Ask any marketing or technology leader what they would change about their e-commerce website, and they won’t have to think too long. If you’re one of them, you probably have a memorized website wish list. Continuously looking for ways to improve is smart when it comes to digital technology, which never stops evolving. However, time and money only go so far. Where do you start?
While you may not be ready for a complete overhaul, there are certain e-commerce website updates you must not delay. When you have to choose only the most important updates to execute right now, prioritize these five.
1. Update Your Security and Payment Settings
Even if you ignore the rest of this list, at least update your website security. According to IBM, the average cost of a security breach is nearly $4 million, with an average of 25,575 records compromised. An attack on your site costs not only money, but perhaps more important customer trust. The threat of a security breach has never been higher, with credit card thieves “thriving” during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Wired magazine. As shoppers increased their online activity, so did cyber criminals.
At a minimum, ensure that you have a secure payment system in place. Customers may abandon their purchases altogether if they see a lack of security at checkout. Another good choice is to allow payments through secure third-party processors like PayPal or Venmo.
Other important steps to take for better e-commerce site security include:
- Use a security certificate, which gives you an “HTTPS” url rather than “HTTP”
- Install all updates as soon as they’re released
- Don’t store customer payment information
- Review who has access to the backend of your site, and keep this list up to date
- Run periodic tests for vulnerability of your website
- Back up your site regularly
Some of these have the added bonus of helping your search engine rankings.
2. Install Google Analytics with Ecommerce Tracking
You can’t fix problems that you don’t know about. Install Google Analytics and use it to follow the steps that customers take through your website to a sale, form submission, or other conversion. Run reports and check them at least weekly, if not more often. By knowing what’s happening day-to-day, you can stay nimble and responsive.
These are some key analytics we recommend watching:
- Ecommerce purchase and transactional data
- Site traffic and unique visitors
- Average page views and time on site
- Most visited pages
- The sequence in which a visitor moves among pages
- Where they’re leaving the site
- Complete and incomplete conversions
Once you know how visitors use your site, you can observe changes over time and address any problem areas.
3. Identify UX and Performance Issues
Your analytics data will show you where you’re losing people, and the dropoff may signal issues with your website’s functionality. Maybe a page takes too long to load, the steps are not intuitive, or your checkout process is overly complicated. You could also have a broken link.
A digital design team can run tests to quickly pinpoint any UX or performance issues. Meanwhile, for a quick, low-tech assessment, ask a friend or colleague to try buying a product on your site. Ask them to tell you where they run into trouble—whether it’s with searching the site, finding pricing or shipping information, or checking out. Once you know where your website’s functionality issues like, you can start to address them. You may be able to troubleshoot some things on your own before calling for backup.
4. Make Search Engine Optimizations
If you don’t already know, learn how you appear in search engine results, including Google and Bing, for key search terms. Use terms that a customer would search, including complete sentences that they might ask a voice assistant. Remember to include branded search terms (those that include the name of your company or products) and non-branded search terms (generic words and phrases).
Once you know how you’re doing make sure to implement some basic best practices for e-commerce SEO. Some of the things we’ve already discussed are small ranking factors, like security and fast load times. However, you will also need solid content, which is foundational to any SEO strategy. A digital marketing content team (we happen to know of one) can make recommendations and start improving your search visibility.
5. Add an E-Commerce Sales Solution
E-commerce has become a crucial element of doing business, a trend that accelerated quickly thanks to COVID-19. If you sell a product, you should be able to sell it through your own website and not only rely on third-party sellers such as Amazon or eBay that don’t give you control over your inventory and shipping.
If you don’t currently have e-commerce capabilities at all, work with a web developer to create a relatively simple setup for the short-term, and then build out once you have time to fully strategize and plan. You can also start taking steps today by contacting our digital design and marketing team, who can help put you on the road to growth.