What does it take to successfully launch and grow a niche ecommerce business?
We find out when I interview Elisabeth Halvorson, founder of Cowbells.com who turned an childhood dream into a niche ecommerce success story.
When I was 7, I wanted to be in the Olympics. A few careers later, I was able to catch up with that dream by delivering cowbells to cheer on athletes during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games…. hey, mittens don’t clap. It was a RINGING success! We medaled in souvenir sales as the #2 most popular item behind the Roots beret. Since then, we’ve added more cowbell styles and a “s” to our name….
You’ve built your website, it looks awesome. Launch day comes, with much fanfare. Finally your website is done!
And then you wait. And aside from your friends and family, no one seems to visit your website. So it slowly dawns on you that you need a website traffic strategy. But which traffic source should you focus on?
The case for Facebook ads has been strong for a while. And only getting stronger. Yes, it’s not quite as cheap to advertise on Facebook as it was in the early days, but with the right campaign you often can beat the costs of other digital advertising, such as Google Adwords.
Facebook has gotten smarter too, its algorithm has gotten exceptionally good at optimizing your campaign so you don’t have to be a complete ninja to crush it. Yes, you definitely do need to understand the platform, but you don’t always need to get all the options exactly right.
In fact, at a Pubcon session recently Blitzmetrics’s Dennis Yu shared that once you have a winning ad set up and running, you can actually remove the targeting and Facebook will still deliver it to the right people.
I was inspired to put together this infographic when I read Trond Lyngbø’s Search Engine Land’s article:
As the introduction says: “Many business owner see SEO and content marketing as separate, but columnist Trond Lyngbø argues that solid keyword research can and should be used to inform content marketing strategy.” – SearchEngineLand
I couldn’t agree more. Augmented by customer and market research, keyword research becomes a potent tool in your hands, giving you valuable insight into just not content marketing and SEO as Lyngbø asserts but also into multiple aspects of online marketing, including social and paid traffic.
To really do a thorough job with your keyword research, you should be including less traditional keyword research tools such #tagboard. My list of 22 Keyword Research Tools has plenty of interesting tools for you to choose from.
If you are not familiar with this business model, here’s how it works.
Of course this is just a high level overview, but that should be enough information for you to get the gist of it. So the question is, do you have to disclosure the fact that you are a partner (or a affiliate) in the email you send to your list?
I’ve received invitations to a BBQ party in Wisconsin, a trail of notifications of Christmas shopping purchases in Florida, an admonishment to close the gate from a UK suburb association, numerous car insurance quotes, invoices, periodic pleas from a gaming site to please please come back, and even a notification from a tax software company that the IRS rejected my return.
I’ve just started reading Avinash Kaushik’s book: Web Analytics 2.0. Avinash is well known for his insights into the complex world of Web Analytics and his ability to distill complex topics into simple concepts. At the end of Chapter 3 of his book, Avinash lists a couple of questions that all businesses should be able to answer about their web site. The first question “How many visitors are coming to my website?” is pretty straightforward so I won’t spend much time on that one. Investigation into the second question “Where are your visitors coming from?” yielded some cool insights that I will share below.
No one like having their content stolen. It’s even worse when it ends up on low quality spammy sites that drag your backlink profile down into Penguin target territory. If the website in question is scraping a significant portion of your content, like entire articles verbatim, filing a DMCA takedown compliant with Google can be effective way to get it removed.
First, attempt to contact the site owner and tell him that stealing content violates The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and you will file a DMCA takedown with Google if the content is not removed. If you don’t get a response, then file the DMCA takedown request. If it is a Google properly, such as a blogspot blog it can get completely removed, otherwise it will be removed from Google’s index. For non Google properties, select the “web search” option.
For choosing your blog titles, here’s the advice I’m sure you’ve heard:
Affiliate links just look plain ugly and there is always the chance that someone will be petty enough to gyp you out of your commission by stripping out the tracking code. As a tangent I noticed a while back, these days Clickbank has a new URL that no longer include the Clickbank username (but still a tracking id). Wonder whether that is working out any better. To avoid this problem you want to hide the original affiliate link with a pretty link. This is what many mean by “affiliate link cloaking”. But cloaking has another meaning, which is showing different content and links to the search engines versus to the humans. That’s really not what I’m talking about here, nor am I going to touch on the topic of hiding affiliate links because Google doesn’t like them. I don’t really have a lot of affiliate links compared to all the content I have, so I’m not worried.
I was looking for a couple of features:
I had heard good things about GoCodes and was planning to install it. However it is no longer available via the plugin WordPress repository search and hasn’t been updated since 2009. Too bad as it was a nice solution.