How to save money shopping online

Some people think that when they go to Google Shopping (formerly the much cooler named Froogle) and get a list of prices, that it is defacto, the lowest prices possible. Those of you who are Websitetologists, or just smart shoppers, know that Google isn’t omniscient.

To get listed in Google’s pricing matrix isn’t as simple as “build it and they will come”- there is a whole series of things to fill out, optimize and then, you wait.

Most serious ecommerce outlets spend considerable time working this- but, others opt out.

The two factors that can make the most difference are shipping and tax. Now that Amazon charges tax in Ohio- a little research can save you a lot of money.

So, when I first look at Amazon- I often check the “other sellers on Amazon” – and realize, they are paying Amazon at least 10% to list their stuff on Amazon’s site, so check out their site direct. Sometimes being fulfilled by Amazon now causes sales tax to be added in Ohio- and, going directly to their site will help you skip it.

There are also price comparison sites- Price Grabber being one of the oldest. But even these sites can have internal biases.

One of my favorite sites is Deal News, which started out as Deal Mac. Gotta love their tagline- “How to go broke saving money.” Often times, I go here and look at “expired deals” to find out what the best price has been as a good indication of what’s out there.

A new ecommerce clearing house, Jet, is trying to compete with Amazon- and to build that all essential “critical mass” are often losing money even more than Amazon used to. The membership fee they started out with- is now gone. Their gimmick- the more you buy- the more you save, and- if you decline “easy returns” they’ll deduct some more money from the cost.

There are browser plugins than can look up what you are browsing and tell you better prices, but I’m getting really wary of browser plugins spying these days- your CC info may be too easy to steal once you grant access to your browser. Plus, the prices weren’t always that great.

And, although it can be intimidating- for a lot of stuff that you know is made in some factory in China- you can try to go direct via Alibaba. The tough thing is sorting out the actual manufacturers from the many middle men- but if you are looking for quantity of any item- it’s the place to go.

Ebay is also another secret resource. Many manufacturers now have their own Ebay outlets, where they sell blemished, open box, refurbs or discontinued items. The stuff can be found with full warranty at a fraction of the price. And speaking of Ebay- if you bid any time other than the final split second, you are bidding against yourself. Look into a sniping application like eSnipe and always get what you want at the price you want.

And, of course, if you want to learn how to build a website that really works- don’t forget to take the www.websitetology.com seminar, now in it’s tenth year.

 

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A snapchat guide that’s really useful

Snapchat logo pngSocial media can be confusing. There are so many different networks and tools your business can use that you have to carefully choose which ones are best for your business.

Snapchat reaches young people- this guide is written by a 22 year old. CNN, People, ESPN, Mashable, Vice and other major media outlets have snap stories available, some very highly produced compared to the snapstories of a teen.

But, right out of the box- figuring out snapchat (and the other similar apps- Fleek and Yeti) isn’t exactly intuitive- that’s why we like this simple guide.

Here are all the basics, as well as everything you never knew you could do on Snapchat. It’s easier than it seems.

Source: A 22-year-old made the ultimate guide on how to use Snapchat

If you are near a college campus and market to students- these apps, plus Yik Yak are where you want to be.

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Building a theme from “scratch”- start with a starter theme

Our worst nightmare is when we hear “I’ve got a custom WordPress theme built from scratch.” A lot depends on how well your developer really knows WordPress- and how well they document your theme. With so many advanced themes and frameworks available- where you can easily make a child theme- and let a theme developer deal with all the changes in WordPress- going the custom theme route seems kind of silly.

But- if you are in a groundbreaking industry, and have a specialized use, and a large support staff, you may want to go the custom theme route. The New York Times can do this, the Podunk Picayune probably can not.

Using starter theme in your development is a great way to create a WordPress theme with all the up-to-date WordPress best practices.
Underscores: A starter theme maintained by WordPress parent company Automattic.
Sage: A starter theme based on HTML5 Boilerplate, gulp, Bower, and Bootstrap.
Bones: An HTML5, mobile-first starter theme for rapid WordPress development.
Quark: A simple starter theme built on HTML5 and CSS3.
JointsWP: A starter theme built with Foundation 5.
Naked WordPress: For designers who don’t know WordPress.
HTML5 Blank WordPress Theme: A WordPress HTML5 boilerplate starter theme.

Source: 15 Free Resources To Help You Become a Smarter WordPress Developer

Not a complete list- but, a good place to start

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