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Thread: Dying Business

  1. #1
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    Dying Business

    Greetings all,

    My website has been up for a couple of months but only got one sale so far. I've been trying to get listing in free directories and getting reciprocal links with others but haven't seen any results yet. Would any of you be so kind and advice on what's the best way to promote my business. I'm running on a shoe string budget and the products I'm selling are from local crafters I found close to home. I know there are so many other websites selling similar stuff and I'm starting to have doubts my business will survive. Please any help with suggesting on promoting would be greatly appreciated. By the way, the website address is www.tulalit.com

    RF
    www.tulalit.com | Just another e-commerce site

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    You might want to ask for a review in the Website Reviews forum, because their might be certain aspects of your site that would turn away potential customers. The artifacts around the text in your images don't present a professional image. You should use GIF instead of JPEG for those pictures.

    The keywords at the bottom of your page don't help either. Most search engines consider keyword stuffing a violation of their terms and therefore won't index your site.

    Post a request in the reviews forum and you will probably get a ton of excellent suggestions.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict exhale81's Avatar
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    your first page is definitely not attractive enough, you don't need to have all these news or you can have them but at the bottom. on the first page of a ecommerce site it should be clear what can be bought. at the moment the only way to know what products you are selling it by clicking on the "Products" link on the left, i don't think that many people bother because the main page gives them no reason to do so. have a look at other successful ecommerce site and see how they made their first page.

    (this may have to do with site reviews but you should use GIFs instead of JPEGs for the images with aren't pictures. the way they currently are definitely doesn't give a professional look. in fact it reminds me of the first site i built 6 years ago )
    Sebastien Rosset
    :: Commercial: BlackSonic | ScriptsCenter
    :: Non-Profit: VJCentral | ReclaimYourSoul

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    I would agree with the comments made above. You do need to do some significant work on your site. Get over to reviews and do three analyses of other sites and then you can put yours up for review. In fact you may find the process of providing some meaningful reviews of other sites a very useful experience in terms of realising what is wrong with your own site.

    In the meantime, start looking at those sites that you consider to do similar things to yourself and try to identify the most successful ones. Try to identify what it is that they are doing with their sites that makes them succeed where you fail, despite the fact that you may have a better product. But do not be tempted to steal any code or graphics from other sites.

    Presentation is vital. You may be great at aftersales, but that will just serve to bring people back. You need the initial customers now. As your site stands it just does not get across the message, and does not inspire potential customers to find out more.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict dpickup's Avatar
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    My advice would be - don't get ahead of yourself. As others have mentioned, first fine tune your site. Then consider your target market. If you are promoting mainly local Texas artists then you'd be better off doing a lot of localized marketing to start. Get listed in every Texas web portal you can find. Draw up flyers and distribute them locally and see if you can find local businesses willing to post ads or carry business cards promoting your site. Just because you are online don't expect the world to come to you, I'm sure you will find there is plenty of business to be had in Texas alone.

  6. #6
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    I have to agree with dpickup, market your site locally first.

    Attend Arts & Crafts trade shows in your area and seriously consider renting booth space there. If there aren't any shows, consider organizing and sponsoring one.

    I would also suggest that in addition to selling products, add other features to your site. Sort of a Arts & Crafts portal for Austin. This includes message boards, how-to articles, mailing list subscription to a monthly newsletters, etc.

    This will definitely generate traffic for your site. Once you have a decent subscriber base, you can consider selling advertising space in your newsletter as an additional source of income.

    My #1 suggestion is to STAY POSITIVE. Keep a positive attitude and implement some of the features and suggestions of the members.

    Good Luck,

    ndy

  7. #7
    Destiny Manager Plebius's Avatar
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    I agree with the previous suggestions.

    Also, why don't you start offering some of your products on Ebay? You might discover a market there.

    Good luck!

    -Plebius

    PS: I highly suggest the book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini. You may be able to apply some of those principles in your marketing efforts.

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    SitePoint Addict w3exit's Avatar
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    Re: Dying Business

    Originally posted by rforce
    Greetings all,

    My website has been up for a couple of months but only got one sale so far. I've been trying to get listing in free directories and getting reciprocal links with others but haven't seen any results yet. Would any of you be so kind and advice on what's the best way to promote my business. I'm running on a shoe string budget and the products I'm selling are from local crafters I found close to home. I know there are so many other websites selling similar stuff and I'm starting to have doubts my business will survive. Please any help with suggesting on promoting would be greatly appreciated. By the way, the website address is www.tulalit.com

    RF
    You need a site redesign to make yourself look more professional ... trying buying one of those html templates .. my fav is http://atemplate.com .. cheap and good

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys for the comments and suggestions.

    I think I'm not going to give up on the design of the website yet. I realized it still needs some work. This is the second website I've ever built and my first commercial one. I don't have fancy software and all. As a matter a fact, I only used the "paint" program and HTML. . And I can't afford to pay for a template at this time. I'll try to submit it to the web reviews and see if they can help.

    Could you make it clear again why I should use GIFs instead of JPEGs? I'm not really clear of the difference.

    As suggested, I've reworked the main page a little bit to show the products I sell instead of just words. Hopefully it made better. The pictures may not look professional: results from using a lousy digital camera - but I'll try to work on new ones.

    Thanks for suggesting on local promotion. I'm going to do some work on that.

    More comments and suggestions will be appreciated.
    www.tulalit.com | Just another e-commerce site

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict exhale81's Avatar
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    With JPEGs you always lose quality with the compression while with GIFs you don't (IE the image looks exactly the same than before exporting it). The JPEG format however is more appropriate for pictures because it can handle more colors and it compress them better than the GIF format.
    Sebastien Rosset
    :: Commercial: BlackSonic | ScriptsCenter
    :: Non-Profit: VJCentral | ReclaimYourSoul

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast MarcTomasz's Avatar
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    The overall design of your site is fine, but you definitely need to improve the images. Whether you like it or not, you need to get some sort of software that will help you create better images.

    Do you still have a school ID card? I bought Flash 5 while I was in college, and the student versions are substantially cheaper than the regular version. I bought if for $99.

    I'm sure if you went to Best Buy or someplace, they will have image editors for much less.

    Here's something else that comes in handy. The software that you buy, the internet costs...it's all tax deductable! Since this is a business, software and such are business expenses.

    Just be sure when tax season comes around, you get a professional to do your taxes.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict delpino's Avatar
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    I second that with ebay, a customer of mine for which I do programming (Simon Andrews Stamps) sells stamps, covers, etc.. They sell from the website and from Ebay. Even though Ebay doesn't allow direct links from their page, because they want you to buy from them not directly, after they buy a product you can give them your Website URL and hope for a further sales. I recommend to have a newsletter so you can keep in touch with potential buyers.

    Those templates are a good idea. There seem to be a lot of websites offering that. If I buy one of those do they still sell that particular one, or is it unique then?
    Last edited by delpino; Jul 19, 2002 at 07:25.
    http://www.antosch-and-lin.com - Language Learning

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    Talking

    In About Us (your site)

    Our object is to bring people together through their cultural differences. sorry but ha ha ha. Yea I buy that one.
    Try being more honest Our object is to turn a profit and if in doing that we bring people together in their cultural differences, along with the candle they just bought that would be a bonus.
    A wee bit lighter, happier etc in your grammer would be better.

  14. #14
    Non-Member Jinx's Avatar
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    I would personally get a web designer to spruce your site up a bit. You can post a project on Bawlers (Links Below) and get bids on your project. You'll get a better deal that way rather then paying retail for a new design and such.

  15. #15
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    I appriciate your comments and suggestions

    Potnoodle,

    That's what I felt when I wrote it. I didn't really know what else to write at the time, and I really suck at writing. I've changed it and I hope it looks better and cheery now . Thanks

    Plebius & delpino,

    I've tried selling on ebay but no one bid. I guess I set the price too high then. I realized that people on ebay look for steals but I can only set my price so low. However, I'll give it another try. Thanks for your suggestions.

    Jinx,

    I just submitted my site to the reviews. I'll just hear what they have to say. I still don't feel like redesigning my site. I still have confidence in it for some people said they liked it. I know it still needs some work and I'll just modify it as anyone suggests it. Thank you.

    MarcTomasz,

    That's what I've been told. I'm still working on the pictures. and hope to get them ready soon. Thank you so much for clarifying that again.

    By the way, does anyone know any good third party affiliates program that keep track of your ads. I'm considering to make a program and looked at cj.com; their initial set up fee is too much for me. If any of you can suggest on a cheaper ones, I'd very much appreciate it. Please advise

    Again thanks for your time.

    More suggestions and comments are more than welcome
    www.tulalit.com | Just another e-commerce site

  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict delpino's Avatar
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    It must have a reason you didn't succeed on eBay. I even sell my banner space of my community website there. Try:

    - Write a good description. Include important keywords.
    - the auction should end on a weekend, then many people have more time to browse
    - many good feedbacks help too, so don't be discourage after just a few tries.
    - include a good scan, for that buy a digital camera.

    Good Luck!
    http://www.antosch-and-lin.com - Language Learning

  17. #17
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    rforce

    One of the most important things to remember in any sort of business. It is more important to know what you don't know and your weaknesses than what you actually do know.
    There are a lot of bull****ters out there pretending to know everything. If you need help just ask. I ask on a daily basis. I am not a Banker or Solicitor nor indeed a programmer so ASK if they think you are daft to ask then they are the bull****ters who think they know it all.
    I thought and still do that I can write a bit but it doesn't stop me from contacting my old old English teacher for grammar advice (I didn't use him here) ha ha ha.
    At least you are making the effort ask ask ask or be ignorant for the rest of your days.
    Good Luck
    Noodles

  18. #18
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    rforce

    One of the most important things to remember in any sort of business. It is more important to know what you don't know and your weaknesses than what you actually do know.
    There are a lot of bull****ters out there pretending to know everything. If you need help just ask. I ask on a daily basis. I am not a Banker or Solicitor nor indeed a programmer so ASK if they think you are daft to ask then they are the bull****ters who think they know it all.
    I thought and still do that I can write a bit but it doesn't stop me from contacting my old old English teacher for grammar advice (I didn't use him here) ha ha ha.
    At least you are making the effort ask ask ask or be ignorant for the rest of your days.
    Good Luck
    Noodles

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    you do not have to have a top of the line camera to get good pictures. I take thge ones for my site with a $199 Olympus D-460 with 1.3 mega pixels and it works great. Oh and do not use digital zoom (if you do) when you take the pics, it makes them fuzzy looking. My camera has a 3x optical zoom and that is suffecient for me. I fully agree with the photo editing software. I bought Adobe photoshop elements and find it very easy to use. It was only $99 when it was first released and is probably cheaper now. With it you can save your pics in a variety of forms (I found jpeg medium is best fit for file size and clarity). You can even preview the images in IE to see what they will look like and it will tell you the download time at 28.8 for you file size. Other than the pics, on my system the font you used on the home page was a little fuzzy. Also may just be me but any site I visit that does not have some kind of SSL set up does not get my money. Perhaps you do( i did not go through you shopping cart) have SSL if so you should state that on your home page. I suspect you'll loose lots of potential customers without that. I thnk the SSL certificates are only like $99 (I could be wrong though) but I would get one. I used TrustE.
    Shane M

  20. #20
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    Site Design

    I would look into getting a professional designer to help you out! The green on the pages is hard to look at. I would suggest white. It looks more professional. And don't give up on your dreams!
    Sharon
    Gift Basket Depot 314-291-1519

  21. #21
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    Thanks for all your comments and suggestions.

    Most of you seemed to be pointing out to redesign. Well, I took a lot of time considering and finally I decided to do as that. I still have the new design on finishing up stage. I just submitted to the reviews section and see what they have to say about it before I start redoing the whole site. You can take a peek on it and give your thoughts as well if you like.

    Here goes, http://www.tulalit.com/testingdisini/index.html

    And if you can tell me if you know any reliable third party ad management and in my tiny budget range for an affiliate program that I'm making, I'd really appreciate it.

    I'm considering shareasale but would like to know some others as well to compare and find the best one.

    Again, thanks for your time to help me out.
    www.tulalit.com | Just another e-commerce site

  22. #22
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    Looks pretty good to me. Some of the pics still need a little tweaking, kinda hard to tell whet you are seeing on the candle holder one and soem could be brighter. BTW in looking at the original compaired to the new look I see that you do state your secured server status. Guess I over looked it the first time.
    Shane M

  23. #23
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Originally posted by rforce
    And if you can tell me if you know any reliable third party ad management and in my tiny budget range for an affiliate program that I'm making, I'd really appreciate it.
    http://www.orbitcycle.com is one.

  24. #24
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    a lot of the advice to date has been on design.
    I think you do need a much more professional design if you are going to get people to part with their credit card details.
    One important aspect people often fail to do is market research. You shouldnt assume that you can sell absolutely anything on the internet. Some products are suited to internet sales, and others, are simply not. Do not forget this aspect, do your market research. Learn from the big dotcom failures where people thought they could sell anything on the internet. Look at those that have failed and those that are still around today and flourishing. You will see certain trends and learn a lot.
    Internet Business - Blog about starting an Internet Business.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    You face rough competition from craft stores, art fairs, flea markets, and even the home shopping network.

    The question that pops into my consumer head is: "Why should I buy from you?". The design issues that many have mentioned are reasons not to buy from you. But why should I buy? You need to tell me. Is your stuff higher quality than you competitors? Is it the same quality and cheaper? Does a certain type of candleholder come with free candles for life?

    Some thoughts.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?


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