15 Tips to Optimize an Ecommerce Setup

Selling online?  Here are 15 ecommerce tips to make sure you are set up for success.

  1. Use consistent branding. Make sure your brand or logo is clearly visible on every page of your site. This builds trust that users are at a trusted site. Also provide information about you. People like to know about the company they’re buying from.
  2. Make shopper essentials easy to find. It should always be easy to reach shopping pages and the shopping cart, as well as customer service information and FAQs covering essential information like shipping costs and payment options. If users can’t find these pages, they’ll find it difficult to shop on your site.
  3. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Making purchases via mobile is becoming a popular option for many shoppers. So make sure they can easily complete their transactions on the small screen.
  4. Optimize for speed. Make sure your site is fast, even on slower speed connections. No one will wait for a slow site.
  5. Feature products. Have a prominent spot on your homepage for your core products or the items you currently have on sale.
  6. Include an effective call to action. Tell people what you want them to buy! Change over time as needed for sales, seasons or new product lines.
  7. Make products searchable. Every online store with more than 20 products should have a search option. Make sure you put the search option in a visible spot, as this will probably be the navigation of choice for your visitors.
  8. Use product categories. Categories help visitors get to different groups of products quickly, especially those who aren’t sure which specific products to buy.
  9. Include product images and describe key details. Product images say more than words. Images make it easier for visitors to choose from a wide variety of products. Each product description should offer all the details you know customers want to know. Don’t assume they know anything and make each product description a standalone sales moment.
  10. Be clear about pricing. Make all the costs and polices that apply to a purchase clear up front. Surprise costs are a major turn-off. Unclear shipping and other charges can make a customer hesitant to proceed.
  11. Share reviews. Genuine product reviews build trust and create confidence.
  12. Promote related products. Adding a related products section, or a ‘customers also bought’ section to your product page will trigger upsells, allow for bundles, and much more.
  13. Show stock availability. With online shops everywhere, people want to buy things at a shop that will deliver the products quickly. If you tell users a product is in stock, people are more likely to buy it.
  14. Don’t require an account. Allow customers to buy without forcing them to create an account.
  15. Optimize SEO titles and meta descriptions. Be sure to add a product-focused meta description to your product pages, to encourage Google not to show the wrong text in search results!

SEO for your New Website

A common concern for businesses that create a new website is whether it will be found. Does the adage “if you build it, they will come” apply to search engines? The answer is largely yes, if you build your new website with SEO in mind.

You will need:

  • Content that uses the language people use when looking for a site like yours (keywords)
  • A site structure that search engine crawlers can read
  • Links at one or more websites to your website (external links)

Offer Content that Matters

Search engines want to help people find the information they want, and you want to be that source. To make that happen you need to offer great content. Know and use the words and phrases your target audience uses. Address their common questions and pain points. Provide content that people want and you will be rewarded with great visibility in searches for that content.

This means you have to do keyword research, so you are sure you are using the words that searchers use. Your gut is a good place to start, but research and verify. Then write your content using those keywords.

Put Out the Welcome Mat

When a new site is under development, you can apply a setting that prevents it from being crawled by search engines. This prevents your not-finished site from being found. Be sure to undo that setting when you are done!

Also, use all your channels to invite people to your website. Use your email list, social channels, and even a press release to call attention to your site. If you invite them, they will come!

You know your site is amazing, but Google needs more than your say-so to be convinced. Visits to your website helps, but even more important are links from other websites to your website. These “external links” tell search engines that your site content is well regarded within your industry or sector.

Links also help your content to be found by search crawlers. If Google finds a link to your page on another website, it can follow that link and crawl your page.

By external links, not only will Google crawl and index your site, it will also attribute some extra value to it based on the value of the website where it found the link. And that value is what will get you ranking.

Internal links are also important. These are links within your content to other areas of your website. Your most important pages should have other pages and posts linking to them.

Again Google will follow your links, and the post and pages that have the most internal links will be most likely to rank highly. In this way, your internal links signal which  content is most important.

Establishing Your Brand Identity  

Guest post by Heather Snyder, Heather Hearts Art

Establishing your brand identity is a crucial first step in ensuring your company’s success. Think of it as an elevator pitch. A brand needs to be appealing, easy to understand, and feature exactly what the business is about.

Brand identities may utilize a logo, specific colors, fonts, and other visual elements to be distinguishable, unique, and memorable to your market.

A successful brand identity creates an automatic reminder of your business in the mind of the consumer. It helps you to stand out from the crowd.

Think of the most successful businesses in the world. What comes to mind? Their logo, the name of their business, and  characteristics of their company, all working together to craft a positive brand image.

Create a Positive First Impression

Ensuring a positive first impression with your customer will help to differentiate you from other businesses. Incorporating a personal, memorable story will also help to define your brand while attracting customers who identify with your experience.

Specifying your brand identity and establishing yourself as an expert in your industry will help consumers select your company over another.

Principles to Establish Your Brand

Ready to define your brand? Consider starting with the following principles.

  • Position – Defining a brand’s position through product and service.
  • Promise – The promise a brand makes to separate it from competition.
  • Personality – The visual and emotional personality traits appearing throughout a brand identity.
  • Parable – The story behind the brand.
  • Proprietary – The unique expression of the brand’s identity through colors, fonts, logo, icons, etc. definitive of your service and/or products.

Check out these free resources to start your brand identity exploration:

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Brand Workbook

Hubspot’s Brand Workbook

Whether you are starting new or rebranding, establishing a compelling brand identity will help your business succeed!