Category

Design & Development

The nuts and bolts of an ecommerce site are design and development. We address design innovation and trends — including layouts, colors, photography, logos, video, and more. We explain the basics of code — HTML, CSS, JavaScript — as well as platforms, themes, plugins, open source, and related topics.

Code | Design & Dev Tools | Platforms & Apps | Schools & Resources | Typography & Fonts | User Experience
  • Design & Development

    Product Spotlight: eBay Items, Mouse & Tablet, And More

    June 8, 2007 •

    Blog Your eBay Items Have you ever found something on eBay that you really wanted to let your friends know about? Or is your business selling items on eBay and you want to cross-promote those items in your businesses' blog? If so, eBay To Go is for you. It's a way for you to share inte...

  • Design & Development

    Web Conversion Strategy: When Design Dominates

    June 8, 2007 •

    A local business magazine had written an article reviewing the website designs of various local companies. As you may imagine, I read with dismay as the three-page article focused solely on graphic design. There was no mention of usability, conversion rate or site effectiveness (using a...

  • Design & Development

    Critique Part Four: Site Search

    June 4, 2007 •

    The Problem: The results aren't always relevant. The Fix: A search for "snowboard" returns wax as the top result — but no snowboard until the fourth page of results, even though the site has an entire section dedicated to snowboards. Similarly irrelevant results came back for "bindings...

  • Design & Development

    Online Payment Alternative: Bill Me Later

    May 24, 2007 •

    Vince Talbert is the vice president of marketing for I4 Commerce (pronounced "eye four commerce"), a company offering the online payment alternative Bill Me Later at. PeC: What does Bill Me Later provide to customers? Talbert: "It is a payment option designed so customers can make ...

  • Design & Development

    Installing Google Maps On Your Site

    May 2, 2007 •

    Implementing Google Maps into your website is an easy way to provide rich, interactive map features that can help your customers find your business. Of particular interest to brick-and-mortar stores, Google Maps provides an Application Programming Interface (API) that makes it easy fo...

  • Design & Development

    Analysis: The New PayPal

    April 26, 2007 •

    To more than 50 million users, PayPal used to signify a peer-to-peer payment exchange that relied largely on email notifications. Not anymore. While PayPal still stands as one of the most recognized brands in the ecommerce world, it’s no longer a single payment system: It's a suite of d...

  • Basic Definitions: Web 1.0, Web. 2.0, Web 3.0 Design & Development

    Basic Definitions: Web 1.0, Web. 2.0, Web 3.0

    April 18, 2007 •

    “What is web 2.0?” We receive this question often. It likely has as many answers as the number of people using the term. However, since talk of web 3.0 has ...

  • Platforms & Apps

    What Do You Dislike About Your Shopping Cart?

    April 18, 2007 •

    Readers weigh in on what they would like to see improved with their carts. 1ShoppingCart "We offer live UPS shipping rates, but for some reason 1ShoppingCart is only set up for commercial rates. It should default to residential rates. I would guess there are five residential buyers ...

  • Design & Development

    What is Ruby on Rails?

    April 9, 2007 •

    First there was Ruby, and now there is Ruby on Rails. Ruby is an open-source web-programming language that was developed in Japan in 1995. Ruby resides on your web server and operates similarly to other programming languages, such as PHP, ASP and Perl. “Rails” is a separate pre-built ...

  • Design & Development

    Why Authenticate Email?

    April 9, 2007 •

    Mail servers require a username and password authentication for outgoing mail (mail being sent from your computer to someone else) so the servers can maintain control over who is allowed to use the resource. The first, and probably most obvious, motivation is to control email spam. By r...

  • Design & Development

    Will All My Windows Applications Run On A Mac?

    March 8, 2007 •

    This question relates to the new Apple computers that include Intel chips. Since the switch to Intel processors, it has been possible to load Microsoft's Windows operating system onto Apple hardware. As long as the system requirements for the version of Windows you plan to run are met b...

  • Design & Development

    Payment Options For International Sales

    February 21, 2007 •

    Cross-border sales can help businesses reach new types of consumers and new levels of profitability. Small online businesses must determine what payment options are available in order to successfully operate across international borders. Once in place, these options can be a powerful to...

  • Design & Development

    Does A Proxy Server Keep Me Anonymous On The Internet?

    February 7, 2007 •

    Does a proxy server keep me anonymous on the Internet? No. And that is that. Unless you are a very talented hacker, there is no such thing as anonymity on the Internet. A common misconception about anonymous is that they allow you to surf the Internet and do whatever you want without ...

  • Design & Development

    How Is An Atom Feed Different From An RSS Feed?

    February 7, 2007 •

    An Atom feed is very similar to an RSS feed in that it is a lightweight XML format allowing for easy syndication of web content. In fact, most RSS readers and news aggregators will be able to read Atom feeds just fine, as it is becoming a widely-used alternative to RSS feeds. What's a ...

  • Design & Development

    Google Analytics’ Security Warnings

    February 5, 2007 •

    The subject of security warnings with Google Analytics is one that has been frequently brought up by our readers, and was something that I ran into when I launched an earlier Practical eCommerce website. The issue is that occasionally someone will install Google Analytics on their site ...

  • Design & Development

    What Can Digg.com Do For My Online Business?

    February 5, 2007 •

    Digg.com is probably best called a social networking news site. The idea behind Digg.com, and other sites like it, is that users submit web pages they have bookmarked or "dugg." After a certain number of people "digg" the same web page, it is moved to the top of the index, which is on D...

  • Design & Development

    Is The Mobile Web Right For Your Ecommerce Business?

    January 15, 2007 •

    Among the topics of conversation for those who make 2007 business technology predictions is the extent to which the "mobile web" — cell phones and other devices that access the Internet for information and ecommerce — will gain traction in the United States. In parts of Europe and Asia...

  • Design & Development

    Preparing Your Website For Mobile Devices

    January 15, 2007 •

    With the growing number of consumers using mobile devices, such as cell phones and PDAs, to access the Internet, it’s important to make sure your website can be accessed by ...

  • Design & Development

    Internet Explorer 7 is Coming

    December 1, 2006 •

    The upcoming release of the Windows Vista operating system also means the impending release of the full version of the web browser Internet Explorer 7. Like most website developers, I toughed out a brief bout of panic as memories of the release of Internet Explorer 6 came rushing back t...

  • Design & Development

    Tech Support – December 2006

    December 1, 2006 •

    Question: I'm confused by all the prices out there for domain-name registration. My hosting company occasionally offers free domain name registration, yet I see some other companies charging up to $29.99 annually to register a domain name. Are the more expensive versions somehow better...

  • Design & Development

    Google Takes On Microsoft Office

    November 20, 2006 •

    Google's never made a secret of the fact that its vision of your future computer desktop does not include any Microsoft products. For Google, all you'll need is a browser, an Internet connection, and a Google account - everything else is optional! Google will provide for all your comput...

  • Design & Development

    Get To Know Your .htaccess File

    November 1, 2006 •

    A valuable tool many web developers either don't understand or aren't aware of is the .htaccess file. The file is available only to websites hosted on servers running the Apache web server, which is the overwhelming majority of hosting servers. An .htaccess file is a small, plain-text f...

  • Design & Dev Tools

    Experiencing Server Overload

    November 1, 2006 •

    Each month I talk about things I’ve learned by watching how other store owners run their businesses. Not that I don’t make my own mistakes, but I often try to keep my own embarrassing moments to myself. Until now... I’ve talked before about what to look for in a hosting company. I’ve t...

  • Design & Development

    Quick Query: Second Bite’s Chad Herman

    November 1, 2006 •

    PeC: What does Second Bite do for online businesses? Herman: Second Bite gives the merchant the opportunity to remarket to any individual who, for whatever reason, is not able to complete the purchase at the time of the site visit. We get back in front of that consumer with a target...

  • Design & Development

    Tech Support: November 2006

    November 1, 2006 •

    What are Technorati tags and what do they do? Technorati is a website that provides an index of the web, allowing people to find up-to-the-minute information and web content. One of the ways Technorati achieves this is by using content tags, which are also used by other sites, that pro...

  • Code

    Flash or HTML: Which to Choose

    October 16, 2006 •

    The question of whether it is better to design a website using Flash rather than using just HTML has sparked many debates among web developers. For the most part, it seems that developers tend to defend what they know, although there are some important differences between a pure HTML we...

  • Design & Development

    Email: How It Works

    October 7, 2006 •

    Email has become one of the primary sources of communication among people in the world today, yet how it works remains a bit of a mystery to many people. In order to shed some light on the subject, let’s follow an email message from the sender to the recipient. Most people use some sor...

  • Design & Development

    How To Start a Video Blog

    October 7, 2006 •

    Web logs, commonly referred to as "blogs," came into the mainstream about two years ago. Not really a newsletter or traditional .html-page publishing, blogs resemble more of a web-based diary where the creator records their thoughts, posts links or responds to questions. Initially, bl...

  • Design & Development

    Should you consider a .ws domain?

    October 4, 2006 •

    "Exploding" is marketer's hype, perhaps to press full advantage out of GDI's multi-tier affiliate marketing structure (5 levels), "with the potential to earn commissions on unlimited levels as a GDI Master Affiliate."

  • Design & Development

    Tech Support: October 2006

    October 2, 2006 •

    Question: I keep hearing about a two-tiered Internet. What is that? Brian Getting: Two-tiered Internet refers to the attempt by major telecommunication companies, who provide the infrastructure for Internet communications, to send information across the Internet in two separate speed...

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