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Ask Me Anything: Shop Updates

ask me anything

Being a web designer who specialises in Shopify stores, I’m pretty lucky in that I can make changes to my own shop whenever inspiration strikes. I thought I’d share some of the places I’ve found good ideas that can help you get your own shop primed for the holiday shopping season – there’s still time!

Store Grader

Shopify provide a free online Store Grader tool that anyone can use, whatever ecommerce solution you prefer. It grades you on things like SEO, social networking and usability.

What did I change?

– Added 3 smaller ad boxes underneath the main slider to highlight things like free shipping and Renegade.
– Used the provided T&C /privacy policy templates and linked them from my footer.
– Fixed a few missing alt tags.

Google Analytics / Shopify Reports

Shopify have a simple report on the dashboard with visitor info, sales breakdowns etc. which is great for seeing which products are popular and which sites/social networks are worth my time. I’m also happy knowing all my work writing blog posts is worthwhile since it pulls in the main proportion of my sales! Recently, I’ve been checking Google Analytics more often, to get more specific details on referrers – this guide was really helpful.

What did I change?

– Started to add ‘featured on X’ links to my product pages.
– Expanded my online advertising since it gets good results.
– Changed the footer to show best selling products.
– Made a search-engine friendly page of all my licensed products.
– Plus, made a note  to get into Pinterest a bit more since it brings in the visitors.

folksy banner

Buyer and visitor feedback

Stats can also help you figure out problems your visitors are having, eg. bounce rates and conversions. I don’t really have time to learn all this yet but I do listen to what my customers are saying, and keep an eye on abandoned orders.

What did I change?

– Added a more prominent contact link.
– Made the cart weight and shipping costs more obvious on the cart page.
– Wrote a page of reasons you can trust Asking For Trouble and my shop.

Competitors and Innovators

I often spot neat features on other online shops when I’m making a purchase or writing a post for Super Cute Kawaii. If it’s something that could improve my site, I’ll make a note and add it. I also try to check the Shopify App Store every now and again – the apps are user-created to fill in any feature gaps that Shopify don’t offer and there are some great ideas there. I don’t generally end up installing new apps, as often it’s just as easy for me to code something myself.

What did I change?

– Added an option to send buyers an email when a product is back in stock.
– Displayed some related products on product pages.
– Added customer reviews and feedback page.
– Added Amazon wish list buttons.

General Housekeeping

Anyone who runs an online shop will have had many horrifying moments when you discover things like one of your best selling products has inexplicably been marked out of stock for weeks, you’ve been promoting a dead link, your  latest product description is riddled with typos or you forgot to remove your Christmas shipping dates until August (yep, I did all those…). You will miss lots of things like this, and the best way to keep them to a minimum is to do regular housekeeping. Just pick something different to check every time you have a spare half hour.

What did I change?

– Updated my events and stockists pages to be more friendly.
– Started adding new product photos to my Etsy and Folksy sites.
– Fixed loads of typos, checked low stock products and much more.

Get in the festive spirit

Everyone has different ideas about when it’s acceptable to start banging on about Christmas (I say November 1st myself), but don’t forget you can plan everything in advance. If you haven’t thought about it yet, here’s some ideas!

What will I be changing?

– Adding seasonal banners to my marketplace stores and changing featured products.
– Creating festive sliders, Facebook images etc. to get everyone in the festive spirit.
– Making last shipping dates prominent on the homepage and cart.
– Thinking up promotions for Black Friday and my Christmas break.
– Creating seasonal adverts for sites I advertise on.
– Organising some festive freebies for my blog.

Or you could have your website pop on a Christmas jumper every winter like The Bellwether! This is seriously one of my favourite collaborations. I get excited to turn it back on.

thebellwether.co.uk

But I’m not a designer!

If you have lots of ideas but don’t have the skills to edit your own website, then it’s time to cultivate a great relationship with your web developer. Once I trust a client, I’m happy to take on small edits, whether you pay for an hour’s work upfront and have it done in bits and pieces, or just do a couple of quick fixes for barter. Most other nice designers should have similar services. And if you do your own design, but you struggle to keep on top of changes, or figure out a new feature, then hiring a web developer could save you hours of time, and probably money too in the long run. It really upsets me reading tweets and blog posts from other creative folks spending weeks and months making changes to their sites that I (or WordPress/Shopify) can do in minutes. Why not get in touch and find out how much it would cost? My advice is always free!

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