Create a Successful E-Commerce Website

Elements of an SEO-friendy Successful E-Commerce Website.

A successful E-commerce website takes time, effort and organisation. But there is help available. Your site can deliver a great service to your customers and do well in the search results.

Over the past 12 years, Online Customer Solutions Director, Rob Wilkinson, has had the opportunity to manage a variety of e-commerce websites. These have offered everything from equestrian equipment to sirloin stakes.

Read more about our OpenCart e-commerce service here.

Most e-commerce sites suffer from similar issues. Usually, the problems are connected to how the business owners approach the development of their e-commerce platform. User experience and aesthetics are often placed way over search engine optimisation.

When sites overly focus on function and forget about optimisation, they lose opportunities to attract and convert new customers. A blend needs to be found.

E-Commerce Optimisation Recommendations

Unique product descriptions

Many e-commerce websites are looked after by people that are experts on their product. However, these people aren’t usually up-to-date with what SEO is or how it works.

Product descriptions are often light on detail and pulled directly from the manufacturer. This means there will be many other sites doing the same thing.

Your product description needs to be engaging, informative and unique. If it is, your site stands a good chance of being able to rank well. Although there are many other SEO factors to consider.

Try to create 250 to 300-word descriptions that speak to your target audience’s search intentions. Also, frame the products in environments where they are best suited.

Product Reviews from Customers

There are many reasons why customer reviews are essential. They are an excellent way to highlight relevant content on your product pages. They also build credibility and trust in your site, drive repeat business and they are free.

Potential customers really value online reviews. If your site has a number of positive reviews for each product, Google treat it kindly and other customers will convert more easily.

Relevant Search Query Optimisation

To allow search engines to understand all about your products, optimise them by name. Avoid using codes, colours or sizes to optimise your website pages. This will lead to duplicate content within your site. For example, use “Mens-Running-Shorts” rather than “Shorts-black-large”

Include brand names in your title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags and header tags.

Keyword Stuffing

Product pages crammed with keywords instead of quality content does not help improve search engine authority. Mention keywords because they are relevant. Descriptions that that help your visitors and describes the products will improve user engagement, enhance the organic authority and drive conversions.

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E-commerce shopping online
E-commerce Shopping cart

E-commerce sites tend to have more images than most other websites making them more visually attractive. Good images are essential and support the product description. It is important to include relevant alt text with the images so search engines know what the images show.

Search engines need to understand what each picture is of and how it relates to the page. Every image’s alt text needs to describe the product image. Include a key term that you’re trying to rank for as well as your store name.

Unique Titles

Title tags allow search engines to understand the content of specific landing pages.

Avoid creating duplicate titles across your site by forgoing the use of manufacturer or vendor titles, as these are likely the same titles they have sent to your competitors.

SEO Friendly Urls For E-Commerce Sites

Instead of including item numbers or category IDs in your URLs, try to use the actual product names that are easily understood by potential customers. URL’s that are built with users in mind help customers and search engines navigate your site.

Meaningful Descriptive Categories

Your primary and subcategory pages should have enough content to be considered authorities. Include social sharing buttons, information that resolves common questions. Make sure you speak to your intended audience.

XML sitemaps

An automated XML sitemap updates when changes are made to your e-commerce website. Product or category changes are updated so the next time the robots crawl your site, they pick up the latest inventory.

Each time new products and categories are added the sitemap refreshes. This is the best way to ensure that all of your items are indexed by Google.

OpenCart and others offer automated sitemaps. Read more about how to start selling online here.

Content development and internal linking

Buyer guides, FAQ’s and educational content help attract visitors and connect them with your products.

E-commerce sites that link articles to a specific product or category page help teach visitors about your products and service, this transfers organic authority throughout your site.

Redirects

404 errors, or page not found, wastes organic search results and frustrates customers. E-commerce owners need to keep on top of their online catalogue and redirect to a newer product model or category page.

Page speed

Because slow sites are irritating to users, Google ranks faster-loading websites higher than slower ones. A fast load time leads to happier customers (conversion) and better search results (ranking).

There are several tools to measure the loading speed of your website – use your favourite search engine to find them!

Markup and Schema

Your webmaster will be able to tag your pages to highlight product name, price, availability, description and image. Data highlighting leads to enhanced search results for people looking for your products. Google provides tools for uploading a product catalogue to Google shopping resulting in more search result options.

Schema.org offers a library of structured data markup that search engines use to offer online consumers more information around a particular product.

Running Your Own E-Commerce Site

Contact us today to find out how we can help you start selling online.

Online Customer Solutions provide successful e-commerce websites to a range of businesses in the UK.

How to Start Selling Online

How to Start Selling Online: From the Occasional Item to Your Own Full Online Shop.

When it comes to selling items online, the way you go about it depends on your circumstances. Are you selling one or two items, regularly buying and selling or an already established shop?

One or Two Items

If you just looking to sell a few second-hand items, then you could consider Ebay or other local listings, for example, Gumtree.

Regular Buying and Selling

If you are planning on buying and selling items on a regular basis, then you could investigate setting up an Ebay shop or looking into the Amazon marketplace. Other sales platforms are available, make sure you research the cost – they typically take a percentage of sales value.

Your Own Online Shop

If you are a shop that currently sells in the offline world and you are looking to start selling your goods online – there are many e-commerce systems that vary in price and functionality.

Selling Online
Start your online shop

Blog or CMS Add-Ons

Some content management systems have add-ons that enable e-commerce. But they don’t tend to offer a complete shop online.

Online E-Commerce Services

A specialist online shop provider will usually charge an ongoing monthly fee (and sometimes transaction costs). They provide a robust fully functioning online shop.

There are many of these types of self-service systems about. You will tend to need a decent level of technical knowledge and support is very often call centre or live chat based.

These self-service systems are great for the higher volume shops that can justify the ongoing monthly price. They will also have an in-house resource to set-up and customise the shop from the offset.

A typical local shop with limited time and experience of setting up online systems might sometimes struggle to get their e-commerce shop online. For stores looking to first service their local market, these systems are probably a little too pricey. They are also not as customisable as a coded system.

Online Customer Solutions specialise in helping smaller shops start selling online. We are experts at implementing e-commerce websites based on the OpenCart platform. This allows a bespoke solution for a one-off price, excellent support and training and ongoing help if needed. Our aim is to grow your business by providing the right online system.

E-commerce websites can be set-up from £750 + hosting (£65 p/a) + design (£80), if you are interested please contact us using this form.

How to Start Selling Online with an E-Commerce Website.

With the right partner, running an e-commerce website is simpler than you may think. After the implementation and customisation, there are a number of tasks that need to be done to get your e-commerce website working:

Adding Products and Stock Level Control.

Using a simple web page, you will be able to give your product a name, price, stock level, images and many other attributes to present your items in their best light.

Taking Payment.

The simplest and most secure way of taking online payments is to use a payment gateway. Online Customer Solutions recommend PayPal, but there are other systems that can be just as easily integrated.

Shipping Options.

For a local shop then click-and-collect might be the most simple shipping option. But printing shipping labels and estimating shipping fees is all built in. All you have to do is wrap the items and post! (For higher volume retailers there are other shipping integration and fulfilment options).

Returns Management.

Built in already is how to handle returns and refunds. Just set your policy terms and conditions and it won’t be something you haven’t dealt with before in your offline shop.

Communication.

The advantage of having an online shop is that you get to capture email addresses. Apart from being able to automatically send order confirmations, you can update the customer when and item has been shipped.

Marketing.

Once you have people’s opt-in and email address you can keep in touch with them. Let them know about special offers, vouchers or just regular marketing updates. For example, new products or seasonal trends. Enable customers to set-up wish lists, write reviews and share their experience with social media sites.

Also built in is Search Engine Optimisation. Describe your products well. Enter a few bits of information and the system will help you start appearing in the Google search results.

Financial Reporting.

Keep up-to-date with the number of customers, orders and sales. Which items are selling the best? Which items are being viewed but not bought? Who are your best customers and how can you incentivise them to buy more. All built-in.

How to Start Selling Online with Your Own E-Commerce Shop.

An e-commerce website is a fantastic next step for a local business.

Contact us today for how we can help grow your business and get you selling online.

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Make Sales Online – E-commerce solutions

Whether you are starting a new business or just a new website, Online Customer Solutions (OCS) can provide everything you need to make sales online.

E-commerce used to be very expensive and take a long time to setup and manage. Small businesses used to spend a fortune (£20k +) getting their shop online. These days there are a number of low-cost platforms that not just save a lot of money, but also provide an exceptional solution.

Solutions include as Paypal, WordPress, Shopify, WooCommerce (WordPress), Magento and OpenCart.

Read more about how to start selling online here.

OCS recommend OpenCart. It is flexible, powerful, open source and has a solid support system via a large number of users. It is a low-cost solution enabling small businesses to make sales online.

The number of features out of the box is huge. All the standard stuff is there; account setup, stock control, order and payment processing (via extensions), email confirmations etc. It is completely customisable, ensuring that it looks exactly as you want.

There are also nice extras including wish lists, newsletter management, built-in affiliate system gift vouchers and much more. 

Setup costs start at £250, and running costs (which includes hosting, management, ongoing support) starts at £50 per month.

Monthly costs depend on how much help you want. OCS can also setup and manage your online marketing and provide help and advice when it comes to social media, content and affiliate marketing.

Make Sales Online

Online Customer Solutions can provide everything you need to make sales online. OCS have many years of development and online marketing experience and can install, setup, manage and market your e-commerce site. We can also provide training.

Based just south of Manchester in the UK, Online Customer Solutions provide solutions to a range of business, but specialise in helping small businesses grow.

Find out more

Contact us today, we can advise and provide a range of services, from setting up a website, to improving online marketing and conversions.

make sales online with online customer solutions
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