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visitors to sales ratio


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Does anyone know what the typical visitors to sales ratio is? I have lots of visitors but not many sales. It was going okay for a while and I've gained more traffic but sales have gone down considerably (number wise, not percentage). Also what is the typical visit time duration? 50% + of mine is 0-30 seconds so I have started changing a few things in hopes of getting people to stick around longer. According to awstats I get a decent amount of traffic from msn and a few other search engines, still have to add seo mod though and I get a lot of my customers from a forum I frequent though only about 0.5-1% of my visitors end up with a sale (visits is about 1.5 per visitor). My site has been using cubecart for just over a year but I had a basic paypal cart store for about 6 months previously so it's frustrating to see new competitors pop up out of nowhere and seemingly have lots of sales and people spreading the word about their site but not mine, especially when they steal my ideas and original products and do it "as a hobby" without running it as a business.

Is there a trick to getting people to link to you? I sell pet supplies and so I have a breeder and rescue directory in hopes of getting people to link back to me but of about 30 listings, most with websites, only 3-4 have linked back and I've asked for a link when each was posted and then again a few months later with no luck. Some of these people sell supplies as well (though not nearly to the extent of my store) so I feel as if I'm just sending people to them. I had thought it was a good idea because new owners would remember my site when they get their pet and I do get people to my site looking for breeders and rescues but I don't think it's worth it to list them if they won't link back. I'm pretty much planing on scraping the whole directory thing and just making a links page with the 3 or so who have linked to me and then putting up a reciprocal linking statement of some sort for anyone who finds it on their own and wants to be added.

Any advice or ideas is very much appreciated as I'm feeling pretty down since I had to email another competitor today and ask her not to copy my original products (she even called it the same thing) :D .

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Do a Google search for your keywords and contact the web masters of the sites asking for a link exchange. You should have a links page on your site with links to their sites before you ask and let them know that you've linked to them first. Of course you'll want to make sure that they have a link page. Then you'll have to audit your requests and delete the sites that do not link back. There are programs that can help with this task like Aurelis but they are expensive and you can do it yourself.

There is no visitor to sales ratio that I know of but you can use 3% as a general figure. ROI (return on investment) is a figure that most SEO's use so if you are breaking even on your investment you might say that you are doing well and go up from there.

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