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E-Business Alberta | The Alberta E-Future Centre blog

Is the E-business World Ready for the Next Billion Users of the Internet?

December 31st, 2007
by Roch Labelle

In the spirit of a New Year and new beginnings, the e-business World may be facing enormous changes within the next decade. There are currently more than one billion Internet users worldwide and this number will soon double. Now, how will this affect networks, technology, software and e-commerce?

The majority of the growth will come from the developing world. China is already the second-largest-Internet-using country and will surpass the current leader (U.S.) before 2010. Other countries that will experience tremendous growth are India, Brazil and the African continent. The main challenges are that most new Internet users will not speak English which will lead to increased pressure to accommodate different languages. Furthermore, many new Internet users may have different views on sensitive issues such as online free speech, privacy, and copyright.

An added dimension is that the next billion may use different technology to access the Internet such as the XO laptop that uses open-source operating systems and software. Widespread broadband may be too expensive for developing regions so wireless and satellite-based connectivity will be relied upon by several million users. Users of these mobile devices may experience slower speeds of access and force e-commerce sites to adapt to a changing marketplace.

So, where does your business fit in all this? Will you have to make any changes to your e-commerce site and service offering to increase your global competitiveness?

Read more on the topic at “How the next billion users will reshape all aspects of the Internet”. For more information on starting or growing your e-business, contact The Business Link at 1 800 272-9675.

Recent Survey Reveals Consumer’s Low Tolerance For e-Commerce Failures

November 8th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

We’re just over a decade into e-commerce and many of us are savvy online consumers. Now, how many of us are no longer willing to put-up with online shopping experiences that do not measure up to our expectations?

Well, a consumer survey commissioned by Tealeaf reveals that, for a third consecutive year, nearly 9 out of 10 online consumers have experienced problems. What is more, 42% of these people who’ve had bad experiences have switched to a competitor or have simply abandoned the transaction.

But the problems persist beyond the online storefront and into the call centres. The survey shows that 53% of online customers with issues will contact customer service. Of these, 49% did not have their issue resolved, 68% felt that the service agent demonstrated poor knowledge of the website and 70% did not believe the agents even understood their issue. The survey points-out how poor back-end customer service leads to a second wave of abandonment and even complaints to the BBB.

So, you’ve attracted many customers who are willing to part with their money for your product or service – very good! But what (and how) are you doing when it comes to keeping the customer with good after sales customer service? Would you, as a customer, be satisfied with the e-commerce and in-person support service you provide?

Read the article.

For further reading on the topic read our info-guide:
Attracting and Keeping the Customer

Internet Security Brown Bag Presentation

October 29th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

Spim & Spam? Viruses & Worms? Firewalls? What does it all mean and how can I protect myself? This presentation covers all this along with the anatomy of a “hack”, domain names, IP addresses, email headers, whois lookups, and how to protect yourself and your computer-all presented in a way that is applicable to a wide range of technical abilities.
Presenter: David Papp – Microtek Corporation

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2007
Time: 12 noon – 1 pm
Location: From Edmonton and VCed throughout Alberta - details
Cost: FREE

On the topic of Internet security…

Top 12 scariest Web Applications
Halloween is just around the corner and Bit9 has just come out with this year’s ranking of the Top 12 popular applications that may cause security issues for your website or network.

To make the list, the applications must, among other things: run on MS Windows, be well-known to consumers and be frequently downloaded. Hence, people love to use these species that roam wild on the Internet. This poses an obvious challenge for IT due to the “unknown threat across the environment”.

Bit9 recommends the following to businesses:
• Define policy for programs, including determining what applications the business will allow its employees to install and recourse in the event of a vulnerability
• Understand what applications are used by the business – perhaps use a software identification service to understand what type of software is installed on PCs and why.

Read the article.

Brown Bag Presentation on Online Branding

October 19th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

Using Web 2.0 to Build Brand Online
For a small business, building its brand is always a challenge, especially on the international stage. Attend this session presented by David Cree from Clearpath SEO and take away new strategies for cost effectively using the Internet to build your brand for your small business.

Presented by: David Cree – Clearpath SEO

Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Time: 12noon - 1pm
Cost: FREE
Location: Across Alberta via videoconference

Click here for further information.

Special E-business Seminar for Small Business Week 2007 (in Edmonton and Vancouver)

October 17th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

Measuring the Success of Your Website

Small Business BC and The Business Link-Edmonton will present a collaborative event on clicks and click throughs?

In this seminar you will learn how people arrive at your website, how they navigate through your site and how the user interacts with your online buying process? This seminar will help you understand more about your customer through the use of Web Analytics and server logs.

Presenter: Andy Latter, eBusiness Consultant – eBC Vancouver

Date: Thursday, October 18, 2007
Time: 1pm - 3pm
Cost: FREE
Alberta location: The Business Link - Edmonton

Click here for further information.

Calgary Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

September 24th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is holding a lunch event on September 27th. The lunch will feature guest speaker Bill Morris, President of Accenture Canada. Mr. Morris will be presenting his speech, “Multiple Challenges/Multiple Opportunities: Competitive Essence in a Multi-Polar World”.

For more information and to register visit the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

Link Building Strategies

September 4th, 2007
by John Beauchamp

Getting people to link to your business’ web site is a very important component of online marketing but getting links can be a complicated process. Several good blog posts have appeared recently, addressing some of the issues you will encounter. Here are three blog posts that we feel will provide particular value to small business people in Alberta interested in building some backlinks.

The first blog post is 5 Deadly Sins Guaranteed To Kill Your Link Requests, this article looks at what not to do when soliciting links from other web sites. Many of the mistakes outlined in this article not only almost guarantee that your requests will be turned down, they will probably ensure that your e-mail is never even opened. Avoiding all the profiled mistakes should be easy, but it will mean putting a bit more effort into your e-mail requests than just sending out a few hundred identical e-mails. Head over to Search Engine Land to read 5 Deadly Sins Guaranteed To Kill Your Link Requests.

The second post is titled Aggressively Seeking Links: How Much Is Too Much? Lets say you read the article mentioned above and you have your e-mail requests perfected, now how many links is too many? This is a question that many people wrestle with because getting too many links too fast can seem artificial to the search engines and can get you pushed down in their rankings. While the answer to this question is almost always, “it depends” this article does a great job of applying some perspective. Visit Search Engine Land and check out Aggressively Seeking Links: How Much Is Too Much?

The last post is The Art of Buying Links Under the Radar, lets say you have read the two previous articles and you have started getting some links back, but you want to be more aggressive. This article looks at the ins and outs of buying links, a practice that can again get you in trouble with search engines. Breaking the process down into seven steps, this blog post walks you through the process of figuring out what the links should look like, making contact, estimating the value to tracking the ROI. A great resource for those looking at buying some links, check out The Art of Buying Links Under the Radar.

For more information on Internet marketing and other aspects of running an online business, check out our e-business info-guides.

The New Fall Season of Brown Bag Presentations and Small Business Seminars has Arrived!

August 30th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

Here is a round-up of the Fall 2007 e-business Brown Bag Presentations and Seminars that will be hosted by the Alberta E-Future Centre.

All sessions will be presented live from The Business Link in Edmonton but will be video-conferenced across Alberta and to selected sites across Western Canada.

SEMINAR (Time: 1pm - 4pm; Cost: $31.80)
Small Business Search Engine Marketing
Wednesday, September 12
How do your customers find your website? It might be through referrals, your brochure, or a web link, but chances are they found you through a search engine. In this seminar, you will learn how to optimize your website to increase your ranking in search engines and get a chance to have your site reviewed by industry experts. You will gain an understanding of:

  • How search engines work.
  • How you can increase your qualified visitors by increasing your rankings.
  • How to make your website search engine friendly by making simple but effective changes.
  • How to implement search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

Presenter: Ian McAnerin – McAnerin Networks Inc.

BROWN BAG PRESENTATIONS (Time: 12noon - 1pm; Cost: FREE)
E-Business Basics
Tuesday, October 2
How do I use computers and the Internet to help my business? E-business is more than just selling online or having a website. This session answers how e-business can be used to increase sales, reduce costs, increase market exposure and improve customer service. This is a general overview of e-business and its benefits. Whether you are adding an “e” component to an existing business or are starting a new small business, this session is for you!
Presenter: Craig Bedard – iAppeal Web Design

Using Web 2.0 to Build Brand Online
Tuesday, October 23
For a small business, building its brand is always a challenge, especially on the international stage. Attend this fun and interesting session presented by fusedlogic’s Chief Evolution Officer and take away new strategies for cost effectively using the Internet to build your brand for your small business.
Presenter: Walter Schwabe – fusedlogic inc.

Internet Security
Thursday, November 1
Help! Spim & Spam? Viruses & Worms? Firewalls? What does it all mean and how can I protect myself? This presentation covers all this along with the anatomy of a “hack”, domain names, IP addresses, e-mail headers, who is lookups, and how to protect yourself and your computer—all presented in a way that is applicable to a wide range of technical abilities.
Presenter: David Papp – Microtek Corporation

E-mail Marketing for Small Business
Tuesday, December 4
E-mail marketing can be an effective and inexpensive way to promote your products, services or website. During this session, you will learn about electronic newsletters, the required tools and how to ensure that your message will not be blocked by spam filters. All this information will help your small business get the most out of e-mail marketing.
Presenter: Angus Ng – Digital Tea Group Inc.

For the details on all the events that will be offered this spring, head over to The Business Link’s events page.

Upcoming Business Camps from Student Connections

August 23rd, 2007
by admin

August 29–30

Student Connections is offering a series of courses to help your business establish itself in the world of e-commerce. Our classes will focus on topics as varied as internet security to marketing your business online. A full course listing follows.

  • The Internet and Business — August 29, 4:30pm
    Using the Internet to communicate and network across the world or down the street can improve productivity and the effectiveness of business.
  • Security and Business — August 29, 5:30pm
    Protecting your business online is paramount for you and your customers.
  • Selling Online — August 30, 4:30pm
    Whether using eBay or setting up your own store, selling your product online can be easy and profitable.
  • Search Engine Optimization — August 30, 5:30pm
    Using SEO techniques on your website can help increase page views and bring in more potential customers.
  • Marketing Strategies — August 31, 4:30pm
    Using multiple forms of media to expose your business, product, or service to potential customers is more important in succeeding in a crowded marketplace.
  • Marketing Manual — August 31, 5:30pm
    The Student Connections Marketing Manual gives a great outline of different marketing strategies to help you get your name out to potential customers.

Cost: $20 per person, per course or $30 per person, per day

To register or for more information, please contact Student Connections at 492-1397 or training@ualberta.ca
We hope to see you at some of our upcoming events!

SEO Tricks and Tips for your eBay Store

July 25th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

Are you, or thinking of, selling products on eBay? Keep on reading if you want to increase the visibility of your eBay store.

Firstly, you must know the eBay Search Engine inside-out and experiment. Conduct keyword research to determine what works best for maximum visibility.

A more advanced technique is writing eBay member “reviews and guides”. Besides sharing your expertise, this may drive additional traffic to your eBay store. Read the eBay Store SEO Guide for a fine example of such a guide – and good content as well!

You can now upload your product inventory database to Google Base so your items will be found on Google Product Search. You may also want to take a look at Google Checkout which is constantly offering a number of promos.

Finally, read further in these interesting threads.