Whether you’ve started lots of e-commerce websites in the past that didn’t perform as well as you wished or this is your very first one, there are several key components that could represent the difference between failure and success. Before you jump in headfirst, review this checklist to ensure you don’t forget what’s most important.

1. Website Design

It all starts with good design. This is the time to think carefully about how you wish to portray your company (serious, whimsical, high-end, etc.), what elements are important to include (Blog? Forum? Automated customer service?), and functionality (user interaction, user-uploaded library, online orders, etc.). It’s best to start with a “wireframe” that illustrates the overall look and utility, including colours, fonts, images, etc. Shop your competitors and see what’s working for them in order to get ideas of what you like – and what you don’t.

 2. Keyword Research / Search Engine Optimisation

What is your site about? Help search engine spiders find it, and then index it properly, with the use of keywords. It takes some research to find the right ones, which should be based on your company’s particular market niche. Start by looking at your competitors’ sites and inputting them in Google Analytics to come up with an initial list of keyword phrases. Pay attention to the amount of traffic for each one. If you wish to rank high for a particular keyword phrase, ensure it’s one your target market is likely to use, but without a huge amount of competition.

3. User Experience

Search engines are important, but don’t forget the human visitors who will come to your pages. Make sure yours provides simple navigation, easy-to-read font and colours, an FAQ page, all the ways to contact you, and a shopping cart to facilitate purchases (if you are selling directly from your site). A blog is an excellent way to provide informative content while keeping it fresh and enticing visitors to come back again and again – or at least subscribe to your RSS feed.

4. Vary the Content

Consider all the ways users will access your site: via laptop, notebook, desktop or mobile device. How and where people come to your web pages determines why they are visiting, whether it’s looking for written information, photos, a physical location, or audio or video content. It is important that you provide all types of content to please as many visitors as possible.

5. Keep It Simple

Don’t make the mistake of getting caught up in ornate design, engaging features, and informative content while forgetting the basics. The most important part of your website is often a phone number, an email address and perhaps a physical address. It’s easy to forget the vital basics when you focus on the intangibles. What’s the first thing someone who’s never done business with before will want to see or read or hear? Focus on that first.

You should now be ready to start your next website project. Need help? Adelaide-based Market Ease can help with website design, SEO, and ongoing marketing needs. There’s a lot to take into consideration but the more you plan now, the easier it will be for your e-commerce business to take off later.

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