About This Site
How we built LittleShamrocks.com into a successful online business with SiteSell.

In the beginning ... It was November of 2005 and my family had gathered to celebrate my son Chris' birthday. We had an addition to the family by way of my sister Andi's new boyfriend, Lou Bradbard. Lou was, by profession, a computer expert working for IBM in Boston. Andi, Chris and I were all pretty computer literate but, by no means, were we experts.

Lou was telling us that he had written web sites for some of his friends and decided that was what he wanted to do full time. He had a few ideas of his own and I told him about my passion which, of course, was Ireland. I explained that I had completely and totally fallen in love with Ireland when I accompanied my friend, Terry Reynolds, on our first trip in April of 1998. We loved it so much that we went back again for several weeks in the summer of 1998. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we were not able to take another trip until March 2005, for St. Patrick's Day week.

As I continued my story, I told him that I had become obsessed with Ireland and I named my first stab as an eBay seller 'The Irish Cottage'. I was dabbling in antiques and collectibles but it wasn't my forte. I had become very ill and was having all kinds of tests to determine what my illness was. It turned out that I had thyroid cancer. After a successful surgery and radiation treatments, I was feeling like my old self again. I decided to give eBay another try but changed my ID to LittleShamrocks. Changing the name didn't change my success on eBay, so I decided to pack it in.

I told Lou, and everyone, that I would like to have a web site with an online store selling Irish products. I was telling stories about our trips there and about all the Irish products that could be sold, which included Aran Irish knit sweaters, Waterford and other brands of Irish crystal, Belleek porcelain, Irish chocolates and other foods that we loved. He liked my idea and we decided to check it out.

Over the next week or so, Lou and I both researched Irish web sites to see if it would be a good idea. We both discovered that we needed to find our own niche. There were some general 'gift shop' sites that carried a number of the typical Irish products and souvenirs but there were not many that specialized in just one product. So ... we decided that we would sell Irish food.

During the time that we were researching, Lou was checking into some web site building companies and found that SiteSell was, hands down, the best one and the one we should use. He sent me the information to read and I liked it very much. The one thing that really impressed me was that it was not going to be an overnight success.
SBI! CTPM Process

They wrote about how some companies would promise the moon but the web sites would fail because they had no formula for success. Their 10 step program using C > T > P > M (which stands for Content > Traffic > Presell > Monetization) was backed by a money back guarantee.

Click here for a quick overview of C > T > P > M.

Lou and I decided to create a partnership for the new web site. I would write it and he would build it. The first task was finding a name and creating a logo. We didn't want it to be 'cutesie', tacky or associated only with St. Patrick's Day and leprechauns. Site Sell recommends that the name should included the words of what the web site is about because people would search using the keywords 'Irish food'.

They sent us a long list of names; however, we didn't like any of them better than LittleShamrocks.com. Under the circumstances of not finding an 'Irish food' name we liked, we realized how the importance of keywords comes into play. We also had to choose a color scheme, which resulted in muted tones of ecru and green, and little shamrocks in an old shoe for a symbol.

My first solo project was writing the Content. I wasn't sure if I could do it or not but, once I got started, the information just poured out of me. I wrote stories about the trips that Terry and I took to Ireland. There were stories about the places we went, the people we met, the things that we did, and even a few funny mishaps. Then there were the places we stayed, the restaurants where we dined, the food that we ate. I wrote the 'About Us' page and all the Irish heritage in Terry's family and mine. Then I wrote about the genealogy searches and the cemeteries we visited, and the 'Driving In Ireland' experiences. And, along with the stories, we added the photos to accompany them. This was the most I had ever written about anything, and I really loved it. Every time I finished my project, Lou would put it up on the web site, which was first on line in March 2006. Then he would send me some instructions for the next step.

My next project was adding keywords to the stories. Lou sent me a list of the most popular keywords for Irish web sites and I incorporated them into the stories that were already written. Keywords are how a web site gets Traffic. In the beginning, nobody knew who LittleShamrocks.com was, so nobody would be searching for our site by our name. But ... they would search under Irish Food, Irish Recipes, Irish Travel, Irish Genealogy, Irish Town Names, Irish County Names, Ireland, St. Patrick's Day, Shamrocks ... and the list goes on.

Now comes the Presell. Hmmm, I thought this was going to be a little more difficult but I was wrong. I started writing about the Irish food that we purchased and ate in Ireland. Then about the recipes that I made using Irish ingredients, which we purchased from an imported Irish food distributor in New York. This was even more fun than writing the stories. I've always loved to cook and bake, so this was right up my alley. So, we have authentic Irish recipes, other recipes using Irish ingredients and some of my favorite non-Irish recipes that I just wanted to share. We would all get together and have a photo shoot with the new recipes. Then, we got to taste it all ... Yummy!!

So far, we have completed the Content, the Traffic and the Presell; and people are coming into LittleShamrocks.com by searching the keywords we have used. Now, next comes the Monetization. Monetization is basically opening the online store and selling the Irish food products. Site Sell recommends that you not open a store until you have at least 500 unique visitors per month; unique meaning that every visitor is a different person, not just one person visiting 500 times. That day was in November 2006 almost exactly one year from when we first discussed building a web site. We started out with 15 products, as recommended by SiteSell. We categorized the products according to our distributor's categories; i.e., Coffee/Tea, Jams/Preserves, Mustards/Relishes, Chocolates. We photographed all the products in their packaging, then showing them in use; like jam on a scone, for instance.


Site Build It!


The orders started coming into the online store from everywhere in the United States and Canada. We even had some orders that we shipped to Ireland, England and Sweden. Monetization also includes earning money by becoming affiliated with online businesses related in some way to ours, and by placing ads within our web site. In order to offer our customers a wider variety of food, we became affiliated with our Irish food distributor, FoodIreland.com. Our customers would have hundreds of imported Irish food products from which to choose, and they would be drop shipped from FoodIreland's location in New York.

Lou was doing most of the work 'behind the scenes', so to speak. He was constantly finding more ways to monetize by adding more ads, adding more affiliates and joining 'pay per click' sites, for referals. It has been a little over a year since we opened the online store at LittleShamrocks.com. Remember that we needed to have 500 visitors a month to get started; well, now we have 10,000 to 12,000 unique visitors per month, and almost 3,000 visitors on St. Patrick's Day 2007 alone. That's another plus ... you can go into your Site Sell account and get any information about your web site, including daily traffic and search engine rankings.

Well, I can't say enough great things about Site Sell. They are a fabulous company to work with building a successful web site. Lou is no longer with IBM but is now writing a number of other web sites using the SiteSell method. Lou and I have both learned so much in the past two years, and now it's beginning to pay off. I probably wouldn't have attempted this on my own but, with Lou as a partner and SiteSell as an instructor, my dream came true ... I have a voice on the world wide web about my beloved Ireland.

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Next: Read Lou's story of how we used the SiteSell system of web tools to build a web site that gets over 500 hundred visitors a day.

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