Congratulations! You’re getting ready to launch your new ecommerce website. But before you do, you’ll want to make sure you’re positioned for success and able to capture the most online sales right out of the gate. The good news is you don’t have to be a web designer or html expert to capitalize on quick wins.
Simplify Your Website Navigation
What are the most important pages you want people to visit the moment they land on your website? In what order? Those two questions should drive your decision making around what to include in your website navigation. You’re never going to be able to include every possible link or page (nor should you) so it’s up to you to prioritize what makes the cut.
Overly generic options such as “products” or “services” generally fall short when it comes to reinforcing the core focus areas/offerings of your business. Including too many items can make it difficult website visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for, causing them to leave before they have a chance to make a purchase. This is often the case when your website navigation rolls over onto a second line.
Generally your top-level website navigation will contain 3-7 broad buckets with 5 typically being the sweet spot.
“Home” is Where the Outdated Website Navigation Is
One last tip on simplify9ing your website navigation—consider removing “Home” as an option. Although it was common on older websites, today it’s usually totally unnecessary. Most new website designs/templates include a linkable logo area in the header that sends visitors back to the homepage and that’s all you really need.
Review Your Desired Path to Purchase
This is where it can be really easy to miss the big picture. Because you’ve spent weeks and often months on granular details, it’s hard to take a step back and look at your website through the eyes of a customer. Start with your homepage and make note of where you find yourself being drawn based on visuals, content, and overall design and then compare that to where you actually want new visitors to go.
Every page should have a clear visual hierarchy that helps guide people one step closer to making a purchase. This includes your images, content, calls-to-action (ex. “Shop Now”), and internal links to relevant pages. For example, if you mention a product or service on an “about” page, it might make sense to link directly to that area of the website. Or if you include product thumbnails or sliders on your homepage, make sure they’re linked to relevant pages that can provide helpful information and/or answer their questions.
Revisit your website on desktop and mobile views. Just because everything looks great on your laptop doesn’t mean that the same page won’t look overly text heavy on a smartphone. Once you go live, you’ll also want to periodically check Google Analytics to see if there are any differences between mobile traffic and desktop traffic—insights you can use to identify specific areas of improvement going forward.
Craft Unique Ecommerce Product Descriptions
If your product descriptions sound like everyone else, there’s no way you’re going to beat out your competition—especially if shoppers can find similar products on Amazon. Although writing ecommerce product descriptions can take some time to create, when it comes to ecommerce websites the effort is almost always more than worth it.
The content you include can help improve your online visibility and SEO. As a result, you want to think strategically about your product titles, keywords, and overall content.
Beyond the potential to drive more website traffic, product descriptions also can pull shoppers in and get them excited about your products. Leverage your unique brand voice (what and how you would describe your products to a customer when you’re face-to-face) as you create each product description. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with it.
Simplify Your Shopping Cart
The last thing anyone wants to do is create another new online account and keep track of another password just so they can place an order. Distill your ordering process down as much as possible.
Your goal is to make it incredibly quick and easy for shoppers to add an item into their cart and checkout. That’s all. Any unnecessary and potentially annoying steps should be eliminated. That's one of the biggest benefits of using small business ecommerce plaforms like Shopify or BigCommerce.
After Your Website Launch
Review sales figures and website traffic over a 30 day period to see if anything jumps out. Once you establish a few baselines, you can start to experiment with your navigation, calls-to-action, and product descriptions to see if you can squeeze even more conversions out of your website by making a few quick and simple tweaks.
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.