Did you know that, according to Google, 41% of users have turned to a competitor's site after a bad mobile experience? That means that if you don't have your site optimised for mobile devices you could end up loosing 41% of people who come to your site who may have purchased from you.
Bluepark has its own mobile feature that allows you to optimise your online shop so it can be viewed and bought from whilst on a mobile phone and it's available on all of our packages as standard. It's easy to set up and you can make sure your potential customers don't go looking elsewhere.
TIP: Find out more about setting up your Bluepark site ready for mobile use by following our How to: Set up Mobile Ecommerce on Your Bluepark Website guide. For tips on mobile best practices have a read of our post Mobile Design Best Practices - 10 Quick Questions to Ask Yourself
Once you have a small database of customers you can start sending out regular email newsletters to update them with new products, latest offers and any news. This is a great way to engage with your customers and keep them interested. You will find that some customers begin to order from you more than once and become loyal customers. These customers are invaluable so always keep them happy!
If you have a Business or Enterprise package on Bluepark you will find the email newsletters feature in the Users menu where you can create and send out 100,000 emails per month at no extra cost. Alternatively, you can use an external system like MailChimp who offer a maximum of 12,000 emails per month to up to 2000 subscribers for their free option.
TIP: Find out How to Create an Email Template for brand consistency on your Bluepark site and then have a read of our post Ten Tips for Improving Your Email Newsletters to make sure your email newsletters are successful.
One thing Google loves on any website is quality driven, regularly updated content. Along with adding new products and information pages, the best thing you can do to make sure you achieve this is by having a blog on your shop's domain that you post to on a regular basis. Each post needs to be over 300 words long to make sure Google doesn't label it as "thin" content as this can harm your site not help it.
Every Bluepark site comes with its own blog built in so there is no need to set one up elsewhere. This means that your blog will already be integrated into your website and will sit on your domain. These are both things that Google likes and it will help more traffic come to your online shop.
TIP: Before you start writing your first post have a read of our How to: Make Your Blog a Success guide which will help to make sure you get the most out of your blog.
If you have an SSL certificate installed on your website you will see the padlock symbol or green address bar on the browser whilst accessing any secure areas on your online shop. It is a requirement by certain payment providers that you have one installed because the debit/credit card details will need to be encrypted to be sent from your site to their system. If your customers are taken off of your site to pay then it is not a requirement.
However, even if it is not mandatory that you have one, adding an SSL certificate to your online shop can help your customers feel more secure about handing their debit/credit card details over and this will help to build trust, so it's always worth considering purchasing one for your site.
TIP: You can purchase an SSL certificate from Bluepark to be installed automatically onto your Bluepark site. You can choose between a Standard SSL (padlock) or Extended Validation SSL (green address bar), although the EV certificate is only available for a limited company (either Ltd or PLC) or a registered partnership (LLP).
There are two types of reviews you can add to your online shop, product reviews and service reviews. Product reviews allow your customers to review a product they have purchased and have it appear on your product page for other customers to read. This gives them genuine information about how something performs in a real world environment. These reviews can appear on Google underneath the individual product page listings.
Service reviews are where customers who have purchased from you rate your level of service. These are extremely beneficial if you offer a good service because potential customers who have never purchased from you will be reassured that their order will be handled efficiently. Service Reviews are often done using a trusted external reviews services such as TrustPilot or Feefo. These ratings can appear within your Google Adwords and organic listings for your homepage.
TIP: Our post Optimising Product Reviews and Why They Are Important! will help you get the most out of the product reviews feature on Bluepark's Business and Enterprise packages.
One area you can't afford to ignore is social media, not because it will suddenly transform your sales figures, but because it will help to get your name out there. Use platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram to interact with people who you normally wouldn't be able to reach. However, never, ever assume you can approach them with the hard sell; this will only put people off and can cause them to complain about you to their followers. Remember they are social sites so people go on them to socialise, not be bullied into buying something they don't want. Instead, strike up conversations or jump into one that's already happening and post interesting images to help show off what you do.
Facebook, however, is a different kettle of fish as it is getting harder and harder for a brand to be found by accident and someone would have to know who you are to search for you. This platform is more for keeping your current customers up to date with things that are going on which, of course, can lead to returning customers.
A lot of the social media platforms have sponsored ads which can help you to get into people's timelines easily. These are paid ads where you set a budget for each one and target certain groups of people to gain more followers. There are many debates, however, whether this can be successful or not because it is always obvious that the post is a paid ad and, again, this can be seen as a hard sell tactic.
TIP: Follow our How to: Add Social Share Buttons to Your Website, How to: Link Your Website to Your Social Profiles and How to: Add Social Widgets to Your Website guides to make sure you enable your online shop to interact with your social media profiles
Google Webmaster Tools
To verify the ownership of your website on Google you will need to sign up for a Google Webmaster account but don't worry, it's completely free. Once you've verified your site you will be able to see all sorts of data Google keeps track of on your site such as what search queries people are using to get to your site, which sites are linking to yours and which pages on your sites are linked to the most.
Webmaster Tools also alerts you to any issues on your website such as duplicate meta content, pages that Google is unable to index and any major issues like malware being attached to your site. You will also be informed of any pages that Google has previously indexed but can no longer access and these will be flagged up as 404 errors.
Please be aware, however, that the word 'error' is very misleading as 404s will not harm your site in any way. These are URLs that no longer exist on your site and will occur when a page, product or category has been deleted or when the URL of these has been changed without creating a 301 redirect. The 404 code they produce then tells Google that they no longer exist, so they are doing their job as intended.
TIP: Verify your online shop by adding the verification file name (found within the settings of your added site in Webmaster Tools) into the Google site verification file field within Site > Configuration > Site Options of your website's admin console.
Creating product listing ads for Google Shopping allows your products to be seen on Google in several places. These include at the top of search results, meaning that your products could appear above your competitor's organic links, within the side column ads and within Google Shopping listings. This means your products will get much more exposure than just relying on Google picking them up from your website and, as they include an image, they are more prominent when displayed within search results, so they are more likely to be clicked on.
To be able to list your products you must include certain data within your product feeds such as its brand, product number and barcode. Without the mandatory data Google will not accept the products and they will not be shown. You will also need to have a Google Merchants account where the product feed is imported into and a Google Adwords account where you will manage your ads and campaigns, including where you want to target them and what your budget is.
TIP: Use our How to: Enable Your Products To Be Listed On Google Shopping and How to: Submit Your Product Feed to Google Shopping guides to make sure your products are added to Google Shopping correctly.
Even if you optimise your site as best as you can for Google, a brand new online shop will take a while to show up in search results and start to attract customers. However, you can use Google Adwords as soon as your site is live to make sure links to it get in front of people straight away when looking at relevant products or services. You may even appear higher on the page than the big boys such as John Lewis and Amazon.
Adwords is a paid service and will need constant managing, so in no means is this a quick fix, but it can get you seen by people who wouldn't otherwise find your website. If you're unsure of where to start look at what your competitors are bidding on and use these as a basis for your own campaigns. It is always good to focus on a small set of generic terms that are relevant to your products to start with and then see which ones work best for you and adjust your budgets and maximum cost per click rates accordingly.
TIP: Use Google Trends to find out which keywords or phrases are popular and which ones are rising or falling in popularity. This can help determine whether you focus on a particular phrase or not.
This is a rather obvious online service many people do have a tendency to overlook. The internet has an enormous wealth of information just waiting to be discovered and there are so many resources you can tap into relating to selling online, marketing and customer service. Be proactive, if you're not sure about something search for someone who does know.
Sites like Econsultancy and KissMetrics have so many in-depth articles you can read such as How to Make Your Content Relatable and Actionable and What is Google AdWords and how does it work? so you are bound to find something that can help you to improve your website and your customers' experience.
TIP: Bluepark's official blog has lots of information about selling online, as well as how-to guides and information on our latest features, so make sure you check back regularly. Also, our latest updates page will keep you informed of every single update we make to help you to improve your business.