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About a year ago I built a site which was designed by a graphic designer brought in by the customer. They sell widgets. The site is very pretty with lots of really nice pictures of widgets and gets a lot of praise for it's looks... but it doesn't sell enough widgets. The site traffic is increasing by about 30% per month (as long as google still likes it).
They have a limited sales line (about 10 products * 4 colours * 3 sizes) so I can't have a constantly expanding site.
I can almost get them to agree to anything this time and I want the site to function in the best way possible for the customers and the search engines. (it currently has a pr5)
The questions I have are :-
1) By using one product/colour/size per page I could make 120 pages, by using multiple legitimate ways to get there (the same products sell for many reasons) I could increase that by a factor of 10 over a number of levels. ... is this worth it?
2) They have a number of domains (on the same ip) which just point to the main site, is it worth making these seperate sites with the same content and if so would it be wise to link them (I could always buy another ip address but it would have the same initial figures probably)
Look forward to your very expert advice on this and any other things I should think about.
That aint going to be too good from a users perpective, imagine the scenario. You have to go to a separate page to buy a pair of socks in a different colour! Extra click -> loss of sales.
Think of an angle to which you/they can add new text content and on those pages point to your products. Target new words and phrases and build up authority.
>>which just point to the main site, is it worth making these seperate sites with the same content
NO WAY HOSE! Duplicate content is big no no. Go for unique content if you must but your time will be better spent on one domain. Do not promote the other domains if they just point to the other. If you do point multiple domains you are moving into a dangerous world. Think about using them for tracking different marketing campaigns and use a server side redirect (301) and give a different URL for each. That way you can track how many type ins you get.
Can your products be easily split down into seperate sites? Look at this way - are users only browsing on "set" of products?
If so, then yes split the domains - and add plenty of new content for each (ie, how to use widgets, how to maintain widgets, other users for widgets, etc).
However, if users are more likely to want to browse each product then pick one to buy, you are better off keeping them on one domain and working on the layout, naviagation and sales conversion.
I think there is a misconception that you need really high traffic to get more sales.
Why dont you work on coverting what you have first? It will make any future expansions much more profitable.
Have your company profile, product support, aftersales service, sales pages, etc all well laid out (and easy to navigate to and from).
For example, a lot of sites have a single "about us" page with a paragraph of text.
What Ive done on one of my sites (and im sure many others do) is use the about us page to subtly sell users.
Start with a welcome to the site and a few lines about the company.
Then a bulleted list with links to other about us pages (our history, link exchanges, contact us, our goals, our promise to our customers, FAQ's, etc etc).
Each of these sections should lead naturally on to another. Ie, your contact page should led on to sales enquiries, product searches, etc.
To answer your questions:
>1) By using one product/colour/size per page I could make 120 pages, by using multiple legitimate ways to get there (the same products sell for many reasons) I could increase that by a factor of 10 over a number of levels. ... is this worth it?
Yes and no.
Yes, its a good idea, but dont go overboard! :)
I would lay it out like this (although I dont know your industry, so may not be appropriate).
One page per product - description (lots of keywords) / photos / options on product (alternate colours, and sizes) / links to other sections (possible uses for this product, order this product, enquire about this product, etc).
In the "alternate uses for the product pages" you can SEO them and end with links backs to the sales page. Try optimising these all for slighly different keywords to catch different surfers.
>2) They have a number of domains (on the same ip) which just point to the main site, is it worth making these seperate sites with the same content and if so would it be wise to link them (I could always buy another ip address but it would have the same initial figures probably)
Same content? Nope.
Completely different sites? Yep.
simple quick easy to navigate...visually powerful rather than graphics rich...minimum clicks to purchase
function two...product/industry information
expand out product information where possible to include more general inforamtion about the industry...might interest some customers...WILL interest googlebot...primarily text, but with a visual feel based on the selling pages
that way you avoid the need to compromise...you don't need vast amounts of content to produce effective information pages...just a decent bit of unique text and a well targeted selection of links
So I'm not going to do anything with their secondary urls,
and if I reduce the product/colour/size combinations down to product/colour with a size option on the page (it's worth having product/colour because the colour images will sell the product) I can still get a sizeable site with all the legitimate gateway pages.
We have a number of info pages aleady but I might suggest some areas where they could create more.
Once again thanks for your help