ViArt - PHP Shopping Cart

Archive for April, 2007

Shopping cart questions from fellow merchants, answered

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

While the Ecommerce Times usually fill their homepage with product reviews, current ecommerce news and shopping cart tutorials, this week they have highlighted some popular disscussions often held by merchants in their forums.

You should find this interesting as it provides an insight into what your fellow merchants are thinking and struggling with.

It addresses using shopping PPC sites as means of advertising your ecommerce shopping carts and a popular thread where by merchants give fellow forum members the invitation to rate their site.  

Attention Advertisers - New Contextual Advertising

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

For those shopping carts owners who advertise with… is launching a new sponsored listings contextual product.

So how is Ask’s new contextual product different from Google Adsense and Yahoo Publisher Network?  There’s two differences:

  1. Publishers will be able to set ‘page yield’ thresholds and ‘relevancy’ thresholds.  There will be levers to allow publishers to determine if they want higher paying ads or if they want more relevant ads.
  2. The new contextual ads will have “very customized” interfaces such as customized backgrounds and graphics.

The Ask contextual product will initially launch with Ask’s own network of sites including and TicketMaster.  Individual publishers will have to wait a little while to gain access.

Current Ask sponsored listing advertisers will be opted into the content network automatically - so be aware of this if you’re a current Ask advertiser.   In addition, advertisers will be able to preview the new tools and features they have before the launch date; the week of May 21st.

Google Ranked World’s Most Powerful Brand

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Google has been ranked the most powerful brand of 2007, above businesses like Coca Cola, Microsoft and eBay

The BRANDZ Top 100 most powerful brand of 2007 was created by Millward Brown Optimor.  The ranking is measured by their dollar value.  So, here’s the stats I think you might find interesting…

The top 5 were:

  1. Google with $66.4 billion
  2. General Electric with $61.9 billion
  3. Microsoft with $55 billion
  4. Coca-Cola with $44.1 billion
  5. China Mobile with $41.2 billion

Other companies that may be of interest to you include:

eBay at number 43
Yahoo at number 42
Amazon at number 92

Some of these rankings came as a little surprise to me, what do you think?

Google’s certainly didn’t.  Google is on the growth curve.  Google dominate search and having this power has allowed them to jump into other areas of advertising where by ’search’ is central.  Google are sure to jump into more areas as they continue to grow, but who can blame them?

Internet Shopping Carts Create A Convenient Life, To Say The Least…

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Internet shopping carts have quickly developed (and continue to develop) to make online shopping completely seamless - turning online shopping, for some, the “Ultimate Liberating Experience” - Wayne Miller, E-commerce Times.

This summarises another one of the articles I would like to bring to your attention.  The article, over at Ecommerce Times, describes how and why it is possible for us to “live at a level of comfort and convenience that medieval royalty could never have imagined”.  

Yahoo’s New Shopping Cart Icon Announced

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Following in the footsteps of Google, Yahoo announced yesterday a partnership with ebay in which the sponsored search results will feature a small blue shopping cart icon.  The shopping cart icon is in place to notify shoppers of those merchants that accept PayPal Express Checkout as a form of payment.

“Yahoo’s new search marketing platform delivers consumers more relevant search results, and now, with the shopping cart icon, a clear and simple path to making purchases,” Rich Riley, Sr. vice president, Online Channel & Small Business Services, Yahoo! Inc. said in a written statement.

According to Yahoo, the new shopping cart icon will help extend the company’s new search marketing platform launched Feb. 5 in the US, referred to as Project Panama.

So here’s how the new shopping cart model works; merchants’ search listings on Yahoo will be enhanced with the blue shopping cart icon, pointing consumers to a bright orange button on the merchants’ checkout page, which links the consumer to the path to complete purchases using PayPal Express.

This has come sometime after Google announced the same principal.  The only difference being that Google’s shopping cart icons notify shoppers about merchants that offer the google checkout, not PayPal Express Checkout.

Internet Shopping Carts and SEO - A Small Business Guide

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Internet shopping carts can be user-friendly, enticing to the eye and abide by every standard for web accessibility and usability going.  However, if its target audience is not seeing it, it may as well not exist.  This article recommends guidelines you may follow when pursuing efforts to achieve higher rankings for your chosen keywords.

When ranking Internet shopping carts and web portals, the search engines take 3 factors into account: Onpage SEO factors, Accessibility SEO factors and most importantly Off-page SEO factors.

On-Page SEO factors

On-page SEO refers to what can be done on the page of a website to improve its performance in the SERPs for target keywords entered by a user.

By efficiently optimising a website for popular keywords related to the on-page content, a website has a better chance of ranking well for keywords relevant to the content of the site.

Before pursuing SEO strategies like those explained below, it is extremely important to get your keyword strategy right. When selecting the right key phrases to optimize each page on a website for it is necessary to start with what your targeted visitors would type in.  While broad phrases such as ‘watches’ may bring more traffic to a shopping cart selling watches, than more specific keywords such as ‘Leather strap watches’ and ‘Rolex watches’, the traffic will not be as focused and will generally not convert.

More importantly, broad phrases are very competitive - They are extremely hard to rank effectively for.  To get your keyword strategy right it is worth doing some research; there’s lots of information available across the web and there’s many tools available to help you with this task.
Once you have a selection of key terms you are happy with, I would recommend analysing the following components on your website with a view of optimising them for your target key terms, taking into account that they should each be relevant to the contents of that page:

  1. Title Tags
  2. META Tags
  3. The anchor text of your internal link structure
  4. Heading Tags (< H1> to < H6>)
  5. URLs
  6. Content syndication

It is also very important to frequently add fresh content relevant to your industry to your website.  By doing so, the more often your site content changes, the more frequently the search engine spiders will visit your shopping portal.  In this case you may think about adding a web blog/ RSS feed to your website.

RSS feeds enable others to syndicate your content and can increase brand awareness.  By adding closely themed news regularly to RSS feeds it means search engines are more likely to recognise the sites as being acutely themed.

Accessibility and SEO factors

The goal of accessibility in SEO is to make content accessible to search engines.  This refers primarily to the technical ability of search engine spiders to move through your site.
Thankfully, if you design your shopping carts with accessability issues in mind from the start; making your site accessible to web users whom are blind, deaf and viewing your site using text only browsers, you will find you are already practicing effective SEO.

Amongst many, the following components are some of the most important accessibility issues that spring to mind.  You may consider taking a look at the W3C guidelines (, and identifying those that can affect search engine spiders crawling your site.

  1. CSS

Search engines favour CSS based sites, and are likely to score them higher in the SERPs because there is more content compared to code.

  1. ALT Tags

By assigning ALT text the search engines will be able to understand your images and thus build up an understanding about the topic of your site.

  1. Sitemaps

A site map provides search engines with access to every main page on your website, and allows them to instantly index your entire site.  Sitemaps ‘Autodiscovery’, the new model recently launched by Google, Yahoo and Ask, enables you to submit your content to the search engines universally (

Off Page SEO factors

With so many websites and shopping carts interested in ranking well for particular search terms, the search engines have learned that they cannot always rely on a website’s on-page content.

The theory is that if hundreds or thousands of links are pointing to a website your site must be important.  If those links are from very popular and trustworthy sites that have thousands of links pointing to them, then their value is multiplied.  If a site is deemed popular and authoritative in this way, it has a greater probability of appearing highly in the SERPs for a given search term.

The following strategies outline ways you may generate inbound links from external websites to your shopping carts. While each approach concentrates on generating links for the sole purpose of getting a better search ranking, each technique can also help to drive targeted traffic to a site from other relevant sites.

  1. Article Writing and Distribution

By writing articles and allowing them to be freely published in exchange for a back link, articles have the potential to be re-published multiple times; each time creating another back link to your website.

  1. Press Release Writing and Distribution

By sending news about your company through various channels of distribution it is likely to receive recognition by related sites, and thus be re-published and generate back links.

Press release and article distribution can also help to brand your business as an expert in your field.

  1. Social Media Optimisation

Social media optimisation is quite a complexed subject and does not involve one process like article and press release distribution.  In short it refers to optimising your website so it is more interlaced with online communities.

Methods of SMO include syndicating your online content through RSS feeds and enabling means of social interaction, such as bookmarking capabilities.  Social bookmarking sites work in a very similar way to your browser favourites functionality. The list of most visited or bookmarked pages appear in the first page of most of the bookmarking web sites. This would give your web site very good exposure.

SMO may also include getting involved in communities that gather on popular website like Flickr and YouTube.  If you are able to build up a network of contacts and bloggers, links, traffic and conversions are sure to follow.

In conclusion, there is ample free advice out there in this field that will help you to achieve your shopping cart goals, however there’s no avoiding the fact that SEO is time consuming.  As a first step, it is important that you start building your shopping cart using software that supports search engine features.

About the Author

Viart ( provide PHP shopping cart software worldwide.

The company are currently providing a fully hosted 30-day trial of their PHP Internet shopping carts.

Shopping Carts and Affiliate Marketing

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Late last year Viart developed their shopping cart software to provide users with the ability to add an affiliate program to their shopping cart.  Like all affiliate programs, the affiliate module allows you to promote your web business in which an affiliate (publisher) is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale provided through his/her efforts.

The affiliate module developed by Viart has been integrated into the complete range of viart shopping cart solutions, and offers many unique features.  Full details about the viart affiliate module can be found here.

People can assess the shopping cart software by taking advantage of the current fully hosted 30 day trial on offer: Hosted shopping cart trial

Sitemaps Made Simple

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Google, Ask and Yahoo have together announced the launch of Sitemaps ‘Autodiscovery’.  This enables webmasters to simply specify the location of their sitemap within the robots.txt file and universally submit their content to the search engines.

A sitemap is basically a  one-stop-shop for search engines when it comes to indexing your website.  The new sitemaps model ‘autodiscovery’ is therefore ideal for webmasters, search engines and searchers alike:

  • “Webmasters save time with the ability to universally submit their content to the search engines and benefit from reduced unnecessary traffic by the crawlers.”
  • “The search engines get information with regards to pages to index as well as metadata with clues about which pages are newly updated and which pages are identified as the most important.”
  • “Searchers benefit from improved search experience with better comprehensiveness and freshness.” Says

84% of Online Shoppers Don’t Browse

Monday, April 16th, 2007

According to this article by Anne Holand from Marketing Sherpa, a huge 82% of shoppers will not browse your homepage.  No matter how enticing a website may appear, they will head straight for navigational elements such as nav bars and search boxes.

The article presents the results of this study and depicts the majority of shoppers as “male shoppers in the real world”.

“You know how men are… they treat going to most stores as a Prcurement Expedition .  They enter with their shopping goal firmly in mind, glance about quickly to establish which aisle the item is in march down the aisle looking neither right nor left, grab the item in question and then march firmly to checkout and exit”.

In light of the study’s evidence, the article then goes onto say how webmasters can improve navigation, internal site search and a catagory pages’ conversion capability.

Google Checkout Launches in the UK

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Today it has been announced that Google checkout is now available to all UK merchants and shoppers.

Google checkout is a checkout process that allows online merchants to process transactions online. The checkout enables customers to buy from online shops with Google Checkout integrated, quickly and securely.

If UK customers and merchants take advantage of Google Checkout as much as the US market have it’s sure to go down well!

BBC News reports Google will also offer £10 of free processing for every £1 spend on AdWords advertising!

ViArt - PHP Shopping Cart