Friday, January 25, 2013

How to start a career in Ecommerce : Part 2, Getting Started

So you want a career in ecommerce?  Good for you!  There are very few career tracks that change as much, move as fast, and are as fun.  It is a great place for a career.

But how to get started?  Especially with no experience?  The simple answer is to get some.  And there are multiple ways to do so.

The first place to start is to develop a website to allow you to practice your new craft.  While that can sound daunting, especially if you have no coding background, don’t worry.  We’re going to start with the most basic stuff first, and it couldn’t be any easier or more affordable. 

Let’s start that site!  And the best way to begin is to build out a blog using any one of the multiple blog software packages that are out there.  I’d suggest starting with (which is what you are reading this information on right now), or  For a list of other blog options, check out this article , but note that some of the options require payment. 

Wade through your options, and select the technology that appears to be the best fit for you.  Once selected, go about building out the look and feel of your blog.  There will be easy tools that you can employ that will drastically change the appearance of the site, and there will be tools and widgets that can be added to improve the functionality of the site.  Determine which ones will be meaningful for you as a student and your audience and deploy them.  Get your sea legs, play around with the configuration of the site, and try to build something that is appealing to you.

Once built, it will be necessary to develop content.  And while any content will do, you’ll want to develop, acquire, and curate content that will attract an audience.  And this is where the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will drive people to your site.   

What exactly is SEO?  Wikipedia says it best:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or un-paid ("organic") search results.  In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search,[1] news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic..

SEO is a constant pursuit.  The major search engines don’t publish exactly how their search algorithms work, so it is a constant game of changing things, seeing how it impacts rankings, then changing them again.  Likewise, just because one variable is good, does not mean more of it is good.  For example, say we’re trying to optimize a page to show up for searches on the keyword “jeans.”  Utilizing that keyword in the title of your article is a good thing.  Likewise, using the keyword in the body of the copy is good as well.  Unfortunately, one can overdo it.  The copy “These jeans are the best jeans to buy if you are looking to buy jeans and want a great deal on jeans,” will likely be viewed as “keyword stuffing” by Google.  That means instead of going up in rankings for the search of “jeans,” you’ll be penalized and will go down. 

Finally, the major search engines change their algorithms on a fairly constant basis.  Hence, if you ever get really good at SEO and believe that you found a way to construct a site that cracks the search engines’ code, they’ll change that code sooner or later and you can find yourself starting over again. has a great program for beginners to SEO, and understanding the concepts there will give you a fantastic head start to your career in ecommerce.

But how do you know if you have been successful in driving traffic to your site?  That’s where web analytics comes in, which will be covered in the next chapter.


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