Website How To's

3 eCommerce Investments You Have to Make

Getting a business started, online or offline, can be expensive. There are so many tools, gadgets, gizmos and “scams” out there that can drain your pockets of cash. It’s important to be aware of what’s mandatory and what’s optional if you really plan to be successful with an online business.

Here is a small list of things that will be needed. I’ve also given some suggestions of things I use.


  • Business Name and Tax ID Number – see www.(yourstate).gov or go to a local business accountant or lawyer that can help you set things up correctly the first time. It may cost you some money up front but will save you money in the long run.
  • Builder and Hosting System – I recommend Magellan Commerce for many of my clients because of it’s user friendliness and search engine compatibility. Here are some of the reasons why:
    1) Custom Meta Tags for all Pages
    2) Friendly URLs
    3) Awesome Design Options
    4) Purchase Orders, Coupons, and more
    5) Great technical support

    There are others options too. I use business hosting from for some of my sites and then WordPress, Joomla, or OS Commerce for my builder options.  The thing clients have to be aware of is that if they use Bluehost, the learning curve will be bigger than with a Builder like Magellan Commerce.

  • Domain Name – Also known as a URL, website address, or website name, this is crucial (in most cases) if you plan to run a business online. I use to purchase domain names but there are others as well. Just make sure you don’t buy too much from these companies.

If you have found other eCommerce Investments that have been mandatory to your online success, please add them in the comments section.

Have questions about this? Share them as well.

I will list other “investments” that can be helpful in an upcoming post.

Customer Engagement & Retention

Creative eBay Listings can really Pay Off!

I can’t believe it. My colleague and I have been talking a lot about creative ways to market products on eBay. Eveyone has heard of eBay, bought something, sold something, or maybe even been “scammed”. My colleague has been a Gold Power Seller on eBay for some time and recently sent me this ebay completed listing. He recommended that I have all clients do a listing like this every once in a while. Check this out:

I’m selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn’t notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.

You haven’t lived until you’ve gone grocery shopping with six kids in tow. I would rather swim, covered in bait, through the English Channel, be a contestant on Fear Factor when they’re having pig brains for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my six kids to the grocery store. Because I absolutely detest grocery shopping, I tend to put it off as long as possible. There comes a time, however, when you’re peering into your fridge and thinking, ‘Hmmm, what can I make with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,’ that you decide you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids together and give them “The Lecture“.

“The Lecture“ goes like this…

MOM: “We have to go to the grocery store.”

KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“

MOM: “Hey, I don’t want to go either, but it’s either that or we’re eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for dinner tonight.”

KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“

MOM: “Now here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play baseball with oranges in the produce section, and most importantly, do not try to leave your brother at the store. Again.”

OK, the kids have been briefed. Time to go.

Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. I wear the baby in a sling and the two little children sit in the carts while I push one cart and my oldest son pushes the other one. My oldest daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip. This is not a good thing. You try running after a toddler with no feet sometime.

At this point, a woman looks at our two carts and asks me, “Are they all yours?” I answer good naturedly, “Yep!

“Oh my, you have your hands full.”

“Yes, I do, but it‘s fun!” I say smiling. I’ve heard all this before. In fact, I hear it every time I go anywhere with my brood.

We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, “Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!”

I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, “Didn’t I tell you, before we left, that I didn’t want you taking stuff from the bottom of the pile???”

“No. You said that you didn’t want us to take a can from the bottom of the pile. You didn’t say anything about apples.”

With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send my child to the moon and instead focus on the positive – my child actually listened to me and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more specific the next time I give the kids The Grocery Store Lecture.

A little old man looks at all of us and says, “Are all of those your kids?”

Thinking about the apple incident, I reply, “Nope. They just started following me. I’ve never seen them before in my life.”

OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, I’m tempted to fill my cart with cookies and call it a day. Being on a perpetual diet, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes, breads, and pastries that have my children drooling. At this point the chorus of “Can we gets” begins.

“Can we get donuts?”


“Can we get cupcakes?”


“Can we get muffins?”


“Can we get pie?”


You’d think they’d catch on by this point, but no, they’re just getting started.

In the bakery, they’re giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, my kids all take one. The toddler decides he doesn’t like it and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (That’s what moms do. We put our hands in front of our children’s mouths so they can spit stuff into them. We’d rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. I’m not sure why this is, but ask any mom and she’ll tell you the same.) Of course, there’s no garbage can around, so I continue shopping one-handed while searching for someplace to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my hand.

In the meat department, a mother with one small baby asks me, “Wow! Are all six yours?”

I answer her, “Yes, but I’m thinking of selling a couple of them.”

(Still searching for a garbage can at this point.)

Ok, after the meat department, my kids’ attention spans are spent. They’re done shopping at this point, but we aren’t even halfway through the store. This is about the time they like to start having shopping cart races. And who may I thank for teaching them this fun pastime? My seventh “child”, also known as my husband. While I’m picking out loaves of bread, the kids are running down the aisle behind the carts in an effort to get us kicked out of the store. I put to stop to that just as my son is about to crash head on into a giant cardboard cut-out of a Keebler elf stacked with packages of cookies.

Ah! Yes! I find a small trash can by the coffee machine in the cereal aisle and finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. After standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick out a box. At any given time, we have twenty open boxes of cereal in my house.

As this is going on, my toddler is playing Houdini and maneuvering his little body out of the seat belt in an attempt to stand up in the cart. I’m amazed the kid made it to his second birthday without suffering a brain damaging head injury. In between trying to flip himself out of the cart, he sucks on the metal bars of the shopping cart. Mmmm, can you say “influenza”?

The shopping trip continues much like this. I break up fights between the kids now and then and stoop down to pick up items that the toddler has flung out of the cart. I desperately try to get everything on my list without adding too many other goodies to the carts.

Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head for the check-outs where my kids start in on a chorus of, “Can we have candy?” What evil minded person decided it would be a good idea to put a display of candy in the check-out lanes, right at a child’s eye level? Obviously someone who has never been shopping with children.

As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have sneaked in the carts unbeknownst to me. I remove a box of Twinkies, a package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we don’t even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however and ended up purchasing them unbeknownst to me. As I pay for my purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, “Are they all yours?”

Frustrated, exhausted from my trip, sick to my stomach from writing out a check for $289.53, dreading unloading all the groceries and putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, “No. They’re not mine. I just go around the neighborhood gathering up kids to take to the grocery store because it’s so much more fun that way.”

So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way home from the store) package of Pokemon cards. There are 44 cards total. They’re in perfect condition, as I took them away from the kiddos as soon as we got home from the store. Many of them say “Energy”. I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn’t work. I definitely didn’t have any more energy than usual. One of them is shiny. There are a few creature-like things on many of them. One is called Pupitar. Hee hee hee Pupitar! (Oh no! My kids’ sense of humor is rubbing off on me!) Anyway, I don’t there’s anything special about any of these cards, but I’m very much not an authority on Pokemon cards. I just know that I’m not letting my kids keep these as a reward for their sneakiness.

Shipping is FREE on this item. Insurance is optional, but once I drop the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility. For example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope, or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the package, that’s my responsibility and I will fully refund your money. If, however, I take the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine shreds it, it’s out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance. I will leave feedback for you as soon as I’ve received your payment. I will be happy to combine shipping on multiple items won within three days. This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free, child-filled home. Please ask me any questions before placing your bid. Happy bidding! 🙂

If you’re still reading now, you are definitely on you way to success. Commitment and dedication to read such a long description of a product will pay off for you. What can we learn from this:

  • Sometimes a fun story about how you got a simple product can really help it sell. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant, in perfect condition, or even very valuable to you. However, you may find, as this seller did, that a good story about a product can really pay off.
  • Include a “Make sure you check this out and forward it to all your friends” type invitation. This is called “viral marketing” and was probably the only way this eBay seller made over $150 on Pokemon Cards. They had tons and tons of views of the listing and many bids, most likely out of courtesy.

Best of luck in your selling on eBay. Let us all know how this crazy idea worked for you.

Customer Engagement & Retention

Andy Beal Interview – Getting Started with a Business Blog

I found this cool interview produced by Ralph Wilson of He did an interview with Andy Beal, owner of one of my favorite marketing blogs on the net. In the interview they talk about the importance of building a blog for your business. Watch the video, take notes, and then make a comment about how you plan to implement what you’ve learned:

Here are some of the bits of information I wanted to highlight:

1. What are you looking to achieve with your blog?

  • Build a reputation as a thought-leader in your industry: “How would this help a site that’s trying to sell products?” I can hear many clients asking. “Isn’t this just for blogs that are sharing information, knowledge, or services?” is another question that might be asked. Here’s how it would tie in to an eCommerce Blog: I talk to clients all the time about building credibility in their industry, no matter what they’re selling. If I’m selling dance bags, I better share useful information on what to look for, product comparisons, product reviews, and the like. Not only will this help me build that credibility with potential buyers, but it will also allow me to give reviews and comparisons on my own products with links to the check out pages on my site.
  • Sell more products. Most of my readers are selling tangible products through drop-shippers, and I’m sure some of them think “Why blogging?” As Andy states, a blog promoting your own products or company needs to focus on what you do specifically to differentiate yourself. You can talk about your products, services, success stories, or whatever you feel will be useful to help you get and maintain more clientele. A blog may even be a place where you can generate sales, do special promotions, or make money with affiliate products.

2. Decide on a blogging platform.

  • – I use this one still for my clogging shoes blog. It’s fine to use when you are just getting started blogging. One of the things I like about it is that you can put affiliate links on the side navigation and within the content. As far as I know there are no rules against this.
  • – This is what I use for Moller Marketing. As Andy mentions, there is great functionality and search engine friendliness with wordpress. The plugins are especially useful. I don’t use these as much as I probably could; I know, however, that you name it, there’s probably a cool wordpress plugin for it. Basically a plugin gives your blog more functionality. For example, say you want to allow readers to rank the blog post based on a starring system – there’s a plugin for that. Or maybe you want to have more control of meta tags for individual blog posts, there are a few plugins for that one.One other thing Andy mentions is having a blog hosted for you at (free) versus hosting your own blog at a hosting company like you are just getting started, I recommend the free option to get you going. Once you get a feel for how blogging works and you have a strategy on how often you plan to blog (at least once per week), I would look seriously at getting the paid version. This includes paying for hosting and also buying a new domain name for your blog.

3. Determine what you’re going to say, how often you’re going to say it, what your style will be, and who will contribute to the blog. Blogging consistently is crucial to your success. Andy states that at least three times per week is a good start. I often teach clients that at least once a week is a good way to get things going. The key again is CONSISTENCY!! As Andy says, studies show that if you start a blog and then never keep it up, it can potentially hurt you more than help.

I also really like what was stated about going to other blogs that are very popular and making comments. This is one way to break the ice and get your name out there to your target audience. Beware of spam comments, however – a comment that says something like “Great post – thanks!” and a link to your site. Blog owners will probably not even give you credit for the comment and it gives you little chance of getting traffic to follow your link to your site.

I really enjoyed this interview and hope you all can use it for your website progression.

Website How To's

Reviews on the Book “The Secret”

My wife and I have been talking a lot lately about positive mindset, self motivation and belief, both of which I feel are so important to success in any endeavor. She, being an avid reader, suggested I look in to the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. I’ve heard mixed reviews about it and wanted to get some feedback from visitors like you. What do you think about the book? Have you read it?

The main review I heard was semi-negative – if you don’t “heal yourself” from all issues you have, you probably just don’t believe hard enough that it will happen. As many of you know, I’m a firm believer in positive power. However, I know that some things are out of our control. Health is one of those things (for the most part), and there are other things we just can’t control: the weather, our neighbors, other people’s attitudes, etc. I think the biggest thing we can control is how we react to things that are out of our control.

So, let me know if you’ve read the book “The Secret”. If you have, did you like it? Is it a good read? Thanks in advance.

Here are a few reviews I found at

Oh my gosh, this was the best book ever! For so long now, I have been waiting for it to be my turn. After reading this book I didn’t realize that it was always my turn! I just had to want it and rid my head of doubt. Now all of a sudden everything is falling into place. The world would be a better place if this was required reading!

I finished reading this book in no time, I couldn’t put it down, now I am re-reading it. It is so wonderful. I have recommended it to so many people, and they can’t thank me enough for it. The book is so true, it has changed the way I think, and how I look at things. Just believe!

If you need to read anything at all about thinking positively, pick up a Dale Carnegie book. This book is hooey. Cure cancer in 3 months just by thinking?? I’d give that a one in a million chance! Between this daffy author and her crony, Joe Vitale, they are metaphysically transporting themselves to the bank, depositing money that YOU should have contributed to charity…believe me, you would feel better doing that.

The Secret unclogged my sink, aligned the steering in my Tercel and made me a dynamo in the sack, all because I imagined those things to happen! Wait, did I just give away the Secret?

More to come…

Customer Engagement & Retention

Consistency and Quality Blogging Pays Off

I’ve been blogging now professionally for over a year. I would say one of my keys to success as a blogger has been reading the quality content of others in my industry and then adding to what they say, disagreeing with what they say, and sharing my specific personal experiences in the SEO, SMO and the on-line business industry.

I talk to clients all the time about the importance of consistency in blogging. Not only is this important to readers who expect new information, but it’s also important to search engines: if search engine robots come back to your site to re-cache and they don’t see new content, they may not come back as often.

In my experience, the more frequently you get cached, the better chance you have of moving up the charts for the specific keyword phrases you are trying to optimize with. More consistency also helps build credibility and trust with other readers.

To prove my point, recently I received a message from a great on-line marketer, Lee Odden. This is what it said:

was going to biglist [] but no posts since Nov 6th. no can do

Getting a link on a site with as much credibility and readers as would be such an honor to me, but, because of laziness, over scheduling things, or whatever other lame excuse, I hadn’t blogged consistently for far too long. What to do? Well, I got back to setting some specific goals and doing things I had control of. I started posting again.

Just the other day, I received this notice:

Special thanks to Lee Odden from Online Marketing Blog for addition to his list of Best SEM Blogs on the Net and for his reminder that blogging consistently is really important if you want to build on-line credibility.

Website How To's

Starting an Online Business in 7 Specific Steps

About three years ago I started my first online business. I was nervous about the unknown and didn’t really know what were the right steps to take. Luckily I had a mentor who gave me great advice and taught me a lot about search engine optimization. I now work with small business start ups and find that most of my clients have the same questions I did.

To make it as easy as possible, help avoid confusion, and give everyone the opportunity to see the quickest results with their new businesses, I’ve put together another list of specific step by step to-do’s. I’m sure, if you put all my “lists” together, you’ll see that starting a business is not just something that people do with the snap of a finger and “voila”, the money comes flowing in. It takes time, persistence, creativity and hard work, but it’s really worth it.

This list is very step by step and is primarily for those looking to set up a business based on dropshipping.

  1. Get your business entity set up with your state or country. Without the business entity, dropshippers won’t even consider working with you. The best way to do this is go to your state’s website. There you will find the paper work that needs to be filled out. You can also get the help of an accountant or legal advisor (there will be costs involved).
  2. Start applying for suppliers. This is one of the biggest hurdles I came across as I got started. If you don’t have products, how do you plan to make money? Think about industries you’d be excited to be a part of.
  3. Do keyword research: There are two things to look for with keyword research: demand and competition. I use a free keyword research tool at to help me find demand. Without demand for your product or idea, nothing else really matters. Find words and phrases that relate to the industry you are involved in and that people would be using to find what you are selling. There are a lot of ways to look at competition. The one I use to keep it most simple is When I get to google, I type in allintitle:”keyword phrase” in the search bar. This tells me how many websites out there actually have the specific keyword phrase in the title of their page. I call this my real competition even though I know there are other searches you can do too (allinanchor, allintext, allinurl). These are helpful, but I prefer to keep it as simple as possible. Make sure you record your research in a spreadsheet and keep it for later as you start to market more aggressively. If you want more information on this, contact me at (info at mollermarketing dot com.)
  4. Research and Purchase a domain name for your website. When picking a domain name I follow these rules:
    – easy to spell
    – easy to remember
    – three words or less
    – avoid numbers (words and numeric symbols)
    – avoid words like “to, too, two”, “four, for”, and “you, u” because they are easy to get mixed up
    – use of a keyword phrase can be helpful but not mandatory (you don’t want to limit what you can sell by using such a specific phrase that you can only sell that product)
  5. Look at website builder and hosting options. There are quite a few options out there. Before you buy one that says it’s so great, make sure it will do the following things: custom meta tags for all pages, no iframes, static pages that allow you to create friendly URLs (ie. vs. – the first is what we want for SEO). A few builders and hosts I suggest are and There are other options too – just be careful. Remember, not all builders do what search engines look for.
  6. Prioritize – Start getting content on the pages of your website: information, pictures, products, fun facts, testimonials and feedback, your opinions, what your business is all about, product comparisons, etc. The worst thing you could do is wait to put content on the site. It’s better to have something there that people can read or look at or sign up for than have a site that says “This site is under construction.” All sites are “under construction”, even if they look completely done.
  7. Get the shopping cart set up on your website. Many builders and hosts have this already set up. If they don’t, I usually don’t waste time trying to figure out the programming on my own. You can find programmers at,, and Once it’s set up, I recommend going through the check out process as if you were a shopper. This way, when clients call you with questions or want to place an order over the phone, you know what they are referring to.

I will add to this list in the future. However, if you don’t get these things done, knowing more may not really help you. Skipping over the basic steps wastes a lot of time later on when you don’t even know what keyword research is or what phrase you want to focus on.

Share this article with your friends who want to start an online business by adding this code to your website:

<a href=””>Starting an Online Business</a>

Website How To's

Which SMO tools are the best for SEO and Sales Conversion?

My Stumbleupon friend Kate proposed an interesting question the other day: “How can Social Media sites be improved?”

As an eCommerce Consultant, one of my main focuses is sales conversion. The question I get all the time is “Which SMO tools are the best for SEO and Sales Conversion?” The first answer is this – “Are any of them really for SEO and Sales Conversion?” I would definitely say SMO and SEO go together, but I personally haven’t seen a drastic increase in Sales Convesion because of SMO tools, at least nothing I can track directly back to a SMO reference point.

One issue I do have is the ammount of SMO tools out there to keep track of. I’ve lost count of how many there actually are these days but, as I teach people how to use them in their online marketing strategy, clients ask – Which ones are the best to use?

Stumbleupon has proven to get me the most traffic but does that traffic ever convert? NO! (not that I’ve seen anyway) Digg brings in traffic but there are definitely “insider tips” on getting on the popular pages or even upcoming status. I did get some traffic from for one article a while back, but rarely see much from traffic; however, I still use it – the main reason being links. I’m reading more and more recently about the downfall of Facebook – which I have generated some business from via networking.

The problem is, the SMO list goes on and on:,,,,,, etc, etc, etc. Whatever happen to the “keep it simple stupid” acronym? The bottom line is SMO is great for link building, which in turn helps you get recognized more by search engines, which then helps you move up the SERPs. The networking can be a great in too as you use these tools consistently.

What are your thoughts about the oversaturation of SMO tools?

Here are some of the things I do like about the SMO tools:

Facebook for Networking
Why Use StumbleUpon
The Power of SMO

Website How To's

3 Simple Steps to Starting an Online Business

I read an article about affiliate marketing by Newspapergrl. Janet interviewed Teresa Tao, a 2007 Commission Junction Horizon Award winner and affiliate marketer of They talked about 3 simple steps to start up an on-line business. My question is, “Is starting an online business as easy as 1, 2, 3?” If you are in the process of starting your first online business, these 3 basic steps will help you lay a solid foundation. You will need that solid foundation if you plan to survive when “the rains [come] down and the floods [come] up.” (too many nursery rhymes with our little ones)

1. Focus on one market or marketing strategy then build upon it. This is so important. If you haven’t read the article about industry focus before, here’s the most important part:

Focus on the smallest possible problem you can solve that will potentially be useful. One of the biggest problems many new companies make is trying to do too many things at once. This makes life really difficult and can impede our progress. Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages: with much less work you can be the best at what you do. Small things almost always turn out to be much bigger when you zoom in.

My recommendation here is to focus on an industry you are interested in, something you will enjoy working on day to day, week to week, FOREVER!

Create a list of hobbies, interests, things you have some knowledge about or at least would love to do research on and become knowledgeable about. Keep options open but don’t go so far out there that you get lost in all your ideas. One of my favorite quotes is “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” Ask yourself this question as you create your focus list.

2. Educate yourself constantly. As many of you know, I was mentored by one of the best in the SEO business. He laid the entire opportunity out there for me, taught me more than I could really handle, and then said “Good luck – go to work” (or something like that). I feel it’s what I did with Mat’s knowledge during but mostly after my initial mentoring that has helped me see the results I’ve seen to date. From using all the resources available to me at Prosper, to reading blog after blog about on-line marketing and SEO, to finally just taking a step in the dark and doing what I was taught, the education has been ongoing.

What you’ll find with an internet business is that the job is never “finished”. There will always be something new and exciting out there, a new strategy, more competitors, changes in what Google looks for, etc. If you expect running a business to be a walk in the park, you can probably expect to be one of the statistics of a business that throws in the towel after not seeing the immediate results they’d hoped for. As Mark Twain said, “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.” (Any of you ever heard that before 🙂 )

3. Persevere with a positive attitude. My wife and I’s first date was to the movie “Remember the Titans”. One of the lines that still sticks out from that movie is “Attitude reflect leadership – Captain!” Self motivation, confidence and mindset are all components of a positive attitude.

It’s sad to say, but after having worked with so many clients from all over the world with different backgrounds, experience levels, and internet knowledge, I can almost tell after the first or second meeting if they are really going to achieve a lot with their business. Knowledge and internet understanding have nothing to do with it – it’s ATTITUDE! “If you think you can or you think you can’t – you are RIGHT!” What an over-stated cliche but it’s true! My favorite thing is when a client who may be somewhere in between positive and pessimistic decides to make a decision to not look back and just go for it. Abraham Lincoln stated: “That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.” Why not YOU?

So, how are you going to implement these basic steps to on-line success? It’s all about the basics really…