Building an online store can be difficult, especially if you’re a beginner. You might need to figure out where to begin. As a result, you try everything in a random order. Sadly, this may lead to some missing steps. We’ve designed a helpful ecommerce checklist for new store owners to ensure your success.
Importance of optimizing an e-commerce website
Optimizing an e-commerce website is crucial for online businesses that want to succeed in the competitive digital marketplace. It involves improving various aspects of the website such as design, user experience, content, SEO, marketing, and security to enhance the overall customer experience and increase sales.
One of the main reasons why optimizing an e-commerce website is so important is that it can significantly impact customer satisfaction. A website that is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and provides a great user experience is much more likely to convert visitors into customers. On the other hand, a website that is slow, difficult to use, or confusing can lead to frustration and ultimately result in lost sales.
Optimizing an e-commerce website can also have a positive impact on its search engine ranking. Search engines like Google use various algorithms to determine the relevancy and authority of websites, and by optimizing an e-commerce website for search engines, businesses can improve their visibility and attract more organic traffic.
Moreover, optimizing an e-commerce website can help businesses to create a stronger brand identity and build trust with their customers. A well-designed website that provides helpful and informative content can help to establish the business as an authority in their industry and give customers confidence in their products or services.
In addition to these benefits, optimizing an e-commerce website can also lead to increased sales and revenue. By improving various aspects of the website, businesses can reduce cart abandonment rates, increase the average order value, and encourage repeat purchases, all of which can contribute to increased profitability.
In conclusion, optimizing an e-commerce website is essential for online businesses that want to succeed in today’s digital marketplace. By focusing on improving design, user experience, content, SEO, marketing, and security, businesses can create a website that is easy to use, informative, and trustworthy and ultimately drive more sales and revenue.
Checklist for Site-Wide Ecommerce
The first section of our ecommerce checklist is all about adjustments you can make to your website to ensure your online store is up to date. Some of these recommendations will help your ecommerce SEO, but more importantly, they will improve the user experience when they visit your site.
1. Use consistent branding
The first thing you should be aware of is the need of consistent branding. Make your brand or logo visible on your homepage and in the page title. This will help to develop trust and promote and build your business, triggering recognition both offline and on search engine result pages.
2. Include social media links and a newsletter sign-up form.
Newsletters and social media are the simplest ways to attract customers to return to your website, so be sure to highlight your social profiles and newsletter registration throughout your website. Add your social profiles to your footer at the very least (include icons, links, and social widgets), but if you have room in your header, that would also be a wonderful place for them. Use scroll-triggered boxes to draw attention to your newsletter on your sidebar. A wonderful giveaway is always a good approach to getting people to subscribe.
3. Take care of the necessities for site navigation
Ensure that users can access your most critical pages via the site navigation. It should always be simple to access shopping pages and the shopping cart, as well as customer service and FAQs covering important topics such as shipping rates and payment methods. Users will find it difficult to shop on your site if these pages are not easily accessible.
4. Make use of SSL and security seals
Here’s an important aspect of building trust: if your site has an SSL certificate, it will display that wonderful green padlock in your visitors’ browser address bar, letting them know they are buying in a secure environment. These features will allow clients to confidently enter their home address, credit card information, or whatever other personal information they request. You might also incorporate security seals. More advice like this can be found in our trust post.
5. Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly
Don’t overlook mobile users! Many buyers are increasingly choosing to make purchases through mobile devices. Therefore be prepared for them and don’t lose out on such deals.
6. Bring everything up to speed
When we talk about speed, we mean the speed of your desktop and mobile websites. Individuals nowadays have short attention spans, and we’ve all grown accustomed to quicker internet everywhere. But there are many places across the world where people must make do with less-than-ideal mobile connections and limited data allowances. Don’t take your circumstances as gospel. Also, Google favours speedier websites, which is another incentive to ensure that your website is as fast as possible.
7. If you don’t already have one, create one
Consumers want to know about the company from which they are purchasing. Who is responsible? What is their backstory? What drives them? People are more inclined to return to a store and buy more things if we have the same values and views. Including an about us page, as well as potentially a team photo, will help you connect with your consumers. Patagonia and Dopper are good examples if you need some ideas.
While you don’t have to optimize your ecommerce site’s homepage for SEO, you shouldn’t neglect it totally either. There are a few things you can do to ensure that any visitors who land there continue to shop and make a purchase:
8. Display featured products
You should also reserve a prominent space on your site for featured products or anything similar: often your core products or items on sale. This will give an immediate trigger for visitors, and it is also an excellent approach to let them know if they have arrived at the correct online store.
9. Add a strong call to action
A strong call to action is required on your homepage. It may alter over time, such as if you wish to advertise specific products or run seasonal specials such as a Black Friday sale. So, whatever your CTA is, make sure it is always visible and satisfies the needs and expectations of your visitors.
Product searching and categorization
Having a wonderful website is one thing, but if visitors can’t find the things they want to buy, it’s useless. That’s why the next component of our e-commerce checklist is all about making your products easy to find when shoppers search on your site.
10. Provide a search feature
Every online business with more than 20 products should provide a search feature. Make the search option available, as this will most likely be the navigation of choice for your visitors. Aside from improving your search option, make sure to take care of the search result pages as well. More on that in a moment.
11. Make use of product categories
It is critical to consider how you organize your categories and make them visible to users. Categories enable visitors, especially those who aren’t sure which exact things to buy, to get to diverse groups of products as fast as feasible. Amazon offers a vast number of categories (or departments), but it makes the type of products in each area as obvious as feasible. It has a lot to do with how these categories are named and how subcategories are used logically. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and navigate through your store’s categories. Are they logical? Is this what a guest would say? If you said yes, you’re on the correct track.
12. Provide introduction text on category pages
Be careful to include a beautiful introduction to your category pages in addition to being clear about the name of your category. This introduction acts as the glue that holds the products on that page together. This is quite useful in detecting the topic of the page, particularly for search engines. This also allows category pages to act similarly to cornerstone content.
13. Provide product thumbnail images
In most cases, product visuals speak louder than words. This is especially true for pages where there isn’t enough room to write a thousand words about a single product, such as your category or internal search result pages. Including a beautiful thumbnail image of the outfit or painting will attract more people to visit that page. Excellent thumbnail photos let visitors choose from a large range of products on category or search result pages.
14. Include calls to action in overviews
Aside from having great product thumbnails, your overview pages should also have a call to action for each product, which means allowing visitors to add that product to their cart directly from the category or search result page. Although this isn’t always practicable for every product, you should try to do so whenever possible. There are online stores that let you select the colour and size of pants, for example, without having to visit the product page. From the overview page, select the option you want, add it to your cart, and check out.
You’ve most likely already put in a lot of time and work into creating your product pages. But are you certain that nothing is lacking or that nothing can be improved? This component of our ecommerce checklist will assist you in ensuring that your product pages look their best.
15. Provide eye-catching product photos
Make sure to include high-quality product photos on your product pages. They should be zoomable and provide numerous perspectives on the product. Keep in mind that the filename and alt text of the product image are important for SEO. There’s a lot more to it in our comprehensive essay on product photos.
16. Create an outstanding product description
It is frequently far easier to optimise your category pages than it is to optimise all of your product pages. It takes a lot of time and effort to develop an outstanding and unique product description for each page if you offer bolts, screws, and nails. If you want your product page to rank, spend some time and effort optimising your product descriptions for the product name and/or SKU. If you have a WordPress site, our SEO plugin will come in handy.
17. Be specific about pricing.
We can’t stress this enough: be upfront about your rates. If you include unexpected fees like shipping or taxes later in the checkout process, customers may cancel their purchase. Make these additional fees (if any) explicit from the start. You may even capitalise on this by providing free shipping on orders of a particular value, such as $20 or $50. Surprise fees are a significant turnoff, and it’s worth noting that they’re currently outlawed in the EU.
18. Display product reviews
Building trust is beneficial to all online stores. Authentic product reviews are really beneficial in this regard. We propose that websites that incorporate user reviews from third parties replicate a couple of those reviews to their own website. Including third-party reviews, for example, into a widget, would be an excellent approach. For best results, place these near your call to action.
19. Market-related products
When you’ve piqued their curiosity, take advantage of it. If someone buys an iPhone from your site, they’ll almost certainly require a case, and they might even want a set of those really pricey wireless ear pods (they are, after all, costly!). When a buyer has just paid full price for a new iPhone, they may feel a little less pricey! Adding a related items section to your product page, or a ‘other customers also bought’ area, will trigger upsells, allow for bundles, and much more. They are highly recommended.
20. Provide a CTA on your product page
To begin the purchase, your visitor must click the Add to Cart button on your product page. Don’t conceal that button! The amount of shops that mistakenly hide the Add to Cart button is lesser than it used to be, but we nevertheless recommend that you take a close look at it and make sure it stands out. This is especially true if you have a secondary call to action, such as ‘Add to wish list’. It is critical that the Add to Cart button sticks out the most and is the largest and first important button on your product page.
21. Display inventory availability
These days, product availability drives sales. People want to shop at a store that will deliver the stuff they desire tomorrow, or perhaps the same day, in this day and age of internet shopping. People are more likely to buy a product if they know it is in stock. But it’s not only about competing; it’s also about controlling expectations. If your website makes it apparent when the item is out of stock, customers can still elect to buy from you even if they know they’ll have to wait a while. If they buy from you and then find out they won’t get the product for three weeks because it’s out of stock, they’ll probably go somewhere else. Making availability unclear also has a negative impact.
Checkout and shopping cart
It’s easy to miss the particulars of your shopping cart and checkout procedure. Nonetheless, these aspects of your website are critical to the customer journey. As a result, in this portion of our ecommerce checklist, we recommend you to take your time and confirm that everything is running smoothly.
22. Make the shopping basket easily accessible
Regardless matter how wonderful your intentions are, your primary purpose in most circumstances is to make as much money as possible, and that money is made through your shopping cart. For this reason, your shopping cart should always be present and visible – don’t make consumers seek it. We’d also suggest including the quantity of things in the cart.
23. Provide payment choices early on
this about avoiding surprises. It’s quite inconvenient to come to a conclusion of the checkout procedure just to discover that your preferred payment method isn’t accessible. Furthermore, if your ecommerce store is located in the European Union, it is now a legal need to disclose your acceptable payment methods to clients before they go to the checkout.
24. There is no requirement for an account
Allow clients to purchase without requiring them to form an account. We believe that forcing customers to register an account is a terrible practise. It is only valid if creating an account provides the consumer with benefits such as quick license renewal, managing recurring payments, or similar. Customers would probably prefer to perform these tasks in a secure environment, so they would not mind creating an account; however, when shopping for clothes, having an account makes sense only for convenience reasons (not having to fill in address details again, and so on), and thus it should be optional.
25. Extend cookie expiration times
Perhaps the term “cookie expiration times” is too restricted for what we’re attempting to imply. Our shopping cart abandonment article will teach you a lot about how customers use your shopping cart. Read the complete article to see why using extended cookie expiration times for your cart is preferable.
26. Make good use of promotional codes
Discount codes and vouchers can be an excellent method to boost sales. So, before you include a space for entering a discount code on your checkout pages, consider whether this is something you truly want to accomplish. Users will request a discount code once they notice the ability to add a code. That frequently means they’ll abandon the deal and go looking for one! If you do want to give discount codes, make it easy for people to find one (even if it’s just to remove the shipping expenses from their order). If you don’t intend to give any discount coupons in the near future, it’s usually best to leave them out.
Search and social visibility
Well, your online store should be up and running by now. There’s only one thing left on our ecommerce checklist: make sure your site looks great everywhere it appears. That might be in Google search results or on social media, so be prepared to make an excellent first impression!
27. Make your SEO titles and Meta descriptions more appealing
SEO titles and meta descriptions are extremely vital for ecommerce sites, more so than for any other type of website. Whereas Google is likely to provide a proper and keyword-related invitation to your website for information pages, chances are your product page lacks sufficient product information or contains information on your customer service.
28. Provide structured data on your pages
For technical SEO reasons, we recommend adding schema.org structured data to your product pages. The use of Schema.org markup will aid search engines, such as Google Shopping, in better understanding the contents of your page. Also, it may help your page stand out in search results!
Include at the very least schema.org/Product and schema.org/Offer, then see if you can extend this to other detailed schemas. Adding schema.org markup is more technical than optimising your product description, so if you’re not sure what you’re doing, please seek assistance from your web developer. Or, you may utilise our WooCommerce SEO plugin, which makes things a lot easier!
29. Ensure that you seem good on social media
In addition to schema.org data, include OpenGraph and Twitter Cards. Yoast SEO can once again assist you in adding photographs to your page that will be featured on social media. Yoast SEO Premium even allows you to preview those! They ensure that when people share your information or items, they are shown in the most appealing way possible. These and other details are covered in our post on product page SEO.
30. Use Yoast SEO to make e-commerce easier
Yoast SEO plugins can assist you in optimising numerous parts of your site:
- Making certain that your texts are readable. Check.
- What about keyword research and optimization? Check.
- Are you in charge of your SEO titles, meta descriptions, and social media outputs? Check.
- Do you want to add structured data to your pages with minimal effort? Check.
- Additional WooCommerce functionality with our specialised WooCommerce plugin? Check.
In conclusion, the world of e-commerce is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the game can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 30 e-commerce checklists to help you improve your online store in 2023 and beyond. From optimizing your product pages to enhancing your checkout process, these checklists cover a range of key areas to help you boost conversions, increase customer satisfaction, and stay competitive in today’s crowded digital marketplace.
By taking the time to review and implement these checklists, you’ll be well on your way to creating an online store that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of your customers. So whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your existing e-commerce business to the next level, we hope these checklists serve as a valuable resource to help you achieve your goals and succeed in the world of online retail.
Want to stay ahead of the e-commerce curve? SEO Scientist has you covered with 30 checklists to improve your online store this year. Click now and start optimizing!
Q: What is an e-commerce checklist?
A: An e-commerce checklist is a list of actionable items that online store owners can follow to improve their website, increase sales, and enhance the customer experience.
Q: Why should I use an e-commerce checklist?
A: Using an e-commerce checklist can help you ensure that you’re not overlooking any important steps or best practices that can help you grow your online store. It can also serve as a roadmap to help you stay focused and organized as you work on improving your website.
Q: How many checklists are included in this guide?
A: This guide includes 30 e-commerce checklists, each focusing on a different aspect of online store optimization and growth.
Q: What topics do the checklists cover?
A: The checklists in this guide cover a wide range of topics, including website design, SEO, customer experience, email marketing, social media, shipping and logistics, and more.
Q: Are these checklists relevant in 2023?
A: Yes, these checklists have been updated to reflect the latest trends and best practices in e-commerce as of 2023.
Q: How can I use these checklists to improve my online store?
A: You can use these checklists as a starting point for your own e-commerce optimization efforts. Review each checklist and identify areas where your website could be improved. Then, use the checklist as a roadmap to help you implement the recommended changes and track your progress.
Q: Do I need to be a tech expert to use these checklists?
A: No, these checklists are designed to be accessible to anyone who runs an online store, regardless of technical expertise. They provide clear, actionable steps that can be implemented without extensive technical knowledge.