I`m brand new to this kind of thing. I built the whole site myself using Yahoo Sitebuilder. I really love my store and have many ideas. I opened around April and have had only one sale. I registered with all the free search engine registrations and am currently paying for Yahoo`s cost per click program. I have tried to optimize the use of keywords. I think my site might be kind of "primitive" but I don`t have money to pay people to make it look great. I don`t mind doing the time consuming work of taking advantage of any free advertising stuff out there like banners, linking to other sites like mine, keywords and stuff like that. Please let me know what you think, good and bad. I would really appreciate it. I have wrote more about my site in my profile. www.thriftstoretreasures.net
A couple of quick points, although there are more...
The fonts on the home page are HUGE... I`m on a 1024 x 768 resolution setting (probably same as you) , these are bigger than needed.
On an 800x600 (web standard) screen, one has to slide across to see the full page, roughly half the people on the web still use this resolution and one should not need to slide over to see the rest of the page--this certainly says amateur site.
Pages are taking too long to load--I assume this is one of those carts where you use the same picture for the thumbnail as the main image which always slows everything down to a crawl (we won`t even imagine what this does on dialup), especially if the pictures have not been resized. You`ve got to make those main pictures smaller--no more than 600 pixels across, which is more than enough, this will help a little with the speed issue.
As to marketing... use eBay as many do, to get a jumpstart getting people to their sites by having auctions out there. Ebay listings typically show up well in search engines, so it helps if someone is looking for an item what you offer. You may or may not take a loss on some of the auctions, but if it gets people to your site, consider it as a marketing investment.
Search for directories, many of which allow you to list your site for free or minimal cost, that are targets toward your type of products. Perhaps decorating sites (for "finds"), or whatever else you find where your site fits.
Get listed in Froogle (a lot of shopping carts have a Froogle export option--use it), that will help get your site into more places. There are other shopping sites like bizrate.com where your money might be better spent than pay-per-click at this stage... take a look around see what fits your budget, but keep your eyes open for any quality site where you can get your site listed. And if you have friends who have websites, see if they would consider exchanging links.
Google puts all new sites in the "Google sandbox" for 9 months to a year so you won`t see much there, so concentrate your efforts on making your site better while you research places to list it. And keep on looking for those listing opportunities, but make sure they are quality sites (not the kind with lots of popups and the stuff that just about everyone hates) before you list your site, or it could cause you to be banned from some search engines.
There`s lots you can do to get things moving, but you have to be looking for those opportunities, and I woud suggest looking at some of the marketing sites out there for some good (free) info as well. Get all the education you can get, it won`t be wasted.
allow Google to crawl their regular auctions, generally. It used to be
only the eBay stores, but I`m hearing even that`s not true lately. I
may be wrong.
The two things that bothered me on this site were the picture load
time, and the blank table cells. I`m running DSL an when I clicked any
menu item, had to wait as the pictures of each item rolled down, top to
bottom. Like Pat, I`m thinking the originals (hosted where?) are really
I`d get something like Paint Shop Pro, or GIMP if you haven`t any money
at all (GIMP is open source, free), and use it to resize the images.
Another option is IrfanView, also free, which doesn`t give much control
over image editing, but it`s a lot easier to learn than a graphics
program and will allow image resizing.
As for the blank cells...why are they there? It`s as if I`m looking at
a "To Do" list, and there`s blank space in case I come up with
something to do later. I`d just soon see only what`s for sale right
now, and not the available space for later items, if that`s possible on
The idea is good, particularly with the "orders and requests."
Personally, I`d like to see kitchen gadgets, but that`s because I`m
always looking in thrift stores for stuff I can`t ordinarily afford. I
checked under "home decor," but that`s for what it says...decorative
Thanks to all for giving me advice. It`s very helpful. CRAIG...when did you look at my site? Ever since Pat wrote I have been working on resizing my pics. I published the new sized pictures Weds night at about 8pm EST. I made them all 600 pixels. Quality is low. I wondered if they are loading any faster. I`m using Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for all the work I do with the pictures.
Thanks again, all the feedback is very helpful.