It’s hard to believe that it all began almost a year ago. Time really does fly when you are consumed by the task at hand or even worse, constantly perplexed. My wife and I thought it might be fun to start an Internet store as a side business to my Professional Engineering and Contracting business. After all, I’m somewhat computer literate. How hard or demanding could it possibly be? I figured there must be a cookbook solution somewhere that would define the exact steps that if taken, would catapult us to stardom.
Little did I realize that life on the Internet is quite a bit different than the world of absolute truths that I exist in as an Engineer. Everyone is presented as an expert but few people seem to agree on any given topic. How can perceived reality differ so greatly?
The truth of the matter is, that Internet Reality is defined by the search engines and the algorithms they use to present it, and I doubt very seriously that the folks that really understand it will divulge their secrets anytime in the near future. Therefore any understanding of the reality presented, can only be reactive in nature and speculative at best. I made numerous mistakes in setting up our first store before this concept really sunk in. Without realizing it, I was trying to use an approach which may have been functional, but did not work well with the search engines and therefore would have always limited our success. I finally came to the conclusion, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do".
My mistakes began at the very beginning, when I purchased a third party PHP shopping cart and loaded it on to a reputable hosting company. Based on everything I was told, this should be a “Walk in the Park" and we should be selling product any day. I was soon to find out that I required a working knowledge of PHP to modify the shopping cart and even worse, my page requests timed out as often as 60% of the time. Now in all fairness to the software industry, I’m sure there are many quality solutions being offered today. The problem is, which do you buy?
In utter disgust, I turned to a suggestion seen at WorldWide Brands and chose to open up a Yahoo Store. I also purchased the first edition of Online Store Profits and followed it step by step as I created our store and was quickly up and running. From there I purchased Arelis for our link management software and IBP 8 for our site optimization and marketing. Lastly I purchased IDevAffiliate for our affiliate tracking and management needs. I’m sure there are many other effective options that can be chosen, but these are the ones that have worked well for us. Our search engine visibility and subsequent sales continue to improve, and in general “Life Is Good" and we are pleased with our selections.
I share this information with the readers because it’s healthy to admit your own mistakes, especially if it can prevent others from making similar errors. Never use someone else’s opinion, as a replacement for your own that should have been derived by factual research.
Until my next update, have a great day!
Brian Corbett is a self-employed Professional Engineer and Co-Owner/Webmaster of MyFamilyHarvest and Corbett and Company, Inc.