E-Commerce Journal Part 3 Page 3

By Joe Burns

Search Engines

Later that evening, I paid $400+ for the Submit It Traffic Builder package. I was given the ability to submit my pages to over 400 search engines, track the submissions, get a free listing on MSN, and receive 120,000 displays from the Banner Trade network. It was money well spent. I had never heard of half of these search engines. In addition to all the biggies, we got into a ton of small business search engines and three that were created simply for woman-owned businesses. Super! We should be up and posted to all the search engines in about two weeks.

Note the word "should." It's three weeks later and we are still not up and running on many of the search engines.

You may be wondering why we would wait until after the site went live to submit to search engines. The reason is that many search engines only need for you to submit one page. The search engine then grabs all the other pages in the same directory for you. The site wasn't live, and all of the pages were not available. Plus, if I had submitted the site before taking the site live, visitors would have simply gotten pages stating that the site was coming soon.

It's a bit of a pain because you want to be fully in the search engine rotations when you go live, but you really can't be.

No sales the next day.

End of the Loan

I finished tallying the money we had spent from the loan and found we had enough left over to do one more solid piece of advertising. I had been talking to Excite about getting on their server and also into their art auction areas. We worked out a deal where banner ads would run through the end of the year. I bought the keywords "art" and "etching" plus a healthy chunk of the art auctions. The bill ran close to $10,000.

I split for the bank to get a check cut for Excite. Once in hand, I sent it off for payment.

Done. No more loan. We were all in. I had spent every penny.

Later that evening, Tammy and I were talking about where all the money had been spent. I told her I went ahead and spent the money we had talked about on Excite. She thought it was a great idea. Just one question...

How much was left over for shipping charges and supplies?

Oops.

OK. No problem. I can draw a bit out of savings and go forward with that. I lied and told her an amount. She thought it was a little low, but was happy nonetheless. I transferred the money via Web later that evening.

Whew. I got away with that one. Come to think of it...how was I going to pay for that Submit It Traffic builder program?

Aw, shoot.

No sales the next day.

First Major on-Site Problem

The next morning, an e-mail showed up from a buyer who had attempted to pick up a painting. He said that the process had failed. The second check-out page just crashed on him. It went to a DNS error.

Huh? What? Are you kidding? The site is watertight. We served up tens of thousands of pages over two days and only had 30 errors. That's equal to a site being watertight. No way this pup was going to sink. I called Marcus, who had returned from his evenings of dancing and people put to flame. He wanted more information. I didn't have it. We couldn't come up with any reason why the site would do that.

I wrote the person back and asked him to try once more. He did. It worked, and the page hasn't crashed since. Go figure.

Three more days without sales.

Next: Shipping and its Woes



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