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Chulado
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The right way to pitch your #app to #investors

Don't bore investors show them a #prototype http://bit.ly/2jVN1OL 
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Is PayPal a Good Choice for Your Website?

Just about everyone is familiar with #PayPal. PayPal has been around since 1998 and for most of those years the dominant payment processor player.

Biggest equates to best, right? Well that depends on who you speak to. In all fairness, most complaints associated with PayPal are in relation to transactions on eBay.

The biggest reason why many people, especially #webdevelopers frown upon PayPal is it tends to be the payment processor of choice for entrepreneurs new to the Web.

Why is this bad? Because of the relative ease required to create a PayPal account just about anyone with a bank account can open an account and process sales through a website. PayPal in the eyes of some lacks legitimacy in terms of seriousness or business acumen.

So why do so many websites use PayPal? Most consumers know and trust PayPal. There is a great deal of people who don't trust websites with their credit card data. Even though this is a fallacy because, when processing a purchase through a gateway or merchant account, the owner of the website never sees the full credit card number, many consumers assume otherwise.

This leads back to the reason why PayPal is viewed as less than a serious option. Those same consumers, who trust PayPal because of concern with protecting their credit card data, are many times the very people who open their first online business.

Granted PayPal never exposes your credit card number to a 3rd party merchant, meaning no matter how many purchases you make from vendors online, you never have to give out a credit card number.

If you're opening your first online business, PayPal might be a good choice. Depending upon the platform you use to build your website, in many cases you can integrate PayPal without any outside help from a web developer. Things do however tend to get messy when you move beyond the "buy now" button option and attempt to implement a shopping cart.

If you own an existing brick and mortar business or planning a serious foray into ecommerce, PayPal is probably not the best solution. Ideally you want the entire transaction to take place on your site, rather than requiring a user to visit PayPal's website to complete the sale.

To eliminate the requirement that a user has to leave your site, PayPal offers a Payment Pro account which allows you to provide customers with a fully customized checkout experience right on your site. However you are hit with a $30 a month fee for this "convenience."

PayPal Merchant Services Fees

PayPal Payments Standard & Express Checkout
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction - US only

PayPal Payments Pro
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction - US only
$30 monthly fee


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If you plan to develop a #website to sell a product or a service, you will need a mechanism to process payments.

The merchant services market has changed tremendously over the past few years. Many new companies have come online recently, offering competitive rates, no contracts, no monthly fees, and developer friendly APIs.

In general, it’s best to avoid using traditional merchant account services from banks or merchant account providers. These for the most part use outdated technology and have higher fees. Old school says it best. Many people when they decide to set-up an ecommerce website, make the mistake of calling their bank. Five to ten years ago, this was the route of least resistance, however today it’s not a smart move.

Merchant Account Versus Payment Gateway

A merchant account is basically an online bank account that will temporarily hold your money until it is moved into your actual bank account. After a successful sale, money will be transferred into your merchant account. After 1-3 days it will be automatically transferred into your bank (checking) account.

A (payment) gateway is a service that processes credit card transactions for you. When customers buy something from your website their credit card data is sent to your payment gateway to authorize the transaction and process the payment. If the credit card information submitted to the payment gateway matches the information on file with the credit card company and the charge is approved, the payment gateway will then transfer the money from your customer's credit (or debit) card into your merchant account.

The gateway model is a bit dated with many newer services acting as both gateway and merchant account.

http://Authorize.Net is an example of a gateway provider. In many ways the gateway is the middle man between your website and bank. Once http://Authorize.Net approves the transaction made on your site, the money begins the transfer process to your bank within 24 hours and will be available in your bank account in about 2-3 days.

Many times a person who is new to ecommerce will approach their bank which in turn will offer a merchant account and provide several gateway options. Traditional banks set-up relationships with gateway providers and then refer clients to these companies when a gateway provider is needed. One would assume there is a financial incentive for banks to refer to a particular gateway, however in many cases an experienced web developer will tell their client if given a choice, they would prefer to work with a particular gateway. This could be because they are a re-seller for a particular gateway or they have experience working with a particular gateway, thus eliminating the need to read through API (application program interface) documentation.

Unless you have a specific reason for working with your local bank to facilitate ecommerce transactions, it’s best to avoid this arrangement. Chances are you will pay more in fees and rather than getting a solution that works best for you, get one that works best for the bank.

Services such as Stripe, Braintree and WePay serve as a combination of payment gateway and merchant account. Once the transaction is approved, the funds are collected, and moved to your bank account.

PayPal acts as both a gateway and merchant account, however your funds are never transferred to your actual bank account until you login to your account and manually request the transfer. In between the time you collect the funds from a customer and the time you actually initiate the transfer to your bank, PayPal has access to your funds. In other words, they make money off your money and give you nothing in return.



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Why Product Photography for the Web Matters

Photography is crucial if you're selling products via a web-based storefront. If visitors to your website can't get a good idea of what the product looks like, they are less likely to make a purchase.

This is especially so of more expensive products. Users want to be able to examine details of the product you are selling. Since it's not possible to physically touch a product on your website, a potential buyer is relying on the quality of the photograph you have presented to make an informed buying decision.

In addition to providing a professionally shot product photograph, it's an absolute must that you get the lighting correct. If the product you are shooting is advertised as white but the photograph you present on your website depicts the product as gray, you will probably end up dealing with returns and unhappy customers.

If you're shooting an image where color is not critical (or a product option), this is less of a problem, however if you advertise a t-shirt shirt as blue, the photograph of the shirt should be as close to the actual color as possible.

This leads to the next potential pitfall. How do you know if the photograph you shot is true to the actual color when viewing it on your desktop monitor? Many lower-end desktop computers have integrated graphics which are less than ideal for depicting accurate colors. If your computer has available slots, you can disable the integrated video and install your own higher-end graphics card.

In addition to the graphics card, it's a really good idea to upgrade your monitor to an IPS (In-Plane Switching) LCD. IPS monitors are calibrated at the factory to accurately display color.

Uncalibrated consumer LCDs tend to be more blue and red than a calibrated IPS display. This creates a problem when you edit your image because you may end up overcompensating to account for the inaccuracy of your display. The end result is the photo will look good on your display, but may look too warm (orange) when viewed by visitors to your website.

Ideally you want to edit your photographs as little as possible. Any editing you do that changes the hue or saturation can negatively affect the true color of the product you are selling. If you plan to use Photoshop for processing your photos stick to resizing and cropping. The more your photo deviates from the original, the greater the chance you are presenting a photo that is not an accurate depiction of the original product.

The easiest way to avoid having to use Photoshop to retouch photos is to spend the extra time shooting the image correctly. Make sure you have correct daylight balanced lighting. Eliminate extraneous shadows when setting up your lights and try to avoid hot spots or harsh reflections. Do the majority of your editing in-camera! Move your lights to different angles. Try different focal lengths and if your shooting in manual mode, vary the f-stop for maximum depth of field. It's okay to play with depth of field to display objects behind the main product as slightly out of focus, but you want the product you are selling to be as sharp as possible. Finally, use a tripod to reduce possible blurring.

So what do you do if you don't have a DSLR camera or professional lighting, or for that matter just don't have the time to spend on photography? Hire a professional product photographer. Yes this can be expensive, but better photographs can lead to better conversions and increased ROI.

There are 3rd party services that will shoot your products based on a per-item fee. These require you to ship your products to their facility. One such service http://www.productphotography.com/pricing/ will shoot a single product for $60 and as little as $24 (per product) if shooting over 100 products.

It's probably a good idea if you intend to use a 3rd party service to send only one product as a trial. If the results are what you expected, send the remainder.

Product photography for Vanns Spices.

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The Ultimate Tool for Finding Emails

Find email addresses associated with any domain name using #Maildb http://bit.ly/2ktHkrg currently in beta
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Crimeology Landing Page

#websitedesign for #startup Crimeology 
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Keynote Speaker Kathy Dempsey

Photo shoot with Keynote Speaker Kathy Dempsey, an award winning author, speaker and recognized change expert.

Chulado has been retained by Kathy and her team to implement a new CMS and migrate content from existing #website and CMS.
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GoDaddy acquires WP Curve

GoDaddy acquires WP Curve http://bit.ly/2j1am4a and folds it into a clunky GoDaddy Pro service http://bit.ly/2ixdX6P
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Clear product photography for 2.5x less than industry average with the fastest turnaround time.

Poor product #photography not only leads to lower conversion rates, but creates an overall bad impression. At about $10 per photo Squareshot is a bargain for #ecommerce #websites. http://bit.ly/2iE5i3n 
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