- The importance of an e‑commerce website development checklist
- The basics of building an e‑commerce website
- Technical functions
- E‑commerce website design
- Create an easy-to-follow shopping experience that’s user-friendly and engaging
- Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to rank higher
- Add sparkle to your e‑commerce website
- To sum up
How can you stay ahead of the curve and build an e‑commerce website that satisfies customers’ needs and keeps them coming back for more?
We’ve taken the time to consider what features your e‑commerce website might need in 2023 to keep up with new standards.
Check out this article to ensure your website is ready for the future.
The importance of an e‑commerce website development checklist
Technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence are becoming more and more prevalent, so it’s essential to ensure that your website is up to date.
However, it would help if you kept many aspects in mind, from the basics to every tiny detail of your website design. This might get overwhelming at times, which is why we created a checklist to help you.
By following this step-by-step guide, you can be sure that you won’t overlook anything essential and that all the most critical aspects of a modern website will be covered.
You will keep motivated and stay organized by ticking off each point after you complete the task at hand. So, are you ready to begin?
The basics of building an e‑commerce website
Step 1: Choose an appropriate hosting and e‑commerce platform
The hosting plan you have chosen is probably already in place. Check that you made a good choice according to whether or not your host provides enough storage space, bandwidth, and processing power for your site.
One of the first big decisions you’ll have to make is choosing a good e‑commerce platform. Check that it’s customizable and offers all the necessary features to work correctly.
Note: the most effective e‑commerce platform is one that achieves your objectives and delivers the outcomes you set, not necessarily the most popular one.
Step 2: Invest in a good domain name
Choosing the perfect domain name for your e-store isn’t as simple as it may sound. Your domain name should be easy to remember, with relevant keywords that are straightforward to type in when searching online.
Don’t choose your domain name hastily, as it will cost you a lot of money and effort to change it later.
Step 3: Use CMS to make updating your site easier
It’s also time to choose a content management system (CMS) to manage your website. This will make it much easier for you to update and add new pages, products, or features when needed.
A CMS is also a great way to keep your e‑commerce website up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends.
Verify that your chosen platform offers a CMS so you can implement it on your site. Look for another e‑commerce provider if they don’t have one built in since this is a crucial aspect of running an online shop.
Step 4: Maintain page load speed
Slow-loading website will be one of the main reasons customers leave e‑commerce sites. As there are so many online stores to choose from, your customers won’t wait long for your content to load.
You must monitor your page load speed and optimize it to ensure a smooth shopping experience for your customers.
Note: to run a speed test, you can use free tools like GTmetrix or Uptrends. All you have to do is input your domain address, choose your device and browser, then your results will be ready in seconds.
Step 5: Check that your site is mobile-friendly and responsive on all devices.
Consumers nowadays use mobile devices as an easy way to purchase products more readily than in the past, and the number of mobile buyers is still rising.
Make this process as simple as possible. The buying journey should be optimized to be as quick and easy as possible to avoid shoppers having difficulty placing orders.
Ensuring that your website is responsive to all devices is crucial to the success of your business, so check that you have done everything you can to make it mobile-friendly.
Step 6: Put SSL certificates in place
All e‑commerce websites should use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates to encrypt customer information and secure e‑commerce data.
Your e‑commerce platform must offer an SSL certificate with the features you need to make e‑commerce transactions safe for your customers.
Step 7: Backup and protect data
You should have a plan to protect your e‑commerce website from cyber-attacks. This should include regular data backups, firewalls, and anti-virus protection.
Apply all security measures to your website to protect your e‑commerce data and keep it safe from online threats.
Step 8: Carry out tests and analytics
Every e‑commerce website needs tools for analyzing web traffic and monitoring performance to determine what works best for increasing conversion rates and sales.
There are tools like Google Analytics that you can use, but they are not always sufficient. Is there a way to learn more about your customers?
Tools like Luigi’s Box Analytics prove helpful in gaining insights into what your customers are searching for, analyzing detailed content, and detecting any bugs to get everything back on track.
You should run regular tests and react as soon as something deviates from the norm
E‑commerce website design
Step 9: Use a relevant theme and e‑commerce plugins
To create a user-friendly and visually appealing online store, it is vital to create a custom website design if you have a small budget or use a theme and e‑commerce plugins specifically designed for this type of site.
The most popular ones that are compatible with WordPress include Astra and Divi. They deliver a ton of starter site designs optimized for different niches.
There are many different solutions available on the market, so be sure to do your research to find the right ones.
Step 10: Test out different colors and font styles
The design of your website shouldn’t consist of various styles mixed. This aspect gives visitors their first impression, so try to make it a good one.
Take the time to test different fonts and color styles to determine the most appropriate for your target audience.
Note: always check that fonts and colors match your branding and form a cohesive, well-designed whole.
Step 11: Use appealing images or videos on every page of the site
When creating an e‑commerce website, it is essential to use attractive photos or videos on every page.
This will help to engage your visitors and encourage them to stay on your site longer. In addition, using high-quality images and videos can also help improve your site’s search engine ranking.
Note: optimize your images and videos to load quickly. You can use tools like TinyJPG to compress your files before uploading.
Step 12: Check navigation elements
All pages should be easy to navigate. The elements in question need to be clear and intuitive so that visitors can easily find the products they are looking for.
Test your site’s navigation on various devices to ensure that all visitors can use your e‑commerce website smoothly and quickly.
Step 13: Display a unique value proposition on your homepage
Customers will expect brands to provide more than just their products. E‑commerce businesses should give their customers something unique that distinguishes them from the competition.
Tell your audience what makes you unique right from the start. This will help convince buyers to choose your products even if they are more expensive than your competitors.
Step 14: Include social media buttons
What is a crucial component of any e‑commerce business? Social media.
It’s a place where you can build a community with your customers, advertise your products, drive traffic to your site, and increase brand awareness.
You can be sure that customers will expect to see social media icons on your e‑commerce website and use them to interact with your brand.
Create an easy-to-follow shopping experience that’s user-friendly and engaging
Step 15: Have a clear call to action for shoppers
Your customers should not doubt what to do, where to click, and which products to buy.
Two principles to follow are that standard text like “Add to cart” works best here, and the color should match the site’s design without blending in.
It is essential to have a clear call-to-action (CTA) on every page so that you can steer customers toward the most appropriate spot in your conversion funnel.
Step 16: Implement chatbots on your site to provide customer service 24/7
With chatbots, you can provide instant customer service to visitors to your online shop anytime. As AI‑powered chatbots learn from previous conversations, they become more competent and offer better support.
Despite this, chatbots cannot replace direct assistance. So even if it’s a great add-on outside of business hours, don’t resign from offering email support and a phone number. Doing so will also increase the trustworthiness of your e‑commerce store.
Step 17: Consider offering free shipping.
You may benefit significantly from providing this offer to your customers. Shopify research shows that free shipping dramatically influences whether or not shoppers decide to buy from a brand.
You should consider this option if it still allows you to be profitable (by absorbing shipping costs into the product price if necessary). Alternatively, you can offer free shipping if the total value of a shopping cart exceeds a specific amount.
Step 18: Provide users with safe and secure payment methods
Use payment systems that your customers will probably already be familiar with (e.g., PayPal, Apple Pay). That way, they will have no issues with processing payments.
Remember about safety once again – it is necessary to secure e‑commerce transactions, all related software (i.e., APIs), networks, servers, browsers, and mobile devices used in financial transactions.
Moreover, data should be protected from unauthorized access in transit and at rest.
Step 19: Streamline the search process
Your users shouldn’t have any problems finding what they’re looking for. Nothing is more frustrating than typing a phrase into the search box and getting unexpected results.
Put an end to losing customers because they couldn’t find your products. Verify that your search box, filters, and categories operate correctly.
If you want to improve your search process, you can use helpful features such as an ever-learning AI algorithm to personalize the future experience of returning visitors or typo tolerance (since people often don’t take too much care over spelling). All these can be found under one of Luigi’s Box products, Search.
Step 20: Show stock availability
Shoppers expect to see stock availability on product pages, which should be an essential element of your e‑commerce website.
This informs your customers that their orders will not be delayed, and if something is out of stock, it gives them the option to set up email notifications for when that item becomes available again.
Step 21: Give estimated delivery times
When will orders arrive? Provide clear information about your shop’s delivery timeframe and stick to it.
This way, customers can rest reassured that they will receive their orders promptly. Furthermore, this information can help reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts.
Step 22: Don’t let users abandon their carts
Regarding abandoned shopping carts, don’t let your users leave incomplete purchases.
Is there a way to do that? You could include progress indicators on the checkout page, make navigation between the cart and the store effortless, or provide guest checkout options, for example.
You should also include product thumbnails to help keep those items in your customers’ minds throughout the entire checkout process, encouraging them to complete their purchases.
Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to rank higher
Step 23: Conduct proper keyword research
Make a list of important, relevant topics based on what you know about your business and find keywords that fit your goals.
Include your target keywords in the right places (title, metadata, etc.) so your website ranks higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
But be sure to use synonyms and variations of your keywords to avoid keyword stuffing. SEO-filled content is hard to read and can easily be detected by people, causing them to leave your page as soon as possible.
Step 24: Register your website on search engine tracking tools
You should register your website on Google Search Console and other optimization tools that can track your SEO performance. Why?
You can use them to monitor your website’s search engine visibility, crawl errors, and other vital data and get helpful advice on improving your SEO results.
Step 25: Fix any issues
To be listed among the top search engine results, it is crucial to fix every issue you might have. They could be in the design, spelling errors, or usability problems.
Ensure that your e‑commerce platform doesn’t contain unnecessary features or pages, and fix any broken links to prevent customers from getting confused.
Plus, don’t forget to optimize your 404 page so that if something unpredictable does happen, at least customers will be shown a well-designed error message.
Step 26: Prepare compelling meta descriptions
A meta description is a snippet of text that appears under your page’s URL in search engine results.
You should include relevant keywords but avoid stuffing with too many of them or making the description too long. The text should tell the reader what they will find when they click the link and encourage them to do precisely that.
Step 27: Use structured data markup for Rich Snippets
Structured data markup is a code you can add to the pages of your e‑commerce website to help search engines better understand the content.
This will result in more prosperous snippets (like star ratings, prices, etc.) appearing in search engine results.
How to do that? Add schema markup to your page using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, for example.
Add sparkle to your e‑commerce website
Step 28: Keep up with e‑commerce trends
The e‑commerce landscape is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to stay up-to-date with all the latest trends.
Update your website regularly to enhance the user experience and make it more and more appealing, as well as trendy.
Step 29: Create an email list for customers and send them exclusive offers and discounts
A newsletter will help you to build a base of loyal clients or people who are particularly interested in what you’re selling.
As a reward, you should offer something unique to your newsletter subscribers (it can also be used as a lead magnet).
Step 30: Provide a personalized experience
E‑commerce website development is all about giving customers what they want. This includes providing a personalized experience based on their browsing history and purchase patterns.
Luigi’s Box Recommender displays product suggestions in your e-store that are personalized to every visitor using AI, based on their preferences and previous online behavior.
As a result, customers will be more likely to return to your shop, and the UX will be improved overall.
Try out our demo
Our Recommender Analytics is a valuable tool for evaluating and optimizing product recommendations. Try it out in our demo. Click wherever you want; there’s nothing you can do wrong.
To sum up
It’s time to make some assumptions:
- Design and usability are becoming more critical as many online shoppers make digital purchases on mobile devices.
- You should know how quickly technology changes and plan for updates accordingly so that your site can continue running smoothly even as new technologies emerge.
- It’s a good idea to develop your website using artificial intelligence and other new technologies.
If any of these items seem overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ve developed this e‑commerce website development checklist to help you make your online store successful, which means more than just making sales.
Implement the steps above, and you will soon see the results.
Barbora does magic with words in Luigi's Box as a product marketing specialist. She got into writing while studying at university as a volunteer for various civic associations. Besides being part of Luigi's Box marketing team, she co-organizes the TEDxBratislava conference, where she cares about marketing and PR.More blog posts from this author