Tuesday, May 7, 2013

If You Build it Will They Come?

If "it" is a website, then the answer is no, not necessarily.

I get a handful of visitors to my website, only around 100 a day. I'd like to sell more stuff online, and that's going to mean getting a bunch more visitors. Which begs the question: what makes people visit a site?

Lots of people visit this blog. I don't know exactly why, but I know why I read pottery blogs: to get ideas, see photos of pots and kilns, and to read about the lives and experiences of people with whom I have something in common.

But I'm not shopping when I do that. I actively dislike shopping, so when I do shop I am looking for a specific thing. Coconut-lime soap, say, or John Sandford's new novel. Is that what other people do? I guess I have the impression that other people just browse around, and when they see something they really really like, they buy it. It makes a difference: if I want to sell more online, do I need to just bring more people to my website, with the expectation that more eyes means more sales, or do I need to find the people who are online specifically looking for salt and pepper shakers or dessert plates or whatever? Google Adwords seems like a way to do the latter, but I haven't had luck with it in the past. It cost me a bunch of money, but didn't result in a single sale, as far as I could tell.

I'm musing about this because I have an opportunity, through the Maine Crafts Association, to purchase an ad in Downeast Magazine at a rate that I could maybe afford. Downeast, if you don't know it, is an upscale lifestyle mag topical to Maine. Lots of folks outside of Maine get it, also, and it tends to be the kinds of folks who like home furnishings and cooking and travel and who have lake homes.  The sort of magazine of which issues live on for years in waiting rooms and lobbies.

I'm still in the midst of my Twelve Days of Crazy, so my serious thinking about this will have to be delayed. But what do you think? Hot? Or not?
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