An Essential Guide to Ecommerce Website Maintenance for Every Business Out There

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Why would you service your car if there’s nothing wrong? The engine sounds good. Everything runs smoothly. Just carry on driving until you notice a problem, right? 

Of course, every responsible driver knows that it’s vitally important to keep your car’s maintenance in check. Once a problem becomes apparent, it could already be too late. If something goes wrong while you’re driving, it could be dangerous. A regular service offers peace of mind. The same applies when you’re driving traffic to your website. 

Throughout this article, we’re going to drop in on a few of the essential components of website maintenance, and what businesses can do to ensure a thoroughly maintained web presence.

Security

For a data-driven ecommerce store, your website is the vehicle that drives your business. But like any vehicle, it can be broken into. 

60% of companies go out of business within six months of being hacked. The danger is very real and the consequences can be devastating. 

Fortunately, some equally capable programmers work in cybersecurity. Always ensure your software is up-to-date. If your site is hosted by an online website builder like WordPress, make sure your themes and plugins are updated. You can do this manually on your dashboard. 

It’s free to get your site SSL certified, and it offers credibility. 

Design  

High-street stores invest time and money on their stores’ window displays. It’s the face of their business, the vital first impression. Your homepage should do the same. Proudly display your best offers, freshest new products and services, and top sellers. 

Make sure the layout of your product pages is fresh. Keep track of your competitors. Ideally, your website should look like it belongs in your industry – while standing out from the competition. It’s a fine balance. 

Refresh

You could have the most stunning design and the slickest UI of any site in your field but it will still feel stagnant if it doesn’t get regularly refreshed. 

Rebrand

A rebrand is a great investment and keeps your image fresh. Do it every ten years or so. But if you work in a new or growing industry, you may need to rebrand more regularly to remain relevant. Or if you’re a new business looking to establish a niche and an identity, you may need to rebrand as you find your feet, like changing your e-commerce domain name

If you’re happy with your brand but it needs an update, opt for an evolutionary redesign. If your brand looks tired and dated, go for a full revolutionary rebrand. 

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Marketing

Keep up-to-date with industry trends. New products and innovative services like Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), emerge constantly. Don’t get left behind. 

Make sure the language and tone of your copy are in keeping with current social trends. 

Offer generous reductions on products that are due to expire or go off-trend and make sure your pricing is fair and competitive. 

Keep your special offers special

Regularly update your sales and reductions, and don’t let them overrun. Keep them time-limited to instill urgency. Make your offers seasonal or link them to big sporting events or holidays. It will make your site feel relevant and immediate. 

User Experience/User Interface

Around 25% of users will abandon a site if it doesn’t load within four seconds. You could be losing prospects before they even see your products. Optimize your images and remove unnecessary legacy code. 

New technical features and plugins

Adopt the latest features and utilize new media. Embrace new methods of interaction. Drop any that don’t click with your users. 

Reduce shopping cart abandonment

Make sure your checkout is clear and easy, but secure. Ensure your data fields are responsive to autofill. Incorporate downselling, and upsell complementary products.  

Optimization

Your users will use phones, desktop PCs, tablets, and everything in between. They will use every device, browser, and OS. Ensure your site is just as user-friendly and responsive, regardless of the device. Remember that most mobile devices don’t have a cursor, so hover functionality won’t work. 

Would you like to see the menu? 

Make sure your menu and navigation are responsive, clear, and intuitive. Make it as easy as possible for your users to find what they want. This way you’ll reduce bounce rate, increase dwell time and subsequently rank higher on Google search result pages. 

Backup, update, test

Make a backup of your website before updating software. Remember that new features, plugins, and menu items can affect the functionality of old features. You can’t just test the new features, you have to test everything. It might sound arduous, but if you use Microsoft Teams direct routing, you’ll know that repetitive processes can now be automated.

Use Google Analytics to gauge the areas of your site that lead to cart abandonment. Track the journeys your users make to understand their needs. 

Provide Fresh Content

Articles and blogs are great for driving traffic, so dive deep into your niche and explore the topics that fascinate your audience. Speak from a neutral perspective and provide relevant external links. Every click, comment, and share will boost your SERP performance. The benefits are numerous:

  • It promotes trust
  • It increases engagement 
  • It boosts brand awareness
  • It can earn backlinks

Provide consistently engaging content as part of your customer appreciation ideas and your readers will soon switch to converts. 

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SEO

Neutral content with relevant backlinks is great for SEO, but there are also other useful practices.

Responsive menu

Not only does it enhance your UI and your design, but a responsive menu also helps Google’s bots to index your content meaning prospects can find your products from search engines. 

Meta tags and alt tags

Make sure your tags are up-to-date and relevant. Your users won’t see them, but search bots will. 

Social Media

Provide useful information and regularly engage with your audience to drive traffic to your site. Furthermore, your users will let you know if any improvements can be made. They will report compatibility issues, bugs, 404s, and anything else you’ve missed. Use it to improve your website in the way that call metrics can improve your user experience. 

Driving Forward

How you choose to maintain your website will depend on the size of your business and your budget. 

You might have an in-house marketing department. You might outsource it to a design studio or a freelancer. You might be a sole trader and do it all by yourself. Whichever way you decide to do it, undertake in-depth research and find the solution that’s right for you and your business.

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