Design Matters

Being what I consider an industry veteran (I’ve been building and marketing websites since 1998), there’s always been one constant that separates the successful sites from those that fail: good design. It’s not the only rule to abide by, but it has very few exceptions. With the plethora of content management systems and website templates out there, it still baffles me that site owners don’t take advantage of these resources and still expect their sub-par design to have a chance against competition. I don’t claim to be the expert on this topic, but I certainly can spot a website where the owner has taken the time to consider form, function and presentation versus one that has enlisted cousin Jim, who’s a “webmaster,” to put together a company’s internet presence. Sure, saving a few bucks on a designer seems like a good idea, until you realize that the only traffic you receive is from a link in the design hall of shame (see this digg and this website). No where is this commandment of good design necessary than in e-commerce. When your site’s main purpose is to convert visitors into sales, a good design can be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and a poor one can stifle even the best marketing. Let’s look at some components of good and bad web design in the e-commerce industry:
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When Blogging Kills

Blogger TombstoneThere is no limit to just how much the internet has revolutionized our world. Not only has information become an immediately accessible commodity, but it has also changed the way people all around the world are working. Especially in the world of blogging, people are able to transform their homes into offices and effectively become their own bosses. While this sounds like every worker’s dream, for many people, home offices quickly become little else than digital sweatshops.

The internet never sleeps, and that means blog workers can’t either. Working in an entity that has no regard for time zones or exhaustion, bloggers constantly feel the pressure to report on the latest and greatest. That means even at the expense of personal health.
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Facebook Better than Porn?

Using A ComputerIn the world of internet searches and usage, there has officially been a changing of the guard. While pornography and adult sites used to reign supreme as the number one reason people flocked to the web, it seems people are now more concerned with updating their MySpace and Facebook pages.

That’s right. Social networking sites are officially more popular with the 18 to 24 year old demographic than porn. Bill Tancer, the author of Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why It Matters, also found that celebrities and politics were hot search topics.

While most people would think trading porn for politics is a step in the right direction, they might be disappointed to find that there is little searching being done for actual political policies or information. Searches are geared instead towards images—especially for vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.
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Viral Marketing

Viral MarketingOne of the fundamental components in advertising is utilizing effective word of mouth. People telling other people about your products or services is an excellent way to build a base and introduce new customers to your business. Many industries rely on word of mouth to support their business model, like real estate, where your success can sometimes depend solely on who you know. Of course the quality of your product or service has something to do with the success of this word of mouth, but not always. I’ve known some really successful people in business who were much better at socializing than the actual work. The bottom line is word of mouth advertising is an important practice to understand, especially for the business owner looking to market for minimal dollars.
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Google’s New Browser – Google Chrome

Google ChromeIt wasn’t a quiet Labor Day over at Microsoft, that’s for sure. Online sources began reporting early today that Google would be releasing a new browser, dubbed Google Chrome to directly compete with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The download will be available tomorrow in as many as 100 countries worldwide. The Google Blog officially announced the launch today at 2:10pm PST.

Chrome is an open-source browser running on WebKit, the same engine that powers Apple’s Safari and Google’s own Android mobile platform. WebKit is known for its speed, reliability and smart memory usage. Because many online applications are being run in browsers, Google is tailoring Chrome to that market specifically. Obviously, this is a direct attempt to garner some of Microsoft’s share of the browser market, of which they currently have a 74% hold, with second-place Firefox at 18% and Apple’s Safari at 6%.
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iePlexus Company Profiles

Fingers CrossedWith the adoption of Web 2.0, no longer can a company rely solely on their own marketing to establish an online profile and create company legitimacy and credibility. The read/write web has enabled anyone with an internet connection and a keyboard to become part of the conversation, and the reader is left with the daunting task of sorting through the fiction and non-fiction to arrive at an intelligent conclusion. Needless to say, this affords anyone with an opinion the opportunity to express it, regardless of whether it is beneficial to the web community in general.

The bottom line continues to be caution. Certainly there are benefits to having anyone and everyone weigh in on a subject, increasing the collective intelligence of the web and sorting the massive flux of information. But is there anything to stop misinformation and lies, besides one’s moral obligations? (more…)

iePlexus.com Premiers New Online Shopping Network buyPlexus.com

buyPlexus.com Logo

www.iePlexus.com announces launch of buyPlexus.com, a Web 2.0 online shopping network designed for users to easily connect and explore businesses, products and services.

Lynnwood, WA (PRESS RELEASE) August 18, 2008 — Social media marketing company iePlexus.com today announced the official launch of buyPlexus.com, a new Web 2.0 shopping network and online directory developed specifically to enable users to find detailed information on a variety of businesses, their products and services. The buyPlexus.com website allows both consumers and merchants the ability to post, search and discover business listings, classified advertisements, articles and coupons all in one location.
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Business Blogs Deserve Better than Blogspot.com

Warning SignsLet me preface this post by saying I’m a big fan of Google and their online applications. Even Blogger, their online blogging software has its benefits, to some extent. Also, although my company offers business blogs as a service, this post is not about my company or our services, it’s about making the right business decision when it comes to implementing a business blog. An online business deserves every opportunity to become as successful as possible, and Blogspot.com just doesn’t offer the kind of support, services and features that are necessary to get the most out of this marketing device. I’m also not stating these reasons because I have studied other people’s experiences. I myself blogged for over three years using the Blogger service starting back in 2003, before it was even popular. That’s before I found WordPress and became a 100% advocate of their open-source platform and content management system. So when you’re reading these opinions, rest assured it’s from someone familiar with the complete Blogger experience. 
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“Thank you iePlexus for all your help.”

Client TestimonialHi iePlexus,

Just wanted to let you know how excited I am, not only in the amount of traffic to my site, but also the sales this past month. I never thought I would be getting customers at this point in time. What a great beginning.

Thank you iePlexus for all your help.

Carol

Hi iePlexus, how’s it going? I just wanted to tell you that I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with you. I spoke with your references the other day and all they had to say were great things about you and how proud you both were of what you were able to accomplish together. So, I was pretty impressed to say the least. I would like you to take a look at our site again and tell me what you think, because I changed it up a bit. I need some feedback from someone who knows what they are talking about.

Thanks,

*NOTE: Please do not contact any clients without prior written authorization from iePlexus. Thank you.

Every Day Social Media

Time Magazine Cover - Social MediaTraditional media’s days as the main source of information are numbered. Giants like newspapers, television and radio are taking a back seat to the onset of social media as the most popular way we interact and discuss the subjects that are important to us. Web 2.0 and the read/write web has made it easy for everyone to share and discuss opinions, find new information and discover those with similar ideas and interests. Without adapting and evolving, old media will find themselves playing catch-up or worse, branded insignificant and out of date. Of course the progressive outlets are embracing this shift in the fundamentals and using it to their advantage. Major newspapers, radio stations and television networks now have significant online presences and encourage the interaction that is driving our daily lives. But they find themselves in competition like never before. As social media grows, more options are available to users every day, forming a whole new basis for every aspect of how we get and share information.
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