BaseballGuy - 3:59 pm on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)
If your site just "came together" a few weeks ago, perhaps you need to wait for Google to crawl your new content and re-rank you in the SERPs?
Well...kind of. This is our 3rd redesign. It went live end of 2011, we just got finished taking care of all the on site SEO issues (nothing major, just "common sense" stuff).
1) are there any bad reviews of the site floating around in online forums?
Yes, the previous owner did not do good customer service, so there are a few "scam" reports out there. However, our main competitor also did not do good customer service, and have as many bad reviews.....yet they are ranking #1 for a keyword that drives 1million searches a month.
I tried to negate this by signing up for the BBB, which wiped out the old "D-" rating and installed a "A" rating for me. I also had one of my first customers go on Yelp or one of those places and gave me a glowing review.....all because the Post Office lost her order and I felt so bad I refunded her entire order and let her keep the items for free. I wasn't trying to butter her up, I just felt sorry for her and wanted to make it right.
what kind of traffic are we talking about? If it's the same as before and the site is still getting 1-2 sales per week that doesn't really tell us much. Are they staying longer? Is the purchase process clear? If we're talking small traffic, I'd say 1-2 sales per week is a good start.
The "old site" was on one of the worst (and oldest) eCommerce platforms out there. I'm not naming names, but "they haven't updated it since the late 1990's". So we had trouble getting the site moved from the old place to Zen Cart where it resides now.
As far as people staying longer...my bounce rate is about 2% since Oct. of last year. On average, 22 pages per visit. I don't have eyes on the old analytics. We just got on the map on page 9 for our desired keyword (that drives 1 million visitors per month) whereas with the old site, it wasn't ranking at all.
So yes, "progress" as such....is being made. I know SEO like the back of my hand, but here's the kicker: It's honestly been 6? 7? years since I had to "start all over" with essentially a brand new site. So I'm not sure if the signs that I'm seeing are good indicators of progress? Being that SEO has changed drastically in those 7 years, I'm honestly lost.
I don't link build that much...few directory submissions, few blog comments (and the blog comments are intended to get people to come to my site, I don't use optimal anchor text. Just "click here").
are you just waiting for organic traffic? if you sunk in 20k into design fees, are you spending any for traffic? I'd suggest budgeting some funds for online marketing and I don't mean just clicks... Perhaps sponsoring some blogger, YouTube personality, or women's organization would be a good idea?
Yeah, the reason I spent $20k to be totally honest with you guys....is that I was a piss-poor manager of my coders and designers. I take full blame. Needless to say, I have switched over to a new coder, but essentially they're all cut from the same cloth in my opinion. About $5k of that $20k was inventory buy.
I tried Google Adwords....it was a complete joke. I watched $100 get flushed down the toilet in about 15 minutes. I got ~100 visitors to my site (for the "holy grail" keyword). 90 or so came to the home page, and probably hit the back button. 10% clicked through to 3-4 pages.
However, the few bloggers in my niche that I have reached out to....the visitors they send me browse anywhere from 15-20 minutes, and view about 30 or so pages on average.
Yes, I guess I am waiting for organic traffic...the recent Google changes have given me pause to enter into a huge link building campaign (as I would with one of my other throwaway affiliate sites). I do the occasional press release and that's pretty much it. I was kind of hoping that the site would rest on the laurels of it being 8 years old, being in the DMOZ directory, and a few "high end" links that it has naturally picked up over the years.
I guess I thought that since I would redesign the site from an SEO (and user-friendly) perspective (compared to what it was before), Google would reward me handsomely, of which they have not.....yet.
Given the type of site, you must asked for quite a lot of features or some stunning dynamic design or both to get to that cost level. You didn't spend that purchasing some complicated/bloated stock cart did you?
Zen Cart....all I can say is that my experience so far has most decidedly NOT been "zen". I'm not trying to knock the software.....but EVERY SINGLE THING needs to be customized by a coder. I'm not talking about crazy features...I'm talking something as simple as tax rates or shipping rates (the stock "modules" didn't work too well). Other stuff like making minor design changes added up in coder costs.
We had the canonical URL issue from hell....Google was ignoring the "Disallow Robots to browse from a logged in session" set to "True", as such for the past 6 months, Webmaster Tools has been reporting upwards of 50k URL's that are 404'ing out. We could not figure out the proper solution, so we just "/disallow zenid=?" in the robots.txt and that seemed to fix it. Stuff like that.
Make sure if you search for your product titles your site comes up in SERPs, otherwise figure out what's wrong with that.
Yes, about 50% of the time, title searches for my products....and I'm listed #1-#3.
So I guess what I'm trying to say here guys....is based on what I have told you so far....am I on the right track? If I keep it up ("honest" white hat SEO, social media, outreach to my community, etc).....in 6-12 months, will I most likely be able to live off this income? (with regards to volume of sales). My profit margins are pretty good...I buy a dress for $10 and sell it for $20.
regarding Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, I personally don't see any importance in making lots of noise in an empty room so I wouldn't put much effort into those channels of communication.
Yeah...we trying to build up our "likes" and "pluses" and "tweets" and engage others in our industry. The main reason I'm doing it is basically to give my site some credibility, to make it look more trustworthy. (not that it doesn't already).
put a link next to every product description for anyone to ask a question about a particular product.
Yes, we are doing that.