Your website is the beating heart of your brand and business. After spending so long working with designers and developers to get your site live, it makes sense that you’d feel a sense of achievement – it’s one element you can now put to rest.
But a website being ready to launch and a website being ‘finished’ are two different things – in fact, I believe a good website is never truly finished. It’s the ongoing updates and optimizations that hold the most potential for your business to scale.
Prior to launching your website, you’ll likely have a solid idea of who your target market is and how they shop online (and if you don’t, let’s pump the brakes on this and work that out first).
Once you’ve gone live, however, your customers (and abandoners!) will tell you which parts of your site work for them and which need an overhaul – you just need to know how to listen.
Here’s why you should be continuously improving your website and eCommerce store.
I’ve seen countless brands launch with really edgy web design, all in the name of standing out from the competition.
While having an established brand personality is important, it’s just as important to remember that your target market has expectations around what a website should look like and how it should work. Not to mention, your brand and business goals will evolve over time.
You may actually be turning away your ideal customers with the first impression on your homepage. Ask yourself what message your branding is conveying, and whether that’s the message you want your potential customers to take away.
Your brand’s website is a living, breathing thing. And while it’s not as big of a commitment as getting a puppy during isolation, it’s still something you need to keep alive, so to speak.
If a customer lands on your site and the most recent blog post is from eight months ago, it gives off the impression that you don’t care about your brand – so why should they?
Fresh content is also great for building organic traffic to your website. Google loves fresh content. Use Analytics to see which posts are bringing in new users, and expand on these themes to improve your search rankings.
Content also refers to things like your shipping information, offers, store, and your product range. If your website promises something in outdated content that it can’t ultimately deliver, you’ll leave users with a poor experience and a poor impression of your brand.
When it comes to eCommerce and conversion, you will need to lose your ego pretty quickly to improve your website performance. All your assumptions mean nothing if your customers’ behavior proves you wrong.
The good news is once you have inbound traffic to your site, you can begin A/B testing pretty much straight away. Use Analytics to identify any pages that have a high abandonment rate, or see at which point in the checkout process your users drop off. Then the fun begins!
It’s important to keep your testing to one element at a time, so you can pinpoint which changes are improving conversion. Change your CTA, add more information on product pages, switch out your professional photography for user-generated content. Then sit back and see what happens.
Test, find your champion, optimize, repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
Once upon a time, just having a website or online store was a pretty good experience. Now, it’s a little more complex than that.
Your website needs to load, and fast
As new browsers, phones, and operating systems come out, you’ll need to make sure your website loads and looks good in all of them. Responsive website design will make this much easier.
Continually test your load speed across all of these, too. If your page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you’re likely losing out on a lot of traffic before they ever hit the homepage.
You need to get social
84% of online shoppers use social media for recommendations before making an online purchase. Even if you’re not in the eCommerce space, linking your socials to your site helps to build trust and authenticity.
Including testimonials or product reviews works much the same. Social proof has a huge influence over purchase decisions – customer reviews are trusted up to 12 times more than brand marketing materials.
The socialization doesn’t have to end there – you can also integrate your Facebook page Messenger with your website, and build out a chatbot to help users get further along the funnel.
Consumers want real-time answers to their questions, and 75% of online shoppers expect an answer within 5 minutes. Setting up a chatbot can take care of these questions as they arise, meaning you don’t have to be online 24/7.
You need to beef up your security
Any website that deals with sensitive information need to stay one step ahead of the security game. Not doing so leaves both you and your customers at risk.
A no-brainer if you haven’t already – install an SSL certificate. That little padlock next to your URL is a huge signifier of trust. In fact, Google Chrome will actually flag your website as not secure if you don’t have an https domain.
You’ll also need to keep on top of any legal security obligations, as the GDPR privacy overhaul in 2018 (also known as the time our inboxes filled with new privacy policies).
Your website needs to grow with your business
As your product or service range grows, so too does the number of steps for a user to find what they’re looking for. No one wants to spend time scrolling through irrelevant products, and your users will just leave if using your site is too difficult or time-consuming.
Introducing simplified menus and search functionality will make it easier to navigate your site, meaning customers can spend more time reading about your products than looking for them.
You need to be willing to take on feedback
No matter how attached you are to your website if your customers don’t like it – you need to listen.
Seek out feedback from visitors who don’t convert as well as repeat customers to find out how your website stacks up from a consumer view. This information is more valuable than a million tips on website optimization because it’s tailored to your brand. It’s just up to you to use it.
We’ll take care of improving your site, so you can focus on running your business. Let’s do it.