Preparing Your E-commerce Website for Battle

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prepare-your-e-commerce-site

Zero-1 are often approached by businesses seeking to create improve an existing  e-commerce website.

Sometimes, a site’s problems are rooted in the site design, others in stock management but ultimately such problems can have a negative effect on SEO factors. A common scenario is that the company has had their website upgraded to an online store by another agency. For a number of reasons they have not been happy with the results they are getting and have sought a second opinion or new solution.

More often than not, the client has many products in their online store, all without the required, basic level of information to assist potential customers in finding, and ultimately buying the product.

In this post, I will attempt to lay out some basic points that business owners should consider before embarking on building an e commerce site, and ones to bear in mind when seeking a return on their investment.

Web Site Plan / Web Site Audit

If your haven’t yet got a website yet, you need to engage some expert help. Do not rush into choosing the first company you encounter.

Most companies will give you a free estimate, if possible, meet the company, get a feel for them and how they operate. Trust is an important factor in choosing a web agency. Talk about your needs, their experience, and your expectations. Get the agency to make a formal proposal, with a detailed site plan, explanations of work to be carried out with proposed timings and costs all detailed. You can meet with several companies, choose the one that you feel will best suit your needs.Website Audit

Have an existing ecommerce website?

If you already have a website and feel that it needs attention to increase visitors, sales or both, then you are going to need a website audit. Again, most web site audits are free, so take advantage of the expertise of your chosen agency. They will be able to identify problems with our site that most business owners simply aren’t aware of.

A good web development agency will provide you with a detailed breakdown of your site’s existing layout, how it might be improved. Errors within the site that might be affecting performance and most importantly how to improve traffic and conversions.

Poor Website Design Hurts Sales

Often the poor design of an e-commerce website can be hampering it’s effectiveness at retaining visitors and stopping them from making that all important purchase or submitting a callback request. Perhaps the site is old and requires a redesign from the ground up, or maybe it just needs some tweaks. Whatever the situation, it is important that you open a dialogue with your agency. Talking to the Designer and Marketing Officer is going to be crucial in getting the best results from your site.

Before doing this ask yourself the questions,

Am I a Designer?” or “Do I have experience in online design and marketing?

If the answer is “no”, then you will most likely be best served by listening to the designers’ Ideas. Don’t be tempted to overrule their suggestions simply because they aren’t to your taste.  A good web agency will produce a design for a website based on market factors such as statistics of visitor traffic and purchasing habits, not on emotion and sentimentality. Business owners often overlook that, and insist that a design follow their ideas to the letter. Remember, you are not building the website for yourself, but for your customers.

Stock Control Issues can damage your ability to sell online

Most e-commerce software contains some form of import facility from your Stock Control software. If at all possible, get your stock control software in order before exporting the data out and putting it online.

If your stock database has empty or incomplete fields, then so will your web store.

Once you import your product data into your online store. Here’s a checklist to work through

  • Product Names: Are they logical from a customers point of view?
  • Product Codes: Do you have them?
  • Product Descriptions: Do your products have descriptions? If not, why not?
  • Product Images: Does each product have a good image? Are those images tempting enough to sell the product?
  • Categories: Does this Product belong in a category? Is your category structure both simple and logical?

By getting your product database in order you set a precedent for future efficiency, the time and effort invested in doing this will mean that it doesn’t have to be repeated for your online store, and you wont be working with two differing, and often confusing data sets. Zero-1 build e-commerce sites using Magento. We are Magento Silver Partners, our designers and developers are Magento Certified.  Magento can connect directly to your stock database and even your shop till.

Great Content Helps Sell Products

Web promotion is a constantly changing landscape. Business owners have to meet the criteria that Search Engines set if they want their stores to be competitive online.

Changes to the Google Algorithm means that Google favours sites that provide great content, as opposed to those with thousands of links from irrelevant websites.

product-display

So, even if you have thousands of products. The task ahead is to write good product descriptions for each of them. If you have lots of similar products, try to make those descriptions different. It’s a hard, time-consuming task, and can be both boring and daunting, but when you do it, you prove to yourself and your team that it can be done, whilst teaching yourself a valuable lesson in really understanding how to sell your products online.

“Do not be tempted to copy and paste product descriptions for the manufacturer website”

Try to add value to your product descriptions, make them special, unique and complete. Do not be tempted to copy and paste product descriptions for the manufacturer website. If you do this, rather than benefiting the site, you will most likely end up being ignored by search engines for having duplicate content.

You are the Expert in your field

You are the expert on your products, so prove it to your customers. Products names,  and a blurry photo, just won’t cut it these days, especially if your competitor has a better photo, description and price.

You are the Product Expert

If you follow these simple guidelines your site will be ready to add an intensive SEO campaign to the mix. Being ready before you begin your SEO campaigns should give you a significant advantage over competitor sites who may not have taken these precautionary steps.

To find out more about SEO & marketing for your eCommerce Website,
Contact Zero-1

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» Marketing / Strategy » Preparing Your E-commerce Website for...
On 29th January 2013
By Phil Gregory

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