I looked at antellus.com and realized that the search engines only posted the front page link, with no other internal links or anything indicating what the site was all about. Nothing I had done in the last 5 years worked to move the site into the right category, despite having crafted keywords specifically targeted toward books, publishing, selling or anything else of any literary interest. So I have bought a new site, http://www.antellusbooks.com, which has the virtue of having the word “books” in it. I have issued a press release about the change and what will happen to the old site, and moved all the site’s files into the new site. I made the old front page into a redirect link. I have also taken pains to include the ISBN-10s in the product page names with the titles fully articulated, and I hope that fixed the problem; because now I have received offers from cover artists starving for work, and from SEO “experts” wanting my money to do what I do all by myself. But what I am looking for now is buyers, which have apparently fallen off the map. To my knowledge I have not seen a single click on the buy buttons, which are merely contact form requests to begin a transaction.
One of the problems I have encountered with selling online is the fact that no one wants to use PayPal anymore. I had gone through the trouble of posting some 300+ buttons on both my sites which were encrypted through PP, but nothing ever happened with them. I suppose it is part and parcel with the split from eBay and the fact that antellus.com was residing in a cul de sac under a rock between two twigs. But the jewelry site had the same problem, because of twinkly lights like Etsy and eBay and other marketplaces. People keep telling me to abandon the sites which I paid good money for and go with these, but I have already tried them out and found them wanting. Parking my work on them yielded crickets, just as I hear them now. I don’t have to pay someone else for the “privilege” of selling through them, when I can sell direct for free without limitations.
But here’s the kicker. Getting a shopping cart through a pro site costs $$ per month, and I have to pay double if I am operating 2 sites. PayPal works well for my needs but since no one clicks on the damned buttons there is no traction. So my solution was to post a form on each product page which tells me by email what the buyer wants, and how to pay for it. I will take checks and credit cards (which PayPal was supposed to make easier) with the option to pay through PP as well. Still, nothing has happened, and I now make more money offline thanks to the pretty pictures of things for sale on the sites. It does not occur to shoppers that they can have it shipped to them for free, or that my prices are reasonable, and that the sites are meant to be actual shops, not online museums.
I think it goes well with the fact that people do not read anymore. They don’t read signs, certainly, because I can post a sign for my booth which is bigger than 14 x 11 showing my shop name and the link, that I take credit cards and such, and still get these questions thrown in my face: “Do you make all this yourself?”/ “Do you take credit cards?” / “Do you take checks?” / “Can you take the price down [because I really want it for free]?” / “Do you offer discounts?”. And I usually have to point to my sign because I am really sick and tired of having to answer them every single time. Maybe this is why they don’t want to buy anything online, because of all those pesky words getting in the way.
I think also that it goes well with the fact that people have shifted their buying habits. At one recent show I noticed that most of the women were walking around with unpierced ears, and wearing no other jewelry at all. In the face of this revelation, I have to think that I am in the wrong market. If I can’t sell something in person it stands to reason that I won’t be able to sell it online. There is something seriously wrong with the whole picture when people close their pocketbooks, and they have been doing so since 2008, when the market crash showed that no one is immune to such things. So the only thing I can do now is wait and hope someone sees something of mine and buys it online. The so-called “experts” who think everyone has a chance ought to look in the mirror.