Building an Online Store
I'm glad you found this article because you are about to learn something that most web hosts won't tell you about building online stores. It will keep you from making a common mistakes countless people make when creating their first store.
Now before I continue, let me just say that I didn't write this article to discourage you from building an online store. I wrote it to educate so you won't fall into the same trap so many other beginners find themselves in when first starting out.
Watch My Video First
Before you read on, watch my video about buildiing an online store. It addresses many of the common mistakes people make.
Stores are Simple to Setup
To begin, creating the store is not the challenge it used to be. These days the "development part" is pretty easy. There are thousands of web hosts now that offer a free, built-in shopping cart when you pay them to host your site.
Heck, you can even use Paypal.com for free! All you do is sign up and paste some HTML code into your website and Voila....you've got an instant online shopping cart.
Paypal handles the credit card transactions while depositing the profits into your bank account. (They take a small percentage of every order, of course).
And if you use WordPress to build your site, there are plugins you can use to setup your shopping cart.
So hopefully you can see that actually building the store is not the tricky part anymore.
BUT... don't waste any time setting up your store with any of these sites until you read on...
The real challenge to making an online store successful is actually getting enough traffic to make a profit. After all, what's the point in spending time and money into building a store if you haven't a clue how to bring in traffic from the Internet.
Ninety eight percent of the people who try to create online stores or shopping sites struggle because they don't understand how to drive enough traffic to their stores.
It's not as easy as just submitting to Google and then your site will just show up on the first page of results.
So people spend all this money on a fancy website and storefront and have no idea how to make their site rank high with Google.com -- which is the best source for free traffic on the Internet.
Why would someone search for Luke's Shopping Site to buy something when they know they can go to reputable companies like Yahoo, Overstock, Amazon and many of other popular online retailers to buy the exact same items you're trying to sell?
In other words, how are you going to get your store noticed among all the billions of online stores already out here?
The answer is...you probably won't going after generic terms like "shopping" or "online store". Unless, of course, you're prepared to fork out millions of dollars in advertising every month like Yahoo, Amazon and some of the others did way back when.
Not to sound discouraging, but unless you've got an enormous amount of money for advertising, you will go broke trying to compete with the gazillion online shopping websites.
Big name companies like Amazon.com have spent years and millions of dollars in advertising to build their own brand awareness and it's hard to get in on this market share if you're just starting out.
But don't worry... there IS a solution to being found. And the good news for you is that most people will never figure this next part out. You'll be light years ahead of your future site's competition and you'll be rich if you do it right.
So if you can grasp and implement what you're about to read, you're way ahead of the game already! Congratulations in advance. :)
How People Shop Online
Most people shop online by going directly to their favorite retailer websites. They don't type in generic products unless they are looking for a very specific type of product that can't be found at popular retail stores.
Now that you know this, can't you see how difficult it would be for your store to compete with many of the popular brand name stores? So what should you do?
The answer is to build a niche store.
What is a Niche Store?
Before you even build your store you need to determine your niche. So instead of trying to build a shopping site that sells everything under the sun, start out small and capitalize on a niche you are familiar with.
Let's say you crochet quilts as a hobby. It would be much easier to drive traffic to a store that sells a specific type of quilt than to try to open a store that sells everything like Amazon.com. That way you can capitalize on people searching for very specific keywords about quilts.
Why Niche Sites Work
1) They have much less competition. Compare the results in Google when you type in "online shopping" versus "handcrafted quilts".
Sure, "online shopping" is a much more popular searched term, but you'd have a hard time getting traffic because you're competing with so many other webmasters who want their sites to be #1.
2) One of the keys with getting traffic to Google is content, content and more content. If you build your site on a hobby you can write pages and pages of content on this subject to help funnel in more traffic.
The more pages you have on your site, the greater chance the search engines will find your site, thus bringing you more visitors.
More traffic will hopefully mean more sales for you in the long-run.
Juggling All The Way To The Bank
My favorite example of a successful niche store is jugglenow.com.
Instead of trying to create an ABC Online Store that sells everything, the owner Jim Nelson created an information site about juggling that links to his online store.
Notice when you go to www.jugglenow.com, there's much more than just shopping to be done there. Jim includes tons of articles and information about the sport of juggling.
These pages are very important because they draw in traffic from the search engines. So instead of just promoting his online store by itself, these other pages help do the marketing for him.
This is what I mean when I say draw traffic to your main site first. Even though Jim's money maker is the actual store, he draws traffic to this store by providing tons of content for the major search engines to pick up.
Jugglenow.com is a perfect example of creating a successful, niche store. There are tons of sites out there like his but with different topics. You can do the same with the topic/niche of your choice.
Just FYI, JuggleNow.com was created with a unique web host called Site Build It!. It helps you brainstorm for the right topic and create your web pages so you can drive lots of traffic and generate sales from your online store.
Build Your Main Website First
Many people don't ever get this, but the key to making your store popular and successful is to build your main site and have that act as a gateway to your online store. I can't stress how important that is.
In other words, work on getting traffic to your main site via the search engines and then link your store to this main website.
The reason is, it's much easier for the search engines to find your themed, content-rich website than it is to find a single stand-alone store.
In fact, most search engines won't even add your store to their index by itself, but they will list your main website that links to your store. So that's why you need to focus on that main site first.
So if you want to sell your knitting needles online, you would first create a content-rich site on sewing. Offer tons of tips and guidelines on this subject to help draw in search engine traffic.
Then from those search-engine-friendly pages you would link to your online store. This is much more effective than just trying to promote a stand-alone store.
That's what Jim did with his Site Build It! site.
If you are new to building a website, I strongly recommend you consider Site Build It!.
No other host provides the kind of support when it comes to understanding marketing and building traffic.
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