Submissions to most major search engines (e.g., Google, AltaVista, MSN, Yahoo, etc.) are free. Simply visit the sites, click on "submit url" or a similar offering, and follow the instructions. It pays to do some research before submitting information to websites. Many tips are offered on the links I mentioned previously. Some search engines also have "spiders" or "robots" that travel around the net in search of new pages. However, the length of time it takes for your site to actually be listed by the major free sites can vary from days to months. Some search engines (e.g., Overture and Kanoodle) are pay-per-click or fee-based.
Faster results are promised, and you may want to experiment with these to if it is cost-effective. So far, we have used free submissions only. To find out if your website is listed on major sites, try SelfPromotion.com's Are You Listed?
Monitoring Your Site
Our website, which was built and is hosted by Chrislands has a statistics area which functions as a type of log analyzer. It takes the information captured during visits to the store and displays the information in various formats for review. This information includes:
By viewing this information, you can learn where your customers are coming from and what kind of books seem to be of most interest to them. It will also record visits by spiders and robots from the search engines, and the keywords customers are using to search on your site. There are also services and software available that will monitor this in much greater detail for you, usually for a fee. This can give you valuable information about ways to bring customers to your site. Whether or not to utilize additional tools depends on how much time you want to spend in analysis of your site and its visitors.
Having a high ranking in search results is a definite advantage, but logic tells us that everyone can't be on the first page of search results. This is why I believe that effort will be well spent on other areas of marketing which are often ignored.
Don't Neglect "off-line" Marketing Opportunities
There are many traditional methods of marketing that apply to website merchandising:
How are we doing so far?
In Part I of this series, I listed the expenses we incurred setting up and hosting our website. The following list includes traffic details and sales to date.
Our website became active on March 24. During the last week of March, we had 2 sales through the site for a total of $124.00. .
Between April 1 and April 30:
For comparison, our current average sale prices on fixed-price venues:
Where our visitors came from (ranked in descending order of hits):
We will be experimenting in the future with the website, making some changes from time to time and tracking the results. A reliable mentor told us that it can take years to get a handle on what may work for you on a website. It is important to have an open mind and stay innovative. However, too much constant change is not a good thing either. Finding what works and sticking with it is key (but stay vigilant).
We are very pleased so far with the response to our website and hope for continued growth as we make improvements to our site, service and inventory. We hope this is an encouraging report for some of you who may be considering a website.
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Questions or comments?