The Importance of Your eCommerce Site for Your Business

It is plain to see why a poorly designed website can be a major problem to online businesses, most especially during the holiday season, which covers 20% to 40% of the yearly sales.

In this regard, those who need data validation can refer to the stats that explain the importance of your brand’s presence on the Internet:

  • Before people shop at a physical store, they often check websites of online stores.
  • Customers search online for the prices and availability of goods so they would know whether to shop online or at physical stores.
  • During an economic crisis, consumers exercise caution when shopping online to stretch their budget, resulting to an increase of website traffic.
  • Shoppers that tend to purchase downloadable gifts like eBooks, music and FB credits, among others, will likely buy more.

Optimize Your Online Site Immediately

Now that you are aware of your site’s importance, what should you do before the holiday season approaches? It is never too late to try some of these strategies:

Prepare for unexpected traffic.Plan ahead of time to make sure that your site can manage all the orders. Anticipate peak loads, observe the responsiveness of your site and assess application performance way before Cyber Monday.

Increase the speed of your site. Use a CDN (content delivery network) for a speedy delivery of relevant content with videos and images to your consumers.

During the holidays, most shoppers use their mobile devices to search online before heading for the stores. Therefore, it would be wise to incorporate an in-store experience with info regarding your well-timed and relevant personalized website and mobile apps.

Find ways to let the customers easily find your products on the web. To improve exposure, submit a feed to the top online shopping comparison engine, Google Product Search. Try the Amazon Marketplace or add pay-per-click ads to Amazon Product Ads’ product and category pages. This way, shoppers will be able to view your ads when they find products that are similar to yours.

Though social media is not the main channel for searching, it has targeted the mainstream and has therefore gained importance, specifically to GenY shoppers. Transform visitors into sales channels by including social sharing in product pages. Display good customer service in public by resolving issues with customers on networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

People who are low on budget usually search online before buying, so it is a good idea to follow the example of various sites in making it fun, simple and efficient to shop on the web. Provide product filters, rich product details, comparison tools, well-designed navigation and recommendations. Enhance the images of your best-selling products, emphasize your value propositions and make sure that shipping and return policies are clear.

Fix your leaky conversion funnel immediately by adding simple and cost-efficient website usability and feedback tools.

Whenever possible, ask for the visitor’s email address and try to squeeze a lot of value out of each sign-up.

Try to employ remarketing campaigns so you can target consumers who take time to buy.

12 Week Personal Training Program – Functional Resistance Training

Moving on to the intermediate level of resistance and the exercises begin to get a little more challenging for your core, proprioception, balance and stability. This is intentional, not only does it fire up your nervous system but it also helps carry over the benefits into our daily lives.

Week 7: Resistance Intermediate (Strength & Stability)

It's time to get functional

We all have goals that we are aiming to achieve when we embark on an exercise program, for most of us it is the losing weight and looking good that is most important. However, very little thought is usually taken over exactly how our exercises will transfer over into daily life. How many times have you attended a gym or health club and been show how to use all the machines, then had a program designed by a, so called, fitness professional that has you moving from one machine to the next. In our daily life, do we sit down and perform these unusual movements? No, we stand and bend and twist as we balance our way through daily life. Our exercise programs must be based on function, not only because the movements are more natural but because they are far more successful at achieving your overall goals in the first place.

Functional exercise is by far the most productive form of exercise prescription whether it be for daily living, sports specific like golf, or for rehabilitation after injury. If you want help or advice on a functional exercise program to suit you then you can contact me directly but for a few basic rules on whether a routine is functional or not you can ask yourself the following questions:

1) Does the movement follow a natural path or is it forced? Most machines have fixed hand positions that do not mimic our natural range of movement and can be bad for our joints.

2) Is it isolated (sacrifice function) or integrated (cause chain reaction through body)? Movements should be compound (Multi-joint). They burn more calories, are more natural and require more stability. If you think about any daily activity it never involves just one muscle, muscles have no functional individuality so why train them this way?

3) Are you challenging your balance and stabilization like you do in daily life? We rarely spend time symmetrically on both feet, whether walking, running, bending, reaching etc. We are always transferring weight from one side of our body to the other.

4) Are you exercising 3-dimensional, are we moving in all 3 planes of movement, Sagittal (forward facing), frontal (to the side), transverse (twisting). We live in a 3D world, so we must train that way.

The following exercises show a good progress from week 3's basic resistance program into functional training. Most of the exercises demonstrate a good functional movement for improving daily life activities. If training for a particular goal or sport like golf or tennis then the introduction of equipment may be necessary eg. Stability balls, medicine balls, bands etc. But for basic function these exercises are a good starting point. Perform each exercise 10-20 times depending on ability and try to improve each workout. Complete this resistance program 3 times a week with a gentle 5 min walk before and afterwards, complete the stretching routine after that. Allow a days rest in between to recover.

A Cautionary Note

No exercise program should be painful, there is a difference between being tired and in pain. If you feel pain at any time then stop and consult a doctor. Pain indications either incorrect technique or a medical problem. If you have any doubts about your current state of health then consult a medical professional before embarking on any fitness program.

Summary

Weeks 1-2 (3 x week)

5 Min Walk Warm up

2 x Complete circuits 10-20 x per exercise

5 Min Walk Cool Down

Stretching routine particularly those tight muscles.

Weeks 3-4 (3 x week)

As above but 3 x complete circuits 10-20 x per exercise

Next week: Nutrition

1 Leg Balance and reach

Great exercise to fire up the nervous system, improve balance, stability, flexibility and the core.

A) Stand tall on one leg arms above and shoulder width apart

B) Reach over to the side keeping your back straight as far as your flexibility will allow, if your balance fails try again but do not reach as far over.

C) Also try reaching forward, overhead and twisting to reach behind.

D) Swap legs, if one is weaker then spend more time on that side.

1 Leg Squat and Reach

This is a natural progression from the regular squat from week 3. It's very functional as we spend time bending and picking things up off the ground. It also challenges balance, core stability and works the quads and glutes intensely.

A) Standing on one leg gently lower yourself down, breathing in deeply and chest high, ensuring you keep your heel in contact with the floor. Try to get your thigh down to horizontal before reaching forwarding to touch the floor in front. Maintain a balanced pelvis throughout.

B) Exhale and push up using your leg.

C) This exercise takes time to perfect and I like to use an object to pick up and put down again for focus.

D) Try touching down in various areas in front to improve functionality.

Isometric prone up and down

This is a functional progress from week 3's position position. It's dynamic and improvements shoulder strength as well as overall core stability.

A) Lie face down on the ground. Place elbows and forearms underneath your chest.

B) Prop yourself up to form a bridge, using your toes and forearms; Make sure your shoulders are directly over your elbows.

C) Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground.

D) Now one hand at a time push up into a press up position, hold for a few seconds and return back to the original position. Photo shows transitional stage from elbows up to hands.

E) If you find this too difficult then try it off your knees.

Multi Directional Lunge

The lunge strengthens the legs, glutes, and improves balance and flexibility and sculpts the lower body. By making the lunge multi directional it mimics our daily movements.

A) Stand with your feet together with hand by your sides.

B) Take a step forward, inhaling on the way, descend slowly by bending at the hips, knee and ankle. Keep your lead foot flat on the floor.

C) Exhale and push back using the lead leg, returning to the start position.

D) Now repeat to the side at various angles and also behind by stepping backwards.

E) Keep torso upright, as ruling forward can cause injury.

Bridge one legged

Stimulates the glutes (bum), tightens up the backs of the legs and strengths the pelvic floor.

A) Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight out inline with the other thigh, heel in contact with the ground. Rest your arms by your side, palms downwards. Take a deep breath.

B) Exhale slowly, lifting your hips off the floor, squeezing your glutes until there's a straight line between shoulders, hips and knees. Do not force hips up further as it causes the back muscles to overwork.

C) Hold at the top of the movement for a second, squeezing the glutes tight, then lower the pelvis back towards the floor, inhaling on the way, not letting your backside touch the ground, then repeat.

D) Keep the one leg extended through the exercise and change legs half way through eg. 5 one leg and change.

Quadruped one arm one leg

Great for coordination, balance and transverse (twisting) core stability.

A) Begin on all fours, in neutral spine, with abdomen drawn in and chin tucked

B) Slowly raise one arm (thumb up) and the opposite leg, toe pointed away (triple extension).

C) Keep both arm and leg straight while lifting to body height.

D) Hold and return both arm and leg slowly to the ground, maintaining optimal alignment and repeat alternating sides

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Thinking Like An Online Entrepreneur – E-Commerce Tips

So much has been written about entrepreneurial thinking that I won’t try to distil it here. However, there are certain behaviours I have noted about how some web owners approach the development and running of their e-commerce websites which deserve a little discussion.

Let me start with the most important, influencing factor to any web owner’s success: belief.

Belief

Starting your online entrepreneurial activity with the right mindset and beliefs is like winning the match before you’ve stepped out onto the court. It’s what separates the really successful businesses from the average ones.

Ask any sportsperson or sports psychologist and they’ll tell you that your beliefs profoundly affect your performance.

What we believe is possible in our online entrepreneurial life is the limiting factor in our success.

Let’s take an example. Lots of people wish they were millionaires, but of those who want to become millionaires, very few actually believe they will be millionaires. Those that do, however, stand a far greater chance of becoming what they believe. Why? Because at a conscious and subconscious level they are doing everything they can to pursue that one objective. Now I’m not suggesting that being a millionaire should be your life’s goal; I’m just using it as an example. The point is that your underlying beliefs in what you are capable of fundamentally affect the actions you take and the choices you make.

All this may seem more like some New Age incantation rather than hard-edged business-speak, but there is good reason I mention it. Owning and running an e-commerce website is not for the faint-hearted. It is complex and demanding and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Be prepared for long hours, headaches and hard work, but also be prepared for more customers, a growing bank account and a sense of achievement. Your belief that you are doing the right thing is what will see you through and keep you on course for success.

Owning an e-commerce website can be a wild ride but how you handle it is totally dictated by your mindset and your beliefs. For example, many e-commerce websites fail because their owners give up – they lose confidence, interest and commitment, especially in the early days of their website’s life. It’s easy to give up if you’re struggling or faced with outright failure. However, those who believe they will succeed don’t see failure as a setback but as a learning experience – they have the right mindset and they will do well because of it.

I’m telling you this because you know that success isn’t a set of purely mechanical step-by-step processes. (If it were, we’d all be millionaires.) Success comes from your mindset: what you believe you can achieve and the expectations you set yourself. This mindset is as important as knowing how to Search Engine optimize your e-commerce website or write compelling sales copy.

The Most Important Things to Know Before Potty Training Boys

Is potty training boys harder than potty training girls?

Some say "Yes", I say "No, not really."

I only add the "not really" part because potty training boys properly requires a bit more preparation only because parents have to make a few more decisions before beginning (which I'll discuss below). But the basic approach is exactly the same for potty training boys and girls.

So, in spite of what you may have heard, the following "myths" are not true:

1. Boys are more stubborn and less motivated than girls, and therefore harder to potty train.
2. Potty training boys is a lot longer process than potty training girls.
3. Boys are less motivated and therefore less cooperative during potty training.
4. Boys can not be potty trained until they're three.

If you believe any of the above statements, the first thing you should do is erase them from your memory bank, because they're simply a bunch of hooey, and if you buy into any of them, you're doing your son and your Wallet a big disservice.

Therefore, let me set the record straight. If your son is a normal, healthy toddler he should be ready for potty training at about 18 months (average) although some boys are ready earlier or later – anywhere from 12 to 27 months.

Boys who are ready for potty training will often begin to imitate their fathers or brothers (it's as though they realize the differences in genders) and may even start to stand at the toilet like them (even if they have no idea what to do once there !). And once the potty training process begins, they may also ask to use the toilet like them. If so, go for it!
If your child wants to be like daddy or like his older brother and believers, by all means, then let him stand! Power struggles are big no-nos in the potty training world …

So, what is the biggest difference between potty training boys and potty training girls? In my opinion, the only significant variance between the two is that parents need to decide ahead of time if they'll train their sons to urinate standing up or sitting down, so they'll know what kind of equipment they'll need.

My advise? Teach boys to urinate and have bowel movements sitting down. Period. (By the way, The American Academy of Pediatrics supports this advice).

Here's why:

1. You'll need less equipment. You can begin training using a potty chair only – no need for stools, urinals, and the like.

2. They'll learn "potty basics" faster. Remember, your son is learning a brand new skill – one that requires his – and yours – complete concentration and cooperation. So, why complicate the process by introducing too many things at once? Once your son has learned to use the potty, the big learning curve is over and it's reliably easy to teach them to urinate standing up, when the time is right.

3. Potty chairs are much "friendlier" when children are sitting. Consider this … potty chairs are low to the ground (purposefully, so toddlers can get on and off them easily), less "weak," and have much smaller openings than traditional toilets. Therefore, when children pee standing up, there's likely to be a good deal of splashing. The alternative is a urinal for peeing, and a potty chair or toilet for poop; A toilet for both; Egypt a potty chair for both. If you choose to use a toilet, you'll need to make sure you have a step stool (so your son can get on and off the processed by himself) and should consider purchasing a seat reducer (or else there's a better than even chance That your son may be frightened by the large opening – a very common fear).

4. You'll have less mess. Just put, potty training boys standing up is just plain messy, because little boys are notoriously bad aims – even with the best of intentions – so you can expect lots of dribbling down the potty chair, on the seat, and yes, all over the Floors and walls. It just comes with the territory.

5. Potty chairs are more flexible. One of the very best things about potty chairs is their portability. That's right … you can load them up and bring them with you, and your son can pee pee or poop on the fly (no pun intended:>). Trust me, this will come in very, very handy during your potty training journey. For whatever reason, you'll find that your child suddenly has to pee (and I mean, "really, really bad.") At the most inopportune times and your portable potty chair will be a Godsend. Yes, little boys can urinate in a potty chair standing up, but you'll need to bring lots of wipes with you!

Please also keep in mind that regardless of whether you're potty training boys or girls, consistency is king (in fact this is one of the core principles of our potty training system)! So, please see to it that whichever method you use, it's reinforced by all of the other adults who come in regular contact with your son.

This is especially true if your son is enrolled in pre-school, day care or has a nanny or babysitter. In fact, some organizations have very specific rules regarding potty training – especially as it relates to potty training boys. Therefore, it's a good idea to check with your childcare providers beforehand, so you're all on the same page.

Once again, I hope my advice on potty training boys has been helpful and you'll take the time to check out my other potty training articles!