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“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”

Albert Einstein

Amazon Begins Webstore Phaseout

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amazon-webstore-logo

James Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, has received quite a number of accolades for the success of his eCommerce brainchild Amazon.com in 1994. Not long after the boom of his online bookstore business, James quickly branched out his business and opened his doors to third party suppliers. After 16 years of leading the eCommerce niche, Amazon has yet again launched a new online innovation –  the Amazon Webstore. Catering to small and medium sized business, Amazon Webstore is a cheap solution to achieve online success.  For just $79 per month and less than 3% of sales charges, small to medium sized business owners can put the fate of their website and products on the hands of the giant.

With just barely 5 years of operations, things starting spiralling down for Amazon Webstore clients which led Amazon to the decision of slowly phasing out Amazon Webstore.

Even on their website the announcement was straightforward: The Amazon Webstore service, an eCommerce solution to build your standalone website, is no longer available new sellers. If you are a current Webstore seller and have questions or need assistance, please visit our FAQs or contact us.”

Credit: zdnet.com

Credit: zdnet.com

That announcement alone signals an end to what was supposed to be the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for small to medium sized business owners.

For current Webstore sellers, Amazon sent them an email stating that the sellers will be given a 15-month window to transfer to another similar platform. In addition, Amazon Webstore vows to assist current Webstore sellers transition to other similar platforms.  A Webstore seller, MarketingLand.com, said it has received a nemail from Amazon Webstore stating that the online platform will end its operations on July 1, 2016. Furthermore, Amazon Webstore encourages sellers to prepare for the inevitable change and to start exporting their data to the new platform they are transferring to.

Interestingly there have been mixed reactions towards the closing of Amazon Webstore from the sellers’ point of view. Some sellers feel that ‘it is just about time’ that Amazon Webstore stop operations while other sellers are still at a loss of what step to take.  According Peter Sheldon, an eCommerce analyst, Amazon Webstore is just sucking the life out of small-medium sized businesses. He said that since all the products sold by the Webstore sellers appear in one big platform, the small sellers do have a hard time gaining leverage over big players, such as Amazon itself.  Buyers usually choose the cheaper yet similar product which almost always is offered by Amazon and not by the small sellers.  The underlying message being sent across here is that Amazon just stepped on the small feet of these sellers to gain that competitive advantage.

Whatever the real reason is behind the closure of Amazon Webstore one thing remains clear –  the more than $30B value of Amazon was not even dented by the letdown of one of its by-products. Closing Amazon Webstore might even do well for both Amazon and the small-medium sized businesses. It will be good for Amazon because it can reassign budget spent from Amazon Webstore to another more profitable branch of Amazon. Moreover, it will be good for the small players because it can learn to stand on its own and innovate independently instead of just putting their business’s fate on the hands of another company.

80% Of HTTPS URLs Not Displaying In Google’s Search Results

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Credits: blog.combell.com

Credits: blog.combell.com

Lately, there was a new small-scale analysis done and it showed that over 80 percent of the HTTPS URLs do not show up in search results in Google. This statement was revealed by Gary Illyes, who is a Google webmaster trends analyst. Many of these HTTPS URLS are actually eligible for indexing and yet they are displayed as HTTP URLS due webmaster configuration.

  • Illyes added that it is not possible for the URL to become canonical simply because the site owners do not give information about them. Additionally, it was reported that site users use HTTP versions in the sitemap files, in the rel-alternate-hreflang and rel-canonical elements, even if HTTPs variant works really fine. He also recommended using HTTPS if the site supports them since Google has given ranking to HTTPs since August.
  • Illyes also shared a simple analysis that Google used on HTTPS URLs. The analysis proved that 80 percent of these HTTPS URLs were indeed eligible for Google search result listings. He explained further though, that these were not included because of the canonicalization of the HTTP version by the webmaster. It was not reported though if that was accidental or done on purpose.

It is Google’s intention to show the HTTPS variant, although if one want the Http version to be communicated Google instead, it is also possible. The configuration is the main reason why 80 percent of the eligible HTTPS URLs are not shown in Google search result listings. Again it was emphasized that it was not Google’s fault that HTTP version still shows.

To further explain this issue it is best to understand that the recent analysis performed showing that over 80 percent of HTTPS URLs being eligible for indexing (meaning these have no noindex and no crawl issues, thus all is good) cannot be canonicalized because the site owners do not tell Google about them. Again site owners are just using the HTTP version even if the HTTPS URLs version is working just fine.

This could only mean that the choice is actually on the website owners. All they need to do is to let Google know more about their HTTPS URLs and then everything will be alright. When this happens, the 80 percent of HTTPS URLs not showing on Google search result listings before are going to be canonicalized so that they will show on the search engine’s result.

 

Source: Search Engine Land

 

10 Web Productivity Tools That’ll Maximize Your Efficiency

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We live in a fast-paced world.  There are just so much things to do with such so little time! We all need the extra help we can get in order to accomplish what needs to be done.  The good news is there are loads of software tools that can aid us with our everyday tasks.  Now, efficiency is within reach!

yast

If you are the type of person who tends to lounge doing unnecessary things or obsess too much doing one task, then you need a tool that will remind you of your daily efficiency.  Yast can be the answer to your problem.  It is a tool that helps you track the time you spend on various activities may it be connected with your work or plain leisure.  All you need to do is sign up for free and you can enjoy its wonderful features like plotting a chart on how fruitful your day is.

dood

Another important tool that busy professionals need is one that keeps track of daily schedules.  Doodle.com is a virtual assistant that does not only keep track of your daily schedule but also automatically tells you when you are free to schedule your next meeting.  What’s also cool about this tool is you can connect your schedule with other business partners to easily coordinate when your meetings can be set.  All these features can be used for free.  Who said having an assistant is expensive?

getresponse

Now that your daily schedule is set, it is time to promote your business. An easy yet cheap way to do this is to use Getresponse.  This tool helps create colourful newsletters that may contain new products or new promotions that your business offers.  With Getresponse, you can automatically send out newsletters to your target clients via email and track their responses easily.  Your newsletter can also be linked to your Facebook and Twitter accounts for more views.

evernote

Another popular favourite when it comes to productivity tools is Evernote. It is an application that syncs with computers and phones to save all files to a cloud. Evernote makes jotting down ideas easier before they are forgotten. Evernote has a lot of features like being able to jot down notes, take photos of whiteboards, record voice memos and organize everything right on the comfort of your phone.

uberconference_white

If you have clients across the state or abroad that you need to meet with, then you can use Uberconference.  This tool allows you to make a conference call with up to ten people for free.  The calls can be recorded and can be played back for documentation purposes.

What-Is-HelloFax

When you need to constantly exchange written documents with clients across the state or abroad, then you can access Hellofax.  This tool allows you to transmit and accept fax messages online. This can save you from using thermal paper because you do not need to print out written documents.  All these documents can be seen online.  Hellofax can also save a lot of time because you can send to multiple recipients at one click.  Finally, all documents you receive are automatically saved to your cloud device so you do not need to worry about your hard drive capacity.

dropbox

Another way to share documents and files without loading your hard drive is by using Dropbox.  This tool securely stores and safely shares your important files with your clients or colleagues.  Files saved in Dropbox can easily be accessed from any computer or mobile devices which mean you do not need to bring your external drive wherever you go.

googledocs

If you need to create a document and save it online, it is best to use Googledocs.  This tool lets you create and manage a document file that can also be accessed by multiple users in their remote locations.  It is best to use this tool when you manage a team from different locations.

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Social media has played a big role in brand marketing, and it’ll be quite tasking to do live posting on these accounts if you have not only 1 or 2 but many accounts to post into. This is where scheduling the updates for your social media channels becomes important, and here is where Buffer comes into the picture. Buffer is perfect for those with busy schedules as it lets you integrate multiple social media profiles into one Buffer account. It also schedule posts from several different accounts at once.

nerd-wallet-logo

Lastly and most importantly, since you are too busy meeting your deadlines you might forget to take note of your budget.  So that you will not go bankrupt while you take care of your business, you can use NerdwalletThis tool helps you make important decisions regarding your spending powers.  It advises you when a purchase or investment is good or not. Since Nerdwallet relies on real-time data, you can be assured that its suggestions and recommendations come from valid sources.

There are many more tools available online that you can download and use for your convenience.  All these tools are just aids; it will not do everything for you.  Remember, you are the driving force of your career.  These tools are just available to give you better focus and direction so that you can achieve your goals sooner.

What you need to know about Webmaker – Mozilla’s latest project

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Mozilla is known as a large community of builders, thinkers and technologists from around the world. Its projects have always been user-oriented. Mozilla is best-known for its extremely popular Firefox, Thunderbird and FireZilla projects. However, it is also developing other project such as Persona which provides users with a much better and easier way to sign in to various websites.

Webmaker

Mozilla has also launched a new project recently, called Webmaker. This seems like a very promising thing with a big future ahead of it. Webmaker is again made with users in mind and it aims to help people create cool things on the web regardless of their coding knowledge. According to their own words, the idea is to help people understand how the web works and use that knowledge to make a web with no limits.

But what does Webmaker offer?

The things that people can take advantage of with Webmaker are divided into three sections:

  1. Tools

This is one of the best things about Webmaker. For now it only offers 4 tools that people can use, but we can expect the list to grow very soon. Each tool gives people the option to create something from scratch or remake something that someone else has published. Here are the 4 tools you can play with:

  • X-Ray Goggles

Have you even clicked the right button and then “Inspect Element”? This tool is similar, except it shows you the elements of any web page in real time when you hover over them with your mouse. Needless to say, you can edit each of those elements to your liking and even publish the page that you have edited.

  • Thimble

Thimble lets you create your own HTML web pages and work on the CSS right from the browser in a quick and easy way. It shows you the results of the code you are writing in real time and you can host and share all of your projects with a couple of clicks.

  • Popcorn Maker

With Popcorn Maker, everyone can edit web videos, images and audio and embed the end product anywhere they like. You can use this tool to drag and drop all kinds of content from around the web, combine, cut and skip parts of videos, add different layers of audio and much more from your browser.

  • Appmaker

Perhaps the best of the 4 tools, Appmaker allows you to create your own mobile apps with simple drag and drop actions. This is extremely easy to use even if you have absolutely no coding knowledge at all. With this tool you just drag different “bricks” from simple headers and buttons to more advanced chat rooms and media players and drop them on the screen of a mobile device. It’s as easy as that.

Webmaker

  1. Resources

Webmaker offers much more than just 4 tools. People who want to learn or learn how to teach can use the many available resources which include useful and easy to understand information about web mechanics, security, design and accessibility, coding/scripting, collaborating, sharing and more.

Webmaker Event

  1. Events

On the Events page of the Webmaker website people can find out about different events around the world and how they can join. Currently there are 2,098 events and you can either search for one or create one of your own. These events are also known as Maker Parties and they are all about celebrating the web. People who join such Parties will be able to learn anything from making a video on the web to why privacy matters.

Overall, Mozilla has started another great project and we can only imagine what it has in store for us. Webmaker is already a lot of fun and offers people with minimal or no coding knowledge at all to learn something new and basically to understand the web.