Thursday, July 31, 2008

Getting buyers and shoppers to your site

Biggest challenge is getting buyers and shoppers to your site.

Ebay is one venue for this - which is what I've been researching for the past couple of months.

Another is Froogle. Turns out an OSCommerce store can upload directly to Froogle - and your entire store has now just become international for free.

There are probably venues which get buyers to your store. (Amazon would be one, except it has a high-priced annual entry fee - you think they'd lower the bar to attract more sellers who could be upgraded to that annual fee...)

The trick and sequence is to get them pre-qualified by having them buy to begin with (some call this a "reverse funnel") and then turn them into repeating customers through quality service and free/paid subscriptions.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

eBay and auctions are your fastest entry to ecommerce

How and why eBay and auctions are your fastest entry to ecommerce

This article by WorldWide Brands founder Chris Malta, tell the succinct story of how and why getting into ecommerce via auctions makes economic sense:

How to Build an E-Biz on a Budget: - The Product Sourcing Newsletter, by Worldwide Brands:

"Easy Entry

If you’re considering coming online, but know nothing about eCommerce and can’t afford to lose any money, Fennell shares several tips to help alleviate the stress in your transition into online sales:

• Consider starting out with a storefront on a reputable selling venue, such as Yahoo! or eBay. They’re easy to set up, even without a proficiency in coding. You can easily get started selling without hiring a web designer, programmer, or SEO consultant – much more easily than with an independent web site.

• Drop shipping is an ideal product sourcing model when you begin retailing online. Whenever your customers place their orders with you, you turn around and place those orders with your drop ship supplier. Your supplier then sends those products from their warehouse directly to your customers’ homes. You only pay your drop shipper when your customers pay you, so you don’t have to invest money you don’t have into inventory that might not sell.

• You may not have a great deal of money to spend on search engine optimization, but you can still do well in the natural rankings if you concentrate on giving the search engines what they really want: original, quality content. New E-Biz owners often make the mistake of posting"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When you design for search engines, when you design for people

Improved SEO documentation galore!:

I’ll run through 3-4 quick examples of things that are perfectly okay to do for search engines, but that you wouldn’t automatically do for users:

  • Adding a nofollow attribute to a link doesn’t affect users, but can serve as a useful indicator to search engines that you don’t necessarily want PageRank to flow through that link.
  • Adding a meta description. When a user visits a web page, their browser doesn’t show the meta description data in any way. But you can suggest to search engines to show a particular snippet by using the meta description wisely.
  • You can tell Google your preference on www vs. non-www. Again, that’s probably not something that users see or that directly affects them, but it’s still a smart thing to do.
  • Submitting a Sitemap to Google or making it available to other search engines is not an action that you’d take for users, because users don’t see Sitemaps. But it can be a smart move because search engines can do better if you provide that information.

Wasting your time with extreme SEO

Don't waste your time with PageRank when you should be improving user experience.

8 Arguments Against Sculpting PageRank™ with Nofollow | AudetteMedia

This little page has a great deal to say about "no-follow" as an SEO strategy - both plus and minus.

I'm going to reverse myself where I told you to get Dr. Andy's Website Builder. Or any other. If you're like me and work just at getting stuff online at all, then you don't have time to spend on building these SEO-optimized pages. True, you should build mini-webs, particularly if you can afford to invest in separate domain names for them. But worrying about linking them with no-follow is a no starter. Worry about how the user can find and make sense out of them first.

Main scene: Google is devaluating PageRank and has been for years. Things change. Except for one point this article points out - the key point is user experience and always has been. That's why the search engines are putting social media on the front pages: better content.

So don't worry about Michael Campbell's various diagrams to build mini-webs and so on. Concentrate on building websites with great content. (Now, you can build mini-webs that are subdomain-based and link only within themselves, particularly where you are selling an affiliate link or a particular product. That makes sense. One link on the main page which lets them out - but only to your ecommerce page or to a sales link. But again, we're getting pretty geeky here. Concentrate on great content, user experience and you'll win.)

How you build a top-notch, profitable web site:
  1. Make a great landing page that is exciting and tells someone everything they need to know above the fold (first screen-full). Elevator pitch sells them on checking out the rest of the site. Has an opt-in for mail list, plus RSS feed.
  2. Use templates to simplify your Navigation and page building.
  3. Build with WordPress or similar blog function, where you don't have to worry too much about updating navigation links or search (even Dr. Andy is using this right now, as it simplifies adding pages immensely.)
  4. Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate on improving user experience for your site.
  5. Monetize everything - make everything contribute and everything count.
  6. Add pages daily, if possible.