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Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing

Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing

Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing, well, kind of….

Many customers we speak with are looking to work with a website provider of some sort, but they really don’t know what they need. This is where the car analogy comes in. Think of your website researching and planning process like shopping for a car.

Lets say, rather than running a business, you run an auto racing team. When you first form that team, you need to select a car to race with. Sounds easy right? There is more to it. There are multiple types and levels of car racing. First we need to choose something to compete in that fits our goals and budget.

The high-school kid just starting out may take his Ford Focus, slap a wing on the back himself and roll on down to the local drag strip on Friday nights.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is your Formula One (F1) race team. This team of hardened racing professionals will select a custom built one-off race car made of carbon fiber and unobtanium. It is incredibly expensive not only to buy the car, but the cost to maintain your car and team, hire top drivers, and compete at the top world level is astronomical.

In between these two levels is a whole range of car types and racing leagues which fit almost any level of competition and budget.

In the world of e-commerce, think of the guy with no business plan starting out of his garage as the Friday Night Ford Focus. Amazon.com is the Formula One Racing Team.

Friday Night Ford Focus went online and slapped a few products on his facebook page, bought a 1.99 godaddy page, and is throwing a few bucks against the wall hoping for fame and glory. We hope it works out, and you have to start somewhere. In the world of race cars, he doesn’t stand a chance though.

The Formula One Racing team is bleeding money out of its ears. They are spending millions of dollars. They are looking for every conceivable edge. They are hiring the best and the brightest in their industry to come work for them at top pay levels. They have purchased the best available technology and continually modify it for better performance. They will probably make it onto ESPN and go down in the record books.

If you are reading this, you likely fall somewhere in between these two extremes. You either have a solid business already which you are looking to expand, or you have a business/marketing plan you spent some time putting together and you are ready to implement it. Now you just need the right ecommerce “engine” that will allow you to compete at your level and budget, so you can someday move up on the ladder. You are researching and learning as much as you can, but you still don’t know exactly what to do, and that is OK.

Everyone wants a race car. Everyone wants to be the next Amazon.com, Ebay, Best Buy, or Cabelas. They want flashy features. They want custom lightweight parts and powerful engines. But most, when presented with the price to build a custom race car, along with the accompanying costs of a pit crew, professional driver, fresh sets of tires, racing fuel, and semi truck to haul it all around in, balk at the cost. Not to mention the marketing team required to get the fans to cheer for you and make your sponsors happy. If you are getting squeamish and gripping your wallet tighter after reading this, you may have to rethink your plan of attack.

You don’t have to race at the highest level to be a winner. There is plenty of lower level cherry picking to be had for an enterprising ecommerce entrepreneur or race car driver. You can have lots of fun and great competition driving a Spec Miata race car around the track, at a price a normal human being can afford. Maybe you will win some prize money and then can afford to jump into the Corvette class, or Baha offroad trucks, or whatever.

The key to success in your “racing” is to select the vehicle you can afford to purchase or build, something you can maintain yourself or afford to pay someone to maintain, and something you can drive yourself or afford to pay someone to drive for you. If you blow your wad on the car and forget about the oil changes and tires, you aren’t going to perform very well on Sunday. You will probably go home a loser. However, if you plan properly, select the right vehicle, budget for the whole year, and spend time tuning and practicing, its more than likely you will finish at the top of the pack and just might win a championship. As they say, winning on Sunday, means selling on Monday.

Complacency, Work and other dirty words.

I am often asked by clients and acquaintances “Why isn’t my site performing as desired?” Now besides the obvious you aren’t getting traffic or conversions it really comes down to this one simple thing. WORK! That’s right folks it takes work and the time to do to make a site perform. Occasionally a customer will complain and tell me they don’t get why their site is lagging after all the work they put in. I usually follow with the question what did you do exactly? They go on about flyer this and I passed out cards at the local gun show or I sent out 1 email to their buddies……none of which were my initial advice. My previous blogs touch on the things I commonly preach about. This usually leads to the tough love kind of speech. I log into their site and I review the analytics, I note how many times they have even logged in and I certainly see if they have done anything since the original site was built for them. I also have a number of other tools in place to see what kind of links they are generating and I even check and see if they are copying content from other sites. Then I point out the error in their ways and again tell them what they should be doing to be a rock star. The common response is that sounds like work! Well yes it is work. The sad part is this “work” can be done while having your butt parked in a lazy-boy in front of your TV while in your PJ’s. So I would not label as work per say but more making better use of your time.

Take the time to put some new pictures or graphics or announcements on your home page. Big players in the e-commerce game do this on a daily basis. Work on those product descriptions. Make them sharper and stand out by adding images and providing uniquely written content. Think like the sales person you are and make your products attractive to your customers. Take the time and make your presence known on social media outlets and on various forums. If you do these things on a daily basis and you will have a significant impact on your sites performance over time. Give people a reason to come back to your site. Make them want to. You want them to ultimately check your site like they check their email or Facebook page. If you become complacent and NEVER change anything then people will become bored with your site and will not think to return to it. You have to make your site look lived in. If it is all crickets and cobwebs people will not return. Take the Google Doodle for instance. Do you think Google is doing this because it is fun. The answer is no. They are just giving folks one more reason to return and use their search engine.

In summary spend time better and do what needs to be done to make you a success. The faster you do this the faster you can hire some people to handle these things for you. If you sit back and do nothing then you should expect nothing in return. Once again I remind you that Outdoor Business Network is here to consult and hire for all of your marketing and optimization needs. 1-800-699-0820 sales ext 1.

Product Descriptions Tips

Many of you are selling products that have description and images provided in a digital feed. This is an outstanding way for you to get a ton of product available for purchase online in a hurry. The down side is you are not the only one out on the web doing this. I advise all of my customers to start off with a couple of their hot sellers or perhaps a few products that can be sold at a high margin and modify the product description pages. The key here is making this product unique. Write a solid description; perhaps include some of your own images or video of the product in action. The more info you can provide the better the chance you have of keeping your customer on your page as opposed to them bouncing to another site to find out the info they want.  It is important to write your own description….DO NOT COPY one from someone else’s website. Google will see this as duplicate content and it may actually hurt you in the search rankings. Take the time to think like your customer and try to anticipate questions they may ask and include this info in your description. If a customer can see lots of pictures or a video, have all the facts and figures and the price is attractive they are much more likely to stay put and make that purchase happen.

A common response I get from customers is this….”I don’t have the time to do this”. Well once you get proficient at it you should be able to knock out 3-4 of these in an hour or so. So let’s say you average 4 product pages a day for a year straight. That would give you 1460 UNIQUE product pages on your site. This will greatly improve your sites rankings. Oh and as far as the “I don’t have the time to do this” comment is concerned….What I actual hear the customer saying to me is this “I won’t spend 4% of my day working on my business to make it better and therefore make me more money”. Yes 4% is what an hour a day works out to. I am sure many if not all of us could squeeze that time in. Remember this is a web business. You can in all reality do this from your couch while watching the television. So even if every second of your day is allocated make it a point to optimize 1 page per day. This alone over the course of a couple years will have a profound effect on your sites performance. If you still don’t have the time then for Pete’s sake call Outdoor Business Network and let us make this part of your marketing strategy and hire us to do it for you. As always the number is 1-800-699-0820 ext. 1