Preparing for Cyber Monday

cyber monday suggestions

Time to get ready!

It is getting to be that time again. Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. Time to get ready for your cyber Monday incentives.

Decide what type of special you want to have. See what your competitors are doing. Perhaps free shipping or buy so many get one free. You should try to make this a “better” sale than something you normally have. It is also a good way to clear out inventory if you have a lot of a certain product. Speaking of inventory, be sure you have enough of what you are offering to keep customers happy.

It is also a good idea to advertise that you will have a Cyber Monday special. Create a banner for your home page and be sure to post it to your facebook, twitter and blog. You don’t have to give complete details, just enough to get your customers interested. Then on the Sunday before, you can send out a blast of what the special will be.

Setup your special and TEST IT ahead of time! Make sure it works before you go live with it. Nothing worse than having a bunch of potential sales fall through and upsetting customers because something wasn’t setup correctly.

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ShopSite Real-Time Shipping Quote System

If you use ShopSites UPS, USPS or FedEx real-time quote system (called API’s) this is a great feature from Lexiconn you will want to use.

Why was this developed?  As you may know if you use any of these services in ShopSite, if the service is down and you have not set up any other way for customers to pick shipping, they will not be able to place their order.  This is obviously very troublesome for customers.  Yes, you can have a flat fee table setup and turned on, but that means it is always turned on and may not give accurate information to customers when they are trying to pick shipping.

Lexiconn has created a new website, Shipping API Monitor, that can let you know when any of these services are down and also just as important, when the service is back up.  The site provides real-time tracking of the shipping API systems for rates being returned.  It monitors for their system being up and returning valid rates every minute from 2 geographically diverse locations. Any outage is displayed on the site, and after 3 consecutive rate failures, they mark the shipping API as down. You can find this out in a varied of ways … their website, an RSS feed, via email, via twitter.

Once you are notified the service is down, you can turn on your flat fee rate table that customers can use in lieu of getting a real time quote.  Yes, it won’t be exact shipping, but you won’t lose any sales this way.  Then when you are notified that the service is back up, you can turn this table off again.

Be proactive with your shipping systems and make sure your customers can purchase from you without problems this holiday season.  Go to Shipping API Monitor and signup to get an email,  follow them on twitter or get the rss feed.

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Adding Pages to ShopSite

So you want to create a new page in your ShopSite store.  Maybe it is a category page, maybe just an informational page.  The EASIEST way to do this is to copy a page similar to the one you want to create.  Why? This is so that all the settings for the page will be copied over and you won’t need to worry about those.

Login to your store, click on Pages.  Find the page you want to copy and highlight it.  Then click on Copy Page.  Enter in the name for the new page and the file name.  For the file name, do not use blanks … just use alpha numeric and hyphens.  Make the page name make sense.  Click on copy and you will be taken back to the main List of Pages.

Find the name of the Page you just copied, highlight it and click on Edit Page Content.  Now you will be changing the content to be the new content from the page you copied from.  However, one field  does NOT copy over and you must REMEMBER to set it.

Links to Page.  This is the page you want this page to appear on.  Sometimes it doesn’t appear on a page, but ends up in a your custom navigation.  It is good to pick something so you can go see it … I recommend adding it to a testing page so you can verify what it looks like before it is actually added to the page(s) you want it on.

Not sure what a field is for?  ShopSite has a great help section.  Just click on the Help in the top menu (red circle with the ?).

Don’t forget to publish to have your page show up!  :O)

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Affiliate Programs

Earn Money as an Affiliate

Earn $$ as an Affiliate

Many sites now have affiliate programs where you can advertise for them and earn a commission.  There are large companies that manage many affiliate vendors and if you become a member there you have many  companies at your disposal.  Or, if you use ShopSite, it has a built in affiliate program.

But as a manufacturer, how to decide if it is a good idea and how big do you go?  Look at your direct competitors … are they doing it? Look at the cost … how much does it cost you to maintain the program vs how much you get in increased exposure and revenue.  You must also be careful who you allow to be an affiliate.  If it is what is called a “coupon” site and they are your affiliate you may be paying out when really they didn’t give you any benefit.  How can this be?  Say a customer is on your site already.  But they think, hey, maybe I can find a coupon code.  They do a search for “coupon codes for X company”. They get to the coupon site, click the link for your store that looks like a coupon and really all that happens is the coupon site now gets a commission for referring that customer when they really didn’t.

With ShopSite you can run your own affiliate program.  You decide who gets in and you also decide how much commission each partner earns.  So you can have different earnings based on how large they are, if they are a website or blog or just send the link in email.  ShopSite creates reports that show you how much each affiliate earns. The only down side is that YOU maintain all of the program … meaning you must cut the checks to the participants.

Nelle and Lizzy just setup an affiliate program.  Stay tuned and we’ll let you know how it goes.  But for now, you can check out the pages created explaining the program and see if it might be something you’d want to try with your store.

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Adding Products on Pages in ShopSite

There are a few ways you can add products to your category pages in ShopSite.  You can go to the PRODUCT and add the pages the product is on, OR you can go to the PAGE and add products on the page.  If you are familiar with uploading products, you can do it through an upload.  The first two methods are below.

Adding pages to a PRODUCT

  1. Log in to ShopSite
  2. Click on Products
  3. Find your product (use the search for name or SKU), click on it
  4. Click on Edit Product Info
  5. Scroll down to Product Pages, click on the Select button
  6. Click on pages in the “Product is not in these Pages” section then click on Add, then OK. (TIP: click in the box, then start typing the beginning of the page name, it will jump you down to that page.  TIP2: Holding down the CTRL key will let you pick more than one page at a time.)
  7. Scroll down and click on Save.
  8. Publish when done.  TIP:  you do not have to publish after each one.  You can do a bunch then publish. Publishing shows you your changes.

Adding products to PAGES (TIP: use this method when adding lots of products to a page)

  1. Log in to ShopSite
  2. Click on Pages
  3. Find your page (use the search for name), click on it
  4. Click on Assign Items > Click on Product then proceed
  5. Pick products in the products not assigned section then click on Add, then save changes. (TIP: click in the box, then start typing the beginning of the product name, it will jump you down to that page.  TIP2: Holding down the CTRL key will let you pick more than one product at a time. TIP3: you can search for a certain word in the product and it will display only those.)
  6. Click on pages in the “Product is not in these Pages” section then click on Add, then OK.
  7. Publish when done.  TIP:  you do not have to publish after each one.  You can do a bunch then publish. Publishing shows you your changes.
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SEO Toolbook: Free Tools for Dominating Google’s Free Listings

SEO Toolbook

SEO Toolbook

Recently reviewed a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Toolbook by Jason McDonald.  This book contains info on how to use Google and Bing’s free … yes FREE tools to help you with SEO.  Granted you do need some knowledge of SEO.  But if you need that knowledge, you can get it with his online courses here:  and yes, some of his courses are also FREE.

In this toolbook, Jason explains how to pick your keywords, analyze your page tags, identify the links you want, writing press releases, website structure and more.  This is just what to do to your website.  Then he goes on to explain how to find out what you should do using Google and Bing tools as well as many other top SEO sites.

It isn’t true that “if you build it they will come”.  You need to keep up on the current SEO trends and why not do it using free tools.  You don’t have to use all the tools he recommends, just try a few and find out what ones you like that work best for you.  Start out slowly … changing just some of your site and see what works.  You will eventually want to use the information you will gain on all main pages of your site.    Chances are if you are not going to put time and effort into SEO, your lack of visits and sales will show it.

You can get this book for kindle here: for $2.99.  No, I don’t get any commission for recommending it … I just think it is worthwhile.  :O)

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Google Checkout Going Away

For those of you who use Google Checkout/Wallet as a payment option, looks like big changes are coming.  As of November 20th, this service will no longer be available.  Basically, Google Checkout/Wallet had acted as your payment gateway AND your merchant bank, very similar to how PayPal works.  Google has decided to quit doing this and say they will not offer a replacement product.

What does this mean to you?  If you offer Google Checkout/Wallet as a payment option in your ShopSite store, this will no longer work as of November 20th.  You MUST be sure you have another payment option available.  As I mentioned, PayPal basically works the same way so that would be a good option.  Also, if you usually pay your invoices from me via Google Checkout, you will need to use PayPal or send a check beginning in October 2013.

To read more about Google’s decision, you can directly to their site here:

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Small Fry Press brings you new stationery ideas, and they’re FABULOUS!

You’ve been saying it for a long time now… “I really to get myself some grown up ( or not so grown up) stationery.  Something that reflects your inner “you” or what you want your inner “you” to be.  Go glam, or sophisticated, fun or low key, classic and simple, wild with pattern or showcase the family pooch, it’s up to you!  Make an appointment to see the new Luscious Verde Correspondence album and get 10% off, for a limited time.

Lucious Verde 10% off

Lucious Verde 10% off

Small Fry Press, email us at for info or an appt. at our studio in Pleasantville, NY

Shop our great selection online

Like us on Facebook, CLICK HERE

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Sharing Files

There is often a need to share files … easiest way is usually to just send an email. Many times, however, you may need to send multiple very large files. In these cases, you need a better solution … and a free one is the great!

Store Files in the Cloud - photo by

Store Files in the Cloud

Google Drive.
If you have a google account, and most of us do, you can use Google Drive to share files. Just go to , login with your normal google login. Just need to share files? Click the upload button (the arrow pointing up on the left hand side), click Files, browse to the file to upload (hold down the ctrl key to pick multiple files), click on open. A new window will show up showing the upload is complete. If you want to share these files, immediately click on the share button next to your file. You will then get the link to share the file or, you can enter in email addresses of people you want to share it with. This email address should be in their Google account.

Want to use Google Drive to store important files? You can do that too. Download the software to your PC, follow the instructions and you can have files on your computer synched to your Google Drive account. This creates a backup if you will of your files and also lets you access them from other computers. For more help on Google Drive, visit the Google support center: .

DropBox. offers a service where you can upload images to a cloud directory and then share that directory with others via email. Similar to Google Drive, an additional feature of DropBox is that you can download their software and actually have DropBox sync to a directory on your computer in essence creating a backup of your data. If you change a file locally, then DropBox will also get a copy. To, take the tour, you can start here: . You can join with this link: .

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Social Media Share Buttons vs Follow Buttons

Often I get asked to “put Facebook & Twitter  buttons” on a  clients website.  However, there are a couple different kinds and it is good to understand which one you might want to use.
social media

Share vs Follow

Share: The share buttons direct visitors to THEIR own account to post about you.  This can be done with facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc … most of the social sites have code to do this. How does this help you?  This gets your visitors to do some advertising for you! Their followers see that they like your site and then hopefully it drives traffic to your site. A great way to get the word out about your site.
Follow: Follow buttons are used if YOU have an account that you want visitors to go to.  So for example if you have a facebook, twitter, pinterest account that you want them to visit.  Keep in mind, this WILL take them away from your site. So you only want to do this if you feel it is valuable for them to visit your social site and not just your website.  You may have a small business website but a personal pinterest site so there would really be no need for a customer to “follow” your personal pinterest site.
It is best to have a mix of these two options on your site.  You should definitely have the Share buttons.  The follow buttons should only be included if they provide additional, important information about you, your products or services.
So what is the easiest way to add these buttons? .  Addthis has done all the work for you, and it’s free to use.  Pick share or follow, pick the social media buttons you want to include and they will provide the code for you.  One downside, you cannot customize the look of the buttons if you are using Addthis.  If you want to have your own buttons that match your site, you will have to code them separately.  Most of the social networking sites have instructions on doing that.
Here are two Addthis links to help you get started:
Need help getting started, just let us know.
(photo from
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