by Bob Nunn
With this month's article, I have been writing for the WWW.DOT for a year now. Wow! I guess I had no idea how much effect my articles were having. After writing about Yahoo and boycotting them look what happened. Can you believe the CEO has stepped down, they stopped trading for a day, and they announced reduced revenues for the next quarter? Of course the investors are punishing them as well.
To remind you of what I wrote, this is from my January article:
"If you have read some of my earlier articles, you know that I always say that the first thing you do when getting your site listed is spend time on Yahoo. They are usually responsible for most of the traffic going to your site. They have since changed their policies and if you are a business, they will only accept submissions via Business Express (a new service from Yahoo). Well, okay, I can understand them wanting to make a buck from businesses, but they will take your money now and not guarantee to list your site. I quote from their site:
"Payment does not guarantee inclusion in the directory, site placement, or site commentary. It only guarantees that Yahoo! will respond to your submission within seven business days."
Boy, give me a business where people give me $200 bucks and I don't have to do anything if I don't want to. I am livid about this type of attitude from a company and personally plan to boycott Yahoo right after I get the rest of my sites listed."
I guess that shows you the power of the press. Of course I am joking. Perhaps others didn't take too kindly to their changes in policy either. Never forget who your customer is and work hard not to tick them off. You can't afford the results.
Really though, this probably isn't the only reason. Yahoo's business model was set up with heavy reliance on advertising revenues. When the economy starts softening and confidence becomes lower people trim their ad budgets.
Now is a good time to advertise. Already, it is a bit of a buyers market for advertising. Negotiate your prices on everything and do it now.
Single Item Sites
Most of my company's revenue stream is produced from what I call single item web sites. The sites feature a unique product and consist typically of 4 pages. The main page is a quick attention grabber, the more info page is exactly that, it gives people who want to study more about the product more details, the policy page explains the guarantee and other pertinent data such as a privacy statement etc. and lastly the order page. Depending on the complexity of your product this could be one page and have all the pieces necessary for the customer to make a buying decision.
The benefits of a single item site are numerous. It focuses the customer on one product. It doesn't confuse them with tons of options. It loads quickly. They get the info they need quickly and it is easy to order from. You can focus your advertising. Your meta tags and domain names can be very specific and product related.
The Birth of a New Web Business
An example is a site I am presently working on that actually has two products but one theme. I use Mac computers and about every 4 or 5 years you have to replace the battery. Stick a processor card and ram in a Mac and it gets its second wind. The batteries however are expensive (about $10 or $11 with tax) and I have only been able to find them locally at Radio Shack. Since I am a reseller, I decided to look for a wholesale source. I found one with reasonable prices when I buy in quantity. I then searched for my competition on the net. I only found two of any merit. Even the big mac web superstores make it near impossible to find out the information on what battery you need or even how to find it. I decided I could be competitive in this market. I then identified two domain names.
You can view the results at <http://mac-battery.com> and <http://mac-batteries.com>
The sites probably will not be complete by the time you read this, but should be functional in terms of ability to purchase. You don't really have to be finished with a site to get started. It takes time before your traffic builds on the net if you don't pay for it. You can continue to build and refine the site while you are getting your sites listed. I will be using the same tricks I have been writing about to build traffic. Good meta-tags, and submissions to search engines, links with related sites etc.
I don't know how successful I will be at this point. I intend to keep the overhead low. I already have purchased a starter inventory. We will use our secure server to handle the transactions. My only other cost is packing and shipping the order and they fit nicely in an envelope and will run through our meter. Our ecommerce database automates the packing list and mailing label process and automatically e-mails the customer a confirmation when their credit card is accepted.
Let's recap this:
- Identify business niche (I can't find the batteries and when I do they stick me.)
- Locate source of product (wholesale supply)
- Review competitors (when you finally find them. Review their strengths.)
- Consider other business costs (shipping, inventory etc.)
- Consider what other value you can add. (provide information etc.?)
We currently have over a dozen single item sites up and all of them are making money. I also have a long list of potential products to add. Perhaps this concept can work as well for you.
Bob Nunn - President, Operator Headgap Systems
http://mac-batteries.com - affordable clock batteries for your Mac!
http://drivejumper.com - jumpers or shunts are sometime hard to find but necessary when changing drive configurations. Order online!
http://MemphisApplecore.com - Apple User Group
http://PortalMemphis.com - Memphis Best Web Sites