I decided that it was time to try something different. I created my first real ecommerce site. I can say with all manner of candidness that the process sucked. I was lucky that I had a mentor of sorts to guide me through the roughest of patches and frankly keep me from giving up on the
There is a reason why people choose to create a Squidoo page and link it to their blog and try to pimp out some affiliate nonsense to make a few bucks while replicating it a 100 times with the hopes that the more you sling the better chance for monetary glory. Oh yes, my bipedal minions. It is incredibly easy.
Creating an ecommerce site, in many ways, is vastly different. Unless you have something you already have a desire to sell you will have to determine what people will buy. Will it be something you care about? Maybe not. I conjured up numerous ideas only to determine that they would probably not be easily viable. How? Keyword research, natch.
Finding a niche via Google’s keyword tool is only a start as it’s important to take that idea and actually drop it into Adwords for added scrutiny. The real test is creating a simple ad and seeing what clicks you get in real time. After eliminating probably 200 niche ideas with the simple keyword tool I came to the conclusion that four might be valid to test in Adwords. Ultimately they all seemed viable based on proprietary metrics at a cost of $100.
Spending money to make money on the Internet grinds me the wrong way. Having been conditioned through years of stupidly cheap/free Internet marketing activities makes paying even the smallest amount for research most retching.
After all that research to determine what product might be acceptable to take into the marketplace, you then have to find a supplier. And not just any supplier. A drop shipper. And not just any drop shipper but one that will allow you to clear a decent profit. Can’t find a supplier, that drop ships, on good terms? Start over sucker.
This is where you delve into the professional world of sales. This is no BS, pull up your big boy pants and hope you sound like you know what you’re doing time. Suppliers want to do business with you but you have to put aside your anonymous Internet marketer tendencies. Frankly I didn’t find it exciting contacting distributors to see if they offered what I need.
I got lucky. I discovered my distributor via the web research of course but trying to find a contact was difficult. I found a name in LinkedIn by chance and discovered she was a former web site owner and moved over to web sales with this company when her last business was bought. She knew what I was trying to accomplish and she immediately got me in touch with the right people.
This was actually my second choice. My first choice was a school on frustration so I decided to move to the second idea. Never underestimate the probability that people don’t want to do business with you. It’s amazing how difficult some businesses make it when someone wants to sell their product to additional markets.
Of course once you figure out what you’re selling and how you’ll supply the market, you have to build the website. You are no longer in the world of simple blog installation. Oh no. You have to buy and build an ecommerce website. You have to add in the products. Price them. Figure out the shipping module. The tax module. You have to get business hosting. Credit card processor. Have the SSL cert installed. Re-write all those damn product descriptions.
If you are like me you would be about 1-2 months into this process. With a few hundred dollars “invested”, you are now a true risk taking entrepreneur with actual capital and expenses in the game. Indeed, who knows if you will make a single sale. But you definitely won’t if you can’t get traffic to your site. Unlike Lost Ball that could conceivably continue into perpetuity with the expected 6-7 visitors, that won’t work with the ecomm venture.
So how are you going to attract visitors to buy the goods you are offering? Adwords? SEO? Both? I am loath to spend $20-50/day and not sell anything. But I won’t sell anything if I don’t get traffic. And the SEO game is quite an ordeal. Of course, with a new website SEO could easily take 3-6 months before getting results, which is not exactly acceptable when you are paying $15/month for business hosting and another $15-20/month for credit card processing. Decisions, decisions.
What people that promote ecommerce site building fail to tell you is that it will take money. In this game you have to have money to make money. At least when you sling the typical niches for the glory of Adsense or affiliate payouts you can conceivably spend nothing and lose nothing but time. With ecomm you could lose time and money. And a whole lot of both and see nothing.
So what are my prospects? As good as can be expected. All the niche selection, backend BS and product sourcing is happily done. On and off-page SEO is obviously an ongoing concern, and I have a few tweaks to take care of, but mostly it’s just a matter of selling. A few early sales have been encouraging. I look forward to seeing what I can do with it. It would be nice to see basically a couple, a few thousand, maybe more, in residual income month after month. Then again selling out for a decent chunk is something I will be very open to do as well.
What now? I thought when I started this project I’d build 4-5 sites and kick back beachside while the sales came through and my assistant makes sure they were processed through the drop shipper. Reality is never as cool as fantasy. Now it’s one and done, for a while.