15 Tips for Ecommerce Website Management
You went into business to sell products or services, not manage a website, right? However, you’re unlikely to achieve your sales goals without a well-designed website. Today’s websites aren’t just the “digital business cards” of the 1990s and early aughts. They are fully functional business outposts that need regular attention. This is where website management comes into play. In this blog, we’ll look at the benefits of good website management and provide tips for making the most of your website.
What is Website Management?
Getting your website up and running is just the beginning. Websites need to be monitored and updated regularly in order to serve their purpose. Even if you’re pretty tech-savvy, you may not have enough time to manage your website on your own – especially with the internet becoming more complex as it continues to expand. So, most eCommerce businesses will employ or hire a website manager or hire an outside vendor. Some of the responsibilities this individual will take on include:
- Ensuring website functionality
- Performing software updates
- Monitoring website performance
- Developing and updating content
- Making design adjustments
- Maintaining website security
- Optimizing for search
- And much more
Importance of Website Management
A website should run like a well-oiled machine. When it’s managed properly, there are many benefits to be had. Here are our top five benefits of website management.
Building Customer Interest
A well-maintained website will attract new customers and keep existing customers coming back. Design is only half the battle, however. Your website needs to be customer-centric and intuitive, and content needs to be kept fresh so that there is a reason to return to it time and time again. Inbound marketing techniques such as blogging and creating offers such as ebooks and whitepapers can also bring potential customers to your website and can make you look like an authority on different products or topics.
Ranking in Search Engines
Website maintenance is crucial when it comes to ranking in search engines. If your website isn’t ranking highly when someone searches for the type of products or services you offer, your competition is going to wind up getting their business. So, refreshing and updating content regularly is critical as this will help you to rank higher in search engine listings. Content should also be optimized for search engines so that they are deemed worthy of crawling. Properly formatting content for the web is an art and a science, so website content management requires an understanding of both HTML and SEO.
Conveying Brand Image
Your website is a reflection of your brand. If your site was designed a decade ago (or just looks like it was), contains lots of spelling and grammatical errors or outdated content, is confusing to navigate, or has broken links and dead pages, customers will think that you simply don’t care and are likely to find another company that does. It’s important to routinely take a look at the look and feel of your website (and your competitors’ website) to ensure you’re keeping up with trends and that it’s fully functional and error-free.
Informing Business Decisions
Do you know who your customers are and what they’re interested in? You may think you do, but website analytics can uncover types of customers you didn’t even know you had. Website analytics allow you to analyze which traffic sources visitors are coming from (it may surprise you), how long they stay on the website, and which pages were the most popular. This insight can help you optimize pages that bring in the most conversions and build out or expand upon content that people find valuable.
Providing Shopping Convenience
An online store is open for business 24/7, so customers can make purchases anytime, anywhere. This means you don’t have to have someone taking physical orders in person or on the phone, saving on labor costs. However, unless the site is managed properly, bugs and other glitches may arise which can hinder the shopping experience, costing you customers who will quickly move on to another seller’s site.
15 Tips for Ecommerce Website Management
Looking for ways to improve your website performance? We’ve got 15 tips for eCommerce website management, from daily maintenance suggestions to long-term marketing ideas.
1. Perform Website Backups
Disaster can strike at any time, in the form of hackers, power outages, human error, or weather events. Backing up your website regularly will prevent you from losing critical information if your site becomes compromised. It’s also important to check that a website restore can easily be performed in the aftermath of an incident if your backup strategy doesn’t work.
2. Monitor Downtime
When a website goes down, so do sales. For small eCommerce businesses, downtime costs approximately $137 to $427 per minute. The larger the business, the more these costs rise (for example, downtime at Amazon costs are estimated to be a jaw-dropping $12 million per hour). In addition to lost sales, downtime also reflects poorly on your business, turning off customers who expect perfection. So, if you notice a lot of downtime, it’s time to think about upgrading your hosting plan or switching hosting companies.
3. Perform Daily Security Reports
Security threats and malware are on the rise, and customers want to feel comfortable providing you with their personal and financial information (this is why PCI compliance is so important). The vast majority of cyberattacks are automated and designed to use your website as a platform to phish for information, often resulting in credit card fraud. Website maintenance means making sure the site is secure and that the architecture on which it is built is up-to-date. It includes both passive management (e.g., setting up firewalls) and active management (e.g., conducting malware scans).
4. Test Across Browsers
Your website layout can change from browser to browser. For example, it may look great in Chrome, but not Safari. Testing your site across browsers to make sure the user experience works on all of them is important, as a broken or confusing layout is bound to frustrate customers. You should also check your site on major browsers on mobile devices to be sure it’s completely responsive.
5. Review Analytics and Metrics
Which traffic sources visitors are coming from? How long do they stay on the website? Which pages are viewed most often? Which products perform the best? Data analytics and metrics can answer these questions and help you to better market your site to customers. Of course, this data will change over time, so this should be conducted regularly so that you don’t miss out on opportunities to increase efficiency and ultimately boost revenue.
6. Check Loading Times
Is your website slow? Are pages “lazy loading”? Website maintenance includes testing your website’s loading times at least monthly, and especially when you add new content, which could decrease load speeds. If you fail to test and increase load times, customers may abandon the site out of frustration, resulting in lost sales.
7. Test Your Forms
Your contacts are your most valuable asset, so be sure your website is capturing them! Regularly go through your website and fill out and test each form to ensure no inquiry, contact, or sale gets lost due to a non-working form.
8. Update Regularly
You can’t build a website and let it sit idle. To maximize its potential, it must be updated regularly to keep content fresh and keep customers coming back. This will also help the site perform better in search engine algorithms, which reward newly created content. Of course, don’t forget about your product pages – keep those images and descriptions up-to-date, and don’t forget to remove old or out-of-stock products.
9. Create Engaging Content
Although the main purpose of your site is to sell, quality content can bring people to your site who otherwise may not have gone there (it also can make you an authority or go-to source for certain topics). Blog posts are a common form of content, but other eCommerce retailers connect with customers through videos, podcasts, downloadable offers, and even live events like webinars. Website content management is vital if you want your website to generate leads and it’s a great way to get free traffic. It can also be easily shared on social media from one person to another.
10. Perform SEO
We’ve mentioned this before, but it doesn’t hurt to drive this point home! SEO is important for generating traffic, so website management includes identifying keywords that your customers are searching for and creating content that targets those terms. Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs can help you identify them. And while keywords are important, above all else, be helpful. Search engines today are smart, so creating low-quality content stuffed with keywords won’t help your cause; it actually can hurt your ranking.
11. Engage in Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products on your website. Website management may include seeking our affiliate marketing opportunities and managing affiliate content on the website. It can be an extremely lucrative revenue stream for many businesses! Read more: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Tips for Your New Revenue Stream.
12. Think Globally
The global digital buying market is estimated to be at more than 2 billion, so you want your website to work in other countries too (if you’re able to sell to them, of course). You can set up and optimize your site for local efforts by targeting and bringing in content made in different languages. You’ll also want to consider the types of content someone may be searching for abroad and consider the imagery and language you use on the site, as what may be appropriate for one country could be offensive in another.
13. Use Google AdWords
A website manager may want to bring instant exposure to a business without waiting for SEO to do its job. In that case, Google AdWords is your friend! Of course, this is a paid marketing tool, but website management is about weighing the pros and cons of various marketing tools. With Google AdWords, you can bid on keywords to pull in leads for your business at a fraction of the cost.
14. Offer Coupons and Discounts
Unless it will be detrimental to your brand image, offering coupons and discounts is a great way to encourage people to visit your website. Coupon codes and deals are often shared across social media and on couponing sites, providing your business with even more exposure.
15. Highlight Product Reviews
90% of consumers read online customer reviews before visiting a business, and 88% trust them as much as personal recommendations. So, it helps to feature reviews on your website (website management can include thanking people for positive responses and addressing issues brought up in negative reviews). Read more in our blog The Importance of Online Reviews, How to Get More, and How Fulfillment Helps.
How The Fulfillment Lab Helps with Ecommerce Website Management
All websites require management whether you’re doing it yourself using website management software, hiring an internal website manager who’s knowledgeable in the practice, or outsourcing to a website management service company that specializes in it. However, your third-party logistics company can also help, so you’ll want to consider what company you choose for fulfillment as well.
The Fulfillment Lab helps with eCommerce management by providing you access to our cutting-edge Global Fulfillment Software (GFS™). With GFS™, you can quickly integrate your eCommerce platform and set up your fulfillment logistics. It only takes a few minutes, and then you can begin to manage inventory, track orders, customize packages, and much more. It also provides valuable customer insight, such as who’s buying your products, which products are most popular, which products are most frequently returned, and much more. This data can then be used to inform your website strategy, whether it’s developing content that appeals to your audience, adjusting products based on popularity, or tweaking product descriptions to reduce returns. Contact us today to learn more!