Archive for August, 2007

Where’s the Google Shopping Cart?

Friday, August 31st, 2007

I’ve been looking for an inexpensive online shopping cart for clients who want to sell ebooks and accept payment for workshops and seminars via their websites. Sure, you can install a shopping cart on a website but that costs hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and just isn’t a practical solution for most small businesses. Additionally, you have to have a merchant account which is complicated and time consuming to set up. So what options do you have if you’re just testing the waters of selling informational products online?

Paypal looked promising at first because you don’t need to have a merchant account to use it. However, it’s got a major drawback. You can’t customize the message the purchaser receives once they’ve completed their order which means you can’t automatically deliver the ebook. You have to do it manually order-by-order. Web based shopping carts such as enable you to automatically deliver ebooks but it starts at $50 a month and you have to have a merchant account to use it.

I mentioned my dilemma to Franz Mura, the owner of Concrete CMS, and he suggested I check out the Google shopping cart. My first reaction was “What?! Google has a shopping cart?”

I’d heard about Google Checkout but I hadn’t heard that Google had a shopping cart. Google Checkout is geared toward shoppers. It enables them to store their purchasing info and have one-click check out capabilities.

Alas, it was too good to be true. Google shopping cart doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon. There was a flurry of blog posts about Google trying to take a bite out of Paypal’s business in June of 2006 but there hasn’t been any news since.

See these blogs posts for the full story:

I sure hope Google launches Gbuy because Paypal doesn’t get what an opportunity they’re missing in going after the information products line of business.

Got a suggestion? I’m all ears! If I wind up using it, I’ll donate $50 to your favorite charity.

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Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Need a reminder why the direct approach is less likely to make you look like a jerk? Check out for inspiration.

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“Which newsletter format should I use” – I OWN this search phrase!

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

A couple of years ago I wrote an article “Text, HTML or PDF: Which Newsletter Format Should I Use?” I posted it to my website and I distributed it through As far as I know, I haven’t gotten any clients from it but just for laughs and giggles, I did a search on Google for “which newsletter format should I use” (with quotes) to see how well it ranked. There were 36 results. All of which were my article!

How is this possible? When I sent it out via, I gave subscribers to about 60 article database websites permission to reprint my article. On the plus side, they have to include my copyright info. On the down side, they don’t have to include a link back to my website. Fortunately, my website is first in the results.

Lessons learned:
– I don’t know how many people actually use this as a search phrase, but if they do, they’re going to find me.
– It’s more important to use a functional article titles than it is to use a “sexy” article title if your goal is to rank well.

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At Least My Boss Ain’t so Bad!

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Every now and then I get frustrated with the challenges of being self employed. I miss knowing I’ll get a pay check on the 1st and 15th and I miss being able to go to the doctor and not have to worry whether or not I can afford it. But then I read some of the stories in the My Bad Boss Contest sponsored by the AFLCIO labor union and remembered why I love working for myself.

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How to Use Webrings for eMarketing

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

What is a webring?
A webring is a group of websites and/or blogs linked together by topic or interest. In each webring, member websites band together into linked circles.

So far they’re used primarily for hobbies and special interests but as is the case with social networking, they will quickly catch on in the business community. Personally, I’m thrilled because they fit right in line with my business philosophy of “Let’s be successful as a team.”

Webrings Can Drive Traffic to Your Website and Improve Rankings
When a visitor lands on another website in the webring, there will be a link to either the next website in the ring or a link to the list of websites in the ring. Visitors are more likely to explore the other websites in a webring than explore a typical list of links because they know that the other websites are going to be on the topic they’re interested in.

My guess is that a link to your website from the webring would be considered a high quality link by the search engines and would help your website’s rankings.

How to Use Webrings to Your Advantage
To use webrings effectively, you have to have valuable information on your website such as articles and other resources. When submitting your website to a webring, I suggest that you don’t submit your home page but instead submit a link to your newsletter archive, your blog or a resources page. Remember, webrings are about information first and promoting your business second. Keep in mind that providing helpful information is the best kind of promotion on the web.

How to Find Webrings
There are a couple of ways to access a webring Some are displayed in list format while with others when you land on a page that is part of a webring there is a link to the next website in the ring. I started by using the search phrase “webrings” in Google and came up with tons of results.

Visit for a list of webring directories and systems.

Let me know if you start a webring. I’ll be glad to promote it here on my blog.

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