19 E-commerce Website Mistakes to Avoid

starting an e-commerce website

e-commerce website mistakes

Ecommerce websites have different goals than informational or entertainment websites and they need to follow different protocols if they want to reach those goals. Here, I’m sharing a great infographic I found on 19 e-commerce website mistakes to avoid.

For those of you who are just getting started with an e-commerce website and you don’t know how to go about it, don’t fret and DON’T go over to one of those drag-and-drop websites like WIX or SQUARESPACE, where you’ll lose control and, more critically, lose all your SEO (wanna read more, here’s a great link). Instead, here’s a handy, dandy step-by-step guide to help you create your website and avoid these common e-commerce website mistakes for less than $100.

E-commerce website mistakes to avoid

In addition to the infographic at the bottom of this post, I did a little research to help you avoid the most common e-commerce website mistakes.

Here you go:

SEO

So, as you know if you read this website frequently, which you really should, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Acronyms aside, SEO is FREE traffic to your site, and it’s critical as it brings in people who are interested in the types of products/services you offer.

If you think about what it means to be a potential customer to your site (need, authority, money, desire), SEO takes users searches to ensure they fit most, if not all, of these factors.

While SEO is free traffic, taking advantage of SEO isn’t.

The first big e-commerce website mistake, therefore, is not spending the time and money necessary to achieve SEO.

How do you avoid this mistake?

Here are some tools and strategies to help you:

  1. SEO relies on valuable content posted on a consistent basis. Thus, even if you’re an e-commerce site, you need fresh content — at least 300 words every week (at a minimum).
  2. A good SEO tool for your website. I use Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress. There’s also All-In-One, which is also for WordPress. Both are free with premium versions available.
  3. If you have a little money to spend, try SEMRush or Moz. Both are great, although you need a little knowledge to interpret the results you get with them. Both sites have great blogs to help you understand SEO more deeply.
  4. A good website. This means you have a self-hosted website (as mentioned, avoid services that host a drag-and-drop website.

Responsive design

Responsive design means that your website looks great no matter what device the visitor uses or their screen size. And, this is an important element of SEO, as well.

True responsive design also means careful thought as to what the visitor wants. For instance, if they visit using a mobile device, information such as address and phone number are likely most important. If on a desktop, they may enjoy explainer videos and larger, interactive images.

Many templates (except those on Wix-type platforms) offer responsive design and are easily customizable to allow flexibility in how content is shown to visitors based on device and screen size.

Security

Today, everyone is concerned about privacy and security. No wonder, then, that such issues both affect your SEO and ability to reach your profit goals.

Some things to consider:

  • Buying security to change your HTTP to https
  • Offering 3rd party payment options, such as Venmo and PayPal
  • Better hosting options (again, a no-no to Wix-type sites)
  • Keep your website updated with the most recent software/ templates/ platforms
  • Run vulnerability tests

CTA

Just as a good salesperson never leaves a prospect without asking for the sale, neither should your website. Sure, it’s great to have tantalizing pictures and descriptions that drive desire, even reviews on your website from tons of satisfied customers. But, you also need to ask for the sale with a BUY NOW button or similar tool that makes it easy for visitors to add your product to their shopping carts. Also, remove as many clicks as possible from checkout, only asking for the information you really NEED to consummate the sale.

If you want to drive visitors to your subscription list, wait until after the transaction is finished to ask them if they want to sign up. Offering something special, like a discount price or special access, will increase response rates to subscription requests.

If visitors don’t complete the transaction or never put anything into their cart in the first place, try a fallback closer to joining your mailing list.

 Create a fantastic user experience

Don’t force visitors to hunt for the information they want and don’t be cute by hiding prices in the hopes that visitors will become so enamored with your product they won’t care how much it costs. Consumers just don’t think like that.

Instead,

  • Ensure there’s great navigation so visitors find what they’re looking for quickly
  • Make the site blazing fast as no one wants to spend precious seconds staring at a blank screen or twirling icon waiting for the page to load
  • Be sure to add white space and images to make your content inviting
  • Don’t forget the offline user experience, so be sure to thank the visitor for stopping by and, if they purchased something, send updates on shipping and delivery
  • Keep your promises

Plan before coding

It’s a big e-commerce website mistake to just dive right into creating the site.

Before you put the first line of code into your website (or choose a template) think through what the e-commerce website will look like. I’ve worked with clients who chose a template then tried to fit their vision of what the website would look like into the template (fitting a round peg into a square hole). It’s expensive and time-consuming.

Instead, look at your competition. How do their websites look? What’s great and not so great about them? How can your e-commerce website stand out from the crowd?

Once you’ve done your homework, try creating the site offline, such as on paper. There are even tools (some free, some a small price) that allow you to turn your paper website into a clickable website for usability testing.

Now that you’ve got the navigation worked out on paper, think about images and other content that will drive visitors toward a purchase.

Conclusion

Now you know the most common e-commerce website mistakes to avoid. If you’ve already got a website up, you can use this information to edit your website and, thus, improve performance.

Another thing to remember is that a website isn’t a static marketing tool. The landscape constantly changes and keeping your website up-to-date should be part of your yearly plan (or maybe every quarter).

You also need to monitor the performance of your e-commerce site. No one is perfect or has a crystal ball allowing them to know how visitors will respond to your site. By constantly monitoring what’s working and what isn’t, you’re in the best position to optimize performance.

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Ecommerce website mistakes
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