What can I do to make my online shop perform better?

Performance can be looked at in two ways, ranking on search engines, and online sales. The reason you created an online shop was to generate sales, so, for us, the measure of success is the level of sales, not where your website sits in the search engine rankings, although there is obviously a relationship between the two. However, being at the top of the search engine ratings does not necessarily mean that your online shop will perform well and that you will get the sale. There are lots of factors leading to success. Here are some of the things to consider:Page Rank – If your website is several pages into the search engine results returned for searches performed using keywords and phrases appropriate to your product then it is unlikely your website will be one of the first visited and you may well lose the sale to a shop with a higher ranking.

Usability – What kind of experience are you giving website visitors? Is your website easy to use? Can they find what they need easily? If your website is cumbersome and does not provide a good experience then visitors may become frustrated and leave.

Website image – Website image is important. Is the website attractive? Is it on-message? Does it instantly say what it does or what it sells? Does it look professional and reputable? Are visitors likely to feel confident about parting with their hard-earned cash?

Secure – Does your website have an SSL certificate? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. A site with SSL installed will look different in the browser. It will have https:// and a small padlock icon displayed next to the URL rather than just http://. From your customer’s perspective, this means they are likely to feel more secure using your site above a website that does not have SSL. A website with SSL installed means that its connection to that website is secure and encrypted; any data entered is safely shared with that website.

Product representation and availability – Do you have the right products in your range? Are they in stock and available? Are they competitively priced? Have you presented them well? by this we mean is all of the information your customers are likely to need available to them and presented clearly and unambiguously? Are your product images clear and of high quality?

Reputation – Does your website give people the confidence to buy? Are you reputable? Adding Customer Reviews, Testimonials, Product Reviews and Ratings will all help along with any product awards. If you or your business have qualifications or accreditations then these should be included on your website. Links to any social media pages you may have are good as people can get a feel for your business and the experience and interactions with others when they are making purchasing decisions.

You VS Competitors – How do you compare to your competitors? Are you doing it better than they are? How do your prices compare? Do you have products that are not necessarily available elsewhere?

Promoting your products (off-page) – Are you banging the drum for your business elsewhere? Use social media to engage with customers and prospective customers. Networking in person. Leaflets and business cards. Literature to accompany dispatched orders. Special offers including introductory offers. Recommend a friend incentives. Email marketing.

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