7 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Today, buying online is the way to go. You have a great collection of things to buy. Plus, you can bargain. The shipping is fast and security is high. You can even return the products that are damaged. As a matter of fact, shopping is a lot easier today. However, those who are unfamiliar with how the online buying works may be an easy target for cyber criminals who steal money from people through phishing frauds and other tricks. Given below are a few tips to buy online safely. Read on.

1. Use Familiar Websites

If you have never purchased from an online store before, we suggest that you start at an online store that is trusted all over the world. For instance, you can buy at Amazon. This is one of the biggest online stores of the world where you can buy anything. Other good names include Home Depot, Best Buy and Target, just to name a few. Make sure type the correct URL of the site.

2. Look for the SSL Lock

It’s a good idea to stay away from a website that doesn’t have the SSL encryption. For instance, if the website URL begins with HTTPS instead of HTTP, you can buy from it safely. Moreover, the website URL will have a locked padlock in it. Another important thing is that you must never send your credit card information through email.

3. Don’t Give too much information

Reliable online stores never ask for a buyer’s birthday or social security number. If a scammer gets your credit card number and social security number, be ready to suffer a big loss. With this information, it will be a lot easier for them to steal your identity. If possible, make sure you give the least information when buying online.

4. Check Statements

Check your credit card statements on a regular basis. Make sure the statements don’t have any fraudulent charges. If you notice something unusual, make sure you call the bank immediately to get the matter resolved. If you are going to buy with a credit card, make sure the charges are accurate.

5. Scan Your PC

Make sure you have an anti-virus program installed on your computer. This is important if you want protection against malware. The anti-virus should be the most recent version.

6. Use Strong Passwords

Make sure your password is a non-dictionary word. It shouldn’t be an easy to guess term. It is even more important when you are going to buy online. If possible, use a combination of letters and numbers. You passwords should be over 8 letters.

7. Avoid Public Terminals

It’s not a good idea to use a public computer in order to buy something from an online store. But if you have to use a public terminal, make sure you sign out after each session. This is equally important even if you went online just to check your email inbox.

So, if you follow these 7 tips, you will be safe when buying stuff online.

MXL 007 USB Microphone Review!

Are you looking for a good, inexpensive USB microphone? There are a few to choose from in the sub $150 range that can produce near studio quality sound. One of these is the MXL 007 USB Microphone from Marshall.

This is a stereo mic, operating at 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz for a smooth, rich sound. This is obviously important for musical vocalists, but is also fantastic for instrumentalists, interviewers, voice-over artists, and podcasters.

Because the MXL USB 007 requires no xlr device, you can simply plug it directly into your laptop computer’s usb port and take it with you to a park, a friend’s house, a field meeting, or your car.

Many reviews compare the Marshall MXL 007 USB Microphone to condenser studio mics in the $500+ range. The microphone’s large gold diaphragm capsules (two) coupled with low noise electronics and ultra modern digital conversion techniques help to produce a final sound that very closely replicates that of a professional recording studio!

The MXL USB 007 can be purchased both online and in your favorite music store.

I’ve personally made the switch from offline music gear purchases to getting my stuff online. It all depends upon your own personal preferences, but I have a few reasons to support my own preference.

  1. Offline stores don’t have nearly enough competitors to drive the prices down as low as online stores do. This is because your local music shop has maybe five or ten other music stores in town to compete with, whereas online stores have hundreds of competitors.
  2. I’m not a huge fan of sales tax!
  3. As part of the spirit of competition, many online retailers offer free shipping on gear!
  4. I don’t have to leave the house or be pressured by a sales person.
  5. I can shop many stores in a very short period of time – no wasted time or gas!

So that’s my little rant about the benefits of buying your gear online, but I digress…

If you want a microphone that produces rich, professional sound, the MXL 007 USB Microphone could definitely be worth your consideration.

In all of my own personal “homework” on USB condensers, I would say the MXL USB 007 actually ranks number one in its price range, with the Blue Microphones USB Snowball Mic and the Audio Technica AT2020 USB following closely behind.

As always, I encourage you to do your own homework to find the best quality instrument at the most reasonable price.

In conclusion, I will say that the MXL 007 is certainly a great investment for the serious home musician, podcaster, or anyone else who believes that portability and low cost need not compromise production quality.

Shopify Review: Is This One of the Best E-Commerce Website Templates?

Deciding to build an online store is a great decision and a solid business model. Once you’ve decided on a product to sell, your next big decision is choosing a great e-commerce website template. I’ve tried many e-commerce templates – and I can say hands down that Shopify offers one of the best e-commerce website templates and platforms when you take pricing, template options, style, and ease-of-use into consideration.

In fact, many e-commerce store owners have extremely successful online stores using Shopify.

Let me jump right into the features and benefits in this Shopify review. I’ll also tell you about some of the drawbacks to this e-commerce platform – but in the end it is one of the best e-commerce website options available (please note that these are the features and benefits at the time this article was published).

Features and Benefits of Using Shopify for your E-Commerce Store

Free Trial:

You can try it free for 30 days. Take advantage of this offer by exploring the many e-commerce website templates they have to choose from. Look under the hood and discover how easy it is to get your online store up and running fast.

50 E-Commerce Templates / Store Fronts to Choose From:

Shopify has 50 fantastic themes / template styles to choose from. You can also easily customize any theme or template you get to ensure you get the precise look and feel you want for your business.

No Contract Required:

When you use Shopify you don’t need to commit to any duration. You pay month-to-month. I don’t need to tell you how advantageous this is. After all, when you’re starting up – the last thing you want to do is get committed to long-term expenses.

No Computer Coding knowledge Needed:

You don’t need to know how to build websites to set up a Shopify e-commerce store. Shopify makes it super easy to choose and set up any of its 50 templates simply by clicking buttons.

Payment Processing:

Shopify makes it super easy to integrate with a credit card gateway and/or Paypal. If you sell digital products – no problem – you can deliver them through an integrated app included with your Shopify subscription.

Use Your Own Domain:

I can’t stress the importance of building your store on your own domain. Yes, you can use a Shopify domain – but for the long-term it is much, much better to start building your store on your own domain. Shopify makes it easy to build an e-commerce store on your own domain.

Why use your own domain? Because if you start getting links to your store (great for search engine rankings and highly recommended), then if you switch domains – those links you get to a Shopify domain are wasted. Start your business on the right foot by investing the $10 it costs to get your own domain.

Low Monthly Cost:

Once you decide to use Shopify, it only costs $24 per month for a basic plan. You can sell up to 100 SKUs with this plan, which in my view is a tremendous offering. There is no setup fee either. If you ever need to upgrade your plan, that’s very easy to do. Shopify = flexibility.

In addition, however, you also pay a 2.0 percent transaction fee as part of your cost (when you upgrade plans, the transaction percentage lowers). This allows Shopify to charge low monthly fixed cost rates. Being able to limit fixed costs and have a variable cost option (i.e. costs directly linked to your sales) is a tremendous feature and advantage as you get your online business off the ground.

SSL Checkout:

You definitely want to offer your customers secure shopping. With all of Shopify’s e-commerce website templates and plans you automatically get to offer secure shopping for your customers with the industry standard 128 bit SSL encryption.

Bandwidth: Unlimited.

This means if you get a flood of visitors your site won’t shut down. Obviously this is critical to running a successful online e-commerce store.

Discount Codes for Your Customers:

You have to upgrade to a $59 / monthly plan in order to offer coupon codes. If you’re just starting, this isn’t necessary. Once you start generating sales – then you’re in a position to monitor your sales and then decide if coupon codes can help build your business.

Automatic Back Ups:

Shopify backs up your store so you don’t have to be concerned about losing any data.

Add a Shopify E-Commerce Template to Your Existing Website:

If you already have a blog or website and wish to add a store – it is no problem with Shopify. You simply establish your Shopify store on a subdomain (subdomains cost nothing to setup).

Customer and Technical Support:

You can contact Shopify for help, use their Shopify forums, and check out detailed tutorials in the Shopify Help Wiki. You won’t be stranded to struggle.

Drop shipping Integration and Partners:

If you don’t want to pack and ship your orders you can use a partner drop shipper such as Fulfillment by Amazon, Shipwire, and Webgistix.

Drawbacks to Shopify for Your E-Commerce Template Solution

  1. I don’t like that you have to upgrade to a $59/month plan in order to offer coupon codes. It seems to me coupon codes are a powerful way for a starting business to build revenues. It should be offered in every plan.
  2. Too few drop shipping partnerships. Now I’m not sure if you can set up drop shipping with a company other than Amazon, Shipwire, and Webgistix. Likely one of these 3 will suit your needs, but if not, it may be more complicated than necessary than setting up an automated order-processing system. Again, this is something you would need to discuss with prospective drop shippers and Shopify.

Despite my 2 dislikes mentioned above, I still believe Shopify offers by one of the best e-commerce templates available anywhere.