Are you planning to launch an eCommerce site or add a store element to an existing website? If so, it’s important that you create a website that’s built to do well as an eCommerce site. There are many elements that go into creating an eCommerce site that’s functional as well as optimal. Here are some tips for creating a website that will do well in eCommerce.
1. Start with the Right Platform
Choosing the right eCommerce platform is the first step. If you want to build a pure eCommerce site, the most popular choices will be Shopify and BigCommerce. These platforms allow you to build and design eCommerce sites with ease. They also come with all the tools, features, and functions you’ll need to manage your online store and maximize your site’s ability to sell.
If you want to integrate an online store into your existing website, then you can use a plugin for your CMS. The most popular plugin for WordPress is WooCommerce. It is easy to use and packed with all the features you need to run your store. It is also regularly updated by the developers, so it is getting better with each iteration. The best part is that it’s completely free. You only pay for the premium features if you want them.
2. Make Sure Your Site Uses Premium Web Hosting
It’s important to understand early on that an eCommerce site is very media heavy. It’s usually full of high-resolution images, instructional videos, and other design elements compared to a regular content site. As a result, you’ll want to go with a premium web hosting provider and service to ensure that your website delivers a fast loading time for your visitors.
Although you can get away with a simple web hosting provider and plan, a big part of your sales will probably come from mobile devices. The performance of mobile devices performs slower and usually has slower connections compared to desktops. That’s why paying the extra premium for a better service will be worth it. It will translate to increased sales from mobile device users.
3. Create an Organized Site Structure and Navigation Menu
eCommerce sites tend to have many products in various categories. That’s why it’s absolutely essential that you create an organized site structure and a navigation menu that complements it. Create tight categories and sub-categories for all of your products. Make sure your navigation menu is clean, easy to use, and organized. Pay careful attention to how it appears on mobile devices because long menus tend to get very complicated on smaller screens.
It also helps to add sub-menus to your eCommerce site. This menu which appears on either the left or right hand side of your site should link to related products/categories and list other sub-categories. Another smart addition is to add a refinement search bar. This bar usually allows users to refine the results by price, size, color, rating, or any other characteristic that makes it easier to help them find what they want.
4. Optimize Layouts and Product Pages
Your layout helps determine what products are placed prominently on your main page and category pages. That’s why you’ll want to spend time optimizing it and find out which layouts lead to the most sales. While many eCommerce stores play around with creative and funky layouts, it’s usually best to keep it simple. This allows users to easily interact with your website and also makes it easy for them to understand your site’s pattern.
The product page is another point you want to put a lot of focus on. Simple changes in the layout, font, design, and copy of your product pages can result in big conversion lifts. You want to try out different variations of product pages to optimize for conversions. There are also different elements you can add like 360-degree product views, video demonstrations, multiple images, and product image zoom features.
5. Focus on SEO During the Design and Development Phase
SEO should always be in consideration when building an eCommerce store. Even if it isn’t a big part of your strategy at the moment, you want to build the foundations for high search engine rankings during the design and development phase. The reason why is because it becomes so much of a larger task if you do end up investing into a SEO campaign later down the line.
For instance, you may have to change the CSS for your entire site. You may have to go back and optimize all the onpage factors for each product page. You may have to change the URL structure for each page, and the list goes on. It’s really inconvenient to make changes for SEO later on. It will take more effort to fix your SEO mistakes, redo your site structure, and change all the small details. It’s simply better to focus on SEO from the very beginning.
6. Work Hard to Minimize Loading Time
Loading time is always a big obstacle with eCommerce sites. There are tons of multimedia files, complex site structures, and various scripts when it comes to eCommerce sites. But at the end of the day, long loading times have a strong negative impact on your sales. That’s why it’s not something you can just ignore. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to decrease your site’s loading time.
We talked about choosing a better hosting provider and plan. To add to that, you can minify your CSS, enable browser caching, defer bottom of fold loading, use a CDN, compress your image files, compress your website, and more. Look into all the ways you can decrease your loading speed because there are many solutions that add up to make a big difference in your site’s performance.
These are just a few simple ways to ensure that your site will perform will in the eCommerce industry. While selling products online is easier than it’s ever been, there are still many things you need to do to enable sales. These tips will help you get started with your eCommerce adventures in the right way.