Update to An E-commerce Store from Start to SEO

Did a bit more on this page:

Choosing a starting point – Your e-commerce platform.

In general there are three options:

1. A site hosted and created by a company for example Shopify
2. A site created for you but it is hosted on your own server space for example Cubecart
3. An Open Source Shopping Cart such as Oscommerce

Proís and Cons:

1. For option one, you donít have to worry about updates, support is probably available and you never have to worry about complex code, and for most of the time any code. They do have you over a barrel though, so you need to make sure it is a company you can trust and get data out of if you need to leave. They hold your sales information, customer details, design, images etc and they can shut you down. This option is best for the new e-commerce business if you are running it from a non technical point of view.

2. Hosting your own Webstore. Unless you pay said company to do so you will be responsible for security updates and any downtime will be up to your hosting. This option is my favourite for the adventurous. Its all your, the data, the site, but you will come up against it sometimes. There is paid and community support with most systems. You will pay less in subscriptions etc, but all the data is yours and you are in full control.

3. Open source. Its free, usually heavily supported by a community, you have full freedom with your store. The downside is the code editing. Unless you want to pay ( and you might as well choose one of the other options if you are going to do that) you will have to edit the code yourself and learn a lot on the way. It can be a heartache as support is not guaranteed and totally voluntary, but it is also FREE!

Next to consider is the functionality and features you NEED:

Inventory management – Import, export and sort inventory (bulk uploads and updating methods for inventory crucial for large catalogue) You will need to be able to sort, search and filter your inventory.

Image Hosting ( option 1)

Manageable sales data and order processing- Sales and various stages of orders. You will need to also be able to export sales for accounting purposes.

Inventory based shipping AND flat rate shipping – the most basic of shipping methods which can be used to fit a variety of models

Space for Meta Data – somewhere for you to edit your site html title, keywords and description for search engines

Basic statistics – either space for Google Analytics integration or home grown basic statistics

Customer Data – ability to send a newsletter and export customer data

Secure Payments – SSL and a secure payment method for credit cards for example paypal payments pro or cybersource integration.

Paypal – its too big to ignore. make sure you can accept paypal standard transactions with your secure credit card processing.

Multi tier Category Management – you will need sub categories to manage your user experience.

SEF URLs – Text based URLs for your products.

Currency Conversion – a website need to be international so Dollars, Euroís and Pound Sterling at least.

Inventory Quantity by Attributes – you want drop down attributes on your products for the various options, for example shoes in their various sizes and colour combinations, with quantity attached.

Ability to cname if not hosted on your servers ( option 1) – you need to be able to make sure the site íseemsí hosted and you have better urls for example http://www.yourdomain.com/redshoes and not http://www.randomcompany.com/yourcompanyname/redshoes or http://yourcompanyname.randomcompany.com/redshoes

Newsletter Function – to send basic marketing emails.

Functions you will WANT but you donít necessarily need to survive: (next bit coming soon)

This will be updated as the industry changes and I have time to write more. I am not going to list all the available e-commerce solutions as there are plenty of sites to do that. This is the most organised one though:

E-commerce Shopping Cart Solutions Examples

If you need advice on any of these you can contact the authors of the blog (see at the bottom of the page) or myself as I will review any of these systems for you on my blog:

contact kidsontalks

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To drop down or not to drop down?

Daintyfeet is a small niche seller of small shoe sizes. Currently her inventory is split into shoe style and size. The titles currently include the 3 size conversions which are imperative for search as the new website produces dynamic HTML titles based on the item title.

Example: http://my.frooition.com/050014/product_info.php?cPath=73&products_id=279

However, to tidy up the website I can use attributes, but that will then mean the sizes are not optimised in the HTML title (as a standard product title will be used) and when looking for small shoes it needs to be. I think I will rest on this model for now (as i would have to re-arrange and format the inventory to fit into size drop downs)

She only has around 20-25 lines twice a year so the website will not be cluttered.

Blogging as I am thinking. It is always better to think of your search engine optimisation on creation of the site rather than have it as a after thought, as this can effect your search ranking.

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Battling the Beast – Can it be that simple?

I was reminded today of how Google Bots really work. They are not human, and they can only see what we want them to see!

Top tips from a European Expert:

1. Make sure you change the meta title of each page according to that pages content and don’t make it to long and fluffy! Google likes relevant content. We know this but sometimes we forget!
2. Check out : webconfs.com and check your keyword density. Apparently Google will allow up to a 12% density on a particular keyword before you get killed for spam! Hairfreax has all its keywords at below 3% density. Phew….You can over SEO!
3. Google Reads h1 tags and likes them! Again with the relevance, apparently it checks the h1 tags with respect to the meta data.
4. One I always miss – tags for your images. I probably do it for 50% of the time but I have conditioned myself to make sure its done!
5. Make sure your meta description is dynamic, keyword rich and make sense to your customers. I think the meta description for hairfreax of ‘Synthetic Hair Extensions and Falls since 2000’ seriously needs some work! Its so poop google by passes it and used the page text!

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Ebay Design Experiment July Update

Remember this post? Search Engine Friendly URLs Dashes or underscores? well…. it is quite hard to determin the ranking of said URLs, but lets just say for one this if you search for “ebaydesign” the url kidsontalks.com/ebaydesign/ turns up 5th.

Comparing the traffic for each URL:

First is http://kidsontalks.com/ebay_design/
Second is http://kidsontalks.com/ebaydesign/
Third is http://kidsontalks.com/ebay-design/

For their respective keywords /ebaydesign/ ranked 5th of google.com for “ebaydesign”, /ebay_design/ ranked first on google.com for “ebay_design” ( but who really searches for that?) and /ebay-design/ ranked 66th on google.com.

Now hoe about the elusive, popular keyword ‘ebay design’ ??????

Well my ebay Blog about it eBay-Design-Keyword-Experiment on Ebay Blogs ranked 33rd on google.com…and the URL’s? Nada!

I am going to add in more content to the pages to see if this boosts the rankings!

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So what are customers looking for ebay design really searching for?

OK, I had to answer my own question!

Using the SEO Book again (I think I might have to add these guys to my blogroll) the closest keywords/phrases that would fit a company selling ebay design are:

make money on ebay – 22,614 apm
ebay business – 27,090 apm

*apm = average search volume per month

and in order to run a successful Google Adwords campaign a lot of ebay related negative keywords ( keywords that might contain ebay but are so not what you do and will waste your precious moolah man!) Most searched to do with ebay are from ebay users and not the ebay sellers you would want to push ebay design too? So how would an advertising campaign start? To maximise the return on investment you would need targeted traffic, and not 7 million ebay users who don’t care two hoots about ebay design!

The keywords ebay design, ebay store design, ebay template design and ebay listing design need to be within your campaign as your competitors also use these keywords and you do have to make sure you are not left behind, but how do you make sure you are hitting the right people?

Answers on a postcard please!

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