More Interesting Bookseller Tools and Venues
All that time wasted, when I could have been actually listing those books in the correct format, using software that uploads our book listings easily to most of our venues. I'm talking about that old workhorse HomeBase. I did spend a few days working through my latest group of acquired inventory. My spirits lifted at having processed and uploaded a few hundred books with success. This reminded me to check out the new BookHound software offered free by Bibliopolis and Biblio:
When I downloaded BookHound, I immediately began worrying about the transferring of my book data. Would failure continue? I can't take much more right now in the way of dead-end endeavors. It appears that for today, BookHound can wait. Not that I believe BookHound is a dead-end. On the contrary, I'm looking to transfer a large part of my inventory into it. Future overload to my brain is inevitable. Bring popcorn for that one. Ha-ha.
I needed to get back on track, so I applied for a seller's account at Barnes & Noble.
Sure, let's see just how many of these sites I can juggle. Barnes & Noble supports HomeBase uploads, so that should be easy enough to begin there. I like that they have a $1.99 minimum price per book, and that they don't charge insertion fees. You knew I'd say that last part.
I also opened up an account with Buy It Sell It.
This has an eerily similar layout to eCrater. Another free-to-list site, but they offer payment through Google Checkout, PayPal and Authorize.Net. BISI also offers a shipping calculator for UPS, USPS and FedEx. All BISI products are automatically posted to Google Product Search. The BISI interface does seem easier to maneuver in many ways, so I will be looking into this further. It also has its own dreaded spreadsheet generated, tab-delimited bulk uploader, but BISI's uploader does not have the restriction of 100 minimum items per upload as eCrater's does. BISI also has templates available and HTML capabilities. This site was not even on my radar, until I read about it at Power Sellers Unite.
Definitely one I will be delving into deeper.
More Google Tools
In checking my Google Analytics it had made some differences amongst my stores when I put them on vacation. Having an eCrater store on hold, the Google feeds may no longer acknowledge your store's existence when you re-open them. One of my eCrater stores was no longer found in a basic Google search, so I resubmitted the urls to Google using the Promote Your Store button in the eCrater tools on my administrative page. I spent time loading my urls to other search engines as well, such as Cuil, and Yahoo.
Google will provide you with interesting tools for webpage management and for tracking trends of webpage views. Google Analytics will watch all of your websites under one account. You can also create a blog and discuss your niche, your books, your brother, your politics, what have you. Then, add widgets from your eCrater store and cause a buzz with your wit and fun pictures of your items. This is promotion, and I'm really not that good at it, yet.
I do like to see what Google finds in the way of my keywords, and where I might improve on them. Small changes you make to keywords can create views you'd never have gotten had the keyword not been in place. All those attributes you fill out in your eCrater ads are directly linked to Google search, so please use them to your advantage.
Blogging was next on my list, so I signed up here.
And created a blog page. I didn't do much more than practice loading widgets or RSS feeds onto the page. I don't know if blogging is for me, but it can be a great way to promote your products and your stores, if you keep plugging into your blog on a daily or regularly scheduled time frame.
Google also offers office software products to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online. You can find these here.
Google spreadsheets are infinitely simpler to use than Excel. I may be working there to get my spreadsheet prepared for bulk upload, if I ever decide to get back on that horse.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Internet marketing is a vast field, and the key to success may be found in SEO. One easy way to have your eCrater items found is to continually update your promote your eCrater store thread at the eCrater forums.
This is the surest way I have found to have your items found in Google search, and keywords are essential.
Here's a link to one Squidoo blog that covers many aspects of marketing for the web:
Promotion of your personal web presence is a job unto itself. There are so many variables and not all will work for you, but you'll never know until you try them. There is an interesting article about SEO ("Internet Tips & Traps: Improve Traffic with Search Engine Optimization" by StaffTechAlert) which I found through godaddy.com.
I have had some success with creating an eCrater store to be a gateway to one of my main selling venues. Though I cannot install an HTML link from my eCrater page to the other site, I rely on directing traffic to that site by optimizing that venue name in each of my listings on eCrater. Most people will do the opposite, and use an independent web site as a gateway to eCrater. They use eCrater as their shopping cart. Having reserved a few domain names on GoDaddy, this may well be my next step. I'm just not keen on building a web page from scratch yet, but it may be even easier than I have imagined. I feel as though I have embarked into a new frontier. There is just so much information, and so many options at our fingertips. Somehow, I will eventually find the right mix, and SEO will be essential in every aspect of it.
On a final note, I would like to express what should be fairly obvious to most sellers in the way of promotion - adding promos to the packages you are shipping out. There does seem to be a division of agreement on this one. Some sellers would never think of sending promos in packaging, while others would never send a package without them. I've seen input from both sides of this coin. One seller mentioned that over six months of actively inserting a discount coupon in his shipments, not one coupon was ever used. Personally, I send a business card in most mailings, and often send Biblio bookmarks (provided free from Biblio) in many orders, egardless of which venue I sold the item on. I have a tendency to keep any magnetic promo sent my way. I like to hang things on my refrigerator, and I really like this type of promo. I also collect stickers, and plaster them all over my bass amp, and my guitar. These types of promos are not throw-away for me, and leave a lasting impression. For an interesting take, read Julia Wilkinson's article at auctionbytes.com.
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