Categories
Kavoir & Whatever

Archetypethemes.co Review: 5/5 Best Premium Shopify Theme I Know of Thus Far

I have started several Shopify stores that are now still online and making money for me since 2017. It’s been a terrific experience as Shopify has made so many things so simple after the golden old days when you had to provision and manage a server yourself with hand coded websites on your own garage computers.

Now I just find the perfect theme and install it on my Shopify store and I would have everything ready without worrying about nothing technicals or uptimes.

I used about 30 different themes since I started my first store and bought about 10. Up until now I can say the best ones are by Archetype Themes: Motion and Impulse, both of which I purchased for my stores.

Reason 1

Over 300 5-star reviews which is really rare among Shopify premium themes. Those users can’t be wrong.

Reason 2

I’m a perfectionist who changes and refines everything that doesn’t come good enough for me or the users, e.g. font sizes, color contrasting, checkout experiences, button sizes, page navigation easiness, etc..

The issue I found in a lot of themes in the market, be it for Shopify or WooCommerce, especially those at ThemeForest.net, is that they are made by designers who have no experience in eCommerce at all, and that the themes are actually bad in conversions.

They look good but don’t work well for human.

In most cases, I had to do a lot of customizations to get the theme right in user experiences so it doesn’t work against conversions in sales. However, surprisingly, I needed to do zero improvements to Archetype themes after examining and testing both of Motion and Impulse inside out.

Yes, zero, nothing at all. From my experience in eCommerce for the past 6 years, they did everything right in the first place.

Reason 3

Rich features and functionalities are the final reason why I loved the themes. Everything just works out of the box. Saves me a lot of time.

I also love about their flexible sections for promotions and pictures.

Conclusion

From my experience, these are absolutely the 5/5 themes for Shopify that you must get for your next store. Highly recommended by an enthusiastic user.

You may want to check out the stores I built with Motion and Impulse. One is ChicksHQ and the other is TheDepts.

Categories
Kavoir & Whatever

New Directory Site: Machining Services & Machine Shops

This is a collaborative project with one of my friends in college who owns a fairly large machining workshop in Jiangsu, China. He came to me looking for help to build a new site for his business to reach new customers.

While I can do exactly what he asked, I believe it’s much better to start from the industry level rather than from a business level.

Therefore I created the directory of machine shops and machining services, https://www.GetMachining.com.

All the days and dates are approximate.

Day 1 (2019.10.25)

Created the directory with the listingpro WordPress theme for which I’d rate 3.8/5 after paying $69. I can live with it now but if I’m starting a new project of similar purpose, I’d use my in-house site script for low-maintenance and evergreen-ness which is the key to cash flow in the long term.

WordPress and its themes / plugins are great to start something but it’s becoming unpredictable with regards to updates and version compatibilities among all the themes and plugins maintained by independent teams. It’s very easy to break a working site 1 or 2 years into the future when you have to update something.

Day 2 (2019.10.26)

Used https://datasn.io to get the listings data from Google Maps via the API and imported in the Get Machining site. Now we have a total of 23,000 entries of machining shops in the United States.

Looking to get more in other countries such as UK, Germany, China, and India.

Day 3 (2019.10.27)

Tweaked the site and the theme a bit so it’s more usable.

Day 9 (2019.11.2)

Added the site to Google Analytics and then Google Search Console.

As always, if you have any questions of insights of this, leave comments.

Categories
Kavoir & Whatever

New Amazon Affiliate Site: Men’s Winter Boots dot Com

As someone at NamePros suggests with some of my exact match .com names, I created this affiliate site with the domain MensWinterBoots.com and see what kind of business or cash flow I can get.

Exact match domains used to dominate in Google search results but no more. I’m skeptical of how this would turn out but I try to build an as beautiful and usable site as possible with Shopify and the Spreadr app.

Imported thus far about 100 products from the category of winter / snow boots for men on Amazon. All look good with the free Shopify theme Debut which I highly recommend. I talked with some of the high selling store owners and they seemed to use this theme quite a bit.

Also used Google Fonts to find the perfect typography and created the Men’s Winter Boots logo for the site.

Installed Google Analytics for traffic analysis and added the site in Google Search Console for rankings monitoring.

I will update how the site performs in this blog and document exactly what I have done. Make sure you bookmark or subscribe to Kavoir.

Day 1 (2019.10.25)

Google indexed the site but it’s far from ranking in the results according to https://www.serprobot.com/serp-check.php

Day 3 (2019.10.27)

I don’t have a screenshot but Google indexed slightly over 200 pages on 2019.10.27 by searching site:menswinterboots.com

Day 4 – 5 (2019.10.28-29)

Added a few more navigations to the site so it’s a breeze to find any boot, by brand, by use cases, by color, etc. and created couple of collections by popular keywords found via Google auto-completion and related searches, e.g. affordable men’s boots, clearance men’s boots.

Started a tiny SEO campaign for 15 days by one of my outsource buddies in Pakistan for $100.

Day 9 (2019.11.2)

Google indexed 688 pages of the site. Organic impressions and clicks are on their way according to Google Search Console:

Day 20 (2019.11.13)

Search traffic seems to be picking up and CTR is not bad. Top impressions and clicks are from search of “men’s winter boots clearance“.

Google Search Console

However, the number of total indexed pages in Google dropped to 85:

Google indexed pages dropped to 85

Day 40 (2019.12.3)

Organic traffic is climbing up slowly. I may need to spend more time on it but an affiliate site isn’t worth so much in marketing. It’s just an experiment.

Bounce rate is not bad at just 44%, thanks to the abundant navigations across the site.

Google seems to start indexing many of the long tail pages of the site, a.k.a. in-depth pages with 3 or more keywords of a very specific category for the winter boots.

Day 90 (2020.1.22)

CTR all right. Positions climbing a bit.

Mostly long-tail traffic. Not much exact match search traffic, namely “Men’s Winter Boots” or similar.

The last 30 days the site made about $25 via Amazon affiliate program. It’s not bad if the site is NOT on Shopify as that costs me $29 per month and I’m NOT spending any time for this.

Amazon affiliate program is not worth it any more in my opinion, at 4.5% commission. It used to be 6.5 – 8%.

I think it’s definitely going to make real money if I source the products and sell my own boots, because:

  • 5 times more profits (10 times more profits, times 50% of the current conversion rate)
  • More money to invest in SEO
Categories
My Personal Reviews

My Personal Review: CheapSSLShop.com

This is my personal review of site CheapSSLShop.com which I personally use.

It’s one of the most affordable SSL vendors I can find on the Internet. I’ve been personally using it since 2012.

The price is good and the delivery is fast and easy.

You need some expertise to get the SSL certificates installed but with support from my host, there’s nothing to worry about for me.

Cheap SSL Shop was also able to process full refunds to me when I messaged them about my mis-order of SSL certificates I didn’t need. This is something you don’t see everyday but they do it nonetheless.

A trustworthy supplier overall, it’s highly recommended.

Categories
Business and Marketing Kavoir & Whatever

Don’t control

Most of us are loss-averse. We worry too much about failing and losing. We spend too much valuable resources in identifying the wrong things to do so as to make sure we don’t do them.

We vigorously look for the right thing to do.

We want control.

We believe business success is achieved by maintaining order of everything so that everything is under control. Otherwise we’d lose control and crash.

Is that really so?

After 10 years of entrepreneurship, the one thing I’m certain now is that this mindset is wrong.

To get great things done, one must be glad to lose control.

Let things run wild.

Let your business get out of control.

If everything’s under control, you are just not moving fast enough.

The most successful businesses are good at NOT controlling. Instead of making sure everything goes as planed and nothing bad happens, they focus resources on setting off the fire that grows exponentially. Yes, fires are dangerous. Fires can get out of control fairly quick. But that’s the beauty of it.

Let it finish the job. Then you just call 911. Investors will be happy to clear it up for you.

If there’s one advice for creating something big, it’s this one:

Don’t control it.

Categories
Kavoir & Whatever

How does Elon Musk study?

Elon Musk
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Someone asked this question on Quora. I wrote an answer.

How does Elon Musk study?

People tend to overstate their feelings about somebody. They are usually not as good as we say they are nor as bad as we say they are.

Elon is smart but he’s not so much so unless he has a world-class team backing him up. And that takes money, which comes from his risk-taking business endeavors rather than his ability to study effectively, albeit it definitely adds up.

But still. It’s not about how fast / effective you study but about knowing exactly what to study against a very specific problem or well defined goal.

Elon has a definitive goal that he wants to achieve. This is what distinguishes him from others. Most study for the sake of knowledge, while he studies to solve problems.

This is the reason why it seems he’s more effectively in studying because he solves more problems than we do with the same amount of study.

80% of knowledge and techniques are cool but useless. Elon only spends time for the other 20% that are actually helpful in achieving his goals.

He does the right study in the right amount just enough at the right time just when the problem arises. Anything more is a waste.

Another reason I think why Elon studies well is he smartly modularizes his ultimate goal in smaller milestones that are easier to achieve one by one. Through consistent positive feedback, he has been able to stay motivated all the way, which is another boost to his study efficiency.

Categories
Kavoir & Whatever

How to train myself to sleep less?

Someone asked a question:

I have been trying to reduce how long I sleep so that I have more waking hours available. I have read this question, and this one but it does not really give an answer.

My question is whether I can train my body to sleep less. I currently have about 6.5 to 7 hours sleep per night. If I reduce that to 6 hours every night for the next two months, and then down to 5.5 hours then onward, will my body get adjusted to the new sleep pattern?

When I was 22 and just graduated from college I had the same idea as you do now. As a workaholic who’s passionate about his work (software development) and very determined about his goal, I would keep working until late night and get up very early. The average sleep I got was about 5 hours per day, EVERYDAY, for 5 years, even on weekends. There’s always so much that I could do to make my projects better thus making more money.

For the first few years it was all good and rewarding because I was young and I had the power and energy to keep it going, even on very stressful times. But eventually I started noticing changes with regards to my body:

  1. I started going to doctors more often than my peers.
  2. My vision started to deteriorate, albeit slightly.
  3. I started losing hair.
  4. I started to forget stuff which shouldn’t be an issue before.
  5. Last but the most important, when you sleep less for very long time, eventually you’ll actually sleep less because it takes longer for you to fall asleep and you easily wake up.

So for a short answer, yes you can train your body to sleep less, but do make sure it’s not very long as to years so you can easily recover. It may not be obvious but sleeping less than you body needs DOES undermine your health. However the amount of sleep everybody needs may vary because we are designed differently in genes.

For a long answer, no, sleeping less wouldn’t let you get more things done in the long term. Everything has a price. It’s actually against productivity rather than for it. When I look back how I went through these years in retrospect, I could have not pushed myself that hard but still accomplish the same results. Productivity is about getting the most out of time rather than getting the most time. Lots of people have got plenty of time in their life, even more than they need, still they blow it. In fact, when I was in college, some of the top performing students actually sleep more than the average.

So sleep as much as you want. Time enjoyed is NOT wasted. Sleep is beautiful. Don’t waste it for some stupid things that you need done!

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

–The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter 6

Categories
Business and Marketing China Internet eCommerce & Shopping Online Kavoir & Whatever

Sell on Taobao.com and Tmall.com – Market to China!

Taobao, Tmall, KavoirIf you have solid products and wants to sell to China audience, let us know. We have a very capable team currently running 2 big brands on Taobao.com (for small merchants) and Tmall.com (for medium to large merchants), the largest online marketplaces in China thus far, with an annual sales volume over 1,000 billion CNY, or 200 billion USD.

With CNY appreciating and a widespread distrust of domestic goods, Chinese consumers are seeking overseas alternatives for a better spend, even more expensive, especially from western countries where products are considered greener and better for human body.

Listed below are some of our successful brands on Taobao.com and Tmall.com we’ve been running. We can do the same to yours and make you successful in China. Contact us.

Pandabobo – http://pandabobo.tmall.com

A merchant that we are fully responsible for the branding and marketing on Tmall.com. It currently tops over 2,000,000 CNY (approx. $350,000 USD per month) sales per month by selling a variety of fruits, nuts and natural snacks.

Pandabobo has also got a full-fledged standalone web store of at Pandabobo.com which is completely localized and catered to China audience. We can also help you build one of your own should you want to extend your local presence in China. However the most online sales in China are always made via top eCommerce marketplaces such as Taobao.com or Tmall.com rather than standalone websites because China consumers tend to have more faith in bigger brands / companies thus more likely to spend money there.

Check out one of their best selling products. This single product has had nearly 3,000 sales in the last 30 days.

pandabobo tmall sales

KanS – http://kans.tmall.com

KanS sales stats on kans.tmall.comThe store of a local cosmetics brand based from Shanghai that is raking in 4,767,423 CNY, or $800,000 USD, per month. We make the major part of their marketing team and are responsible for sales channels development and online marketing.

kans @ tmall

Contact Us

Interested in our expertise and talent to be successful in China? We would love to team with you to bring good products to the Chinese audience. Contact us by the form here: http://www.formkid.com/f/kavoir/contact-kavoir-com/

And make sure to include as much information about your business, brand, and products as possible – stores, website, sales volume, pictures, etc.

Our Team

Li Zhiwei, Chen Shuang, Zhang Xiaofeng, Zhao Yang, Yang Yang, and some more. Pictures are coming! 😉

Categories
Kavoir & Whatever

I’m just so happy

I don’t know why but I’m just so happy. I just returned from a hiking in the Qin Mountains. It’s gently snowing while we climb one of the mountains to an altitude of about 1000 meters above sea level. It’s been terrific in the outdoors! We have a good company of many friends and strange but friendly people yet it’s so quite in the woods. The air is refreshing and the sunlight is winterly warm.

Wish everyone a happy new year! 🙂

Categories
Guest Posts

How Does Your Brand Measure Up?

Did you read the recent Yahoo finance news article about 2013’s Top 10 Best Brands and Worst Brands in America? A company called “CoreBrand” conducts an annual survey to determine the most and least respected corporate brands based on the company’s “Familiarity and Favorability data.” This goes beyond the most well known, the most heavily advertised or the highest profit making companies. This measures people’s perceptions of a company’s trustworthiness and respect among consumers. Most of these major brands have an international presence, but the survey results are based on American sentiments.

According to the study results released August 20, these are the 2013 Top 10 Most Respected Brands:

  1. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola (tied)
  2. Hershey’s
  3. Harley-Davidson
  4. Bayer
  5. Johnson & Johnson
  6. Kellogg’s
  7. Campbell’s Soup Company
  8. Colgate-Palmolive
  9. Estee Lauder

And, according to the same study, these are the Top 10 Least Respected Brands in 2013:

  1. Delta
  2. Philip Morris
  3. H&R Block
  4. Denny’s
  5. Big Lots
  6. Best Buy
  7. J.C. Penney
  8. Capital One
  9. Rite Aid
  10. Foot Locker

Some of these results may surprise you, as your own personal experience with an individual company may have been excellent and you consider yourself a loyal customer. In some cases, you might have issues with their competition or there is no convenient alternative, so you must use their products or services regardless of whether you like the company or not.

The point is, if you are a business in today’s world and your customers were to be asked how satisfied they are with your products or services, how would your brand measure up? Most people want to believe that every customer is happy and consider complaints to be a reflection on the disgruntled customer themselves, not something that the company has actually done wrong or needs improvement. A smart manager realizes that a complaint is an opportunity to not only make things right for the customer, but a warning flag that something in your operations is not delivering up to expectations and needs to be fixed.

In my post about Amazon’s affiliate program, I mentioned how easy it is to earn money as an affiliate with Amazon because:

  1. Amazon itself is a globally recognized brand with a good reputation
  2. Amazon carries popular brands already familiar to people and rarely has products returned
  3. Although Amazon started out selling books, they have evolved and grown into a company that sells just about anything

Not only does Amazon do an excellent job of meeting each customer’s needs, they are constantly asking for reviews and have top notch customer service. Even if the product you sold didn’t meet your customer’s expectation, if you handle complaints well, in most cases you can keep that customer’s respect and rebuild their trust.

Safeguard all that hard work building your business and creating a brand. If your customer service is lacking, people no longer hesitate to take their complaints to the internet and warn their friends on sites like Facebook, YELP, TripAdvisor.com and Angie’s List. Bad reviews do scare away new business and cost you customers. Brand.com reviews the best ways to optimize search listings and protect brands for small business as well as large corporations.

The U.S. government’s Small Business Administration also has some excellent advice about managing a company’s online reputation and other business issues. Even companies that do not have a web site must be concerned with their online reputation and monitor the most popular sites regularly to protect their brand from negative reviews in directories and social media.