Getting up and running online these days can be fairly straightforward. There is a number of free tools to help you get going. If you plan ahead and take your time. It should all come together quite nicely. If you are thinking about setting up an online shop, here are 11 mistakes to avoid when setting up your e-commerce website.

No market research.

Don’t come to market with something that you think might sell. Do some solid research first. There is a number of things you can do before you spend thousands of pounds on a product and an online shop. Dip your toe in the sea before you take the plunge.

Know your marketplace.

Where do you want to position yourself online? Think about Etsy, Amazon, Ebay or alternative marketplaces that get plenty of traffic. Understand your niche, because if you get this wrong you probably won’t make any sales. Would you sell a new gold watch on Ebay? Think about your target market.

Offering the web designer a really low budget to put your business online.

So you spent thousands of pounds on your products, marketing, branding, shop front and now you have a budget of £500 for your new website. It’s just simply not going to happen by a professional company that prides its creative reputation on the work they produce. You will get turned down by many great design agencies. The work involved to create a great website that has a consideration for;

  • Wireframe research
  • Design
  • Development
  • Product visuals
  • SEO
  • Marketing

Comes at a cost. The less budget you have, the less time can be spent working hard to make sure this is all complete.

Weak titles and descriptions.

Put together some unique titles and descriptions for your products. This is really important for customers looking to buy and for your goals with SEO.

Poor product visuals.

Invest, or talk to your supplier about hi-res product photography. A designer can work with images to make them look better. If you are using product imagery make sure they are crisp, sharp and clean. Never use old grainy, low-quality photography shots. If it doesn’t look great on the web page, why would you but it?

Not testing the payment gateway correctly.

Always test your payment gateway before launch or put in test mode while live. This can save you hassle in the future. Talk to your payment gateway provider or check their terms and conditions to make sure you have all the necessary conditions in place. Things to look out for include:

  • Payment icons.
  • Company number.
  • Terms and Conditions.
  • Payment guarantee. (If you are selling luxury goods at high cost, make sure you are using the correct gateway).
  • Security checks.
  • Site certificate.

Not responsive.

Can people view your website on tablets, mobile phones or different screen sizes? This is highly important for customer retention and sale conversions. If your website does not work properly on a smartphone or tablet, expect to lose sales. A good web designer and developer will consider all these elements.

No contact information.

Place your telephone number at the top of the header. Have a contact page that has your business address and email address. This gives the customer confidence with your online presence. Make it really easy for anyone to talk to you about a particular product and remember to have some good customer service skills.

Consider Terms, privacy, returns, disclosure and cookies.

Always add these to your site. A good web developer will do these for you. If you need to do it yourself, just search for free terms and conditions. Make sure to read through each page and make the necessary changes. This protects you and the customer.

No consideration for SEO

Make some real time for SEO considerations. Once your site is live, the work is just beginning. There are plenty of top sites that will give you information on SEO and best practices. You can do 80% of SEO yourself. Don’t be tempted to sign into a contract or an agreement with SEO companies. If you want to proceed, make sure they show you what they have been doing each month in detail. If you don’t understand something, how do you know if it’s being done?

No social media links

Sign up to some social networking sites. This is a good idea to post information on, share and point a link back to your website. Claiming your name on the social networking sites takes a few minutes.

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