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How to maintain your online store

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If your site is slow, you could be losing sales: a one-second delay in page load time could result in 7% fewer conversions.

1. Refresh the homepage.

The homepage of your website is like the window to your store. If visitors like what they see, they'll come in and browse. Nearly 40% will stop engaging with your store1 if the layout is unattractive. Keep your branding consistent, but update your homepage regularly to reflect the season as well as any new products or trends you want to share. A good schedule would be monthly or at the beginning of each holiday season.

2. Add new content.

Search engines love new content, and regular updates to web pages and blogs will encourage them to crawl your website. Keep keywords in mind, naturally adding phrases someone might search to find your products into your text. If you skip this step, you could hurt your search engine optimization (SEO) and lower your rankings in search results. Update content as often as you have time, or assign this task to an employee.

3. Update your inventory.

Your online inventory should reflect the majority of your goods, especially those that are top sellers or on trend. When you order new items, be sure to add them to your online inventory. To avoid listing something online that you no longer have in stock by using a point of sale (POS) system that syncs your online and offline inventory numbers. This list from PC mag2 includes top-rated POS systems.

4. Review your analytics.

When customers come into your store, you can see how they engage with your products. With ecommerce, you'll have to rely on your analytics for insights. Your ecommerce platform should have built-in analytics; if not, try syncing your site with Google Analytics. Each week, review the reports. You can also see the average amount of time a visitor spends on your website as well as the pages where customers enter and exit your site, and the keywords they use to find you. Look for patterns. For example, if one page has a high exit rate, it may have a loading error or need better keywords.

5. Check broken links.

The last thing you want a visitor to your ecommerce site to experience is a 404 error, which means a link is broken. It's like having a broken door to your brick-and-mortar store, and the visitor may leave and not return. Create a schedule and periodically check your site for broken links. If you have Google Analytics installed on your site, you can check how often your website's 404 page was visited and the pages that directed them there. Then troubleshoot from there. This article from Search Engine Journal3 can help.

6. Test load time.

Every second counts when it comes to your website's speed. A one-second delay in page load time4 could result in 11% fewer page views, 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and 7% less conversions. If your site is slow, you could be losing sales. Free tools, like Pingdom5 or GTmetrix,6 check your load time. If you have a page that is slow, this story from The Daily Egg4 offers 20 things you can do to speed it up.

7. Download security updates.

If you manage your own website, don't overlook the emails or alerts that remind you to download the latest version of the software. They often include fixes to bugs or loopholes in security. More than 56% of sites damaged by hackers7 were running old versions of their software. Make it habit to check for updates on a daily basis and download them right away.

8. Back up the site.

Mistakes happen, and so do hacks. Whether you deleted a product in error or you were the victim of a cyber criminal, having a backup of your ecommerce website can get you up and running again much faster than having to recreate the site. Many ecommerce platforms offer an automatic backup feature. If yours doesn't, you can sign up with a cloud backup server, such as IDrive8 or Carbonite,9 that backs up your site for you. This article from PC Mag10 will give you more details on the process. Website maintenance will keep your ecommerce hub running smoothly, creating a pleasant experience for shoppers. Make it part of your routine. It's an investment in your business.

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Erik Devaney, "17 Website and UX Design Statistics That Make the Case for Smarter Web Design," HubSpot, accessed June 11, 2020. Back
  2. Barbara Krasnoff, "The Best Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems for 2020," PC mag, updated September 30, 2019, accessed June 30, 2020. Back
  3. The Daily Egg, "20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Improve Conversion in 2020," updated March 24, 2020, accessed June 11, 2020. Back
  4. The Daily Egg, "20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Improve Conversion in 2020," updated March 24, 2020, accessed June 11, 2020. Back
  5. https://www.pingdom.com/, accessed June 30, 2020. Back
  6. https://gtmetrix.com/, accessed June 30, 2020. Back
  7. Sucuri, "2019 Website Threat Research Report," accessed June 30, 2020. Back
  8. https://www.idrive.com/, accessed June 30, 2020. Back
  9. https://www.carbonite.com/, accessed June 30, 2020. Back
  10. Daniel Brame, "The Best Cloud Backup Services for Business," PC Mag, updated May 21, 2020, accessed June 16, 2020. Back