FORTUNE Small Business:

Why can't I get a sale?

After four months, an online clothing entrepreneur hasn't had one customer. FSB diagnoses the problem.

Subscribe to Top Stories
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)

Get small-business intelligence from the experts. Here's a chance for YOU to ask your pressing small-business questions, and FSB editors will help you get answers from the appropriate experts.
Your name:
* Your e-mail address:
* Your city:
* Your state:
* Your daytime phone #:
* Your questions:

(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Dear FSB: I have an online clothing store specializing in bohemian apparel for women. It's been four months already and I haven't gotten any sale. What am I doing wrong?

- Belissa Cipreni, Miami, Fl.,

Dear Belissa: Opening an online store can be tricky: You have to stand out among thousands of women's apparel websites. "You need to take advantage of every opportunity to increase traffic," says Brent Birch, the director of FLEX360 Web Development. "Most importantly, ensure that it's search-engine friendly."

When Web surfers search for your company name, your site should be the first to pop up. The blurb describing your site reveals little information to intrigue and draw viewers in. Try rewriting the meta tags (descriptions, keywords, titles - anything that helps define a page), so that the search engine can pick up on them more easily.

Once that's fixed, you'll still face the dilemma of attracting customers. Solution? Contact other websites and blogs where your potential customers may already be aggregating. Offer to reciprocate links to drive additional traffic to both your site and theirs. In turn, both websites will receive a higher search engine ranking.

And don't neglect the appearance of your site. Consider redesigning the homepage with fewer photos and more text. "By using all graphics, there isn't search engine 'spider food' for search engines to index the site's content," says Birch. Plus, a site with less images will load quicker - a must for impatient shoppers.

One crucial part of the website is making sure the customers can pick out and buy an item with just one click of the mouse. Right now, customers who click products can see enlarged versions of them but don't have the option of purchasing. Your "Order Now" button should be placed next to each of the product images and descriptions and should lead directly to an order form. Also, to ease navigation through the store, Birch suggests showing store specials on the homepage.

Once the website design is set, market like crazy. Make sure every piece of material, from business cards to flyers to press packets, has the Web address on it.  To top of page

Know a thing or two about online retail? Share hints and tips for increasing business.
Photo Galleries
Meet the kids dressed as Oscars red carpet stars By now, you've seen the red carpet looks from the 2015 Oscars. But you haven't seen 5 year-olds dressed up like A-listers at the awards, until now. Photographer Tricia Messeroux and designer Andrea Pitter recreated the pint-sized looks in just 36 hours. More
Flying economy doesn't have to be miserable For those willing to shell out just a little extra, several à la carte services offer experiences usually reserved for First Class passengers. More
Consumer Reports' Top Picks - American cars are back The magazine's favorite cars include three American models for the first time in years, thanks to a big boost from Tesla. More