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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Trying to get the attention of the robots and crawlers

I have visions of  invisible spiders with glasses on and mugs of tea, all reading everybodys blogs and e-shops keywords etc and then arguing it out who to put on the top page. It's a bit like the universe, I simply cannot comprehend what they look like and what really goes on. As I've mentioned previously, I'm not a very good techy person, but what I have done is research what the 'experts' say I should do for my e-shop to enable it to climb the ladder to page one. In reality I don't think that will ever happen but I spend at least an hour a day in my attempt to make my shop noticeable. Anyway, I'll list it as I remember my efforts:-

REVIEWS & CLICKS - First I joined up with a site that promised 30 hits guaranteed every day for my shop. All I had to do was click on 30 sites from their directory and review 5 of them. In return my site would also be reviewed. Fantastic, I thought, That should put my fame up the ladder. Well according to Google Analytics it certainly put my clicks up - but the big but is coming - it played havoc with my bounce rate. What is a bounce rate I hear you ask, well it's something to do with how long customers stay on your site. The longer they stay then the more popular you must be, so the robots and spiders will 'like' you. The average bounce rate needs to be around 30-40 but mine was 60-70. Those wonderful 30 hits were doing just that, hitting my site and bouncing right out again. I didn't look popular, It just made my site look like the visiting customers couldn't wait to leave my shop. So definitely a no go area. Plus some of the sites I was forced to review to get my 5 a day stats completed, were appalling and very time consuming - that is if you were to give a worthy review, which I liked to do. Needless to say, I simply didn't have the time to keep this pretence clicks game going. so I pulled out.

FREE DIRECTORIES - ok so you have lots of admin work to complete every time you join a new one, and I don't mind that so much. But they always want reciprocal link and I simply don't want that many links on my site. Particularly as they always want the best seat on your homepage. Greedy of me I know to only want a one way relationship but they really aren't Free then are they, and shouldn't advertise as such. I go on a few but it does take precious time completing all the details they always seem to ask for. Can't say I'm impressed with this type of PR.

LINK EXCHANGES or 2-way links - I can never work out how this one works as most of us are little sites anyway, so are we doing each other any good by linking to each other. What you must be wary of here is having too many links. I refuse to link up with anyone who has, say over 50 links. Who is going to wade through that lot to find you. Plus I've heard it's not classed as useful if you're connected to too many rubbishy links. So what's a useful link -- obviously first choice is relevant links, shops similar to your own. Then links you yourself might find interesting ie I think I have an e-book link on mine, simply because I like reading a lot. Quality is the main keyword here. So the big-wigs won't link up to us little pea-pods but there are plenty of good little sites out there. I often wonder though what kind of customer is going to ponder over the links pages. I certainly never have done as a customer - other than for my own PR. I've read this is fairly important though I can't say why, cos I'm not a techy, that's my excuse anyway.

FREE SHOPS - I'm not sure what these are called but I have a few smaller shops where I advertise so many goods for free. For example I have one on BT Tradespace. I'm thinking of also putting some stock on Free ads just for the PR. I only do this if I can put a link directly to my main e-shop. I'd say the hardest thing here is ensuring you delete stock from every shop once you have sold it. I've never actually sold anything in any of these freebies but it's another link out there and it's free PR. Warning though, they do take time to keep well organised but I think they are well worth it.

DROP SHIPPING - I got a little adventurous and fancied adding a different category to my shop but couldn't afford a whole new load of stock. So I advertised their goods, using their pictures and descriptions. Sounds ideal but oh no. They change their stock so quickly that when a customer finaly bought one of these said items, the drop shipper was out of stock. Resulting in irate customer for me. I dropped the drop shipping like a ton 'o' bricks. Too unreliable and you really don't have much control stock wise. Could ruin your reputation.

AFFILIATES - With this one supposedly all you need to do is advertise their shop, even if its just a little one-liner but it does have a link to their shop. Then if the customer that linked to them via you, just happens to purchase something from them within a month or so, then you get commission. Where can this go wrong. I set a page just for my Affiliates and titled it 'Recommended shopping sites'. Of course there is no PR in this one, just the hope of a few extra pennies, but not a penny did I earn. So anyway I dropped the affiliates as I didn't see what my site was gaining by having that extra page. After all I already have a mini directory of shops from my 2-way links page.

So - my latest attempt at PR is this BLOG. Have a blog everyone advises. Something to do with the spiders and robots like blogs, so if people read your blog and you have a link to your e-shop and the reader of the blog then presses said link - then bingo - the spiders and robots think your e-shop is QUALITY and will up you up the ladder.

So - if you understand any of that then please contact me and let me know what I'm talking about. Seriously, I would love any one with the know to tell me how I can get friendly with the spiders and robots. You will, of course, have to tell me in lay mans terms as I'm still on the 'idiots guide'.

So my next 'issue' I think I'll tell you what I think of having an ebay shop - which incidentally is a different shop to my e-shop cathys curios. Also which, incidentally, is where I make the most of my money from.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Creating an independant online shop

Don't let anyone try to convince you that running an online business is a doddle - it  is definitely hard work on the brain. Actually I do cheat, I get the hubby to help me with 'techy' bits. However, I have done the creation and mainentance of stock additions all by myself. AND I say that with great pride. My IT skills are pretty good other than techy bits - you know the internal machinations that only males seem to understand.

Ok - I went for the cheapest online shop package I could = £6 per month and paid for a domain name (about £10 for 2yrs) thus keeping initial outlay to a minimum, just incase I was rubbish at it. In all honesty it is a constant ongoing organic creation - just as a bricks and mortar shop would be. Plus, I have created other miniature shops that are free and link to my main online shop. The freebies usually allow you to have between 10-30 items for sale. I have to ensure that if an item sells in any one of my shops, that I also delete from the other shops. Too much hassle I hear you say - But it's all free advertising.

Anyway, It's taken me a couple of years to get my main shop up to the professional standards expected with all the key words and quality links etc. I pick up bits of free advice (as there are a lot of people out there giving it) on how to make your e-shop climb the ladder with google and get more hits.So in my next blog, which will hopefully be very soon (time allowing), I'm going to tell you the things I've tried and tested to help my e-shop climb the mountainous ladder of obtaining hits to gain a place on page 1 of google.