If you watched last night’s episode of Dragon’s Den on BBC 2 you will have seen the website valuemystuffnow.com. The owner of the website, antiques expert Patrick van der Vorst, was seeking £100,000 investment for his online antiques valuation website. In his pitch he mentioned how visitors to his website would upload photographs of their antiques in order to receive a valuation within 48 hours via email.
It sounded like a good idea, but as Duncan Bannatyne and Peter Jones pointed out, with an average order value of around £4.50, a low conversion rate and a reliance on Google Adwords for traffic he was never actually going to make a profit. This was compounded by the fact that every time Patrick spoke of what he needed the investment for he stated ‘Google Adwords’ in order to increase his traffic levels to circa 100,000 uniques per month.
Every time he mentioned this, I shouted at the TV ‘NO!”. This is not the way to increase your traffic levels and, as Peter and Duncan had already identified, you wouldn’t make a profit doing that. Yet still Deborah Meaden kept repeating that they needed to increase their advertising on ‘Pay Per Clicks’ (as she called it).
Surprisingly, Deborah and Theo Paphitis teamed up to invest £50,000 each into the website. This prompted me to check it out and to see if they really were throwing money away on Google Adwords for a site that had an average order value of £4.50. Thankfully (and perhaps unsurprisingly as Deborah and Theo are obviously no mugs) the website is using SEO and content as its main form of online advertising. The site has a news section offering daily news from the antiques world which, as we have mentioned here on our blog once or twice in the past, is the best, and most economic, way of attracting traffic.
While Google Adwords may get you clicks, you pay for each click. With content, your content exists forever and will keep bringing you new traffic for as long as your website is live. It gets indexed by Google, gets cached and stored within Google’s huge list of pages (the number of pages is so high, even Peter Jones couldn’t attest to have a pound for every one) and then when someone searches for something relating to the content of the page, Google offers your website as a result – earning you traffic.
Valuemystuff.com is doing it the right way, and will no doubt become very successful as it as the backing of two Dragons, and a successful SEO campaign. While the support of Dragons may be beyond most businesses, effective SEO isn’t.