Creating an ecommerce website is easier than ever. With Shopify, BigCommerce, or Volusion you can go from idea to online store in a few short hours. However, that also means it’s also easier for competitors to crowd your space.
How can you make sure your website and your business are positioned for success? Here are 5 of the biggest mistakes made by new ecommerce websites.
- Lack of quality product descriptions. We can’t stress this enough. With ecommerce, your product descriptions help form the core of your online business. They are “your product.” If you want your website to be found, you need to make sure you spend time developing interesting and relevant content for your target audience. When done right, this will also help generate organic traffic over time. Think about your customers. How would they search for your products? If you sell a sweater, you want to be descriptive with your product titles and descriptions. It’s much easier to be found for a “Grey Cable Knit Men’s Sweater” than it is for a “Grey Sweater.”
- Ineffective product images. Along with the right content, product images help to create the perfect one-two punch. They give website visitors a chance to see themselves using your products and aspire to whatever lifestyle or brand image that helps make your brand and your business unique. When you’re just starting out, look for opportunities to capture your own images vs. hiring a professional photographer. The money you save can be used to experiment with social media advertising.
- Generic “About” page content. There’s a reason why shoppers would rather by from a small business instead of finding something similar on Amazon. They want to know the story behind the business. Why it is you do what you do. What makes you different? Picture yourself having a face-to-face conversation with a potential customer. What would you say? What would you want them to know?
- Cluttered navigation. Even if you have the greatest content and product photography, if your website is impossible to navigate people are going to leave before they can make a purchase. Err on the side of “less is more” while also making sure your products don’t get buried in a drop down menu.
- Slow page speeds. Having a mobile-responsive website is great but you also need to keep an eye on how fast your pages load on desktop and mobile devices. Once your ecommerce website is live, be sure to see how well your site works across mobile and desktop devices with this free page speed tool from Google. Just plug in your url and your website will be graded across three dimensions--mobile friendliness, mobile and desktop speed.
Creating an ecommerce website is the easy part. Building a customer base and a sustainable business takes time. From your product descriptions to your page speed, Make sure you’re positioned for success by focusing on the touch points that are going to shape the customer experience.
As a disclaimer, I use affiliate links for some of the products listed. They are all products I absolutely love and trust and would recommend regardless of whether they have an affiliate program.
[Image: Flickr user andrew prickett]