Our clients are typically larger organizations but we try to find time to help the “little guys” as it were. We at Connex are also passionate about Startup Businesses. So when someone asks us questions cause we’re “SEO guys” or “Social Media gurus” we try to do our best to help. We noticed plenty of patterns and so this post is an effort to help out anyone trying to get their website off the ground and make money. For that reason, this is focused on e-commerce sites.

How do you determine if you’re an e-commerce site, are you trying to sell stuff online and take Credit Cards for your products? Then you’re an e-commerce site.

What follows are things we often hear and our typical response to these statements

I need an e-commerce website.

Go to shopify.com or if you have a developer friend use wordpress.org with WooCommerce. That’s it. There are plenty of others, but these are the two we recommend at this stage.

My Website is a trainwreck!

Do you feel that your website is a trainwreck? What part(s)? Can you take orders? Can people purchase stuff? Are they purchasing stuff?

Remember the best-looking sites sell more/better, (true for brick and mortar stores too!) but people will buy from a site that doesn’t look perfect, and they’ll buy from a downright terrible site if the product and price are worth it to them.

Sure there may be a lot to fix on your site, but the fact that you have a website, and can take orders places you miles beyond anyone who doesn’t have a site with an e-commerce setup. You’re doing great, just remember to be persistent. A lot of effort will be required (believe it or not effort replaces money quite well) to bring in the sales/money. The “big guys” spend money to solve the problems you are trying to solve (either by hiring employees with skill sets, or by contracting outside vendors like Connex Social to accomplish this for them), however you don’t have the money to spend and it can be replaced by sweat equity. The effort you spend here will bring in great rewards, perhaps with this business or perhaps with the next. But no one who has worked hard at the following has regretted it.

What’s my plan of action?

For now, focus on three different things, spend every waking hour on these things.

Remember you could pay someone else to do this, but instead, you’re gonna pay yourself when your site is selling well.

1. Product/Market/price fit

Are people seeking your products online? What sets you apart from the competition? Before moving on, what are the percent of people in your target audience who when seeing your product/price pull out their Credit Card and ask to buy one now? If this is low, then know you will struggle. If you are trying to convince someone to part with their hard earned cash they need to WANT or know they need your product. If you have to educate them then you might be too early to market. There are other strategies if you are too early to market.

Are people willing to pay the price you are charging? Find an event your target audience is at and try to sell them off the line, take the website out of the picture, will people buy it?

Spend time in forums, on blog posts, emailing people etc… just ask 1,000 people (online) if they’re interested in buying these shirts for this price? If they say yes and don’t buy you’re either hitting the wrong audience, have the wrong product or the price is off. Figure out which and fix it. NOW!

2. Learn everything you can about SEO, HTML, e-commerce, and social media.

Everything you learn in these fields will be extremely helpful to you. Start with reading the following: Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO and their blogHTML at CodecademyE-commerce on udemy and Social Media Examiner’s Getting Started and their blog. Learn, learn, learn. There are a ton of resources, these should get you started.

3. Write more content.

Always be writing. It’ll take some time for you to find a good groove, but find a way to make it happen. If you want this to succeed you need to write more content (blog and regular webpages) don’t be totally perplexed by keywords and rankings initially, write as much as you can when you can. We can guide you after you’ve hit your stride in creating content, we can focus it and get it helping you rank etc. But first, you need to write. A lot.

Just like I wrote this.