I’ve met with 3 online businesses in the last 2 weeks that have all wanted to increase their online sales. None of these businesses were start ups and all are investing significant budget in online marketing. Yet all 3 businesses lack fundamental statistics about their online performance. A massive benefit of working in the online world is that it’s possible to measure everything that your visitors do…and doing most of it is free. So make sure you don’t break the golden rule and measure everything!
In the following post I’ll highlight a couple of actions that will give you the information you need to build a better online business.
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If you’re thinking about setting up an online shop in the UK, you probably just want to know the answer to the simple “How do I do it and how much will it cost?”.
There are as many different ways to sell your products online as you can think. However, what we’re after here is a simple answer, a starter for 10, not an exhaustive list of all the options. In this post I’ll give you a ‘stake in the ground’ that you can use to make some business decisions and get started.
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If you’re integrating your website with Salesforce.com you may need to capture multiple select values. Unfortunately, Salesforce doesn’t accept an array of values (the way PHP sends multiple selects when a form is submitted) so it truncates the values it receives so only the first value gets through. I recently solved this issue when I was building a form for a client.
Salesforce needs a single
pair for each of the values in the same select. So, we need to create something that looks like
The php implode() function is very helpful here so we could just pass the array from the form to a php file and do something like
It would be sensible to urlencode the values of the form data to make sure it arrives safely. So, we need to urlencode the values after they’ve been imploded. If we simply urlencode the array, we no longer have an array and it’s pretty useless.
To send data from the website to Salesforce, I pre-processed the data and sent the request ‘manually’ so my chain of events looked something like this:
Form on website >> php data manipulation >> php creation of POST >> Salesforce.com object
If you have any tips about integrating your website with Salesforce, please drop me a line.
If you’re planning a new website or an update to an existing site, its a good idea to think through what sections are going to be included and how the website’s going to grow over time. This used to be done with PostIt notes and a pen but the sparkly free service over at WriteMaps is so much easier and you don’t loose your afternoon’s work when the wind blows through the window!
Of course in this web 2.0 world its a free service, allows you to work collaboratively with your team and the interface is simple. Perfect!
If your site is looking a bit tired and perhaps rather dull, using a few images to break it up is a great idea. Typically, stock images can cost a lot to licence for online use, however a number of websites offer good quality stock images for free.
One of the most well known and a site I have used several times is Stock Exchange. The selection is good and the quality is certainly good enough for most projects especially if you spend a bit of time editing the images for your specific application. Make sure you check the licencing terms of any image you use as sometimes the photographer will require you to tell them where its being used (usually for interest sake more than anything else).
Another great source of images is searching through Creative Commons licenced shots. Flickr’s advanced search provides options towards the bottom of the form, for searching only those images which can be licensed (via Creative Commons) for use on your website.