If you are thinking about selling online there are quite a number of areas to consider before you start. So here is PART 1 of our guide to the main areas you'll need to consider. First up is 'Keyword Research'.

Keyword Research is all about finding where the online market is for your products. This may not seem that obvious initially but, to some extent, it is one of the most important areas. The questions you should be asking are;

  • Is there an online market for my products
  • Are my products competitive
  • What's the profit margin
  • Are there other websites selling the same product cheaper or selling a better product.

 In essence; is there a market for your product and can you compete online.

So here are a few tools to help you answer these questions.

The first one is the FREE Google Keyword tool (just google it!). Think about what keywords potential customers would be using in Google to search for your particular product. Enter these into the Keyword Tool and this will show you how many times it has been searched for in the last 30 days, both locally and globally. From this you will be able to ascertain two things; Firstly the size of your potential market and Secondly the best keywords to target, i.e. the ones with the most search traffic.

A few tips for using this tool.

When you first start it up you see a box to enter some key words, start with one key phrase and don't be tempted to enter a whole pile or the results will not be as focused. 

You can then select a region, again if your market is Ireland don't be tempted to select 'All' as this will be giving you a meaningless result.

Hit go and Google will kindly go off and find you all the searches made in the last 30 day for your key phrase and related phrases.

From this you will be able to see what's a popular search and you can start to pick out phrases you can use when it comes to building your site.

Broad, Phrase & Exact Match

By default Google returns 'Broad' matches. What this means is...  if for example your starting key phrase was 'Blue Widgets' then it will return searches with either 'Blue' or 'Widgets' in it. For most people this is much to wide a search. 'Phrase' will return search with your search term somewhere in it like 'Big Blue Widgets' and 'Exact' will simple be the single phrase on its own with a few other suggestions. You will see a check box on the left where you can select which type you want.


In the search results you will also see a column titled CPC. This means 'Cost Per Click' and is an estimate how much a click through on a Google ad would cost. This is a reasonable indicator on how competitive the market is for this key phrase. The higher the CPC the more people are bidding hence its more competitive. If you are starting a new ecommerce site then these key phrases may be too hard to rank for until you get some online time under your belt.

What you should be looking for are key phrases with good search volumes that are not too competitive.

The second tool is Google itself. Take your chosen keywords from above and do a search and see what your competitors are selling and at what price. This will give you a good idea if you can be competitive and / or if you can add value to the offer. If there are a load of Google ads running for this key phrase then this can mean two things: 1, This is a competitive key phrase, and, 2, It's competitive for a reason and that's usually because there is a good buying market.

In summary

Doing your key word research is an important first step in developing your new ecommerce site. Armed with this information you can then focus your content around these key words.

Pick ones that have  good search volume  but not too competitive or you will either not get your site ranked very high or be number one but with little traffic, you need to get the balance right.