Top 5 PHP-Based ECommerce Platforms That Can Fulfill Your Business Needs

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PHP is considered one of the most popular programming languages of the day, empowering millions of websites and web applications. The server-side scripting language has consistently been used for complex and demanding tasks, including the development of eCommerce platforms. PHP-based platforms are better than their counterparts because they allow the creation of customized stores with minimal time and effort.

With a host of options available, it might be daunting to select the best of the lot. To make things easier for you, we’ve compared some of the most popular PHP-based eCommerce platforms and selected the best ones for you. Here’s our pick:

1) Magento

In all obviousness, Magento tops our list, owing to its immense functionality, versatility, and scalability. The platform powers some of the world’s leading stores and is easily the best choice when it comes to store development for mid-to-large sized retailers. Retailers have the option of choosing community, enterprise or enterprise cloud editions depending upon their requirement.

2) WooCommmerce

Supported by WordPress, this PHP powered platform is the best choice if you’re looking for a store that’s quick to set up and easy to customize. Available as a plugin, it can be used to convert your existing WordPress site into an online shopping portal. With several themes, plugins and extension available, WooCommerce simplifies custom store development.

3) ZenCart

It provides a number of features that allow you set up a custom store within a minimal amount of time. With support for multiple languages, currencies, checkouts and shipping options, ZenCart is the perfect development platform for retailers looking to cater on a global scale. There are also a variety of themes and plug-ins that can alter the look as per requirements.

4) PrestaShop

PrestaShop is out-of-the-box mobile friendly, comes with support for over 60 languages, professional grade eCommerce templates and modules that make it a highly versatile platform for the development of large-scale stores. However, a few modules and templates are paid, so users will have to spend an additional sum to improve the store’s look and functionality.

5) OSCommerce

OSCommerce stands out amongst other eCommerce platforms owing to the support it receives from a huge developer community. From free add-ons to themes, users of this platform can benefit from the vast amount of resources available to add functionality to their site. It also provides a shopping cart built with PHP and MySQL and supports unlimited expansion, multiple currencies, among others.

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Source by Clara Ghosh

How Does WordPress Work?

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WordPress for an Easy Website

Chances are that you have already heard of WordPress. But what is WordPress? Simply put, WordPress is web software that you can use to create your own website or blog. Since it was released in 2003, WordPress has become one of the most popular web publishing platforms, and today it powers more than 70 million websites. Because it is built on industry standard php and mySQL, the WordPress hosting platform can run on just about any modern server.

But what many people do not realize, WordPress is not just a blogging tool. It is also a highly flexible content management system CMS which gives you the opportunity to build and manage your own full features website using only your web browser. Best of all, it is completely free. It is constantly improving and evolving. That’s because WordPress is an open-source project which means that hundreds of volunteers from all around the world are constantly creating and improving the code for WordPress software. And there are thousands of plug-in, widgets, and themes that enable you to build a completely custom website for just about anything that you can imagine.

How does WordPress work?

Since the early days of the Internet, websites have been created in HTML, a programming language that utilizes complex instructions called tags to format text, images, page-layouts and so on. Your web browser then reads the HTML code interpreting the tags to render and display the content of a particular page. These days, you can install WordPress on your own web hosting account in a few minutes. And once installed, it enables you to use a simple, web-based editor to create web pages without having to learn HTML. There is even a hosted version at WordPress.com, that allows you to create a new WordPress website in just a few seconds. The down-side to this method is that you do not have your own domain name, but instead you are using a sub-domain. Most Internet professionals agree that registering and building upon your own domain name and website is more valuable in the long run than spending the same amount of time to build a website using someone else’s domain name. This is why it is recommended that you get a shared web hosting account and install WordPress on your hosting account. Many shared hosting accounts include an easy click-to-install feature that makes installing WordPress on your own hosting account using your own domain name a snap.

  • johnday.WordPress.com
  • johnday.com

With your own domain name and your own web hosting account with WordPress installed, you are in control of your own content and your own website.

WordPress is a great choice for your website or blog:

  1. It’s open source, which also means it is free for commercial or private use. Hundreds of people working on it, WordPress is constantly improving and evolving.
  2. It is user-friendly. Rather than having to hire a web designer or contact your webmaster when every you want to make a small change to your website, you can easily manage and update your own content all without having to learn HTML. If you know how to use the basic formatting tools in Microsoft Word, you can edit your site.
  3. It’s flexible and extensible. There are literally thousands of plug-ins and themes, both commercial and free that enable you to easily change the entire look of your website or blog or even add new features like polls or contact forms with just a few clicks.
  4. It is easy to find support. So if you want to add highly customized features, its easy to find support or hire someone to help you. The official WordPress forum that is very helpful to find answers to all your WordPress questions. Other support options include the WordPress Stack Exchange or WP Questions that offer answers to your questions. There are thousands of developers who can help you as well.
  5. WordPress is SEO friendly. WordPress is standards compliant and includes everything you need to ensure that your content is optimized for search engines which is critical to your websites’ success and visibility in search engines. In short, WordPress is made to do SEO well.
    • Fully compliant with W3C standards
    • Built in support for RSS and Ping-O-Matic
    • Clean, search engine friendly code
  6. You will be in control of your own content. Some other publishing platforms limit what you can or can not do on your own website. And your locked into that service, so if it ever shuts down you could easily lose all your content. With WordPress you can import your data from other systems like blogger or tumbler. And you can easily export your data to move away from WordPress, should you choose. You are in control of your website and your content.

Design a website with WordPress and a Web Hosting account:

The following steps outline the process you will go through when setting up a WordPress website on your web hosting account.

  1. Buy domain name and web hosting
  2. Install WordPress from cPanel
  3. Change settings and permalinks structure
  4. Add essential plug-ins
    • Better WP Security – secure your WordPress website
    • WP Super Cache – speed up and improve the performance of your site
    • WordPress SEO by Yoast/All in One SEO Pack -optimize your site’s posts and pages for search engines
    • Contact form – add a simple contact form to a page on your website
    • Google XML sitemaps – create and submit your XML sitemap to Google for better indexing
  5. Install theme
  6. Add content

Web hosting account and WordPress

WordPress allows you to focus on your content – as opposed to countless hours of working the design and workflow – you will more likely than not enjoy running your site on this CMS. So if you are looking for an easy tool to build your own blog or website without having to learn complicated HTML, no other system makes it this easy. And you will find that WordPress is incredibly flexible with thousands of themes, plug-ins and support options to ensure that your site will continue to grow with you in the future. Most web hosting comes with WordPress ready to install with just a few clicks and the support staff at your web host are most likely very familiar with WordPress for your assistance.

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Source by Stephanie Rosendahl

The Key Principles in Photoshop Design

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What draws us in Photoshop tutorials is how the authors were able to achieve a certain aesthetic effect on an image that looks as if it was meant to be that way. It is amusing to find out that a magnificent whole is a mere product of techniques that are distinct from each other. It is a hackneyed truth and yet being exposed to such is always a brand new experience.

There are times, however, when beginners manifest a tendency to be too naïve about graphic design. A lot of people treat Photoshop much like they would treat any word processor. They think that simply following Photoshop tutorials can make them great designers. What they tend to forget is the fact that learning Photoshop entails proper knowledge of the elements and principles of graphic design. If the elements are what give a design its completeness, the principles pertain to the “hows” of using these elements.

The four principles of graphic design that applies to Photoshop are as follows:

Balance. Simply put, balance is the equal distribution of visual weight. It is determined by the size, shade and depth of graphic and textual elements and how they interact within a piece. Color, value, size, shape and texture have something to do with balance.

There are two basic types: symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical balance is when elements are arranged evenly throughout the design. You can rarely find this kind in Photoshop tutorials as they are somewhat leaning to the uptight and conservative side of design. They do not show much of a designer’s creativity as they value tradition and function. However, clients prefer symmetrical designs because they exude strength and stability.

Asymmetrical balance is the arrangement of different graphic elements on each side of the page regardless of their symmetry. The important thing is that the weight of these two objects is still well-balanced. Asymmetrical creates more contrast and variety. It gives an illusion of movement across the page. Its informality elicits emotion from the audience.

Rhythm. You read it right. There is rhythm in the realm of visual arts. But no, it doesn’t mean that by merely looking, you get to hear the emotions that the graphic elements evoke. It’s nothing like that. Visual rhythm only means that a certain element is repeated and varied at regular intervals. It is achieved when you create a series of similar shapes evenly. That is what you call regular rhythm and it evokes a calming ambiance. Rhythm is also achieved when you progressively place a larger element to an even larger one. This connotes consistency and strength. Abrupt changes in size and spacing creates a more lively and exciting rhythm. Notice how these are played along in your favorite Photoshop tutorials.

Emphasis. This principle seems to explain itself. Emphasis pertains to the technique of anticipating which graphic elements should gain the audience’s focus. It involves what stands out and what gets noticed first. You have to control the elements of design to direct the audience’s eyes on what you think is important. It is not possible to focus on two or more graphic elements. That is defeating the purpose. In fact, that is not even possible in the books of communication theory. In stories, one character will always stand out as the main character. The same thing applies in visual arts.

Unity. We all like to talk about stretching our imaginations and experimenting. Truth be told, it is the easiest virtue to follow in graphic design. The difficult part comes in putting things together. In Photoshop, you don’t use all the filters on one project and expect to create a respectable design. More is never good. The least elements you can use for the clearest message is the aim of design.

The final effects employed in most Photoshop tutorials seem extravagant, you may say. But that is only because authors know how to distribute the elements to where they belong. In the end, they were able to create a sense of unity and wholeness to the piece.

The key is consistency. Know your purpose and visualize your ideas. Execute by keeping in mind that there is a technique for every effect and that learning is still better than following blindly.

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Source by Davey Johnston

QuickBooks Tip – Child Support Garnishments

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How to set up, track and pay Child Support Garnishments in QuickBooks seems to be a pretty popular topic of discussion, I see this question frequently on many of the QuickBooks forums and news groups that I frequent, so here is a little tutorial for setting up a weekly Child Support Deduction.

Quick Facts About Child Support Garnishments:

  • Child Support is a post (after) tax deduction from the employee paycheck.
  • It is possible that you will have more than one employee with a Child Support Deduction.
  • It is appropriate to have employee specific deduction items in your Payroll Item list.
  • It is not necessary to have employee specific liability accounts on your Chart of Accounts.

Creating a Child Support Garnishment deduction item in QuickBooks is pretty easy.

  • From the Lists menu -> choose Payroll Item List
  • Click on the Payroll Item button (lower left) -> and choose New
  • Select the EZ-Setup method -> click the Next button
  • Select the Other Deduction option -> and click the Next button
  • Check the Wage Garnishment option -> click the Next button
  • Enter information about who the money is sent to (this is a QuickBooks vendor), the account number that must be displayed on the check, and how often the money must be sent in -> click the Next button and then click Finish.

At this point QuickBooks has created a payroll deduction item in your Payroll Item List called Wage Garnishment.  You will probably want to edit this item, changing it’s name to something more meaningful – perhaps something like Employee X Child Support OR Employee X CS.

  • Go to Lists -> Payroll Item List -> find Wage Garnishment and double-click on it to Edit.
  • In the Enter Name for Deduction field (it will say Wage Garnishment) just type in Employee X CS -> and click the Next button
  • For the liability account, make sure that you select (or create) a sub-account of the normal Payroll Liabilities account – a quick trick to add a subaccount right here on this window is to first select the standard Payroll Liabilities account, then click into the box and type in “:Child Support” (without the quotes), you will immediately be told that the account doesn’t exist and you should select Set Up; create the account and then select it.
  • Keep clicking the Next button on the following windows, changing nothing, until you arrive at the last window; where you will select Finish.

Adding the Child Support Garnishment to the Employees Record

  • From the Employee Center, find and Edit the Employee
  • Switch to the Payroll & Compensation section by using the Change Tabs drop down menu
  • Click into the Additions, Deductions & Company Contributions section, and in the Item Name column, select the deduction item, and give it an amount.

Each week when you run payroll, the specified amount will be deducted from the employees paycheck and sent to the Liability account and will be shown on your Chart of Accounts or a Balance Sheet Report.

To actually generate the check to be sent to the Agency collecting the money, you’ll go to the Payroll Tab of the Employee Center and select it from the Pay Scheduled Liabilities section.

I hope you find this written tutorial helpful, if so please leave a comment.

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Source by Nancy Smyth

The Importance of an IFSC Code in Your Fund Transfer

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When you are sending money, you want to ensure that your funds reach the intended bank. Transferring funds to the wrong bank can cause multiple problems, the transaction cannot be automatically reversed. You would have to contact your bank, discuss what happened and potentially wait an extended period of time for your money back. If you even get it back, that is. A huge inconvenience.

Sending funds to the wrong bank can be easily done, whether you supply the wrong details for whatever reason, or maybe the banker is to blame. The point is, it can easily happen.

This is where the IFSC-code comes into play.

What is an IFSC Code?

IFSC Code, is also known as Indian Financial System Code. An IFSC code consists of 11 characters. Usually, the first 4 characters identify banks name. The fifth character is 0. The last 6 characters identify the branch of the bank. All of the payment processes including RTGS, CFMS and NEFT utilise these codes.

Why is Indian Financial System Code needed?

Traditionally, transferring funds was done off of the internet. Face to face with a banker. You would detail how much money you want to transfer and to what destination bank account. With today’s technology, there has been a massive shift to online transactions and it is the new trend.

To make a financial transaction online you no longer need to be face to face with a banker. You just need to know where the money is coming from, and where it is going to. As well as the details of both respective banks. Details such as IFSC codes.

What are the benefits of Indian Financial System Code?

There are numerous benefits of using an IFSC code. To keep it short, here’s a summary:

  • They allow for online financial transactions.

Now you no longer have to go down to your local branch, stand in a queue for an extended period of time, just to process small money transfers. With the Indian Financial System Code, it no longer matters where you are. You can make the transaction anywhere in the world.

  • They speed up the process of transferring funds.

Money can now be transferred in a matter of minutes. Making the whole process much more efficient. This is very helpful when you need to transfer money quick in an emergency.

  • Limits possible fraud.

Each branch and their respective banks will have this unique IFSC-code. This makes the process more safe and secure. Every transaction using IFSC codes will have a start and an end point. Ensuring funds are easily tracked.

  • Open 24/7.

Unlike at your local branch, you can access your bank account online at any time, on any day.

  • Online banking.

You can pay your bills, check your balance, and transfer funds all thanks to the Indian Financial System Codes. Fast and efficient.

Who controls fund transfers?

The Reserve Bank of India, or RBI. Established as the central banking institution, controls all of the fund transfers in India. It is their job to oversee all of the transactions. They provide and develop the structure for all payments, such as RTGS. All will the help of an IFSC code.

How does the Indian Financial System Code help them?

By using the IFSC codes, RBI can easily identify where funds have been transferred from, and were they end up. Also known as the start and end points. It’s clear to see, this makes the process much more efficient as they can monitor all transactions. IFSC code also helps to eliminate errors.

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Source by Ramit Soni