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 CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

for_sale.03.jpg
Ask FSB
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., Zabeshop.com

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
Novelty gifts for people with money to burn For those who've got the cash, these holiday gifts can really make a statement. More
The best stocks of 2014 This year has been very solid for stocks, but these 6 were the best of the S&P 500. More
14 biggest tech fails of 2014 2014 was chock-full of big failures in technology, from security snafus to executive gaffes. Here are the top ... er ... bottom 14. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.