According to various definitions, I may carry many titles, but my goal is simple: to help eCommerce businesses grow and succeed by increasing conversions. My primary focus is on what I call shopability. Current and potential customers need to know how to find products, understand them, and comfortably place an order.
I ventured into eCommerce back in 1999, when I needed to setup a means to reach more people for my husband’s comic book publishing company. Soon, several mutual business friends asked me to help them. My first client was a guy who told me, “I don’t know what I’m doing. All I do at night is drink beer and try to learn FrontPage.”
I soon discovered the Miva Merchant shopping cart. It was an expandable cart, meaning you could purchase third-party modules but also code modules and functionality yourself. At the time, there were only two major developers building plug-ins for the software and my company soon became the third.
My work, back then, was in development and functionality, primarily working with HTML and MivaScript (in a more limited form). When CSS became widely used, I jumped into that. And I learned all this following the same method I used to train thousands of private and government employees on using Microsoft Office and other applications. I’ve always believed you should learn the long way first, then use shortcuts to get things done more quickly. By doing this, I have, for many years, been able to code in a simple text editor. (Although I now use Dreamweaver and NoteTab to speed up the process).
My background actually comes from journalism. I was a criminal justice reporter in the early ’90s. In those days, it was important to also understand page layouts as well as the pyramid style of writing. Soon after delving into ecommerce, I realized that online stores weren’t that much different. People need guidance (headlines and guides – i.e. search tools) and the most important information needs to be readily accessible.
I have authored four Official Guides to the Miva Merchant software (I’m currently finishing the fifth), along with several electronic publications. I am a Senior Contributor to Practical eCommerce – a key resource for business owners, designers and developers.
I speak regularly at the Miva Merchant annual conference and most recently spoke at the IMA conference in Las Vegas.
Although my development work (coding and scripting) has been for the Miva Merchant cart, my primary focus on shopability is cross-platform. I’ve worked with, both personally and through my company site, DesignExtend.com, more than 800 online stores. My company has provided modules and custom work to more than 5,000 ecommerce sites.
I am a dedicated student. I am constantly learning all I can about all aspects of self-marketing online stores, increasing conversions and treating customers with respect.
I reside in the very sunny state of Florida with my husband, Joe, our red beagle, Luna, and two cats (Midnite and Shadow).
Senior Contributor to Practical eCommerce. Articles appeared in every print edition of the magazine. Articles and blog posts appear there regularly. In May 2010 I was named “Conversion Contributor”.
In October 2011 I was given the role of Training Director for Practical eCommerce.
Author of Official Guides to Miva Merchant since version 2.0 (seven titles).
Author of key ebooks on the topic of shopability.
Active trainer and consultant on the topic of ecommerce usability (shopability).
Speaker at various venues, including Miva Merchant Conferences and IMA.