The Challenges of Promoting an Ecommerce Site

There are many challenges to when it comes to promoting an Ecommerce site or online store. I will outline these challenges and provide some ideas for overcoming these challenging.

Challenge 1: Building links for Ecommerce sites is hard

With Google’s Penguin on the loose, no one wants to link out to commercial sites out of fear of being penalized. There are sites out there that will do it, but it will come with a price.

Solution 1: Link Building for Ecommerce sites

The keys to building links for an Ecommerce site are relevancy and quality. Here are some link building ideas for your Ecommerce site:

  1. Ask shopping blog owners for a link. These types of sites normally link out to product pages, so there shouldn’t be any red flags for Google.
  2. Submit your site to a coupon publisher. There are tons of coupon sites out there and they’ll link to you as long as you are offering a discount to their readers.
  3. Submit your site to quality web directories. Most web directories deal with all types of industries, so you should be able to find a suitable category for your business. Or, look for a directory that focuses on the shopping niche.
  4. Find sites with resource pages. Many websites on the Internet have a resource page where they link to interesting resources that are relevant. Sort of like a blogroll. Look for a site that has this and see if they’d be willing to link to you. Chances are they’ll ask for something in return.
  5. Support an organization or charity. Many organizations and charity sites have a page where they give a shout-out to their sponsors. This is a good opportunity to grab a link from a respected site.

The hardest part of link building is researching and knowing what tools to use. The rest is negotiating a deal with the site owner.

Challenge 2: Lack of unique site content

Unless you own Amazon, chances are your product pages are pretty bare-boned. You might have an image or two for your products and a short description about the product. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough content to get you to the top of Google rankings.

To make matters worse, most product descriptions on the Internet are copied and pasted repeatedly, across many different online stores. This leads to duplicate content and should be avoided. It might save you time when filling up your product pages, but it will only hurt you from an SEO standpoint.

Solution 2: Create unique site content

Unfortunately, there is no way around this. You need unique content to rank for your targeted keywords. To be realistic, even having unique content might not be enough these days. You will probably also have to do some link building to get your rankings up.

So, how would you create unique content for your site? Write them yourself if you have time, or hire a freelance writer. It can be quite overwhelming to write a thousand product descriptions at once, so I would recommend that you set a schedule – like 20 descriptions per week. Whatever works for you. It might be a slow road, but it will eventually pay-off for you. The best example I can provide is Amazon.com. You notice they have a ton of unique content on every page — some written by an editor and some user generated. It really doesn’t matter who writes it as long as the content is unique and not some respun crap.

Challenge 3: Advertising is expensive

Advertising online can get expensive, especially if you are dealing with competitive industries such as shopping. Most online retailers just starting out can’t afford to advertise. So, they let their online business dwindle away, or they waste their money on some low quality advertising service.

Solution 3: Not all advertising is the same

Don’t give up – you just have to keep looking. You get what you pay for in the world of online advertising. The prices are determined by the market. You pay premium prices for quality traffic and pay peanuts for low quality. Common sense. Don’t waste time on low quality traffic services like popups or popunders – they won’t convert for you. Also, don’t even think about placing your banner on some irrelevant website – it won’t work. It’s all about targeting intent-driven traffic.

Google Adwords and Bing Ads are two advertising platforms that I regularly recommend to people. There are many other sources of traffic out there – you just need to understand where and how the traffic is reaching you.

Challenge 4: Lack of trust

You need to build some level of trust with your visitors in order to turn them into buyers. Some Ecommerce sites are simply not ready for prime time. They look as though if they were designed in the 90’s. Others lack credibility.

Solution 4: Build trust

An outdated and unprofessional looking website is a huge turn-off and will scare away visitors as soon as they land on your page. An Ecommerce site should always look professional and appealing, and ready to do business. Simple things like a physical store address or a security/trust logo can do wonders for building credibility. You should also have consistent messaging throughout your website.

Nowadays, reviews play a major role in the way people research and shop for things online. Make sure you are keeping track of what people are saying about your business and handle any issues as soon as they arise. A negative review can significantly hurt your business, and a non-response could mean you don’t care or the complaint is true.

So, these are some of the struggles that Ecommerce sites face today. Can you think of anything that you’re challenged with and not mentioned here?

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