How To Optimise Your eCommerce Website Design
In this day and age, and especially in the era of stay-at-home and remote working, an eCommerce website is absolutely vital for any service that sells goods or products, even without a delivery system in-place your business should provide customers with click & collect eCommerce options. In this blog, I will outline how you can completely optimise the whole of your eCommerce website.
The homepage is the central point of your website. Even if the majority of your users do not land on the homepage, it will be their main point of focus if they decide they have landed on the wrong page (if they don’t bounce, of course.) As the central point of your eCommerce website, it is important that the homepage can nicely and smoothly interlink with every category of product you sell and allows users to quickly and concisely navigate to where they need to be through a user-friendly navigation bar.
The homepage should also include visuals such as images and possibly even videos. Make sure to include descriptive alt tags for any multimedia, for search engines when they crawl your website and for users if for whatever reason they fail to load your images through the browser.
You should always have clear call-to-actions for users to take so they can navigate through the buyer’s journey and continue on to a category page or a product page.
It is important to optimise your product page as this is arguably the most important page in the buyer journey. Your product page should be user-friendly, un-cluttered and can clearly showcase the product with images or videos to satisfy the customer (again, make use of descriptive alt tags!) Products should also have unique product descriptions and technical information for users to read. This is also an important factor for search engine optimisation, which will allow your product to appear to more people who are searching online for your products on search engines such as Google.
You should also try to collect and display customer reviews for products. Reviews are probably the best thing to use in order to finally convince a customer to buy your product. These reviews can also be used as structured data, so your product can show as a rich snippet in search results which can drive a higher click-through rate for organic traffic.
Another thing to remember with product pages is do not delete out-of-stock products! Deleting an important page such as a product page can really harm your SEO as it can show as a 404 for users and will appear as a broken link to search engines. If you really need to delete the product page, ie you know you will never ever restock the product, then ensure you create a 301 redirect to a relevant page.
Optimise Your eCommerce Website.
The category pages are used to hold and structure all your products into relevant groups. Just like any other page on any other website, it is important your category pages has unique and readable website content. This will help your category pages rank well in search engine results, and can help guide your users in knowing more about what category they are currently browsing.
A category page should have an easy-on-the-eye layout, showing product images with key details such as the product name and price so the user can have the important details without having to click-through to the product. You should also make sure to promote your most important or valuable products first within the layout. An easy way for this can be to set your products to display by price, with the most expensive displayed first.
Talking about layouts, a key feature of category pages with many products is to include a search or filter function. An example where this can be useful is to filter Men’s Jackets category for products by a specific brand, or products that have a specific size in-stock etc. This will massively improve the user experience and conversions, allowing users to quickly and conveniently find the products they are looking for.
Internal linking is a massive area to optimise your website for. An easy way to incorporate internal links is through the use of a blog. These blogs can be reviews, lists (top 10 jackets under £60..), user guides, the latest news about a company/product, etc. The anchor text for these internal links should include your keywords and variations/synonyms to push extra relevancy in the eyes of search engines: internal links are an important part of any professional SEO strategy.
These blogs can also be used to drive further traffic if they manage to rank well or resonate with your target audience through social media etc.
The general usability of your website can cover various factors, all of them are key to optimising your website:
- Website speed: the majority of internet usage if taken by mobile users: it is important to optimise your website speed so users on mobile phones and WiFi or mobile data connections can quickly and conveniently browse your eCommerce website.
- URL structure: your URLs of your website pages can be optimised by correctly identifying child and parent pages. For example, products should always have their pages parented to their category page so their URL will read: https://domain.com/category/product/
- Search: as already discussed, your website should always have a search and filter features so users can quickly find the products they are looking for.
- Navigation: your navigation and menus should be optimised and user-friendly so users can find the products they are looking for, without being overwhelmed with too many buttons or similar categories etc.
- Checkout process: the checkout process should be optimised to be quick and secure, and forms should clearly tell the user what information they need to include with the option of using a browser’s AutoFill feature for information they have saved, such as their address.
- LiveChat: a LiveChat is always a welcomed feature of eCommerce websites with support agents that can help users with any queries or problems they may be facing whilst they are on your website.