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I ran an online store for 15+ years and earlier in the year I passed it on to my best employee while keeping a minority of ownership for myself. It was running on a custom platform but the new owner and I agreed that he should move to Shopify to make it easier to manage which he did. He's intelligent but always seems to be looking to get away with a minimum of effort. I knew that would be a problem since it requires a lot of hustle to keep this kind of business growing. It's currently about break-even and he hasn't said so but at this point my impression is that he's more or less giving up and looking to milk it for as long as possible. He's an honest guy in my opinion but only willing to work so hard.

The company has always done fulfillment in-house so that infrastructure is in place but its biggest asset must be the domain name which has a long and spotless history in Google. When I was doing lots of SEO years ago the site would rank extremely well and for better or worse I've never solicited inbound links of any kind. We recently had an extensive SEO audit conducted from a trusted source but I don't have much hope that the new owner will carry out implementation.

So I'm wondering where best to go from here. As far as I know ecommerce still requires a lot of work so I wonder if the domain name's value could be better leveraged in another way. The new owner is capable but realistically needs something akin to part-time work which is of course extremely limiting in most entrepreneurial ventures.

Any ideas?
#ecommerce #hard
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I'm wondering if you 301'd all of the URLs when you moved it to Shopify, since Shopify has a unique URL structure that could cause you to instantly lose rankings for pages you were previously ranking for.

    As far as the rest, I really don't know what to tell you. If you sold the site to the person and only have a minority interest, there's not much you can do. If you just gave it away and there is no legal paperwork stating that the other person is the owner, you could take it over again or find someone who is not so lazy (sorry, that's just my impression). Of course, you could also just talk to this person and see if they would like to turn it over, since they clearly are not making anything with what little time they are putting in on it. I know that I wouldn't want to continue working for free.
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