EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 183 - January 21, 2007 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 8

AuctionBytes Critique My Site:

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Al Nelson created about three years ago and is happy with the traffic to the site. But he had no idea at the time he would also want to sell bedspreads. Al heard it would be good to use keywords in the URL (for search-engine optimization), so when he set up a second site, he used the name

The new site has been up for about 3 months and has had a small amount of traffic from the search engines and from the 1,000 emails he sent to customers of his original site. Despite the fact that the new site is designed similarly to the old site, the new site has only had three sales. Here's what Al said about sales:

"If you search on the keyword "Lace Curtains" you will find my old site on the first page of Google, Yahoo, MSN, Alta Vista and AOL. That is an accomplishment that I am very proud of. I am not trying to compare that with the new one that does not appear very far up on any search engine no matter what keyword I use for it.

"My problem, in comparison, is that my old site receives about 100 visitors per day (as shown on Google Analytics). This is not a large amount for being so high up on the search engines, but it is a niche market and doesn't get a lot of traffic. My new site gets almost 100 visitors per week. Since I get 2-3 sales per day from my old site from 100 visitors, I should get 2-3 sales per week on the new site if the conversion rate holds up. I have only had three sales in three months, so I have to assume that something is wrong with my new site. Bedspreads are not as much of a niche market so I should even be getting more response than less per 100 visitors. I have used the same format and aesthetics on both sites so it is a mystery to me."

Al uses Front Page editor, Web Position Gold software, Mal's Shopping Cart and Host on both sites. "I do the work myself and since I am self-taught I may have missed some important features on the second site. It is a fun hobby and I am retired so it is also a great supplementary income."

"I can't think of anyone more critical than other computer nuts like myself and I will, no doubt, get some good advice."

We've created a place on the AuctionBytes forums to discuss Al's site. Whether you are a web-design expert, fellow seller, or an online shopper, please join in and give us your impressions, and thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Critique My Site forums.

Al's site:

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Note: Read comments for last issue's Critique My Site submission at

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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