E-commerce best practices change every year, and it’s important to keep your shop up to speed. Conducting a periodic audit helps you identify areas where your website could use some improvement. Audits catch small problems on a regularly-scheduled basis, when they’re easier and less expensive to fix. Most e-commerce website audits focus on three main areas — search engine optimization, product page optimization, and mobile optimization.
Search Engine Optimization
Auditing your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) involves combing your website with a crawling tool such as Seoptimer or Semrush. This gives you the following information about your website:
- Accessibility: how easily search engines can find you
- Indexability: how many of your pages actually show up in search results
- On-page rankings: characteristics of your pages that make them rank well
- Off-page rankings: external factors, such as popularity and backlinks from other websites
The benefits of crawling tools for SEO audits include instant suggestions for areas of improvement. Rather than puzzling over whether you need to overhaul your meta descriptions, score some great backlinks, or rewrite your blog content, your audit tool can tell you instantly what to improve, which can save you time and headaches.
Product Page Optimization
No matter what you sell, the best practice for product pages remains the same. Check over all of your product pages for the following:
- Clear, white-balanced photos
- Concise descriptions
- Descriptive titles
- Visible pricing and shipping information
- Sales copy that follows marketing best practice (bullet points, feature-benefit writing, short sentences, no fluff, etc.)
- Smart use of SEO without keyword stuffing
While you’re working on product pages, make sure to keep an eye out for outdated copy that refers to sales or coupons that might not exist anymore. If you’ve made changes to your products recently, then cross-check all of your descriptions for accuracy. It’s important to represent your products accurately.
In 2016, 63 percent of customers did most of their shopping via smartphone. This statistic makes it more important than ever to cater to mobile users. Check your website for mobile responsiveness by looking for the following:
- Full functionality across all major smartphone types (Android, iPhone, Windows Phone) and top market models
- Automatic redirects from the desktop page to the mobile page
- An option to switch back to desktop if the user prefers
- Fast mobile website loading speed (the Google Page Speed tool is a great resource)
- Spacious pixel margin on links for easy touch-screen clicking (28×28 pixels is optimal)
- No use of Flash, which most smartphones can’t use anymore
- Important site elements move to top of the screen (e.g. “Add to Cart” and “Checkout” buttons)
Tablets are becoming nearly as popular as smartphones, so you may also want to perform audits for functionality across major tablet models. Access your Google Analytics to see what devices are being used to access your mobile website and optimize your responsiveness according to those device models.