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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Coming & Going

I suspected that something was wrong when Sunday became my fourth consecutive day with 0-1 sales. A test transaction uncovered a security warning popup at the checkout screen. The SSL certificate I had paid $50 to renew three weeks prior was never issued and my old one had expired. For three days I was paying to attract people and then scaring them away. It was the first time that MDD Hosting has dropped the ball, and they helped me solve the problem within an hour of discovering it, so I’m more angry with myself for letting it slide for three days than I am at them for causing it. Three days with no cash flowing is serious.

Business stayed in the crapper after security was restored. But at least now it’s normal crap, not extraordinary crap.

The more I watch my realtime Analytics, the more I notice very low-quality traffic. Visitors are coming in on all kinds of weird keywords. A webinar that I sat through on Wednesday gave me some ideas for coping with that. I can delete things that I don’t want to advertise from my Product Listing feed, for example. My first attempt at editing the .txt file in Excel cut the number of SKUs from 552 to 481 but rendered a lot of UPCs invalid; for example, “640346000120” somehow morphed into “6.40346E+11.” I figured that out and edited the damned file again, this time cutting the number of items to 458.

I’m probably overthinking this. On its best days, Google Product Search only delivers about 25 clicks. Of course, I could pay more to get more, and it might eventually be worthwhile if I bulldog my way through some of the more complicated optimizations, like segmenting my ad groups and building a good list of excluded keywords. But so far I’m only seeing increased advertising costs without increased business. I’m only persevering because Google promised a 10% rebate on my Product Search spend through 12/31.

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