Let’s say for the sake of argument that you have amazing content on your website. You spent a lot of time writing the content and picking images and you feel that it represents your company well. Your design is fresh and fun. But you are still not quite sure that your site is optimized for generating revenue.
First of all, I want to start by saying this is not an article about how to search optimize your site, (SEO). While SEO is something very important, conversion optimization is quite different. Here, I will give you a few pointers on how your ecommerce website can be optimized to accumulate its maximum potential for generating revenue.
While content is most important for (nearly) every site, it alone will not bring in profit. Good content is your diamond in the rough and you need to make it shine as much as possible. Given the competition online for everything from toilet-paper to car engines, you need to find a way to make your ecommerce site stand out from the crowd.
Make your site user friendly: If you need to explain your website to someone, you need to re-think your website! Always keep in mind that your site should be simple and easy to navigate with the fewest number of steps to get to the sale. It should be clear to everyone what are you trying to sell and what your site is about. If you are unsure if your site is easy to use, find any second grader in America and sit with them as they figure it out. If they can get to the payment screen within 30 seconds, you have a winner! If they get confused and hand the laptop back to you… you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.
Use columns: When you look at a newspaper (old school…) you will see that the stories are written in columns. There is a reason for this! People are able to read shorter lines of text better and faster. Design your site the same way, using a rule of thirds. For example: one column of text on the first 1/3rd of the space, and an image in the next 2/3rd of the space. OR use an image in the first 1/3rd and text in the next 2/3rd. Mix it up as you go down the page to add interest and make the sections quick to read and easy for users to decipher and take action.
Product details: Remember to make all product details clear and precise. Users will want to know how size, weight, color, uses, condition and how it might work with other products. Include romance copy that talks about how wonderful the product is, and always include as many specs as possible.
Images: You will increase your rate of conversion if you add additional images. Beside the main product view, consider side angles and in-room or in-use shots to help your customers truly understand what the product looks like before it arrives on their front doors
Reviews: Reviews give buyers confidence and help them make the best choice for them. Whenever possible show reviews on your site—and don’t be afraid of a few lower ratings in the mix. This shows users that you are presenting legitimate feedback and will help inform their buying decisions.
Your conversion story: What do you want people to think as they scan over the page? What will they be looking for? Think about the flow of the page and walk through how a user might want to use the page. If your user would most likely be looking for sales or clearance, are there adequate opportunities for the user to get to that section/page?
Cross platform: Always be accessible and compatible on all major mobile platforms. Nearly everyone has a smartphone or a tablet and a lot of people are using them as their primary devices for browsing so you need to have those bases covered!
Cross browser: Always test for accessibility and compatibility with all major internet browsers. Your website should work as smoothly on Google Chrome as it does on Internet Explorer, and the experience consistent for all users.
Returns and Shipping Policies: No one likes to send something back – but when buying online we’d all like to know that we can! All ecommerce sites should have clear shipping and return information to reassure customers that you are a legitimate online store that values customer service.
Clear CTAs: Look at each page and see if there is a clear path for the user to get to the most important pages. Place calls-to-action throughout to encourage users to “buy now,” or “view clearance”.
Multiple and functional payment methods: If you are selling something, make it easy for your customers to buy the product. Include as many payment methods as you can, and as always keep it simple. Do not over complicate this process and make a potential client back out of the purchase because it is tedious or confusing.
Tools and measurement: Every single aspect of user behavior that is associated with your website can be statistically tracked and analyzed trough tools such as Google Analytics. These tools are very important since they will pin point the good and the bad of your website through the eyes of the visitors. You can track where they click, on which pages they are spending most of their time and from which page they exit the site. Did you know that visitors losing interest and quitting a website is so important that there are tools that specialize just in that aspect and why it happened?
Now you are on your way to making some profit. Your new optimized website can convert to the fullest. Optimizing your website to have the best possible user experience and using tools and expert resources will help to further understand and expand your client base is your safest and best bet towards a profitable website!!
Best of luck!