Your website is arguably the most important part of your online business. Having a bad site is like having a run-down brick and mortar storefront that gives potential customers a reason to keep driving to the next store. You wouldn’t expect to have great sales if your windows were broken and your shelves were so old that they had 5 years’ worth of dust caking your inventory. The same is true with an outdated site. How do you expect to improve your ecommerce conversion rate if your site looks and functions like something out of a 1990s or 2000s?

The more you’re able to optimize inefficiencies or address issues in your existing website, the sooner you’ll improve ecommerce conversions.

By now you’re probably thinking, “but great ecommerce websites are expensive to build and maintain” and most of the time, you’d be right. While it is probably the costliest undertaking for a small business owner, website optimizations and in some cases complete rebuild, does tend to have the biggest reward for ecommerce sellers. The reality is that you only have a few seconds to make an impression on buyers, and an outdated, clunky website is going to really hurt conversions rate, sales volume, and ultimately – your company’s success.

1990s archived website Circa 1996 – Source: waybackmachine

With that in mind, here are 5 considerations to help you boost ecommerce conversion rate.


1. Is it SEO-friendly?

Having a template or custom design that’s beautifully built doesn’t do much for you if potential customers (and search engines) can’t find it. You have to be diligent when working with web design companies and ensure that  their templates are built with SEO-friendly features. It is better to spend the time, effort, and money to account for this during the development process instead of going back later to correct the website.

Keep SEO best practices top of mind throughout the website design process. From the website layout and navigation to the product images and descriptions, your success in getting found and driving sales is closely tied to following proper SEO practices. Optimized pages mean higher visibility in search results, which usually means more traffic and money.


Proper Website Structure – source: Kissmetrics


2. Keep it branded.

To keep people coming back to your site, you have to make your site unique. If you are using the more affordable template options, you need to spend the time and money to customize the website to distinguish you from the thousands of ecommerce sites out there. Make sure your logo and colors match the personality of your brand.

Don’t have a brand? Creating a brand for your company should be the first thing you tackle prior to purchasing a new website. Having a company brand identity gives you the competitive edge needed in today’s market. It also helps build trust and connections with potential customers.

The new target consumer group, Generation Z, expects companies to have identities and brands to connect with when purchasing products. With $44 billion in purchasing power, this target group is not one to ignore. Ensure you are connecting with your target audience and building trust with potential buyers to increase your sales. Determine your company’s brand, and then get a website to build on it.


Great example of a well-branded shopify site


3. Responsive (mobile-friendly).

If you do not have a mobile-friendly site by now, you better get one, and fast! Google released information announcing that mobile-friendliness is being included in its ranking algorithm. Which in laymen’s terms means, if your site isn’t easily viewed on a cell phone, a customer will have a hard time finding your site when searching on Google.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with a development company and get a responsive website so you can get a piece of that multimillion-dollar pie.


Responsive Site of Same Company


4. Bold Call-to-Actions (CTAs).

Help your customers know what to do on their journey to buying your products. Have strong “Buy Now” and “Add to Cart” buttons so users can easily navigate through each step. They should stand out from the background and be legible. You also do not want give the user too many options. This will cause them to either get side-tracked or become indecisive, neither of which will help you make money.

Having effective CTAs will help increase conversions and ensure your customers are taking the actions that you want them to. Follow these best practices to make the most of your CTAs. This can be a quick and easy win that will improve your customer experience and boost sales.


Great CTA to collect emails for future re-targeting


5. Good Product Images.

I am sure you’ve heard how essential good photos are way too many times. I hope you’ve heeded this advice, because even though a good website is awesome, bad product images will make it hard to move inventory. Imagine me trying to sell you a 1988 Cutlass Ciera with the front smashed in for $50k because it has a rare Lamborghini engine in it. If you want that engine, this sounds ok so far, but there’s a catch – you can’t open the hood to confirm the engine is rare and not damaged. I doubt you would feel comfortable handing over $50k.

Buying products online takes a lot of trust, and you can’t expect someone to hand over money if the photo looks like a scanned 1980s polaroid. If a professional photographer isn’t in your 2016 budget, there are things you can do yourself to get better quality photos.

Optimizing your photos is important for SEO purposes as well. Make sure you save the photos correctly so that they do not increase your website’s loading time. This all ties back to number 1 again, and website speed is another element in Google’s algorithm. You want your website to load fast, not just for ranking reasons, but for the customer’s experience. I will leave a website if I wait too long for it to load.

Call me a self-absorbed millennial, but I will not waste my time on a slow site – there are too many fish in the sea. Having proper alt tags, file names, and image site maps can help increase your ecommerce website’s exposure tremendously. Shopify has a great blog post that walks through quick tips and online tools to get you started.


Great example of photos that are clear and also represents the brand well


You need a great website to compete in today’s online market. Without a good first impression, it will be hard to generate income and turn your ecommerce business into the empire you’ve dreamed about. With the busy holidays behind us, take this time to get your website up-to-date and start the year off on the right foot.

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