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per order to sell wholesale video game consoles online. If you see anyone advertising brand new in the box wholesale video games that they’ll sell in small wholesale quantities to a home based business, they are LYING to you. You’ll end up with used, refurbished and liquidated merchandise, or you simply will pay for the stuff and it will never show up. This is a fact, no matter how badly you don’t want to believe it.

The people you see selling these video game consoles on eBay for incredibly low prices are the ones who have already gotten stuck with refurbs and liquidations and are having a hard time getting rid of them.

If you really want to make money in the wholesale electronics market with your home business, sell accessories to the video games consoles. Those CAN be bought at wholesale and sold by a home based business, and that’s where the really smart players in this market make all their money.

Check out ChrisMalta.com for more expert EBiz Info.

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 EBiz Tips for Beginners 2 Comments

Home Based Business Marketing: The Scarcity Play

How many times have you seen an offer that had an expiration date? Get this discount until that date, get that extra thing free if you buy before this date, etc., etc.

This is a marketing tool called the “Scarcity Play”. The idea is to get people to buy by a certain date. We’ve all seen them. They can be kind of annoying, can’t they? Especially when you DO buy by that deadline, only to find that the “offer has been extended” for another week, or another month.

People sometimes get upset about this, but when you’re in business, the Scarcity Play is something that you will actually find yourself using in your own home business internet marketing. You’ll see businesses doing this most often at times of the year when their sales are typically the slowest for their products, or when their product lines are changing. The Auto industry is a great example. Just look at all the ‘buy it now’ discounts and ads you see as the new Model Year begins to come out. Those are Scarcity Plays.

The idea behind the Scarcity Play is, of course, to create the perception of a limited supply. When consumers believe there is a limited supply of something that they might want, there is a much stronger drive to get it while they can. It’s basic psychology. It’s enough to tip a buyer over the edge, from just considering buying something, to actually making the purchase.

No matter what type of home business marketing you’re doing, or what you sell online, the Scarcity Play is going to be a valuable tool that you should use. However, be sure you use it wisely. ‘Extending the offer’ too often is going to hurt your home based business rather than help it.

When you sell products online, free shipping and ‘bundling’ a free gift ir price discount with a product purchase for a limited time are two examples of Scarcity Plays.

When you sell information online, offering truly valuable additional info for free, or a discount coupon for a limited time are two examples of Scarcity Plays.

When you make money as an online Affiliate, limited time discount coupons for the products you represent are the most common Scarcity Play.

As long as what you’re offering is legitimate and has real value, the Scarcity Play is something you should become very well aware of and use judiciously in your own home based internet marketing. 

Learn much, much more about home based business at www.ChrisMalta.com!

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Monday, November 10th, 2008 EBiz Tips for Beginners 2 Comments

How to Survive a Business Startup Seminar

When you start a business online, you’re going to find all kinds of conflicting information about it on the internet. One thing you need to be very careful of is seminars and “bootcamps” that claim to teach you how to start a business.

These events are usually held at hotels or conference centers. They can be all day affairs, or a few hours on a weeknight. They’re advertised all over the place, and they look very convincing. They’ll claim to teach you all about doing an online business startup either for free, or for a small fee.

What they really want is to sit you down, put on a show for you, and hook you for up to $10,000 worth of web sites, coaching and many other overpriced and underpowered gimmicks and gadgets things you absolutely do not need.

If you go to one of these business start up seminars or bootcamps, the only way to survive them with your wallet intact is to NEVER take your credit cards or your checkbook. Never sign any payment argreements. They will pressure you, and pressure you hard. After a fe hours in that room, it’ll sound like a good idea, too.

If you go, it’s extremely important that you simply watch, listen, do NOT buy anything, and then go home and think carefully about what you just saw. Check the company out online and look for scam reports or Better Business Bureau information.

Here’s a video with more details from ChrisMalta.com:

See more Free Videos at ChrisMalta.com!

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Sunday, November 9th, 2008 EBiz Tips for Beginners 3 Comments

Home Based Business: Start It Right!

People who want to start home based businesses often overlook the most important part of starting that business. Actually forming a legal business is the only way to make real money in a work from home business, no matter what anyone tells you.

A legitmate home business can accept credit card payments from customers, work with real wholesale product suppliers, apply for business credit in order to grow, and do many more things that are critical to earning real money.

It’s not hard to start a legitimate home business, though most people don’t realize that. Yes, it involves legal paperwork, but it can be as simple as typing “start business in (your home state)” into Google. Your state’s web site will have a very simple set of papers for you to fill out and file. It costs very little, and the benefits are tremendous.

Only 18% of all people who start a home based business succeed. Most of those successful 18% are people who start a legitimate home business.

Find much more professional home based business information in Chris Malta’s eBusiness Forum!

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Sunday, November 9th, 2008 EBiz Tips for Beginners 5 Comments

Toll Free 800 Number for your Home Business

A toll free 800 number will make a world of difference for your home based eComerce business. When you run an online store, studies show conclusively that those who have a toll free number get more business than those who don’t.

It’s a matter of trust. Consumers tend to shy away from online stores that seem small or unprofessional. When they see an 800 phone number on a store site, though, that adds the look and feel of a larger business, and consumers trust that site more. That means they’re more willing to buy from a site that has an 800 number.

This can seem like an expensive addition to your eCommerce business, but few eCommerce business owners realize how actually easy and inexpensive it can be to get a toll free number. There are several services online that can set you up with one.

These services can set up a virtual 800 number to ring to your existing phone, using a different pattern of rings so that you know you have a business call coming in. They can connect a toll free number ot your cell phone. They can even set you up with a service that answers your toll free 800 number automatically, takes a message, and sends you an email containing an audio recording of your message!

A Google Search on the terms “800 number”, or “toll free number” will bring up any ‘number’ of these services for you to choose from, and they WON’T break your bank!

Find much more professional home based business information in Chris Malta’s eBusiness Forum!

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Sunday, November 9th, 2008 EBiz Tips for Beginners 3 Comments