So far I have covered my thought process in starting the website, how to initially get traffic to it and how I coped with fraudsters. The latter 2 are a constant on going project. The fraudsters are a minor inconvenience, as covered in my blog about them I now have enough checks and balances in place to discover them. As for getting traffic to the site, that is a whole different ball game!
When I started selling e-cigarettes and e-liquids online the one thing that pleased me was that ALL traffic has to be organic. There is no search engine or social media site that will allow anyone to pay for advertising to get traffic the your site. This is largely down to the fact they all lump vaping under the category of tobacco. So all traffic has to be organic means it is a level playing field, nobody can just start a website and pay to get there website on page one of Google or Bing.
I looked at various options to help with search engine optimization (SEO). You can pay someone to do it for you. The problem I had here is that the people who are experts want money up front, yet there work can take several weeks to show any results, and if they are not as good as they claim you lose your money. In Shopify there are several apps to help you do this yourself, I covered this in my last blog, but I finally settled on one to help me with SEO.
And this is where the hard part begins. The reason for this is simple. In order to get your website up the search engine rankings you have to be a master of everything. By everything I mean, Google analytics, Bing analytics, social media, keyword research and much more. On top of that it is all full of jargon that can be baffling and confusing to a novice. So you sit at your computer and you do your own SEO and day after day you are tweaking your ALT tags or your writing a blog or you are adding new product and slowly bu surely what happens? NOTHING!! absolutely nothing, you don't see a sale come through, you don't see an increase in your daily traffic, nothing, zip, nada!! In a nutshell it is soul destroying.
And just when you feel like giving it up and shutting it down you get a genuine sale, or your traffic suddenly spikes, though it always drops back down again. The problem with launching a brand new site, especially ecommerce, is the amount of time, effort and money you put into it before you really start to see a return. Certainly 6 months in I am nowhere near to making enough money to justify the website yet. What I have learned from talking to other people is that you must just keep going. Keep plodding on doing the things that you think are correct. I know I must be doing something right as for Mums Home Baked e-liquid I am on page 1 of Bing and page 2 of Google. So this tells me the SEO I am putting into place is correct and proper or my site would be penalised.
The problem is for more generic searches like simple "e-cigarette" I am not even in the top 250 of websites in the UK. Yes articles in major newspapers about the subject are in that top 250, which is rather frustrating.
So in conclusion if your going to launch your own ecommerce website and your reading this, don't be put off by my lack of success so far, but also don't listen to the hyupe that you can launch a site and this time next year you will be a millionaire, it isn't going to happen!! But keep going, keep doing your SEO, keep at the social media, and maybe just maybe you will start to make some money from it at some stage. And remember if it was easy, everyone would do it!!