Here is a recent post from Metzymom, a successful seller at onlineauction.com:
THE LAZY WAY TO START YOUR eCOMMERCE DAY
HOW TO ADVERTISE AND PROMOTE YOUR ECOMMERCE BUSINESS IN 10 MINUTES OR LESS PER DAY
Let’s begin with some basics!
What is the difference between RSS, SEM, and SEO? A non-tech explanation goes like this:
An RSS Feed, or Rich Site Summary Feed, lets you follow someone or something (and vice versa) where updated and continually changing content usually occur. You will probably receive notices and updates specific to that person or site. So let’s say you want to follow a certain seller. Signing up for their RSS Feed will get you notices of updated content from that seller. It works the same way on a site. RSS Feeds are a huge help, but they aren’t ‘all out there’ exposure.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, improves how search engines find you and your items. SEO is how activities are carried out to make your listings easily detectable by web search engines. SEO methods include the appropriate use of keywords and optimization techniques to increase web traffic. SEO is usually done ‘on-site’.
SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, involves the combination of activities aimed at marketing and advertising websites. This is mainly done ‘off-site’ and is really what we are dealing with in this guide in relation to your personal store.
While all three combined make for an optimum marketing strategy, we are going to deal with how to improve your SEM, which will in turn help with the SEO, which will in turn make your RSS worthy of attention by buyers who will want to be notified of your ever changing listings.
Please remember that I am not an expert in any way, shape, or form. I am a simple housewife trying to share what has been working for me. Nothing more, nothing less. The following ‘helps’ are intended for those who are already selling at an eCommerce venue.
By MetzyMom at OnlineAuction.com
When I left eBay and started selling my wares at other sites, I was totally unprepared for doing anything myself. I didn’t understand an RSS from an SEO feed, or a Blog from a Discussion Site. And no wonder! Someone didn’t want me to know that I could do it for myself… that way they could charge me thousands of dollars a year to do it for me.
I finally landed at a site I felt comfortable at, OnlineAuction.com. I run my business my way for $8.00 a month. For that $8 a month, I do very well selling homemade soap. I had to learn to do my own advertising and promoting, and I’m not very tech savvy, but I’m a fast learner… and now I feel so empowered!!! In just one year of doing it myself, I’ve learned lots of lessons on what to do and what not to do, but more importantly, I’ve saved myself thousands of dollars in listing and final value fees… and I now do all my own advertising and promoting, so I really am running my own business my own way!
The thing about this guide is that it doesn’t matter where you sell. Even eBayers are now having to figure out their own advertising and promoting. It isn’t like the days of old where the site did it all for you. eBay used to have excellent exposure on Google, but they don’t have that any longer, which is why listing on eBay doesn’t guarantee you front page exposure on Google any more. Sure, if you have a unique item, or a very rare item, it will probably still make the front page of Google, but even then it’s a crap shoot. The only realistic way to get regular front page Google exposure is to pay for it… but this guide will help you get lots of exposure, including some front page Google exposure, for free. It’s free, but it takes a bit of work on your part. About 10 minutes a day.
I have spent my fair share of stumbling around in the dark looking for answers and have found that there are no ‘easy’ ones, but I did find ways to make it less time consuming in the end. My rule of promoting/advertising is that if it takes longer than 10 minutes to sign up, I’m not interested. Now don’t get me wrong, it takes about 10 minutes to sign up for each of these sites, but once done, I’m going to show you how to maintain your promoting and advertising in less than 10 minutes a day.
Each action below is through a website of some sort when you begin. Each will take about 10 minutes or so to sign up for, depending on how your typing skills are. The faster you type, the quicker the sign up process. I have average typing skills and each took me about 10 minutes to complete the initial process.
GETTING STARTEDhttp://www.freewebsubmission.com : This site provides free manual and auto submission to the highest-rated, Free Internet Search Engines and Directories, including Yahoo, Google, ScrubTheWeb, and ExactSeek. Taking less than 10 minutes to sign up for, this site does the work for you with the information you give it. While many of the sites will accept your site ‘automatically’, just on the submission from FWS, don’t be surprised the next morning if you see ‘confirm your site’ in your email. This is where the ‘manual’ part comes in. All you need to do is click on the link given in those few emails to prove you’re a person with a real email address. Worried about spam? Well, I’ll be truthful, you might get a bit at first, but it doesn’t last more than a few days at most. At the bottom of each spam (regardless of how it came to be in your email) is a link to stop receiving it. I do that anyway… and so should you… lol.. Once you get submitted to the search engines via this site, the coolest ‘hints and helps’ newsletter comes a couple times a month. Take a look at them. They are full of great information and helpful hints for getting better exposure. For instance, did you know that search engines don’t like titles (of listings) with more than 70 characters? I found that out from one of the FWS newsletters. I went in and shortened my listing titles to 70 or less characters and guess what? I got better search engine exposure!!! It wasn’t that my listings weren’t good enough, it was something as simple as too many characters in my title!!! Another helpful hint they gave was that every word in your title and subtitle should be in your listing… every word. Now I copy and paste the exact title and subtitle into my listing. Guess What? I got even better exposure!!!
3. http://www.BlogSpot.com and/or http://www.WordPress.com : Start a blog. Sign up at one of the major blogging venues where a ‘point and click’ aka ‘click and drag’ format is used. MySpace and FaceBook are also awesome, but I don’t use MySpace or FaceBook, so I can’t tell you what they bring to the table. I can tell you that blogging isn’t as hard as you think, especially at BlogSpot and/or WordPress. It takes about 10 minutes to sign up. Type about anything you want, but be sure to add new content (a new post) at least once a week or so. Search engines don’t like old or neglected information, so it’s imperative that you update regularly. Don’t have anything to say? Copy and paste one of your listings in each day (takes about 30 seconds)!!! Whatever you decide to do, be sure include your store or site link in your posts! Here are a couple blogs to look at for an example of how little, how much, how different each blog can be:
My Personal blog: http://www.MetzyMoms.com
My BlogSpot blog: http://metzymom.BlogSpot.com/
Team OLA blog: http://olahouses.blogspot.com/
PLUS you can comment and write articles on other peoples blogs, like the OLA Houses blog!!! James, who runs the OLA Team Blog, gives free lessons on how to blog, how to set up and maintain blogs, etc.
1. http://www.oodle.com : Oodle simplifies the classifieds shopping experience. With Oodle, you can not only see over thirty million listings from over 80,000 sources, but you can be the first to see new listings, have access to powerful tools that help you spot great deals, and relax while Oodle does the work for you. If you are selling something, you can post once on Oodle and distribute your ad across hundreds of partner sites. Signing up at Oodle.com is free and easy. It takes less than 10 minutes. Once signed up, you can immediately start posting your listings. Simply copy and paste your listings into the spaces provided. Ads run 30 days without having to check on them. Once the 30 days is up, they will notify you via email and all you need to do to reactivate them is click on the link provided in your email. Oodle.com feeds into search engines in the USA, the UK, and Canada. Even if all you do is feed oodle.com your listings, this is more than enough to get you some major exposure on major search engines like Google. Not bad results for about 20 seconds of copying and pasting! Do one or two listings a day, which will eat up about 40 seconds of your daily 10 minutes.
4. OTHER BLOG VENUES/DISCUSSION VENUES: There are a lot of places where you can discuss your business (which is the same as blogging… lol…). Sign up at any or all of the following venues, where they encourage you to discuss and promote eCommerce. These are sites I currently belong to and use daily, which makes up most of my morning 10 minute ritual:
A) http://www.twitter.com (the newest and fastest growing venue right now). This site lets you ‘blog’ 140 characters to anyone and everyone who’ll pay attention… lol… Think of it as ‘internet texting’… Even if you just say Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, tell a joke, etc. you’ll get exposure that is on the hottest site going right now. (about 30-45 seconds each morning)
B) http://onlinesellersunited.com/portal.php This site is a newly formed discussion site that focuses more on eCommerce information and less on griping. Members from all the various alternative sites participate, so there is something for and from everyone. This site, while very new, is worth a look. Take advantage of everything they have to offer: advice, discussions, links (you can link your store on the site and in your ‘signature’, etc. (about 1-2 minutes each day)
C) http://www.SellersArena.com This relatively new site is elegant without being prissy and is full of eCommerce members from all the various sites. Members all get along without bickering, backstabbing, drama, etc. It’s pretty amazing to see and be a part of! Not only do they have eCommerce information, but there are also forums, blogs, stores, an arcade, and more!!! With so much to offer, this site can become an addiction! (1-2 minutes each morning, although I do spend some time there throughout the day)
D) http://www.everyplaceIsell.com : This site is through AuctionBytes.com and gives you the opportunity to list all the places you sell. Even if you only sell at one venue, you should still list here. AuctionBytes.com is an eCommerce Staple Site (which means anyone who is anyone in eCommerce visits on a regular basis).
E) Don’t forget to sign up and use your site’s chat forums too! Here is OLA’s: http://www.onlineauction.com/chat/ Don’t forget that it’s important to participate periodically. The more you participate, the more your name gets out there… the more your links get out there… and that goes for all the above sites…
5. FREE ADVERTISING VENUES: There are lots of free advertising avenues to use. Most offer paid advertising as well, but they also have free advertising as long as you are willing to put their site banner somewhere in your chat signature, or listings, or other visible area of YOUR site. Here are the ones I use:
A) Top 100 OLA Houses: http://onlineauction.gotop100.com/in.php?ref=105
B) Top 100 Home And Garden Sites: http://treasuresgoround.gotop100.com/in.php?ref=136
C) Top 100 Extraordinary Sites: http://extraordinarywebsites.gotop100.com/in.php?ref=139
D) Top 100 Alternative Site Venues: http://sellersarenasites.gotop100.com/in.php?ref=109
Each of the above sites also offers paid advertising for a very reasonable cost. Each has advertising for every budget, and I have had excellent results by advertising on them periodically.6. http://www.OLA-Radio.com : Joining the Thursday night LIVE radio show is another way to help your exposure. The show starts at 6:00 pm PST and runs an hour. I don’t count this in my 10 minute routine.
7. GOOGLE: Google is probably the slowest way to go (as in how long it takes you to get things done), but none-the-less effective and worth the time if they don’t change the rules and regulations on you mid stream. Sign up for Google Checkout ( http://www.checkout.google.com ). Once you are signed up for a merchant account, you will be able to list your items (not quite a ‘copy and paste’ deal, but not too hard to do once you get the hang of it) there as well. You can create a Google Discussion Group (I have one there, but it’s rarely used anymore… here is the link in case you’d like to check it out though: http://groups.google.com/group/ola-onlineauction-discussion ), participate in other groups, sell your wares, etc. There are a lot of rules, and they change regularly, so be prepared to spend more than 10 minutes on it each time you visit… lol… but there is no denying the power of Google. That said, participating 100% in everything Google offers for free still won’t guarantee you front page without paying or working full time on advertising… feeding directly into Google will get you there once in awhile, but you’d get there anyway… lol…
8. Last, but not least… almost every site you ‘chat’ or ‘socialize’ on has an area where you can post a ‘signature’. A signature is something that shows up every time you post something. OLA’s Chat Forum is a perfect example. Every time I post, my signature, which has information I want EVERYONE to see, shows up. My signature tells what I sell, contains a link to my store, has banners to the things I want people to notice… like my personal website, RevolutionMoneyExchange, the Top 100 Houses, Web Submission, etc. My account at OnlineSellersUnited, SellersArena, POGO, etc. all have a place where I can advertise who I am, what I sell, my store links, etc. And every time I post something, those links get picked up by some search engine. Talk about easy advertising!!!http://www.OnlineAuction.com/Store/MetzyMom
10 MINUTE ADVERTISING / PROMOTIONAL MORNING ROUTINE
Okay. So you’ve signed up at the places above. You’ve created accounts at each venue mentioned. What do you do next? Here is what I so almost every morning (again, I sell at OnlineAuction.com, so most of my routine is written to include OLA):
1. Check your personal email. Don’t count the time spend on personal email/correspondence. I just glance over my email for Sold notices from OLA, check out my OLA Daily Digest, and check to see if any of my oodle.com ads have expired. (1 minute)
2. Jump on Twitter to post a Good Morning and include a link to your store or personal website. (30 seconds)
3. Head into OLA to check your Omail, find a listing that you want to put on oodle and/or a blog, copy it, and head to the Chat Forum to see what’s going on, answer any posts that pertain to you, etc. Paste your listing into a What’s For Sale thread. (2-3 minutes)
4. Head over to SellersArena. Check your messages, paste your listing into your blog, and visit the forum. Answer any posts pertaining to you, perhaps start a new one. (2 minutes)
5. Head over to check your blog at BlogSpot and paste your listing there, and check the Team OLA blog too. Post your listing or other info you may be adding… remember, always include a link to your store. (1-2 minutes)
6. Head over to OnlineSellersUnited, check out the word association thread, add your word, and head for your favorite chat or discussion site.
That all took just about 10 minutes. At first, it may take you longer, but as it becomes habit, it will only take a few minutes every morning.
You’re done with what ‘has’ to be done. Now you can visit the chats (if you want) in each of the forums and blogs, but your advertising is done for the day. Remember, posting to any forum gets you more exposure, not just for the search engines, but also for anyone who might see your posts… so take a few minutes and chat. Exchange ideas. Start a thread. Join a debate. Enjoy yourself AND others. Be Social!!!
Thank You For Your Time. I hope my little guide has helped you.
Maybe one day it will grow up to be an ebook…
Meanwhile, please visit me at