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most popularThis is a short article about a news reporting feature found on CNET's website.

I was browsing around on CNET today and I came across this "Most Popular" section. This is a screen shot from CNET's page, it's a pretty innovative way to list content. My interpretation is that it can accomplish two things. 1) Promotes content that is popular. 2) Encourages a social application of it's content.

 I found this one paticularly interesting, not only because it can solve two things, but it also has the ability to promote social networking platforms. I imagine the use case scenario going something like this:
  1. Determine all news Call-To-Actions or Social Actions, or as CNET calls it "Connect with CNET" and this includes Facebook Like, Twitter, RSS Feed, Mobile Download, Newsletter Subsribe, and Twitter Tweet.
  2. User performs one or many of these social actions and it's recorded.
  3. Track actions from each social action. This will vary for each social action because each 'trigger' or 'action call' (i.e. clicking "Like" for Facebook) meaning that depending on the type of action we should have a listener to securely accept and store these Social Actions.
  4. Social Actions schema should contain 4 things upon capture, 1) Date of Action 2) Article Title 3) Link to Article 4) Social Action Type
  5. Display to user "Most Popular" articles. The end-user will display a list of most popular socially approved articles. "Most Popular" articles will display for the current day only (tracked: Date of Action), top 3 most popular social actions will display at top, other social action can display below.

For an example of this in action, check out this example article from CNET.

Nathan Mallamace is a Technical Solution engineer for a Leading Silicon Valley Web Solution company in San Jose, CA. As a technical solutions geek he's always interested in reverse engineering algorithums.
We have collected some awesome web tools from around the internet. These tools solve some of the most common business challenges for web designers.

#1 - Content Tool
Web Service Type: Widget
Issuu is a powerful document display widget. It can be used to share private or public documents such as white papers or technical documentation. Issuu is a powerful business application because of its statistic tracking abilities. Companies can easily track number of readers, referring sites, most visited pages, traffic map, etc. Issuu has great application because users can simply upload *doc, *pdf, *ppt.
Free (Ad-Supported)
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Document Management
Online Magazine
#2 - Promotion Tool
Web Service Type: Widget
This is a great tool for marketers of social media campaigns. If you're problem solving your social marketing campaigns, start a Raffel with Raffel Copter. This tool will be the tide that raises your client's social media boats.

Let's face it, for the social marketer you're job is difficult enough creating content and keeping it up-to-date. You can now leverage social influance of your client by creating an incentive program to boost your client's followers. There's a good example of this on Geek and Sundry's
Free (Limited Features)
$7/month (Added Features)
$59 (White Label)
Social Marketing

Check back every month for a new business tool.

Last Updated: March 12th 2013

When deciding the right price to charge your client for a custom eCommerce website you need to inventory your skill set, your portfolio and level of experience. Even for vetern web developers embarking on the path of building a custom eCommerce website may be daughnting. The difference between a small simple eCommerce site and a large complex eCommerce website can be the answers to the questions you ask a client. Let's start with a basic eCommerce site and inventory the price.

First, you should determine your hourly web designer price. Knowing if you're worth $29 vs. $100/hour can be a large difference worth determining now. Knowing what you should charge hourly is how you can estimate your effort for the related tasks of creating and eCommerce site.

Step 1: Inventory Tasks (client Requirements)
Your task list might look different. This example should give a good framework for all skill levels of eCommerce developers. You can modify your task list accordingly.

  • Joomla VirtueMart or Drupal eCommerce Installation
    • CMS/eCommerce Platform Setup = 6 Hours
    • Payment Gateway/Processor Setup = 2 Hours ( - the standard) 1 Hour (PayPal)
    • SSL/Security Setup = 1 Hour
    • Hosting Setup = 2 Hours
    • Tax & Shipping Setup = 2 Hours
    • Testing (e.g. Make sure it's all setup correctly, Client verify) = 4 Hours
  • Custom Design (e.g. Template/Theme Design) = 6 Hours (if you're using a premade template, add 10% to cost of template)
  • # Page Content (e.g. Homepage, Shipping/Returns, Privacy, other Marketing related pages) = 3 Hours
  • # Product Categories = 30 Minutes per Category
  • # Products = 5 Minutes per Product (Time Vampire Warning: this may be the most time consuming part of this project)
  • # Attributes (e.g. Color, Size) = 5 Minutes per Attribute/Product (Time Vampire Warning: this may be the most time consuming part of this project)
Note: These hours are based on a moderate skill level. Advanced or novice developers can reduce or add 10% respectively.

Step 2: Make an eCommerce Website Quote
The inventory of tasks is for a tyupical VirtueMart/Joomla or Drupal eCommerce example.This might be for a small business selling Jewelry, Handbags or any other retail product. Drupal or Joomla Commerce sites can allow you the most amount of flexibity and typically have a lower learning curve for those designers already familiar working with these systems.

The base line for any eCommerce site should be roughly 30 hours befor adding Pages, Product Categories, Products and Attributes.

Important Questions
These are a few very important questions that every web designer should ask their client before starting a project. This will keep you out of trouble and inline with setting the right expectations.

  • How many products, categories and attributes does your site have? This should make sense to you. Knowing how many products, categories and attributes of all the products is essential to determining the amount of work. Most product catelogs can range from a few hundred to a few thousand. Your time can add up very quickly.
  • What is the purpose of this site? This is a good question because you will know very quickly in your conversation how the client will precieve the importance of this website.
  • Do you already have an eCommerce site? I like to ask this question because I will quickly learn the expectations of my client.

As a professional web designer you may I recommend that you only charge for your professional services. eCommerce

Quoting a the development of an API should be considered as follows:

What is the functionality going to do? 
So if your widget takes care of increasing the fuctionality

How is it going to connect?
Typically it's going to be a REST API.

Examples of Companyes that provide APIs as a service:

So along the lines of eCommerce APIs, there's this company in the Bay Area called Webgility, they handel the shipping and inventory management for shop owners of carts like Magento, VirtueMart, Shopify, etc.

You can also go to Programmable Web or Mashable, there are many examples there. Many are free, but the good ones can charge. Especially if the infruasture is very detailed.