LiteCommerce Designers & Developers in Los Angeles | LiteCommerce Review

So you’re thinking about using LiteCommerce to build and maintain your ecommerce store. Let me guess: you saw the words “free ecommerce solution” and decided to give it a try. Or maybe you’re just a savvy Web consumer and are trying to see if the platform is right for you before hitting that “Install” button. Well, I think I may be able to give you a bit of perspective. As the founder of Coalition Technologies, I manage a team of the best LiteCommerce designers and developers in Los Angeles, and I have personally used every facet of this unique platform. Before you decide whether or not to place the fate of your online business in the hands of this one-of-a-kind CMS solution, consider a few of the pros and cons.

1

LiteCommerce – The Advantages

You probably already know the major advantage. LiteCommerce is free to use…to a point. There are some hidden fees involved, but we’ll get to that in the next section. If you’re looking for a shopping cart solution on a budget, LiteCommerce will definitely save you some cash. Like the Magento Community Edition, it has no monthly maintenance fees, but unlike Magento CE, it’s fairly easy to use. You don’t need any knowledge of coding to build your online store, and the interface is pretty straightforward.

The other big selling point is the versatility of the platform. Despite its status as a budget CMS, LiteCommerce offers a surprising number of useful add-ons, apps and extensions (not all of which are free, mind you). For instance, incorporating a blog into your LiteCommerce website is actually easier than incorporating a blog into a BigCommerce website (and BigCommerce is most definitely not free). You can also customize your site to include forums, marketing tools and a wide array of back-end features like detailed analytics.

LiteCommerce does have a bit of a learning curve, but as previously emphasized, it’s much easier to learn than other free and open-source ecommerce platforms. The content management system enables you to complete all of your key tasks—like listing products, designing your store, uploading images and managing orders—with relative ease, and if you do want to edit your store from the back end, you can customize it to your liking (assuming that you have at least an elementary understanding of Drupal and PHP). LiteCommerce, as the company website points out, is an object-oriented MVC software that uses a Flexy template engine. If you have the developing prowess necessary to navigate the engine, there is almost no limit to what you can customize.

LiteCommerce – The Disadvantages

Okay, now that we’ve gone into the details about everything that makes LiteCommerce a potentially worthwhile pursuit, it’s time to discuss some of the issues that may cause you to think twice (depending on what you look for in a shopping cart platform). First, as previously noted, the word “free” doesn’t necessarily mean free.

In other words, you can use the content management system without any monetary investment, but if you want to accept credit card payments (which, obviously, is pretty essential for any online business), you’re going to need to invest in the services of a third-party merchant. That’s going to cost you. It’s only a slight disadvantage, since most premium shopping cart platforms also require the extra payment merchant investment, but it’s important to note, lest you were under the impression that you could actually manage an entire online store without spending a penny out of pocket. Sadly, there’s no so such thing as a free lunch.

The other big disadvantage is the customer service. LiteCommerce is based in Russia, and it can be extremely difficult to achieve real-time customer service right when you need it. Even when you do connect with a real human being, the language barrier can often present a challenge. So if you’re running your site on your own, and you need the safety net of round-the-clock assistance, you may want to look elsewhere. LiteCommerce is definitely better suited to individuals who prefer the self-sufficient route.

Also, how big is your store? While LiteCommerce can work wonders for small to medium-sized enterprises, its limitations really become apparent as you begin to reach corporate status. If you’re looking at a million dollars in sales every month, you really need a premium shopping cart solution that’s equipped to handle large online empires, with unlimited bandwidth, seamless coding and round-the-clock customer service. As a free solution, LiteCommerce just isn’t it.

Finally, remember that a zero-dollar price tag usually comes with some limitations. While LiteCommerce will definitely get the job done, it’s not going to give you an edge over the competition. It’s an excellent solution if you’re just starting out or are looking for a cost-effective ecommerce provider, but it’s not the ideal platform for large businesses looking to make a name for themselves. The design templates are fairly limited, the coding can be glitchy at times, and the customer service almost might as well be non-existent. So weigh the pros with the cons before you make your final decision.

LiteCommerce Designers and Developers in Los Angeles

If you already use LiteCommerce and aren’t reaching your full potential, you may just need a bit of custom design and development to overcome the limitations of this cost-effective platform. At Coalition Technologies, our team of highly qualified LiteCommerce designers and developers understand the platform inside and out. They understand the engine, the programming languages and the content management system, and they know how to turn a barely adequate ecommerce website into a thriving online enterprise.

Whether you’re already struggling to get the most from LiteCommerce or are just looking to give yourself a competitive edge, call our LiteCommerce designers and developers today at 1-888-800-9101. We’ll give you a free quote and explain how we can take your online store to the next level. Don’t let another minute pass by with wasted revenue. Take action and achieve the traffic and revenue that you truly deserve.

Singularity: Rapture For The Nerds

What is the Singularity: Singularity is the theory that technological innovation is increasing at an exponential rate and will reach a point where artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence and is then able to create higher intelligences even faster than before. What happens at that point is unpredictable to human minds because we would be unable to comprehend it.  Most futurists predict that this event will happen sometime between the year 2030 and 2050, with an median of 2040. My personal opinion is that with the recent creation of computers that mimic human neurons, quantum computing and other technology, this technology is closer than we think: perhaps 2025-2030.

singularity_chart

 

What will happen after the Singularity? Many people debate on what will happen at this point. Some think the world will turn to a utopia if artificial intelligence puts human best interests first: no more war, crime, disease, death, accidents, hangovers, etc. Basically like the Christian version of heaven, except instead of a mythical supernatural being, we will have a massively powerful computer watching over us. In the dystopic versions, the computer decides it needs to use scarce resources to advance to the next level and causes human extinction by turning our entire planet into a massive machine.  My personal opinion currently is that the artificial intelligence will look at humanity just like humanity looks at ants: it will spare us very little thought and will not hesitate to build a house on top of our ant hill.

Can the Singularity be prevented? Probably not, short of humans going extinct ahead of time. Scientists have always worked on technologies without much regard to how they affect the rest of humanity. The first time they tested an atomic bomb, a significant portion of the scientists who built it thought it might set the atmosphere on fire and kill the entire planet. We have many scientists now working on crafting genetically modified superdiseases and chemical weapons. Technology is being pushed forward at faster and faster rates. Short of the deaths of the majority of the population, stopping the Singularity will be extraordinarily difficult.

Is the Singularity a religion? Perhaps. Many scientists and technologists have begun to believe in the theory of the Singularity almost as earnestly as others believe in Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed. It is a scientific theory though, so people who believe in the Singularity are open to new evidence changing their minds.

If I believe in the Singularity, should I change the way I currently live my life? This is an interesting question of ethics… I guess it depends on the probability with which you think that the Singularity will come to pass, whether you believe the result of the singularity will be positive or negative to your life, and when you believe it will occur. I am thinking this through as I write this post… above I said the Singularity will likely occur in 2025-2030 (11-16 years from now)… the result has in my opinion a 50-50 chance of creating an intelligence that will look at us like ants.. hmm. Should I change my life if I knew I had 15 years to live? I don’t think I would. I enjoy my lifestyle and am happier than I’ve ever been working and doing what I do.

 

Yahoo Merchant Store SEO Agency | How Yahoo Merchant Store Works with SEO

Ecommerce is big business, not just for you, but for the companies that enable you to be a part of the ecommerce revolution without wasting countless hours coding your website. I’m talking about the shopping cart platforms and content management systems that enable you to build and manage your store with the click of a button, like, for instance, the Yahoo Merchant Store. This platform is great for designing sleek layouts and managing seemingly countless orders with ease, but how does it fare in the SEO department? I actually manage a leading Yahoo Merchant Store SEO agency in Los Angeles, so I’d like to take a few moments to point out how Yahoo stores stack up in the SEO department.

1

Why Does it Matter?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of SEO as it pertains to the Yahoo Merchant Store, maybe you’re wondering why this is such an important issue in the first place. After all, when choosing an ecommerce platform, you probably look at issues like price, ease of use, versatility and customization freedom. How does SEO enter the equation? Well, I would argue that SEO is not only an important ingredient in your ecommerce success recipe, but it’s actually the important ingredient. Without it, your site is just a serious of 1’s and 0’s floating through CyberSpace.

SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and it is the process by which you achieve search engine visibility. Without search engine visibility, you can forget about things like “traffic” and “revenue” and “success” and “a roof over your head”…but I digress. With a solid SEO plan, you can achieve front-page search engine rankings for all of the major keywords in your niche, and when it comes to CyberSpace, that’s the most valuable marketing you can get. So when choosing an ecommerce platform, whether it happens to be Shopify, Volusion or even Yahoo Merchant Stores, you need to carefully consider the role of SEO.

Yahoo Merchant Stores

So now that we understand why SEO integration is much more than just a good idea, the question remains: How does Yahoo measure up in the SEO department? Surprisingly, it’s quite the powerhouse. In fact, Yahoo is one of my top recommendations for SEO-inclusive shopping cart platforms because it contains all of the ingredients for SEO success. Please don’t misunderstand. You’re not going to achieve #1 Google rankings straight out of the box. There is still much work that needs to be done on your end, but Yahoo definitely provides a powerful framework for SEO success potential.

For instance, many people tend to neglect the back-end demands that go along with any SEO plan. They spend all of their time creating content and building links, while forgetting about critical steps like building quality XML and HTML sitemaps, establishing the optimal link navigation structure, and creating search-friendly URLs. Even more neglected are the usability functions like rapid page load times, custom 404 pages and error minimization. Yahoo Merchant Stores not only enable these features, but automate them. Even if you don’t know your PHP from your HTML, and can’t tell the difference between a <div> tag and a skin tag, you can achieve flawless back-end SEO thanks to Yahoo’s intuitive development features.

Of Course, There are Limitations…

Just to be clear, even Yahoo Merchant Stores can’t automate everything. SEO is a complex and multifaceted enterprise, and it encompasses a wide range of both on-site and off-site modifications. Yahoo can’t do everything on your behalf, but neither can any other content management system. There are issues like link building, keyword research and content creation, which simply cannot be placed on auto-pilot. This, unfortunately, is where many otherwise competent online business owners fall short. Yahoo Merchant Stores are second to none when it comes to SEO, but if you really want to give yourself the necessary competitive edge, you’ll need to look beyond the stock automations and put some personal effort into your SEO campaign. Not only will it be worth your time, but it will maximize the return on your investment in ways you never imagined.

Unfortunately, taking command of your SEO campaign can be tricky. How do you find the right link partners? How do you determine which keywords to target, and how do you optimize your content accordingly? These are complex questions with no simple answers, and if you really want to reap the maximum reward, it pays to have a professional on your side. Amateur SEO is a lot like amateur skydiving. It may sound like a good idea, but if you’re not adequately prepared for the complex challenges that await you, you’re going to end up looking like a bug on a windshield.

Coalition Technologies – Your Yahoo Merchant Store SEO Agency

My company, Coalition Technologies, understands the Yahoo eCommerce platform inside and out. We employ some of the top designers, developers and SEOs in the industry, and we continuously deliver unparalleled results for our clients. If you have a great Yahoo Merchant website, but are looking to improve your traffic and revenue with the help of a Yahoo Merchant Store SEO agency, give us a call at 1-888-800-9101. We’ll give you a free quote and provide you with a step-by-step breakdown of how we can boost your search engine rankings and maximize your search engine potential. So don’t settle for second best. Take command of your eCommerce destiny, and stop looking at SEO as a mere afterthought.

Management Retreat Big Bear Cabin

Kinda scary… we spent way too much on a cabin that turned out to be super old and beat up.

image

Looking for ghosts…

image

Weird art made with human hair

image

More scary art

image

Chains?

image

image

image

Next time there will be a LOT more research done.

BigCommerce Web Designers | BigCommerce CEO Gets “Personal”

1I was recently reading an article penned by Mitchell Harper, one of the CEOs of BigCommerce. For those unaware, BigCommerce is one of the world’s leading ecommerce platforms, enabling even the most technologically impaired online business owners to build and manage complex web stores as easily as if they were managing a WordPress blog. In his article, Harper waxed philosophic about how ecommerce has “gone too far in eliminating the middleman.” In other words, social media integration has largely overshadowed the value of real, human contract in the sales equation, and that’s proving to be detrimental to the online sales landscape. This piece instantly appealed to me, as I have been using BigCommerce for years and currently manage a team of leading BigCommerce web designers and developers. In the article, Harper makes a few extremely noteworthy points about the state of ecommerce.

The Important Takeaways

Among other things, the article emphasizes how social media “likes” do not equate to valuable leads. For instance, your product or website may have 100,000 Facebook followers, while still only raking in $300 a month in sales. How is this possible? Because today’s paradigm emphasizes quantity over quality. The whole notion is predicated on the erroneous idea that greater exposure equals greater revenue. Unfortunately, there are several factors that must exist before exposure can effectively translate to sales. For instance, are you actually appealing to the right demographic? Are your marketing efforts tailored to the needs of that demographic? Are you emphasizing search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) as integral components of your marketing strategy? Are you engaging your customers directly, rather than simply talking at them?

Sadly, the personal element of sales is being lost in CyberSpace. Before the days when you could offer up your wares at the click of a mouse, salespeople had no choice but to appeal directly to the consumer. The interaction was face to face, and without a meaningful engagement, the entire exercise was futile. But today, much of the interaction is digital, and it’s so easy to take the personal element for granted. We fall into the trap of assuming that in order to enhance our success, we must only widen our net. This is partially true, as greater engagement does amount to greater exposure to our target audience (if only according to the laws of probability), but the fallacy lies in the feeble assumption that exposure alone is tantamount to success. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Fostering Real Success

If we want to achieve the kind of exposure that actually promotes the maximum return on our investment, we need to step away from the absurd notion of quantity > quality, and get back to the old school. We need to consider how personalization leads to a more palpable return on investment, and we need to look for ways to connect directly with our audiences, rather than just blindly tossing darts at increasingly massive dart boards. As Harper notes in his article, “most consumers prefer some form of human interaction with ecommerce” (according to a report from Purdue University), so the key isn’t to increase your followers, but rather to make the most meaningful use of the audience you already have, while reaching out to new consumers who are actually looking for your products or services. But how do we achieve this? And what does it mean for BigCommerce?

BigCommerce and the Future of Online Sales

There is a famous Billy Wilder film called Kiss Me, Stupid. It stars Dean Martin, and it features one of the crooner’s most famous and iconic lines: “If you’ve got what it takes, sooner or later someone will take what you’ve got.” This is the perfect, succinct way of illustrating the power of giving people what they actually want. And this is why I love BigCommerce. Sure, the platform contains a wealth of marketing and social media tools, designed to increase your exposure and incrementally increase your following — but more importantly, BigCommerce emphasizes the importance of giving people what they actually want. That’s why I continue to recommend it to my clients.

For example, BigCommerce highlights recommended products based on a user’s viewing activity, and it allows you to communicate seamlessly with customers in order to forge a meaningful relationship. Sales are great, but if you want to maximize your conversions, you need to establish a real dialogue. This requires top notch customer service and an in-depth understanding of what the consumer actually wants. If you’re spending all of your time trying to bolster your Facebook or Twitter following, you’re missing out on tremendous opportunities.

Turning the Tide

Maybe you’re thinking, “Wow, I’ve been going about this all wrong. I’ve spent so much time obsessing over my social media accounts that I’ve been neglecting my actual customer base.” Well, you’re not alone. The great thing about BigCommerce is that it does some of the work for you. It performs a variety of important back-end SEO tasks, enabling you to improve your search engine visibility to the consumers who would benefit most from the very products and services that you have to offer. BigCommerce also enables you to engage your existing customers with tailor-made recommendations, newsletters and streamlined customer service. If you’re looking for the ideal ecommerce platform, you could certainly do a lot worse. In fact, BigCommerce consistently ranks among my top recommendations, not only for its unparalleled engagement features, but also for its usability, price and customization freedom.

Coalition Technologies – More Than Just BigCommerce Web Designers

If you already use BigCommerce and are looking to give your site a much needed facelift, I would encourage you to call Coalition Technologies. Our team consists of the leading BigCommerce Web designers and developers in Los Angeles, and we can help you turn your adequate website into an ecommerce powerhouse with breathtaking designs, seamless usability and top quality SEO. Call us for a free quote at 1-888-800-9101 to learn more about how we can help. Like Mitchell Harper, we believe that online success isn’t about quantity. We take it personally.

BigCommerce vs Magento

The big battle of the season isn’t between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, nor is it between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. No, if you want a real fight to the death, look no further than BigCommerce vs Magento. These two ecommerce powerhouses both claim to be the ultimate solution for online businesses, but which one actually reigns victorious? Each platform has its pros and cons, but ultimately, the victor will be decided by your own business needs and priorities. So let’s break down the features.

1

The Price

When it comes to price, it’s difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison because there are multiple variations of each platform, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. For instance, Magento has an entirely free version (the Magento Community Edition), which offers the most tantalizing dollar amount but not necessarily the best array of features. BigCommerce plans start at $24.95 a month, but the Bronze plan (the most cost-effective BigCommerce option) offers far more than Magento CE in terms of functionality.

For the most fair comparison, we should compare BigCommerce’s Silver and Gold packages to Magento Go. This will give you an idea of how the mid-tier packages compare for each program. For starters, neither Magento nor BigCommerce charges transactions fees, and that’s an important thing to look for in an ecommerce package. Other companies will charge a small fee for each sale that you make, and this—as you can imagine—adds up to a substantial investment over time, so you’ll want to avoid transaction fees like the plague.

When it comes to price, BigCommerce has a slight advantage. For $25 a month, you can maintain 100 products and 1 gigabyte of space. By comparison, Magento charges only $15 a month for its “Get Going” plan, but it allows for 100 products and only 200 megabytes of storage. If you bump up your Magento plan to the “Going Place” option, you’ll get 500 product listings for only $25 a month, but your storage will still be limited to only half a gigabyte. Therefore, if you have a lot of products, BigCommerce is your obvious choice.

Ease of Use

Do you find yourself struggling to navigate the complexities of CyberSpace? Or, by contrast, do you favor the ability to manipulate every facet of your ecommerce experience? When it comes to ease of use, your final decision will be dependent on your approach to design. In other words, are you looking for a simple point-and-click solution, or is PHP in your DNA? This is where things can get a bit complicated.

Magento was built upon an open-source framework, and it remains one of the most intricately customizable eCommerce platforms on the market today. BigCommerce is also highly customizable, but it’s more renowned for its ease of use. I would break it down this way: if you’re a developer and a cyber control freak like myself, go with Magento. If you just want to build and manage a site quickly and easily without any drama, go with BigCommerce. BigCommerce is customizable, but it was also designed with novices in mind. By contrast, Magento was built to maximize your possibilities through complex customization.

Customer Service

When it comes to customer support, both services are extremely favorable. The customer service representatives are helpful, knowledgeable, and focused on the needs of the customer. Magento, however, has a slight edge in this area, as you can reach their customer service representatives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. BigCommerce is only available by phone between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 p.m CST (as of this writing).

Customization

This was a tough one, but I’m going to have to call it a tie (forgive me if this sounds like a cop-out). For the amateur, BigCommerce and Magento both offer a wealth of superior templates, layouts and apps, guaranteed to afford you every customization option that you could possibly dream up. For the knowledgeable developer, both platforms give you free reign over your coding, enabling you to manipulate your PHP and HTML to your heart’s content. I would note, however, that if you’re relying on the open-source Magento CE, your options may be limited in terms of point-and-click customization.

SEO

Don’t underestimate the importance of SEO when choosing an ecommerce provider. Without integrated search engine optimization, you’re going to find it extremely difficult to obtain the kind of exposure necessary to run a successful online business. Magento and BigCommerce both include built-in features to promote adequate search engine exposure, but BigCommerce has a slight edge in this department. The sitemap integration and navigation structure are second to none, and BigCommerce makes it remarkably simple to integrate custom URLs, title tags, meta descriptions and content. Of course, we’ve already noted the incredible ease of use that BigCommerce provides.

 

BigCommerce vs Magento: The Final Verdict

 

Still struggling to find the right solution? I hate to oversimplify, and I would encourage you to consider all of the variables involved, but if forced to offer a blanket generalization, I would say the following: Go with Magento if you’re a more experienced developer, and go with BigCommerce if you’re a novice looking for an easy solution. In the battle of BigCommerce vs Magento, it’s all about your personal needs. And if you’re looking to improve your traffic and revenue with custom development and SEO services, give Coalition Technologies a call. We work with some of the nation’s top small businesses and corporate enterprises, and we can help you to massively improve your return on investment. Call us at 1-888-800-9101 for a free quote, and find out how our team of BigCommerce partners and Magento partners can take your online business to new heights.

Doctors Continue to Screw Americans

By restricting total supply of doctors through regulations, Americans continue to be screwed by the medical profession. The high cost of health care has nothing to do with insurance and everything to do with health care regulations around the medical profession artificially constraining the supply of doctors and the types of services they can offer.