Taking First Steps in E-Commerce

Taking First Steps in E-Commerce

The e-commerce industry is developing much faster and dynamically than traditional companies. Brands which operate online can be really successful and that’s why it’s essential to know how to design a website that will operate properly from its very launch.

Latest on our blog: How Do Search Engines Work?

In today’s entry we’ll tell you what to remember about when taking your first steps in e-commerce. Enjoy!

An online store step by step

Today, people are very eager to shop online via their computers and mobile devices. The online competition is really sizable and customers’ expectations are getting higher year by year. That’s why online shop owners constantly have to search for innovative solutions that will attract users’ attention.

However, before you start thinking about doing SEO and expanding your online store, first you need to know how to design it.

Pick an appropriate domain

Choosing an appropriate domain is one of the first things you have to do when launching your online store. Make sure it includes the name of your company as it’ll definitely improve your brand recognition.

Newly designed online shops are usually run on completely new domains and their authority is built from scratch. But sometimes it may happen that you’ll choose a domain which was already active in the past. In such a situation, you need to carefully analyze its history.

A trustworthy hosting service and correct extension (TLD)

The quality of services offered by hosting providers is also very important. Make sure that the domain you register won’t expire after a while and check the hosting provider support.

Choose an appropriate extension that will match the industry in which your shop operates. If you target your business exclusively on the domestic market, it’s worth going for an extension characteristic for a given country. However, if you want to go international, you should rather choose the .com extension.

Technical aspects of your website

  • Proper URLs – URL addresses are an essential part of every e-commerce site. Their correct structure can significantly affect the whole SEO process in the future. Don’t include there any special characters or unacceptable separators. To find out more about building friendly URLs, go to our previous blog entry.
  • Getting rid of errors – very often, when a given product is sold out, the website displays an error. Users are confused as they don’t receive any notification. Avoid such a situation by informing your potential customers that the product is unavailable at the moment. You can also try offering similar products instead.
  • Site map and robots.txt file – a site map makes it significantly easier for Google robots to index your website. The better you design the site, the bigger the chance that the search engine robots will reach a greater number of your website’s subpages. The robots.txt file has a slightly different role, with its use you can determine which URLs aren’t supposed to be indexed (for example the shopping cart or privacy policy).

Technical aspects of your website

E-commerce vs. SEO

It goes without saying that even the finest online store won’t be able to outdo its competition on the market and be ranked high in the search results without a properly implemented SEO strategy. Content optimization, proper titles, meta descriptions, headings, image alt texts or correct linking strategies are essential when it comes to the SEO process. We’ll discuss these aspects in more detail later on in this article.

Competitor analysis

Being able to stand out from the crowd is the real key to success. So before you decide to start a business in a given industry, it’s a good idea to learn about the competition you’ll need to face. Comparing product ranges, prices and methods of presenting offers will allow you to conduct a thorough market analysis and to devise your own strategy. It’ll certainly be helpful to scrutinize the visibility and positions on which your competition is displayed in the search results. Don’t forget to check whether your market rivals are active on their social media profiles.

Generally, people decide to shop online more and more often. Therefore, it’s worth checking what they look for, which products they finally buy and which aspects are particularly important to them.

Why is SEO useful in presenting products or services?

The next step after finding out what products and services you want to offer is coming up with a way of presenting them to users. Below you can see a few tips that will help you make your e-shop stand out from the crowd:

  • Write and optimize your content for keywords – obviously, the texts will vary depending on the services or products you sell. Remember to provide the most significant features of the offered goods, their operation mode and design. It’s also very important to optimize the description for appropriate keywords used by potential customers. Apply H1 and H2 headings and don’t forget about image alt texts.
  • Present true-to-life products – product photos should present their real condition and look. Don’t overuse Photoshop or similar apps, customers hate it when they receive products which look completely different than the ones presented in the photos.
  • Ensure transparent content – make sure that your website is intuitive and appealing. Users much often prefer e-shops with captivating layouts and menus that are easy to operate.
  • Avoid duplicate content – plagiarizing product descriptions is one of the most common mistakes encountered in the e-commerce world. Such activities have a very negative impact on the visibility and position of your website in the search results, that’s why you should avoid them.

Is there anything else you can do to promote your business? Of course! Think about running a company blog or creating vlogs and tutorials related to the products on your offer.

Moreover, you need to thoroughly analyze your further on-site and off-site SEO strategy. Doing SEO for an e-commerce site requires a great deal of knowledge and expertise, therefore, if you want to make sure that your e-store is prone to succeed, you definitely should consider starting cooperation with a professional SEO agency.

Logistics and warehousing

We’ve already discussed aspects related to your website, now it’s time to get down to warehousing of products. Where should a warehouse be located and is it really necessary? Well, it turns out that running an online shop doesn’t require having any storage space. It all depends on whether you manufacture the products on your offer or whether you just distribute them.

Manufacturers usually decide to have their own warehouses and logistics systems to handle them. Nevertheless, a major part of online shops is based on so-called dropshipping.

Dropshipping is a model in which a shop owner is an intermediary, not a supplier. The supplier sends the goods directly to the buyer. The only task of the online store is to collect orders and send them to the supplier who delivers the products to the customer.

Payment and delivery methods

The possibility to choose various payment and delivery methods is usually highly appreciated by customers. Make sure that your e-shop has an active SSL certificate and secure payment system. Make it possible for buyers to shop without signing up and provide them with numerous delivery methods.

Time and cost of delivery are factors that can help you get ahead of your competition.

Effective advertising

Marketing activities are a must if you want to reach as many customers as possible. Being active in social media, providing a mobile version of your website or implementing related apps will certainly make it easier for you to contact and attract potential customers. Moreover, carefully thought-out advertising campaigns, special offers, discounts or free delivery always attract a large number of buyers.

To sum up

If you think about starting your e-commerce adventure, you need to be ready to face many issues. All beginnings are hard and taking first steps may seem really complicated, however, don’t panic. A thorough analysis of the market and customer expectations will help you avoid many mistakes at the outset.

Launching a shop designed in accordance with SEO principles will allow you to constantly expand its functionalities and reach a wider range of potential customers.

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Author
Junior SEO Specialist - Justyna

Junior SEO Specialist

A graduate of computer science with a passion for 3D modeling and computer games. In her free time she likes reading books, watching TV series, cooking and discovering new places. She loves travelling and good food. She loves to spend time in the company of family and friends. Her adventure with SEO began in Delante in the spring of 2019.

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