I recently received the following comment (edited for clarity):
Hi, I stumbled upon your blog while doing some research on AOM. I am new to AOM and still looking for more tips and tricks. I found your blog to be very handy. A few questions:
1. How to drive traffic to your store? Do I need to use PPC like Google or Yahoo? Or is the SEO built into AOM enough to drive traffic?
2. I am sure there are so many people selling the same thing, but why would a buyer use AOM instead of going directly to Amazon?
3. Do you have any write-ups on SEO for AOM?
And my reply:
I’m glad you’re finding the blog helpful. To answer your questions…
1. I would recommend not using PPC unless you are already experienced in it. Otherwise it can be a black hole, sucking up your money. It will drive traffic to your site, but generally results in very poor sales. The best ways to get traffic are to use a lot of relevant content, try to get links onto other sites and keep your site focused on the niche. Sometimes having a blog with links to your site will help drive traffic. As I often state, AOM makes setting up a store easy; then the real work begins. It will take time.
2. Why indeed? This is where relevant content comes in. Does your site offer insight into the products it offers? Do you come across as someone who knows about the products you sell? Are you able to configure your site to help people who don’t want to wade through various pages of search results? If your site is just a sterile list of products, ask yourself, would I shop here? If you make a site you’d like to visit, other people will, too.
3. There are posts throughout this blog regarding SEO, like this one, as well as the Associate-O-Matic Forum. People there talk a great deal about SEO and how it has evolved.
So there is no one single answer, no “magic bullet”. It’s just a lot of hard work. It starts with researching the products you think you’d like to offer, and being prepared to change your plans if the niche looks overcrowded, or not attracting enough traffic.
Best of luck with your site.
The point is of course, you can’t just throw up a site in an afternoon and expect to be selling Wiis or DVDs. People need a reason to shop from you; either making their online experience smooth and/or secure. And I don’t mean just securing their data, but making them feel like your site is warm, inviting, fun, etc. Not cold or unprofessional. A sloppy site, stuffed with ads, devoid of content will rarely generate any return. The question still stands – if you wouldn’t shop there, why would anyone else?
In other news, the newest upgrade, V4.1.5 is nearly upon us. The Beta has been out for nearly a week now, and it’s got some great features, bug fixes, and interesting items for the future included in it. As I type this, no final release date has been set yet, but it looks like it’s going to be a solid version. Keep checking the forum for more info.
BTW, if all the plans in the works come to pass, 2009 might be a pivotal year for Associate-O-Matic. There are some great ideas floating around out there. It’s too soon to get excited, but let’s see how the year unfolds for what might be happening. Maybe this time next year I can say, “told ya!”.
Justin has mentioned a fix he uses to make mod_rewrite rules work on GoDaddy. Since I just mentioned them a few posts ago, I wanted to include this for anyone who wants to try it.
Basically, you just add a slash in front of shop.php everywhere it occurs in the ruleset you’re using. So a line like this:
RewriteRule ^home shop.php
would be changed to this:
RewriteRule ^home /shop.php
And so on wherever shop.php appears.