I realize shop owners most likely have little time for reading my extremely long posts. Which is good because otherwise I would hate to be out of work =-). So for those of you with little time on your hands, here is a brief yet powerful post of our top 10 e-commerce tips for online store owners.
- Make good use of your store’s page real estate. You get about 15 seconds max to engage a shopper and this happens in the eyeline and header area. Pay very special attention to the top left and make both good visual and textual use of these areas. (Believe it or not surfers generally scan the text first)
- Your search function is a high priority and warrants top quality real estate. The absolute best place is near the top left of the header. Most people will search first, as they are have generally been conditioned to expect poor navigation and the inability to find what they are seeking using a site’s menus.
- Sales text and special savings are very much at home and appropriate in the eyeline text area. Remember, engage them… Not chase shoppers off.
- Your menu is a crucial piece both for users and organic search indexing. The main menu should be highly relevant and topside. Right hand column menus may look cool, but in my experience shoppers are put off by them. Ancillary pages like shipping information and terms of service do not belong here. Down to the low income real estate with those links, if a shopper needs them they will look for them and find them… Most shoppers have little or no need for them.
- Relevancy and content concentration may be great for Google, but not always so accommodating for your shoppers. Your products need to be within three clicks of your main page, and less is better.
- I realize we all want great organic search rankings, but if you cannot convert the traffic… What’s the point? Use logical ordering, user friendly text and naturally named categories and sub-categories. Shoppers will convert better.
- DO NOT IGNORE YOUR CATEGORY PAGES. This is a very, very common mistake among the sites we have analyzed. You see, product pages have a very nice and tight topic with which to rank with, and category pages are next in ability to rank. Their content is far less broad than your shop’s main page and they can additionally chase more keywords and longtails with their slightly broader content.
- Is your company name WalMart? No? Then stick to a product array which is densely relevant. Hey, if you find another great product line and it’s not related, then build a new store. Keep your store’s product scope and theme tight.
- I can certainly understand the weakness we all feel, but, please limit your cross-sells and hard sells. Shoppers really are confused by too many options, and rightly so. Shoppers are also put off by overly persistent hard selling techniques. (kind of like that damn car salesman chasing you around the lot!)
- Your checkout has to be short and sweet. Do not collect unnecessary information from shoppers or hold them up in checkout any longer than necessary. Online shoppers are very fickle about filling out these long and redundant forms… Not to mention Internet users as a whole are increasingly sensitive about the type and amount of information they provide anyone.
Okay, so I lied I have one more word to the wise……
NEVER, EVER USE PAY PER CLICK ADS IN YOUR STORE!
If your margin is so bad that you can afford to send a potential sale away for a nickel, then get a job at McDonalds… It pays better.
E-Commerce for All!