The online world has made it easier and easier for people to start an online business and start conducting the way they work online. It has opened up opportunities for people to reach new and unique audiences with their products and services.
We chatted to the owner of an online pet food and product store who set up shop about two to three years ago. He had found a gap in the market for high-end pet food and specialized products, but struggled to put together the capital to open a brick-and mortar store. So, he started researching how to start his business online.
After a few weeks of research, he decided to start his business on WordPress, and has, since the inception, grown the business into a successful online shop. Here are his key ingredients that made him a success.
WordPress hosting can be a vital part of your business, especially if you are too busy running the operations side to deal with the nitty gritty of the websites. Not only was he looking for cheap wordpress hosting, but he was looking for a hosting service that was reliable and effective.
Hosting, if like him, you are focussing all of your efforts on managing the day to day running of the site, could heighten various aspects of your site:
- Firstly, because you now have a dedicated host (and hopefully you did your research), the performance of your site will be heightened. Keep in mind, hosting statistics show that site visitors are likely to drop off a page if they wait too long
- Secondly, it could improve your ranking on Google. Google now takes aspects like SSL certificates into consideration for rankings, and you could miss this if you are not absolutely site savvy;
- Security of the site will be a higher priority. It is the hosts prerogative to take the security of your site seriously. You can leave this in their capable hands while you deal with stock issues and warehouse staff.
As the business developed and grew, he realized the ever-growing need for forms on his site. He needed a form for the customer to fill out when they made a purchase, he needed email subscription forms and he needed a contact form in WordPress. WordPress offers a simple way of not only creating these forms, but editing them, altering them or even deleting them in need be.
He commented that when he started, the form to be completed during the purchase stage was incredibly long for the customer. He had added fields to make sure that he, as well as the customer was covered during the purchase. However, a few months down the line, he started noticing how the bounce rate was incredibly high. So, he started reducing the amount of fields for the customer to fill out and made the forms smaller. Within a week, he had found that sales started increasing and customers actually completed the purchases.
The second form that he worked on repeatedly on his site was the email subscription form. This was the pop-up form that would appear on the site, encouraging the visitor to sign up for the newsletter. The weekly mailer was one of the largest traffic and lead generators for the company, and he had to make sure that people were permanently signing up to receive it. He tested it on various pages, eventually finding that it worked best on the landing page. He also AB tested different types and formats of pop-up and the “intrusiveness” of the pop-up form. He found that a smaller pop-up that would disappear in 30 seconds was the most effective, and newsletter subscriptions started increasing.
As mentioned above, the mailer was one of the biggest drivers of traffic and leads and you may ask why. The newsletter not only contained details about the products on the site, sales, promotions and competitions, it contained content. John started a blog on the site as a means to not only drive traffic to the site but also to educate and inform readers. He found that after two months of the blog being up, traffic had almost doubled from and in a few months, was almost eight-fold.
He watched the content carefully, to see what was working and was interested to see that the very informative and educational articles were the biggest hit. Articles around the pets health, warning signs, behaviours and general how-to’s topped the list. He then started trying product comparisons and best-buy guides and this shot through the roof. Due to these being online advertisements for his products however, he decided to make some of the content membership based.
Due to the fact that he could put CTA’s in the latter articles, he decided to make the educational articles accessible to members and started paying specialists and professionals for their input.
Graphics are a huge part of his site and getting people to emotionally connect to his products. Luckily for him, his product revolves around pets and animals, and people feel incredibly about their furbabies. So, getting people to become emotionally connected to his site was about the right content and images.
Naturally, at the beginning, he didn’t have the budget to do repeated shoots with puppies and kittens, and he had to source images from the web to add to his site as well as social media. There are a few tools on the internet that he came across to source pictures, but what he learnt too, was that he couldn’t use the same image for his blog or home page as he did for his Facebook event image or Instagram story. Make sure you therefore use the tool that allows you to download the image for free and allows you to resize it into images you can use across multiple platforms.
Using WordPress is one of the most useful platforms to create and run your ecommerce site. Not only is it user-friendly for even the newest user, but it comes packed with different tools and plug-ins that you can use to heighten your site. There are countless security features and various options to make your site unique and user friendly.