Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Breaking for the Funny Pages

I’ve been reading blogs, articles, websites and forums for days trying to learn more about online business and marketing, online stores, blogging, etc. etc. My brain is fried tonight!

So I took a few minutes out to look at some of CafePress’s comic stores. I’ve always thought Ziggy was sweet. Check him out here: Ziggy

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Monday, January 29, 2007

givitup adds Pet Lover’s Gifts and Clothing to store

Part of the reason I found the dog breed ornaments for the last post was because I was putting a Pet Lover’s section in my store. Tonight it went live. Here’s what I said in the store about it:

If you love animals, support animal rights, or need a gift for someone who does, we have just the thing: gifts, clothing, memorials, some of which even support animal rights and/or organizations dedicated to our furry friends. Choose from, greeting cards, tile boxes, mugs, t-shirts, pillows, journals, caps, tiles, buttons, magnets, bumper stickers and more.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Dog Breed Ornaments

For the dog lovers: dog breed ornaments including dogs put into famous paintings plus original art by Jean Fitzgerald - some of the most unique and prettiest dog breed ornaments and keepsakes anywhere.

Dog Breed Ornaments

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Click... Are You There?

Here’s an article from my favorite guest author – my husband:

Business owners and managers often ask "How can I make sure people find my site when they search on the web?" The best answer depends on the particular business and marketing strategies of an organization, but a quick overview can be a great start to helping understand the business of marketing your website.

It should not be the primary strategy of every website owner to be stumbled upon by web surfers of all persuasions. Factors such as intended audience, and intended interaction with that audience, weigh heavily when planning a good strategy. Selling products, building a database, and providing a support service all require different marketing strategies. Having said that, let's look at some variables to consider when integrating website marketing into your overall internet and business strategies.

1. Search engines are only one of several key pathways to your website. Including your site address (URL) on business cards, stationary, advertisements, telephone messages, vehicles, signs, other websites, and word of mouth can be more effective than being on the first page of a particular search by keyword or phrase.

2. Search Engines such as Google and MSN as well as directories like Yahoo are registration based. If you do not register your URL with a particular search engine it will generally not show up at all. Site registration is a conscious and specific activity that must be executed, whether by site developer or site owner. The registration process is similar to announcing your presence, and invites review by human and/or electronic "judges" that accept or reject each request for registration. Listing can take up to 90 days unless fees are paid for expediting. Mere registration does not guarantee rank, but in many cases this listing in conjunction with the methods described above makes up the critical mass of a good internet strategy and costs little to nothing.

3.For those businesses marketing products or services across geographic boundaries, or when the internet is your primary or exclusive channel to market, it may be cost effective to tweak the design of your site and/or pay search engines for positioning by way of a technique much like advertising. Known collectively as Pay Per Click (PPC), major search engines allow you to buy position on the top pages of search results for specific search words and/or phrases paying a fee only when each surfer clicks through to your site from the listing. This can be cost effective when your success highly depends on exposure and volume and can be an excellent jump start to a new business but can be dangerously expensive without a carefully thought out plan.

John Geiger, owner of Webmasters ICE, has over five years experience helping small and medium-sized companies and organizations capitalize on the power of the internet through consulting, education, and supporting products and services. His focus and passion is the use of the internet in providing more effective overall marketing strategies and highly measurable levels of marketing success.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Chicago Bears

2007 may be the year of the Pig for the Chinese New Year, but I’ll bet Chicago football fans are hoping for the year of the Bear!

I grew up in Chicago so I’m hoping too! Good luck in the Super Bowl!

Shop for any of these bears at or send us your request for your own teddy bear design.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More baby clothes and gifts

For my final day of baby celebrations, I chose Bittybits. This store has a special section for military children, home schooled children and “what I want to be when I grow up” designs, among other things.


Here’s a great design for every little one spoiled rotten by doting Grandpa. This design features an adorable little girl giving a "thumbs up" and the text "Spoiled Rotten by Grandpa":

And here’s a clever idea to help baby learn shapes:

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Monday, January 22, 2007

More baby gifts in honor of my new niece

This next store is full of adorable baby items. They suggest magnets and buttons to hand out instead of cigars and customers are able to have them personalized with baby’s name and birth date.

They also have a large variety of bibs and onesies. I chose all baby girls’ gifts to share, but they have lots of cute baby boy clothes too.


Click for entire shop including my favorite below!

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Peanuts gang on baby clothes

Back to celebrating my niece’s new baby! Peanuts cartoon has an online store called the Snoopy Store and they have great baby clothes!

Snoopy Store

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Clinton launches 2008 White House Bid

I need to break into my baby celebration for a posting since Hillary Clinton threw her hat into the Presidential race ring today.

Lots of stores for and against! Here’s one that’s pro-Hillary:

Election Blues

And here’s one against:

Righ Wing Swag

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Baby Clothes and gifts to honor my new niece!

My niece and godchild just had a baby girl, Emily, in Austin, TX today. So in honor of them I thought I would feature 3 days or so of some of my favorite baby and toddler shops!

This first one has really really beautiful baby announcements, greeting cards and postcards that you can have custom designed using your information and your photos! Browse their selection of girls and boys baby announcement cards, pick your favorite and follow directions to customize.

Peacock Cards

This same shopkeeper owns Toddlers Place

They have a huge selection of colorful and cute infant bodysuits in many categories including all text, pet names, animals and bugs, girlie girl, professions, sports, big sister, little sister, big brother, little brother, humorous, geek, and more!

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pet Lovers say Be Mine!

Even the dogs are into Valentine’s Day! Great Valentine’s gifts for your dog lover Valentine are becoming available online by the minute!

Here’s an especially cute one, that’s an original painting. This shop has all breeds available.

Maggie Ross

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Drop down product menu

I had put off adding a drop down product menu to my shop thinking it would be really hard and time consuming. I finally looked at it last night.

Took one small piece of code and about 2 minutes!!

Then I played with it for about 20

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Barack Obama running for President

USA Today said today: “Illinois Sen. Barack Obama took the first formal step today in making a Democratic bid for president, announcing he was forming a campaign exploratory committee.”

Many online stores have been prepared for this moment for months. The beauty of an online store is how fast you can come turn on a dime. Print on demand doesn’t require having inventory on hand, so it’s easy to jump in on the latest trend, buzz or band wagon.

The one here has lots of Obama political merchandise.

Barack Obama merchandise

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Conclusion of Tips on Starting an online business

7. How To Promote Your Business Website

Write An Article: Write an article promoting your site or product. Write an article on a hot topic many people would like more information on and submit it to various e-zines. How do you find out what's hot? Visit a few of the message boards and see what questions are raised often.

Search Engines: Thousands of search engines exist on the Internet. But, you should only be concerned with the top eight or ten. You should manually submit to the top eight: Alta Vista, Excite, Yahoo, Hotbot, Lycos, Northern Light, Infoseek, Webcrawler, and use one of the FREE automatic submission services like *SubmitPlus* to handle the smaller search engines.

Directories: List your site here too. Directories organize sites into categories. Good examples of Directories: Yahoo, Magellan.

Ezine Listings: If you have an e-zine to promote along with your site. Why not list it with one of the many e-zine services on the Internet. E-zine Library is a good one to start with.

Free Classifieds: You will have to submit to a ton of FREE classifieds to get any significant traffic. Why? You are competing with thousands of other Ads. Remember to work on your Ad copy and make it attention grabbing. Go to one of the popular search engines, type in Free Classifieds, and surf to the top 20 classified sites for beginners.

Often, these sites will lead you to several other Free Classified Sites. In response you'll get a stack of e-mail thanking you for listing your site while barking their promo. Best to get one of those free email accounts. Hot mail is a good one. So is Yahoo mail.

FFA Pages. Free For All's are worth a try. Be prepared for an avalanche of e-mails from FFA web site owners. If your title is attention grabbing you will get a few clicks. Good Attention grabbing headlines, FREE, Limited Time, Limited Offer, Proven, Secrets, and many more if you brainstorm. Check out the sales literature delivered to you by regular mail. Check and see what headlines grab your attention. And why? Incorporate them into your Online Ads.

Tell Friends And Family: If your friends, family, acquaintances, have an Internet Connection, e-mail them telling them about your new website, and ask them to visit often. Offer a FREE incentive if they tell a few friends to surf over. Perhaps, a FREE Ad in your e-zine.

Leave Business Cards or Flyers: Leave these promo pieces with small businesses in your community. All relevant contact information; email address, URL, telephone number, should be included. Offer a freebie to anyone who visits your site. A free e-book, report.


Think of your first six months primarily as a training period. Don't expect large earnings until after you've educated yourself.

Even the most dynamic, highest-earning entrepreneurs in the industry took MONTHS to begin seeing an income of any real significance with their internet home business.
Don't be a negative thinker and don't let the negative attitudes of others (even if they're family members, friends, or peers) influence you.

All the great men and women in history had to overcome the naysayers who said it couldn't be done-and then went out and did it. Think for yourself!

As long as you think positive and focused on your internet home business target you're on the right way to a rich life, which is directed by you and it will lead you to tremendous success and personal satisfaction.

About The Author
Michel Richer, The Internet Home Business Specialist Can Help You Build A Successful Internet Business That Can Generate Massive Profit !!! So Start Your Own Internet Business for FREE >> Visit Now:

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Continuation of Tips on Starting an online business

I’ve decided to split the remainder of this article into two days instead of one due to length:

5. Choose a Web Hosting Company

A Web host is a company that provides server space for your website. You can think of a web host as a commercial building. The web host provides space for your website just as a commercial building provides space for your shop or office.

What are some of the things you should look for when choosing a web host? The criteria for choosing a free web host and a commercial web hosting solution are slightly different although they do overlap.

A) Web Space

Does it have enough space for your needs? If you envisage that you will expand your site eventually, you might want to cater for future expansion. Most sites use less than 5MB of web space. Indeed, at one time, one of my other web sites,, used less than 5MB of space although it had about 150 pages on the site. Your needs will vary, depending on how many pictures your pages use, whether you need sound files, video clips, etc.

B) Bandwidth allotment

Nowadays, many free web hosts impose a limit on the amount of traffic your website can use per day and per month. This means that if the pages (and graphic images) on your site are loaded by visitors beyond a certain number of times per day (or per month), the web host will disable your web site (or perhaps send you a bill).

It is difficult to recommend a specific minimum amount of bandwidth, since it depends on how you design your site, your target audience, and the number of visitors you're able to attract to your site. In general, 100MB traffic per month is too little for anything other than your personal home page and 1-3GB traffic per month is usually adequate for a simple site just starting out. Your mileage, however, will vary.

C) Reliability and speed of access

This is extremely important. A site that is frequently down will lose a lot of visitors. If someone finds your site on the search engine, and he tries to access it but finds that it is down, he'll simply go down the list to find another site. Slow access is also very frustrating for visitors (and for you too, when you upload your site).

How do you know if a host is reliable or fast? If you can't get feedback from anyone, one way is to try it out yourself over a period of time, both during peak as well as non-peak hours. After all, it is free, so you can always experiment with it.

6. Shopping Cart

No e-commerce website is complete without a secure shopping cart. There are many shopping cart options. Many e-commerce business owners make the mistake of using Pay Pal to accept payments, which immediately tells visitors that their company is very small and not professional.

A good alternative to Pay Pal is a remotely hosted shopping cart. Remote shopping carts take the burden of maintaining security and credit card numbers off your shoulder and places the responsibility on another company. Remote shopping carts can usually be configured to look similar to your website.

In fact, your customers may not realize that they have left your website to place an order. The remote shopping cart provider will give you the HTML to add to your website. When your potential customer clicks on the Buy Now button, he or she is taken to the remote shopping cart to enter the personal information and payment details.

Depending on your choice of a shopping cart, you may or may not need a merchant account to process transactions. Some shopping cart services allow you to use their merchant accounts for a slightly higher fee.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tips on starting an online business

As you can probably tell I’ve been reading a lot! Since this blog is about starting an online store, I’d like to share another article I found called 8 Expert Tips to Start an Online Business by Michel Richer.

It’s a little long, so I’ll print half today and the rest tomorrow with a link to Mr. Richer’s information at the end. This is a very helpful article.

The start up costs for internet home businesses are next to nothing compared to the offline world of business start-ups. In fact it is a lot more simple to start and grow a business on the internet.

All you need is some computer knowledge and some internet marketing basis and a good dose of determination.

Here are some basic tips on how to start an internet home business.

1.Write Your Business Goals
It is important to set goals and objectives and then take action to accomplish them. This will be your Business Plan.

Here Are Some questions you should ask yourself:

- Why do I want to start up an Internet Home Business?
- What product or service can I provide?
- Do I have the knowledge and expertise to provide this service?
- Do I know enough about the competition?
- Where will my customers come from?

Take the time to write down your questions and answers and thoroughly research your chosen market.

2.Choose A Product or Service To Sell

On the internet you can find hundreds of product or services to sell.
You can sell your own product by creating your own, or purchasing resale rights or being an affiliate with a good internet company.

Don't put your personal gains first. Make sure that the product will deliver what it promises. When you promote a product that leaves the buyer dissatisfied, you will only be ruining your business. So sell solutions and the money will come.

3. Business Domain Name

One important first step is to choose the best domain name you can. Keep it as short and simple as possible. Think of domain names like " Google " or " Yahoo ". They are short and easy to remember.

I know that some people say to use keywords in you're domain name. But if you choose " Internet Business " there are millions of sites with this term.

And if you are going to use for example "" it might be a nice name but it is too long and not simple.

4. Web Site

Having a good business website is essential to succeed with an internet home business:
A) Decide on the website design (color schemes, buttons, special effects etc). To help you choose a design, you may wish to check out other people's websites or work with your web designer's pre-set templates.
(b) The content. There are many items you may wish to include on your website. The most common ones include:

1 Products And Services
2. Contact Information
3. Pricing
4. Testimonials
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Resources & Articles
7. Refund Policy
8. Privacy Policy
9. About Us
10. Site Map
11. Useful Links
12. On-line store

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Good SEO article

I just read one of the best articles in SEO News called “Seven often-missed SEO opportunities” by Donald Nelson.

It was easy to read and even though I had heard most of this before, this time it really made sense.

One of the most important things we can do on our website is have a great title tag. And each page should have it’s own. Donald explains what this means, why it’s important and how to do it here. He also explains anchor texts and talks about links.

I’m going back tonight and rewriting some of my title tags!

Read his article here

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Valentine’s Day Gift Center

I finally got my Valentine section up in the store! It always takes a while, but it turned out great!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

givitup’s latest press release

Here’s the entire press release I sent out yesterday:

Hickory, NC January 9, 2007 Christian online clothing and gift store helps believers make a positive statement

Online store, givitup, is full of positive Christian apparel and gifts. The storeowner, Nancy Geiger, feels there are enough negative and crude t-shirts out there. Christians need to present a positive view. The store challenges Christians to be a light in the darkness by sharing their faith.

givitup opened a year ago focusing on giving up whatever it is that keeps you from being the best person you can possibly be, whether it's regrets, excuses, smoking, road rage or anything else. "Now that we've gotten people to get rid of the bad things it's only logical we offer them good things to replace them with." Geiger said. “Then the next step is to inspire others.”

The store has over 2400 items. Shoppers may choose from dozens of designs: including a line that states either Team Jesus or Team God on the front and “show the world whose side you’re on” on the back to simply “Believe” “I Believe” “Blessed” or something from the Fruits of the Spirit line. Each Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Peace, Joy, Kindness, Self-Control, Faithfulness, Goodness, Kindness and Gentleness comes in a choice of 6 jewel tone colors.

Geiger says, “We have dozens of products to choose from: t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, aprons, buttons, magnets, stickers, postage stamps, journals, greeting cards, postcards, teddy bears, mugs and more. One of our biggest sellers is Amazing Grace written in the shape of a cross. These are meaningful gifts for those you love and who love the Lord.”

givitup is part of Since 1999, CafePress has empowered people to create, buy and sell customized merchandise through on-demand manufacturing and e-commerce services. Powering a network of more than one million independently-run CafeShops™ as well as syndicated and corporate stores, the company offers online retail services for storefront web development, order management, fulfillment, secure payment processing, and quality customer service.

Today, is a global and growing community of merchants who have unleashed their creativity to transform their artwork and ideas into new revenue streams and diverse products.

givitup is located at

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Branding and press releases

I went to a chamber of commerce talk today about Branding. I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, but it gave me a chance to think more about the focus of my site and the changes I’ve been making.

(i.e. going from a “Show the world what you are giving up for your New Year’s Resolution” bunch of t-shirts and buttons to “givitup is all about fresh starts and positive changes. Whether you are giving up a bad habit or putting on a good one it' s been proven that goals shared stick better! So tell the world with our unique t-shirts, mugs, buttons, magnets and more- it might just inspire them to make a change too!”

I wrote press releases about my newest Christian items today, which I’ll print all of tomorrow, but I tried to stress there’s enough negative and crude t-shirts walking around. My goal is being positive and inspiring others to be so too.
One note about the press release services online, more and more are charging. I had to search hard to come up with 6 that are still free. (And I guess we’ll see how good they end up being!)

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Great article for online store owners

I’ve been trying to go through everything I’ve stuck in my “favorites” with the goal of “getting caught up” and starting the year “fresh”. Ha!

Anyone who has an online business knows there is no such thing as getting caught up and there is no end of information to read. (Despite the ad where the dazed looking guy comes in to the room and says, “I have reached the end of the internet!)

One of the problems is, if it’s your business, then everything about it is interesting! That’s why you chose the business you did. The other problem is, every article usually has a link to some other site or another article. Then instead of reading the one article you started out with you’ve read 5 or 6.

Here’s an article that I found really helpful called “How to sell more on the web: 30 tips to increase conversion rates for the ecommerce site.” By Nach Maravilla PowerHomeBiz Publisher/CEO

Everyone who has an online store or is considering having one can learn from this article. He covers getting traffic, building customer confidence, improving product presentation and maximizing after sales opportunities.

30 tips to sell more on the web

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Poker Merchandise Store

I’m doing a little experiment. I want to see which types of stores get the most hits. (Realizing of course this isn’t a huge audience, but taking a percentage of viewers.)

This is a popular poker online store. If you like poker and gambling, check it out. I’m going to compare this to some of the other sites I’ve mentioned previously.

Poker merchandise

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Branding your business

I read a great article on line tonight: Little known ways to brand on the cheap: 99 tips for poor web startups.

Here are just two of the tips I plan to research further –

22. Social Bookmarking–where to start? Start by building a profile and keeping it active at all the top bookmarking sites. A few sites we recommend are:, Digg, Netscape, Reddit, and Stumbleupon. Each has a different audience, so some of your content will do better at some sites over others. Because of their differences, it is important to be an active member of all the sites and submit your content at all of them.

26. E-profiles: manage your reputation. If a potential customer types in your name into a search engine, what sort of results will they see in the top 10? It’s key for you to secure the top 10 results in Google, Yahoo and MSN for searches relating directly and indirectly (if possible) to your brand. You need to be the one defining what people see when they search for you, not your competition. Start by building e-profiles on authority domains such as MySpace, Squidoo, AboutUs, WordPress, Blogger/ Blogspot, MSN Spaces, TypePad, Newsvine, LinkedIn, Rollyo, Wikipedia, etc. Don’t let someone else define who you are.

Read the entire article here

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Love postage stamps for your Valentine’s

I’ve been working on my hidden Valentine section and realized my Love postage stamps would be perfect for mailing out greeting cards to your valentine’s! Don’t you think?

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

One year anniversary of store opening

I just paid for the second year of my store’s site today – so I’ve been at it a year! Hard to believe!

I also did something tonight that made having my own online store really fun. My daughter is going to a baby shower next week for a sorority sister and came up with 2 designs, which she emailed me and I put on a bib and a onesie. Then she ordered them and had them shipped to school. They turned out cute!

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Christian clothing and gifts

I’ve brought some of my newest products out of hiding and thought I would share them today. My plan is that my Christian section will at least triple in size this year. It’s more fun creating and selling things you have a passion for!

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007

I’ve spent all my free time the past 2 days creating new designs for my Christian section and choosing affiliates for a Valentine section. Still working on the back end. It takes so long! But, when I’m uploading I can actually listen to music while I work – I can’t do that when I have to read.

My store has changed so much since I opened it a year ago. I have hundreds of ideas to change it even more this year!

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