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How Long Did it Take for Your Ecommerce Site to Succeed?



3:56 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just wondering how long it took other webmasters to start feeling like they were getting ahead of the game...making a viable profit. Would be of great help. Sometimes it really feels hopeless and ya wonder if you should just pack it in or keep plugging away.


9:03 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It generaqlly takes around a year, once teh site has Been SEO tweaked links etc added.

but if teh sites going to work then sales should be made once its been indexed.


10:29 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Just plug at it, but if the results remain poor, do not shy away from setting up another business altogether. Ours started in Aug 2001 and the first year was quite frustrating, but I never lost faith. Here were our number of orders per day for the month of March in previous years

2002 - 3.4
2003 - 9.4
2004 - 20.3
2005 - 42.4

It is only now that I can think seriously about going full time.....


2:12 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Derek - What do you attribute to the drastic jump in 2004 & 2005?


3:18 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ours took about 10 months and we're still learning, I think about the 2 year mark we will have worked out all the kinks, questions, etc.. We're still learning but are also doing very well


3:36 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

If you start with PPC you can see results straight away. As for SEO, results this can take a lot longer. New domains/links tend to end up in the Google sandbox for months. Yahoo! and MSN are easier to rank on. However, you should never rely on the natural results; even if your site is 100% clean, rankings can drop off for no apparent reason.

Generally, as I launch a new site it can take literally half an hour of setting up AdWords to get orders/enquiries coming in. As for a decent income, this can take longer as you try and reduce bid amounts and increase conversions.

As I said above, SEO can take time to produce results, but this usually pulls in more traffic than PPC. Once you have repeat orders coming in, plus new business, and then the repeat orders from that business, you should set to make a decent profit.


3:40 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

There were mainly attributable to an increase in the no. and range of products carried. In Novemember 2004, we hired a full-time webdesigner and the no. of orders went up from 20 to 43 a day within 3 months. Suffice to say, the nature of our present business is very different to that when we started.

Having said, the overall prospects of the sector we are in looks very grim and we will try to expand into other areas. I firmly believe the products you sell are as important as traffic to your website. If those you are carrying don't sell, perhaps it is time to look at other opportunities.


9:10 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

5 years. Our repeat customers are now carrying us through slump periods.


9:17 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We get about 800 uniques per day. Our problem is (at least at the moment-because we are seasonal)that about 700 of them come to our site for info. Only 100 are actually entering through a product page currently. We are discouraged that more are not purchasing. Even though we know this number will jump in about a month. We do however, get a lot of newsletter sign-ups and downloading of guides. We are just not sure that these people will be there when the season hits, or if they'll forget all about us.

Derek-Why do you think hiring a webdesigner increased your sales?...better web design?


10:21 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Three years ago we added a number of information pages to lure more visitors to our site. Ironically, one of them is currently page rank 1 on Google for its particular search phrase; it's the third most requested page on our website and gets about 1000 visits per month. But like you, I don't know how many of those 1000 visitors click through to the store section or buy anything.

On two of the information pages I display some of our merchandise with a link to the page where the item can be bought. On the other information pages, which give history, background and styles (with pictures) of the kind of merchandise we sell, I have a block of links at the bottom "Shop for red wigits," etc., that will take the visitor to our store pages.

One curious thing I've noticed about the items shown on these information pages: We rarely sell the merchandise shown as merchandise, but almost every single item shown as an example of a style of wigit sold within six months!

Although we're not seasonal as you are, we get almost half of our sales in the last quarter.

I agree with Sem4u--use PPC. Can you afford magazine advertising? It helps keep your name in front of potential customers. People keep magazines for donkey's years and who knows when they'll run across your ad again looking for an favorite article?


1:46 pm on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't know how many of those 1000 visitors click through to the store section or buy anything

Just insert some kind of tracking code behind the link like

Then you can see in the logs how often the link was clicked.


4:20 pm on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

With a webdesigner around, we could put up products more quickly. There were a no. of important new products released by our suppliers within these past months. Although we have worked on the product images and descriptions, there is no evidence that our conversion rate has increased because of that.

I agree that you should try and get more visitors through PPC. However, you must be careful especially in a low season.


6:37 pm on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

PPC is our primary source to getting our customers to product pages. However, we are not willing to spend more than say .30 per click. It just doesn't pan out for us in the end to go higher than that.


7:30 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Without knowing more about your business and expectations, its difficult to gauge when your ecommerce site is successful. You will really have to ask yourself, what's your goals? Both short term and long term.

Using my business as an example. I want to be able to do it fulltime, then how much net profit do I need to generate per month to deem worthy of doing it fulltime? Say I am a one man operation and would need $5000/mth net profit to be able to get by comfortably. Figure out your cost, profit margin and determine how many orders you need a month to be able to net the profit.

To reach your magical goal, you will very soon realize that it usually all comes down to, how to sell more at a higher margin and a lower cost?

Good luck!

too much information

7:59 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My site took about 6 months but it was driven by our existing clients so it was just a matter of directing them to the web site.

On the other hand, my subscription based system (for others in my industry) took about 18 months, and it honestly has not done as well as I hoped, but that is because of the competition that the site has.

Currently I'm planning a new system that is sure to lead me to global domination! ;o) Seriously though, it's a similar idea with a new approach. I think that because it is going to be different it should get some attention. I'm going to estimate a time to 'success' of around 8 months, but I'll let you know.


8:05 pm on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Can you give me a sample of the kind of code you're talking about? Does it use cookies?


6:12 am on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Just as mentioned in the previous post, you can add some identifier to your link. The text behind the questionmark is treated as a variable and when you search your logfiles for it you see all occurrences of someone clicking the link to your destination coming from such an altered link.
No cookies, no magic required.


8:26 pm on Apr 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you, onlineleben.


4:35 am on Apr 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Derek-I have given your strategy on broadening products a lot of consideration. We have a niche market that could also fit into a larger niche market (which also has other subcategories we could add). The problem is this...We feel that if we put our nich products into this larger niche, some of our customers might be turned off (trust me on this). So what we were thinking..instead of making our homepage the page for all of these categories/niches, we would instead leave the site as is and add a subdomain which would then have all of these categories/niches plus our original niche. We are worried that there may be a lot of navigation problems tho-especially since we will only have one shopping cart. If they were to hit the "home" button within the cart, they may end up somewhere else..we could probably rig the buttons...but overall, does this sound like a good strategy? Or does anyone know of a better way to accomplish this mission?


1:48 pm on Apr 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

mdean, I would be inclined to put your new site on a subdomain but then put an add-on domain on top. So that you can have a fully independent site, but one that could take advantage of the existing PR of your site.

If you want the greatest possible profit in the short term, then by all means go for multiple sites. Perhaps, one for an individual niche and even one for each country you sell to. However, this could cause you problems in the long term when your business build up. In our case, we were forced to merged 2 separate sites into a single site. Whatever you do, it is best that you use the same customer and product database for all your sites.

Good Luck



6:28 pm on Apr 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Although iím still in the middle of the road and i think there is plenty of time left to get the definite success. I would like to know what other people around here think about it. And its really interesting to know till now that the suggested time to get the ecommerce success varies from one to 5 years. I think thatís mainly due to the different types of offerings and strategies used. Hope to see some more interesting postings in this forum.

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