Here we are 2014, a new year. For many organizations, last year 2013 brought lots of unexpected developments. Lots of changes across multiple industries and markets certainly made it more difficult to improve online sales for many businesses.
One of the more important questions e-commerce store operators have asked themselves recently is “what considerations a business must take in 2014” and how to improve online sales. Regardless of products, services, or solutions sold most websites were affected by several major changes in 2013.
The most noted changes came from the leading search engine Google. This was significant since most businesses, which operate online commerce focus their efforts with Google. It is due to their market share being around 78% in North America. Google introduced several changes to their search engine such as Panda, Penguin, Vince, and now Hummingbird.
This had immediate impact on many websites of all sizes and their search engine rankings for thousands of keywords across all industries. There was not a single website affected by these changes. Some more than others of course due to quality of websites and other factors.
What Considerations A Business Website Must Undergo In 2014
It starts with the proper reports and analytics. A business website must be analyzed and reports created to get an exact status report. These reports cover such items as the status of the website itself and it’s performance online. The health of the structure, application software updates needed, performance of site via speed tests, links which work or not, HTML fixes, duplicate meta data, keywords, and much more.
In addition, other reports and analysis are utilized to show more the performance of the website in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This is usually done based on specific keywords and keyword phrases important to the business or used in marketing campaigns.
So, what considerations must a business website make in 2014? It starts with the reports and analysis and this leads to action. After all the changes last year especially with Google, a business website must know how it was affected by it. A business must consider re-aligning itself to be in peak performance mode online to improve sales.
After reports are run, required improvements noted on reports should be successfully accomplished across all needed areas. A budget must be created and allowed for this. This is the first step to consider when improving sales online. If a business does not know how to go about this, hiring a consultant is a great idea to get help.
Improve Online Sales Through The Right Actions
Once a website is optimized and in good health, the right and proper actions can be taken to improve online sales moving forward. Now that the website is not “hurting” anymore, operators can focus on how to create momentum and increase online sales. Here are some ways to improve online sales:
Reviews are a powerful way to sharply increase conversion. To convert higher with sales add customer reviews, or/and improve upon them. Incentives can be given to customer to write reviews. Most storefronts enable the display of them. Also, with easy they can be displayed on a website page.
Promotions & Discounts
Incentives are an industry standard and a great way to increase online sales. They can range from shipping, to pricing, bundled deals, and holiday type of promotions that are more time sensitive.
Videos are a great way to capture a customer’s attention. They are also one of the fastest online marketing methods. Technically, it falls under content marketing. It is a powerful method to increase sales online and it supports many other forms of marketing as well.
Informational graphics that illustrate informational content and related images are called Infographics. They are one of the latest editions to online marketing and also what is called content marketing. Infographics are ranked very high by search engines, shared easily across social media, and liked by customers.
One of the most important tools for any organization is having a company blog that is part of their website. If a business does not have one, this is the first step. Get one integrated into the website. A company blog should be setup professionally and updated weekly. A blog can be one of the best tools to drive sales online for a business.
There are many other actions an organization and business can take to improve sales online, but this is a great first start. First, run reports and analysis on the website. Find out where you are online with your business. If you do not know how, hire a consultant who can help. Always a great idea, especially before making an investment into website improvements.
Once the website is analyzed, fixed and/or improved, the next phase can begin. Customer reviews, discounts, and promotions can help improve sales immediately online. Others take some time such as videos, infographics, and company blog. Content is critical for the improvement of online sales. It has to be created with quality, housed with quality, and shared through online marketing efforts such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM) for example.
* Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net