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Welcome to my Blog!!

Thank you for visiting jamesdodge.com. I plan on using this blog to share things going on in both my personal and my business life (and now my school life too!).  You can also find me on various different platforms by clicking any of the buttons to the right. Thanks again for stopping by – we’ll talk to you soon!!

Launching our Campaign

This week, we started our campaigns so that we can start tracking them.  It was a great week, and very interesting as I can start to see the benefit from utilizing adwords and tracking those that come to our sites.

At first, I was a little disappointed, because I thought that I would see some impressions right away.  After starting my campaign on Monday night, I checked my account Tuesday morning, but only had 10 impressions.  I’m not really sure what I expected, but I was hoping for more than that.  Plus, there were no clicks on my ad.

I had to wait a couple of days, but I started to see that the traffic is being increased, thanks to the ads I have running.  I still need to look closer at how to adjust the campaign and change up the keywords so that I can get more traffic, and start to get conversions as well.

Since the whole point of this business is to make money, it really doesn’t matter how many people see my ad, or how many click on the ad.  If they don’t convert, and actually spend some money, it’s not worth it.

As I’m writing this, my number of impressions has grown to 7,213, and the number of clicks has risen to 78.  I think this is great, but I know I still have a lot of work to do.  I look forward to this next week, as we work on enhancing our ads, and trying to get conversions for our business.

Google Analytics

This week we’ve been working on the keywords for our ads, and we installed Google Analytics onto our websites. I have looked at Google Analytics a little bit before, but I have never spent much time trying to learn about it.

I think it will be interesting to see what we learn in the upcoming weeks, as we monitor the analytics of our sites, and make changes in response to what we learn.

One other thing we did, was link the Google Analytics account to our Adwords account. I think this will be very interesting to see how the two line up with each other, and I’m interested to see what we look for from these programs, in order to make our campaigns and our websites work better.

I think that having the Analytics installed on the website will be a huge help to us, as it will enable us to see who is actually visiting our site, and what they’re looking at while they’re there.

These past few weeks have been really good, as we’ve been building a good foundation to move forward. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks go, as we learn what to look for, and what to change, to attract more traffic to our sites.

Adwords

This week we continued working on our sites, and we also started to get more into our adwords campaign.  We had to create an ad, and post it for our classmates to critique, and offer suggestions for improvement.

I really enjoyed this weeks lessons, and I can really see the benefits to using an adwords campaign to help boost traffic to my site.  In the past, I always thought it was better to just try to drive traffic to a site organically, but I can see that the approach needs to be a balance of utilizing adwords, while working on improving the SEO.

I’m interested to see where the class goes in the upcoming weeks, as we continue to work on our sites, and start tracking the traffic that is coming to them.  I am really enjoying this class, and can see many applications for the business I created, as well as other businesses that I am associated with.

Here is my ad, as it was written out for the campaign:

Dental Laboratory Instant Adhesive – Cyanoacrylate

http://www.lasvegasdentalsupply.com/store/

The best Instant Adhesive you can get for your Dental Laboratory!

It hasn’t been launched as an actual campaign yet, but I’m assuming it will be in the next week or two.  In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of what the preview of the ad looks like:

We’ll see how things go in the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, if you need any glue, feel free to go check out my store, and buy some!

Negative Keywords

This week, we are starting to get into the part of an online business that will help us to grow it.  We are looking at adwords, and how to build a campaign, using help from Google.

One of the things that I was really interested in learning about this week, was the topic of negative keywords.  I have never heard of negative keywords before, so it was interesting to learn about them.

Basically, these words can be built into our campaign, so that we don’t attract the wrong type of customer.  We can specify certain words that might be misleading, and make sure that the search results don’t list our site if someone is searching for these particular words.

I can see how this is going to help me quite a bit, especially since I am running a dental supply company, and selling adhesive.  I could see dentists looking for information on different bonding agents for the veneers they are placing, and inadvertently ending up at my site, with nothing to look at except some super glue that they can’t use.

It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks go, as we build upon our adwords campaign.  I look forward to learning the best way to run this, and I can’t wait to see what some of my fellow classmates come up with.

Forming an LLC

This week for our web based business class, we had to do a couple different things.  First, we needed to actually create our business and make it a legal entity.  I chose to create my business  as an LLC instead of a sole-proprietorship, as many others did.  As I create this business, I’m wanting it to be able to last past this semester, and hopefully turn into something that I can sustain for many years.  Because of this, I wanted the extra protection that an LLC will give me.  This will enable me to keep any debts of the business separate from my personal finances.  As we set up this structure, we needed to make sure that we look into any licenses or permits that we might need for our business.

The second thing we needed to make sure happened this week, is to actually have our website for our business up and running.  I’ve been working on the basic structure, but I’m still trying to decide on how to process the payments.  I think I’m going to need a shopping cart, so I’m looking at using the services from ecwid.  They look like they offer some great options with building an online store.  They will help me build the products page for my site, but they won’t actually process the payments for me.  I am pretty sure that I will be using PayPal to help with accepting payments.  I feel that they are the most well known, and I can use their basic services without having to pay a monthly fee.  Just the 2.99% fee + $0.30 per transaction.  Eventually, I’ll look at other options for processing these transactions, but for now, PayPal is going to be the choice I go with.

I will be finalizing these last details this weekend, and it looks like in the next few weeks we will be working on optimizing our sites, and promoting them using social media.  If you’d like to check out the site – go to lasvegasdentalsupply.com and take a look around.  Let me know what you think!

Accepting Payments

This week, we have been working on our decision of what type of business model we’re going to be following as we start our businesses. We also started doing research on how to accept payments online for our products.

I have decided to go with the Merchant business model. I have been looking at several different products, and have found a few that I can buy, as a supplier, and be able to sell them at a profit. As I did this research, I have had to look at things, such as a minimum order, in order to be able to qualify as a dealer, and receive the items at a discounted rate.

This has been a great exercise to be working on, as it has enabled me to get to talk to several different companies, and establish relationships that will be beneficial to me for the future.

As I started doing research into accepting credit cards, I was a little overwhelmed by all of the choices. I feel that this is one of the most important parts of this online business that I’m creating, as it has potential to hurt the business if the costs are too high. Accepting payments online has been the one thing that has held me back in the past, since I’ve never taken the time to look into how to do it. I am thankful for the opportunity this week to be able to look into the different choices.

As I start this new business, I’m wanting to keep things as inexpensive as possible. I’ve found many services that will charge a monthly fee, plus a percentage, and a per transaction fee.  I’m trying to stay away from these for now. As I’ll be starting small, I don’t want to commit myself to a monthly fee. Doing this could be a drain, if I’m not selling enough to cover that cost. There are plenty of options that don’t have monthly fees, so these are the ones I’ll be focusing on. Everyone charges a percentage and a transaction fee, at least all the ones that I have looked at do.  This will just need to be taken into consideration as I calculate the prices I will be charging.

I still haven’t made my final decision on which payment option to use, but I have enjoyed going through the exercises. It has helped me better understand what I need to be looking for, and it has given me a lot of information to be able to look through to give my business the best choice in accepting payments.

Keywords

For our lesson this week, we had to finish up a project to help us decide what business we want to start up.  This project included an excel spreadsheet that had many formulas on it already, and we had to fill out different cells, and let the formulas rank our business ideas.  It was a very interesting project and helped to clarify what business would fit into our plans best.

One of the main parts of this project, was going into Google’s keywords helper and try to identify what would be best for our site, and how much competition we could expect.  One of the things that impressed me the most, was the amount of data that is available to us.  There are so many stats, that enable us to look at each individual word and see how well it is performing for our business.

This week helped me to realize that there is much more to running a business online than just putting product online and hoping it sells.  There are a lot of things going on in the background that need to be constantly looked at, and changed, to help the business be the best that it can possibly be.

I think we’ll be seeing a new website coming up quick, so be watching next week, as I tell you all about the new business.