Saturday, June 15, 2024

Chillin’ at the Mall

When you build a store on the Internet, your number one concern is this: How am I going to draw people to my store? How, among the millions of internet sites out there today, are potential customers going to find my one little site and buy from me?

Here are the conventional answers:

Banner Advertising:

There are any number of Banner Exchange programs out there. Many are free. They operate on the idea that if you put an ad for my site on yours, I’ll put an ad for your site on mine. Well, that’s just dandy, but almost everybody on the free Banner Exchange programs are there because they HAVE no traffic in the first place. You exchange banners with another site that has no traffic, and end up with TWO sites with no traffic instead of just ONE. Sure, you can PAY for banners, and that may work a little better, but I’ve done it, and have not been impressed.

Email Campaigns: Oh, they’re out there, aren’t they! The people with Ten Million Email Addresses That Will Bring The Whole World To Your Door! Two things I can say about Email Campaigns:

1.) The cheap ones will send your hopeful, starry-eyed emails out into the world, only to crash-land in servers who reject them because the addresses are no longer valid.

2.) You can’t afford the expensive ones. Not yet.

Search Engine Positioning: Meta tags, keywords, jockeying for position with tens of thousands of other webmasters who are trying for those same top ten pages that you are. Waiting for weeks, or even MONTHS to see how your most recent attempt panned out, only to find yourself ranked number 13,426 in your latest search. Been there, done that. Got the T-shirt. And nothing else. Sure, you can pay for Keywords, and pay by the hit. The search engines have definitely figured out how to make THEMSELVES rich. Does that really help you? Not if you don’t have the money.

Do any of these approaches work? Sure, in their way they are all valuable. There are good banner programs out there, but they cost money. There are good targeted email programs, but they cost money. As for Search Engine Positioning, one of my sites is #3 on Yahoo AND Google right now, but that took a LOT of time and effort.
Unless you have a lot of money to throw at your website startup, I suggest a different approach.

My teenage boys love to go to the Mall. They’ll spend an entire day there, along with a week’s allowance. When asked what they’ve been doing all day, they’ll just say, Um chillin’, that’s all.

When I was a kid, it was called hangin’ out, but it’s the same thing.

Why do they like it there so much? Well, according to them, the Mall has EVERYTHING! They’re right. People to see, places to go, things to do everything they’re looking for, right there in front of them, within walking distance.

My Internet sites do the same thing. They chill at the Mall. In this case, the Mall happens to be Yahoo Shopping. I’m glad my sites are at the Mall. When they’re at the Mall, they’re not laying around the house grumbling, they’re having fun, and they’re probably not getting into TOO much trouble. Just like my kids.

Why do I let my sites go to the Mall? Because it puts them right in the middle of things.

There are two things you should be thinking about when starting out on the Internet.

Money and Traffic.

There’s never enough of either at first. To earn the Money, you need the Traffic. To get the Traffic, you need to spend Money. I spent years telling all my kids never to play in Traffic. My sites? I booted them right out there on the freeway from day one.

Here’s what I do when I build an Internet site. I go to Yahoo Store, at I open a free 10 day test drive store. I play around with it until I have things the way I want them.

Then I pay Yahoo $100 a month to open a 50 item storefront. I can access and edit my store from anywhere on the Internet. The Store Manager is loaded with all kinds of easy to use tools, from Excel spreadsheet exports to email forwarding to charts of my hits and sales. But that’s not even the good part.


The good part is this: 24 hours after I place a product in my Yahoo Store, it shows up in front of MILLIONS of shoppers, in Yahoo Shopping. Picture, description, price and all. No banner ads, no email campaigns, no search engine positioning. The last site my partners and I opened on Yahoo Store paid that hundred bucks back in it’s first couple of DAYS, and has gone on to make very good money.

Why only a 50 item store? Smaller stores are better. Focus on a single product line, sell name brands, market to a niche. Your keywords will work better that way too, if they all relate to the same product line. Make no mistake; you WILL want to get those keywords out to the search engines. However, it’s nice if you can make money right off the bat while you wait for your site to rise in the rankings. Who knows maybe you’ll want to buy a good email campaign!

Is Yahoo paying me to say all this? No. They don’t even know I exist. I’m telling you this because it works for us, and I believe it will for you, too.

We plan on opening several more Yahoo Stores this year. Lots of small income streams create one big one, remember. Use the profit from your first store to open the second one. Use those profits to open a third one. You may decide you want to move on later, but big, well-known Internet Malls are great places to start your business. By the time Christmas comes around this year, we plan on being VERY Merry.

Yahoo Shopping, and other similar Internet Malls, are like miniature, self contained search engines, and they’re just BURSTING with people who are sailing around with their wallets in their hands looking to buy something.

They’re all chillin’ at the Mall. You should be, too.

Chris Malta and Robin Cowie of are the Writers and Hosts of The Entrepreneur Magazine EBiz and Product Sourcing Radio Shows. Click Here for more FREE eBiz info from Entrepreneur Magazine Radio!

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