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8 Blogs to Follow to Stay in the Know on Ecommerce

If you’ve ever run a business you know that it doesn’t go smoothly all the time. Wouldn’t it be great if there were someone with a lot of experience to consult for free whenever your ecommerce business hit a hiccup for which you had no ready solution on hand?

Luckily for you there is help. This article will discuss eight blogs you can follow to stay in the know. Listed in no particular order, they offer advice regarding site design, marketing, SEO, finding your niche, choosing products, shipping and more.

E-commerce Related Blogs

eCommerceFuel

eCommerceFuel offers advice from Andrew Youderian, one of the most respected individuals in the world of ecommerce. Youderian started with blank screens and built two stores generating more than $1 million in annual revenue. Consequently, eCommerceFuel offers advice for those new to ecommerce. It touches on topics such as managing cash flow and how to conduct email marketing.

The blog is also rich with resources including a free book, a podcast, training videos and a vibrant forum.

E-Commerce Times

This one is more of an industry newsletter than a blog per se. Industry experts and professionals contribute stories to E-Commerce Times about the latest trends and developments in the industry. Straight from the field’s heaviest hitters, this is where you’ll keep abreast of the latest information likely to have a significant impact upon the way you do business.

Shopify

Shopify looks out for the little guy. Small startups and first-time entrepreneurs going solo will find information covering topics such as marketing, drop-shipping and improving the customer experience. You’ll also learn why every business needs a blog. Writers with a wide range of relevant experience contribute to one of the best ecommerce website builders and blog.

A Better Lemonade Stand

This blog documents the activities of Richard Lazazzera as he builds his ecommerce brand from the ground up. A Better Lemonade Stand chronicles his experiences with SEO, marketing, product ideas and revenue. Additionally, Lazazzera gets into subjects like drop-shipping, manufacturing, wholesaling and working with manufacturers.

Perusing this blog is like being a fly on the wall as a time-tested expert goes through the ins and outs of learning to build your own better lemonade stand.

Bootstrapping Ecommerce

Odds are, if you’ve run searches for any specific information regarding startups, Shabbir Nooruddin has appeared on your screen more than a few times. His Bootstrapping Ecommerce blog is loaded with practical information covering every aspect of launching an ecommerce site. Nooruddin’s strength as a blogger lies in the way he provides practical ideas upon which you can immediately act.

Groove

For your marketing-oriented needs, Groove is the blog if you want to take advantage of solid expert advice including live chats with CEOs. Even more impressive, Groove manages to deliver this information in an entertaining manner, so you actually enjoy reading the site’s content as you learn from it.

You’ll find useful expert advice in the form of well-written how-to pieces. Advice ranges from the best marketing metrics to targeting strategies to SEO insights.

KISSmetrics

Neil Patel and Hiten Shah, veterans of campaigns for large companies like TechCrunch, target the KISSmetrics blog to ecommerce entrepreneurs seeking information regarding marketing, testing and analytics. You’ll find articles on improving your conversion rate, tracking offline marketing campaigns and how to measure your true brand equity.

Practical Ecommerce

Considered by some the standard for ecommerce, the Practical Ecommerce blog delivers content for every stage of the ecommerce funnel. Whether you’re looking for information on marketing, conversion, shopping carts, design or social media, Practical Ecommerce has solidly earned its place on this list of eight blogs to follow to stay in the know on the subject.

Questions for Discussion: Who do you rely on for ecommerce advice? What is the biggest business issue you are currently dealing with?

Dress for Success: Style Tips for Professional Real Estate Agents

The real estate industry is built on strong first impressions and appearances and for good reasons. With the average home in America priced at $188,900, there are almost 200,000 reasons for people to be picky when it comes to hiring real estate agents.

So how should real estate agents come across to potential clients? What is the first impression a potential client has of you? What do you look like? Are you simply wearing a T-shirt and jeans? Hopefully not.

For real estate agents just entering the industry, it’s tough to figure out how formal you need to be. Does your wardrobe need a complete overhaul? So here are some tips for dressing for success in the fast-paced world of real estate.

Tips for Real Estate Agents

Curb Appeal

This is a concept that agents will try and drill into the heads of their clients when they take a listing. First impressions are vital. This sentiment translates directly from looking at homes to being an agent.

Male agents will want to sport a crisp haircut and freshly pressed shirt and pants. Women will want to have skirt or pantsuit, conservative dress with a jacket and close-toed pumps. This is the prototypical professional image that most people expect from a real estate agent.

Pro-Tip: One what to bolster your curb appeal is to use the latest tech trends. Using real estate lead generation software on a tablet or other device will help you look like you’re “in the now.”

Context is Key

You don’t always need to be in your Sunday best to make a good sale. Sometimes, the regional context in which you live will overpower the need to be professional. For example, if you’re showing off condos at a ski-resort or bungalows in a beach town, business casual is more common. If you are trying to sell vacation homes, you want to appear relaxed, yet professional.

Also, if you live in a rural area selling ranch properties, you’re not going to want to be walking around cattle grazing areas dodging cow-pies in your Manolos. In this context, wearing jeans and boots is just fine and even preferable.

Don’t Stop at the Clothes

You can be decked out in all Armani. However, if you show up in a beater car, you probably will lose some of the curb appeal you need to form a good first impression. There are a couple schools of thought with regards to what kind of car a real estate agent should have:

  • A fancy car will give the impression of wealth and success.
  • The only thing tat matters is that whatever you drive is clean and reliable.

The first school of thought assumes that buyers and sellers will only want to hire some uber-successful real estate personalities. The second assumes that what you drive ultimately doesn’t matter. Which is the right one?

When comparing these two philosophies, it’s important to once again consider context. If you are selling a home in Beverly Hills, you’ll want something a little more flashy that shows off your successes. If you’re selling something in the suburbs, you will most likely be fine with something reasonable and affordable.

The truth is that you need to be self-aware of your circumstances. Know the region and portion of the market you are trying to enter. With a little bit of awareness, you’ll be well on the path to dressing your way to success.

Questions for Discussion: What other advice would you give a real estate agent wanting to make a good impression on a potential client?  

Simple Investment Strategies Everyone Can Try

Being wise with your money is easier said than done. Even if you are someone that excels at saving, it only takes one sudden emergency to drain out your account and force you to begin from scratch. While it can be disheartening to think about your financial future, it is also important to consider investment strategies that can make you money.

Investing can seem like an overwhelming practice if you are not familiar with the intricacies of the industry. There are easy steps that you can begin with. Take a moment to look over some of these points on how you are able to invest in simple ways.

With enough research, and a bit of courage, you will be ready to get out there and start making your bank account look the way that you had always hoped it would.

Investment Strategies to Help You Win

Where to Start?

Often, most people are slow to enter the world of investments because it can come across as an area where you need a lot of money to see success. While it is always more helpful to invest with a large sum of cash, you can begin with any amount.

An easy way to start is opening an account tied to your checking account. You can usually set up an automatic transfer to your account on a regular schedule. Although this seems easy, not dipping into savings takes a decent amount of discipline.

If the temptation is too high, another option is to open an account at a different bank or credit union. It is a good idea to start your transfer amounts at a reasonable point and slowly increase how much money you are transferring over the course of time. This will help you to grow your investment fund in a healthy way.

Consider Your Retirement

One of the biggest investment strategies you will make is how to save for your future.

Retirement might seem like it is in the distant future, but it will come much quicker than you anticipate. If you are not currently saving for your retirement, then you absolutely must start looking into the option now. When the company you work for offers retirement options and a 401(k), you need to be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

If your employer offers matching contributions, be sure to contribute at least the amount offered. This matching contribution calculator can help you figure where to begin. You’ll be surprised at how significant the difference is when taking advantage of the contribution.

And it’s easy to set up automatic transfers into your retirement account through your employer—it’s deducted directly from your paycheck. When you do not have to actively worry about transferring funds, it becomes much easier to make a difference in your investments.

Educate Yourself

No one is able to make every financial decision alone. There are going to come moments on your investment path where you need the expertise of professionals.

The internet is a treasure trove of information from online courses at KhanAcademy to Fisher Investments review of finance books of finance books to real-time market information from MarketWatch. You can also search for relevant information shared by financial experts in order to get an idea of what you should do next.

If your circumstances warrant, you can even look for a qualified financial advisor.

There are many considerations for you to explore when saving for your future. Making smart investments is all about commitment. If you are commit to transferring your funds on a regular basis into a retirement account or investment account, then you will be putting yourself ahead of the curve.

Do your research and discover other useful ways for you to invest your money and you will be well on your way to financial security for your future.

Questions: What are your best investment strategies for someone looking to invest? What investing mistakes have you made and what did you learn from them?