09 January 2018

The ultimate checklist to optimize your online store for 2018

Hanneke van der Kallen
Marketing | MyOnlineStore

Well, hey there 2018! Time for some New Year’s resolutions! How about the usual ones: lose weight, work out more, visit your mother-in-law more often and last but not least, get the most out of your online store? The first three are up to you, I’m afraid, but we can help you with the last one! Is your online store still up-to-date or should you really optimize it this year? Let’s get started with a handy checklist.

How to boost your chances of being found via Google, you ask? Your own domain name! Google uses the URL (your website address) to index your site, making it easier for users to find your online store through Google searches. When you opt for our GO subscription, your URL is www.myonlinestore.com/store/nameofyouronlinestore/. If you have your own domain name, your URL is www.nameofyouronlinestore.com (or another extension). This type of URL is better for Google to index. Having your own domain name also comes across as more professional, which inspires trust and encourages your visitors to place an order. Find out what makes a domain name so important in our previous blog post.

Keen to go for a more professional look and boost your chances of being found through search engines? Then opt for our PRO subscription, which includes your own domain name. Check out our packages here

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Yes, also with your online store! So make sure your homepage – the ‘door’ to your online store – looks good! Check whether it still clearly shows what your store has to offer. Can visitors see what you sell, and why they should buy your products? And is your homepage still relevant to your target audience? Check out our blog post on how to attract visitors with an effective homepage. A few more quick tips below:

  • The look and feel is everything. Create a design targeted to your audience to encourage them to browse your site. After all, that boosts your chances of actually selling your products! No need to showcase your entire range on your homepage. An action shot of your products is actually far more inspiring (just make sure the products featured are easy to find in your store!). Choose the right colors and font to convey your message.
  • Your texts should be short and sweet, and once again, targeted to your audience. Don’t forget to include your main keywords, because that will make it easier for potential visitors to find your website through search engines.
  • Have you launched any special promotions? Do you offer discounts or free shipping? Or maybe you have an inspiring newsletter? Showcase this on your homepage to make sure you don’t lose out on any potential customers. After all, communication is everything!

The SOOS Jewelry online store has a clear homepage entirely in line with the brand’s look and feel

Create a logical path from your homepage to your category and product pages. Are you sure you’re (still) making the best use of these pages in your store?

  • Category pages help visitors find their way on your site. Use beautiful product images and unique category texts to entice your visitors.
  • Product pages want to inspire your visitors to actually buy the product in question. A good product presentation and description are essential. After all, visitors to your online store can’t see and feel the product in real life, so it’s important for you to give them a good idea of this item on your product page.

Keen to find out more about category and product pages? Check out this blog post. And here you’ll discover how to create subpages with just a few easy clicks in the admin panel. 

Saks Fifth Avenue has a product page with beautiful images and a detailed product description.

Visitors abandoning their carts without completing their order… That’s a real struggle for all online merchants! Of course you can’t control whether or not people end up placing an order in your store, but what you can do, is set it up as efficiently as possible. A few handy tips below:

  • Add your terms and conditions, including your shipping costs (up to a certain amount), delivery timeframes, guarantee and whether or not returns are free of charge. All of these factors can determine whether or not your customers place an order.
  • Offer the right payment methods for the country where you sell your products, e.g. iDEAL in the Netherlands. This blog post helps you choose the right payment gateway.
  • Make sure your website comes across as professional and reliable, and ensure that it offers secure payments. As mentioned earlier, you can do this with your own domain name and a professional design, but also by working with licensed payment service providers, customer reviews and a quality label for online stores.

No one likes to receive fines, so let’s try to avoid them! That being said, many online merchants unwillingly run the risk of receiving high fines, e.g. because they fail to correctly inform their customers. So be smart and check your online store over and over until you’re satisfied everything is as it should be. There are three ways to check whether your website is in line with the regulations. You can check it yourself based on a checklist, you can ask a legal expert to do it for you or you can apply for a serious quality label. 

Here’s a little checklist. Have you ticked all the boxes? 

  • Your own domain name: a must if you want to be found more easily through search engines and if you want to give your online store a more professional touch.
  • A good homepage: clearly showcase what people can buy in your store.
  • A targeted homepage: with a clear style suited to the target audience (by using specific images, colors and fonts).
  • A well-written homepage: with inspiring texts that are short and sweet, and that include keywords to boost your chances of being found via search engines.
  • Inspiring category and product pages, that provide all the information your visitors need. Product pages must encourage visitors to place an order.
  • Prevent people from abandoning their shopping cart by informing them of the key conditions (e.g. shipping costs, delivery timeframes, exchange and return options, guarantee, payment options). Also make sure your online store has a professional look, which inspires trust and encourages visitors to place an order (e.g. design, licenses and quality labels).
  • Prevent fines by making sure you comply with all the regulations!

Have we missed anything? Share your tips and ideas to optimize online stores even further!

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