Monday, November 15, 2010

Bonanza Booth Traffic and the Name Change

In September, Bonanzle changed its name to Bonanza. I knew that the name change would affect traffic, but I miscalculated how much it would affect me. I thought that most of my traffic came from my widgets, and apparently, I was wrong. Not only that, but the name change affected my Google Analytics data as well, and I am not sure whether what I am seeing on it is correct. The sales source data that I get in my booth also appears to be flawed. In short, everything is a mess.

The name change had a devastating affect on my traffic and sales. Prior to the name change, I was getting around 1,100 booth views per week. This dropped to around 450 to 500 views per week and has rebounded slightly to around 600 views per week.

I had 34 transactions in August, 18 transactions in September, and 12 transactions in October. I paid $21.00 in fees for October, and the only months for which I paid lower fees were five of the first six months I was on Bonanzle in early 2009. This means that the name change made my traffic revert to what it was in early 2009 and erased all of the progress I had made since that time. That is why I call the effect of the name change "devastating."

While the data on Google Analytics has been thrown off by the name change and the effect of the site redirect, I believe that the total traffic to all pages in my booth is accurate. That data is shown in this graph.


The graph shows the total traffic to my booth from February 1, 2009 to November 13, 2010. The last two points at the far right indicate September and October, and my traffic dropped to around half of what it had been. The faint line that runs off the right edge of the graph is November 1-13, and based on the current trend, November's traffic should be around the same as October's.

Now look in the middle of the graph where it says "Oct 1 - Oct 31." The two dots immediately above that notation are for November and December of 2009. My traffic dropped in November and December of last year due to the holiday season. In general, people do not buy vintage series books as Christmas presents. For this reason, I do not expect my booth traffic to rebound until at least January.

My items show up fine in Google's product search, but I cannot find my items in Google's organic search. If I use quotation marks around the entire item title, then Google returns no results. If I use quotation marks around parts of the item title, then I can usually find the item, but even in those cases, the item does not appear high on the page. This means that nobody can find my items through Google's organic search.

When I do find my items in the organic search, the URL is Bonanzle.com. I am finding items from some other Bonanza sellers, and when I find those items, the URL is Bonanza.com. For some reason, my booth is stuck in Bonanzle as far as Google is concerned, and that appears to be my problem since the Bonanzle URL is now depreciated.

Even the items that I just listed for sale in the last week display in Google as being on Bonanzle.com. Those items were never listed on Bonanzle, yet Google thinks they are on Bonanzle. I can understand why my oldest items would display as being on Bonanzle, but my newest items were listed on Bonanza. I have a serious problem with my booth.

One reason that my booth seems to be stuck as Bonanzle in Google is because of how many old links I had that pointed to Bonanzle. I changed my widgets around a week ago. A couple days ago, I went to my Facebook fan page and deleted all of my old links to my Bonanzle booth. I went through the old posts in this blog and changed the links to my booth to Bonanza. I hope that changing the links will speed up the propagation of the new URL for my booth.

I also wrote several new posts for my Jennifer's Series Books blog. My purpose is to link to many individual items in my booth in hope of getting Google to index the new URLs.

The trouble is that I cannot force Google to change the indexed links to the new URL unless I do something extreme. I could solve the problem by putting my booth on vacation for a couple of months. That would kill the old links. Another alternative would be to open another booth and move my items to that booth. It is tempting, but I do not want to start over.

I hope that the problem will fix itself as more time passes. I checked Google's help forums, and it appears that it sometimes takes three to four months before the search results return to normal after a domain change. By the middle of January, this should get fixed.

For me personally, the name change probably happened at the best time of year since my sales tend to suffer towards November and December. I would hate for the name change to have occurred during one of my typically best months. Unfortunately, the name change happened at a bad time for people who depend upon the holiday season for an increase in sales.

What is weird is that many people who had low traffic and few sales before the name change have reported that the name change has caused their traffic and sales to increase significantly. Other people, like me, who had good traffic and sales before the name change have seen a significant decrease in traffic and sales.

While I do not like the present situation and am frustrated by it, I know that this will work out as more time passes and that my item views and sales at Jennifer's Series Books will eventually return to normal.

1 comment:

SANDRATERESA DAVENPORT said...

You're to be admired. 1100 views per week! I haven't gotten that many views on my blog as long as i've been doing it and am just setting up bonanza, expecting great results.

Thanks for sharing. in spite of it all, you're awesome.

sd