Did you ever get that “how the hell am I going to get through all this” feeling when you log into your email?
Yeah, that’s where I’m at right now. So in an attempt to answer some emails in bulk, I’m going to devote today’s blog post to some Q and A.
Q: It’s April and the copyright date in the footer of my website is still showing 2012. Doesn’t that change automatically?
A: What an embarrassing situation you’re in! Just kidding. While some platforms automatically adjust the copyright year when the ball drops, Yahoo! Store does not. In your instance, you will need to go into your store variables and if your website developer was kind enough to create a variable for your copyright date, you can change it there. See the screen shot below for what this may look like. If you don’t see anything like that, your developer may not have programmed it as a variable. You’ll have to give them a call or drop them an email to see how it can be changed.
Q: We’re ready to finally start blogging and inside my Yahoo! Web hosting account I have the option to install a few different kinds of blogs. Which one is best?
A: First off, I’m not a fan of Yahoo! Web hosting which is included as part of your Yahoo! Store because of latency issues. You can find more reliable hosting elsewhere for only a few bucks a month. With that said, my blogging platform of choice is WordPress – the self hosted version. It’s a robust, easy-to-use platform with thousands of plugins and themes. I have about 30 different websites running on the WordPress platform, including this one, and I’ve been a happy camper for several years.
Q: We recently switched from UPS to FedEx and want to incorporate real-time rates into our store. Unfortunately, Yahoo! only has a UPS integration. Do you know how I can pull real-time FedEx rates instead of UPS?
A: Like you said, Yahoo! Only supports UPS. If you want to integrate FedEx into your store, you’re going to need a 3rd party shipping manager. Solid Cactus offers AccuRate Ship and King Webmaster offers Advanced Shipping Manager. Both offer FedEx and USPS rate integration. If you’re looking for basic functionality, the Solid Cactus solution is fine, while King Webmaster’s offers more advanced features. Cost is nearly the same on a per-month basis. I encourage you to visit each product’s website and compare the features and find which one better suits your needs.
Q: We’re considering using FedEx SmartPost for some of our lighter packages. Have you ever used it or know some who is?
A: Yes. I’ve used FedEx SmartPost in the past and had fairly good results. Keep in mind that your packages will be picked up by a FedEx driver, travel through the FedEx system until it reaches it’s final destination. There it’s tendered to the US Postal Service who delivers it to your customer’s door. While the cost of the service can save you a couple of bucks on shipping costs, it does take a day or two longer for the package to be delivered compared to regular ground service. You have visibility into all tracking data as if it were a regular FedEx package. If you ship a lot of lightweight packages and your customers can wait an extra day or two to get their order, this is a good cost effective shipping method.
Some advice – before you move all your light packages, test the service for a month or two with a subset of those packages and track delivery time, customer satisfaction and lost/damaged packages, then determine if the service is right for you and your customers.
Q: I was recently notified by American Express that my processing rate is going up. I’m considering just not accepting the card any more. Your thoughts?
A: Well, don’t make any hasty decisions. First, American Express card holders are very loyal to the brand. You may risk losing an AmEx card holder by not accepting their card of choice. If you sell B2B, you may risk losing a good chunk of business from people who order using their company’s American Express Corporate card. Second, don’t get rid of AmEx without first looking at the raw numbers. Check your monthly statements and determine how much, on average, is charged to an American Express card and whether it’s worth it or not to lose a portion of that business. I’ve been in this position before and after looking at the numbers, AmEx always remains a payment option. If in doubt, you can always send out a quick survey to your customers asking if the cutting out AmEx would pose a problem for them.
Q: I just noticed that a competitor of mine bought a domain name that is similar to ours. Can I do anything about that?
A: Probably not, unless your name is copyrighted and even then if it’s similar, there may not be any recourse. I’m not a lawyer and I never played one on TV, so ring up yours and see what he/she says. But, can I spank you for not registering similar domains? My advice today is to go through and see what other domains are similar to yours and register them. You should also have the .net and .org domains for your main store. I’ve got several hundred domains in my portfolio that were for stores past and present as well as similar sounding and spelling variations of each. Small investments to avoid heartburn in the future.
Q: It’s been a few years since we redesigned our website and we’re finally ready. I’ve been reading a lot about responsive design, do you think that’s the way to go?
A: For those just joining us, responsive design is a method of building websites so they are visually compatible across all platforms – desktop, mobile and tablet. A compatible website is programmed in such a way that it adjusts to the device on which it is being viewed without having to have a separate site for desktop, smart phone and tablet visitors. More and more websites – including eCommerce stores – are adopting this type of design due to the influx of visitors coming from phones and tablets. If you’re considering a redesign, I would recommend having your developer build you a responsive site. You’ll have one site to update and manage as opposed to two or three and you’ll provide each visitor with an experience customized to their particular device. Speak with your programmer ahead of time to determine what features on your current site can be carried over to a responsive design. If I were redesigning one of my sites, I would choose a responsive design.
Q: We don’t have a mobile version of our Yahoo! Store, but now we’re seriously considering it. Can you recommend someone who can build a mobile site for us?
A: Unlike other shopping cart platforms, Yahoo! Store doesn’t have a built-in mobile solution. That means if you’re looking to go mobile, you’re going to have to pay a 3rd party to host and design your mobile site. If you log into your Yahoo! Store control panel, you will see a link in there for their preferred mobile partner, Unbound Commerce. Many web developers, including Solid Cactus, can build you a mobile site on the Unbound Commerce platform. In addition to the Unbound Commerce platform, both Fast Pivot and Practical Data offer a mobile solution for your Yahoo! Store. Compare the features of all three offerings to determine which one best fits your needs, but keep in mind, all come with an additional monthly fee on top of what you’re paying Yahoo!