Increasing Yahoo Store Profits
The Yahoo Store system is an e-commerce platform in use by thousands of merchants. Getting started is as simple as opening an online email account. The best way to increase the profits of your Yahoo! store is by effective development and promotion.
Finish your site
Before you start promoting, you need to add products to your store and customize its look. If your site is incomplete in any way, do not do any promotion. Otherwise, any visitors to your store will not purchase anything and worse, leave with an unfavorable impression of your store. Briefly, complete means the following.
- No spelling or grammatical errors.
- No broken links.
- No test products.
- No broken HTML.
- All store policies spelled out.
- Contact information available.
- A store name and slogan.
- A customized look. (see below)
Acquire Yahoo! Store Design Services
Most people choose the Yahoo! platform because they want to minimize the need for technical skills. Therefore, Yahoo! store design is best left to developers who have those skills in RTML and HTML. For a flat cost, a store developer can customize the look and feel of your site. It doesn't have to be fancy, and anything is better than using the default template. This is important to establish an identity for your site, thereby building the trust of your website visitors. Here is a list of some store developers in the Midwest. A complete listing is available in the Yahoo! Stores Designer Directory. You can also find developers through the following sites: RentACoder, eLance, and Craig's List.
Optimize your site for search engines
The three most important things for search engine placement are TEXT, TEXT, and TEXT! Search engines are based on text. Therefore, you should make the visible, textual content of your store as accurate and in depth as possible, to maximize your ranking and exposure. Visible content includes the page title, the page URL, and every word visible within your page. Most search engines nowadays ignore hidden text, such as META tags due to wonton abuse by page authors.
- Product code and price only. (worst)
- The above, plus the product name.
- The above, plus the product description.
- The above, plus the product specifications.
- The above, plus your own written, factual description or review of the product.
- The above, plus reviews written by other people for your site.
- The above, plus one or more high resolution images with ALT text. (best, e.g. amazon.com, newegg.com)
If you have images in your store, you can optimize those by adding ALT text. These are textual comments that describe the image. In most browser, this text only appears when the mouse cursor hovers over the image.
Get listed in dmoz.org
Now that your site is complete, the first thing to do is submit it to dmoz.org. This human-edited directory site offers free submission. Most major search engines start spidering from this site, so you can save effort by getting in dmoz first.
It can take several months for an editor to get around to adding your site, but once they do, most of the other major search engines will automatically spider your site, and you won't have to spend a dime. In the meantime, some of the major search engines still have free, manual submission.
Get listed on related sites
Many search engines, especially Google, will rank your site based on how many other sites link to your site. Therefore, you should try to get other sites to link to you. This is very easy by following these steps:
- Get the URLs of your competitor's sites.
- In Google, do a reverse URL search to find out where your competitor's sites are listed. (For example, link:www.newegg.com.)
- Contact those sites and politely ask them if they will add a link to your store.
- Get your friends who have personal web pages to link to your site along with a short, textual promotion.
A few words of caution, don't create front websites just to make links, or participate in cross-linking schemes. The search engine companies will blacklist you.
A common method of promotion is to purchase keyword advertising. Popular sites are Yahoo Advertising and Google Adwords. They charge a small, variable amount per clickthrough, which is called CPC, or cost per click. The nice thing about these sites is you can tailor your ads to only appear when a searcher enters specific keywords. For example, if you sell gardening widgets, you can bid $0.20 per click-through on the term "gardening widget". You pay only when a visitor clicks on the ad and comes to your site. If you want to experiment, start with Adwords because unlike Overture, there is no minimum spending requirement.
Listing in Price Comparison Engines
Depending on the types of products you sell, you may also find listing in price comparison engines useful. These sites typically also charge per click-through and an upfront setup fee. Some examples are MySimon, Shopper.com, and Pricewatch.com.
Before listing in those engines, you can try listing in Google's new product search engine, Google Product Search (previously known as Froogle). The great thing about Google Product Search is that there are absolutely no charges to participate! All you have to do is sign up for a merchant account. Luckily, by choosing the Yahoo! store platform, your product information is already painstakingly entered and supremely organized. You can export it simply by checking the box to enable store export in the store manager.
All you need is to submit the product data to Froogle's server on a regular basis. You can do this yourself, purchase a Froogle feed software package, or subscribe to a feeder service. Check out the services offered by Aten Software LLC - Yahoo Store Services.
Disclaimer: This content is provided as-is. The information may be incorrect.