5 Tips to a Successful & Profitable ecommerce Website

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1 5 Tips to a Successful & Profitable ecommerce Website 2011 Keystone Click LLC

2 Congrats on taking the right steps to having a successful ecommerce website. Now, we don t have all the answers (no one does), but these 5 tips are crucial to your success. The core areas that will be covered in this PDF include: 1) Online Presence 2) Well Designed Site 3) Security 4) Quality Information 5) Positioning If you have questions, please don t hesitate to contact us. We d love to help out. We love building websites, especially ecommerce ones. For more details: Follow our blog: Friend us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Sign-up for our monthly enews:

3 1) Online Presence Social Media Blogging Search Engine Optimization Your ecommerce website needs to have a STRONG online presence. The goal of any website, especially an ecommerce website is to create the largest footprint online. What does this mean? Your online footprint is essentially your network of assets created online over the months and years. Your footprint will drive traffic and sales. How do I create a larger footprint? Easy! Start posting online. The three main avenues to enhance your online footprint and make it as large as possible are: SOCIAL MEDIA Get on Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Google+. If you aren t on there already, drop everything you are doing and create your profile. These social media avenues receive tons of web traffic, have high listings in the search engines, allow you to link back to your website and best of all, they are free! Facebook Create a Fan Page for your business/ecommerce website. Facebook allows you to post pictures of your product, add links back to your website, receive testimonials from your customers, and even sell your product on their site. (The new buzz word soon might be F-Commerce). Twitter Creating a profile on Twitter allows you to stay connected to your customers as well as many potential customers. Utilize hashtags and lists to find likeminded individuals who are looking for your product or have an interest in what you offer. Send information related to your industry and offer Twitter only discounts to your followers. FourSquare Even though you may not have a brick and mortar shop, its still a good idea to have a FourSquare account. This allows you to check-in at different locations. For example, if you sell cookies online, check-in at the next trade show you attend and post how excited you are for the new cookie ideas to share with your customers. LinkedIn LinkedIn offers a number of options to increase your online presence. To keep this short, the primary opportunities to focus on include your personal profile, the Answers section, groups, and your business page. Personal profile: You can add up to three links, make sure you are linking to your website, blog, and one of your other social media accounts. You can also add images, slideshows, videos and most importantly testimonials.

4 Answers: Allows you to ask questions related to your industry, or any industry for that matter, but more importantly, answer questions related to your industry. When you answer a question it helps you look like an expert in your industry. Also, the answers allow you to add a link. So, if you have useful information on your website related to the question, include a link to your site (or another useful link online). Groups: Are a way to interact with individuals on LinkedIn who have a similar interest. The interest of the group does not necessary have to be professional or related to your industry, it can be your college alumni group, or an extracurricular activity group. Engage and interact within that group. Post relevant information and encourage other group members to participate. Better yet, make your own group and invite your contacts to join. Google+ - Still relatively new, however the Google account alone is worth setting up. Actually, anything related to Google is worth getting involved in at some level. Creating a Google profile allows you to plug in keywords related to your industry, but most important is that your Google Profile can include links! So, link to your website and your other social media profiles. Posting on Google+ will allow you to add links within your posts, images, videos, etc. And then your friends/followers on Google + will be able to Plus One your post, which can help it become viral. BLOGGING Any and all websites should have a blog, regardless of the industry and the target audience, a blog helps expand your online footprint as well as create opportunities for you to showcase your expertise. In addition to writing on your own blog, consider following other blogs and commenting. Everyone likes to see that there are individuals commenting on their blog, but better yet, a comment can turn into a link back to your website. A few fun facts about blogs: Search engines love blogs Help showcase your expertise 70% of bloggers are talking about brands on their blog organically. 53% of professional Bloggers are interested in attracting new clients from blogging. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO) SEO is primarily a combination of content and linking. This is broken down into two segments internal and external. Taking the right steps to SEO your sites internal structure will help with the external SEO. Having proper linking and the correct use of keywords is an important aspect to how your site is found in the search engines. Internally Target specific words on specific pages, don t target all your keywords equally over the entire site. A search engine displays a page as a result, not the entire website. Keywords should be used within your page Title tags, alt tags, description, body content, and heading tags. Externally Once you have your site SEO d internally it will help others to find your site when they search for your product or service offering. Having links back to your website from outside sources helps significantly with your rankings within the search engines. So, the previous tips above such as commenting on other blog posts and including your link, or add your links to your social media profiles help with these outside sources linking back to your website.

5 2) Well Designed Site Navigation CMS Call-to-Action In today s economy, a website needs to be engaging, interactive and easy to navigate. Clean design means a professional company. I d much rather plug my credit card into a website that looks professional versus one that has a website from Fresh and new content on your websites show the site visitor that you maintain your site, are actively online, and engage your audience. Most importantly, the design should tell the site visitor what you want them to do. NAVIGATION An easy to navigate website allows the site visitor to easily find what they are looking for. If the site visitor is not able to quickly find what they want, they will leave and visit the next site until they find what they are looking for. In the world of websites, a site visitor should be able to find what they are looking for within 3 clicks. How long does it take you to find what you want on your own site? Do you cross promote your products within your site? CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS) A content management system allows you, the site owner, to update any piece of information on your website without needing to know any of the fancy code that was used to create your site. Update the details on your products. Offer a limited time only product. Add a new blog post. Update your events listings. Enhance your directory. Build up your About Us page. The options for enhancing your website with a CMS are pretty much endless. Having the ability to do with a few simple few clicks and your login, is priceless. CALL-TO-ACTION Most people will spend approximately 8-10 seconds looking at a homepage and decode to stay or move somewhere else. First, hopefully your homepage is engaging enough that the site visitor wants to stay there for more than 8 seconds. Second, what are they supposed to do once they are there? Every page on your website should have at least ONE Call-To-Action. A few ideas for Call-To-Action Sign up for our enews Buy this product today Call for more details Forward to a Friend Friend us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Rate this product

6 3) Quality Product Information Images Description When it comes to selling your product online, it is extremely important to be as detailed and specific as possible about your product. Include as much information, quality images, testimonials, and even videos to promote the features and benefits of your product. IMAGES The quality of the images is extremely important when it comes to selling your product. Lighting, background, and attention to detail is so important. The image is what will ultimately sell your product online. Hiring a professional photographer is worth it to ensure quality images of your product. Once you have your images ready to go, consider how someone might want to view your images on your website. Will the site visitor want to zoom in on the product, see the product from different angles, or view the product in different colors? Check out this heat map image from co.uk/thoughts/what_people_see_before_they_buy_design_ guidelines_for_ecommerce_product_pages_with_eyetracking_data.htm This shows that the eye primarily looks at the image of your product. Tips for taking your own photography Use lots of lights, but not direct lighting Try to avoid shadows on your product (indirect light) If possible, use a white background Take all your product photos at the same time, with the same lighting and background Don t rush, take multiple photos of each item Use a photo editing software to resize the images for web-use DESCRIPTION If your image can t sell your product, you d better make sure the description would close the deal. Highlighting the core features and benefits of your product are key to making that sale online. Your product description should include the following details: Answer the question Why should I buy this? Highlight the benefits Detail the unique features Include usage ideas Specify available options Include the keywords that you want to be found under in the search engines Make sure your description is using words that the buyer would understand, not industry jargon. Focus on the customer and the value the product brings versus focusing on why your product is so amazing.

7 4) Security Merchant Account/Gateway Defined Policies Above all things, the security of your site should be a priority. Receiving any negative remarks or experiencing a security breach could have long term unfavorable results. MERCHANT ACCOUNT/GATEWAY To accept payment online, there are a number of options available. Setting up a merchant account and gateway allow your site to collect payment via credit card, without the customer having to leave your site. A merchant account provider is a company that handles credit card transactions online. The gateway handles the transfer of funds from the merchant account to your account. Having a reliable and trustworthy merchant account and gateway is extremely important. As Certified Developers and Preferred Resellers of Authorize.net, we highly recommend using them as your merchant account providers. To get started, visit this link: application/?id= for more details. Also, contact us, for a step-by-step guide on how to apply online. DEFINED POLICIES With most qualified merchant accounts, they will require some sort of policy description to be able to activate your merchant account. There are two main policies we recommend and encourage for your ecommerce website. Privacy Policy You may not believe this, but some site visitors are extremely interested in how you intend to use the information you collect when they place an order on your site, or even visit your site for that matter. The purpose of a privacy policy is to inform your site users. Although a number of sites privacy policies look very boiler-plate, its best to consult with an attorney who specializes in this area. For more information on a Privacy Policy, visit the FTC s website:

8 Return Policy The return policy is not required by law, however its good practice to inform your customers on your return policy prior to them making the purchase. A return policy will help to boost the customer satisfaction and diminish potential returns. Keep the policy simple and easy to understand (no need for legal jargon). Be upfront and honest with your customers as to how you will handle a return in the event a customer is not happy with the product they purchased. When writing your return policy, remember that this could actually have an impact on your sales. Choose your words wisely (avoid threatening verbiage such as We Refuse or We will not be responsible ). And most importantly, make sure that your entire staff is aware of your return policy. Some things to keep in mind for your return policy: Do you accept returns? Is there a time period that you will allow a return (within 30 days) Does the customer pay the shipping on the return? Will you accept exchanges or store credits instead of giving cash back If the item is used, will you accept it back? If the packaging is open/tags are cut off, will you still accept it? Are clearance items returnable?

9 5) Positioning Competitors Customers Now that you ve got a website that is listed on all of your social media channels, is cleanly designed with strong calls-to-action, has quality product images and descriptions, and is secure, how do you get your customers online? We ve covered a number of the online presence discussions in the first bullet, but this tip number 5 focuses on knowing your competitors and your customers. COMPETITORS Do you know who your competitors are? Maybe on a local level you know, but have you done some deep searching to see who else online is selling the same product that you are? If not, we d recommend doing that immediately. What are they doing that you are not? What are you doing that they are not? Where are they positions in social media? Are you in the same places they are online? What are their customers saying about them? Is there an opportunity for you to excel at their weakness? It s good practice to check out what your competition is doing on a consistent basis. It doesn t have to be every day, but make sure you add it to your calendar to see what your competitors are doing AND, see if any new competition has entered the field. New websites are going live every day and you never know if someone in your industry has entered the playing field without you taking the chance to look for them. CUSTOMERS At this point, you have an idea of who your target audience is and what they are looking for. You obviously have a product that is of interest to them. Where do your customers navigate online? What blogs do they read? What social media channels are they most interested in? Are they commenting on your product without you knowing about it? Make sure that you are out and seeking what your customers are saying about you all the time. It s important to be able to quickly react in the event something negative (or positive) is posted online. Use a free tool such as Google Alerts to be notified immediately once your business or product is mentioned somewhere on the Internet.

10 Glossary of Terms F-Commerce The act of ecommerce taking place solely on Facebook. Hashtags A tag embedded in a message on Twitter consisting of a word within the message to help individuals follow certain topics: #ecommerce Plus One Actually +1, Google s version of the Facebook Like. Check-In The act of identifying your location via social media to let your followers know where you are. F-Commerce The act of ecommerce taking place solely on Facebook.

11 A fun short story about Keystone Click: When deciding what to name our company, we ran through a handful of great ideas, some quite frankly, terrible ones, and of course those that were already taken. After long hours of brainstorm sessions with brain food (read pizza) we decided to change our angle of attack. What did we want to convey with our name? The most important feature that we wanted to portray with our name was the potential strength and power the Internet has on your business. Then a high school shop class flashback came; a Keystone is a powerful, stable element in architecture. The Ancient Romans were able to create the aqueducts with the assistance of the keystone at the zenith of the arch. Our goal is to create a solid base for your website and then help you expand upwards and onwards with it into a positive, rewarding and powerful presence. We could go into detail with more Ancient Roman analogies, anecdotes and cries of For Sparta! for you to read, but it would be more fun to talk with you in person (or just watch 300). If you are really curious, just ask. We have a motto here at Keystone Click, Work hard, have fun, enjoy your job, and the people you work with. So what makes us different that you would enjoy working with us? Your success online is our passion. The Internet, technology, design, and function is our passion We believe that aesthetics should be supported by strong content and utility. We believe that the best way to create something is with communication and having a real relationship with each and every one of our clients. Now that we ve done all the talking, we want to hear more about you. If you want a quote or are just curious about our areas of expertise, don t hesitate to get in touch with us (promise we don t wear togas to work or push people into large open pits sorry, last one).

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