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Tips to build an e-commerce website

Tips to build an e commerce website The Creation And Growth Of The Website

I did not know anyone personally who could design a website for us, so I posted the task on Craigslist, Guru and Elance.  After exchanging countless emails back and forth with several applicants, and spending time talking to many over Skype, I decided to go with a programmer based on the West Coast.  My intention was for either me or my partner to meet with him face-to-face at some point, which never happened.

The development of the website took just about 30 days, with another 30 days for testing, tweaks, edits and content upload.  The content upload process was extremely time-consuming.  My partner and I had worked seven straight days on uploading over one thousand individual fragrances, each with its own image, set of title, keywords and description. It was brutal.


The first five days of development were spent designing and approving our brand or logo, and the remainder on the actual website and underlying product databases.  The website was built on OS Commerce, with open source shopping cart ZenCart in the back-end, which made it easier for us non-tech literate folks to manage simple functions of the website.  We also had Google Analytics scripts installed for visitor and conversion tracking.


I had registered the domain with Go Daddy for about $7 (I believe).  I also bought a shared hosting service package with them ($14 per month I believe), as well as a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate (under $100 annually) to ensure customer information was protected.

We used as our merchant processor, and later incorporated both Google Checkout and PayPal as additional payment options. Although these programs kill you with transaction fees, it is foolish to ignore them because of their popular and wide-spread usage. In addition, Google gave us Pay Per Click (PPC) credit for racking up Google Checkout transaction fees, so at least we were getting something back in return for the excessive fees we were forking out.

We tried to leverage our small operation as much as we could.  The entire website, including the logo creation cost us just under $3,000.


Subsequently, we also implemented an email newsletter series to build relationships and directly communicate and market to our recurring customer base so we could cut back on marketing and advertising.

Marketing was our highest tab, or largest business expense because we had no idea what search engine optimization (SEO) was (this was before all the scammers started sending out SEO service solicitation emails).

So even when the site was up, other than word of mouth traffic, visitors weren’t flocking in like I had fantasized in my dreams. Lesson number one learned. Online business is NOT like a brick and mortar shop. If you simply build, they will not come! You have to go out and get them.


So just like an inexperienced and overanxious novice, and thanks to Google for poisoning my mind, I pursued PPC advertising.  This is how we got the bulk of our customers, and lucky for us word started spreading on the street. Our traffic was up, visitor count was up, subscribership was up and the customer database was growing.

Because the business itself was keeping our hands tied up, I couldn’t learn about SEO as much as I wanted to.  The website was horrible from an SEO perspective.  It didn’t even contain the basic fundamentals of SEO such as the meta data.

We had to keep spending money on PPC advertising to drive traffic to the website. When we stopped spending, the traffic stopped coming. Key lesson number two. Focus on fundamental SEO to improve your chances of growth through free, organic search traffic.

Heck the site wasn’t even submitted to search engines. To make matters worse, our programmer had incorporated several “black hat SEO strategies unconsciously such as keyword stuffing the footer of the website with every single designer’s brand name.  I say “unconsciously” because he himself had no idea what SEO was.  And because I didn’t either, I wasn’t able to identify these black hat strategies on our website.

He also managed to do this near the header in fine print, and because the header had to be changed to a different color later on, the previous text that was there blended in and couldn’t be seen by the human eye.

Now that I know about SEO, I know that this was a BIG MISTAKE in retrospect.  Though shall not deceive Mother Google.  Little did I know back then though.

For all we knew, our website could have very well been indexed by Google at one point and later kicked out because of such bad behavior like search engine trickery and deception. We were very, very bad.


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Categories : Online business    Themes : Monetization Tools
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