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Unread 13th October 2012, 11:15 AM   #1
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Default UK Online Sweet Shop

I've setup an online sweet shop, my prices seem to be cheaper than my competitors along with shipping, I also have some hard to find sweets in the UK such as American candy. I'm currently running an AdWords campaign and a lot of traffic is coming from that currently, but even though I've made a few hundred in the first few weeks - it's not outweighing the AdWords costs. I want to try and get my site some more organic traffic but I'm struggling, does anyone have any tips on how I can rank higher up (I'm a bit concerned in getting mass backlinks, but I'm struggling trying to build natural ones).

Does anyone have any advice?

Here is what i have done up to now:
  • VAT Registered
  • Cheap shipping
  • Cheap sweets
  • freebies for customers
  • Blog (some good content)
  • Facebook (few hundred likes)
  • Twitter
  • Google plus page linked to site (about 50-60 +'s)
  • Links on wikipedia
  • Heavily customized design (I think it looks good)
  • Opencart SEO plugins
  • 400+ Products (about 200 have product descriptions)
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Unread 13th October 2012, 11:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Honestly if you're targeting the sweet niche I doubt you'll need to invest in tons of backlinks. Some good onsite optimization and the usual stuff should work. Perhaps offline marketing would work great in this instance for you.
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Unread 13th October 2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Yeah, I was thinking that - I'm hoping to get into dmoz and then hopefully maybe some links on wedding/party sites - then I guess flyers? I was just wondering if I have missed anything obvious. The main competitor for retro sweets has some strong linkbacks.

Thanks for your response
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Unread 13th October 2012, 11:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

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Originally Posted by bushell86 View Post
Yeah, I was thinking that - I'm hoping to get into dmoz and then hopefully maybe some links on wedding/party sites - then I guess flyers? I was just wondering if I have missed anything obvious. The main competitor for retro sweets has some strong linkbacks.

Thanks for your response
Without knowing the competitor site, or the brand of sweets etc I can't give any proper advice other than what I think the sweet niche would be like.

Either way you should start with targeting some main keywords for your front page, and then specific sweets on product pages. I don't know what crowd you'd target because when you think of sweets you think, kids. But there are a lot of sweets that actually appeal to older crowds, depending on what they are. Like liquorice sweets for example. Either way party related marketing would probably be your best bet.

If you actually think about why someone would order sweets online, these come up in my mind:

- Bulk buying for a party
- Themed party that needs specific sweets
- People who want sweets that can't be found in their area/country
- Corner Shops or Sweet shop owners who want to add variety to their sweet collection

Those, in my opinion would be the sort of people looking to buy sweets. Going by that, I would perhaps want to advertise in magazines related to parties. Newspapers in the appropriate section. Submitting your site to a local/national news paper may prove to be a great story, and if they want to run the story it could give you some potential customers. Also contacting corner shops, sweet shops around your area/country may give you a constant flow of buyers who need to buy your stock in often.

Tons more but you get the point now
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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Local bulk SMS marketing will give great results for sweet niche

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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Build useful and engaging content around your products.

You have 400 of them - GET STARTED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bushell86 View Post
...I'm struggling, does anyone have any tips on how I can rank higher up?
Dont build your site around Google! This will be a HUGE mistake!

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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Bushell, out of interest, how much $$$ have you invested in this project so far?

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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Thanks, some really good advice here - really impressed. I'd like to know more about the bulk SMS marketing.

I have invested probably around 250 in the site in terms of design, customization and some plugins.

200 in AdWords

Luckily the mrs is helping and she added a lot of products and content. We're just find it hard to write a product description about some sweets.
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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Bushell, heres a few tips.

Consider videos.

Do short 4-5 minute videos weekly, and start hitting your list with them.

Talk about ...

1. News. Be the reporter, talk about whats happening in the sweets industry.
2. Health. How eating certain sweets can be detrimental or beneficial to ones health
3. Questions and Answers - have your subscribers send in questions about certain sweets - and you answer them.
4. Product descriptions - talk about certain sweets, where theyre made, what they taste like, the price etc
5. Specials - talk about what specials and promotions are happening in your business.
6. ....etc etc etc

These are just ideas off the top of my head.

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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Actually thats one thing we have done, a video how to make wonka nerd cupcakes. But some great tips there John, big help!
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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Here's one of my sites.

Chasing Clients for Content Sucks - Here's 2 Ways You Can Put a Stop To It

You can see the power of videos. Its an excellent way to build a relationship with your customers.

If youre not building a list - start immediately.

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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Im off to bed. Its 5 am here. Good luck.

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Unread 13th October 2012, 12:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Thanks again, useful info I'll have a read through
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Unread 13th October 2012, 01:02 PM   #14
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

One question, do you want people to know what site you own?
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Unread 13th October 2012, 01:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Not bothered Just didnt know if it was against the rules to post URLs
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Unread 13th October 2012, 01:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by bushell86 View Post
Not bothered Just didnt know if it was against the rules to post URLs
Ah ok was just wondering because you didn't mention it. So are you working at a loss currently or at a profit? Ignoring any design and coding costs. Simply marketing costs, small profit, small loss or breaking even?
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Unread 13th October 2012, 01:21 PM   #17
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

A small profit, I really mean ever so slightly - but I'm struggling for a plan when my adwords runs out.
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Unread 13th October 2012, 01:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Right, well that's good news, it means it converts and if you had a better source of visitors you would be making a profit.

Are you making money targeting general terms on adwords only?
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Unread 13th October 2012, 01:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Up to now it's mostly from Adwords, I think one or two sales may of been from organic searches.
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Unread 13th October 2012, 01:48 PM   #20
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by bushell86 View Post
Up to now it's mostly from Adwords, I think one or two sales may of been from organic searches.
Have you been trying to run ads on specific sweets, since you have 400 of them. They'll be considerably cheaper to bid on and you'll get better conversions as people already know what they're looking for.
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Unread 13th October 2012, 02:15 PM   #21
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

OP check my pm i might be interested in your sweets do lemme know.
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Unread 13th October 2012, 02:26 PM   #22
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

I'm doing keyword for the sweets yeah, and putting 'Buy' in front of the sweet name. I can't respond back to your PM, my post count isn't high enough. PM your email address and I shall contact you tomorrow.
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Unread 13th October 2012, 02:35 PM   #23
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Have you done any press releases for your site? They usually help to give you a boost.
Also, consider contacting your local press (newspaper, radio, even tv) and see if they are interested in featuring your story.

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Unread 13th October 2012, 05:23 PM   #24
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Have you tried using site like ebay and amazon to drive customers back to your store? You could also drive traffic to your site by writing some articles on using Candy Buffets at weddings and posting them on wedding related sites.

hope this helps

Jacob

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Unread 14th October 2012, 03:51 AM   #25
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Hi Bushell,
All of the suggestins based around more general marketing are great and you should look into them.
However, a large portion of your time should still be cracking the google code of PPC and SEO for e commerce.
So go back to your PPC campaign and now instead of looking for turnover look for profit. So you should target your adverts in a much narrower way i.e. by brand or type. and concentrate on making sure that after you have paid for the sweets and the PPC you are making profit even if it means less sales.
Now take the profit and invest in SEO. SEO is medium difficulty for sweets in the UK and the reason for this is people like aquarterof have been around since almost the start I remember them launching at the begining of 2000 or so not long after firebox. Having said that I had a quick peek at their site today and it looks like they have not updated it since 2000! So thats handy for you.
If you scared about doing the SEO yourself, look for a reputable company that will get you results.
Good luck
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Unread 14th October 2012, 06:23 AM   #26
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Really great advice here guys, it's much appreciated - it's good to get someone else's thoughts and ideas. I'm doing pretty much everything, which is making it easy for me to look over. Some good points picked up Dave, aquarterof dominate the market, there SEO is spot on, but like you say there site does seem somewhat dated, but it works.

Just some quick questions, should I not focus on backlinks at all? if so where should I try and get backlinks from? directories, blog posts or something else?

Would something like prweb benefit?
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Unread 14th October 2012, 06:52 AM   #27
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

First get analytics installed so you know where your sales and traffic is coming from, then you can tell what is and isn't working.
Then get your PPC sorted.
Then get your on page sorted. (do 10 pages first and concentrate on them).
Then absolutely get some backlinks. I'm a tad reluctant to tell you where to get your links from there is no one size fits all and we haven't seen your site yet.
Another thing is everyone on here has a different idea and frankly probably they got it from a WSO rather than first hand and most WSOs do not tell you how to rank an ecommerce site in the UK.
However, to answer the question you asked yes directories will work as google would expect some directory submissions for a UK e commerce site (not everyone on the warrior forum would agree). Will they have the best possible "link juice"? NO but they will not get you penalised and will be a good base as link diversity is a major factor in not getting penalised.
DON'T buy a 1000 links from anyone that can get you penalised.
PRWEB will benefit you and is also something I would do at the start of an SEO campaign (again after the on page is correct). As a cheaper option get someone to write the Press release on fiverr for $5 then get someone on fiverr to look over the Press realease to make it better another $5. Then get someone to syndicate it on fiverr which includes google news and someone else who perhaps gives you a few more sites but without google news and for $20 you have the slightly more complicated but cheaper "poor mans" press release option. Again don't buy from the person who is going to syndicate it to 1000 sites thats never good in google's eyes.
Hope that helps.
David
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Unread 14th October 2012, 07:08 AM   #28
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Bushell, Google should only account for a "portion" of your traffic.

If you build your entire business so that it is single source dependant, you're a goner.

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Unread 14th October 2012, 07:09 AM   #29
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As a cheaper option get someone to write the Press release on fiverr for $5
You're joking, right?

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Unread 14th October 2012, 07:43 AM   #30
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Nope :-)
Bushell has built an ecommerce site for 250 as opposed to 5000-50000 (my current ecommerce consultancy project I am working on the budget is $250,000, its a US project) and yes if I suggested fiverr to them I would be joking!
I was giving an option considering his budget.
I wouldn't buy all my links from here though as I said.
However, I know where you are coming from John and do respect your opinion it is in high regard on the forum. I also totally agree not to rely completely on google.
Good luck to all.
David
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Unread 14th October 2012, 12:20 PM   #31
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Thanks for the advice, I do have some cash I'm prepared to invest. It's only cost 250 because I have done all the work. Whats the reason not to use fiver for the PR?
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Unread 14th October 2012, 08:09 PM   #32
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Thanks for the advice, I do have some cash I'm prepared to invest. It's only cost 250 because I have done all the work. Whats the reason not to use fiver for the PR?
Bushell, my mentor asked me "John, are you building a real business or just f*cking around...?"

I want to ask you the same thing.

If you're building a REAL business, there should be no room for anything but HIGH QUALITY.

Getting a press release from Fiverr is like selling half sucked lollies.

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Unread 14th October 2012, 10:59 PM   #33
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Just throwing in some thoughts here. I'm ex U.K. and I'm in Australia and my family, friends and I are always looking at where to buy our favourite English sweets!

Why not find a way of targetting Australia, New Zealand, Canada, countries where there are many ex-patriot U.K. people.

I don't have any solutions, but it seems to be a good way to go!

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Unread 14th October 2012, 11:21 PM   #34
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredbou View Post
Just throwing in some thoughts here. I'm ex U.K. and I'm in Australia and my family, friends and I are always looking at where to buy our favourite English sweets!

Why not find a way of targetting Australia, New Zealand, Canada, countries where there are many ex-patriot U.K. people.

I don't have any solutions, but it seems to be a good way to go!
Fredbou is correct. I miss my real Cadbury bars, Yorkies and Crunchies. I pay an arm and a let to get them when I can. I also miss Lucozade.

Oh, yeah..one more thing you haven't done... create a few Squidoo lenses and Hub Pages on different English sweets and some about your shop. Bookmark those. Bulk submit articles to article directories for additional backlinks. Also, set up a Twitter account. PM me if you need help. Will work for sweets.
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Unread 15th October 2012, 05:51 AM   #35
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

In order to get Organic search result, you need to do some keyword research with the help of keyword research tool, select the appropriate keywords.

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Unread 15th October 2012, 10:11 AM   #36
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

John I like your responses, straight to the point and made me chuckle in work ha!

The idea about exporting to expats abroad has been something I have been researching for a while. The shipping cost seem a bit much, it would only work well I think if I was exporting large amounts and then someone distributing it.

Reddevil007 - I have tried emailing you, maybe check your junk mail - if not pm your skype on to me
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Unread 15th October 2012, 05:29 PM   #37
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Not sure you can ship food into NZ or Aus just like that. And not sure about shipping a couple of chocolate bars into anywhere else.

You would have to look into 'sweet hampers'

Which leads me to....

I bet you can ship nice British sweets to our deployed forces though.

At XMAS time people pay to ship hampers to the troops. Sometimes troops are 'adopted' if you like as they may have no family and it is soul destroying to see comrades receive hampers from friends which is where the adoption comes from.

I think you should get yourself onto a military forum to throw the idea out and set up a local campaign where you live too where people can buy a small hamper of sweets that will be flown out to a random soldier or platoon or Regiment depending upon the size.

This will generate PR for you in your local press and may get picked up nationally.

Hope you see something in what I have written.

It is nothing to do with IM which is what you were asking but I know nothing about that, I can just see a great idea here.

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Unread 15th October 2012, 08:11 PM   #38
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

I'd really like to see your website...!
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Unread 15th October 2012, 09:52 PM   #39
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I'd really like to see your website...!
I'm drooling at the thought!

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Unread 16th October 2012, 03:09 AM   #40
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Brilliant ideas, really some good stuff has come up in this thread - so glad I posted here. I especially like the military. I didn't know the forum rules, so never posted my web address but you can find it on my profile
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Unread 16th October 2012, 07:50 AM   #41
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post
Bushell, my mentor asked me "John, are you building a real business or just f*cking around...?"

I want to ask you the same thing.

If you're building a REAL business, there should be no room for anything but HIGH QUALITY.

Getting a press release from Fiverr is like selling half sucked lollies.



Half sucked lollies,now there's a niche market lol

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Unread 16th October 2012, 07:53 AM   #42
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

I think you should try focusing on writing descriptions for the other 200 candies and maybe write some reviews? If you want to take it one step further, make a YouTube channel and add short video reviews of each candy with the appropriate title and descriptions, they should bring in a few visitors.

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Unread 16th October 2012, 04:00 PM   #43
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

It's okay to post it.

Anyway here it is for those who don't want the hassle of going through profile.

Snack City - Buy Pick n Mix Sweets & American Candy

I love your little blogs. You have a real interest in sweets!!

Good luck with this venture.

Dan

PS: You can write a line or 2 and put the link as your signature too. I think that would maybe get you high traffic as it would be different from the usual boring signatures about IM. Also you may get some sales from Brits out of it eg me!!
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Unread 17th October 2012, 11:31 AM   #44
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Thanks jimbo, although I give credit where it's due a lot of the better blog posts are written by the Mrs. I have taken a lot of the advice I received from this thread, which I am really grateful for (I was a bit hesitant to post at first) - but one pm came through about running a competition, I'm doing this on Facebook now and it's really taken off! more so more than my Adwords campaign - active UK facebook likes and a few orders for the prices of a few sweets
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Unread 18th October 2012, 08:17 AM   #45
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Bushell, what platform are you using?

By the way, are you building a list?

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Unread 18th October 2012, 09:42 AM   #46
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Default Re: UK Online Sweet Shop

Really insightful comments!...the half lollies comment got me )

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Unread 18th October 2012, 12:33 PM   #47
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I'm using OpenCart, I have had development experience with it in the past. Colleagues suggested a .net platform but I'm not familiar with .net. I'm lucky that a lot of the dev and customization work I have been able to do myself which is one less expense.

A to do list from all the ideas here? yes of course, it's been really useful most of the stuff from this thread

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Unread 18th October 2012, 01:38 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushell86 View Post
I'm using OpenCart, I have had development experience with it in the past. Colleagues suggested a .net platform but I'm not familiar with .net. I'm lucky that a lot of the dev and customization work I have been able to do myself which is one less expense.

A to do list from all the ideas here? yes of course, it's been really useful most of the stuff from this thread
Nice site. A press release would be ideal to give your site exposure and backlinks.
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Unread 18th October 2012, 01:55 PM   #49
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Quote:
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By the way, are you building a list?
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A to do list from all the ideas here? yes of course, it's been really useful most of the stuff from this thread
I don't want to step on Johns toes because he can give you much better advice than I could but he's on about building an email list which basically would be customers or potential customers that would subscribe to your list to receive notifications such as if you have a new range of sweets in or any promotions happening etc so they keep buying from you.
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Unread 18th October 2012, 02:00 PM   #50
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Oh, than in that case yes sorry All customers emails get submitted into the database which I can easily email promotions.

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