Soon after you decide to add E-commerce to your small business, you may find yourself suffering from a touch of sensory overload. There are a lot of E-commerce engines, shopping cart systems and hosted storefronts vying for your attention. How do you sort through all of that to find the solution that best suits your business?

Finding the best solution is largely a matter of asking the right questions. Today I’m going to arm you with a few good questions – along with some related ‘thinking points’ – that should help you sort through all of the information and make the best possible decision. Here are five key considerations: […]

Just to prove that no aspect of online technology can sit still for any longer than a 7-year-old, last week Google launched an updated version of what it previously called its “Rich Snippet Test Tool”. As part of the deal, it’s gotten a new name — the Structured Data Testing Tool . The page is a great deal more sparse than the previous version because all of the help content has been moved to a separate page.

The testing tool continues to support markup for rich snippet search results, but now pulls out authorship markup elements as well. Note that authorship markup is a separate element from a web article’s provenance, or creative history. Establishing and maintaining a web pages’ provenance is still a hot topic amongst semantics experts, hopefully to be resolved at some point in the future. […]

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written several posts about structured data markup and the increasing importance of building machine-readable context and descriptions into content that’s created for the web. Structured data is already used by the major search engines to provide enhanced search result listings, and it’s also used by mobile search providers to produce more accurate local search results.

The trouble is that the world of structured data isn’t all nice, neat and orderly. There’s no single standard “how to” on using structured data markup. The W3C — the organization that develops and manages most of the web’s open standards — recommends two different structured data specifications. The Resource Description Framework in Attributes (RDFa) was developed over a period of years by a W3C working group. The Microdata specification was promoted primarily by the major search players (Google, Yahoo and Bing), and then taken on by another W3C working group in a sort of shotgun wedding. […]

Spend some time surveying a variety of E-commerce sites (without spending money on them, that is…), and chances are you’ll come across some sites that offer name-brand gadgetry at incredibly good prices. Sites like these often sell items such as air-conditioning components, portable power equipment or computer hardware.

With a little bit of research you’ll discover that a number of those E-commerce sites sell in great volume and are quite profitable. For some private entrepreneurs, it’s tempting to try to jump into one of those niche markets with a deep-discount E-commerce site of their own. […]

Just like a bricks-and-mortar store needs somebody behind the counter, an E-commerce web site requires somebody behind the scenes to make things run smoothly.

Your E-commerce site is never going to be a fire-and-forget operation. Somebody has to process the orders. Somebody has to insure payment has been made. Somebody has to manage inventory and pricing. Somebody has to handle fulfillment and shipping. […]

Greenlawn RV Sales, of Columbus, Ohio, has launched a new website using NetSource’s exclusive dealer website content management system, EZ-Site. The new website allows site visitors to browse the company’s inventory of new and used RVs, and also presents information about the company’s parts and service department.

Greenlawn RV Sales specializes in travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers and truck campers. They offer a wide range of Starcraft, K-Z and Skyline recreational vehicles. The browser-based EZ-Site system lets the dealership staff easily update and maintain the website without the need for any special software. […]

For the average small business website, which type of search results are the most important? Maybe a better way to phrase that is: Where are your customers? If you run a restaurant in Ocala, are you going to get more customers from Summerfield, or from Hahira, GA?

Local businesses have local customers. It stands to reason that a local business website needs to have its strongest presence in local searches. So how do you give your business website greater search appeal for local users?

Mobile search is bringing about rapid change in local online marketing. The exact number varies depending on the source, but it’s a safe bet that at least 800 million location-relevant searches are conducted from mobile devices each month — and the number of mobile searches is growing every month as more people begin to use mobile digital devices. […]

In last week’s blog post, I wrote about structured data markup. That brings up the question of why you might want to consider adding some elements of this markup vocabulary to your website’s code.

I’ve read a few articles in prominent, non-technical publications that promote the use of structured data markup — using the Microdata format sponsored primarily by Google, Bing and Yahoo — as a method of improving SEO. Unfortunately, that’s not quite accurate. In fact, the major search engines have made it abundantly clear that using an extended markup like Microdata (or any of the other vocabularies) has no impact on a page’s search ranking. […]