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Blog schmog... why get a Blog?

intro

Ahh June, the heat is on and this month the topic is about Blogs. What are they and why do you need one? Blogs are becoming more popular and now is the time to get started! We also touch on the need for site Terms and Conditions.

Let us know what you are interested in learning about. Send us your thoughts and requests. We are always interested in what you have to say!

Enjoy!

what's new

Spirit

Spirit 3.4

We have sent up more good stuff for Spirit 3.4. The cart, login, and checkout screens can now have customized background colors and font styling. The simplest way to achieve this is in the administrator Store tab.

We upgraded our WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) rich text editor. Previously, we were using version 2.4.3 which did not play well with Safari and had some other case specific problems for some of our users.

WYSIWYG screen shot

Our upgrade to the latest version, 2.6.0, does play well with Safari. We reconfigured how it generates HTML. It will no longer wrap text in

tags and inserts
tags instead of empty

tags for break-returns. This alleviates issues between your CSS and the HTML created by the editor. Should make life just a little bit better.

Sneak peek

What's in store for Spirit? Coming later this month, we are activating a Reports tab to the Spirit administrator. You will be able generate sales-related reports by product and customer!

If you are on Spirit 3.3, now is a great time to ask us to upgrade your site. That said, we will begin upgrading all 3.3 sites to 3.4 later this year.

latest news

visit our blog to get the latest: blog.pepperstation.com.

Customer Spotlight
Flavorbank Spice Market
Flavorbank Spice Market

Flavorbank Spice Market offers wonderful spices and exotic blends like the AFRIKYA World Spice Collection line.

Check out the peppercorns from Indonesian Lampong Black and Sarawak White to savory salts like Black Sanchal and Alae Hawaiian Sea Salt.

Crave something hotter? Flavorbank offers several types of chiles and powders. If sweet is what you are after, they have that too.

Flavorbank Spice Market is one for your senses. Order online or stop in and smell for yourself... located in El Mercado Shops at Broadway and Wilmot in Tucson.

View their site at Flavorbank.com

good to know

In every issue, we provide you proven ways to make your website, email marketing and promotion activities more effective. Today, we define Blogs and investigate why a site's Terms and Conditions are so important.

Blog schmog... why get a Blog?

By Morella

what is a blog?

Blog is an abridgment of the term "web log". A blog is a diary, a collaborative space, a political soapbox, a breaking-news outlet, a collection of links, video or images and your personal pulpit to speak to the world.

A blog is a website where you write entries as often as you wish. New entries appear at the top with historical entries below. Visitors can easily read what's new and you can enable your blog to be read-only, accept comments (per your approval), to be linked to from other places or to send you email. Blogs are customizable to look like your main site.

Since arriving in 1999, blogs have reshaped the web, impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others.

Your blog is what you make it. Our clients are using their blogs to communicate to their customers. They let you find people and other blogs that share your interests. Our blog contains industry related entries, what's new, product bulletins and a recipe or two.

why have a blog?

A blog is a great way to inform your customers about your current events. It is one way to keep them coming back to your site. Oh, and did I mention that the search engines are really attracted to blogs at the moment? Organic site changes can take several months to get recognized. Steve reported that the last blog we put up was recognized and indexed in three days!

Blogs are inexpensive to maintain and host... it is one of the "dirt cheap" ways to get recognized by the search engines. Getting a blog going is low risk and very inexpensive. The largest investment in maintaining a blog is your time to write interesting, fresh entries and link them to the appropriate places. Inlinks back to your blog is also key!

Get your blog link out there in as many places as you can; customer sites, industry sites, vendor or partner sites, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr... any where you can add your link. Each link to your site or blog is a vote of confidence. The more votes you have, the more confident search engines are about ranking your site. Gotta getta blog!

The Importance of Terms and Conditions

If you use a website for your business you really need terms and conditions of usage for visitors. These website terms and conditions provide information about the website content and how visitors are and are not permitted to use it. Many merchant agreements now require sites to include Terms and Conditions.

three reasons for Terms and Conditions

  1. limit your liability
    "Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements."

  2. protect your site content
    "This website contains material which is owned by or licensed to us. This material includes, but is not limited to, the design, layout, look, appearance and graphics. Reproduction is prohibited other than in accordance with the copyright notice, which forms part of these terms and conditions."

  3. T&C are now required
    In addition to a return policy, privacy policy and shipping policy, T&C are now required to secure a merchant account.

There are sites out there that offer sample Terms and Conditions... I would recommend looking at other sites in your industry to see what is included in their T&C. The main thing here is to protect yourself and your business.

TIP! Blogs posts work fast!
Did you know that blogs are one of the fastest ways to get your content listed by the search engines? Blog posts are usually indexed in just a few days and provide a great way for you to link back to important pages on your site. This is a tremendous way get recognized quickly.

TIP! A new way to stand out in Yahoo search results!
Yahoo is opening up it's search engine display with their new development platform, SearchMonkey. SearchMonkey allows site owners to customize their search results by including content and images from their website.

Here is an example:

SearchMonkey screen shot

Using SearchMonkey, a movie theater can display an image of the movie you searched on and in the case above, show the rating, critics review, running time and release date.... all info referenced from the theater's site.

he possibilities are endless and think of what this can immediately do for your exposure!

More in July! MO

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