CC9 - Yvonne

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RiverStyx

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a) Quick intro about me:

I come from an entrepreneurial family and that trait has stuck with me throughout my life. I’ve had various day jobs over the years but my passion has always been with making my own way in the world and building up my personal ‘empire’. Let’s just say the 9-5 doesn’t agree with me much :wink:

You may laugh, but my true schooling in IM began with a £200 course on ‘making money online’ back in 2006. The course had a lot of really useful information and I studied and absorbed it and more for 6 months in the evenings after work until I felt I knew enough to launch my first real site. That site was accidentally successful and ranked on page 1 within a week (it was 2006!) and started making sales – over the years it has grown but has always been a side-line for me.

Now, I have taken the final plunge. I quit my day job (as of Dec 1, 2014) as an in-house SEO and digital marketer to focus on building this site up into a proper business as well as working on forming my own digital marketing agency.


b) My Niche:

This site is an e-commerce site and I import and ship all of the products myself. The niche I am in is the UK home and garden market. My current target audience are primarily women aged 30-80 years old from fairly affluent backgrounds. They value a quality product (which I have) and I get a lot of repeat customers.


c) The overall goal of the traffic leak experiment:

My current methods of getting traffic to the site are: branded organic traffic and PPC. I am currently spending approximately £600 per month on PPC and whilst that does provide a positive ROI I would like to be less reliant on it as a traffic source. My organic traffic is mostly the brand I sell as, to be completely honest, I haven’t done much with the SEO on this site in recent years.


d) What I plan to get out of it:

What I hope to gain out of this experiment is an increased knowledge of different methods of targeted traffic generation that I can use on this site as well as on future projects. I’ve read a lot about traffic leaks and so forth so feel I have a good grounding in theory but there is no substitute for actual work and testing and I want to get to the next level in this game.


e) Amount of time they plan on dedicating a week


As mentioned, I have recently quit my day job and as this is Christmas and I run an e-commerce shop that sells goods that are perfect for stocking fillers this is my busiest season of the year. This is now my full-time job.
I am planning on launching my digital marketing agency in the New Year so there are a few hours a week set aside for that at the moment, but I can comfortably dedicate at least 30 hours per week, if not more, to this project.


f) Optional traffic numbers OR percentage increases:

Current traffic figures to the site over a rolling 30-day period are approximately 1,800 unique visitors with there being anywhere from 50-206 visitors to the site in a day; the main jump in traffic due to my email newsletter. If I can increase the amount of daily visitors to 500 per day (keeping the same conversion rate!) then it literally will not matter if my agency is successful right away, there will be more than enough money coming in to live off of and this site will form the foundation of my online empire.


g) Personal overall goals I want to achieve:

I think I’ve gone over this already in previous questions (apologies for the long verbiage) but, in a nutshell, my personal goal for this project is to build it to a level where it can support my base monthly expenses so I can focus on really building up my online empire.


h) Where they currently are at with this project

Currently the site is running well, making lots of X-mas sales, but the SEO is, in my opinion, a bit poor. I know a lot needs doing on-site and the CTA’s could be better. Also, the social media platforms for this project are sorely underutilized. I have retained a developer to make all necessary updates to the site so I am ready to roll.

Let's do it!
 

vinnypolston

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Very excited to follow along with you on this @RiverStyx! I think out of the majority of the CC9 threads I've read yours is the most exciting. Congrats on going full time by the way! If you're able to sustain decent income from that amount of traffic can't wait to see what happens after on page optimization and increased traffic. You're gonna kill it!
 

RiverStyx

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Thanks :smile: I'm really looking forward to it and it's such a wonderful feeling to be 100% dedicated to building up my own assets for a change. To quote a source I no longer remember: "If you don't work on building your own dreams you'll end up working for someone else building theirs"
 

CCarter

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My Official Take:

This is an interesting one, since the target audience may not be as tech savvy as a younger crowd - this helps wit any future traffic leaking opportunities cause they may not be used to the "top 10 list of tools needed" style.

Do people garden in the winter time in the UK? I figured there is also opportunity in the spring and summer times as well for sales, promotions, etc.

"How to XYZ an ABC" guides would be perfect. Plant a rosebush, style of instructional guides. You can even jump onboard with vegetable gardens for vegans.

Volume wise, I wasn't too thrilled with the potential for the specific niche, but the broader niche is huge as you can imagine. This one might require some thought and more creativity, but once we find platforms to traffic leak, from there things should be a walk in the park. Also the SEO:



^^ The overall SEO power in the SERPs is lacking in the top 10 positions. I'm seeing sites with n/a PR, and TF of 0, CF of 0, and 2 IPs in backlinks as the top spots. Mates, does anyone out there know any SEO? This is like a bank leaving the vault doors open, with no guards, someone can just walk in here and take everything.
 

RiverStyx

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Thanks for the analysis @CCarter, I think I will put a blog on the site to put some articles up like you suggested. Could you please let me know what kw you looked at to get the chart above? (via a PM that is!)
 

emp

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For winter gardening -

You can write blog posts about:
  • Winter-hard plants that can be used to keep things looking pretty.
  • How to store your tools / things to do while not IN the garden can be useful tool (sharpening, oils, sheds, storage, etc..)
  • I guess this would also be the time to prepare content for spring.
::emp::
 

RiverStyx

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Thanks for the suggesting @emp that definitely helps! Right now I'm in the middle of my most profitable time of year. Gardeners love the type of products I sell and they make great stocking fillers. This week I will be sending out an email newsletter to my 3,800 subscribers and will put a banner up on the site as well advertising 'Free shipping on orders over £50' I have a lot of orders between £35-45 so I'm hoping that will boost the avg basket value.

Jan and Feb tend to be my lowest time of year but I'm hoping to keep up the marketing and promotion this year so I will have a stronger Jan and Feb than usual. After that, you're right, its spring promo time! But right now its all about the stocking fillers :smile:
 

emp

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OK...
err..
I now had some time to look at the site and well...



You are leaving users and more importantly conversions on the table.

While it is not as bad as I initially thought when looking at it on mobile (it looks HORRIBLE on mobile, but can be used), there is definite room to optimize and grow this site.

So to not let on on your site... we all know it is about something gardening related.

So .. you are selling.. spades...yep.. err.. we'll call it bestspades.co.uk ... the brand name is Uranus .. which is important, since brand is a BIG part fo what you got there at the moment

Basics

META Description
Non existant

META Keywords
Non - existant

You are kidding me, right?

Logo
I would opt to have the tagline as text. At least you alt-tagged the image

Titles
I would re-order the titles.
Right now, you often (not always) have [Brand]-[ProductID]-[DescriptiveTitle] in the title and H1.

So H1 is "Uranus 478 Reinforced Stainless Work Spade"
Title is "19-reinforced-stainless-work-spade"

I would advise to put the product ID into the title tag, but put it on the end.

NEW title "Reinforced-stainless-work-spade-uranus-478"

The leading 19 seems to be some Wordpress artifact, figure out how to get rid of it. This is actually repeated throughout the site.

As for the H1 - I would drop the ID number here, you can keep the brand (even in front), but you could even drop it, since you are SPAMMING the page with the brand everywhere.

And I mean that - title, every navigation item, breadcrumb trail, H1, Content, Other article links... ya might want to tone it down a bit.

Description - CONTENT
40 words, 220 characters
You are kidding me!
You are kidding me, right?
Right?

More informational text can be found LOW on the page.
And it DUPLICATES the description from the top and adds 25 more words at the end.
WTF?

Put all that in the text block up high and get rid of that weird tab setup where the user has to click to get the spade's "features" - yeah.. kill that shit.



Put it all in one nice chunk of text and give me more info.
Info, info, info.
Size, length, weight, material, colors, usages, shelf life, etc etc etc...
People are looking for the weirdest things.

Images
At least you have a nice zoom, but if you can, set up a light tent and make tons more pictures.
Someone USING the spade, close close close up, so people can see the grain of the wood, etc...

A simple light tent (9 quid on amazon or a 2quid ghetto one made out of an old box and some see though paper) and some hours with a cheap digicam is all you need.

The images have readable file names, good in that regard.

Size guide
Really nice to have this online. (Sizes for spades are important)
Could do with a downloadable PDF and some images (where do I have to measure, etc)

By the way, how about actually linking to it right at the product page... you know..when people want to order and need to know the correct size?

Site Colors
Green/brown - Good fit for gardening. To me the brown used for the nav headings (contact us, tags, etc) is too dark .. but meh it works

Layout
Wow... the normal text is very small. And needs to be darker.

Social media integration
See if people really share these pages on facebook. If not, get rid of the button.

Print button
I love it when pages can be printed... but as with facebook... track if used (ya could probably do with a good rpint CSS insteads), and IF it is used... make it more visible.
Light grey on that background? IN that miniscule size? Doesn't work.

Checkout
You are probably just using a pre-made template here... Look into your analytics how many people you are losing in this step.

My guess is: lots.

Special categories
WOW...I had to look into your FOOTER area to find "Top sellers", "New arrivals" and "Specials"

Get those items into the left sidebar navigation AT LEAST (maybe top sellers into top nav).
Get a carousel plugin for the homepage for the specials.

Other ideas

Decision tree
A while ago a guy I know showed me a decision tree he had made for a supplement.
Basically, a looooooooooooong page filled with anchors asking questions AKA "Do you like it sweet?" and - chose your own adventure - you would arrive at the ideal product at the end.
SWEET!

So do likewise.
  • What do you need to dig Hard ground/soft ground
  • (Goes to steel or titanium spades)
  • Do you need a lightweight spade?
  • (Carbon or wood)
  • etc, etc...
Videos
Well... videos... highlighting the err... higlights of the product.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

I'll be waiting while you work.



::emp::
 

RiverStyx

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OMG, thank you so much for that analysis. Yes, I have been really, really lazy with the SEO on this project over the years and I fully realize it needs a good bit of work and rearranging!

Believe it or not back in '06 I actually managed to get to pos #5 for ...erm 'gardening spades' but there really wasn't much traffic for that kw back then and I let it slide.

I sincerely appreciate all the depth you went into on that. You mentioned especially how many people I was losing on checkout and the mobile. The mobile never worked properly - they guy who did the site for me was a student at the time and he couldn't figure out either the mobile or the checkout pages very well. He's moved on now and I am currently trialing a guy from odesk to make changes to this site but of course if anyone around here can recommend someone I am all ears.

I was out and about today so didn't get much done but I will be in the office all day tomorrow sorting this out.

PS: I wasn't going to put the meta kws in as I thought it was generally agreed by now that they were mostly useless?
 
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Calamari

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I haven't tinkered with those in so long either. But I'm willing to take the student role and just do as I'm told for this exercise.

Not saying you weren't. Just having a laugh at my potential newb status with the reincarnation of meta keywords here.
 

emp

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Well, as far as meta tags go.
I am simply old school here (I am old and have seen a school - once)

I like the meta tags to be complete.
Granted, you can probably omit the keywords - I find it hard to make them not spammy, too.

I have yet to see a site be penalized for a good set of metas, though.

That is a GOOD set - not spamming, and in line with the content on the page.

I actually see it as a trust factor - "oh, the guy has a set of metas - I wonder if he is trying to trick us. Wait, he is not! +1"

::emp::
 
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@RiverStyx good luck with harvesting the Christmas season with your ecommerce site. May you fill a lot of those gardeners stockings :-) and still have time to put in the project so that we can ride along
 

Calamari

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chose your own adventure - you would arrive at the ideal product at the end.
I just stole this idea and put it on my to-do list. It will be a perfect piece of interactive content to leak traffic to. I have no idea how I'll deploy it, but I'll get there when the time is right.
 

RiverStyx

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Update time: Dec 13, 2014

Onsite: I’ve taken a lot of @emp’s suggestions regarding the products pages and have updated:

-title tags
-meta descriptions
-product descriptions
-page layout
-made all of the text bigger
-added a xmas promo banner to the homepage

The product descriptions still need more work I think as they really aren’t long enough yet. I did address the issue of the description repeating itself and moved the main text up higher. I am in the process of figuring out how to get rid of the features tab but the developer I thought I had on odesk can’t access my site due to his crappy ip address so I am still hunting for a proper dev. The rest of the changes I’ve managed to figure out myself with some googling. Yay :smile:

I also went online and got the recommended photo light box to do more product photos. The plan is to get the photos done and edited today and up on the website.

Aside from getting the new photos done these are a list of changes I have planned for the onsite over the next few days:

-add a ‘signup to our newsletter’ box above the contact us form on the sidebar; I actually wasn’t properly collecting emails before this. I’ve got a list of 3,800 that I email on a monthly basis but I didn’t get that the legit way. It was more of a ‘let’s email all the customers I’ve ever had and see who doesn’t unsubscribe…’ Hey it worked!

-put a countdown to xmas timer on the site

-go over the onsite work done so far and refine

-clean up the duplicate pages where the canonicals are wrong (I finally ran the site through screaming frog and started cringing)

-Get a graphic done for the size guide to make it more useful

-Once that is done get it linked more prominently from the product pages

Questions:

My social media is pretty shit right now. I was just wondering what @CCarter or @emp’s suggestions might be with that. The way I see it: I can spruce up the FB and Twitter pages and actually start interacting with them or drop them all together. As this is a traffic leaks boot camp I’m leaning towards sprucing the accounts up as those platforms I believe will give me a good way to reach out to bloggers in the industry later on.

If anyone has any more ideas please share, being this close to a site for so long its hard to see the trees for the forest sometimes.

Further:

-It seems that to make the mobile site better I need to upgrade the entire platform and that would require a redoing of the theme. I’ve been quoted $500-$700 and considering that I got this site built for £200 all in I ain’t exactly happy with that quote so will continue looking for a better price.

I had a look through analytics and 74% of my traffic comes from desktop, 25% from tablet and less than 1% from mobile.

Someone on here PM’ed me about doing videos but then I never head back from him so: video dude, you still there?

ps: I forgot, currently looking at software options to tacking a blog on this site as well!
 
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CCarter

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Sent out the second to last x-mas email newsletter yesterday- £700 in revenue in one day from that, next one going out Friday to push the last shipping day.
The power of a direct communication, hit a button, game over. Just have to keep them warm.
 

Calamari

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This haters hatin' on your successful email blast right now.

Good game!
 

RiverStyx

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Pinterest is on my list to hit along with FB and Twitter. I know my target market hangs out there but social has always been my weak point. One more day though and then the xmas shopping season is essentially over so I'm seeing a nice opportunity to spruce up my social profiles and come up with a plan.

I need to get some pretty photos if I'm going to do Pinterest though!
 

RiverStyx

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Update: 23/12/14

Xmas season is over for me now. I'm expecting the last few sales to trickle in on boxing day but after a hectic last week I can now breathe for a little bit. Final sales for the holiday season were: up £600 on Nov 2013, still £200 short of last Decembers gross sales but I'm expecting to make that up before the end of the month - that gives my final sales for this holiday season a bit up on last year's but not as high as I had hoped.

That being said, the groundwork is all being laid for the traffic leaks and I'm looking forward to breaking Jan and Feb's past sales records. This will be a particular challenge because those two months have historically had the lowest turnover of the entire year.

I've got a developer finally and I am having the website's e-commerce platform upgraded to the latest version. This should fix the nagging issues on-site and will have the added benefit of making the mobile version of the site work properly!

Homework status: 1/3 completed

I'm working on finishing up the other 2 assignments now.
 
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And that's the power of having a warmed list! If ever there's been that-one-weird-trick in internet marketing, that's it. Just like with offline marketing. All these SEO secrets and this and that, when all you have to do is follow basic marketing principles. Keep rocking!
 
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RiverStyx

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Happy and Profitable New Year 2015 to All!

Update time:
Like the rest of the 9 I would imagine I'm working on catching up a bit this week with the homework. As expected there wasn't much action on the site over the actual x-mas time. Once the last shipping date arrives people historically have tended to forget about my site while they are enjoying the holidays with their families. Sales have started up again though so onwards and upwards. Now best get back to finishing my last assignment...
 

drsmiley

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Sorry to hear you are unable to continue participating with the CC9.
Wish you and your family all the best.
 

RiverStyx

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Thank you, as I told CCarter I did not wish to but I must step up and be there for my family now.
 
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