eCommerce Development: 10 Tips for a Successful Project

ecommerce developmentSuccessful eCommerce development is a demanding process. From search engine visibility to on-site usability, entrepreneurs and project managers developing and deploying eCommerce websites have to worry about a huge variety of factors.

Thankfully, the eCommerce development process can be simplified significantly by applying a few simple tips and tactics before you begin. In this blog post, we cover 10 great tips for simplifying the process of successful eCommerce development.

Is this your first time managing a large development project? Enroll in the Project Management Training course to learn the best techniques for keeping your web development project moving ahead on schedule.

Choose your CMS wisely

The content management system (or framework) you use to develop your website will have a huge influence over its success or failure. Factors like the size and scale of your website (both in terms of products and customers) should factor into your choice of CMS.

Small eCommerce website can often be developed using WordPress – a CMS best known as a blogging platform. Enroll in our course, Building an eCommerce Site With WordPress and WooCommerce, to learn about WordPress and eCommerce.

Large eCommerce websites will need a CMS that scales better under large product bases and heavy traffic. WordPress isn’t ideal for large websites, but another CMS called Magento is very popular among large-scale eCommerce developers.

Enroll in our course, Magento Scratch: One Your First Shop Online, to learn about how you can build an eCommerce website from the ground up using the Magento open source development platform.

Making it big? Build for redundancy

If you’re developing an eCommerce website that will receive thousands of unique users every day, it needs to be built for redundancy. This often means hosting your website and database on separate servers, or using CDNs to host images and video.

Learn more about developing fast, redundant websites with our AJAX Development course.

Use an SEO-friendly URL structure

The days of unique product IDs in URLs – random series’ of numbers that denote a product’s page – are well and truly over. Today, eCommerce development is about making your website as friendly and accessible to search engines as possible.

An important aspect of the SEO process is keeping your URL structure focused on your target keywords. Have you ever noticed how long and detailed the URLs used on popular eCommerce websites like Amazon and Zappos are?

Include your target keywords, such as your product’s name or its core features, in your URL structure for optimal SEO. Your eCommerce framework should also use strong on-site SEO principles to make your website as SEO-friendly as possible.

Want to become an SEO-friendly developer? Learn more about SEO by enrolling in our course, ClickMinded SEO Training.

Have a plan for everything

Building an eCommerce website is a time-consuming process. From developing the website itself to adding product-related sales copy and descriptions, the process of going from start to finish can sometimes take months to complete.

Because of this, you’ll need to be prepared in advance with a detailed development and deployment plan. Take a ‘big picture’ approach to project management and try to solve the problems you could face during development before they happen.

Is this your first time managing a large eCommerce development project? Enroll in our Project Management course to learn more about managing large, complicated web development projects.

Simplify your sign-up process

Your sign-up process should be as simple as possible for users to complete. The easy sign-up processes used by websites like Amazon and Facebook increase conversion rates and result in larger user bases, more sales, and improved revenue.

A huge, important, and frustratingly underexplored aspect of successful eCommerce strategy is user interface optimization. Small things like checkboxes and forms could have a huge impact on your conversion rate and total earnings.

Are you designing your eCommerce website’s user interface from scratch? Enroll in our User Experience Design Fundamentals course to master the art of building light, simple, and user-friendly website interfaces.

Outsource your development

How big is your team? Do you have knowledgeable, experienced developers on your staff? If you don’t, it’s often far more cost-effective to outsource development than to train your developers in new eCommerce development framework.

There are thousands of skilled freelance web developers working online, many of whom have extensive experience working with software like Magento to develop eCommerce websites. Outsourcing is often a cost-effective, intelligent strategy.

Have you never outsourced any aspects of design or development before? Enroll in The Outsource Course to learn more about hiring freelancers and writing detailed project briefs to make sure your website is developed to your specifications.

Focus on detailed product pages

Product pages can make or break your eCommerce website. Because of this, try to invest as much time as possible into testing different product pages for maximum clickthrough and conversion rates.

Small changes to things like product descriptions or call-to-action copy can have a huge difference on your conversion rate. Since many visitors will arrive directly to your product pages via search engines, they need to be optimized for conversions.

Enroll in our Conversion Crash Course to learn more about writing web copy that converts visitors into customers and tweaking your product pages to result in the greatest possible number of sales.

Integrate on-site analytics

Operating an eCommerce website without analytics is like driving to an unknown destination without a map: even if you do eventually achieve your goal, it won’t be through intelligence or awareness, but through luck.

As you develop you eCommerce website, think carefully about how you’ll monitor and track user activity. Will you use heat maps to assess your layout and tweak it based on data? Will you use Google Analytics to track factors like bounce rate, on-site engagement, and more?

Data is the most important currency for optimizing your eCommerce website, and building your site for simple data collection is an important aspect of eCommerce development that’s all too frequently forgotten about.

Have you never used analytics software before? Our course, Analytics for All: From Beginners to Experts, shows you how to use data to learn more about the way your users are interacting with your eCommerce website.

Build your site to be marketed

Rarely will customers discover your eCommerce website by accident. In order to generate sales, you’ll need to actively market your website using Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, or another online traffic source.

Because of this, your entire eCommerce website should be designed with sales and lead generation in mind. This often means optimizing your product pages not just for conversion rate, but for external factors like Google’s Quality Score.

Learn more about optimizing your website for Adwords in our course, Adwords for Beginners: The Ultimate Adwords Tutorial. Simple changes to your design and copy can often be the difference between profitability and loss on Google Adwords.

Have support ready before you launch

No matter how great your products are or how perfect your website is, many of your customers will run into problems and need to contact your support team. Because of this, you should have support ready before your website even launches.

From simple account creation and usability issues to problems with billing, many of your customers will stumble into situations you never thought could happen. This is why good support training – and also great FAQs and documentation – is important.

Learn how to train your customer support team with our course, Customer Service Training. From simple questions to advanced account issues, it covers the essential fundamentals of providing great support to your eCommerce customers.