How much time does it take to optimize a site? What are the techniques involved in e-commerce site optimization? What should you focus on? How can you get started?
There are thousands of e-commerce sites out there, each vying for attention from customers. Some of them are optimized well, some aren’t. If you want to increase sales, you need to start optimizing now.
We’ve compiled a list of ten things you can optimize to improve your conversion rate. These include:
Your Product Page – The page where potential buyers land after they click through from Google or Facebook. This is also known as the landing page.
Your Homepage – The homepage is the main entry point into your store. Make sure it has clear calls to action (CTAs).
Other On-Site Elements – There are also many other on-site elements you have to be aware of in order to create the best, optimized representation of your site to both users and search engines.
The following includes methods you can use in order to effectively optimize your own e-commerce website, making sure it’s primed and ready for traffic and conversions.
Improve Your Product Pages Significantly
Your first step should be to ensure you’re making your product pages compelling enough to convince visitors to buy. If you’re selling physical goods, you’ll want to consider how your product pages compare to similar items already listed on Amazon.
An Amazon listing would include just about everything you’d expect — price, description, pictures, reviews, etc. But on your own site, there might be something else missing: Breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are navigation elements that allow web users to easily move around a website without having to go back to the homepage.
They’re especially useful for navigating sites that sell multiple related products, like clothing stores. And because breadcrumbs are typically displayed above each page, they’re visible to everyone who visits the page and are usually very easy to use. These page elements show users exactly the path they took to get where they are, so they can go back home if they need to.
Here’s another example of breadcrumbs:
Home > About Page > Product Page > Widget 12345
As you can see, the breadcrumb trail takes the user directly to the product page they are interested in. This makes it much easier for shoppers to browse the rest of the site without getting lost.
So what does this mean for product pages? Well, first off, don’t forget about breadcrumbs. Second, think about what information you could add to your listings to make them even more enticing. Maybe you could include a discount code or coupon that shoppers can use to save money on future purchases. Or perhaps you could offer free shipping or a gift card with their purchase.
Of course, the best way to determine what you can do to improve your product pages is to test different approaches yourself.
Start with a few simple changes and then gradually add more features over time. Remember, though, that you won’t always know exactly what works best for your audience. So keep testing until you find the best thing for your site.
Optimize Your Pricing With Better Offers
This is something we see happen over and over again. People think that because they offer a great value, there’s nothing else they can do to improve their conversion rates. But there is. And here are some things you can try.
1. Make Your Price Clear
If you’re offering a discount, make sure your customers understand what it is. If you’re charging full price, let people know why you’re doing that.
2. Include Free Shipping
Offering free shipping is a great way to boost conversions. You can use tools like ShipStation to automate your fulfillment process and save money while increasing customer satisfaction.
3. Add Value With Extras
People love freebies. Webmasters don’t always realize how much value they add to their brand. Offer extra bonuses, such as recipes or videos, to give your audience even more reasons to choose your product.
Use Personalization Judiciously
Personalization has become a hot topic for ecommerce sites in recent years. With the rise of mobile devices and smartphones, consumers want to find products quickly and easily. They don’t want to spend hours searching for something they might eventually buy. This is why it’s important to offer them relevant product recommendations based on their previous purchases and browsing history.
So how exactly does personalization work? Well, there are several ways to use it. For example, you could show them similar items they bought recently. Or maybe you could recommend other products they looked at while browsing your store. There are many different options depending on your needs and goals.
Here are some tips on ecommerce personalization.
1. Don’t Forget About Mobile
With so much attention being paid to improving the customer experience online, it’s easy to forget about the importance of mobile. Consumers are increasingly shopping via their phones, tablets, and smart watches. This means that your site must be optimized for mobile. Otherwise, you’ll lose out on sales.
2. Know Your Customers’ Behavior
You know your customers better than anyone else. So it makes sense to take advantage of that knowledge. Find out what they’re looking for and what they’re interested in. Then make sure you show them those things.
3. Identify Their Specific Pain Points
An audience’s pain point is something that is a major problem for them and they are looking for a product that solves that problem. If your e-commerce site can do that, and you can drive a lot of customers to your site, and you can remove the points of friction between them buying from you, you can make a lot of money as a result. This is why identifying the right specific pain points is so critical.
Make Sure Your E-Commerce Site is Optimized for Mobile
We touched on mobile briefly before, but it is important to discuss more in-depth, because Google is on a mobile-first indexing model.
Mobile is becoming increasingly important for online retailers. More shoppers are shopping via smartphones and tablets than ever before. And it’s no surprise why. People want to shop wherever they are, whenever they’re ready to buy something. They don’t want to wait around for shipping, return policies or even checkout processes. As such, optimizing for mobile is absolutely critical to success.
Speed Up Your Site
The most obvious way to optimize for mobile is simply to make sure your site loads quickly. If your site takes too long to load, customers will abandon ship and go somewhere else. Customers aren’t willing to wait around for a slow site. It is ideal to keep your page speed around 2-3 seconds for everything to load – or less.
Another way to speed up your site is to reduce the number of images on your page. Images take time to download, especially over cellular data networks. In fact, according to research conducted by speedcurve.com, the average web page is around 3 MB in size. This includes things like logos, navigation bars, product photos, etc.
To help speed up your site, consider reducing the amount of image files you include. You could save bandwidth by cutting down on the number of different sizes of each image. Or, if possible, try to replace large images with smaller versions. For example, rather than having one full-sized photo of a product on your homepage, perhaps you could display several thumbnails.
If you do decide to add larger images to your site, keep in mind that there’s a limit to how much information you can pack into a single image file. You might also notice that the image doesn’t show up properly. Instead, it might look pixelated or blurry.
This happens because of over compression of an image, which means that you need to dial that part of your site’s processes down a bit to improve clarity.
Optimize for Search
In addition to speeding up your site, another thing you can do to increase conversions is optimize for search engines. There are plenty of ways to do this, including making sure you have descriptive meta tags and keywords in place. But perhaps the best way is to incorporate a responsive design. A responsive design allows your site to adapt to whatever device someone is viewing it on. This makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for and helps ensure that they view your site in the format they prefer.
If you want to learn more about mobile optimization in-depth, you may want to check out our guide to common mobile optimization mistakes.
Be Sure to Use an Upsell
Upselling is a proven tactic to increase online sales. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to turn visitors into buyers because it makes sense to give people what they want. And you don’t even have to ask them twice. “People are much more likely to purchase something when they’ve shown interest,” says Chris Mackey, CEO of Blue Fountain Media. “They’ll often say ‘yes’ without asking.”
You can encourage people to buy an upgraded version of a product they’ve already expressed interest in. This works especially well if there’s some reason why the upgrade is worth buying. For example, if you sell software, you might offer a premium version of your software that includes extra features. Or if you sell clothing, you could offer a shirt that’s tailored to fit someone’s body better. If you sell books, you could add a hardcover edition to your paperback book.
If you do decide to upsell to existing customers, make sure you offer a compelling reason to do so. Otherwise, people won’t feel like they got anything out of their initial transaction. They’ll just assume your prices are too high.
Reduce User Abandonment of the Shopping Cart
The number one reason people abandon their carts is because they don’t know what to do next. In fact, according to research conducted by Drip.com, the average cart abandonment rate is just under 70 percent, which means that around seven out of every ten shoppers don’t complete a transaction. Many site owners find these numbers troubling.
How many times have you been browsing a site and suddenly found yourself wondering “what am I supposed to do now?” You’ve probably left without buying anything. And it happens all the time.
If you’re like most of us, you might think that the best way to avoid this problem is to make sure that everything is easy for customers. After all, how hard could it possibly be to find out where to go next? But here’s the thing…
Most of us already know exactly what we want to buy. We know our budget, or the things we’re looking for, or the brands we prefer. So why don’t we just keep shopping? Because there’s something else stopping us.
We’ve got no idea what to do next.
This is where an easy-to-use website comes into play. An easy-to-use website provides everything that someone has to do up-front, and gives all the information they need to make a decision easily.
This, however, is much easier said than done in reality.
Choose the Correct URLs
One of the best ways to optimize your ecommerce site for SEO is to use good URLs. You want to make sure that the URL is readable by humans, and that the keyword(s) is/are included in the URL itself.
You don’t necessarily want to put your main keyword in the URL, but it’s okay to include it in the domain name. If you do choose to include your main keyword in the URL, try to keep it under 50 to 60 characters.
This will help ensure that the URL isn’t too long, and that it doesn’t break the rules set forth by Google.
You can find out how many characters your URL takes by using a character count tool, such as one found in Windows Notepad and Microsoft Word.
Write Long and Unique Product Descriptions
In e-commerce SEO, Google uses the content on your page and what it finds there to determine whether or not to show your page in the SERPs. If your product page has a very short description and not much else on it, Google doesn’t have much to go on. This is because Google looks at the entire web for information about a particular topic and decides, based on what it finds, where to place the relevant results.
So, if your product page contains duplicate content—that is, the same text appears on multiple pages—Google will filter out the duplicate content pages in favor of unique content pages. Not only does this hurt your rankings, but it also hurts your conversion rates. Copying and pasting a brief description from a manufacturer or retailer is called duplicate content and it’s also something you want to avoid. When people do this, they’re creating “thin content,” meaning that Google doesn’t know enough about the item to display it properly.
Writing a unique description with a ton of important detail helps improve the ranking of the page and reduces thin content. You’ll notice that most product pages have longer descriptions, reviews, and images than the ones we’ve mentioned above. These are usually written with a lot of care and attention. They give Google plenty of information to work with and thus increase the likelihood that they’ll show up in the SERPs.
They also add plenty of value, so that you don’t run the risk of running into any thin content issues as a result.
Work on Improving Your Internal Links
The longer you can keep your visitor browsing your content, the better chance you have of getting a conversion. So how do you ensure they stick around long enough to find what they’re looking for? One way is to use relevant links to other landing pages within your site. These links are called “internal links.” They allow your readers to easily navigate to different sections of your site without having to scroll down.
In addition to helping people find exactly what they want, internal links can also help boost your rankings. Search engines like Google give priority to sites that offer quality content. Links from high-quality sources show up higher in search results because they indicate trustworthiness.
Pro Tip: Be Sure to Use Keywords in Your Link Anchor Text
For example, let’s say you’re selling a product about dogs. You could write an article titled “How To Train Your Dog,” and include the following sentence in your body copy: “Check out our guide on training your dog!” This makes it easy for someone searching for “training your dog” to see your post. However, if you wrote the same article about cats, you’d probably change the headline to something like “7 Ways To Make Your Cat Happy.”
You might even consider writing several articles about specific topics related to your niche. Then, include those headlines throughout your blog posts. When someone searches for one of those topics, the article appears at the top of the list.
Internal linking is especially important for e-commerce stores. Think about it: How many times did you buy something online and end up scrolling through multiple pages just to figure out where to buy the thing you wanted? By creating internal links, you make it easier for your visitors to find the exact product they’re looking for. Additionally, you provide a potential path for users to follow to find this product when internal links are done correctly.
Ensure That The Most Important Information is Above the Fold
The content on your homepage that’s “above-the-fold” is visible before any scrolling takes place. This area of the screen is where a visitor sees the brand name, logo, and other elements that help define your product or service. If you don’t include the right content here, it could lead to low conversions. In fact, according to a study conducted by HubSpot, the average conversion rate drops by 13% when the home page doesn’t contain the correct content.
Here are some examples of content that belongs above the fold:
- Your logo and tagline
- Professional presentation of your products or services
- Calls to action
This is why it’s important to be strategic about the type of content you include above the fold. The more content you include that’s better for SEO, the better your site’s performance could be.
Don’t Neglect Ensuring That Your E-Commerce Site is Properly Optimized
When you create an e-commerce site, it’s important to ensure that your site is not only optimized for search engines, but also optimized for your users as well.
By making sure that you work on including the above points, you will be well on your way to creating a great, properly optimized site that your users (and Google) will love.
If you hope to sell products and services to consumers online, making sure that your site is easy to use (and easy to find) are great strategies.
When do you plan on creating your optimized e-commerce niche website?