9 Essential Tips to Spring Clean Your eCommerce Site

With spring right around the corner, now is the perfect time to freshen up your eCommerce store and get organized. This may sound like a chore that you don’t have time to do, but it’s important that you don’t put off this spring cleaning.

By spring cleaning your eCommerce site, you are optimizing for conversions at the same time.  Breathing new life into your ad copy or updating your product photos could be all it takes to convince shoppers to purchase from your store.

With so much at stake, spring cleaning your eCommerce business is the perfect initiative to breathe new life into your store. If you need some ideas on where to begin, here are nine essential tips to get you started:

Tip #1: Revisit Old Content

No matter how great your old content is, the truth is that it will eventually drive less traffic to your store and diminish in value. By repurposing your greatest content, you can boost your search rankings and increase your traffic once more.

If you don’t think that repurposing old content can significantly impact your eCommerce store, just look at the experiments conducted on the matter. The digital media company Vox conducted an experiment where their writers repurposed content in 88 articles over five days and collectively they brought in over 500,000 readers.

Now is a good time to identify the content that performed best and repurpose it to make it even better. Not only does this give those who missed your content the first time a chance to read it, but it also gives you another opportunity to promote your content on different mediums.

This is also an ideal time to look at your content that didn’t do well. If it’s beyond saving, it may be best to just get rid of it. As you revisit your content, watch out for the following:

Broken links: Clicking on a link only to find an error page is annoying to readers. To improve the user experience and your SEO, use a link checker and fix your broken links.

Outdated information: Your audience wants the correct answers to their big questions, and they won’t appreciate it if your content doesn’t provide them with relevant information. If you decide to change the content, let readers know that you updated it by adding a note at the top of the post and by sharing it on social media.

Tip #2: Clean Up Your Online Store’s Data

Data is the lifeblood of many eCommerce sites. It’s what we use to measure the efficiency of our marketing campaigns and helps us identify where we need to make improvements.

The problem is that even the smaller eCommerce stores manage to accumulate messy piles of data that need regular cleaning. If left unattended, bad data can seep into your database and wreak havoc on your marketing campaigns. Although an effective marketing automation solution can take care of duplicates and other common issues, your data still needs a thorough cleaning every so often.

By cleaning and organizing your store’s online data, you will improve your marketing strategies and reach your customers where they want to be reached. Start cleaning up your online data by standardizing your data, getting rid of duplicates, and using smart forms to improve your lead generation.

Tip #3: Evaluate Your Core Pages

Core pages such as your About Me page can play a key role in assisting customers and convincing them to purchase from you. If it’s been awhile since you looked at your FAQ, contact page, and store policies, review and update them as needed.

Your core pages will look different now than they did when you first launched your eCommerce store. Over time, you’ve learned more about your company and your customers. Now, you can use this knowledge to make these pages even more powerful.

About Me page: Is your company vision still the same? Do you need to expand upon your vision?

FAQ: What questions have customers contacted you about that aren’t currently in the FAQ?

Store policies: Is your return policy hurting your store? Are customers confused by your terms of service? Get feedback from your customers and find out what needs work.

Tip #4: Update for Mobile

The importance of mobile optimization can’t be ignored in 2017. Google has been making changes over the past few years to accommodate the growing number of mobile users. Their latest move to create a mobile-first index means that it’s no longer optional for eCommerce store owners to be mobile-friendly if they want to compete.

To enhance your site for mobile users, it’s now essential that you are using the following best practices:

Use a responsive design: No matter what device a customer is using to browsing your site, the web pages should be able to adjust to fit their screen. This makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site, and it’s easier for visitors to share your content.

Make URLS for mobile the same as desktop: This is important to note due to the new mobile-first index rollout. Google recommends that mobile URLS have the same content as desktop because the mobile URLS will be the ones used for ranking purposes.

Remove interstitial ads: Google gave plenty of warning on this, and they are now penalizing sites for using interstitial ads. If you haven’t done so already, make sure that you get rid of them.

Clean up the code to improve page speed: The better the page speed, the better the user experience. Just a one-second delay in page load time can decrease customer satisfaction by 16 percent. One way to improve your page speed is to clean up messy code. You can use the Minify Code tools to minify and beautify JavaScript, CSS, and HTML codes.

Tip #5: Observe the Competition

Keeping tabs on your competition is useful to your eCommerce store in many ways. If your competitors are smart, they have made key changes to their stores over the years to meet the changing demands of customers.

As you spring clean your own eCommerce site, now is a good time to look at your competition and see how you stack up. Their changes could indicate a strategy to advertise to a new market that you haven’t noticed yet. Now you can alter your site to appeal to this new audience and potentially steal some of the market share.

Has your biggest industry rival changed their prices? Online shoppers are always on the hunt for a better deal, and you may have to adjust your own prices and offer better deals to remain competitive. By being aware of your competitor’s strategies, you can use them to inform your own decisions to improve the performance of your site.

Tip #6: Update Your Website Design

Every successful eCommerce business has changed their website’s look over the years. Trends come and go so quickly that this is just another part of being in the online market. The website designs that are popular now are going to look outdated in just a few years.

As an example, let’s look at BarkBox. Below is a screenshot of their website as it appeared on October 14, 2015:

Compare this to how their website looks now (as of January 12, 2017):

after bark box spring cleans their eCommerce store

They’ve replaced cartoon dogs with high-quality photographs of real dogs interacting with a human. Their fonts are different for everything except their company name. They now have a place for visitors to subscribe, and their ad copy is more persuasive.

It doesn’t take much to give your site a completely new look, and you don’t need to make drastic changes overnight to improve the appearance of your store. The better you are about keeping up with your site design, the easier it will be to make changes as time goes on.

Tip #7: Switch Up Your Promotions

Every online shopper loves a good deal. What they don’t love is seeing the same, lackluster deal every time they visit your site. If your deals and promotions are always the same, you aren’t instilling FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in your customers.

So how do you switch things up to keep them coming back for more? Here are a few tactics that you can use:

Personalize your offers: Everyone likes to feel special. Discounts can increase your sales on their own, but personalizing your offers can be even more effective.

Use any opportunity to offer a special deal: The change of seasons, an upcoming event, the anniversary of your eCommerce store’s opening—there is always something that can be used as an excuse to offer new deals for your customers. Just make sure that the deal isn’t the same every time!

Offer discounts in exchange for reviews: Not only does your loyal customer get a discount for their next purchase, but you also get a customer review that can help increase your sales. It’s a win-win situation.

Include discounts in your emails: An effective method of getting more people to sign up for your email newsletter is by including special offers and discounts inside them. Reward your subscribers by giving them discounts that they can only get by opening your emails. You can then use your growing number of subscribers to tease new products and promotions, giving them further incentive to read your newsletter.

Tip #8: Refresh Your Search and Display Ad Copy

When it comes to your pay-per-click campaigns, you probably spend most of your time thinking about your targeting and bidding strategies. However, these strategies don’t count for much if your PPC ad copy needs work.

Even if your PPC ads are doing fine right now, they will eventually need to be refreshed if you want to remain competitive. The more relevant your ad copy is, the more success you will have with your PPC ads.

Take the time to create compelling ad copy that appeals to your target audience and keep refreshing them. That way, you can improve the quality of your ads and see a greater return on your ad spend.

And, although it’s almost a given that you’re testing your ad copy, the importance of testing your PPC ads needs to be stated.  Testing ad variations is an easy way to improve your PPC campaign performance and drive greater amounts of high-quality traffic to your eCommerce site. Take advantage of A/B testing tools and figure out which ad variations work best!

Tip #9: Remove Barriers in the Checkout Process

It makes little sense to spend the time and effort of nudging consumers toward checkout just to make them jump through hoops once they get there. It doesn’t take much to scare off your customers from a purchase, which is why removing barriers in the checkout process is essential.

As you spring clean your site, make sure that you are streamlining your checkout by keeping the following in mind:

The first step is the most important: The first step during the checkout process is where most visitors decide if they want to continue or abandon their shopping carts. At this step, they are wondering whether it’s worth the effort. Make the first page as easy as possible to keep them on the path to a purchase.

One-step checkout may not always be better: One-step checkouts can be highly effective for eCommerce businesses, but not if you have an excess of forms to fill out on a single page. Don’t abuse the one-step checkout and make sure that you keep forms limited.

Use in-line form validation: Save users the hassle of trying to figure out which line they filled in wrong and tell them how it needs to be fixed. This is extremely annoying to users, and they will leave if they can’t figure it out quickly.

It may seem like common sense, but it’s surprisingly easy to overlook many obstacles in your own checkout processes. Removing these obstacles is key to streamlining your checkout process, making the end user happy and converting more visitors into valued customers.

Final Thoughts

Although it can be difficult finding the time to give your eCommerce site a thorough spring cleaning, it’s essential that you make room in your busy schedule for this routine checkup.  Outdated content, under performing images, and old promotions can be the cause of a massive decline in lead opportunities and sales. By utilizing these tips, you can identify and fix the issues that are holding your eCommerce store back from experiencing greater traffic and conversions.