There a lots of reasons to love owning an ecommerce store: You don't have to pay fees, you don't have to adhere to strict rules, or feel constantly on edge about whether your buyer will leave you fair feedback.
However, the main drawback is that, compared to other marketplaces such as eBay, traffic to your site can be very slow, especially to begin with.
This is because when most buyers go looking for an item they want to buy online, they do a quick Google search, and click on one of the first 3 websites that are generated in the search results.
The trouble is, it is very difficult to get your site ranking as one of those top 3. Many site owners spend years, and invest thousands of dollars on hiring search engine optimization (SEO) experts to help them get there.
But don't fret! There are some simple things you can do to get targeted visitors to your site.
Here are my top 3 easy ways to get more visitors that you can start implementing this weekend!
Just keep in mind that it's not at all typical to achieve immediate results once you have implemented these steps. Instead, you can expect that over the next 3 months or so, your site will start ranking better in the search engines (depending on how competitive your niche market is).
Search engines love when you do this and will favor you over sites that are similar to yours that do not offer any original content.
For example, if you are selling hair brushes and hair care items, include articles about hair care or other topics that your buyers will be interested in. At the end of each article, you can include a URL to the product related to the article you are writing.
Never, ever copy and paste content from another site into yours. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing can detect this very easily and will penalize you harshly by shoving your site down to the bottom of the rankings.
The other benefit of having free information on your site is that users will return to it more frequently to check out your blogs or articles.
Hot Tip: Your site visitors will love articles or blog posts that review new products, teach them new techniques (these can be either beginner or advanced so that you reach out to a varied audience) and overall, provide them with short, snappy how-to-style information.
Meta tags are essentially notes or a short list of keywords that search engines such as Google read when deciding which sites to show a user when they enter keywords.
Search engines try to match the user's search query with websites that best match what they are looking for. Meta tags are one of many things that a search engine checks, but most site owners consider this an essential step in their overall SEO plan.
Your meta description is the snippet of text that appears in your listing when you are listed in search engines like Google.
For example, in the screenshot above, you can see that dog kennels.com's meta description is visible below the title "Shop Dog Kennels, Dog Crates & Runs - DogKennels.com.
This description gives the person searching a better idea of what DogKennels.com offers. It's a great way to entice buyers into your site, so make sure you carefully consider what you want to include in your description.
The best meta descriptions strike a balance between being highly optimized (by including keywords that your buyers will search for) and attracting buyers to your site.
Meta tags appear in the <head> part of your website's HTML code. Meta descriptions go in your <meta name> tag. If you have made your own site, you'll know where to put these, however, if you hired someone to make your site for you, talk to them about adding in meta tags for you. It's a simple job, and shouldn't take them long.
You can really help your site rank better in search engines by using keywords in various aspect of your website.
For example, if you sell garden furniture and adornments on your website, you should try to use key words and key phrases in your website's content. For example, on your home page, you should include keywords related to the items you are selling such as garden gnomes, patio furniture, porch swing, and so on.
This helps buyers find your site when they go looking for items you are selling, by giving the search engine more information about your site.
You should also use keywords when creating titles for images that you add to your website. For example, if you have a product photo of a bird bath, label it as birdbath.jpg, rather than item_465 .jpg or 883946.jpg. This is another way of giving the search engines more information about the nature of your website, and therefore, helps to increase your number of visitors.
If you have a domain that includes important keywords, you have a great advantage over other sellers that do not.
Most SEO experts agree that having a URL with keywords that your buyers are likely to search for will increase your chances of it ranking well in search engines.
For example, if you are selling cameras, and your URL is www.camerashop.com, you will probably rank better than someone whose URL is www.cheapercams.com.
Perhaps even more important is having your keywords in the URLs of each of your product pages as well. For example, if you are selling dog kennels, don't call each product page something like http://www.yoursite.com/2398. Instead call it http://www.yoursite.com/large-dog-kennel-black.
This will help visitors find not just your homepage, but also come to your site through all your product pages as well.
Optimizing your product pages is pretty time-consuming and tedious, but that's exactly why you should take the time to do it (or get someone else to). So many people don't bother that it's a great way for you to get ahead of your competitors.
The best keywords and phrases to use are ones you think buyers will enter into a search engine when trying to find items you are selling.
A great way to find out what buyers are searching for is to use the Google Keyword Tool.
By using Google's Keyword Tool, you can accurately pinpoint other key terms that buyers are searching for, and get some great ideas on keywords and phrases to use.
Using the garden furniture example, I would enter the keywords 'garden furniture' into the Google Keyword Tool and hit the search button.
Immediately, the Keyword Tool lists all other commonly searched for similar key terms such as garden patio furniture, teak garden furniture, aluminum garden furniture, wooden garden furniture and many more.
So now I know to include these keywords in my site content (if I am selling these items) and it will help get more targeted traffic to my site.
Lastly, just remember to be patient. Getting your website ranking well, and attracting more buyers takes time and requires a great deal of time and should definitely be one of your primary focuses.
YouTube is a fantastic platform for generating traffic. With around 1 billion views per day (that's around 41 million views per hour!) YouTube offers an invaluable opportunity to get some very keen buyers to your site.
Here's what you need to do:
Create an informative video that relates to an item you are selling. For example, if your site sells photography equipment, you could have a how-to video on tips for taking great photos at night time, or a review of a new product that you have in stock.
The video doesn't need to be long, and doesn't have to be super professional. Most YouTube videos are fairly amateur and most viewers don't expect much more than a video produced with a fairly average camera.
During or at the end of your video (wherever appropriate) include a soft plug for your store. You can simply mention that you have the items available at your website address. It's also good to mention any discounts or bonuses you have on offer, as this will help to encourage buyers to visit your site and make a purchase.
I hope this helps you get a better understanding of some of the more basic things that you can do to improve you SEO and get more buyers to your store.
As I mentioned, getting traffic to your site is one of the biggest hurdles ecommerce site owners have to overcome. It's important that you don't feel defeated if your site ranks poorly in Google or other search engines. Keep researching, and work towards creating a long-term plan for getting more traffic to your site.