There was a time that I was anti-ecommerce sites in terms of making money from them as, to me, it looked like an impossible feat due to the competition. In fact I was so “non-ecommerce site friendly” you may have thought I was in cahoots with Jeff Bezos and his Amazon minions because I never did anything to compete with him. Well, I’m not in bed with Jeff and company but I have learned that ranking an ecommerce site, and making money from it, is not all that bad once you figure out some of the process and commit to the work.
Well, after a little testing (well a mountain of testing) and a bunch of on and off site work, I’ve done an about face and now see how profitable one can be if you are patient, use the right processes, don’t mind doing a bunch of work on a regular basis and are open to a variety of traffic methods and SEO process
that may not be in the “usual and customary” for many. Ranking an ecommerce site is part of how you generate revenue but you want to take advantage of some of the other aspects of traffic generation as well.
First let’s talk about the products you may want to market on your ecommerce site. This may sound a bit like a broken record as I have said something similar a zillion times and have been saying the same thing for years now, but you need to choose something in which you have an interest. Choosing something that is not a product or niche that you find at the very least interesting is taking a chance on a starting a project that will wallow in incompletion, and really should be something in which you have a passion or you find fascinating and have some working knowledge of the niche. Most people in our industry, or in any other work situation, do a whole lot better if they like what they are doing and having a legitimate interest and knowledge of your niche should be part of your cornerstone when building a site.
So, now you have your idea for a niche but is it really a good niche for the kind of ecommerce site to rank?
You need to see what products are available and at what margins or at what affiliate commission structures are available and make sure that the companies that have offers that have decent dollars are decent companies. For example, if you have picked an advertiser on CJ.com, you should use this vetting process to make sure they are going to be good for you on a long term basis. It is imperative that you align yourself with products that are going to sell or no matter how much eCommerce SEO you do is not going to help you one bit in the revenue department. Whether you use CJ, Alibaba, Amazon or the guy down the street that sells doll houses made from Popsicle sticks, if your products are dogs your bottom line won’t doing any happy dancing at the end of your month.
Site Structure for an eCommerce Site
The site structure that I used was not a very complex one and I used word press as the CMS. I did a very simple 4 category site with the main page some aggressive content. Main page has 1482 words on it with links to each category in the content using images for the click through as well as a menu along the top. I don’t know that the interlinking like that is a big deal as those pages are not ranking anyway and I could care less if they ever rank. There is no real money there anyway as they are there just to make Google smile as he looks in to see what is going on.
Getting Sales on an eCommerce Site
The real money is in ranking individual products on the site and that is the real money when ranking any ecommerce site for the most part. People that are going to buy, the impulse sale, are usually not searching for a category but rather a product or a product to solve a problem. Remember those two reasons for a prospect to search; the product itself or a product to solve a problem.
They are money.
The product part is actually pretty easy as well as you are going to just copy and paste what your advertiser is using for starters. Title and content right off the bat. I know that is the exact opposite that anyone has heard from me for the past 7 – 8 years or so as I don’t do duplicate content but that is not all that you will do. The title and description from the advertiser is the base of your actual post and is what solves the first half of your “what is the person searching for that leads them
to your ecommerce site”, your product aspect. You can almost guarantee that if you have chosen a decent product line that the company has some decent descriptions there for you and a title that matches as well.
I did not stop there in this process though, I took that information and expounded on it to the tune of 100 – 200 words per item. In that “extra” content I would then describe how the product was used, how it would solve a problem or how it would make one’s life a little better. That covers the other half of why someone would be searching for an ecommerce site that had what they were looking for. Remember they person that lands on your site from an organic search probably typed in the kind of product they wanted or the problem they were having. I am offering both by using this process and that not only helps in ranking the ecommerce site but also in conversions which is what this is all about.
How to Build an eCommerce Site
Ok, here comes the grind and this just made me pull my hair out some days but to do this right, or at least how I thought was right, was to grind away and add a bunch of posts on a daily basis. I did the copy and paste the title and description from the advertiser and then added the content that made the post unique to a certain degree. I did this every day 7 days a week without fail and I added in between 5 and 12 new products a day. That is not a lot of content but if you were to do that every day you will probably end up like I did; hating the site, hating the product and hating the process as it gets a little tough to be generating new unique content for each post that much for someone with my limited skill sets.
Here is an example of what that is all about:
I leave the title exactly as you see it from the actual seller and the initial part of the description as well and then add in the benefits or uses that one would get from the product. They do a fine job describing it and I mention it is good for walking, nice as a casual shoe for an informal dinner yet has comfort and support. They don’t really talk about the benefit and I know from my keyword research that people look for a sandal that can be worn for a daily walk or for a casual night out. I offer that aspect and that makes my post unique enough to make Google happy and also give me an opportunity to sell the product on the ecommerce site.
I don’t care how much you may love shoes, or whatever you are writing about, that gets old fairly fast and you have to be dedicated to he project if you want to be successful at this aspect of internet marketing. Real dedicated but leaving off the “extra” content takes away my opportunity to have unique content for ranking in Google and it also would take away my opportunity to sell the visitor.
Off Site SEO for an eCommerce Site
Content alone does not a money site make and that is coming from a guy that is all about quality copious content. You need to do some off site SEO to make your ecommerce site rank in Google. Here is what I did for my off site SEO on this site.
Fist thing I did was write a a press release and get that syndicated linking only to the root url/home page. I wanted to “announce” this hot new site that was going to offer products with the features and benefits of those products accentuated. I sent out one for the site as a whole and then, every 2 weeks sent out 4 more, one for each of the categories. They went out in drip feed fashion so to speak and each one for the category was linked to the category page only.
I also built a small Private Blog Network specifically for this site. One hundred percent of the content was related to the site and I linked to the inner pages of the eCommerce site. The content was all unique as were all the IPs etc as you would want for any PBN and the entire group inside this PBN were dedicated to only that site.
Then I built a bunch of Web 2.0s and parasite pages to random pages making sure that no page got more than one link from those backlink properties. I was not overly concerned that some did not get any backlinking as the link juice would flow though the site if the pages were interlinked properly but I did not want to stress one page over another with extra links. Those properties all got tiered as well so that they were not just sitting out there all by their lonesome not getting a little extra boost.
Many of the Web 2.0s got additional pages built on them but not all and even then the extra pages on those sites is nothing to write home about. The on site was very strong and all that
content getting added over the course of a day kept bringing the crawlers back to the site over and over again.
The results of that effort, and was it ever effort, is a steady $80.00 to $100.00 a day right now and I have not touched it in 2 and a half weeks as of this writing. Will it stay that way? I’m not sure but I am pretty confident that I now have a passive income eCommerce site that will rank and bank for a long time. I’m sure that I will have to tweak some of the off site and it makes sense to add more products to the site as well, and I will, in a few weeks or so but for now it is humming along nicely.
Can anyone do this?
Yes, if you have the ability to focus and stay driven knowing that the end result is somewhere between $2,500.00 and $3.000.00 a month in semi- passive income. You do not have to be a prolific writer but you are going to have to know your product line to a certain extent and you are going to have to like the niche or it will be extremely tough to follow this through.
If you do decide to do this though, plan on a good 250 – 300 hours of serious work and plan on having to check yourself some as you may have times when you just want to rip the face off of somebody but in the long run, if you can increase your annual income 25K – 30K residual for some 300 hours of work there is some real value in the work.