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State of the Hub: 2011!

by Josh Lipton

bob-trailer-forks-during-bike-shop-hub-move-crop2010 was quite the year for the Bike Shop Hub. We grew up and moved out of the shop behind my house into a 4000 square foot warehouse with offices and a metalworking shop. We reorganized all of our web stores into our shared site platform and launched our third shop, BikeKidShop.com. We took the reigns of the popular and active cycling blog, CommuteByBike.com. And we did this all with the help of some new additions to our team here at Bike Shop Hub. The year was both fruitful and challenging as we grew in many ways including in sales, though our sales growth wasn’t quite up to the level we anticipated in part due to some critical loss of search engine rankings with our website reorganization happening right at the start of the busy season in April. Since the drop off, we’ve recovered on the internet marketing front, deploying many new strategies as we charge optimistically into 2011.

Looking into the year ahead, we have quite a few goals that we are looking at. In comparison to entering 2010 where we had two major hurdles to clear in the website move and shop move, 2011 would appear to be offering a bounty of smaller more attainable objectives.

The first thing that we are looking at checking off the list is launching our local presence. Stu and Robin C have been working hard on putting together a show room in our front office and a section of the warehouse. We’re mostly done with the inside section, and then Stu will be looking at putting up a Bike Shop Hub sign, bike rack and extending our awning. Once our retail space is fully established, we’ll all be excited to have Stuart getting back into manufacturing mode with a focus on advancing the design of the Wandertec BONGO and related accessories and starting to look into some bicycle rack ideas that we’ve been mulling over.

On the website front, I’m continuing to focus on Pay-Per-Click marketing as well as some related Search Engine Marketing. I’m working on completing an overall report of Bike Shop Hub’s overall internet marketing success. With this in place, I will be pushing ahead into learning and implementing more advance PPC and SEO strategies. A critical part of our SEO strategy is the work that Megan and Robin C are focused on in improving the main category and brand pages on our three shops. Some excellent examples of this are the bike panniers and bike messenger bag pages. We are focusing on making these pages the most expert level resources of information on their given topic with thorough well-written content sprinkled with excellent, story telling photography. In addition to the category and brand level pages, we will be offering up expert articles on topics that aren’t covered in the category and brand pages. Megan and Robin C will be focusing on completing these pages for Bike Bag, Kid and Trailer Shops until they are completed. With the content on these pages completion, we’ll be ready to shift our focus toward launching our 4th specialty shop, Bike Tech Shop.

Further on the website front, after solidifying our advanced PPC and SEO strategies and working with Megan and Robin to get going with Bike Tech Shop, the next big objective will be to upgrade this site, BikeShopHub.com to be a better umbrella site, thoroughly representing the entire business. New features will be added to this site including a navigation system between all of our sites, a central page showing updates from all of our sites and a forum. It will also include a section for products we manufacture under the Wandertec brand.

Further down the list, but perhaps achievable in 2011 is the possibility that we will be continuing to push forward with integrating our websites into a shared platform and possibly updating the templates and other aspects of our blogs and maybe shops as well.

While its always easy to be overly ambitious at the start of a new year, I’m taking the cautious view in my goals and projections for 2011. With that, it seems like everything on this list is well within our sites. In fact on the less reserved side of things, I’m imagining we’ll be able to tackle a variety of other projects and directions either not mentioned here or not even yet imagined. One way or another it’s looking to be an exciting year ahead for Bike Shop Hub!

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