Interview between Melanie Hatton of BumpMagic and Jan Klin.
Bump Magic is an online store, information centre and community forum for women who are pregnant, trying to conceive or new mums. Our goal is to become the preferred online resource for every pregnant woman in the
Bump Magic was conceived while I was on maternity leave in 2005 following the birth my little boy, Ethan, largely due to the desire not to have to go back to work in an office while he was still young and the fact that the internet was my main source of entertainment and information while I was on leave! Every mum-to-be has a thirst for information about the changes affecting them during pregnancy, a struggle to source good maternity clothes and products, and an insatiable need to share their experiences with others, so I set to work creating Bump Magic based on my own needs as a mum-to-be.
How long have you had a website and what is its main purpose?
The Bump Magic website was launched in September 2006, and is an online presence only operated from my office at home.
Does the site work for you? ie deliver the benefits you were expecting?
Yes and no. I was initially expecting the online shop to be the major source of activity on the website. With so much competition in the market place however, it became clear that that was not going to be the case straight away. The forum on the other hand, was initially an after-thought which my web developer suggested to me a couple of weeks before the website launched. I was familiar with forums having used them on occasion in the past, but the Invision Power Board software which he demonstrated to me was so much more advanced than what I imagined that I agreed straight away to add it as a feature to the website.
Originally the online shop was targeted at products required by pregnant women. The forum has however attracted a huge number of members who are trying to conceive, and so the online shop is expanding its product range to cater for that market also.
Whilst the online shop remains an important feature of the website, it is clear that the main attraction is the forum. This has opened up a potential new income stream for me and
I am arranging to have Google Adsense and other third party advertising on the forum pages as a means of generating income. The forum also has the functionality to require members to “subscribe” to otherwise “locked” areas of the forum, which only become accessible to the forum member upon payment of a regular subscription. Whilst I have no intention of introducing subscription payments to the Bump Magic forum members for the forum as it currently stands, I do have some ideas for new and optional aspects to the forum and for which it would be appropriate to charge a subscription payment and which I will be exploring over the next few months.
What is your online marketing strategy? – which methods do you use to attract potential customers?
At the launch of the website I followed the guidance detailed in your blog to and spent a month’s worth of evenings in September 2006 creating one way links to the website in the recommended search engine directories, creating articles to add to online article banks and also creating some reciprocal links. In order to keep costs down, I primarily listed the site in directories that didn’t require a payment, the few that did require a payment I only listed if the requirement was no more than £5 for an evergreen listing.
In February 2007, I was pleased to discover that the website had a Google Page rank of 3/10. An incredible achievement considering I had only focussed on search engine optimisation in the initial month of the website’s launch back in September and had paid little attention to it since!
Hits: September 2006 – 4,908 March 2007 – 628,701
Visits: September 2006 – 137 March 2007 – 17,276
Once I have the website in a position where it generates income from third party advertising, I then intend to place affiliate advertising for Bump Magic on third party websites and spread its online reach that way.
I have also yet to advertise the online shop aspect of the website via Google Adwords and Microsoft Adcentre, and so that is also a campaign in waiting too.
How much business do you do on the web?
Bump Magic is an online resource only and so 100% of our business is online.
How do you see the future regarding your online activity?
Having seen the benefits of my initial search engine optimisation activity I am about to start another period of SEO activity to maintain and improve the website’s ranking, focussing on improving the presence of the online shop.
What is the single biggest lesson you have learned about your web activities?
Can you imagine life without a website?
Yes (I would probably have an early night once in a while!), but generally I couldn’t imagine life without the internet I would feel lost without it.
Anything else you want to add?
I often read that people who start their own business felt like giving up on many occasions but were pleased that they persevered. When your business is only a part time business/hobby then you really do wonder what you are doing it all for! But I’m pleased to say that I am persevering and beginning to see the results of the risks I have taken.