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5 eCommerce Best Practices for New Businesses

The big wide world of eCommerce can be a scary one for new businesses just starting out – a classic case of a little fish in a big pond sort of feeling. Since it would be just as overwhelming to use this article to list all the things you should and shouldn’t do on your website to make it a success (and trust us, there would be a lot!), we’ve chosen just five of our eCommerce best practices for new businesses to kick-start your online venture and get you on track!

  • Be Responsive

To kick things off, one of the biggest pieces of advice we can give a new eCommerce business owner is to make sure their website is responsive for mobile devices. The accessibility of the internet means contact time on mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones has skyrocketed. According to The Guardian 2018, the average Briton now checks their phone every 12 minutes and is online for 24 hours per week. Additionally, as of 2016, mobile and tablet website usage overtook desktop website usage for the first time in history. This dominance from mobile devices isn’t going anywhere but upwards so make sure you are tapping into the market before it’s too late!

  • Use a Good Hosting Service

Having a good hosting service is the foundation of eCommerce best practices since turning visitors into customers rests on making sure they don’t need to wait more than a few seconds to see what you’ve got to offer. For example, we’ve all been on a website which has taken several minutes to load a page, soon found ourselves frustrated, and hastily left before reaching the desired page. This is usually down to the site being hosted on a poorly performing server.

To make sure you don’t lose any potential customers, you need to have a site that loads quickly. Every second counts, and research shows that even a one-second delay can translate into a double-digit decrease in customer satisfaction.

Lots of hosting services often have added extras you can take advantage of to better improve the user experience such as personalised eCommerce shopping carts and web building capabilities. So if you don’t have time to do that yourself, use your hosting service and get them to do it for you!

Having a good hosting service is the foundation of eCommerce best practices since turning visitors into customers rests on making sure they don’t need to wait more than a few seconds to see what you’ve got to offer.

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  • Master Your Website Content

Sadly, eCommerce success isn’t as black and white as uploading a number of products to a website one day and selling them the next. There is a huge amount of work that needs to go into the makeup of the site to ensure it is fit for search engines to crawl and allow the website to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). These attributes are vast, change adapt and change over time and also known as ‘ranking factors’. Some examples of current ranking factors include sitemaps, metadata, text to code ratio, site speed, links, URL makeups and so on. Annoyingly, there is no way of knowing exactly what search engines prioritise in terms of rank, but what we do know, is that the more relevant the search engine thinks your site is to the given search term(s), the higher your site will rank. One easy way to make search engines aware that your site is relevant to the search term(s) is by having well thought out, keyword focused content.

What’s great about content writing is that it is best written by the person that knows the most about the products and services on offer – that’s usually you! Unlike many of the other ranking factors, it doesn’t necessarily require the help of a trained professional so you can get started on this alongside the creation of your site. Trained professionals can be useful, however, in keyword creation and content strategy to ensure your site is the best fit for the terms searched.

Additionally, installing a blog on your website is another great way to increase the amount of keyword focused content on your site and ensure your site is constantly producing up to date content. Search engines favour sites which are producing new and exciting content, however, the content needs to be of good quality. This is because as of recent years, search engines are beginning to put a lot more weight and authority on longer, well-written content and are disfavouring short, keyword stuffed content. We recommend starting off by posting two to four good quality pieces of content per month of approximately 1000 words each.

  • Don’t Ignore SEO

This above point leads us on nicely to our next top tip, don’t ignore SEO. Once you have a great looking website which is easy to navigate and a good hosting service, you need that extra push to get your new business to the front of the bunch. That’s where having good search engine optimisation (SEO) capabilities come in.

As mentioned, search engines rank a website based on a number of factors. SEO uses keywords and a host of other techniques to help match people who are searching through search engines for what you are selling on your site. Essentially, SEO helps to ensure your site stays up to date with the latest ranking factors and algorithms to best place your site in SERPs.

  • Don’t Forget a Search Bar

I often stress the importance of a search bar to clients and that’s because they do really make a difference. Visits with on-site searches are usually far more engaged and often convert at a much higher rate than those that don’t. It’s as a fast, efficient way of helping your visitors find exactly what they are looking for – you’d be silly to miss that one out!

So there you have it… follow these five eCommerce best practices and you’ll be headed in the right direction for online store success!