If you sell online, your eCommerce site is only as good as its supporting content. Your website’s written copy, layout, design, mechanics, functionality, aesthetics and appeal to search engines are just as important as what you sell. Without great content, your great products or services run the risk of not being found.
Following are four common mistakes that deserve your attention sooner rather than later if you want your eCommerce website to effectively serve its visitors.
1. An Aesthetically Unpleasing Website
Your website’s aesthetic look, feel and functionality are the very first thing to hit your visitors when they arrive at your online home. Your content and service mean nothing if your customers’ first impression is, “Wow. What a hideous website.”
Successful websites have interfaces that are clear, concise, familiar, responsive, consistent, attractive, efficient and forgiving. That last one is important. People are bound to make mistakes when shopping on a new eCommerce site. Your site should allow them to easily undo errors and bounce back without having to start over.
2. Not Having A Blog
Blogs do more than just increase traffic to otherwise static websites. They help keep your website fresh and get your site’s content crawled by search engines. Blogs inform your readers and they position you as an authoritative expert on the products or services you sell. They can answer questions and start discussions. Blogs provide structure and a direct link to your social-media campaign that doesn’t involve shameless plugging.
“Here’s a link to an interesting and relevant blog post about the history of grandfather clocks” plays much better on social media than “Visit IHawkGrandFatherClocks.com and buy what I sell.” Once you get them on your blog, you can use links to lead them back to your eCommerce site.
3. Poorly Designed Landing Pages
If they’ve made it to your landing page, congratulations — your ad worked. They noticed your ad, the copy drew them in and they actually clicked on it. If eCommerce were fishing, they’d be on the hook. But you’d be surprised how many customers are stonewalled by bad landing pages at this crucial final step.
Your landing page must contain the information that was in your ad. It must use the same keywords in the headline and in the copy. Landing pages must be well written, they must have a call to action and they can’t be confusing or contain too many exits.
4. A Cumbersome Shopping Cart
Finally, don’t make it hard for consumers to buy from you. A great shopping cart does more than just collect payment info and shipping data.
Give them payment options by accepting all major credits cards through use of an online payment processor that allows you to offer these options at one fixed rate. Convenient for your customer, financially conducive for you.
Don’t make them jump through hoops by forcing guest visitors to register or sign up to buy. But, do offer express checkout to returning customers.
Include a feature that gives real-time inventory so they don’t get to the end only to find out the grandfather clock they want is no longer available. Offer order tracking, advertise your security features and always use big, obvious “buy now” buttons that make it clear what to do and how to do it.
No matter how amazing your product or service, a great eCommerce site isn’t actually great unless it is accompanied by a blog. Your site has to look good, be functional and have intuitive features for the user. Pay close attention to your landing pages; bad landing pages are the source of so many missed sales. Finally, don’t make your shopping cart an afterthought — it’s the very last step before visitors become customers.