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Is your e-commerce website user friendly?

I’m going to give you our TOP 3 tips for making your e-commerce website user-friendly this year. Of course, I’m a WordPress obsessive (some say specialist) so I’ll be approaching this from a WordPress solution perspective. Most of my suggestions can be done by non-techy people and should certainly be considered when you are either developing or revamping an e-commerce website.

Keeping our priorities straight, starting with speed.

#1 Speed Thrills (online)

No one likes a slow loading website, for either mobile or on your PC. Here’s the proof:

e-commerce website loading times

 

Credit: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/

Do something simple to speed up your e-commerce site!

Optimise your images

Most people don’t realise just how large an image file can be, whether you received a portfolio from a photographer or saved them online. If you’ve gone to the trouble of having your products or services photographed, you could ask your photographer to send you some optimised ones.

You may need a specific size for your product images; as a guideline 800px width is wide enough to give enough detail to your customers.

Recommend…

I recommend SmushIt! Although there is a pro (paid) version, the free version is good too.  This plugin won’t exactly resize your image, but it will remove some of the detail which is not required for a web image, making your file smaller and load faster.

We will be releasing an additional blog to cover this subject, as it’s simple too vast a topic for this post.

#2 Dag- Nav- it

Let me start off by saying that menus for PC and mobile should respond differently due to screen size. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, then you want to re-think that urgently! But for now, I’ll assume your website has a mobile version (or an app) and go from there.

Hide and Seek

Your menu – or <nav> as we know it, it usually the biggest frustration of your user when they are trying to find what they want. On one hand, they don’t want to go through 10’s of layered menus where their mouse falls off the side and they lose a thread – but there again they don’t want 100 product categories screaming at them at the top of every page.

What’s the story for product heavy websites?

Not all websites have lots of products, but if yours does you’ll want to consider keeping the bulk of subcategory or product options (e.g. coats, bags etc.) within a more encompassing category such as Men’s, Women’s (etc. again!).

Mega Menus

e-commerce mega menu

I love these for large e-commerce websites because straight away you feel someone has taken the trouble to organise a little section just for you. Be it clothing, electrical and so on if you can find the main categories such as ‘Menswear’ or ‘Kitchen’ etc. – then you can easily find the sub category like ‘Shoes’ or ‘Small Appliances’. Users are lazy (yes we are!) and we don’t want to work for it, we expect to find your products easily and sometimes we users punish you and shop somewhere else if you don’t.

Recommend…

Uber Menu is a great (paid) plugin to add a mega menu to your WordPress website. It has options to integrate with your current code – it’s not a one size fits all but there are some simple, again non-technical ways to make it look lovely on your website. Only difficulty is that there is so much customisation with Uber Menu it can be a bit daunting the first time you use it. But for a one off it’s worth investing the extra time. Also, comes complete with mobile version and device detection in its coding. So, don’t forget to test your mobile menu too to make sure it looks good and is easy to use.

Side Menus

Side menus are a good place to hide lots of main categories if you need to have them. I personally tend to avoid them as they can be quite clunky and multi-layered making them difficult to operate on desktops and tablets (even the mobile ones)

I don’t have a big e-commerce website

If your website only has a couple of products keep it simple – you’re at an advantage here that you have a simple message. Users don’t have a very long attention span (8-10 seconds if you’re lucky) so don’t feel you need to full that space with loads of nonsense about privacy and terms and conditions – keep those as links in your website’s footer.

One Page Options

A one page website is perfect for a story teller approach, which I personally love <3

When you are storytelling you have more control over the content viewed and more importantly the order in which it is viewed. So, use that to deliver a short but powerful story about your product and help them envisage themselves using it. Before just putting one together, try organise the content in to sections to make sure the content flows well. Name each section something short like ‘Innovation’ ‘Production’ ‘Live it’. Don’t forget not to put your product at the absolute bottom, and give some calls for the user to take the buying action in your sections. This could be a button – with scrolls the user to the product.

Fixed Menus

If you do have the one page option, having a menu which remains fixed at the top or side of the screen can be helpful -especially with all the scrolling. It can help them find where they are and get to the section they want – like buy. You do want your customers to buy, don’t you?

#3 Put a blog- in – it

Introducing a blog/news/posts in to your e-commerce website and featuring them around them around is a great way to help potential buyers. When you blog about your products, it could be reviews, awards – or simply a new way to use them, accessorize them.

e-commerce blog

How will it help?

Not only will a blog offer helpful content to users, it shows them you are up to date with your site inspiring customer confidence.

A blog gives you content to share socially and bring new users to the site.

Finally, blogging does wonders for your search engine optimisations. Make sure you optimise your key words on every post and offer different content such as images, videos and well thought out text.

How often should I blog?

Set a goal for your blog posts, once or twice a month works for most small businesses, but for e-commerce you should be aiming for 2-3 times per month.

Recommend

We touched lightly about SEO, so I’m going to recommend Yoast as a good SEO plugin to get you started. Once installed it will appear under your pages and posts and when you type in a keyword will give you feedback straight away on how you can improve your search result chances.

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That’s it from me for now, I’ll be back with some more tips soon. If you have any suggestions on topics you would like me to cover, please email and I’ll do my best.

Phillippa Christie – Web Geek

Creative, print & digital marketing company based in Co.Kerry

+353 66 9762130

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