eCommerce Site Analysis – The Basics

eCommerce is constantly evolving and your strategy should be too. If not, the competition will eat you for breakfast (num num). The first step in your eCommerce strategy moving forward should be a thorough eCommerce site analysis. Your site needs to be firing on all cylinders before you focus on increasing traffic. This means it should be optimized using current industry best practices and converting visitors to customers. Keep reading to see a few of things I look for while auditing an eCommerce website.

Benchmarking

Before you can reach your traffic and revenue goals, you need to know where you stand. What have you been doing well and what have you been doing not so well?

  • Where is your traffic coming from and how much revenue is being generated by each traffic source?
  • What are the top viewed pages, the top landing pages and the top exit pages? Identify opportunities to improve these pages’ performance.
  • What keywords are driving traffic to your site? Are they converting?
  • What are your goals and KPIs?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The next item we begin to look at is your site’s search engine optimization. It is important that you properly leverage technical and on-page SEO factors in order to increase search engine rankings.

  • Does your site have page titles that are unique and optimized with the most important keywords appearing first?
  • Are the URLs clean and keyword rich?
  • What does your content strategy look like? Are you blogging often enough? Does your site contain unique product descriptions? Are you including keywords in the copy on your site and in header tags?
  • Do you have an internal linking strategy in place?
  • Are you leveraging image alt text?
  • Have you written compelling meta descriptions that would make a user want to visit your site?
  • If applicable, have you utilized canonical tags?
  • Have you created a robots.txt file and an xml sitemap?
  • Have you implemented a product review system in order to create user generated content and increase conversion rates?
  • Are you serving data like addresses, recipes, events and reviews to the search engines using schema.org html tags?
  • How fast does your site load?

Design and Usability

This section could be a blog in itself or even a series of blogs…oh wait, we do have a great design and usability blog series called “Design 1, 2, 3”. I’ll just give a few high level examples of things I look for while conducting an eCommerce site analysis.

  • Are the most important aspects of your site “above the fold”?
  • Does your site have clear and consistent calls to action?
  • Is the navigation easy to use?
  • Is the site search box prominently displayed? When a user utilizes the site search, does it produce the best possible results?
  • Are the most popular products prominently displayed on the category pages?
  • How many clicks does it take for a user to get from the homepage to the shopping cart?

The Shopping Cart

  • Are the “remove items” and “continue shopping” buttons distracting users?
  • Does it include a product summary and thumbnail?
  • Is the user being shown the final pricing with taxes and shipping included?
  • Are assurances like secure checkout logos strategically placed on the shopping cart?
  • Do you have the option to begin the checkout process as a guest?
  • Are there multiple payment options?
  • Did you include some complimentary products in order to increase average order value?

The Checkout Process

  • Does your checkout process include a progress bar?
  • Have you removed your site’s navigation?
  • Are you properly tracking the checkout process in analytics to identify opportunities for improvement?
  • Are you retaining customers’ previously entered information?
  • Is your customer service contact information easy to find?

This is by no means an exhaustive list but rather a good starting point. I’m interested in hearing from you as to what it is you look for when you are making a purchase online or even conducting an eCommerce site analysis yourself.

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Vaughn Regelin

Vaughn joined the Groove team in January 2010. Vaughn specializes in paid advertising management, search engine optimization and conversion optimization. He is individually qualified in Google Analytics and Google AdWords with a specialization in search advertising. He graduated from Towson University with Magna Cum Laude honors.
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