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Need advice for new eCommerce site

 7:30 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi, please let me start off that this will be my first post here and if I in any way brake the forum policies please let me know.

I have been working on creating a new eCommerce site (usamartialartssupplies.com) for my employer and in the process have attempted to apply all SEO techniques that I found online. I have also kept the design to a minimum in order to put the actual products forward. So far the site gets around 1000 unique hits a month with 80% of them being organic search and 20% referrals. The problem is that out of the 1000 unique visitors maybe only around 10 of them actually purchase anything. Can anybody who has experience with building eCommerce web sites give me any feedback or criticize my project so that I can learn and improve.

Thanks for your time and efforts.



 9:26 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think on "average" from organic search for MOST web aites, probably only about 1% of visitors buy something. So if you are only getting 1,000 organic visitors a month, then you should probably expect only about 10 sales a month. So you really need to see about increasing traffic.

The first thing you will need to do is have a good analytics program so you can alalyze the traffic that is coming to your site.

A lot of people use google analytics. this will help to tell you what search terms people are using to find your site. It will also tell you which pages are returning the most money.

It will also tell you where people are leaving your site. maybe some pages can be improved so that they don't come there and "bounce" away from your site.

And it's free, so it is hard to beat the price.

Another good thing to try is crazy egg, which allows you to do a click map / scroll map. That way you can see if people are trying to click on things that are NOT links, and then getting frustrated and leaving.

I hope this helps.


 10:25 pm on Dec 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks Planet13, I do have Google Analytics in place but have not looked deeper into the "bounce" points of the site. I never heard about crazy egg and will give it a try as well. Thank you for your suggestions


 1:30 am on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

You are welcome.

There is a LOT to learn about in GA, so the first thing I would suggest is to sort pages by visits and then look for those with the highest bounce rates.

Also, be sure to set up a goal funnel since that will tell you if people are jumping ship during the checkout process.

Another free tool is called statcounter, and it provides up-to-the-minute tracking (google analytics takes a day to report). It's got some nice features that are easy to see quickly (while in GA you have to dig around for them).

anyway, check them out. I have both GA and statcounter and they work fine together.

Hope this helps.


 3:04 am on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks again, Planet13, these kind of specifics in helpful answers is what I was hoping to get when I originally posted here.


 8:22 am on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think that is the kind of niche that can benefit greatly from the owner's personal attention. You need to be a cut above people just stumbling there from a search. Get the people in your biz to participate in forums on the subject, then try and sneak your URL into your sigs. Have your own forum maybe? Product reviews? youtube channel with match videos? Instructional videos? A ranking chart maybe. I don't know if that even exists, but that would be a good one if it does... Imagine people from all over the country coming to your site to see the results of all matches in the country.

I don't know that much about the subject, but these are the kinds of things that get you the solid traffic that trusts you and buys from you. It's more than sales, it's a community.


 9:44 pm on Dec 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

The things that dpd1 suggested are all great. It might be a little difficult to convince the boss that they need to do all those things, but if you can, then they will certainly reap the benefits.

One thing I would do right away is contact the manufacturers / distributors from whom your boss buys the products, and have them link from their website to yours. So if your boss buys products from company XYZ, ask the people at XYZ compant to link from their website to yours.

One other thing, sort of the OPPOSITE of doing product reviews on your site, is to find popular blogs / websites on martial arts and send them a few items for free so that THEY can review them. Just ask that they mention your site and that they LINK TO YOUR SITE as well.

You will probably want to do this with influential people in the martial arts on twitter as well.

Your boss is going to scoff at this so your job is to convince him that the other companies are doing this and if you guys don't you will NEVER catch up with the.

Hope this helps.


 6:11 pm on Dec 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

One other thing about this:

It is difficult for a brick and mortar store to just use the same business practices that they use for their store and use them online. They just aren't all that great.

For brick and mortar stores, one of the competitive advantages they have is location. But when selling online, that gives you know advantage; customers can buy stuff from all over the world.

So if your boss wants to get SERIOUS about ecommerce, then he is going to have to start thinking about his competition and where their weaknesses are, and what he can exploit.

You are really going to have to look at advertising (through something like google adwords) as well as affiliate marketing and other types of advertising. But you need to learn about those first and really understand the ONLINE market for the products you guys sell as well as the competition to those products.

Don't just jump into Adwords without first understanding the market for your products and your competitions' weaknesses, or you will just be wasting money.


 8:34 pm on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

When selling online is important to have the cart and checkout integrated within your store. Right now customers go outside your site when they add something to the cart or checking out. That alone could explain the high bounce rate with the cart.

In terms of SEO you're having problems with the meta-tags on category pages and lack of page focus.

And get rid of the admin link which displays on your catalog front end.


 12:22 am on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just checked out your site.

Right now customers go outside your site when they add something to the cart or checking out. That alone could explain the high bounce rate with the cart.

Agree with that 100%

In terms of SEO you're having problems with the meta-tags on category pages and lack of page focus.

Since your logo says discount martial arts supplies, then you should have the words "discount" or "cheap" or "inexpensive" in the TITLE of your home page. Also, it should appear in the first line of the paragraph of text on your home page.

don't spam it. Just use those terms naturally.

If your value proposition is going to be "cheap prices" then you will really have to convey that to your customers - and the search engines. Mention it when your prices are below MSRP.

And get rid of the admin link which displays on your catalog front end.


Instead, you should put your physical address and phone number there. In fact, you should also have a toll free phone number (an 800 number) and put it right in the head of your site ON EVERY PAGE. Not that many people will use it, but a lot of people will feel a lot more comfortable seeing it there.

You might think about installing a facebook like button on your home page and products page, or a share this button.

Hope this helps.


 5:18 pm on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I do not have the ability to use another shopping cart but I can integrate it so that adding an item would be transparent. However, you will still have to go outside the site when you wish to check out. Would that be better?


 5:27 pm on Dec 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

However, you will still have to go outside the site when you wish to check out. Would that be better?

Not really, in my opinion.

I think most shoppers expect to remain on the same domain. They expect you to have a security certificate for your domain and other trust signals as well.

Maybe someone else has research that proves otherwise, so hopefully they will chime in.

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