What to do with a company made ecommerce site

33 replies
I hired a company to build an eCommerce sit for me, because I thought they would show me how to market the site. The training was...go build links. I have built links from several sources, but not traffic. I checked the site with Traffic Travis and it showed 308 errors, mostly H1 tags missing.

I called and asked if they would fix the tags, but they said they would not and I did not need them anyway. Then they said to get traffic I need to do social media.

My questions are:
1. What should I do with the site?
2. Are they right about the tags? Does not having H1 tags not make any difference? Everything I read says it does.
3. Should I keep building links? I have 143 links and the site is PR3.
4. I know nothing about social media. How do I learn about social media?

Thanks, I really need to know what direction I am going with this.
#company #ecommerce #made #site
  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Burritt
    Banned
    Steve,

    1. What is the domain? Hard to answer if don't know niche or keywords or comp etc.
    2. Depends. Again, see above.
    3. What kind of links are you building?
    4. There's an entire section on this forum dedicated to Social Media. You just need to decide if you want to tackle this beast yourself, or hire it out.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
      Thanks for the reply Jeff.

      The site is birdfeedersandsquirrels.com. The links come from a variety of places: directories, blog posts, articles, articles on other sites, a banner on a high traffic site and now I am placing an Ebook on sites that will accept it, these are quality garden sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Burritt
    Banned
    You're not on Page 1. Plus, competition is high for your niche.

    Unless you want to become an SEM expert, I recommend you hire it out.

    Seek out Matt Laclear.

    http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...your-site.html
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    Does your admin area of the site provide you with ability to do basic SEO with your products and whatnot.

    Before i go out and hire someone I would get a book on the basics. Look for SEO for dummies or Seo for Beginners, or SEO made easy, anything like that would be a good start, just make sure the date of the book is recent. If you hire it out you will end up paying someone hundreds of dollars to do the basics that you can do yourself.

    SEO is not hard it is just a bit time consuming.

    AL
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    A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
      Can I get better rankings with SEO without any H1 tags? Everyone seems to think that the tags are important.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Originally Posted by Steve Wisley View Post

    1. What should I do with the site?
    Don't give up on it if you've invested money towards it.

    Originally Posted by Steve Wisley View Post

    2. Are they right about the tags? Does not having H1 tags not make any difference? Everything I read says it does.
    Yes, you should be using H1 tags.

    Originally Posted by Steve Wisley View Post

    3. Should I keep building links? I have 143 links and the site is PR3.
    You shouldn't be building links at all. What you should be doing is building authority. This is achievable by publishing, and syndicating high quality content.

    Originally Posted by Steve Wisley View Post

    4. I know nothing about social media. How do I learn about social media?
    You don't need to become a social media expert.

    Sack these idiots, they're wasting your money and time.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    I just had a look at your site - it's a nightmare.

    You desperately need help.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
      You are scaring me John. What do you mean by the site is a nightmare? The site is on the companies platform, so I am limited to what I can do.
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      • Profile picture of the author agmccall
        What platform is it on
        Signature

        A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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      • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
        Originally Posted by Steve Wisley View Post

        You are scaring me John. What do you mean by the site is a nightmare? The site is on the companies platform, so I am limited to what I can do.
        God, it gets worse.

        You mean you don't actually control it?

        What do you mean it's on "the companies platform" ???

        What do you actually own?
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        • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
          This company's business is building sites for marketers. The site builder is called MyEbizPro. It is a site builder like you see with like maybe a Godaddy site builder. You can go in and make changes, but you do not see the html. If you have problems you can call them, but lately they have not been so helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    So i guess this means they are now holding you for ransom at a monthly fee?
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      What do you have administrative access to.

      Do you have control of your domain name?

      al
      Signature

      A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
      That would be correct. So, should I try to rank this sit or should I try to get my money back?
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      • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
        Originally Posted by Steve Wisley View Post

        That would be correct. So, should I try to rank this sit or should I try to get my money back?
        Steve, you shouldn't be investing your time on something you don't own. The first thing I would be doing is trying to get it out of there and at least onto your own hosting account.

        If you don't own the domain name, then you're up sh*t creek without a paddle.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
        I own the domain and they said I could sell the site, but I would not want to put someone else into this situation. After checking into the market in this niche it appears to be rather crowded. I am thinking about ditching the site and trying to get the money back.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
          Originally Posted by Steve Wisley View Post

          I own the domain and they said I could sell the site, but I would not want to put someone else into this situation. After checking into the market in this niche it appears to be rather crowded. I am thinking about ditching the site and trying to get the money back.
          If you sell the site, does the new owner have complete ownership and control over it? If so, sell it your wife for $5, and shift it over to your own hosting account.

          Just do whatever it takes to get ownership of it.

          If you can't then you may have to write it off as a loss.
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          • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
            Thanks. I will do some more checking and decide what to do. I really need to get on a path with this IM thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Originally Posted by Steve Wisley View Post

    I hired a company to build an eCommerce sit for me, because I thought they would show me how to market the site. The training was...go build links. I have built links from several sources, but not traffic. I checked the site with Traffic Travis and it showed 308 errors, mostly H1 tags missing.

    I called and asked if they would fix the tags, but they said they would not and I did not need them anyway. Then they said to get traffic I need to do social media.

    My questions are:
    1. What should I do with the site?
    2. Are they right about the tags? Does not having H1 tags not make any difference? Everything I read says it does.
    3. Should I keep building links? I have 143 links and the site is PR3.
    4. I know nothing about social media. How do I learn about social media?

    Thanks, I really need to know what direction I am going with this.
    A lot of people unfortunately hire web designers that know nothing about eCommerce. It sound like your designer knows nothing about eCommerce or web design if they won't fix a bad H1 tag.

    Give this a shot, it's perfect for eCommerce sites and gets you a ton of quality backlinks:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...no-budget.html
    Signature

    -
    Ron Rule
    http://ronrule.com

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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      A lot of people unfortunately hire web designers that know nothing about eCommerce. It sound like your designer knows nothing about eCommerce or web design if they won't fix a bad H1 tag.

      Give this a shot, it's perfect for eCommerce sites and gets you a ton of quality backlinks:

      http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...no-budget.html
      Did you even bother to read the thread??????
      Signature

      BS free SEO services, training and advice - SEO Point

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      • Profile picture of the author ronrule
        Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

        Did you even bother to read the thread??????
        Yes - did you?

        Steve hired a web design company that doesn't know how to design eCommerce sites for search engines and didn't offer any assistance marketing his site. As a result is having trouble attracting buyers and isn't seeing the efforts of his link building that he could be. I offered a solution that would allow him to circumvent his eCommerce-challenged web designers and start driving traffic, backlinks, and sales in spite of the low-quality content he's suffering from.
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        Ron Rule
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  • Profile picture of the author ours
    I agree with John.

    I will suggest, copy all your original contents, close this current website, purchase a cool wordpress theme (ecommerce) upload your product, content etc and host in your hosting account. After that start promotion, write quality contents and you will see much better result.
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      I would get my domain name then sign up for a shopping cart yourself.

      I have personally used Network Solutions and 3Dcart and they are both easy and reliable platforms to use. There are others but these two I have personally used.

      There is built in SEO tools and many addons. They are both compatible with many CC processors as well as paypal and both can easily implement affiliate programs.

      There is a learning curve for both, but, if you have some basic computer skills you can have a site up and running in a day or 2

      al
      Signature

      A bar of iron cost $5. Made into horseshoes, it's worth $12. Made into needles, it's worth $3500. Made into balance springs for watches, it's worth $300,000. Your value is determined by what you are able to make of yourself

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    • Profile picture of the author rickwill71
      thank god for the forum!
      Signature

      Please do not use affiliate links in signatures

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      • Profile picture of the author Steve Wisley
        Thanks, Ours & Agmccall. That could be a good option. Not sure what direction I am going to take with this income thing. Appreciate all the help.
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    • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
      Originally Posted by ours View Post

      I agree with John.

      I will suggest, copy all your original contents, close this current website, purchase a cool wordpress theme (ecommerce) upload your product, content etc and host in your hosting account. After that start promotion, write quality contents and you will see much better result.
      Unfortunately this is almost as bad as telling him to stay with the current provider. I love wordpress, love it, but it is not an ecommerce platform. When it is all said and done, there is one thing that is good about the site, it loads very fast. Unfortunately they have you on their own ecommerce platfrom that has not kept up with the times.

      Based on the companies website, this cart was probably created before 2007 since they haven't bothered to update their copyright date on their website (Even in your source is says copyright 2006). Is this one of those sites that gives you access to products as well? Or do you have access to the product already and just want to sell?

      I can't see how they allow you to connect with the comparison shopping engines which in itself is a huge deal for driving both paid and free traffic.

      I hate to tell you this, but this cart will be almost worthless to you from what I can see unless you are willing to do a lot of things manually, assuming you even can. As much as I like wordpress, it won't help you any bit as well.

      • If you are willing to put in a little more work, here is what I would do.
      • Copy the content you have (shipping, FAQ, Product Descriptions)
      • Go over to Shopify - Start a free trial - Shopify works for you since you dont have a huge category and product set.
      • Shopify will walk you through setting up your site
      • Set up your shipping and payment information - I am assuming you are using paypal.
      • Transfer your domain
      • Go live
      • Go to plugins - add retail tower plugin
      • Build out retail tower to go to thefind, getshopping and bing shopping
      • Go to Google merchant and set up a google merchant account
      • Set up an adwords account - If you need a coupon let me know
      • Go back to retail tower - add google shopping and set your bids as low as they can go (maybe 1 cent)
      Try that for a month and see where that gets you.

      If you want a video walk through of the application, see below in my signature.
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  • Profile picture of the author MontrealSEO
    For ecommerce sites, my recommendation are as follows:

    1) for the highest quality leads, build backlinks directly for the product name itself. These are purchasers that are pretty much ready to buy!

    2) build links for more "broad" keywords, but still long tail. For example, product brand + type. It is still targeted enough where there is less competition, but broad enough to bring in more traffic.

    #1 above brings less traffic, but higher conversion rates (hopefully)

    #2 above brings more traffic, but conversion rates are lower (likely)
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    Jeff Taylor
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    www.disavowthis.com

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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    A strategy for driving eCommerce traffic, yes. It's kind of my area.

    I didn't get the impression that he was limited by the platform - just by his designer's lack of eCommerce expertise. If I'm misreading his intent then I apologize, but eCommerce implies that he's selling a product, not just linking out to other sites. That's not an eCommerce site, that's a directory. So the impression I got from the thread was that eCommerce was the goal, but the web company is giving him the runaround/ignore treatment.
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    Ron Rule
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    • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      A strategy for driving eCommerce traffic, yes. It's kind of my area.

      I didn't get the impression that he was limited by the platform - just by his designer's lack of eCommerce expertise. If I'm misreading his intent then I apologize, but eCommerce implies that he's selling a product, not just linking out to other sites. That's not an eCommerce site, that's a directory. So the impression I got from the thread was that eCommerce was the goal, but the web company is giving him the runaround/ignore treatment.

      You are correct. It is an ecommerce site and he is trying to drive buyers. Unfortunately the platform, from what little I can see is limited in connecting him with buying public.

      I actually think your suggestion was a sound one except that WSO is about gift cards and I would be really surprised if that platform provides for gift cards.

      Unfortunately the OP got himself (due to lack of experience) on a poor platform that he can probably "control" himself (to a certain extent) but due to inexperience had that company build out for him. He most likely didn't understand what functionality he needed to build out the site so this will be a learning experience for him. The copyright on the platform is 2006 (looked at his source code) so the cart is not 7 years out of date.

      You and I both know that driving traffic for an ecommerce site is a little different then building it for list building, affiliate or adsense revenue and I fear the platform he is on is a lost cause.

      It doesn't matter how many links he builds, forums he comments on or content posts he makes, given the carts limitations it will be an uphill battle. Best that he do some research (check the ecommerce section) and find an easy to use platform that will connect him with buyers.

      Given his limited product offering, category structure, lack of options/variants and current pricing of his cart ($35 a month), I suggest shopify given its ease of use (he can build it himself) and the ability to connect with buyers.

      The only worry about the ecommerce section is some fool will tell him to do Magento (which if he is having the issues he is having right now is not the answer) or like others have said, wordpress and woothemes which still limits him when he wants to connect with buyers (they only connect with google shopping and even then its a paid plugin).

      That right there is the easiest way to get him some buyers right now assuming his pricing is competitive. Then when he gets that finished, the WSO you spoke of might be a good choice (assuming he has good enough margins and inventory), and then traditional internet and social media marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Was just having a conversation on DigitalPoint about this with some other webmasters - they are very pro-Magento there as well. From a designer/developer's perspective I can agree, Magento is a great platform - if you know how to use it.

    For the typical store owner, who isn't a developer or SQL DBA, I always recommend hosted platforms... Volusion, BigCommerce, etc. This isn't like it was 5 years ago where a hosted cart was limited to a couple of fixed design layouts and had a crappy checkout experience. Today, modern hosted carts offer MORE flexibility than scripts, plus you get the benefit of redundancy, etc.

    This is an article I wrote in 2011 comparing hosted vs. scripts, and the same rules still apply today. For the majority of eCommerce sites, hosted solutions are superior.

    Hosted Shopping Carts vs. Purchased
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    Ron Rule
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I know this post is getting a bit stale, but I just came across it because of a google alert and wanted to make a few comments...

    1) I don't get the impression at all that the OP is lacking ownership. If he has the domain in his registrar account then that's certainly not the case. He was just convinced (because of lack of experience as OnlineStoreHelp pointed out) to go with a generic, turnkey solution.

    2) "Escaping" your current hosting provider is as simple as setting up new hosting and updating your nameservers with your registrar to accommodate the move (in fact, based on the fact that your website looks like it's on Wordpress now I am guessing you already figured that out!).

    If there's anything valuable enough to bother bringing over from the old website, just copy and paste it to the new platform before updating nameservers. (Alternatively, use Google's cache of certain pages or the Wayback Machine if you've already moved.)

    NOTE: I would only bother bringing over content that's unique and truly well written. If it's duplicate content that was copied from another website I wouldn't bother with it!

    3) I would only stick with the domain/niche if the following is true:
    • You have a trustworthy supplier that offers reasonable margins.
    • You can identify at least 1 or 2 high volume phrases you can get ranked for or you can be profitable with paid advertising
    • You are currently not penalized by Google. With the amount of backlinks and PR you have I am worried about how you achieved this? It seems highly unlikely that you got that many natural links in this short of an amount of time, so I would be a bit concerned about how the links were built. It's not likely that you manually built links and also made sure to maintain a natural backlink profile.
    It seems like it would likely be a waste of time to continue working on this store (even on a better platform) unless all 3 of these factors are in place. There are countless niches you can make money in, so there's no reason to settle for a low potential one just because you have a bit of time and money into it.

    That said, this could still be a viable earner even if you decide to not have it be an ecommerce store. You could sell ad space or run adsense on it, but if you are penalized by Google you won't get much traffic until you figure out how to get that penalty lifted.

    4) FYI, H1 tags are really not a "big" factor when it comes to ranking in Google. Sure, they are a small factor that Google looks at, but it's not as if you cannot rank well without them. More concerning is the fact that your cart would not allow you to make product titles h1 tags. That lack of functionality is a sure sign that the solution is not a good one!

    Regardless of what you decide, I wish you the best of luck with your website and your future projects!
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