Promoting an online store with a low budget

If you’ve just started a company and are not planning on world dominance there’s no need to push the envelope. Unless you enter a really aggressive marketing environment like plastic windows, doors or AC installations. That’s where you have to consider a monthly budget of at least $ 4000, a team of grade “A” SEO …

Author
Dmitrii Borodin
Founder and product owner

Outline

'Promoting an online store with a low budget'

Promoting an online store with a low budget

If you’ve just started a company and are not planning on world dominance there’s no need to push the envelope. Unless you enter a really aggressive marketing environment like plastic windows, doors or AC installations. That’s where you have to consider a monthly budget of at least $ 4000, a team of grade “A” SEO specialists and a 12 to 18 month period of time before it all comes to fruition.

In all other cases you just stick to a few simple rules. Keep in mind that you can cover your first mile both on your own or with a team of specialists. Either way your project is guaranteed to receive visitors through search engines. Over a period of two months it can even occupy top positions in regional search results. Let’s venture forth and walk through all the steps.

Fundamentals: how to start you own online store

Paid link building, artificial rating boosts and bots are all in the past and don’t work.

But there are key factors you have to work on:

  1. Quality factor of your link mass (editorial content);
  2. Behavioral factor (i.e. time spent on your site after redirection);
  3. Optimization factor (i.e. the way your catalogue is structured, check for duplicates and errors, check you source code)
  4. Content factor. Texts in general, but think wider.

A lot of tasks that seem simple demand a set of certain functions. You need to be able to change titles and descriptions, add texts on specific pages of your catalogue, etc. That’s what lies behind a statement that our projects are ready for promotion. We think through and work on each of these aspects long before we launch a platform.

Options for website platform

We pick a suitable solution for each project. In general:

Tilda: website constructor. Suits best for stores with up to 10 items. Save on a coding budget and invest in design.

WordPress. Suits best for stores with a catalogue of up to 500 items. Flexible solution, supports additional modules and easy in terms of collaborating with contractors. This system is used by 27% of sites globally.

Custom Development. Suits best for extraordinary tasks and vast catalogues. Example: “delivery” stores parsed supplier’s site several times a day to have up-to-date information on current stock.

Our website is created on WordPress and uses Tilda. Why? Because neither I, nor my employees need to be programmers to create a new landing page or launch a sale section. Therefore technologies don’t slow our business down. Gradually, as a certain page proves its worth we make it into a unique template.

Estimate a market demand for your products

First we analyze the demand for services/goods you sell. You can’t start promoting your platform unless you gather the essential data: keywords that help your clients find you. This is called “semantic core” and it will help you structure your website properly.

Google Keyword Planner should be enough for small businesses.

First you need to find fundamental words (markers). Usually what ever words denominate your service, any item you sell or a group of items. Then work your way from these fundamental markers to keywords for each of the marker.

You’re going to be surprised by how many keywords people use on search engines to find your product. You need to eliminate all info-based keywords, which show no intention of a client to buy a product. Work with commercially viable keywords and requests.

  • Informational request example: which wilson racket to choose
  • Commercially viable request example: buy racket wilson pro staff 97

Pay attention to request volume: get rid of keywords with 5-10 requests a month and less. If you’re dealing with a market of a bigger scale it becomes 25 requests and less.*

*these numbers are approximate and vary depending on a lot of factors

Build & structure your website

Once you’re done with keywords you can start working on structure.

You can’t get every service or product from one page to top-10 search list. That’s why you need to group keywords based on similarity and create a separate page for each individual service or product.

You need to work with pages of individual services/products and promote them to help your clients find exactly the thing they need and land them directly on a required page. Ten keywords for every product makes it a hundred for you store of 10 items. And now imagine if you promote your business using 10 keywords for a whole website. Five words lose their positions and here we are — you’ve just lost 50% of your clients.

The modern SEO realias are such that you cannot use both commercial and informational keywords on the same page. “Buy apartment Barcelona” should correlate with a page that lists all apartments for sale, while “how to buy apartment in Barcelona” should have a separate page with an article you wrote for clients.

Some tips to get you going

Be useful for clients

SEO with keywords highlighted in bold font is in the past. Nowadays search engines understand what a text is about, is it a quality text and if it meets users’ requests.

Search engines recommend texts that make your proposition clear and help your client make a choice. Before you publish your text look at it and ask yourself a question: “Would I buy this product?”. If the answer is yes — publish it right away. Otherwise put in some more effort and rework it.

  • Save the essential and most popular word for the first sentence and the end of your text. But try to make it subtle
  • Split your text: use subheads, pictures, videos, lists — search engines love these things
  • Also use keywords for this page/group in you text.
  • Don’t spam.

Wonders of optimization

If your market field is not very competitive, apart from text it is enough to optimize only two things:  

Metatag Title. A text you see when you hover your mouse cursor over a browser tab. Rule of thumb: start your title with the main keyword.

Title done right:

  • keyword — “quadcopter repairs”
  • title — “quadcopter repairs in Moscow and Moscow region — quadcopter service on map”

Top-level heading (H1). Usually it’s a name of your page. Just use you main keyword.

  • keyword — “quadcopter repairs”
  • H1 — “quadcopter repairs”

No magic and it’s going to be enough for a search engine to understand what your page is about.

Working with links

The closer you get to technological singularity the more the quality of your content matters. However the quality of your link mass remains a significant factor to range your site. I definitely would not recommend buying links on automatic stocks. It is much better to make a deal with a number of relevant resources and their editors to place a review about your online store on their platform.

Final steps

  • Add your site to Google Search Console. Basic web tools are not more complicated than social media interfaces. Any expirienced Facebook or Instagram user can handle it.
  • Set up a Google Analytics counter on your website. Ideally you also want to set e-commerce monitoring right away.

Setting these services from the start makes it easy to keep track of your project success. Later, if you decide to invite specialists, all the accumulated data will help them to seamlessly transition into your workflow.