Rock 'N' Critters website

Rock 'N' Critters are among the UK's leading marine aquarium specialists. Their showroom is located here in South Wales, and it has to be seen to be believed - watch this video for a guided tour:

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bounce back after covid header

Since the UK went into lockdown on 23 March, the ecommerce landscape has changed rapidly. All of a sudden, 'non-essential' brick and mortar stores were closed down and customers were forced to fulfil their shopping needs online. If you run an ecommerce store, this is music to your ears, right?

Well, with a massive surge in digital shoppers and increased pressure on supply chains, some ecommerce stores have struggled to keep up with demand while others, like luxury brands, are seeing a significant drop in sales as fewer people have excess cash to splash.

So, while some ecommerce stores are seeing a huge spike in orders, others are falling behind. Wherever your ecommerce business falls on the spectrum, we're sure you're starting to think about your post-lockdown strategy. Here are a few tips to help make sure that your business bounces back after COVID-19.

Think about the context of searches

The way that people search - and the context behind certain queries - has changed over the last few months. It's important that your ecommerce store responds to this shift in intent appropriately to ensure a steady flow of sales. But what do we mean by a change in context?

Let's take, for example, a popular beauty brand like Boots. This time last year, it's likely that Boots had a high volume of traffic from users searching for face masks.

Of course, in this context, people were mostly looking for face masks of the cosmetic variety. With hundreds of skincare brands on offer, Boots was well equipped to give these users what they wanted.

Now, of course, users searching for face masks are probably looking for something completely different: a face covering to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Although the keyword face masks is the same, the intent behind this search has changed.

So how have Boots responded to this? They've added a section to their website that focuses predominantly on face masks and face coverings. This category features prominently on their homepage and ranks highly for the term face mask (as shown below).

Boots search result for face masks

We recommend looking at the keywords and queries that are most valuable to your business in relation to COVID-19. Do these terms still hold the same meaning that they held 6 months ago? If not, it might be time to reconsider your product line and optimise your website accordingly.

Adapting your website to meet demand

As someone who runs an ecommerce business, you already know how important it is to make sure users can find what they're looking for quickly. With competition for certain products at an all-time high, optimising the user experience can make the difference between a sale and fail in the post-lockdown market.

Moz's Luke Carthy pointed out in a recent article that searching for coronavirus on Holland and Barrett's website previously showed no results, which is hard to believe when products like hand sanitisers, paracetamol and other medications that they offer were highly sought after.

Holland and Barrett website

Image taken from Moz.com

What went wrong here? It's possible that the health and wellbeing giant didn't look at their on-site search box to see how customers were searching at the time. Therefore, they didn't have a page set up to show relevant products when a search for coronavirus was made. Without a dedicated page for coronavirus-related products, it's likely that Holland and Barrett missed out on sales!

Learn from this and apply the same logic to your ecommerce website. Take a look at the things people are searching for on your site. Do you see many searches for coronavirus or other related terms? If so, what results are your users seeing? Make sure relevant products appear - it could boost conversions and win sales over competitor sites.

Improve filters

As well as adding new landing pages, sections, and products to fill gaps in the market, you should also consider making it easier for users to tell what you do and don't have in stock.

With online shopping booming and supply chains under immense pressure right now, your users might be looking for things that seem to be out of stock everywhere! Reduce hassle and keep your customers happy by:

  • Adding a filter to your site so users can quickly see what's in stock and what isn't
  • Creating a form that allows users to sign up for an email notification when a certain product is back in stock

The filter might help you secure a sale there and then, while the email notifications can help make sure customers return to your site rather than going with one of your competitors.

Offer alternative products

Even if you make all the changes that we've suggested so far, there may still be times when you just can't fulfil the exact needs of your customers. However, there are still things you can do to boost your post-COVID sales.

Let's say, for example, that you've seen a huge influx in orders for your bird feeders during lockdown because people are spending more time in their gardens. That's great, but you had no way of predicting this unusual spike in sales and now all of your bird feeders are out of stock!

What can you do to combat this? We recommend adding a section to the bottom of your product pages to show your customers other relevant items that are currently in stock (e.g. a bird bath or bird house). Although this isn't exactly what the user was looking for, it might capture their imagination enough for them to place an order.

Adjusting your prices

As lockdown restrictions are eased, social distancing measures need to be implemented in all work environments.

As an ecommerce business, it's likely that you have a warehouse or depot where your products are kept. Just like pubs, hairdressers, and offices up and down the country, you'll need to put some new measures in place to keep the working environment safe and hygienic.

Whether you're providing sick pay for unwell employees, ordering PPE, or making physical modifications in the workplace, everything comes at a price. Your customers shouldn't be too surprised about a justifiable price increase to help cover these unavoidable costs, but be mindful of the way you go about it. After all, you don't want your customers to feel like they're being ripped off!

An incentive to buy

While you might need to increase the price of some items, there's nothing stopping you from giving people an extra reason to buy from your brand. As we move into the transitional post-lockdown period, people are returning to work and might be looking for a bit of a pick-me-up.

Whether you contact loyal customers and offer them an exclusive discount code, or you offer a multi-buy discount on your best sellers, people are more likely to make an order if they feel they're getting a good deal.

Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of how your ecommerce business can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the months ahead. If you're interested in an ecommerce website makeover to make your brand stand out, you can get a free, no-obligation quote here.

Ecommerce Web Design   Contact Designer Websites

How to Promote Ecommerce Website

So you've got yourself a modern, professional-looking ecommerce website and you're ready to start selling your products online. There's just one problem - you don't have any customers yet!

There are numerous different ways to promote an ecommerce website and grow your online customer base. Here are just a few options for you to consider...

Promotions

Promotions - such as a seasonal sale or site-wide price reduction - can be a quick and easy way to generate interest in your brand and products. If users get a good deal, they will be more likely to tell their friends about it, and and if the product exceeds expectations then the customer may even return and purchase something else after the promotion has ended.

Blogs

Blogging can be a very cost-effective way to drive more traffic to your website. Not only can blog posts be used to highlight new products and special offers, they can also rank for popular search terms and hugely increase your brand's visibility in the Google results. Try to identify common questions within your industry, then write blog posts that answer them - you'll be amazed at how much organic search traffic a well-written, informative blog post can generate.

Social Media

Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter offer businesses a near-limitless amount of opportunities to reach new customers. You can start a simple social media campaign by posting appealing content and linking it back to your ecommerce website - this method of promotion is completely free, and can draw in a lot of potential customers if you take the time to build your audience and consistently publish engaging, relevant content.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

An SEO strategy is an important consideration for any website, but ecommerce websites especially - every category page and every product on your website is another chance to get seen in the Google search results. Ideally, each page on your website should target a different keyword (or set of keywords) that is specifically relevant to that page and that page alone. This will help Google and other search engines to work out which page to show for any given search term.

You can read our SEO tips for ecommerce websites here!

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Some ecommerce websites do reasonably well without spending a penny on paid advertising, but platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads can make a huge difference if you're looking to get your brand in front of a wider audience. PPC (pay-per-click) advertising only costs money when people actually click through to your website, meaning that you won't be charged unless your adverts are generating traffic. Of course, you'll have to work hard to make sure that your website is converting as much of that traffic as possible into actual custom for your business!

Product Reviews & Working With Influencers

Reaching out to bloggers and other influential people within your market is a great way to spread the word about your business quickly! The best approach will depend on the nature of the products/services you offer, but you might consider sending out some products for people to review, or inviting a popular vlogger to visit your premises for a video. Try to choose personalities who already have a large online following, and bear in mind that some may charge a fee for promoting your brand.

Here at Designer Websites, we specialise in ecommerce website design as well as search engine optimisation, PPC advertising, blog writing, and a variety of other techniques that can help you to grow your customer base. Use the links below to find out more about our services.

Ecommerce Design >    Request a Quote >

New Label Source Website

Label Source are a UK-based business who supply a comprehensive range of labels, tags and signs to customers all over the world. Their product range is too diverse to list in full right now, but here are just a few examples of what they offer:

  • Asset tags
  • Electrical warning labels
  • Workplace safety signs
  • Pipeline identification tape
  • Quality assurance labels
  • Warehouse markers
  • Shipping labels

Label Source recently asked us to give their old website a new, more modern-looking design; more specifically, they wanted to make it easier for smartphone and tablet users to view Label Source's products and make purchases online.

We're pleased to announce that Label Source's new and improved website is now live - visit www.labelsource.co.uk now to see how it looks.

What's new?

In addition to the clean, professional new look that we created for the Label Source website, we also made the following changes:

  • Responsive Design - As mentioned above, one of this project's key aims was to ensure a good user experience on smartphones and other mobile devices. The new Label Source site has a fully responsive design that looks great and is easy to navigate on screens of all sizes.

  • HTTPS Encryption - The entire Label Source website is now under HTTPS (as opposed to HTTP). This means that all information entered on the Label Source site is now sent securely, so the company's customers can place orders safe in the knowledge that their data is encrypted.

  • Improved Back End - We also updated the back end of the Label Source website to make it easier for the company to manage their product options and category pages.

Do you have an ecommerce website that's in need of a redesign? Contact Designer Websites for a quotation!

SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites

SEO for ecommerce websites can be a challenging feat. Building a long lasting SEO strategy that delivers results for your online business requires a lot of constant work and it can be daunting even to the most experienced of ecommerce websites. It's especially challenging when you consider that every ecommerce site is trying to improve SEO rankings for all of their products too. It's even more daunting when you consider your competitors are implementing the same ecommerce SEO tips to grab customers. Thankfully, there's a reason for this; following these tips all work! 

Ranking on page 1 of Google or Bing is not as simple as it might sound - especially if your products are very popular e.g. mobile phones. Improving your website's SEO ranking may seem impossible, but with a little work and effort, you should hopefully see your website grow and get more traffic. 

 

The fundamental requirements to rank well are a high-quality, user-friendly, very fast and mobile-friendly website. Once you have these in order, you can then utilise the following techniques to improve your ecommerce website SEO. With that being said, let's dive into our SEO tips for ecommerce websites:

If your website is built on an old platform, loads slowly or is not secure, then you need to address these issues before wasting time trying to optimise your site any further. Here are some tools for testing the quality of your website:

Now, let’s go ahead and assume you have a good quality ecommerce website and you just want to focus on the further optimisations. Below you will find our ecommerce SEO tips that will help improve your SEO ranking. 

Research and use unique keywords per page

You can and should research keywords for your industry, products, services, etc. Find out how your potential customer searches for your products or service by utilising tools like:

Once you have your list of keywords it’s a good idea to map each keyword phrase to a specific page on your eCommerce website. For this, we would recommend that you use a spreadsheet as it can get lengthy and disorganised unless in some sort of manageable order. 

Now, a big no-no in the world of optimisation is duplication, whether that’s duplicate paragraphs or just duplicate keywords. If you’re targeting the same keyword with multiple pages then Google will likely choose to only display one of those pages in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), which may mean you miss out on opportunities to be seen. Look for unique opportunities to target search terms. Targeting unique and specific phrases is an easy way to avoid duplicates and improve your ecommerce SEO.  

For example, let’s say that you have an ecommerce website that sells safety harnesses. You could just label all of the products a “safety harness” and still be factually correct, but the chances are you likely have a “Climbing Harness”, a “Rescue Harness”, a “Fall Arrest Harness” and so forth. Therefore, in order to capitalise on a wider number of searches, you should first find out how your customers search for safety harnesses. Look at how they phrase their search and even the types of questions they ask surrounding that product. The next step is to make sure you address each of those searches with a page for that product, using the keyword phrase that you’ve identified. 

I know the question you’re about to ask... in those examples, isn’t the word harness repeated? Well-spotted. Yes, it is, but rest assured that Google is not that pedantic and will be able to tell the difference in your meaning (they’re quite clever in that way). Duplication is usually picked up from repetition of the same words in the same format. So, if you try to rank 2 pages for the keyword “Rescue Safety Harness” then you would be better off setting the copy on one page as “Confined Space Harness” and the other as “Rescue Safety Harness”. This way, Google will see the difference and potentially rank both pages, whereas if both are just set as the latter then it is highly likely that only 1 of those pages will be indexed. Not only do you avoid duplication, but you also give your customers more accurate search terms. Google and Bing prioritise accurate web-pages that fulfill the searcher's needs, so by providing specific pages without duplication is a great way to improve SEO rankings and keep your customers happy! 

Ecommerce websites quite often have hundreds of pages for each of their products, so this may seem like a tedious task. However, you should see this as an opportunity to rank for hundreds of different keywords. If you optimise your copy well enough, you may find your website reaches first page positions for a wide range of searches, which will result in much higher volumes of traffic.

Depending on the amount of copy on the page, it is usually recommended to stick to just one keyword per product page. This will allow you to target that keyword more efficiently, than if you were attempting to target multiple keywords at once. If you are instead writing a category page or a home page which usually has more content, you can try to target 2 or 3 keywords if you feel it’s necessary.

Ensure every page has a unique title tag/meta description

When looking at the SERPs, your title tag is your first opportunity to get your consumers attention. The meta description is then the snippet of information which will convince your consumers to click through to the website. This is why it is so important to get these aspects right to improve ecommerce SEO. 

Google specifies that it is ‘important to have distinct, descriptive titles for each page of your site’. This is because it needs to be clear to the consumer what that page entails and shouldn’t be too similar to a page displaying an entirely different product. It is also important to try and include your chosen keyword in your page title and meta tag as this will clearly show Google what your page is about. 

Google recommends branding your titles with your company name, but this is optional and certainly doesn’t have to be done on every page. We recommend including this at the end of the title if you have enough space for it (we recommend no more than 63 characters including spaces), and also separate it with a delimiter such as a hyphen, colon or pipe. This means a good title tag will look something like this:

SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites | Designer Websites

Your meta description also needs to clearly explain what your page is about in a couple of sentences. In previous years, meta descriptions were only allowed to be around 160 characters before they were truncated by Google. Now, new SERP changes mean meta descriptions can now be displayed up to 278 characters. This should be more than enough length to include at least one instance of your keyword and create a unique and concise description of the contents of the page. 

Utilise an integrated blog to improve your SEO rankings

A blog on your e-commerce website is not only good for keeping your customers updated, it’s a great way to target more keywords. When you’re planning each page of your website and choosing unique keywords, there are sure to be a few that don’t make the cut. These can be targeted with blog posts. Blogs are also ideal for responding to trending topics such as news stories without updating the whole of your website. It's important to note search engines particularly respond well to accurate and recent data. Do not underestimate how much keeping a blog for your eCommerce site and improve your website's SEO ranking. 

Plan ahead and write blog posts around these keywords in an attempt to bring more users through to the website. Try to provide informative content which will help your customers in some respect. This will not only help bring customers to the website, it will also create a level of trust between your company and the consumer. Trust is a great way to improve SEO rankings of web-pages. The more reliably you can answer a customer's query, the more trust and authority your web-page will get, which will improve your SEO ranking. We know it's a lot to produce weekly, even daily content on a blog, but there's a reason it's a tried and tested way to improve eCommerce SEO. 

Another way blog posts can be utilised is to try and achieve the ‘featured snippet’ on the Google SERPs. Even if you’ve not heard of featured snippets before, you’ve most likely come across one. This is the result that usually appears at the top when you ask google a question.

Here’s an example:

Example of a featured snippet about webs slings

To achieve a featured snippet, you need to answer the question better than anyone else. It needs to be clear to Google that you have answered the question as accurately and concisely as possible. That means getting straight to the point and no filler writing (or keyword stuffing).

Featured snippets have been referred to as search position #0 as they come above the search position #1. It has also been found that achieving the featured snippet can increase traffic to your ecommerce website by as much as 500%, in some cases.

Utilising your blog to target keywords and attempt to achieve the featured snippet is a great way of increasing traffic to your website and improving your SEO ranking.

We hope these SEO tips for ecommerce websites have helped you plan your next steps in the digital marketing world. If you are looking for professional help with your ecommerce website, then please get in touch anytime.