Setting up Shop Online – The Low Risk Blog Option

This was the topic of our September 24th Meetup.

The need for individuals and companies to sell their products or services online is exploding. But most are going about it the wrong, high risk way. They start by approaching a developer and building a shopping cart website. Sounds logical, right? But totally wrong and ensuring only higher than needed costs and disappointment…..

Successful shops (real or online), always start with a business plan and a pre-launch strategy to ensure that when the shop is open, they get plenty of visitors arriving on day one and a steady stream of sales every week... Yet this rarely occurs online today. Most believe (or are told) that just having a beautiful online storefront automatically ensures people will magically ‘turn up’ to buy stuff shortly after it goes live. Yeah, right….

The best business and sales strategy to successfully selling online is in the planning, competitor analysis and pre-launch marketing phase. This is where a cheap WordPress blog and some Google toolsets can do wonders.

Tools needed:

1. Setup a gmail account which then gives you access to all Googles free tools. Their pay per click Adwords tools are important for market research, not just adwords campaigns. This helps determine if you have a sufficient market size for your e-commerce products. Start to write blog posts on these topics, ensuring it is well structured and in required categories. Some of the high traffic keywords are harder to rank for quickly, so start with those in the hundreds, not thousands of results, often called the ‘long tail‘ keywords. This is important for AdWords as well as organic search optimisation.

2. Load following WP plugins  Yoast SEO and Yoast Analytics

wmaster3. To get traffic, you must know what Google thinks of your website performance and where it is ranked. What traffic you’re missing out on and have a low ranking for. What topics Google is ranking you for and if they match up with what you want to rank for…

It’s therefore essential you have Google Webmaster data available for your site to monitor errors and search queries over coming months. This information lets you modify site content and strategy. I’ve found a really good video tutorial on webmaster tools here.

300x250v84. With people now coming to your blog, build up a client mailing list. Ensure you have a newsletter signup form prominently shown. Ensure that there is an incentive too. e.g. ‘Join our mailing list to get opening specials” etc. Setup a free account with Mailchimp who provide code to add to your site pages or sidebar. Alternatively, checkout optinmonster.

If you’re selling locally, don’t forget the value of old fashioned offline marketing too like newspaper ads, letterbox flyers, local clubs etc, primarily to get people to your blog site to signup to your e-newsletter. Online marketing can include making yourself known across multiple Facebook groups that could have an interest in your products, the primarily goal being to get them to opt in to your newsletter. There’s also tools that can allow WordPress to auto-push blog articles into Facebook and other social channels. Handy stuff.

wordpress-woocommerce5. Once you have defined your market, products and have the mailing list slowly building up so on opening day you get some initial sales.  There are many shopping cart add-ons for wordpress as well as third party solutions. Here’s some notes on using Woocommerce and Shopify. Both can work well.

analyticsIf you have problems with setting up any of the Google tools being adwords planner, analytics, yoast plugins, webmaster tools etc for your blog, then we can do it for you for a flat fee of $65 and give you some notes to help out. We just need you to already have, or signup for a gmail account first.

Let WordPress take care of the Marketing and Traffic

The idea here is to have your WordPress blog be the sales and marketing channel for your eCommerce store, since is is easier to get traffic to your WordPress blog than it is to any eCommerce cart system. Most cart systems suck at SEO and getting search traffic. Once your cart is running and live, ensure you write about your new products on your blogsite, with simple links through to your storefront.  If you’re using woocommerce plugin for WordPress, then this is easier still, able to embed parts of your cart into the blog posts.

p.s. I mentioned a recent report released last week on Google ranking factors, which in effect tells us that Google is examining your site content and intent, not just keywords or keyword density, backlinks etc which are still important, but less than it was a couple years back. This makes it somewhat easier and is good news for bloggers.  Read more.,.. 

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