Where to Enter Google Adword Coupon Codes?

Every time I start a new website I get emails from Google with a $100 Adwords coupon code in it. Besides free traffic, at a minimum, I use that $100 to test what headlines get the most click thru rates so I can use similar ones to increase conversions.

Unfortunately I don’t enter these Adwords coupon codes often enough to remember exactly where to paste them in – but I do remember that they are hidden.

To enter a $50 or $100 Adwords coupon code first create your account at https://adwords.google.com. Next click on the Billing tab and Billing preferences.

Then go through the billing setup wizard and on the billing screen at the very bottom of the screen there is a “coupon code” link.

Enter your code and complete the wizard.

It is also important to note that you will get a message prompting you to pay them so your ads don’t end automatically. You don’t have to do that to collect the $100 credit. The way Google words it makes you initially think that you also have to deposit $10 of your money to your Adwords account, but it is not true.

How to Launch a Niche E-commerce Website

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So the month of July my wife and I worked hard on launching a niche e-commerce website that sells baby shower diaper cakes.  Following the advice of Tim Ferriss, Store Coach (Affiliate Link), and Andrew Youderian, I evaluated and selected my niche, found drop ship companies to purchase products from, and optimized my site.

Now on to the marketing.  But first, why diaper cakes?

Selecting a Niche

Well, I evaluated many niches from tattoo equipment to gun accessories but only diaper cakes ended up fitting my criteria. Here are the major ones:

1) Be able to add value to the niche you select.  Thanks to Andrew for this one.  I’m a web/mobile developer by trade so I know how to build e-commerce sites and I know what good design looks like.  Most of the websites in the diaper cake niche look like they fell out of the 1990s.  As a bonus, my wife is pretty crafty and has built several really nice diaper cakes for friends and family, so she knows what products look good and what doesn’t.  With both of us I felt we could really add value.

2) Select a price point of $100 or more.  I had heard this before from the Four Hour Work Week, but to recap: $100 – $200 products give you maximum profitability (20% – 50%) while minimizing customer service problems.

3) Find the right type of customers.  Our goal is to appeal to both the female and baby boomer demographics – two groups that are really starting to buy a lot of stuff online (in the past it has been mostly men).  Check out this infographic (thanks again Andrew!).

4) Sell products that are difficult to find locally.  While selling stuff online, it is important to niche down and find something that is difficult to find locally.  For example, I would never considering selling screwdrivers online.  Your local hardware store probably has a great selection.  However, a great “niched down” subset might be a special type of screwdrivers for working on oil rigs or large machinery.

Product vs. Marketing Mindset

Marketing has been my achilles heal for sometime now (hence why I blog about it now).  It is not because I don’t have the ability to market, but instead because it is difficult to know what you don’t know.  And I always thought the term “sales” was a dirty word.

Most engineers would agree with me though.  I’ve heard statements like “the product should sell itself” and “sales and marketing are not necessary.”  But in actuality the best product in the world won’t sell if nobody knows it exists.

Although Google’s walls are full of engineers, without marketing (be it word-of-mouth), we’d all be using Ask Jeeves – Ok, maybe not.  But you get my point.

So step one for me was just getting over thoughts of a used car salesman when somebody talks about marketing.

How to Market an E-Commerce site

As I am discovering from the various Internet marketing experts, most online marketing strategies are the same, no matter the product.

The things that do change, however, are what strategies work best for a) the type of site you have and b) the niche you are in.

It all boils down to 2 things.  In order to rank high in search engines you must have:

1) Relevant content related to your topic.  This makes sense if you think about it.  What are people looking for when they search the web?  Information primarily.  So if you are selling widgets, you’d better have some useful information about widgets such as “how tos” and information to solve widget-related problems.

2) Relevant backlinks pointing to your website. Think quality and relevance over quantity here.  This is how most search engines tell if your site IS ACTUALLY useful.  It is a basic voting system.  A backlink is essentially a vote for you.

I will be talking more about the specific strategies for marketing websites in upcoming posts.  But as you’ll see all of the strategies and methods are based on one or both of those underlying goals.

Stay tuned as I spend the next few months building traffic to my baby shower site OhBabyCakes.net and report the results.

To evaluate your own e-commerce niche, check out my notes that I used to select my topic.

 

Install SSL Certificate in OpenCart

Installing a SSL certificate is a breeze in the open source e-commerce system OpenCart.

  • First make sure you purchase a SSL or Secure Certificate and that it is activated for your domain where OpenCart is installed.
  • Next, login to to the admin section of your OpenCart site at http://www.example.com/admin/.
  • Then go to System > Settings, Click the Server tab, and check the radio button to use SSL.
  • Next you will need to connect to your domain with an FTP program such as FileZilla or access the config.php files in your cPanel.
  • Edit the config.php file and change the “http” to “https” on the following two lines.  Then save the file.
define('HTTPS_SERVER', 'https://www.example.com/');
define('HTTPS_IMAGE', 'https://www.example.com/image/');
  • Next open the /admin/ directory and edit the config.php similar to the previous step. Then save this file.
define('HTTPS_SERVER', 'https://www.example.com/');
define('HTTPS_IMAGE', 'https://www.example.com/image/');
  • That’s it! SSL is setup.

Important Notes:

  • It is important to remember that OpenCart does not require that all pages use “https” in the URL like most e-commerce solutions.  It does, however, force it when a user signs in or during the checkout process.
  • Also, if you get errors that say something about “unsecured content” then somewhere on your page you have a hardcoded url to images, CSS files, or other content of “http.”  To solve, view the source on the page where you are receiving the error and search for “http”.  You’ll notice that most are “https”.  Fix all the occurrences that are not “https”.

Drupal Imagecache Setup

One of the biggest benefits of Drupal is that it is highly flexible.  But with great flexibility comes great complexity.  Such is true when configuring our mobile design marketplace with imagecache in order to watermark, resize, and link the uploaded mobile themes to the proper url.  The trick is finding what to configure and where the configuration options are.  With a little help from JuliaKM, below are the steps I took to configure imagecache with Drupal:

  1. Install and activate all required modules such as Imagecache and imagecache actions (in my case).
  2. Go to Admin > Content types and add an Image field
  3. Go to Site building > Image cache and add or edit a preset.
  4. For watermarks, select “add overlay” action and point to watermark png.  Defaults to the files directory.
  5. Return to Admin > Content types and click on “Display fields.”  For both the Teaser and Full columns, select the name of the preset you created above.  There are also other options such as linking the image to the node or to itself.
And that’s it!  Of course you there is more to imagecache that that, but this is the basic process that you will need to follow to configure imagecache for pretty much anything.