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How do you know your online shop is healthy?

Much like a car, an online shop needs regular checks, diagnostics and maintenance to keep running smoothly. Many people neglect this aspect of running their own e-commerce stores, and more often than not, the site performance starts dropping. This sometimes happens so subtly that you don’t see it coming, and eventually it could be detrimental to your sales and overall shops’ health. On the other hand, keeping an eye on your sites can help you spot the gaps and what you need to improve to stay in touch with the ever changing digital trends. Here are some guidelines on how to audit your site to ensure it’s healthy and performing well:

Mystery Shop
Buy something on your own store from time to time to get a taste for what your customers experience when they buy on your shop. Use all the features on you have on the site, from coupons, gift vouchers, live chat and whatever else you have, to ensure that there are no glaringly obvious issues.

Delivery & Out-of-Box Experience
Once you place your order, check your delivery tracking feature if you have one, check if your delivery is on time based on your site promise, and finally, when the package arrives, be critical on your out-of-box experience. Was the package in good condition, did it look presentable, was it neatly packed, did it have a thank you note, some samples or did it smell nice? Be creative!

Navigation & Search
Is your site making it easy for you to find what you are looking for? Does the navigation make sense? How many clicks before you can add a product to your basket. All these things can impact your bounce rates and drop-off rates, so be sure you are happy with the site navigation features.

Search is critical to sales, so ensure you have a dynamic search function with predictive capability, and if you can, add voice search to your mobile experience.

Content & Categorisation
Ensure your products are well populated with original content. Check if your titles are long enough and if your long description are of a good quality and optimised for search engines.

Secondly, focus on your category strategy, especially if your site has a lot of products and product categories. Structure it in a logical and easy-to-navigate way to give the customer a user friendly experience.

Make sure you have all the legal notices on your website like Terms & Conditions, Shopping Conditions, Privacy, Shipping, Returns and other legal information that is critical to your website.

Technology & Platform
It is very hard to keep up with technology, but to maintain it isn’t that hard. Do your checks to see if all your extensions and integrations are up to date and that your backups are running smoothly. If you have outgrown your current technology platform, start investigating a re-platform strategy that will cater for your needs.

Interactivity
Use all the customer engagement channels you have available and try to poke holes in them. From live chat, form submissions and responses, promotion e-mails, contact center, Facebook queries. Try to mimic the engagement experiences of your customers to see if you are doing a good job or not.

Website Performance & Analytics
Test your site to see how it compares against industry norms, from loading speed, site size, SEO and other metrics. There are some pretty cool free tools online, and by doing these health checks, you can learn a lot and look at things like your security, hosting and other relevant elements that could you see improving your performance.

Relevance
In-site search can give you a lot of hints as to what people expect to find on your website. This could help you to decide on what products to add to your current portfolio and possibly drive even more sales if you are able to source them.

Marketing
Test your own marketing campaigns and activities. See how your efforts compare to that of some of the industry leaders and always try to learn from the pioneers. Signup for your own newsletters, check if your autoresponders are still applicable, check if your Google ads are relevant and do they stand out, test to see if your remarking campaigns are too creepy, see if your Facebook page is fresh and engaging and and and..the marketing list could go on forever.

Cassie van Wyk is the main author of this blog and has years of experience in the field of channel marketing and e-commerce respectively. He has a passion for writing and sharing knowledge, and does a lot of research in order to bring factual information to all the blog visitors. Feel free to reach out at any time!

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