Idea: Making Money With a Delivery Company

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delivery_microdrones_dhlThere is no better time than now for new delivery services to open shop. In fact, as we enter deeper into a digital world, customer expectations are going up. With better technologies, new devices, greater efficiency and lower costs of having what they want delivered at your doorstep, customers are looking for deliveries for everything from food and retail to personal and business deliveries.

And delivery companies are raking in the dollars as a consequence of great demand. The demand is coming from businesses that don’t have their own in-house delivery systems. These may be flower and gift deliveries, grocery deliveries, business offices looking for couriers to transport documents, online retail businesses delivering goods to customers.

Clearly delivery companies are cogs in the wheels of businesses that keep them running smoothly. But depending on where the delivery business is located, it makes different kinds of profits. The West and East coasts are more profitable while the Midwest and the South are not so lucrative.

But how do delivery companies make money? Let’s take a look.

How Do Delivery Companies Make Money?

grocery deliveryMost types of delivery companies start with some initial accounts and reliable transportation. They purchase larger vehicles with the expansion of their business. The best of these pick up and deliver goods on time, providing excellent customer service. This is profitable in the long run.

Each delivery company focuses on either business or residential areas, or both. Businesses become regular customers. So, focusing on small retail outlets, office complexes, auto repair companies and small corporations is the first step to grow a profitable delivery business. Some couriers benefit by additionally carrying niche items such as medical specimens or airline tickets.

Most delivery companies charge a flat rate along with a mileage. Prices are set according to going rates for competitive services. Limiting themselves to deliveries by boxes and envelopes can help small companies to cut overheads and establish uniformity.

Initially it is not practical to setup a general Customer facing delivery company. Customers will need to deliver a variety of items to and from a large set of locations. Only large delivery companies can handle it. However it could be possible to limit the item types (for example flowers) and limit within city delivery areas for a start-up delivery company.It will need a customer facing website with an online rate calculator where general customers can place order.

When starting out, delivery businesses provide customers with incentives and price breaks to convert them into repeat customers. For instance, if the usual flat rate is $15, repeat customers may be given special rates of $10.

Making Money Through Online Food Delivery Services

An interesting variation of the traditional delivery company is the online food delivery company, which deserves a separate section of its own.

food deliveryThe average American spends more than $900 a year on take-out and delivery food, according to this report of a recent study. Pizzas top the list for consumer preferences, followed by burgers and then Asian takeaway. Clearly there seems to be a lot of scope for delivery companies to be making money despite tough economies.

Services like Seamless and GrubHub make it easy to order food online, through PCs and smartphones. All you have to do to place an order from your choice of local take-away joints is to look up an online menu and fill in an order form. The services offered are free. And with people storing their credit card information on their phones easily, many are choosing to use online delivery services for takeaway. These online delivery companies are paid at least 10% (or more) on each order by every participating restaurant.

Like any business, delivery companies are made profitable depending on their business plan. But the basis of a delivery business that makes money is great customer service, which helps to keep existing customers and find source new ones. A great transport service is the key to great customer service, and most reliable delivery services are aware of this.
[image credits: Lars Plougmann, micro drone from wikipedia,carolynconner ]

Currency Trading Basics

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Forex trading is over the counter market, purchasing and selling of foreign currencies. It is the world’s largest financial market, everyday over $3 trillion is traded in foreign currencies. There’s no mystery in currency trading. Anyone can make money. By understanding how Forex market works and some of the tricks of the trade, it’s possible to easily make cash trading currencies.

How it works

forexForex works by fluctuations of the subject currencies. To be successful in this business, you should to be able to see the trends of the currencies. Only then can you be able to predict where one currency is heading against the other. When the purchased currency increases in value compared to the one sold, the profit is made. You have several options to succeeding in a Forex market. You can hire professional traders or you can simply learn and become a trader yourself.

Principles of currency trading

For you to understand currency trading logic, you first need to understand the primary principles. If you are a newbie, you have to learn used terminologies and notions. Some of the terms used include currency rates, indirect rates and spot rates. Currency rate define the value of two currencies regarding one another. The value can be created by the supply and demand of participating currencies in the market or under a strict supervision of banks of the nations which the currencies belong to. Indirect rates define the value of foreign currencies in local currency. See also: The Different Ways to Trade Currencies

How to start

First, you need a computer as well as an Internet connection. Then open an account with a broker. There are a plethora of Forex brokers and naturally some are good than others. Keep in mind that this is the firm with which you’ll entrust your hard earned money, so if you have to choose your broker carefully! After picking a broker, you then have to execute an order. In Forex exchange you purchase and sell currencies. The primary goal is to exchange one currency for the other in the hope that the price will go up. Let’s say you have $1,000 and you want to buy British Pounds. If the value of the British Pound increases compared to the dollar, you will have made cash trading these currencies. You are to watch out for forex signals

How to make money trading currency

tradingWhen starting out with currency trading, do not be intimidated and think you have to learn each and everything in order to make a profit. First, you need to understand the basics and the terms involved. You also have to understand currency pairs. In Forex exchange market, currencies are typically traded in pairs. This means that you’re buying foreign currency with a different currency and selling it for profit depending on whether its value increases or decreases. It’s vitally important that you understand the two currencies and how they affect one another.

Some people believe that Forex currency trading is difficult. This is not true at all. Forex trading doesn’t have to be difficult so long as you’re willing to learn how it works. Although forex markets are extremely volatile, having a long term plan can help you evade risks by holding onto the investment.

[image credit: epSos.de, norgesbank ]

How to Build Web Forms that Convert Better

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Web forms are an essential component of any website. They can have a significant impact on your conversion rates. Most businesses fail to recognize the value of web forms and their influence on sales. Web form design, layouts, and copy can determine whether you will convert a lead or lose it. In spite of their great influence, most businesses rarely test or change their forms and this makes it difficult for them to improve their conversation rates. There are certain aspects that a business needs to keep in mind when designing forms.

Design Short Forms

simple email formA short form will offer better conversion compared to a long one. Less is more when it comes to designing a web form. Use a minimum number of fields to motivate the user to sign up. In most situations, all you need is an email address. Eliminate all the optional fields on the form. You do not have to ask for all the data that you require immediately. Get the most important data and then contact the user for any additional information you need. In ideal situations, you should have a maximum of five fields. If you are designing just an email form, most probably all that you need is a message field and the user’s email address.

Offer Value

It is essential to consider the value that you offer to the user to motivate them to fill the form. Most users want to know what is in it for them. Offer them something valuable on the form to get the users’ contact information. You have to give in order to get. The value can be a free tutorial, guide, or consult depending on your business.

Create Trust

html form sampleThe user has to trust you before they offer their personal information. You have to inform them about the intended use of the data. People like to feel that they are in control. Users will not fill up the form if they do not know how you will use the data. A privacy policy can also help to create trust. Reduce their fear by letting them know that their personal details will not be shared. Inform them that their privacy is guaranteed. Avoid using the word spam in your privacy policy. This makes the user associate your form with spam mail and discourages them from signing up. Also see:
Usability Tips Based on Research

Meet Expectations

Users often have certain expectations before they fill out a web form. If you set up expectations in your web content, you need to meet them. Give your users something they expect to drive conversations. If began a campaign to help users find reliable professionals in your business field, the web form should highlight this.

Clarity

Web form design has to focus on clarity. You have to be clear about the information that you require from the user. Avoid being vague or including misleading information on the form. The user should not have to “over-think” when filling in the form. It has to be a simple process and this is only possible if the form is clear. Include some explanatory text in a field to clarify what you need. This will eliminate any indecision in the user.

Web form design has to be well thought out if you want to convert better. Think about the information you require and your users then come up with a simple and clear design.
[form image by secretSWC , vandelaydesign]

7 Interesting Ways to Promote Infographics

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Sharing infographics may be hard because of the noise that comes along with it. Even the most beautiful infographics require lots of promotion to get quality backlinks and generate many shares. Below are some useful tips, tricks and ways on how to best promote infographics especially if you have them in your pipeline.

1. Optimize your infographic.

It is important to start thinking how you will promote your infographic while writing it. This allows you to include all the relevant keywords for people to find it easily on search engines. Try to research on Google Adwords to get the best keywords for infographics and the tags that you will be using. Finally include most of your primary keywords in the title for it to be found easily on Google.

2. Encourage sharing.

Sharing is the easiest and the most effective way of promoting an infographic. You will have many people sharing it with their friend and followers on social media thus spreading the word about your new infographic. Make sure you have social sharing buttons for the major social networks at the bottom or top of your infographic post. It is also imperative to include a call to action aspect at the end of your post. These basic methods will grow your social media shares.

3. Promote them on social media.

share infographicsInfographics can be shared easily and many people are now sharing them on social media. Take them to all the major social networks and start promoting them heavily. Share them on Google+ and facebook, Instagram, tweet about them, Flickr and Pinterest. Include calls to action in your posts, tweets and encourage people to share them with their followers and friends. However, remember to leave enough space in your posts and tweets for people to retweet them easily without leaving out anything important.

4. Translate your infographic.

If you are intending to serve an international audience, you should translate your infographics using high profile languages like Spanish and Chinese. This translation is not hard and it won’t require cost you too much, but it will increase the virality of the infographics. You will definitely get more social media shares, more traffic and engagements that will increase your brand.

5. Create a short video

Most people on the internet like videos and images. You can therefore make a video version of your infographic, share i on social networks and put it on YouTube. Having both image and video gives you a better chance of getting more quality shares. You can deconstruct a video and add some music or create a PowerPoint presentation that you share to get more traffic and shares.

6. Try to tease your audience.

You can promote your infographics by creating two different versions: a normal infographic and a teaser version that shows the snippets of the infographic. The teaser will attract people who may end up visiting your website.

7. Add your infographic to your list.

Once you post an infographic that adds value to your subscribers, make sure you send a quick email to let them know about it. This will encourage more engagement especially if you have a loyal responsive list and generate traffic back to your site.

Finally, a great infographic promotion tutorial from David McBee

Image credits: clearlym.com

Hosting A Website In XAMPP

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XAMPP is a “free and open source cross-platform web server solution package” that makes it very easy to create a web server on your local machine. It is available for various Unix flavors, and for Windows, which is the version we will look at in this article.

Installing and running Xampp

xampp control panel Installing Xampp is a straightforward process.(Link to: XAMPP for windows) You just download the executable file and run it. All you need to do is specify where you want Xampp to install. If you accept the default installation, Xampp will install an Apache server, PHP, MySQL and PHPMyAdmin on your computer.

Before you can run the Apache server, you will need to make two small changes to the configuration. The default port that Xampp installs is port 80, and you need to change this to another value, for example 8000. Use a text editor to open the file c:\xampp\apache\conf\httpd.conf. Locate the line Listen 80 and change it to Listen 8000. Next, locate the line ServerName localhost:80 and change the 80 to 8000. Save the file.

In the Xampp root folder, there will be a file named xampp-control.exe. Double click this to open the control screen. Click the Start button for the Apache server. In your browser address bar, type in http://localhost:8000/ and you should see a message congratulating you on your successful installation.

Testing your website

Set up a folder, let’s say “mysite.com” in c:\xampp\htdocs, so you now have c:\xampp\htdocs\mysite.com. Copy all your web pages in here. Assuming you have an index.html file in the folder, typing http://localhost:8000/mysite.com in your browser will bring up your home page.

Going public

This is where it gets tricky. You will need your ISP allocated IP address, and the IP address, username and password for your router. Access your router by typing its IP address into your browser. You have to unblock port 8000, and how you do so depends on what router you are using. Next, go back to edit httpd.conf and change ServerName localhost:8000, replacing localhost with your IP address.

Problems using your local XAMPP for hosting your websites

You now know the basics of how to host website in xampp, but setting up your machine as a web server is fraught with problems. These are just some things to be aware of:

  1. Security is a prime concern, since you are letting the whole world access your computer.
  2. The outside world has to access your site using your IP address, unless you pay for a domain name to be associated with it.
  3. ISPs often allocate different IP addresses each time you login. Every time that happens your website will be unavailable until you reconfigure.
  4. Data, images, files etc. must be uploaded from your computer. Most ISPs are optimized for downloading, and upload speeds are very, very slow.
  5. You have to leave your PC on all the time. When your PC is down, so is your website.

The cost of running your PC 24/7, of associating a domain name with your IP address, and of putting backups in place will probably exceed the cost of using a hosting service. The time you spend poring over logs, and checking that everything is running fine may not justify the savings of having your own web server.