Today we are going to talk about mistakes in classifieds and online marketplaces. You need to know that not all stories are success stories. But before moving to set up or build your classifieds sites we would like to point out the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.
All stories and projects start with passion, but if you are not receiving any buzz, you will probably lose this passion and become a little frustrated with your project. First of all, I would like to let you know that online businesses are hard to start. Just raising a domain could take months before Google decides to index you. That means you will probably be invisible even you have the best software or design for your site.
With that comment, I just want to clarify also the Yclas plan's policies. We understand that nobody can raise a decent project without 1 year of commitment. Our paid plans are starting with a 1 year of commitment to avoid that initial frustration. You can spend an entire year raising your domain, to get visitors, users, and of course customers and money.
Having said this, let's go to the Top 8 mistakes to avoid when running your classifieds site (although I already gave you 2 tips ;) )
1.- No monetization plan:
I want to start with one of the biggest problems our customers/users and many others worldwide have when starting an online marketplace or classifieds site. The fact of the matter is you can not monetize your site at the early stages.
- You don't have traffic. Any monetization plan would not be justified.
- You don't have anything to offer. A 'Featured' ad or 'Bring to Top' don't make sense when you have only 10 ads published on your site.
- You don't have users. Forget memberships in this stage, they won't pay and you will burn potential customers for a short period of the term.
- Banners are not a holy grail. I understand those sites that insert banners, have million visitors per day or month, and they can get a good amount of money. At early stages using banners, your site will look ugly, and won't make sense to monetize that way.
The solution: 3 easy steps:
- Focus on your product, must be working as your requirements. Setup your site before moving to the next step.
- Traffic and users. Focus on traffic, not money. Use online marketing strategies or Growth Hacking techniques as we used in our previous post: How to get from 0 to 10k visitors
- Before moving to paid customers, look for potential clients for real feedback, offering paid solutions you will offer but for Free, you can call them Ambassadors of your brand. Here are some good tips to get 10 Ambassadors
2.- Documentation and Content insufficient
When you as a user go to a site and don't find clear solutions, answers, or content, you will probably leave that site immediately. Avoid this and create a well-resourced website. With Yclas you can create FAQs to explain your marketplace in detail, making it clear for the user.
With forums, you can create a community where you can engage with your customers and answer their questions. If you want to succeed with a forum, answer as soon as possible! ;)
Content. Create content for your audience, not for the general public. You must be different from other sites and marketplaces with your exclusive content targeted to your users. Create a blog with our feature How to create a blog with Yclas.
3.- Choosing the wrong software to build your site
This is crucial to your business success. Choosing software is not just a simple step. You have to look into many things before deciding on purchasing. I am not going to recommend other software here, but what I can let you know is there is some very good software out there for marketplaces. But Yclas is a step ahead of them.
You can see all the features we have for classifieds and online marketplaces. But what I would like to offer you is to sign up with our Free plan and test it yourself. There are no trials however the free plan only lasts for a maximum of 3 months with ALL FEATURES ENABLED. When you upgrade to a paid plan, you have the option to pay annually or monthly.
4.- Don't analyze your traffic
If you don't analyze your site, there will be no changes or improvements.
Insert a Google Tracking code in your site and Google will do the rest. They will tell you whether you are getting visitors, where they come from, how did you get it, time, country, etc etc etc. It is a powerful solution and is Free. You don't have excuses to not use it.
I will spend a complete post in the future, talking about how you can use Google Analytics and how to perform your site with those metrics.
For now, look into the visitors, where they come from (country and source), and your main traffic stats. Pay attention to all the information Google gives to you and use them to improve your site.
Always I give the same example: if you find that all your visitors are using a mobile device to check your site, please optimize and spend time to improve your mobile version (responsive).
5.- Setting payments options
Setting payment options is sometimes a hassle. You need to get the information from your analytics to know the countries your visitors come from. And research the main payment options in that country.
Generally, Credit Cards are used worldwide which means that for me Stripe should be the first option for payments. Easy to use and understand and great service for users. My second option would be Paypal and then allow a third option focused on the country you are going to target. Examples: South America = MercadoPago, Asian countries = Alipay, or without targeting countries but focusing communities a "techy" community would prefer to use Bitcoins instead.
My opinion is to use 3 options and you will have a trusted solution for 90% - 95% of your visitors.
6.- Lack at ofcurity
Before I say anything related to this topic, think for a moment if you go to a grocery and you realize that there is a poster on the main entrance saying "Hey, I am not using any certificate to prove my food or products are in good conditions. Would you buy it there?
Then think about security before moving to a monetization plan, why your customers want to buy/sell on your site if they don't feel a trustworthy site. At Yclas we offer SSL certificates to protect your site and your visitors. Upgrade to our Growth plan with SSL now
7.- Social Media = Users = Money
Nowadays when you decide to launch a website, a classifieds site, or an online marketplace, the first you do is to create your social media accounts (Fb, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc) WHY? Do you have a plan or strategy to manage those social accounts? Are you sure your audience wants to see your videos on Youtube to buy/sell on your site?
Well, those are questions I always ask my customers when they ask for Social Media on their sites. After a silence, they say no, I have no idea how to manage it, but all online businesses are doing it, right?
Let me tell you something, it is better to don't have a Fb account rather than have one with 36 Fans and no post since last year.
Running social media accounts requires time, money, and high effort. But could compensate to get more visitors and probably money if you do the right work on it. I would recommend asking yourself the questions I wrote at the beginning of this topic and then deciding if you need FB and Twitter, or just FB or just Instagram or nothing. Once you have clear that you need one of them, create a strategy, what are you going to tell your fans via your social network? Am I ready to post fresh content in a short period? , etc. I think is a good post to talk about in the future, I will write something for Social Media.
Use social media wisely and don't burn an account on it without a strong plan.
8.- Focus on a finalized product
What I mean by that is you don't need to have a platform full of features before launching your project to the public. Most entrepreneurs think about creating the best site and it must be 100% customized and featured. This is a serious mistake. You will lose money, time, and your efforts will be wasted. This is because when you are ready to launch, you wouldn't have any visitors and your breakpoint will be higher.
Create an MVP and start getting traction, also if the project fails, you would not lose much more money than you would lose if decide to launch on "full equip" mode. People and users understand that you are starting your business and you can be bugs, or improvements if you told them. A word on your header "Beta version" could solve those issues.
There are 100 mistakes but I believe these are the 8 most common ones which could be easily avoided and have greater repercussions. Hope you enjoy this post, comments and all feedback are welcome.