You’ve got your dream business, all over the online world, attracting customers left and right. Your Ecommerce website is like a magnet, drawing people in, making them click that buy button without a second thought.
But here’s the deal: to make it happen, there are three big things you gotta keep in mind as a business owner. First, you gotta nail that User Experience and Design stuff, so your website is smooth like butter. Then, you gotta wrap your head around Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to get those Google rankings skyrocketing. And finally, you better know your way around money matters—taxes, shipping, fees—because that’s where the profits hide.
Business owners: Read on to learn my 3 Ecommerce website tips for 2023 when building an e-commerce website. Assuming you’re working with a website designer, these tips will help you avoid common pitfalls and to make it a success to blow your customers’ minds.
Tip #1 – Figure out the Money
One of the outcomes of building and optimizing an Ecommerce website is to generate more money, right? There are several components to the money that some business owners or even some web designers might neglect. Understanding your sales tax situation, shipping calculation, tax exemption solutions and payment processing solutions are the key areas I will touch on below.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world with no tax? Keep dreaming — it’s not that simple. Business owners: understanding how you currently tax your products is crucial. A well-skilled, experienced web designer should approach you about this early on in this process. I approach this conversation with my prospective customers in the proposal phase. Why so early? Because I may need to purchase a tool/plugin that achieves what the client wants. As a web designer, I need to protect my margins and be transparent about out of pocket costs with my client.
City or County Tax
I build all my Ecommerce websites on WordPress with a platform called WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a dynamic, open source platform that sits on WordPress. It is also free – out of the box with no additional customization. The cool thing about WooCommerce is that you can set varies tax rates per product, per order, by state, city or county. Business owners should understand how they are currently taxing their customers and convey that to the website designer. To avoid any tax surprises down the road, this is crucial to set up correctly the first time.
Business owners: another question to ask yourself is if there are any scenarios that warrant a tax exemption. Certain organizations may be free from paying tax — it’s important that website designer understand that and incorporate that into your future Ecommerce solution. There are tools and plugins that allow the website designer to ensure organizations can still request and show proof of tax exemption.
The next layer here is shipping. Once again, if not setup correctly as a business, you could be caught off guard by smaller margins. Why? Let’s say you ship a product based on weight. Your website designer fails to assign a product weight for each product or even worse, forgets to ask you how it works! As a business owner, it’s crucial to understand how you currently calculate shipping and how you wish to calculate it once the Ecommerce shop is live.
With WooCommerce and plugins that are available for purchase, you can calculate shipping by region, product dimensions, weight or a simple, flat rate. The possibilities are endless and dynamic.
The last layer here is payment processing. As a web designer, I feel it is my duty to educate my clients on what their options are. Every time an Ecommerce order is made, the payment gateway / processor keeps a certain percentage per transaction. This isn’t unfamiliar to most businesses as they experience a similar charge with their in-store point of sale solutions.
Stripe is one of the most popular and robust solutions but could be one of the more expensive ones. As of May of 2023, Stripe takes 2.9% + $.30 per transaction. For a list of NerdWallet’s top 8 Ecommerce payment processing solutions, check their article out. Stripe does come with some pretty awesome API and reporting solutions which could be most important to you as a small business owner.
The point is, encourage your web designer to do their due diligence and give you options if you aren’t comfortable with the fees!
Tip #2 – Setup SEO
Proper SEO setup is crucial to being found online in an organic manner. SEO seems like a no-brainer but let’s dive into that a little bit deeper. Business owners: does your website designer offer SEO services? Do they understand how to setup SEO and perform keyword research. You are not expected to understand the intricacies of SEO, but it is important to ensure this is done at the time of launch. After all, you are putting all this work and money into a new Ecommerce website solution.
During the requirements phase, your website designer should ask you, the business owner, which keywords you want to rank for – or what you think you currently rank for. An awesome SEO specialist can confirm if your suspicions are correct AND also help you understand the feasibility to rank for a given keyword.
Specifically, your website designer or SEO specialist should perform thorough keyword research. What does this mean? Imagine this: you pull out your phone and search for t-shirt embroidery shops. The keyword you type in is ‘t-shirt embroidery’. Google will populate sponsored ads and organize search, along with local business information from Google Maps. A knowledgable, experienced SEO specialist has the tools to understand if ‘t-shirt embroidery’ is a popular and difficult keyword (searched a lot and lots of companies rank for this already) and can suggest alternatives to target.
From there, the job is to optimize your website for that keyword to try to get it to ‘rank’ for that particular keyword(s). SEO is fun, right?
Schema what the heck is this? I know, SEO can be confusing. Going back to the search example above where you searched for ‘t-shirt embroidery’. Imagine a result populating with the website name, a short description a link to that product page. OR even better, the product, a picture of it, reviews and link to buy the product from Google – this is visually engaging and helpful for a potential customer. The way to tell Google to set this up and what to say is by optimizing your webpage’s schema markup with a knowledgable SEO specialist or website designer.
To learn more about SEO in general, check these articles out.
Tip #3 – Optimize User Experience
An Ecommerce website that works, has correct tax rates per order/product, shipping rates, SEO optimization are all extremely critical. Without an optimal user experience, your prospective customers won’t want to purchase from you. The goal is to attract customers with your design, not push them away.
Being the first page most prospective customers will see, your home page is ever so important. Incorporating a visually appealing design from the get-go with a clear call to action button will draw customers in and lead customers to the right place. “Buy Now”, “Shop Now”, “Get the Deal” are examples of a call to action that you should put front and center on the home page. Don’t make it confusing or make customers scroll, as you will likely lose them! Most prospective will make a decision to stay or leave your website in the matter of seconds!
For more information on calls to action, check out this article I recently wrote.
Website speed is another layer of user experience. Your website designer should know this and consider this when building your website. Sometimes fancy, flashy and cute designs look like a good idea, but can in fact slow down your website! Why does this matter? Once again, most customers will make a decision to stay or leave your website within seconds. Bounce rate, or the rate that customers leave your website within a certain amount of time, increases by 38% for every 5 seconds of load time.
To check your website speed and learn more, check out this article I recently wrote dedicated to this topic.
As you can see, there are many layers and best practices to ensure your Ecommerce website is set up for success. Your financials, website traffic and conversion rate are all on the line if your website is not setup correctly. These Ecommerce website tips for 2023 are crucial to attracting customers through organic SEO, user experience and ensuring your wallet is protected!
If you want to work with a professional website designer and SEO specialist who has the process, knowledge and experience building Ecommerce websites, reach out to me!