WordPress is a fantastically flexible platform for your e-commerce business. With a numerous range of plugins – including WooCommerce and WP eCommerce – WordPress makes setting up an effective, professional online store a breeze. But like you, hundreds of hungry entrepreneurs are having the same light bulb moments every day.
In fact, eCommerce sales will reach $434 billion in 2017 – in the US alone. As the competition increases, so does the need for you to get that edge that means between surviving and thriving. The following five points will help you optimise your WordPress ecommerce site, increasing your visitors, conversions, and sales in the process. Sound good? Let’s go!
Keep Your Site Stable & Secure
Stability and security are non-negotiable for any successful website. When time is money, you want your site running 99.99% of the time. It’s also naïve to assume that your site’s security is on-point without any effort on your part. In 2012 alone, over 170,000 WordPress sites were hacked. Who’s to say yours won’t be next? And an insecure site is an untrusted site – leading to fewer customers and sales.
But there are a range of measures you can take – from choosing third parties carefully (themes, plugins, hosting platforms) to using strong, unique passwords. Moz have a fantastic, in-depth article on WordPress security.
- Keep WordPress up-to-date - Newer versions contain fixes to security issues that, otherwise, would leave your site a sitting duck for potential security threats. It’s easy to do – so there aren’t any excuses!
- Be careful with plugins - With 22% of WordPress attacks made via insecure plugins, ensure you research each choice carefully. Try to keep the number of plugins you use down, and select security plugins such as Aksimet and Better WP Security to strengthen your site.
- Choose your hosting provider carefully - A whopping 41% of security breaches occur due to vulnerabilities in hosting platforms. WP Engine, Flywheel and Pagely are all rated excellently.
- Secure your software and hardware - Using a firewall, antivirus and anti-malware are all basic steps to secure yourself and your website from malicious attacks. Be careful accessing WordPress via insecure WiFi hotspots. If you have to do so, use a secure VPN to minimise the risks involved.
Optimise SEO To Maximise Traffic
SEO is, simply, influencing how visible your WordPress ecommerce store is to search engines and, consequently, hungry shoppers. Just setting up your site, filling in the product descriptions and expecting to be competitive on search engines will leave you disappointed. Quality SEO requires a range of measures – including optimising your site’s structure, its images and its content.
- Choose the right keywords - The right keywords are vital for your entire site. Go for relevant keywords that don’t have as much competition – as in fewer competitors use them. Try to be as specific as possible (avoid broad keywords) and select keywords with high monthly searches. Use AdWords for research. Moz have an in-depth beginner’s guide.
- Fix your site’s errors - Use a tool like Screaming Frog or plugin such as Yoast SEO to check your site for SEO and structural errors that may reduce its effectiveness in ranking.
- Continuously add content - It makes sense to blog about your product or your industry. Doing so will bring you a few benefits; it’ll help your visitors, position yourself as an industry expert, and keep your site’s SEO up to scratch. Here are a few more reasons.
- Get your links spot on - Google likes it when you link to other pages within your site (internal linking) and loves it when authority sites link to your website (inbound linking). Offer high-quality sites guest posts or other content in exchange for a link to your site (which’ll help both SEO and increase your traffic!).
Speed Your Site Up
You snooze, you lose. Well, in this case, it’s ‘they snooze, you lose’. If you make your visitors wait for 3 or more seconds, 40% of them will leave immediately. The digital age is uncompromising, sure. And ecommerce browsers particularly so. But ensuring your website is fast-loading can be achieved through various means.
- Optimise your images - For an ecommerce store, images can pose a challenge to loading speeds. Especially those stunning, high-def galleries of your products. Use a plugin like WP Smush to reduce file sizes and reduce loading times.
- Hold back on the gizmos - Choose your plugins very carefully – many will be coded poorly and prove disastrous for your site’s speed and security. Select only the essentials that are necessary for your site.
- Streamline your homepage - Keep it lean. Show post excerpts, a select number of products, and minimise the number of widgets, menus, search bars and options. This’ll be good for speed and your user’s general experience.
Make Social Media A Vital Element
In 2016, everything is social. And when it comes to your visitors’ buying decisions, few things are more powerful than social proofing. Social media and eCommerce might not seem a likely duo, but used properly, the combination can prove to be extremely effective. Just take a look at the exposure J Peterman’s product descriptions are receiving.
- Offer an incentive - Simply offering a deal or discount for a social share, like or mention is a cost-effective way to gain more exposure, visitors and sales on social media.
- Advertise - Advertising on the likes of Facebook allows you to very narrowly target your desired audience in a cost-effective manner – perfect for WordPress eCommerce.
- Engage with users - Posting inspiring, relevant content, helping users and developing a unique, likeable brand voice (examples) can all be great ways to build a positive reputation on social media and win over loyal brand advocates.
Use High Quality Imagery
Buying a product online involves a great deal of trust; your visitor has quite likely never seen what you’re selling before. That’s why you want to eliminate any sources of uncertainty that may lose you the sale. Showing a range of high-quality imagery for each of your products is an excellent way to do this.
- Take great photos - Existing stock photos not up to scratch? Take your own! You want at least 4-6 angles demonstrating every element of the product. Bonus: include an image of the product in use – e.g. someone modelling glasses.
- Display them beautifully - Photos should be of similar dimensions and at least 2000 pixels on the long size to utilise zoom. Showing off details is often important for visitors.
- Use video / 360 photography - Nothing screams care and quality quite like a product video. If this isn’t feasible, look into 360 view photography, which shows off every element of your product. This might take a bit more planning, however.
There we go – 5 ways to make your WordPress eCommerce store more profitable. Naturally, there’s a lot of trial and error here, and you might have you own methods or approaches that work for you. If you have any suggestions or tips, feel free to write them in the comment section below!