Niche Blueprint 2.0 Review – A Proven Blueprint For Successful E-Commerce

Niche Blueprint 2.0 is the latest training program that teaches people how to build a long-term and profitable E-commerce sites. This is a flagship product from two renown Internet Entrepreneurs Tim Godfrey and Steve Clayton. The core blueprint is more or less the same as its precursor. But in this new version, they have added many new software tools to help you achieve some of the important milestones faster and more accurately. They have also improved and simplified a number of video tutorials within the course which previous customers have had trouble understanding.

Let’s be frank from the start… building a successful e-commerce site does require a lot of works. It’s not something like walking in the park, Tim and Steve know that and they don’t pretend that it’s going to be easy. That’s why they created the Niche Blueprint training course. You see, building a successful E-commerce site is like building a house, you need a blueprint and precise step by step instructions.

The entire Niche Blueprint 2.0 course consists of over 30 video tutorials and 30 manuals. They are organised into 9 modules. Below, we give you a run down of each module….

Module 1: An Introduction – this module gives you an overall picture of the whole blueprint. It explains the correct way to approach the course.

Module 2: Secrets To Choosing A Profitable Niche – this is a starting point for building successful E-commerce site. Do not skip this module! If you know how to choose a profitable niche, you have won half of the battle. The good news is that they have added two brand new tools here: ‘Ecommerce Niche Finder’ and ‘Keyword Blueprint’. These software tools are not sold in the market, they’re only available to the members and used in conjunction with the Niche Blueprint.

Module 3: Finding Suppliers And Pricing Your Products – here you’ll learn how to find reliable suppliers who can provide the best prices and take care of all the product’s packaging and shipments. Again, they added a brand new software tool called: ‘Dropship Blueprint’ that will provide you with thousands more products and suppliers at your finger tips with a new and easier to manage interface.

Module 4: Finding An Effective Domain Name – nothing new here! The important thing to remember here is NOT to go and buy your domain name before you have gone through a proper niche research (module 1) and products selection (module 2).

Module 5: Building Your E-Commerce Store – this is perhaps the most exciting module as you’ll start to get your hands dirty and actually build your first e-commerce site. There is a new push button software added that will help you set up your e-commerce store front faster.

Module 6: Getting Website Traffic – another very important module, everyone knows that TRAFFIC is the lifeblood of a successful e-commerce site. But the question is… how do you get traffic? Well, all the answers are found in this module. They also added 3 advanced software tools: ‘Article Blueprint’, ‘Authority Hub’ and ‘Link Blueprint’ that will help you generate massive amount of traffic to your e-commerce sites.

Module 7: Operating Your Ecommerce Stores – here you’ll learn how to keep your E-Commerce websites operating both smoothly and profitably. They give you the step by step instructions on how to operate and maintain your site for on-going success.

Module 8: Outsourcing – here you’ll learn how to outsource the day-to-day operations of your e-commerce sites. If you’ve just launched your first ecommerce site, perhaps you don’t need to outsource. However, as you build more sites… you do need to think about outsourcing some of the tasks.

Module 9: Selling Your Website – Note that selling your E-commerce sites is completely optional and not a required step. However, if you choose to sell them, this module is loaded with some good advice and resources to help you sell your sites for maximum profits.

Conclusion:

Niche Blueprint 2.0 is more than just a training course for building E-commerce sites, it also provides you with a complete set of tools to carry out the actual tasks and achieve your project milestones faster. However, this blueprint is meant for those who are serious about building a long term E-commerce business. This is not the course that teaches you how to set up a blog to promote e-books or the next big thing in Internet Marketing.

Zen Cart Review – The Pros and Cons of Zen Cart

Though I will be upfront and say that Zen Cart is not perfect and I am always on the look out to find better systems such as Magento Commerce. I will be reviewing that shortly as well, so stay tuned.

An Overview

Zen Cart is an online software designed solely for e-commerce businesses. It uses PHP, MySQL and is an open source project that was developed by a community of shop owners, programmers, designers, and consultants who just wanted a simple e-commerce solution. Being open source like WordPress, the software is free for anyone to use and it allows anyone to modify, develop and distribute.

Installation

Most hosting companies offer Simple Scripts or Fantastico, which are application installers to help install Zen Cart. I would recommend using them as it saves time and also the hassle of setting up databases yourself. Zen Cart is one of the standard shopping carts available for installation so it should be a breeze to install. If you decide to go through and install Zen Cart yourself then you will need to read the instructions provided and it will take some time to get through. I would only recommend this route if you have a strong knowledge in PHP and MySQL as it will require you to edit some files and utilise FTP tools.

The Pros Of Zen Cart

It Is A Free Bundled With Addons Available

It is a great online software and best of all it is free. Since it’s inception over 5 years ago many developers have created numerous add-ons which can be downloaded and installed onto the Zen Cart system at any time. They are publicly available on the Zen Cart website and gives your e-commerce software extra functionality. You can download add-ons ranging from administrative tools anywhere to adding extra languages.

A Great Product Management System

The key to running any successful e-commerce business is how well you can manage your products. With it, you are provided with a wide range of product options such as:

* Allows you to sort your products in categories and sub-categories
* Manage and control your stock levels
* Create attributes for your products, such as colours, sizes, and much more
* The ability to create products in bulk using the Easy Populate add-on
* Create specials and featured products
* Write reviews for each product

Each option can be activated when you need it or turned off. Zen Cart’s product management system is by far the most comprehensive system I have used to date and everything is at your finger tips as it is all linked to your orders and customers.

A Wide Range Of Free And Paid Templates Available

Most Internet businesses usually want a customised website and want different features to show their customers, which is why it has a wide range of free and paid templates. You will find free basic templates available on the website that can be easily installed changing the colours and layout of your website. If you want more customisation, try some paid templates which start from about $50 and upwards. Here are two sites I recommend: Algozone and Template Monster.

Forum And Community Support Is Good

Unfortunately there is no formal support from Zen Cart or a team hired to handle customer service being a free product. Though there is a strong forum and community that does support and try their best to help. I have posted on their forum many times and got a response quite fast. Most of the answers are found by running a quick search and most of the time they will have a step by step process to fix the problem. I have to admit though it does get a bit technical and if you lack PHP knowledge then I would agree it can be quite frustrating to find a solution.

There is also some documentation available laid out in a Wiki section and FAQ on their website. If you are looking for a detailed manual there is one solely for administrators and it can be downloaded from a PDF file. If all else fails, then try to find an experienced programmer and pay them to help fix your problem. They won’t cost too much and are very reasonable at what they do. I used a programmer to do some modifications to my website previously and I found them in the forum as well. Simply place a post asking for a programmer and specify what you want done. I am sure you will get people to reply if you pay them.

Export To Major Accounting Softwares Are Available

Currently it supports both QuickBooks and MYOB accounting. Though, one module is free and the other does cost. So if you are looking to implement it into your Internet business you will want to consider which accounting package to use. Currently there is a free QuickBooks export module that you can download and install available in the Zen Cart Downloads section.

The Cons Of Zen Cart

Not Cosmetically Appealing

Originally when I first started using Zen Cart I was not very impressed by the not so appealing website after the installation. As with most of the open source “out of the box solutions”, I knew there were going to be somewhat a lot of customising to be done. What I found at first was the default skin that it provided had a lot of “stuff” that were not needed and it made the whole store look a bit cluttered for my liking. Furthermore it was extra work to turn off all the banner advertisements and also to rearrange the boxes to have a simplistic look. I believe there has to be some element of visual appeal for any new user wanting to use it as their e-commerce system.

Very Basic Reporting

Most of the basic reports are available which include products viewed, products purchased and customers orders. It lacks more sophisticated reports such as sales by products, profit on each product, profit margins made and so forth. There are additional addons which can be installed but are still not up to scratch. Basically I would not expect in depth analysis of sales, customers and products going through the door. You will need to generate these reports from your accounting software.

Upgrades And Add-On Integrations Are Difficult

This is the big downside of Zen Cart. Once you have installed Zen Cart and made modifications to the software, don’t expect to upgrade for a very long time. In my past experience if you decide to upgrade to the next version, you will basically have to start from the beginning again. The system has not been designed to upgrade without overwriting all your addons and customisations. So if you did any modifications like I have on my websites, I would be very cautious to stick to the existing version. Unlike WordPress for example, if there are major upgrades or upgrades for add-ons it is a simple click of a mouse and the rest of the system will do the upgrade for you.

My rating for Zen Cart is a 7 out of 10 and I would recommend it as a solution to start off with for any small to medium business owners.

What You Should Consider in an E-Commerce Hosting Provider

Finding an e-commerce hosting provider is made much easier nowadays, with many hosting providers offering services tailor-made especially for e-commerce sites. Nonetheless, you need to consider a few important factors first, before choosing a hosting company that will provide you with the tools needed in the maintenance and management of your online store. Having an e-commerce website is like having a land-based shop. It is where you will display your products, promote your services, and process payments from your customers. In order for you to maintain a fully functional website, getting the right hosting provider for your e-commerce site is very important.

Among the various factors, which need topmost consideration is the ease of navigation on your e-commerce website. This is especially important if you lack any technical knowledge or expertise in the maintenance of your site. Your e-commerce hosting provider should be able to provide you with user-friendly tools, particularly in the customization of your storefront, logo, and other applications. If your e-commerce site is simple to navigate moreover, your clients will find it easier to browse from one web page to the next. Not only will your customers be able to find the products they require easily, they will also be able to find the information they require on your products or services.

Moreover, you need to check first if the customization tools provided by your hosting company actually match the requirements of your web business. If you prefer having a higher level of customization control on your e-commerce site, you need to find an e-commerce hosting company that is up to the job. Most web site owners would want to have an online store that appears unique and more individualized, compared to their competitors. If you are quite adept at designing and customizing you will surely require the right tools and features for a more professional-looking e-commerce site.

It is also best to go for an e-commerce hosting provider that has the right types of software available. Some hosting companies do not offer some types of software such as shopping cart and online payments software. As a result, you would need to source these types of software somewhere else. For added convenience on your part, you will do best if you choose a hosting company that allows you to integrate the necessary software seamlessly. Customer support is also one important aspect to consider when choosing a hosting company. The best hosting service providers are those which provide 24/7 customer support.

Finding the right hosting provider can be tricky, especially with the wide range of hosting companies operating on the web. You may seek recommendations from successful e-commerce site owners, since these people already have considerable experience when it comes to finding hosting providers for e-commerce sites. Web hosting reviews can be useful as well, but make sure you search for an objective review, or one that provides you with a fair picture regarding the offerings of the hosting provider. Certainly, searching for an e-commerce hosting provider need not be complicated, if you know which factors to look out for.