Archive for September, 2009

Overview of the best graphic clipart sources

By Michael Gunin, Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 in Articles

imagesearchIf you’re willing to bring a little charm into your online store, it would be good to spice it up with some high-quality, attractive images. However, this should be done carefully.

The simplest approach is to use images found via Google or Yahoo. But how about a possible copyright violation? Using such tools as TinEye, an experienced photographer is likely to find out what you’ve done. And this is probably not the best idea.

However, there is a safe and simple alternative: look for free pictures via online photo libraries where they are presented for free usage and distribution. There is a large number of such libraries filled with impressive free images which can be used even for commercial purposes. Here are some of the best of them:

Stock.XCHNG

This excellent resource has a library of over 400 000 images on various subjects, and it is probably the best place to start with. However, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with the terms of usage before using these files.

Openphoto

This service has a long history, it has been started in 1998 and it is not surprising that its photo base is very large. Photos are carefully sorted by categories, so it’s very easy to find what you need by browsing through thumbnails.

Stockvault.net

Here you can find a small but a high-quality collection of photos, logo templates, clipart, textures and backgrounds. This is a great website to find graphics for your website, but please note that images at Stockvault are free only for non-commercial use.

Unprofound

At Unprofound, you can get some excellent pictures without too strict limits on their usage. You won’t even have to register in order to download them. Besides, the resource is completely non-commercial meaning you won’t see a single disturbing ad. Can’t this be attractive?

Free Media Goo

You may browse the whole media library at Free Media Goo within a few minutes, and the image resolution here is relatively low. However, it has some impressive photos along with a small number of useful textures. A registration is not needed as well, just download what you need.

Morguefile

The best thing at Morguefile is its powerful search tool. It is possible to use category filters, keywords and narrow search results by size, ratings, dimensions and even colors. This means that you can easily exclude unnecessary pictures from search results. The license conditions are very loyal and requires no registration.

Pixel Perfect Digital

This resource contains over 4 000 photos ordered by categories. A large part of a collection is digital art and illustrations as well as elegant images which are hard to find elsewhere.

And which resources do you use to find images for yourself?

SEO features of CS-Cart

By Michael Gunin, Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 in Inside CS-Cart

Search engines remain the key traffic source for most websites, and online stores also get a lion share of visitors from them. It is especially important for webstores to optimize both home and internal pages for problem-free indexing since the competition in ecommerce is quite high and it is necessary to focus on people searching for individual products, manufacturers, categories and the store niche in general.

CS-Cart provides all the necessary tools for successful search engine optimization. All key parameters (like title and meta tags, alternative text for images etc) can be defined for each individual page (including products, categories and CMS pages). CS-Cart also provides auto-generated SEO-friendly URL addresses for all page types,
meaning they can be easily accessed by search spiders and contain relevant keywords.

Key SEO parameters of a page

Key SEO parameters of a page

The code of design skins is also search engine friendly, it is very clean and compact being based on CSS and compliant with all modern standards. Besides, for even easier indexing, CS-Cart provides the ability to generate a site map and HTML catalog of static product and category pages (in order to achieve the maximum performance).

With CS-Cart, you get an ecommerce solution focused on maximum SEO flexibility. However, please do not forget about the off-site factors since getting external links and promoting your store on other resource is no less important.

Banner advertisement in CS-Cart

By Michael Gunin, Friday, September 18th, 2009 in Inside CS-Cart

Both graphic and text banners are commonly used in online marketing for various purposes: promotion of key website areas, highlighting of special offers, paid or affiliate links to external resources etc.

CS-Cart has a built-in banner management system allowing to work with both banner types and display them randomly within the storefront interface. For each banner, you may define URLs they lead to, so it’s possible to link them to any location, be it some sections of your online store, third-party websites or products from your partners.

Banner addition form

Banner addition form

Store administrators are also provided with comprehensive statistics. For each banner, it is possible to see the number of impressions and clicks along with the conversion rate for a defined period of time, including details from hourly to monthly levels.

While not being too complex, CS-Cart’s banner management allows to perform all basic operations for banner rotation with ease. More advanced banner management system is used in affiliate module, about which we will tell you as well.

Link Diagnosis: a tool for external links analysis

By Michael Gunin, Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 in Articles

link diagnosis

A common task for marketers and SEO specialists is to find out the existing external links to company/product websites or to the sites of competitors.

Link Diagnosis is a free online service for incoming website links analysis based on Yahoo! API. After quite a long analysis process, this tool provides a backlink report which is not, of course, absolutely precise, but quite close to reality.

The resulting report can either be viewed online of downloaded in a CSV format. All you have to do for generating it is enter the URL to analyze and press “Start” button.

Link Diagnosis report provides the following data:

  • Overall number of backlinks;
  • Overall number of anchor texts;
  • List of backlinks ordered by Google PageRank;
  • List of most popular website pages;
  • List of most popular anchor texts.

The system provides two report types: basic and advanced, and the last one required a FireFox add-on to be installed.

Please, let us know your experience with Link Diagnosis. Are there any other tools you use for backlink analysis?

CS-Cart 2.0.8 is released!

By Michael Gunin, Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 in CS-Cart releases

A new version of CS-Cart has come out! CS-Cart is now at version 2.0.8.

This version has important bug fixes and minor enhancements.

Please, refer to the changelog for the detailed list of changes taken place in the release.