5 Things You’re Forgetting on Your E-commerce Site
Ian Lurie Dec 17 2008
So, you’re working hard on SEO. You want that higher ranking. Rankings rankings! Nothing else matters!
Then, suddenly, your organic traffic is going up, but your sales aren’t.
You could fire your SEO firm. Clearly your search engine optimization efforts are a flop. I mean, all they did was generate more traffic, right?
Or, you could consider other possibilities and address them:
1: Conversions Are Lousy
You’re getting more traffic but not more sales. That means your site sucks.
Sorry, but it’s true. Unless your SEO pro is a total moron, they picked the right keywords. Your site’s failing to generate sales because people don’t like what they see when they get there.
Check your referring keywords report. If the keywords are relevant but they’re not generating sales, something is turning people away.
Time to dig deeper.
2: The Cart
Ideally, put goal funnel tracking in place in your cart so you can see if people are abandoning you during checkout. Nail down the problem and address it.
If you can’t, though, follow this checklist for your cart:
- If your cart requires a login before checkout, fix it! I don’t care if you have a ‘check out as guest’ option. If you show any kind of form requiring a password on the first checkout page, you’re losing customers. Remove the form! You’ll sell more stuff.
- Make sure your cart shows shipping costs right on the shipping page. When someone clicks that little ‘UPS’ box, they should immediately know what it’s going to cost them to ship. That way they can change it right then and there. Show ‘em the shipping costs on the order confirmation page and chances are they’ll leave in a huff.
- Be sure customers can edit any part of their order – billing information, shipping, etc. – directly from the order confirmation page.
- Can customers check ‘Shipping address is same as billing address’ and save themselves some typing? If not, it’s time to add that feature.
- Remove every unnecessary action you’re currently forcing customers to take. Don’t need their phone number? Don’t ask for it. Don’t need their full ZIP+4 code? Don’t ask for it! Are 99% of your customers in the USA? Have that pre-selected in the billing and shipping form.
- Show customers where they are. If your cart is a 4-step checkout process, then show what step they’re at, and make sure they know it’s only 4 steps.
- Make sure your cart is speedy. Long delays between steps will drive people away like bug spray in a bee hive.
- If your cart doesn’t validate for address, credit card, phone, etc., slice off your left pinky. Then fix it.
If your developer says they can’t make these changes, or even tries to bill you for it after swearing they could build a great site for you, slap them. When they fall down, kick them. When they stop crying, tell them to fix the damned site. Anyone who tells you they’re an internet marketer or site designer should know better. None of this stuff is rocket science. If they don’t, it’s time they learned.
3: The Product Page
If someone’s coming to your site from a search engine, there’s a good chance they’re landing on a product page. Make sure your product page is eassssssy to read:
- First, have a price. On the page. Where people can see it.
- Put that price in close proximity to a quantity and check out button.
- Put all of that in close proximity to a quality photograph of your product. I don’t care if you sell rubber washers. Photography still matters.
- Make sure the product page loads fast. If I click your ad for bike tires, I’d better see bike tires in 10 seconds or less. Otherwise, I’m gone.
- Show product options in a simple, easy interface. Don’t get all complicated. No one likes complicated. Half the country has a hard time spelling complicated.
- Put your product benefits in a clear, bulleted list. This isn’t literature. It’s marketing.
- Have the product name at the top of the page. Sigh. I can’t believe I still have to write this stuff….
4: General Stuff
Does your home page make it clear you’re an online store, with products and prices and stuff? Seriously, does it? If it doesn’t, and I land there after a search for ‘Radio Flyer Wagons’, I’m probably gonna leave.
Do you have decent quality description tags for each page on your site? Does each page have a clear, descriptive title tag? If not, a lot of people may be coming to your site under incorrect assumptions. Remember, those tags show up in your search listing.
Does your site have a decent quality onsite search tool? How else am I going to find stuff?
Do you have analytics in place, so you know where folks come from, when they buy, and when they leave? You need that data if you’re going to improve.
5: The Painful Truth
At some point, you may have to face the painful truth: Your site isn’t getting it done. If so, you can rebuild. That costs money, like a lot of businesses.
You can make changes, which costs money, like a lot of businesses.
Or you can hang onto what you first built, ignore your customers and just hope that 100,000 visitors will fix what 1,000 couldn’t.
It’s your choice.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More