3 Easy Ways to Build an E-Commerce WebStore


E-commerce has been gaining its momentum over the past few years, as more and more people prefer purchasing goods on the Internet to traditional shopping. I also regularly buy various goods online, since online shopping does have many benefits such as the prices are lower; you can shop around for any type of products from the comfort of your home as well as read customer testimonials, detailed product descriptions etc.Surely, there are also some disadvantages, such as shipping time, unscrupulous sellers and alike. Nonetheless, the number of people shopping online is increasing rapidly, so does the demand for easy-to-use and maintain shopping carts. Luckily, software developers quickly react to this situation and offer an assortment of simple, out-of-the-box solutions for those looking to build a webstore. Some of these I describe below.Option 1: E-commerce Plugins for WordPressThe easiest way to add e-commerce capabilities to your current website is to take advantage of one of the most reliable WordPress plugins. This option works for those who use this particular CMS for their blogs. Turning your website into a web store is a breeze if you choose all-in-one e-commerce plugins. Why? It is because it requires minimum user intervention and offers everything to build a full-fledged e-shop delivering enterprise-level quality to your customers. Just check out some of the plugin’s features:

Works with any WordPress theme.

Supports multiple currencies and different shipping options + taxes.

It allows to set additional product parameters (size, color, length etc.).

Has a free version (you can download it by following this link: http://readyshoppingcart.com/product/free-wordpress-e-commerce-theme/ ).
Option 2: Website BuilderAnother brilliant idea is using a website builder. This option will work for those who don’t have a website yet, but would like to get it hassle-free and with minimum investment. Take Zoho Sites for example. Using their maximally simplified WYSIWYG editor you can integrate ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Buy Now’ buttons simply by dragging and dropping them to any block on your webpage. As a bonus, you will automatically get a mobile-friendly version of your website. Furthermore, you’ll be able to customize your website’s mobile look manually as per your needs using their Mobile Editor mode. With website builders like this there’s no need to worry about the technical aspects of site building – you leave all the boring things to the professionals.Option 3: E-commerce PlatformsSigning up to a specialized e-commerce platform can also be a great option. One of the most popular is Ecwid. In fact, it works as a widget integrating with your existing website design. The most advantageous thing about Ecwid is that you can use the same storefront on numerous sites and social networks at the same time.Final ThoughtsThe Internet is brimming over with ridiculously easy-to-use software that can instantly turn your blog into a powerful web store. There are also site builders that will guide you through the process of creating a web store from scratch. Just choose the option that works best for you and enjoy the benefits of owning a full-fledged web store. Feel free to share your e-commerce experience in comments!

Should You Consider A Degree From A Non Profit Online School?

For-profit schools like Kaplan, The University of Phoenix and others have grown into tremendous businesses in the past decade, and that’s caused a good deal of apprehension in both the educational community and the government. The situation got a whole lot more tense in 2010, when the US General Accounting Office charged that many of the major for-profit schools were using over-aggressive recruiting policies, and then encouraging students to borrow money to pay for degree programs of questionable value. The GAO’s report came complete with video evidence, taped secretly, of recruiting officers at for-profit schools telling prospective student to engage in downright deceptions to get more money from Uncle Sam in the form of Pell Grants.That was followed by a storm of criticism in Congress, spearheaded by Senator Tom Harkin (Democrat of Iowa), who is now pushing for regulations that will control the for-profits’ recruiting practices and force them to demonstrate that students are finding jobs after they graduate with degrees that can cost well into the $30,000 range.On the other side of the argument are the for-profit schools, who argue that there are no restrictions on recruiting practices at state or private colleges, and that none of them are being asked to prove that graduates with liberal arts degrees in anthropology and political science are finding jobs with their high-priced degrees.Non-Profit Choices GrowIf you want to get a college degree online, and you believe there’s a real difference between the education at a for-profit school and a non-profit one, your choices have expanded dramatically in recent years. While online education was once almost totally dominated by for-profit schools, a whole range of state university systems and private schools have gone into online teaching, some with very large, varied degree offerings. It’s perhaps a bit surprising that many of the largest players in online education today are religion based schools. Christian colleges and universities with Baptist or other evangelical affiliations have built large online degree programs, most of which do not require students to have any particular religious bent to participate in. Another large block of online offerings comes from Roman Catholic schools, which have operated large campuses across the U.S. for many years, but have now gone into online teaching in increasing numbers.A look at the non-profit schools offering online degrees shows an interesting mix. Liberty University, an evangelical school founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1971, has become a massive online teaching juggernaut, with over 50,000 students around the world taking its distance learning programs each year. The school offers a range of degrees to train students for the ministry, but also quite a few others for very real-world careers like computer science and nursing. At the other end of the religious school spectrum is the poetically named Our Lady of the Lake University, a 2,600 private Roman Catholic school in San Antonio, that offers just one online learning program, a master’s degree in informational systems and security.State Universities Move In GraduallyState universities have had a bumpy ride into the online learning world. The failure of a large, highly-touted online degree program at the University of Illinois just last year was a disaster that scared may other public schools away. It highlighted a problem of poor commitment by professors to online teaching that has come up at many schools. But gradually, many of the state universities have begun to find their footing in distance learning. That’s a good thing for students, because state schools have always tended to have some of the lowest tuition rates available anywhere, and many of them have made it a policy to charge out of state students either the same rates as in-state students for online programs, or added just a small surcharge for non-local students studying online. Public schools that have made a deep commitment in this regard now include the University of Massachusetts, whose “UMass Online” program now offers 75 online degree programs, Charter Oak State College, a tiny Connecticut school that gives online degrees in five major categories at super-low tuition rates and Oregon State University, which has created a national footprint with 16 online degree programs.Elite Schools OnlineAmong true private colleges, those more expensive schools that have traditionally served elite students, there were few online degree offerings until very recently. But even here, things are changing. Famous high-end schools like Boston University and the Rochester Institute of Technology are now offering more and more online degrees. At the same time, some very small private schools with names you’ve never heard of like Baker College and Bellevue University have taken the step of not only starting online degree programs, but going head to head with the for-profit schools when it comes to online marketing designed to attract students from across the country.

Let Us Help You Spring Clean Your Finances!

Since spring has sprung we are taking every opportunity to open our windows and let the fresh air in. Most of us start cleaning out the garage, clean off the outdoor furniture and pack up our old clothes to donate to charity. Why should spring cleaning end with your home? This is the perfect time to tidy up your personal finances as well. Consider these recommendations to “clean” up your finances.

Contribute to your 401(k). Make sure you contribute enough to your 401(k) to qualify for maximum matching funds. Your employer is willing to give you this free money so don’t leave it on the table.

Open and IRA. If you own your own business or work for a company with no retirement plan, open an IRA. You can get big tax breaks from opening this type of retirement plan. If you don’t know which IRA is right for you, you can search “Types of Retirement Plans” at irs.gov.

Rate check your credit cards. The interest rates on your credit cards can have an impact on your balances and have the potential of adding up over time. If your interest rate is increasing your card balances, it’s time to shop around to find a lower rate. Other items that are options for rate checks are mortgage loans, auto loans and even your checking and savings accounts. For a real feeling of gratification, pay off the balance that costs you the high interest. If you want to zero our your balance by the end of the year, divide the amount owed by 7 and pay that amount every month. Can’t bite off that much every month? Move the balance to another card with an introductory rate and pay it off before the deal runs out. Make sure there are no high transfer fees.

Open a savings account. Follow these three steps when opening your savings account:
1. Set a financial goal and timeline.
2. Decide how much to save each month to help you reach your goal.
3. Setup automatic transfers into your savings plan from your checking account. This way the transfer is done for you and you won’t miss the money.

Review your credit report. Make sure your credit reports are free of mistakes. Remember, you are able to order one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit bureaus. You can get one free of charge from annualcreditreport.com.

Organize or discard old financial documents. Sort through all your bank statements, invoices, bills and other financial records and keep those that are only necessary. Be aware you need to keep tax returns, canceled checks, receipts and any supporting paperwork for your taxes for at least six years. Make sure you don’t just trash your important documents in the trash without shredding them. You don’t want them to be picked up by an identity thief.

Set up automatic bill pay. Spring-cleaning just isn’t about de-cluttering. It’s about making your financial life more efficient. Set up automatic bill pay and link it to your checking account in an effort to eliminate any chance of missing a payment and paying late fees.

Review your budget. Take a close look at your current budget and decide if you need to make any changes.

Pay off as much debt as possible. Spring is a good time to review your outstanding debts and which loans or credit cards you could pay off. If nothing else, develop a stricter payoff plan. Cleaning up your outstanding debt quickly will put you in a much better financial position for the rest of the year.

Record your financial passwords and store all your records in a secure place. Make sure you’re not using the same password for all your financial accounts. Protect yourself against identity theft by protecting your passwords and other financial documents in an online secure vault.

Be a community steward. Try and make a difference in your community. Believe it or not, giving of yourself to others will make you feel a lot wealthier.