A well-optimized website is crucial for any e-commerce business. Modern consumers have increasingly high expectations of online shopping, and, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, online retail adoption has surged. As we move into 2021, consumer buying trends will continue in the same vein, making it all the more important to optimize wherever possible. From load times and conversion rate to intuitive navigation and improved checkout, we’ve got five tips to take your site to the next level.
Simply put, an optimized website means increased traffic which means increased conversions. As an e-commerce business, this is your ultimate goal. By optimizing your website, you can actively improve your ROI. It seems like a no-brainer, right? Yet, so many e-commerce businesses get it wrong.
While an e-commerce store is undoubtedly a lucrative opportunity, around 90% fail within 120 days of their launch. The most common mistakes entrepreneurs make are a lack of customer research, poor customer service, insufficient promotion, and poor website design. User experience is the crux of any e-commerce website. A poor onsite experience isn’t going to encourage an initial purchase, let alone a return visit.
Search Engine Optimization refers to where you appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It’s Google’s way of determining which sites deserve to rank higher than others. With almost 70% of all clicks going to the top five results, it’s no wonder SEO should form a foundation for your e-commerce site.
There are three things to consider in your SEO recipe - on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. When you’re setting up your website, your on-page content and HTML source code should be your focus.
Take into account your on-page ranking factors, including the title tag and URL. Avoid duplicating content, introducing a product page if you have several similar items on site. Utilizing a canonical URL is critical if you want the right landing page to pull through. Don’t forget to optimize your images, reducing their size, and providing alternative keyword text to shift you up in the ranking.
Convenience is a crucial factor to the success of any e-commerce site. If your page takes too long to load, customers will drop off and head to the next one. You want to aim for a two-second load time to reduce any frustration from your potential consumers.
Take a look at Google’s PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your page. If your performance score is below 50, you’ve got some work to do. Ideally, you want it to be sitting at 90 or above. You’ll get a list of recommendations to adjust your site accordingly. It could include anything from file compression and a reduction in redirects to leveraging browser caching and utilizing a content distribution network (CDN). You may not be able to implement it all at once but start working towards that 90.
Website usability is the crux of customer experience. Intuitive navigation refers to information being exactly where the consumer is looking. Avoid trying to over-complicate your website and stick to the general rules of layout to avoid dropoff.
Your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing, free of errors, and easy to use. Start by consolidating any menu items, introducing a top-down navigation bar if necessary. Make sure you focus on the products, categorizing them clearly to avoid any confusion. Introduce an easy-to-use search field, especially if your collection is extensive. Lastly, incorporate an expedient checkout process. Whether it’s a discount for first-time shoppers or expanding your payment gateway to different methods, you want to incentivize that final conversion wherever possible.
One of the most common mistakes e-commerce businesses make is forgetting mobile users. With 54% of digital sales happening on mobile, it’s crucial to optimize your website for both. Avoid alienating a chunk of your target audience with a few simple checks.
Use media queries where possible, encouraging your CSS to display ideally based on the device. A responsive theme is a must and remember to use percentages for image resolution. Use standard fonts, ensuring they’re pre-installed on most devices, and whatever you do, don’t use Flash.
Website optimization is an ongoing endeavor. Be proactive and plan for routine maintenance. If you need to budget for a third-party developer each quarter, it’s worth doing to periodically check any broken links, glitches, or load speed concerns.
Implement Google Tag Manager to centralize all of your code. Use the Google Search Console to monitor your 404 pages and conduct Net Promotor Score surveys using Zapier and AskNicely. Do regular A/B tests on problematic pages and search results, continually optimizing for conversions. Most importantly, watch how real people engage on your site with tools like FullStory and HotJar.
Utilize these five strategies to optimize your e-commerce site for 2021 and watch that traffic increase. Get the basics right, laying the foundation for a successful e-commerce platform that’ll add value for years to come.