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e-commerce/shopping cart and getting found questions

can people search, say, google & find your product even in cart product?


Shadows Papa

5:19 am on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We currently have a site for my wife's store where we sell a large variety of products to do with a popular craft/hobby. Most users find us by doing a search in let's say, Google, and they find the product listed on our page. In many cases, it might be a particular book title. They click the link and end up on the page in our site that shows that book, then HOPEFULLY, they buy it.
It's been suggested that we could or should use a different "shopping cart" solution. Our host suggests oscommerce. My question is this - can a person then do a search in Google, or Altavista, find a specific book, like "101 easy widgets" and end up at our site, like they can now? We display and sell product from static pages. For the books to do with this craft, we have 5 pages. When we get new book titles, I go to a page, remove an older title and add the new one on the page, with a photo and description, and a button they can click to order THAT book. Each product has a button that is specific to it. If you go to books page 4, you will always find certain titles (until or unless I modify THAT page)
Works great for having products found in searches, not real simple to maintain, but not hard either! No database, simple CGI scripted cart, it works.
I've looked at shopping carts based on databases, admin pages, etc etc and find them bloody complex and a steep learning curve.
I typically add/change/delete several products every week. For example, I have a stack of about 18 books to add. With my current system, it's just a matter of scanning, adding some table rows, typing in the info, creating a new button and plugging it all in. Takes just minutes per product. Within days, people can search and find that product on a specific page, go right to that page and order it.
I'm open to thoughts, opinions (those are usually free, right?), tips, tricks and any other support I can muster up here! Thanks.

Shadows Papa
(if you want to see our site to see what the #&! I'm talking about, please sticky me. I'm NOT out to promote or sell here, just improve our site and make MY life easier!)


11:26 am on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You're asking a very smart question.

How to balance SEO with being able to have a shopping cart.

I myself, have developed shopping carts in ColdFusion, know what a pain it is to add one to a site.

The key for you is that most shopping carts are like html forms, if you want i bet you can re-code your static pages, to make sure they pass the hidden form data, that tells the oscommerce what information it may need, then you can keep the static pages, pretty much as is.

The other main benefit of database backed product pages, is the ability to turn products on/off. Where as that will not be the case of your static pages.

Good luck.


1:30 pm on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

It sounds to me like you've got a good thing going for you. Why change it? If your changes/edits are only taking you a few minutes per item, then you are taking the same amount of time as you would with a shopping cart admin.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!


Shadows Papa

1:41 pm on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

And it sounds like I might be getting some intelligent answers :-)
The only thing I see - the pages of books, for example, in order to keep from having to present a dozen pages of books, and the menus and upkeep that goes with that, I must create rather large pages.
I do warn people "This page may take up to 3 minutes to load. Please be patient, it's worth the wait!"
I note that with multiple pages, most hits are on page 1, then a bit fewer on page 2, and a bit fewer than that on page 3 and so on.
So it's a balancing act!
When the pages come up, they DO have something to read pretty quickly, and the top images load and it sort of "trickles down" where it loads cleanly top to bottom. The only issue, if they are looking for a book at the bottom of the page, they wait the full time. On dial-up, can be 3 minutes, it's MUCH MUCH faster on DSL, cable, etc.
Again, the pages are searchable in Altavista (where we are visited and reindexed almost every day) and google (where we are indexed every few weeks)
I just don't like that we can't be found with dynamic shopping systems by folks using the major search engines - those don't search a database and "modern" shopping cart.

Thanks for all the input!

Shadows Papa


3:40 pm on Feb 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

No problem, and good luck.

Although if you have static pages with huge load times, you might want to have a preview page, so they get a taste of what products you carry without having to have the full load until they choose to.

Good luck!


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