Category: ecommerce

ecommerce

Shopify Review

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

One platform where you can sell just about anything to anyone anywhere? That’s Shopify in a nutshell. But once you unpack it, it’s easy to see why it powers over 1 million websites and manages billions in sales. 

Gone are the days when you had to figure out how to start an ecommerce site from scratch. With Shopify, having a virtual storefront up and running is possible in a matter of minutes. It offers you plenty of marketing tools to make your store a success from the start. 

Whether you’re a small business starting up or you’re already raking in millions in sales, Shopify is an extremely powerful ecommerce website builder that helps your online business empire run smoothly, capture sales, and grow. 

Shopify Compared to The Best Ecommerce Platforms

So what sets Shopify apart from other ecommerce platforms out there? To put it simply, it does a great job of managing all the moving parts of an ecommerce business by being accessible, versatile, and easy to use. While there are other ecommerce platforms out there like Wix or Bigcommerce, they tend to have their limits with what you can and can’t do. 

Drag-and-drop builders, customer analytics, a built-in payment processing system, 24/7 support, and ready-made templates are only the tip of the iceberg when you really look into everything Shopify has to offer. But you shouldn’t just take my word for it. 

See all of our top picks to see how each ecommerce platform stacks up to ensure you’re making the best decision for your online business. 

Who is Shopify Best For?

Shopify is for anyone that wants to easily start an ecommerce store and drive online sales. Because of its all-in-one nature, it isn’t just for one niche or one type of store, which is good news for you. 

Shopify: The Pros and Cons

While Shopify rules in the ecommerce platform space, it might not always mean it’s the best platform for you. As with every other ecommerce platform, there are pros and cons to consider. 

Pros

Built-in payment processor: With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about using a third-party payment processor. It’s all built-in for you and ready to accept payments once you’ve listed your products and hit the publish button. 

With their payment processor, you can accept all major credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and even cryptocurrency. This means one less thing to actively manage in your store and increased trust with your customers. 

The ability to scale: With Shopify, you don’t have to jump ship once you see your store start to grow in traffic and sales. It’s equipped to support your store whether you’re making three or three million sales a day. 

Plenty of guides and documentation: Shopify does an excellent job at providing its merchants with plenty of how-to guides, theme documentation, and an active Shopify Community help forum with over 7,000 members where you can have all your Shopify questions answered.  

Accepts different types of currency: If you use its built-in Shopify Payments gateway, you can easily start selling in multiple currencies by adding a currency selector to your theme. If international customers want to see how much an item is in their currency, they can easily find out by choosing the appropriate currency. 

Effective Inventory system: With Shopify, you can get an accurate handle of your inventory by tracking the number of items on hand as they sell, adjusting inventory counts, and looking at inventory history. 

Free and paid apps and themes: Once you start a store with Shopify, a world of over 4,000 apps and over 100 store themes is at your fingertips. And plenty of them are free too, which is convenient if you’re starting on a shoestring budget. 

Drag-and-drop theme builder: The pinnacle of “easy” as far as building an online store is concerned is a drag-and-drop builder, which you can use with Shopify to make sure your store looks exactly how you want it to–without drowning in endless code. 

Stellar customer support: Once you start a store with Shopify, you can be sure its customer support is unmatched in terms of response times— especially its 24/7 chat support. It’s personally gotten me out of trouble in a matter of minutes more times than I can count. 

SEO-friendly: With Shopify, your products have a real chance of ranking in search engines for keywords once you’ve optimized your products and pages. It makes this easy by providing plenty of SEO-friendly features like setting alt descriptions for images, meta descriptions, and integrating SEO apps for advanced optimization. 

Cons

Higher price for in-depth analytics: With Shopify’s beginner plan you get access to a limited scope of store analytics. To access in-depth analytics that can move the needle in terms of sales strategy, you’ll have to pay for a more expensive plan.

Transaction fees for third-party payments: With Shopify, you can easily accept payment without trouble through their Shopify Payments gateway. But if you choose to go through a third party to collect a payment, Shopify does charge you fees, starting at 0.5 percent. This can eat at your profit margins. 

Limited blogging tools: There’s no question Shopify is the place to sell your goods, but it is still limited as a blogging platform since it only offers you the basic blogging tools to publish content. If content marketing is a primary way you bring in sales and traffic, this is an important con to consider. 

Shopify Pricing

Shopify has your standard three price points for small to medium businesses that want access to a number of different store features. But it doesn’t stop there. 

It also offers a $9 a month “lite” plan as well as a more powerful Shopify Plus plan that starts at $2,000 a month for big businesses that handle high sales volumes. 

  • Basic Shopify – $29 a month
  • Shopify – $79 a month
  • Advanced Shopify – $299 a month

Shopify’s basic tier at $29 a month offers plenty of dashboard analytics, fulfillment features, and product listing options. It’s the best tier for new businesses that are getting their start and still in the midst of figuring out sales and branding.

This tier offers unlimited product listing and two admin accounts.

When you’re ready for the Shopify tier at $79 a month, you’ll get access to five admin accounts, a 2.6% + 30¢ credit card fee rate, and you can sell in up to two languages.

Finally, you have the Advanced Shopify option at $299 a month. This is a tier you’ll only want to sign up for once you need advanced features that’ll help you scale your business and you’ve devised a proven sales strategy with sustained sales month over month. You get a 2.4% + 30¢ online credit card rate, as well as the ability to sell in up to five languages. 

Keep in mind that each tier comes with a free SSL certificate, discount codes, unlimited products, 24/7 support, additional sales channels like eBay, Amazon, Instagram, and Walmart, a full dashboard where you’ll get access to customize all your store settings, and a drag-and-drop theme builder. Before you make any real decisions, I recommend you check out their plan features page for a complete list of features for each tier. 

Shopify Lite – $9 a month

You don’t have or want a full-blown store, but still sell products or services on your own site and around the web? Just use the Shopify Lite plan as a lightweight option to cover all your bases.

The beauty of the Shopify Lite plan is in how easy it is to add buy buttons to any site you want. You can accept credit cards anywhere— both online and in-person with their POS app. Through the Shopify dashboard, you can create and send invoices as well as custom orders. Whatever you updated through your dashboard gets updated everywhere else you’ve set up points of sale online. 

And of course, you’ll also have access to their 24/7 support through email or live chat. The lite plan is an excellent option for a lighter store without all the hassle. Not to mention it’s also incredibly affordable at just $9 a month. 

Shopify Plus – $2,000 a month

The Shopify plus solution is trusted by more than 7,000 giants including Rebecca Minkoff, Allbirds, Rothy’s, Good American, and Heinz as the best and most cost-effective solution for their ecommerce needs.

The Shopify Plus plan is designed to support smaller close-knit teams as they man millions in sales all from one place: their Shopify dashboard. This means where you once needed 300 people to run your store, now you only need 30. Also, if you’re re-platforming to Shopify, instead of taking the traditional 6-8 months to transfer the bulk of your store, with Shopify that time gets cut in half.

This may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not–especially when you consider some of this plan’s features. 

Here are some of Shopify Plus’ best and most powerful features:

  • 60% faster checkouts and 18 percent higher conversion rates
  • Built-in AR, video, and 3D media for each of your product pages
  • Multiple stores, languages, and currencies
  • Advanced discounting and shipping rates
  • 99.99% uptime so you never miss out on sales and traffic
  • Avalara tax automation for automated up to date tax calculations
  • Plenty of automations and integrations at your fingertips

You can forget legacy enterprise software when Shopify offers all the enterprise power you need to sell at scale successfully.

Shopify Offerings

So far we’ve gone through the exhaustive list of features Shopify offers you to successfully host, stock, and run an online store. But everything I’ve highlighted so far is only the beginning.

Shopify offers a wide variety of additional tools— some free and some paid— that push you along your journey to ecommerce success. 

Here’s a quick list of additional Shopify tools you’ll have access to when you host a store on their platform:

  • Facebook ad integration – perfect for driving paid traffic to your site
  • Google ad integration – perfect for PPC campaigns for paid Google traffic
  • Shopify ping apps – A free messaging app to reach more customers and chat with your team
  • Business name generator – Perfect if you’re clueless about your store name and need ideas
  • Stock photography – Access thousands of free stock photos for your storefront
  • Themes – tons of options both free and paid as well as customizable 

Shopify Email

Did you know you can create email campaigns right on Shopify? Shopify Email gives you all the tools to track and create beautiful and captivating ecommerce campaigns that drive sales and keep your core customers engaged.

You can pick from a list of ready-for-you designs and get email analytics straight to your Shopify dashboard. You can add your logo and store colors for a more personalized email experience as well as segment the people on your list for more specific campaigns.

The Shopify Email feature is accessible on every Shopify plan. You get a monthly send limit of 2,500 free emails, then $1 for every 1,000 additional emails sent. Not bad at all if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of integrating a third-party email provider with your store that can end up costing you more in the long run.   

Custom Domains

You can easily buy a custom domain with Shopify if you don’t want to buy it through a third party. Domain names through Shopify start at $14 a year and automatically renew each year. 

This is a great option if you don’t want the name “.myshopify.com” as part of your domain name. 

POS Equipment

The perks of Shopify don’t end in the online world. With their point-of-sale option, you can connect POS software, hardware, and Shopify’s payment system to sell in person at popups, retail events, and more.

Once you set up POS in your online store, you can purchase Shopify card reader and payment equipment to instantly start selling.

Their most popular POS equipment for sale includes

  • The tap and chip card reader – $49
  • The dock for your tap and chip card reader – $39
  • The Shopify retail stand for iPads – $149
  • The Shopify tap and chip case – $19

But it doesn’t stop there. Shopify’s selection of POS equipment goes beyond the basics to ensure you have everything you need to sell in person without any payment issues. It’s because of well-thought-out integrated features like these that Shopify takes the crown as one of if not the most prominent and reliable ecommerce platforms.

The Best Ecommerce Platforms

Choosing the best ecommerce platform to create your store and drive sales can be overwhelming. Make sure you look through my top list of ecommerce platform recommendations to be sure you’ll have all the tools and features you need. 

  1. Wix – Best for flexibility and customization
  2. Squarespace – Best ecommerce platform for creatives
  3. BigCommerce – Best for medium to large stores
  4. Shopify – Best all-in-one ecommerce platform
  5. WooCommerce – Best for WordPress websites
  6. OpenCart – Best for selling digital products 
  7. Ecwid – Best for integrating with your current platform

All in all, Shopify offers a reliable ecommerce platform with the tools and features to ensure you’re running a smooth operation whether you’re an up-and-coming store or you need to manage millions in sales. Because of how easy it is to use, along with the tools it provides and its price points Shopify comes in as one of my top recommendations for starting a store in any niche.

Try Shopify free for 14-days and get started building your store.

The post Shopify Review appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

How to Find and Grow Your Amazon Sales Rank

Are you a seller on Amazon?

If so, you need to understand the importance of your Amazon sales rank and how it can help (or harm) your business.

What is Amazon Sales Rank?

Amazon sales rank (also known as best sellers rank or BSR) is a numerical score representing an item’s popularity in both its overall category and respective subcategories.

What does that mean? Let’s look at Jenga’s performance. While Jenga scored position three in the overall category of Toys & Games, it earned the number one rank in Stacking Games.

Where to find your Amazon sales rank

With this level of visibility into performance, sellers can view performance on multiple levels.

Amazon sales rank can range from one to over a million, with lower scores indicating superior rank. The metric is calculated hourly using the number of recent sales, as well as historical sales in relation to other products in the same category.

Wondering how you can find your product’s Amazon sales rank?

It’s easier than you think. Simply scroll to the bottom of your product page until you encounter the Product Details section. Then, look for the Amazon Best Sellers Rank. 

Now that you’ve found your Amazon sales rank, you’re probably wondering, ‘is this a good score?’ When it comes to sales rank, all things are relative. 

If you’re in a saturated category, a “good” score could still be an astronomically high figure. Conversely, if you’re in a small, niche community, a score that may present as low may not actually mean that much. As a general rule, you’ll want to aim for a score under 2,000.

Why Is Your Amazon Sales Rank Important

You might think your Amazon sales rank doesn’t have much bearing on your present performance, as is based on past performance. However, there are four distinct reasons why you should care about your ranking.

Amazon Sales Rank Shows Trust

For Amazon sellers, having a low Amazon sales rank is vital to success on the e-commerce site. Since rankings are used to define product popularity within a specific genre, and comparatively with its competitors, consider your sales rank as a vote of confidence in popularity of your product. 

Provides a Competitive Edge

In addition to serving as a testimonial to the popularity of your product, Amazon sales rank provides insight into your competitors by providing visibility of the most high-performing products in your category. By assessing products that hold top Amazon sales ranks, you can then reassess your own campaign through their lens, optimizing your listing and marketing strategies accordingly.

It Increases Sales

In addition to credibility, consumers are more likely to purchase a product that others have also bought. What’s the likelihood that you would buy a product online without any reviews? None, most likely. 

The same premise is at work here—more sales means more reviews, leading to even more sales. 

It improves Brand Awareness

If your products are routinely ranking in top positions in your category or subcategories, buyers will notice. By increasing your products’ positive visibility, you can increase the visibility and awareness of your brand.

6 Ways to Increase Your Amazon Sales Rank

While it may feel like your sales rank is completely out of your control and dependent solely upon your consumers, there are actions you can take to drive sales and increase your Amazon sales rank.

Let’s look at six strategies to increase your sales rank. 

1. Incentivize Reviews to Increase Amazon Sales Rank

Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust word-of-mouth recommendations from their friends and family. Positive reviews can be the tipping point that causes a consumer to choose your product over a competitor’s.

While Amazon has banned true financial incentivization of reviews (such as offering a discount or payments) there are still options to encourage shoppers to leave glowing reviews. Here’s a few ways to increase your online reviews.  

Follow Up

After a purchase is made, send a follow-up email. In this email, you can include a valuable piece of informational content that will grow goodwill between buyer and seller, perhaps leading to future purchases and future reviews.

You can also opt for Amazon to automatically send an email to the purchaser to review the product. This is a quick, easy way to score some valuable reviews.

Amazon autogenerates email to request review for increased Amazon sales rank

Inserts in Packaging

Including a valuable piece of content in your packaging can also encourage customers to leave a review. Consider including a hand-written note that encourages the consumer to leave a review, which will also further foster that sentiment of connection. Even a printed thank you note with a reminder to review can help. 

Amazon Vine

Amazon Vine is an internal program that offers products for free to trusted Amazon customers in return for feedback. The goal is to encourage honest reviews from real customers and is invitation-only for participants. 

The only catch here is that you must be an Amazon vendor to participate in this program.

2. Do Keyword Research to Improve Amazon Sales Rank

We believe that keyword research should be the foundation of any online campaign, and selling on Amazon is no different. Identifying the right keywords for your product can be the differentiator between success and failure. 

As you craft your Amazon listings, include your keywords in your title and bullets. By including these terms, you ensure more searchers see your listing, which, in turn, increases the likelihood that your product will be purchased.

3. Use Quality Photos to Increase Amazon Sales Rank

Photos matter. In fact, 63 percent of consumers report that photos are more important to them when shopping on Amazon than verbal descriptions. It pays to invest in quality photos. 

As you select photos to include in your listing, think about what you would want to see as a consumer. Would an image that incorporates an infographic be effective? Would an image of an individual using your product convey value? If you take your own photos, look for tips that will help you take professional-level photos. 

Regardless of which approach works best for your product, quality photos can attract and convert attention, drive sales, and increase your Amazon sale rank.

4. Write Good Sales Copy

A lot of Amazon product listings showcase some pretty lackluster writing. Common offenses include un-optimized pages, titles stuffed with keywords, and sentences that don’t even make sense (which won’t inspire trust in your company.) 

To help your product stand out from the crowd and drive more purchases, write thoughtful sales copy for each of your product listings. Focus on the benefits your product offers and what makes it stand out. 

Amazon visitors come with commercial intent. If you can attract them with strong sales copy, they’re that much more likely to convert.

5. Optimize Product Description and Title

Here’s a fun fact—90 percent of Amazon product listings don’t adhere to Amazon’s description requirements. Just like Google, Amazon makes frequent algorithm updates. Staying current on recommended listing details, including character counts and word limits, can help your products perform better and increase visibility.  

When crafting product descriptions and titles, remember that Amazon users are shopping on the platform because it is quick and easy. If your would-be consumer struggles to understand your products, they’re likely not returning for a second look. 

To make your titles stand out among the multitudes, try these three things:

  • be creative
  •  adhere to Amazon’s 200-character limit
  •  use descriptive titles that communicates what your product is 

Be sure to use Amazon’s best practices when creating product titles. They exist for a reason, so be sure to implement them in your title strategy

  • first letter of primary words must be capitalized
  • on’t use an ampersand
  • share exact size detail
  • use numerals when conveying numbers

6. Promote Your Products to Increase Amazon Sales Rank

The conversion rate in the Amazon Marketplace averages around 15 percent, considerably higher than other e-commerce platforms. The key to ensuring your products see that level of conversion is to ensure and increase visibility. If no one sees your product, no one can buy it. 

While there are a number of ways to promote your products on Amazon, we’ve gathered our top three to share with you.

Invest in Sponsored Product Ads

To increase your product’s visibility, consider investing in sponsored product ads. As a seller, you only are charged when a buyer clicks on your ad, so this is a reasonably priced way to get your product in front of fresh eyes. 

sponsored products can increase Amazon sales rank

In the above ad, the sponsored product appears on the first page of search results.

Use Your Social Channels 

Harnessing the power of your business’ social channels is a great way to get your products seen by more buyers. While you don’t want to inundate your followers with ad after ad, there are a few strategies you can employ to get your Amazon listings noticed.

  • Host a giveaway or contest: By creating a contest that encourages people to interact with your Amazon product listing, you increase visibility. For example, you could give away a product to a lucky winner who shares your Amazon listing in their bio or in their stories.
  • Share content with a link to your Amazon listing: When you post a helpful blog specific to your industry, people will come to that content to learn. Not only will this establish you as a thought leader in your industry, it also is an opportunity to link to your Amazon listings and increase visibility.
  • Offer a social media promo code: If you have a Professional Selling account on Amazon, you can create a promotion link to share through social highlighting a discount offered on the listing. Here’s a guide for navigating setting up a promotion link.

Offer a Lightning Deal 

Increase interest in your product by offering shoppers a Lightning Deal. These sales are time-sensitive and buyers can locate them in Amazon’s Today’s Deals section. These are extremely popular with shoppers as they urge action given their time-sensitive nature.

When you include your product in Amazon’s Today’s Deals sections, you not only will increase your sales, but you’ll inevitably boost your Amazon Sale Rank. 

Conclusion 

Now that you understand the components that make up your Amazon sales rank, it’s time to start optimizing your store for more purchases.

Whether you start by researching keywords for your e-commerce store or shining up your existing copy, you’ll be on your way to improving product visibility. As that visibility increases, so will your sales, driving your sales rank up simultaneously.

What’s your most successful strategy for increasing Amazon sales rank?

The post How to Find and Grow Your Amazon Sales Rank appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

How To Create an Ecommerce Website with WordPress

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

What would you do with an additional $39,000 in your bank every month?

Well, if you plan on creating an ecommerce website, you can expect to earn this MASSIVE amount if you do it right. 

There are, of course, ecommerce sellers who haven’t been able to make that much, but with the right ecommerce strategies and best practices, this might become your reality.

But before you can start earning, you need to first own and set up an ecommerce website.

Read on as I show you a step-by-step tutorial to create an ecommerce website with WordPress.

Your Two-Minute Cheat Sheet

Want to know how to create an ecommerce website in a nutshell? I got you.

First, you’ll have to choose a domain name and a web hosting provider that gives you your chosen domain name for free.

Since your web hosting provider determines your WordPress store’s loading speed, uptime, and other functionality, I highly recommend opting for Bluehost.

This is hands down one of the best web hosting providers that aren’t only cheap and reliable but also offer a ton of freebies like a free domain name. Choose the Basic plan and register your domain name before finalizing your deal.

Once you finish setting up your Bluehost account, install WordPress. Another reason why I recommend Bluehost is because it can install WordPress on your behalf. All you need to do is click a few buttons, and you’ll have your WordPress site up and running.

At this point, you’ll have a standard WordPress website. But to convert it into an online store, you need to install an ecommerce plugin.

I’ve chosen WooCommerce, but you can opt for other options that suit your needs better. You have to set up your store next, which includes tasks like creating store pages, setting up a locale, understanding sales tax, and selecting a payment method.

Once your store is ready, you’ll then add your products or services. After all, it wouldn’t be an online store if you don’t have anything on sale, would it?

Finally, all that’s left to do is select an awesome theme for your WordPress ecommerce store and install additional plugins that help extend your online store’s capabilities. This is based on your needs and preferences, so you can choose whatever you like.

I personally like ThemeForest for themes. Also, you can check out WordPress‘s plugin directory for installing extensions like Yoast SEO, Jetpack, and Contact Form 7. Trust me, it can work wonders for supercharging your store!

That was all for your cheat sheet. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of building an ecommerce store on WordPress.

Step 1: Get a Domain Name and Web Hosting Provider

Whether you choose to start an online store or any other kind of website, you need a domain and web hosting service.

Your domain name is your store’s unique address on the web. For instance, my website’s domain name is NeilPatel.com.

Web hosting, on the other hand, is like a remote computer that stores your website and then serves it to people whenever they visit it. 

There are several excellent WordPress hosting providers, but my go-to choice is Bluehost simply because it’s reliable, offers fast loading speeds, and includes a free domain name in its already cheap subscription plans. 

Here’s what you need to do:

Choose Your Bluehost Subscription Plan

Head over to Bluehost, and click on the huge Get Started button. 

From there, you’ll be directed to a page that shows you four hosting plan options:

Since it’s your first time launching an ecommerce website, I recommend selecting the Basic plan that costs just $2.75 per month and includes a free domain (for one year).

Pick Your Domain Name

Next up, you have to pick a domain name from your new online store. 

Click on Create a new domain, and type in your prospective domain name. Once you do this, Bluehost will automatically display a list of available or similar domain extensions.

My advice would be to go for a .com extension as it looks more professional and can help you win some extra brownie points in your visitor’s eyes.

Alternative Option:

If you already have a registered domain with a third-party domain registrar, you can continue using that instead of creating a new one. 

Click on Use a domain you own option and select Next. Then follow the prompts to transfer your domain from wherever it is now to Bluehost.

Enter Your Account Details and Finalize the Deal

Fill out your personal information to create your Bluehost account. You’ll also have to confirm your plan details and select relevant add-ons (these cost extra), and then finalize the deal.

At this stage, you’ll be asked to select the number of years you want to sign up for Bluehost. While the minimum commitment is one year, I recommend choosing the three-year option as it gets you the best bang for your buck. 

Three years may look like a long commitment, but considering the excellent service of Bluehost, it’s a great deal. Plus, you want your ecommerce store to be around long enough to make you lots of money, right? Either way, Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So you can always get a refund if you change your mind.

Finally, all that’s left to do is pay your subscription fee. You can either pay via credit card or look for other payment options.

At this stage, you now have a domain name and a hosting plan to go with it.

Step 2: Install WordPress on Bluehost

This is the start of your journey with WordPress, where you’ll install WordPress on your hosting account. Since it’s absolutely free, you don’t have to pay any installation charges.

Moreover, Bluehost will do the installation for you! 

After signing up with Bluehost, you’ll receive a confirmation email that has your login credentials. Use this information to log in to Bluehost, and then the hosting service will guide you through the process of installing WordPress. 

You can also go to your Bluehost dashboard to install WordPress. Click on My Sites, followed by Create Site. The installing process will start right away. 

Once the installation is complete, type in the name for your website, followed by the username and password. 

With a blank WordPress website ready, now is the time to convert it into a fully functional ecommerce store.

Step 3: Select an Ecommerce Plugin

One main difference between a WordPress ecommerce website and a standard WordPress website is the former lets you sell products directly from the website. 

Now, as there are no native WordPress ecommerce features, you’ll have to install an ecommerce plugin to extend this functionality to your website. 

My favorite? WooCommerce.

Here’s how you install the WooCommerce plugin:

#1 Navigate to your WordPress dashboard, and click on Plugins, followed by Add New

#2 Type in ‘WooCommerce’ in the search field located at the top right-hand corner of your screen. 

#3 Click on the Install Now button right next to the plugin. After a few seconds, this button will turn blue and will read Activate. Click on it.

You’ll now see WooCommerce’s on-screen launch/setup wizard that will walk you through the rest of the remaining setup process. As you would expect, the whole thing is super simple and hardly takes a few minutes.

Other ecommerce Plugin Options:

While WooCommerce is my go-to, you can opt for other plugins too. Here are two other plugins that you can consider:

WP ecommerce

Despite not being full-featured as WooCommerce, many people consider WP eCommerce as a robust choice for creating an online store with WordPress. Its features include product pages, shopping cart, checkout facility, data reporting capabilities, and inventory management.

While WP eCommerce is free, you can opt for paid extensions to add to its functionality. You can purchase premium payment gateways like Stripe and Authorize.net.

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads is specifically designed to help you sell digital products. It lets you create discount codes, avail of full tracking and data reporting of downloads, sales, and other stats, as well as place restrictions on downloads. So if you aren’t planning on selling physical products, this plugin might be a good choice for you.

You can also add new features to your storefront with extensions, along with payment processes like PayPal. Again, this plugin is free and offers paid extension options in case you want to add more functionality to your online store.

Step 4: Setting Up WooCommerce

This step has multiple tasks that involve you creating essential store pages, setting up a locale, understanding sales tax implications, and choosing a payment method. 

Let’s discuss them in more detail below:

Creating Important Store Pages

Online stores can be very specific, which is why you also need specific store pages for them to function properly. Precisely why the first step in the WooCommerce Wizard is to create these pages.

  • The Shop page will display all your products.
  • The Cart page is where your customers can adjust their order before proceeding to checkout.
  • The Checkout page is where your customers can choose the shipping/delivery method and make the final payment.
  • The My Account page is like a profile page for registered customers that shows them their order history, contact information, and other details.

All you need to do is simply follow the prompts, and WooCommerce will set up these pages for you.

Setting Up Your Locale

The locale is another crucial part of your online store setup–basically, it tells where in the world your store is based. Even online stores need to have this information set up. Your locale defines your country of origin, operating language, and preferred currency and units of measurement.

Select Continue when done setting up your locale.

Going through WooCommerce’s Sales Tax Module

In most cases, you’ll be charging sales tax, for which you have to check the main tax box. 

Make sure you go through the whole module and understand the tax rates based on your store location.

Select Continue when done.

Choose a Payment Method

WooCommerce accepts both online and offline payments. While PayPal is what I recommend, you can also choose from Stripe, COD, and bank transfer payments, among other options.

Select Continue when done.

Step 5: Adding Your Products or Services for Sale

To officially launch your store, you’ll need products, services, or downloads—whatever you sell—in your database.

Go to your dashboard, and click on Products followed by Add Product.

You’ll then see a classic WordPress content editing screen that includes fields for product name, product description, product data section, short description, product categories and tags, product image, and product gallery.

WooCommerce will show you handy tooltips to explain the purpose of every field, so you know exactly what everything is for. Click on the Publish button to add your products. 

Once you finish adding goods to your database, the end result should look something like this:

Voila! You’ve now added products (or whatever it is that you sell) to your WordPress website.

Step 6: Choose a Theme for Your WordPress Online Store

Your theme determines how your web content appears to your visitors. The beauty of WordPress is you can change and customize your themes whenever you want, giving you a completely unique design that sets your store apart from your competitors.

Beware: The customization option is only suitable for a coding pro. So if this isn’t you, it’s better to select a ready-made theme that most closely resembles your vision.

You can visit a third-party site like ThemeForest to get started. There are hundreds of thousands of themes, so you’ll never find yourself running out of options.

Installing a Theme from the Official WordPress.org Directory

#1 Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Appearance and then Themes.

#2 Click on the Add New button to browse through the theme selection. You can also demo a few to test out how your store looks like.

#3 Click on the Install button for the theme you like. After a few seconds, the button will read Activate. Select it, and the theme is yours.

Installing a Premium Theme

#1 Download the .zip file of your chosen theme. 

#2 Log in to your WordPress dashboard, and go to Appearance, and then Themes.

#3 Click on the Add New option, which will direct you to the WordPress theme dashboard. 

#4 Select the Upload Theme option. Choose the .zip file from your computer after the prompt.

You’ll see a link to activate your theme after a success message. 

Top Tip: WooCommerce also has its own theme called Storefront. Not only does it work well with the plugin (duh!), but it also looks pretty sleek. You can simply stick to this if you don’t want any extra hassle.

Step 7: Extend WooCommerce’s Functionality

Another impressive feat of commerce is you have hundreds of extensions and plugins available to extend its capabilities. Here’s a list of a few extensions that are worth installing on your site:

  • Payment Gateways. These extensions let you accept more payment methods in addition to PayPal.
  • Shipping Extensions. These extensions can be useful if you want to integrate your store with the official shipping rates from companies like FedEx and UPS without extra effort.
  • WooCommerce Subscription. These extensions allow customers to subscribe to your product or services by paying a predetermined fee.
  • TaxJar. This extension puts your sales tax on autopilot.
  • Accounting Extensions. These extensions integrate your online store with an accounting tool of your choice.
  • WooCommerce Bookings. These extensions let customers book appointments for services directly from your site.

In addition to this, you can also install other WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO, UpdraftPlus, Contact Form 7, and MonsterInsights. You can also check out my comprehensive guide for the best WordPress plugins to learn more and pick the ones you need most. 

Conclusion

Congratulations! You now have an ecommerce website with WordPress.

You may have realized how creating your personal ecommerce store with WordPress isn’t difficult—all you need is the right guidance. I hope my guide will help you kickstart your ecommerce business and get the money rolling in.

Keep updating your online store by adding engaging content that converts. Don’t forget to optimize your product descriptions to rank higher organically too.

It’s a whole process in the end. So you have to get every step right to reap the rewards.

Have you started your ecommerce journey yet? Tell me more about your experience.

The post How To Create an Ecommerce Website with WordPress appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

What Are Google Customer Reviews?

With the competition becoming fiercer every day, e-commerce businesses need to pull all the stops to ensure they continue beating the competition.

One simple yet powerful marketing tool you can use to your advantage is the Google Customer Reviews feature.

Research shows that 70 percent of people trust online reviews more than they trust advertisements. That’s why getting as many reviews as possible from your customers can be one of the best things you can do for your business.

Google has made that easy with Google Customer Reviews.

Let’s dive right in and see what these reviews are all about.

An Overview of Google Customer Reviews

Google Customer Reviews is a service that allows businesses to collect reviews on their website. To participate in Google Customer Reviews, you must have a Google Merchant account.

Google does most of the heavy lifting by helping collect customer feedback for you. To do that, Google sends your customers an email asking if they want to provide feedback on their experience with your brand. Customers who choose to participate then receive a short survey form to fill out.

The reviews and ratings that customers provide in the surveys can be displayed on your website and other marketing platforms. They also help determine seller ratings that Google gives to merchants, including the average star rating and the number of ratings. The higher the rating, the more trusted the merchant is.

A replacement of the retired Trusted Stores program, Google Customer Reviews is an excellent way to prove to prospects that they can trust you to deliver on your promises.

Why Are Google Customer Reviews Important?

If you’re wondering whether you should even bother with the Google Customer Reviews program, let me quickly give you three important reasons why you should.

Help Build Social Proof

One of the essential ingredients to running and growing a successful e-commerce business is to gain your customers’ trust.

That’s what Google Customer Reviews helps you do.

The customer reviews you gather are great for building social proof you can use to gain the trust of new customers. Social proof simply means evidence that other people trust you to provide them with a positive shopping experience. It makes other customers feel comfortable shopping with you. As a result, this positively impacts your conversion rates.

Participating in Google Customer Reviews allows you to build social proof and add a badge with the Google brand on your website, helping drive conversions.

Help Build a Better Brand and Products

Besides helping you win your customers’ trust, Google Customer Reviews is also an excellent way of getting feedback from your customers. You can use this feedback to improve your product and service delivery. As a result, you can build a better brand and create buyer journeys that your customers will love.

Boosts Your Local SEO

Want to boost your local SEO? Then leverage Google Customer Reviews.

Search engines, particularly Google, want to serve up the most relevant businesses in local search queries. To do so, they consider what your brand does.

Most importantly, they value the opinions left by people who have had a first-hand experience with you.

That’s where Google Customer Reviews come in. They help search engines know which businesses to recommend to users. Google rewards brands with better reviews by ranking them higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google Customer Reviews also helps users decide which brands to do business with. To get a fair share of the business, you’ll need to have more positive reviews than your competitors.

Ignoring Google Customer Reviews could deprive you of the opportunity to give your business and marketing more mileage. That’s especially true as studies show that 87 percent of people read online reviews when researching local businesses.

How Does Google Customer Reviews Work?

How does this program work? Thankfully, it’s much simpler than Trusted Stores. All it takes for you to get a customer review are three simple steps:

1. Google Asks Your Customers to Opt-In

When a customer buys something from you, Google sends them an email around the day they’re expected to receive their purchase. The purpose of the email is to ask the customer to opt-in to receive a survey about their experience shopping on your site.

2. Customers Take the Survey

Customers who opt-in are then directed to a survey consisting of a star rating system (from one to five). There’s also space for additional comments if customers wish to provide more information about their shopping experience.

Example of a Google Customer Reviews survey being filled.

3. Google Aggregates the Reviews and Data

Once the survey information is submitted, Google aggregates it to form star ratings for your business. These are displayed on your website and in organic and paid search results.

While Google Customer Reviews is a Google initiative, it benefits you as a merchant.

Try as much as possible to encourage your customers to participate. This way, you get more reviews, and more reviews mean a better seller rating (Google’s average rating for your store).

That, in turn, will encourage more people to shop from your business.

What Can You Do With Your Reviews?

You’ve managed to collect some reviews using the Google Customer Reviews program. What’s next?

Well, this is where the fun begins, as you can use these reviews for many things. Here are just a few ideas:

Incorporate Them in Your Business Listings

Your reputation is one of your most valuable business assets. What better way to show customers that you’re a reputable business than by showing them what other customers say about you?

Include your reviews in all business listings of your business across the web to build customer confidence.

Display Them on Your Website

One of the first things you can do with your reviews is to display them on your website. Doing so helps earn your customers’ trust. It also lets customers see that you’re transparent, a value that 81 percent of customers look for in brands.

Use Them on Social Media

We all know social media can be a very powerful marketing tool. When you run your social media marketing campaigns, you can leverage your reviews by incorporating them into your posts or ads.

You can use your reviews on any marketing platform and with any marketing strategy. The whole point is to demonstrate to potential customers that your business is reputable and is known for delivering good customer experiences.

So, if you feel your marketing message could benefit from a review or two, pull one up from your Google Customer Reviews.

How Is Google Customer Reviews Different From Google Product Ratings?

Another Google program you can participate in is the Google Product Ratings program.

Participating in Google Product Ratings allows you to collect customer reviews on the products you sell. Like customer reviews, the product reviews’ results are aggregated and can be used across other marketing platforms like Google Search and Shopping Ads.

Example of Google Product Ratings, which is similar to Google Customer Reviews. These are meant to rate how satisfied a customer is with a product.

The main difference is that product ratings are not a reflection of your business. Instead, they reflect how satisfied customers are with the product.

As you’ve already seen, customer reviews are a rating of your customers’ overall experience with your brand. This can take into account the product (and its ratings), shipping, and customer service, among many other factors.

To put it simply, product ratings help other customers pick quality products, while customer reviews help other customers choose reputable sellers.

Product ratings and customer reviews are two different programs. However, you can edit your Google Customer Reviews code snippet to include certain products, so your customers can rate them in the same survey.

What to Do When You Get Negative Google Customer Reviews

Negative reviews are inevitable in business. There will always be a customer or two who are not satisfied with their experience with your brand. Legitimate or not, these negative comments can impact your business.

What do you do when you get a negative Google customer review?

First of all, don’t ignore the review. While you must respond to all reviews posted, negative reviews must be handled with extra care. That means:

Respond Quickly

Don’t let a negative review sit unanswered for a long time. Doing so results in everyone who reads the review either believing it or drawing a conclusion. Both can be harmful to your business.

Before you rush to respond, however, make sure to assess the feedback your customer has left. Use it to come up with a positive and helpful response.

Respond Carefully

When you respond, make sure to personalize the response by mentioning their name and the product they purchased.

It’s also crucial that you don’t turn a negative review into a debate or finger-pointing battle. Instead, thank the reviewer for taking the time to offer their feedback.

Also, make sure to apologize for the negative experience. By accepting the blame, your customers will see there’s an empathetic human behind your brand.

Move the Conversation Offline

Another vital step to dealing with a negative review is to ask the reviewer to get in touch with your customer support department. Moving the conversation from the Google Customer Reviews platform can help you take care of the customer’s gripe in a better environment.

It also shows prospective customers that you care about providing the best experience.

Do it well, and they may end up changing their review and leaving a good one. What customers really want is to know that you care about them.

If you can go out of your way to provide a good customer experience (CX), the chances of them becoming loyal to your brand increase.

Offer a Solution

When a customer leaves a negative review, it’s a sign they’re not happy about an aspect of their experience with your brand. Besides just leaving your response, you should offer a solution to rectify the situation. Offering a solution also shows that you truly empathize with the customer.

The way you respond to negative reviews can either make or break your brand. If you do it well, you can reduce customer churn. You can also increase the chances of your customers leaving glowing reviews and becoming your brand ambassadors.

Conclusion

Google Customer Reviews is a great way to boost your brand’s credibility and visibility.

As an e-commerce business, reviews are the lifeblood of your business. Yes, even the negative ones, as you can leverage them to show your brand’s human side.

Take advantage of Google Customer Reviews and give your customers a voice. Doing so will let your customers know that you value them and can also help boost conversions.

What’s your experience with Google Customer Reviews?

The post What Are Google Customer Reviews? appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

Best WordPress Directory Plugins

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

A functional online directory plugin will help you deliver business or personal information by location or category for internal or external use. 

Whether you want to build a glossary of names and terms for your employees or a comprehensive business index, a good directory plugin for your WordPress website will help you do just that. 

Directory plugins serve a simple purpose: to create a user-friendly database with up-to-date details for both your customers and internal team. Your plugin of choice will give you access to this information along with pictures, location information, and contact details. 

As there are many directory plugin options out there, I’m here to make it easier for you by narrowing it down to the top five best directory plugins for your WordPress website—so you won’t have trouble finding the right one for you. 

The Top 5 Options for Directory Plugins 

  • Business Directory – Best for extensive directory categories 
  • GeoDirectory – Best customizable plugin 
  • Connections Business Directory – Best free WordPress plugin
  • Advanced Classifieds and Directory Pro – Best plugin with multifunctional features
  • Name Directory – Best plugin for an online glossary builder

#1 – Business Directory – The Best for Extensive Directory Categories 

If you’re looking for a wide variety of directory categories to choose from, the Business Directory plugin is an excellent option. 

This plugin allows you to easily build the directory you want by seamlessly pairing it with any WordPress website. 

It doesn’t matter what type of directory you wish to build because the Business Directory plugin has it all. The plugin covers the basic local business directories as well as employee, member, restaurant, medical, tour and travel, hotel, software review sites, and book review site directories. 

Along with its extensive category list, Business Directory offers a simple installation process that WordPress users can rely on. 

With its easy directory templates, you can change the style and layouts to suit your preferences. This plugin also lets you have full-field control to create your own custom fields for simple list navigation.  

Some other helpful features include: 

  • Free and paid submissions for extra traffic or revenue 
  • Mobile-friendly listings 
  • Google maps 
  • PayPal and Stripe integration 
  • Full image support 
  • Rating module 

Business Directory offers three pricing plans, including: 

  • Basic: $199 per year for one site, unlimited listings, and one year of support 
  • Pro: $399 per year for up to five sites with all basic features and priority support (most popular)
  • Elite: $599 per year for unlimited sites with all pro features and all directory themes

These pricing plans may be quite expensive for some, so I recommend the Business Directory plugin for those who need a diverse range of categories for their directory. All pricing plans come with a 14-day money-back guarantee. Try it today.

#2 – GeoDirectory – The Best Customizable Directory Plugin for WordPress

Customization is important for directory plugins, which is where GeoDirectory comes in. GeoDirectory is an excellent option for website owners who are looking for ultimate flexibility and customization options. 

With its incredible compatibility, this plugin works with any WordPress theme and allows you to easily customize your page the same way you do for your actual website and theme. GeoDirectory also lets you customize 40+ widgets, shortcodes, and blocks, and all features are available in any format. 

This plugin offers an intuitive drag-and-drop tool that helps you organize and reorder listing pages while easily adding customized tabs, fields, and content. 

Custom fields also come with a fully customizable and unique badge system that you can include in your listings. These badges include terms such as new, featured, and recently updated. You can also add badges with counts, video icons, and social links. 

By using GeoDirectory, your WordPress website will benefit from multiple advanced features, including: 

  • Add business hours to any listing 
  • Ratings and reviews 
  • Developer-friendly system  
  • Pre-built templates 
  • Advanced integrations 

As one of the most comprehensive directory plugins on the web, GeoDirectory offers four different pricing plans: 

  • Four Months: $99 paid every four months 
  • Six Months: $129 paid every six months 
  • One Year: $199 paid every 12 months (most popular) 
  • Lifetime: $995 paid once 

Every plan includes all products, add-ons, and premium support for the corresponding period. If recurring subscriptions aren’t your thing, GeoDirectory offers single four, six, and 12-month plans. A 30-day money-back guarantee covers all plans, except for the Lifetime tier. Learn more.

#3 – Connections Business Directory – The Best Free WordPress Directory Plugin

With its high-quality and supportive features, Connections Business Directory is a great free option for those looking for a starter plugin. With over 900,000 downloads, this plugin will help you seamlessly integrate your customized directory with your WordPress website. 

The Connections Business Directory system and database have been carefully crafted for maximum compatibility with WordPress, so your installation experience is smooth and simple—especially for website owners with little technical knowledge. 

The plugin is also completely scalable and gives you the option to manage hundreds of entries within your directory. 

Another outstanding feature of Connections Business Directory is the robust templates. For a free plugin, it offers you a decent range of templates to get you started—with a template pro package available for an additional cost. 

Apart from it being free, which is a huge bonus, Connections Business Directory has prominent features, such as: 

  • 30+ languages are translation ready 
  • Many free and premium extensions 
  • Repeatable fields 
  • Free support forum 
  • Developer-friendly with open APIs 

As you can install Connections Business Directory for free, they don’t have any pricing plans. However, you can purchase premium add-ons and extensions for an affordable price. Some of the most popular add-ons include the Widget Pack for $9.99 and the Custom Category Order for $4.99.

Template bundles include: 

  • Extension Pro Pack: $29.99 for one site 
  • Template Pro Pack: $59.99 for one site 
  • Pro Pack: $74.99 for one site

Although these prices are very affordable, it’s also important to create a budget not to overspend on the extras. In that case, you may find a different directory plugin with additional features for around the same price.

#4 – Advanced Classifieds and Directory Pro – The Best WordPress Plugin with Multifunctional Features

Create a powerful business directory using the Advanced Classifieds and Directory Pro (ACADP) plugin. With its unique unlimited features, you can build an advanced directory from scratch with little to no effort. 

Even though this plugin offers customizable settings and layouts for an easy view of your listings, the multifunctional widgets are by far the best feature to take advantage of. 

ACADP has a wide variety of WordPress-compatible widgets that offer a more convenient way for you to add and manage content on your website without complex code, making it a perfect tool for beginners. 

ACADP specifically designs the widgets to showcase listing-related information and tools for easy navigation. The widgets include ACADP search/filter, categories, locations, listings, listing address, listing contact, and listing video. 

Your website will easily support these widgets and all users need to do is hover and click on the widget they need for extra information. 

Being quite a comprehensive plugin, you will benefit from many features, including: 

  • Advertiser and user panel functions 
  • Backend management 
  • Email notifications 
  • Bookmark tools with advanced search and filtering 
  • Unlimited listings, categories, locations, and custom fields

ACADP has two pricing plans you can pay for monthly, yearly, or with a one-time life fee, which includes: 

  • Starter: Free and includes one site with unlimited listings, categories, locations, and custom fields plus email templates.
  • Professional: $9.99 per month, $95.98 per year, or $289.99 lifetime and includes one site with all starter features and payment gateways.

ACADP offers between three and five sites on the Professional plan, but you will have to pay additional costs according to how many sites you want. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans and a 20% discount on the lifetime plan. 

#5 – Name Directory – The Best Directory Plugin for an Online Glossary Builder

Name Directory is another free plugin, however, it’s a little different from the other options on this list as it isn’t a standard business index plugin. If you are a beginner looking for a more basic database that can build online glossaries for your WordPress website, Name Directory is an excellent option. 

With a similar control panel view to the WordPress administration panel, you will have a simple time adding to, navigating, and managing your online glossaries through Name Directory. You can add multiple directories with this plugin with simple shortcodes to copy and paste into the database. 

Every online glossary you build also has a few customization options to alter the directory’s layout and functionality. 

Even though this is a basic directory, there are still a wide variety of configuration options you can choose from to help maintain your online glossaries. 

Some of these include the option to show/hide title, description, and search function, select the number of columns to display, enter the subject of the directory, and limit the number of words in your description with a ‘read more’ link. 

Because it is an entirely free plugin, there are limited features, but Name Directory includes: 

  • An in-depth support forum with the developers 
  • Import CSV files 
  • Customization for listings 
  • Language support 

Name Directory is free to download and install. However, the developer team offers paid customization for anyone looking at a more extensive plugin at a low price. 

What I Looked at To Find The Best Directory Plugin for WordPress

Now that you know my top five recommendations for the best directory plugin for WordPress, it’s time for you to look for the right product for your website. 

To make it easier for you, I narrowed down the top three criteria that helped me find the best options above. All you have to do is weigh up these criteria against your personal needs to find the perfect plugin for you. 

Not every plugin will have all three criteria, but it’s important to find a plugin with at least one or two of these for you to use your website to its maximum potential. 

Customization for Listings 

Being able to customize your old and new listings is paramount to the success of your business index. 

Having a flexible and customizable plugin like GeoDirectory will make sure your listings are up-to-date for your users. 

Not being able to customize your directory will heavily impact your business due to lack of functionality, so it’s imperative to find a plugin that offers at least some customizing options. 

Rating and Review System

A rating and review system is paramount for letting your users express their opinions about your listed businesses. 

Just like the Business Directory Plugin that offers a rating module, it helps to bring more inclusivity to your website by allowing users to rate businesses on a scale of one to five. 

Plus, ratings and reviews help users decide on the most trusted service, and you can risk losing business without it. 

Bookmarking Tools 

A plugin that offers any sort of bookmarking tool will help transform your website. 

ACADP is one of the directory plugins that have this tool alongside advanced searching and filtering features. 

This tool will allow your users to bookmark individual listings for future reference, making it incredibly convenient while saving time. 

Your business index won’t completely suffer without it, but it’s a handy tool that will increase consistent traffic for your website.

Conclusion 

Finding the best directory plugin for your WordPress website depends on a few factors like customization, a rating and review systems, and bookmarking tools, among other features. 

Looking for these elements is a great place to start, as it will ensure you get the maximum support from your desired plugin. 

I’d recommend the GeoDirectory and Business Directory Plugin to anyone looking for extensive and highly customizable directory plugins for your WordPress website. 

GeoDirectory is the most customizable option on the list, with excellent WordPress compatibility and an intuitive interface. As a developer-friendly system, anyone can transform and customize the pre-existing databases to suit your every need. 

Business Directory Plugin is also great for extensive categories. If you have multiple niches and locations you wish to cater to, this plugin has it all in terms of options. It’s also mobile-friendly and has great payment integration options if you want to earn as you go. 

That being said, the other three directory plugins are excellent options that highly suit beginners. 

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Business Directory Plugin – Best for extensive directory categories 
  • GeoDirectory – Best customizable plugin 
  • Connections Business Directory – Best free WordPress plugin
  • Advanced Classifieds and Directory Pro – Best plugin with multifunctional features
  • Name Directory – Best plugin for an online glossary builder

The post Best WordPress Directory Plugins appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

Best SSL Certificate Provider

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

You want people to trust your site and that requires a valid secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate.

SSL certificates are issued by a certificate authority (CA) and they build trust in two important ways:

  1. The CA authenticates the identity of the organization that wants the certificate. This way, people know that they are in fact sending their information to PayPal, for example, and not someone who has set up a fake PayPal site.
  2. The SSL certificate encrypts the data travelling between your website and visitors. This way, potential attackers can’t steal the information people share on your site, such as their username, password, or credit card number.

Today, all of the popular browsers like Google Chrome will warn users anytime they attempt to visit a site without an SSL certificate. It’ll say something like “This site is not secure,” or “Any information you share may be vulnerable to attackers.”

It’s not great for business, to put it lightly. 

Would-be visitors are going to head to a different site where they feel comfortable entering their credit number. I know I would.

There are a lot of different CAs to choose from and they sell a range of SSL certificates designed to help companies establish their online identity and protect their customer’s privacy.

For some people, going with a free SSL certificate is going to be perfectly safe to use. All that’s required is a quick demonstration that you control a particular domain. These are known as DV (domain validated) SSL certificates.

For companies that need to establish a greater level of trust, OV (organization validated) or EV (extended validation) SSL certificates involve real-world background checks on the organization making the request. 

The rigorous authentication process isn’t free, but it conveys a much higher level of trust.

Paid SSL certificate providers also make the process of obtaining and renewing certificates much easier through an intuitive online platform.

So, how do you choose the best SSL certificate provider?

It can seem tricky at first, given that they are all selling the same essential service. There are important differences, though, and you want to figure them out before you decide.

In this post, I’ve reviewed the top SSL certificate providers. These are big names with a long history of protecting websites. The reviews are followed by a short guide that will help you make sense of your options and ask the right questions moving forward.

#1 – SSL.com — The Best for Budget-Friendly SSL Certificates

SSL.com is perfectly suited for small and growing businesses that need to secure their sites, but can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars a year.

They are a nice, mid-range product which works for companies that have outgrown their ability to use entirely free SSL certificates, but don’t have especially complex security needs that justify the premium pricing of DigiCert or GlobalSign.

The best part about the budget prices is that the level of encryption is the same as you get with much more expensive SSL certificates. 

You might think that the downside would be lower-quality customer service, but nothing could be further from the truth.

SSL.com offers 24/7 chat, email, and phone support. In review after review, happy customers have thanked their SSL.com customer service agent for walking them through installing their first SSL certificate or helping them handle a complex issue.

I think SSL.com has struck a good balance between price and customer service. It’s not dirt cheap, by any means, but it’s certainly less expensive than some of the premium—dare I say, enterprise-only—SSL certificate providers like Digicert and GlobalSign.

In addition to affordable pricing, SSL.com offers a range of certificates flexible enough to accommodate the needs of many different businesses:

  • Basic SSL: starting at $36.75/year (domain validation)
  • Premium SSL: starting at $74.25/year (comes with three subdomains)
  • High Assurance SSL: starting at $48.40/year (organization validation)
  • Enterprise EV SSL: starting at $239.50/year
  • Wildcard SSL Certificate: starting at $224.25/year
  • Multi-domain UCC/SAN: starting at $141.60/year
  • Enterprise EV UCC/SAN SSL: $319.20/year

Like other SSL certificate providers, you have to sign a longer contract to get the lowest price. With SSL.com, however, the single-year pricing still comes in lower than competitors.

As you can see above, SSL.com has really low rates for wildcard and Subject Alternative Name (SAN) certificates. This can save a ton of money and streamline certificate management.

Wildcard certificates cover an unlimited number of subdomains. Instead of buying, installing, and renewing a separate certificate for neilpatel.com, info.neilpatel.com, and so on, I just need one Wildcard.

SAN Certificates protect multiple domains. The exact number depends on the SSL certificate provider. More domains covered with fewer certificates will make your life much easier.

Just for comparison, GlobalSign’s EV SSL certificate starts at $599 and it costs extra to add domains and subdomains from there. 

With SSL.com, on the other hand, the Enterprise EV UCC/SAN SSL lets you secure up to 500 additional domains for a lot less money. And with GlobalSign, you are limited to 100 additional subdomains per SAN certificate.

Compared to Digicert, the difference is more pronounced as a multi-domain EV is nearly $3,000 per year.

If you think that SSL.com is coming in at the right price for you, give it a shot. The 30-day unconditional refund is not a marketing gimmick. If you are not happy, they will credit your account immediately. Get started now.

#2 – GlobalSign — The Best Managed SSL for Enterprise

GlobalSign is the SSL certificate provider of choice for large organizations with complex needs. They have some of the highest rates in the industry, but also some of the happiest customers because of the quality of their service.

If you just need a couple SSL certificates, I would go with something less expensive. On the other hand, if you need a lot of certificates, and managing so many of them is starting to cause problems, then GlobalSign is a wise choice.

Its best-in-breed certificate monitoring and inventory tool, combined with heavy discounts for volume licensing, reduces the total cost of ownership for complete SSL security.

Decrease the frequency of the costly problems associated with certificate expiry, regardless of how many you have to manage. You can even set policy preferences and receive reminders when certificates aren’t compliant, regardless of who issued the certificate.

No more having to track down certificates manually. Everything is available with a quick scan.

Think about it. If your staff saves an extra couple hours each month due to GlobalSign’s intuitive platform and concierge support, then the service has already paid for itself.

I highly recommend GlobalSign for businesses that can’t play the normal waiting game to get new certificates. After GlobalSign authenticates your business, they can issue certificates virtually on-demand because they have pre-vetted all domains.

The initial authentication process is fairly quick (between three and four business days for EV). Some people have reported being able to get certificates quicker due to emergency situations simply by calling up GlobalSign.

GlobalSign offers the full range of traditional SSL certificates:

  • DV SSL certificate: starting at $249/year
  • OV SSL certificate: starting at $349/year
  • EV SSL certificate: starting at $599/year
  • DV Wildcard SSL certificate: starting at $849/year
  • OV Wildcard SSL certificate: starting at $949/year

GlobalSign offers SAN SSL certificates for multiple domains at $199/year on top of the base certificate price. So, an OV SAN SSL from GlobalSign would run you $549/year. A single SAN certificate will cover up to 100 additional domains.

You can choose to add subdomains for an additional cost, as well, though a wildcard SSL certificate will be more cost effective if you need coverage for a lot.

The warranty for the GlobalSign EV tops out at $1.5 million. If your digital certificates don’t provide the protection promised, GlobalSign will foot the bill for damages. 

This is half a million less than a comparable certificate from DigiCert. Ideally, you’ll never have to worry about the difference, but it’s something to be aware of.

Another nice aspect for enterprise customers is that GlobalSign supports document signing, code signing, digital signatures, and secure email. Being able to centralize all of these SSL security concerns in a single platform can make managing them much easier.

GlobalSign also offers intranet SSL for securing internal servers and applications. This means companies no longer have to run their own CA or use self-signed certificates.

For companies that provide cloud-based services, GlobalSign’s CloudSSL can help them meet the complex security requirements of these next-generation environments. 

Not every company will realize the benefit from GlobalSign’s premium suite of managed SSL certificates and services. For simple websites, it’s overkill.

But for enterprises, especially companies with complex SSL security needs, going with GlobalSign is worth every penny.

Request a GlobalSign managed SSL demo today, and see the difference it makes. 

#3 – DigiCert — The Best for Premium SSL Certificates

Digicert Group owns a handful of the most trusted CAs (GeoTrust, RapidSSL, Thawte, and Verisign) and has become one of the largest SSL certificate providers in the world.

It’s one of the more expensive options, for sure, but Digicert includes security features with its premium SSL certificates that can make a huge difference for the right businesses. 

This includes automatic malware detection across all your sites, PCI (payment card industry) compliance scans, and blocklist checks, which ensure that your site isn’t under suspicion on any government or country-specific blocklist.

Importantly, most of these features only come with Digicert’s higher-tier plans. The provider breaks down its offerings into three tiers: Basic, Secure Site, and Secure Site Pro.

You can buy different types of certificates for each tier, but I don’t recommend going with Basic. It costs a lot more than comparable protection from other SSL certificate providers and you miss out on the extra security features that make Digicert’s premium pricing a good buy.

If you need the basic domain validation that comes with Digicert Basic, I’d go with SSL.com. On the other hand, if you are running an ecommerce website where users are entering financial information, Digicert offers a high level of protection that is very appealing.

At the Secure Site tier (which comes with organization validation), pricing breaks down as follows:

  • Secure Site SSL: starting at $399/year
  • Secure Site EV SSL: starting at $995/year
  • Secure Site Multi-domain SSL: starting at $1,296/year
  • Secure Site Multi-domain EV SSL: starting at $2,785/year
  • Secure Site Wildcard SSL: starting at $1,999/year

All Secure Site certificates are backed by a $1.75 million Netsure Protection Warranty for your businesses, and a $2 million aggregate Relying Party Warranty for your customers.

This is one of the most comprehensive warranties out there, and this isn’t even the premium DigiCert plan.

You also get priority support, which means that Digicert agents will respond to your concerns faster than they would if you went with the Basic tier. Another good reason to avoid that.

Of course people still run into issues, but Digicert customers with priority support constantly praise the company for their responsiveness and expert advice.

The company really does walk their customers through the installation process for free. They expect you to have questions and they are ready to help.

All of this and more comes with the SecureSitePro tier:

  • Secure Site Pro SSL: starting at $995/year
  • Secure Site Pro EV SSL: starting at $1,499/year

These plans are backed by a slightly better warranty, which covers your business up to $2 million. There’s also certificate transparency log monitoring that alerts businesses whenever an unauthorized certificate is assigned to one of their domains.

In addition to priority support Secure Site Pro also includes priority validation, which cuts down the time it takes to issue new certificates.

Not every company needs the extra security, but those that do will appreciate the totality of what Digicert offers with its Site Secure Pro certificates:

All Digicert certificates are managed via CertCentral, which is remarkably easy to use. CertCentral is designed to work at scale, so it doesn’t matter how many certificates you have—it’s going to be easy to manage.

Digicert backs all of their SSL certificates with a 30-day, money-back guarantee. No questions asked, no hassles. 

What I Looked at to Find the Best SSL Certificate Provider

You want people to know, without a doubt, that your site is safe and trustworthy.

The exact range of SSL certificates and capabilities you need will depend on the type and number of websites your company operates.

Price is an important factor—especially when you look at long-term costs—but it can’t be the only thing you focus on. In a very real sense, you get what you pay for. 

Some companies will be completely covered by the bargain SSL certificates. Others will be extremely grateful they went with a premium product that really delivers the security they need.

To find out which SSL certificate provider is going to work best for your specific situation, pay attention to the following X criteria as you evaluate your options.

Types of SSL Certificates

You want to get the right type of SSL certificates for your site. Understanding the basic differences between them will help you avoid buying more than you need, or not getting enough.

There are three types of SSL certificates you’ll encounter. They vary according to validation level:

  • Domain Validated (DV): DV certificates show that the certificate authority has validated that you are the owner of a particular domain. These are typically free, but since you don’t have to demonstrate anything beyond control over a domain, they have the lowest level of trust.
  • Organization Validated (OV): OV certificates show that the certificate authority has validated that your organization is real, has a known physical location, and controls the domain. These are not free and may take several days to acquire, as they require a real-world identity check. As such, OV certificates have a higher level of trust than DVs.
  • Extended Validation (EV): EV certificates have the most extensive validation process. In addition to checking everything required for an OV, an EV also requires the examination of corporate documents.

Generally speaking, different types of SSL certificates from the same provider will have the same level of encryption. It’s the authentication process that adds the extra level of trust.

The encryption that comes with DV certificates is key. But when encryption is tied to the rigorous identity check of and OV or EV certificates, it becomes much harder for bad actors to carry out phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks.

In some industries, like finance and healthcare, you may have to get an EV SSL certificate. This is just a bullet to bite. This is also true if you have a high-profile website that could be a juicy target for attackers.

Some choose to get OV or EV certificates for branding purposes. This was more important when browsers like Chrome showed a green padlock next to the site’s URL. 

Google started phasing that out and now everyone gets the same gray padlock, regardless of the type of validation. Even PayPal doesn’t have a green lock in Chrome any more:

There is, of course, more information about the organization in the certificate details if you get an OV or EV, but who is checking that?

If you can avoid paying for OV or EV, I recommend doing that. Just check to make sure that it’s going to work for your industry and with any payment gateway software you use.

In terms of picking between different vendors, be sure you are making an apples-to-apples comparison. 

For example, Secure Site SSL from Digicert is an OV certification, though it doesn’t say so by name, whereas a Single Domain OV certificate from Sectigo makes it more obvious.

Speaking of single domain certificates, there are two important subtypes of SSL certificates:

  • Wildcard SSL certificates cover an unlimited number of subdomains.
  • Subject Alternative Name (SAN) SSL certificates cover a certain number of additional domains. These may also be called “multi-domain” or UCC (unified communications certificate).

The exact limitations will vary from provider to provider. With GlobalSign, for example, you purchase the type of SSL certificate you want (DV, OV, or EV) and then pay an extra $199/year for every additional domain, and $99/year for each subdomain.

Alternatively, GlobalSign offers a Wildcard SSL that will secure an unlimited number of subdomains for $849/year.

If you need to secure multiple domains or lots of subdomains on a tight budget, I recommend SSL.com. They have Wildcards starting as low as $225 and SAN certificates that can secure up to 500 domains for $142/year.

One final note: it’s possible to use multiple certificate providers. Many company’s use free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt for everything they can, and use paid SSL certificates to cover everything else.

Speed to Issuance

How fast can you get the SSL certificates you need?

While DV SSL certificates can be issued more or less instantly, the OV and EV SSL certificates can take several days and possibly longer.

If you need one of these higher validation certificates badly, then definitely go with an SSL certificate provider who promises in the 1-3 day range, like DigiCert. Of course, you’ll want to check the reviews to see if they walk the walk when it comes to shipping certificates quickly.

SSL.com has some of the fastest turn-around-times, judging from reviews, so they can be a good choice if you need an SSL certificate yesterday.

For companies that develop software, Digicert and GlobalSign solve the problem of issuing certificates at the speed of DevOps. 

They set up an enterprise account which lets you pre-validate domains. With Digicert and Globalsign, this is simple to manage, so you pre-validate as many domains as you think you might need, and certificates can then be issued on-demand.

Warranty Policy

One of the major benefits to going with a paid SSL certificate over a free one is that you are covered by a warranty. It’s like an insurance policy. If an incorrectly issued SSL certificate causes problems, you won’t be on the hook for making it right.

These warranties vary depending on which type of certificate you choose. DV SSL certificates are backed by warranties of around $10,000, whereas EV SSL certificates may cover more than $1 million.

DigiCert has one of the most comprehensive warranties. For their EV SSL certificate, your business is covered by a $2 million warranty and your customers are backed by a separate $2 million warranty.

Hopefully you will never need this, but if you do, it’s important to know which companies are backing you with a suitable warranty.

Customer Service

Whether you are purchasing a single SSL certificate or thousands a week, the quality of customer service matters a lot.

There can be a lot of steps to installing and renewing SSL certificates. It’s a little different for every host and type of server. Sometimes the “easy installation” process is going to be more difficult based on your specific hardware.

Being able to pick up the phone and talk to an expert who can walk you through the process is worth a lot. SSL.com has a great reputation, with hundreds of reviewers describing reassuring customer service throughout their first installation of an SSL certificate. The agents stay on the line, from start to finish, ensuring that everything is done right.

Let’s Encrypt is a great option for free SSL certificates, but are you saving money if it takes your paid employees several hours a month to finagle with an unfamiliar system?

This is why companies like GlobalSign and Digicert can charge a lot more for SSL certificates than others. You are paying for the on-demand, concierge customer service so that you don’t have to hire experts yourself.

Conclusion

If you can’t use the best free SSL certificates to protect your sites, it’s important to find the right paid option.

Much is going to depend on finding an SSL certificate provider who offers the range of certificates you need at a price that makes sense.

For companies looking for affordable SSL certificates, make SSL.com your first and only stop. On top of their excellent prices, they have a great reputation for helping their customers. If you need a Wildcard or SAN certificate, going with SSL.com could save you thousands of dollars each year.

If you only need OV or EV certificates, and you want a serious warranty to back them up, Digicert is a great choice. There’s definitely a higher price tag, but the platform comes with many additional tools to maintain top-level SSL security across all of your sites.

GlobalSign is my recommendation for enterprise customers who want a provider that helps them manage their complex SSL needs. There is no more user-friendly certificate management system out there, and you can depend on their customer service agents to be there when you need them.

There are many, many more options out there for SSL certificates. These are my top three. They have stood the test of time, helped thousands of companies keep their sites secure, and continuously evolve their technology to stay on top.

To recap:

  1. SSL.com: The Best for Budget-Friendly SSL Certificates
  2. GlobalSign: The Best Managed SSL for Enterprise
  3. DigiCert: The Best for Premium SSL Certificates

The post Best SSL Certificate Provider appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

How to Reduce E-Commerce Overhead

We’re well into the digital age, and e-commerce stores are more prevalent than ever. There are an estimated 12 million to 14 million online stores worldwide—and those numbers grow every day.

The popularity of online stores makes sense. With just a few hundred dollars, you can have a fully-functioning online business. 

While online stores tend to have fewer expenses, e-commerce overhead can quickly add up. As a business owner, you should always be looking for ways to cut costs. 

Where do you start? 

Which costs can you forgo, and which do you need?

How can you ensure you’re not stunting your business’ growth?

That is what this article will cover. Let’s look at the most effective ways to reduce your online store costs.

What Are E-Commerce Overhead Costs?

Overhead is an accounting term that refers to most business-related expenses. 

Investopedia explains, 

Overhead refers to the ongoing business expenses not directly attributed to creating a product or service.

Many people mistake their operating expenses for overhead costs. However, these are not the same.

Here’s how to tell the difference:

Operational costs are any expenses that help you run the day-to-day operations of your business. For an e-commerce store, these include the materials you buy, labor, production, packaging, shipping, marketing, and other related costs.

On the other hand, overhead costs are ongoing expenses that you incur whether or not you’re producing or selling anything. For an e-commerce store, these include insurance, software, web hosting fees, employee and management salaries, etc.

This graphic helps break it down a bit further: 

how to reduce ovehead costs fixed vs variabe costs chart

Before you can cut back on these expenses, you’ll need to divide them into different categories to understand what can be cut and what cannot. 

You can divide your e-commerce overhead into three different categories:

1. Fixed Overhead Costs

As the name suggests, these costs are fixed and can’t be changed. For example, the warehouse rent you pay every month.

2. Variable Overhead Costs

This refers to expenses that differ from month to month, such as an electricity bill. The electric bill might be higher during certain times of the year (like winter or summer) and lower at other times. There is no fixed month to month payment.

3. Semi-Variable Overhead Costs

Semi-variable costs mean that a portion of the payment is fixed, while the other part may depend on your activities. For instance, your email marketing platform may have a base charge to pay every month and then another charge based on how many emails you send or how many contacts you have. 

To reduce your e-commerce overhead, focus on your variable and semi-variable costs because these are the expenses that can be cut back on with a little planning and strategy. 

Predicting E-Commerce Overhead Costs and Setting a Budget

It’s challenging to reduce costs when you don’t pay attention to what you spend. Unfortunately, that’s what usually happens. These expenses quickly add up without most businesses noticing. 

To help you get started, you’ll need to first predict your costs.

Here’s how to get started:

1. List All Your Business’ Overhead Costs

These include the costs for rent, utilities, software, salaries, and other related expenses you incur, regardless of whether you’re producing or selling anything.

2. Divide These Into Fixed, Variable, and Semi-Variable Costs

Once you have a good understanding of all your overhead costs, it’s now time to divide them into three categories: fixed, variable, and semi-variable.

This is an essential step so you can understand what you can cut back on and what you can’t.

For instance, if you have a website for your store, you may pay a certain fixed monthly or annual web hosting fee. 

On the other hand, fees such as an electric bill, depend on your business activities from month to month. 

3. Understand Your Problem Areas

It’s often not significant transactions but smaller, more hidden costs that can damage your ROI. 

When you understand where every cent is going, it is much easier to see what you need to address. 

Look for expenses you don’t use, like software or even storage. Note areas that could be cut without impacting your budget, such as a cheaper but just as effective hosting platform. 

4. Create a Budget

Creating a budget is an essential part of any business. This helps you understand every expense your business incurs and where you can cut back. 

When you create your budget, divide your expenses into their different categories (fixed, variable, and semi-variable), so you can see the specific costs.

Focus on your annual e-commerce overhead expenses, rather than looking at it from a month-to-month basis, as this will help you get a clearer idea of the bigger picture.

How to Reduce E-Commerce Overhead Costs

The e-commerce space allows business owners to reach more customers, regardless of geographic location. This can result in higher profits because your customer base isn’t restricted to your city. 

However, your overhead costs can slowly sap away profits—sometimes without you even noticing. 

Here’s how to reduce your overhead to help you maximize profits.

1. Re-Evaluate Your Packaging

Packaging costs are easy to overlook because they’re often inexpensive compared to other expenses. Unfortunately, over time, the cost for these materials can add up quickly.  

To cut down costs, package your most popular items in the perfect size packages. This will ensure you don’t waste money.  

For less popular products, package them in large boxes and use the right amount of material (and not too much) to ensure your packages arrive safely, with no unnecessary additional expenses.

2. Freight Fees 

Most online sellers source products from various countries around the world. 

The following are some factors that can affect how much you spend on transporting your goods:

  • whether you choose to use air freight or ship your products
  • how heavy your packaging is
  • the dimensions of the packaging
  • where you’re transporting your goods from
  • getting your supplier or a third party to label the goods
  • customs

Generally speaking, shipping your products will be a lot cheaper than air freight. 

Aim for bulk orders, rather than ordering in small quantities. This can help you save on supplier and transportation costs. 

3. Pay More Attention to Your Current Customers

Studies show that it’s cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one.

For a potential new customer, you’ll incur costs for lead generation as you try to show them how amazing your product or service is–but your current customers already know this because they’ve bought from you before.

While it’s essential to continue growing your brand and acquire new customers, make sure to focus more on your existing customers to help reduce costs.

You can send coupons, offer discounts, and regularly keep in contact through weekly or monthly email newsletters. 

You can also keep in touch through your company blog and use social media channels to build a connection. 

4. Focus on Your Top-Tier Products

It costs a lot to ship and store your products at a warehouse. One way to cut down on this cost is to reduce the number of products you offer. 

At first glance, this might not make sense—surely, the more products and variety you offer, the better?

The reality is, not every product will be popular with your customers. Some products will naturally perform better than others. 

Instead of shipping and storing everything (and incurring costs for products your customers don’t particularly like), pay attention to your popular products. 

What do your customers love? What flies off the shelves and what takes forever to sell?

There’s no use in keeping a product in a warehouse if it’s going to take months to sell.

Instead, focus on the products that are already doing well, and cut down on those that aren’t. This may also give you more budget to test new products. 

Understanding these numbers will also help you plan better for your future orders. 

You’ll get a clearer understanding of which products you’ll need to order in bulk and which you don’t need at all.

5. Take Advantage of Every Discount

Nearly every bill you have likely offers a discount of some kind. These discounts can be seasonal or available throughout the year.

For example, Bluehost charges $7.95 a month for a 12-month hosting plan, but just $5.95 a month for a 36-month plan. 

ecommerce overhead domain pricing example

Pay attention to the discounts available and use them to help you save on your overhead costs. For an online store, these discounts can include:

  • web hosting fees (annual vs. monthly)
  • bulk orders from suppliers
  • seasonal and/or holiday discounts
  • clearance discounts
  • co-advertising credits
  • discounts for paying suppliers early

These discounts might seem small, but they can drastically reduce your e-commerce overhead costs.

Top Benefits of Focusing on Overhead Cost Reduction

There are many reasons why focusing on reducing your overhead costs makes sense. These are just a couple:

1. Greater ROI

The reality is, people go into business to make money. As we highlighted earlier, your variable and semi-variable costs can quickly add up, and this will naturally affect your profits.

Paying attention to your overhead helps you see where you’re wasting money so you can improve profits and ROI. 

2. Transfer Gains Into Other Areas

Standing out in the e-commerce space has become increasingly challenging, especially over the past few years. 

While e-commerce offers great benefits, such as having the opportunity to connect and engage with your market online, competition has also increased, even within niche markets.

To drive sales and continue to grow your business, you need to invest capital in marketing so you can get your audience’s attention in the crowded virtual world. 

Of course, online marketing can be costly.

If you reduce your e-commerce overhead, you may have extra money to channel into your online marketing, which will ultimately help your business grow.

Tracking Overhead Costs

After following the above steps, you’ll be able to reduce key overhead costs. 

At first glance, the reduction might not seem much. You might even start to question the whole point of reducing your e-commerce overhead.

Keep in mind that reducing overhead costs makes a difference in the long run. 

While you might not see that much of a difference in the first couple of months, as you look at your accounting books at the end of the year, you’ll likely see significant gains. 

To help you get a clearer picture of your e-commerce overhead and how much you managed to save, you’ll need to track the following critical KPIs:

  • gross profit
  • average margins
  • inventory levels
  • overall labor effectiveness
  • ROI
  • cost variance

Conclusion

Running an online business allows you to connect with your audience and build a successful platform from anywhere in the world. 

However, out of control overhead costs can make it difficult to reap these benefits. 

Understanding your overhead costs can improve your profits and help you better serve your customers.  

What does it really cost to keep your business operational? Focus on areas where you can cut back that will make a significant difference in your profits.

Are you running an e-commerce business? What are some ways you’re keeping your overhead costs to a minimum?

The post How to Reduce E-Commerce Overhead appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

Shopify Vs. Wix

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Is the clothing niche more profitable than accessories? Which theme would be better: Wokiee or Porto? Is Shopify better than Wix, or is it the other way around?

Decisions, decisions!

As an ecommerce seller, you’ll find yourself making a lot of choices. But out of the plethora of answers you need to figure out, choosing the best ecommerce platform remains the most crucial. More so, when your options have overlapping features.

Although Shopify and Wix have overlapping features, Shopify edges forward in the race if you’re specifically looking for ecommerce functionality. Still, it’s a close call between the two that boils down to your intent.

Small businesses or brand-conscious entrepreneurs will love Wix with its easy-to-use, cheap features, and greater design flexibility.

But if you’re looking for a serious ecommerce solution to scale and sell worldwide and have the bigger budget and technical knowledge to flatten the learning curve, stick with Shopify.

Shopify or Wix: Which Is Better?

Shopify is a solid option for ecommerce applications with its fully responsive templates, AMP support on product pages, and dropshipping features. It also supports multi-currency selling functionality and offers useful integrations with other essential apps. Overall, it’s a more professional choice for anyone who wants to build an online store. If this is exactly what you’re looking for, make sure you sign up for a free trial ASAP.

Wix has a drag-and-drop interface and a wide range of bundled templates, making it a great choice for those who want to build a general-purpose website. It also comes loaded with page layout tools, data capture, and email marketing features. Plus, it’s cheaper, and you don’t have to worry about paying transaction fees. Ready to check out Wix? Give it a try with a free trial.

A Review of the Best Ecommerce Platforms

People want to dabble with good ecommerce platforms considering their rising popularity. But what’s the best one out there?

We reviewed dozens of ecommerce platforms and narrowed them down to the seven best options that tick off all the right things on an ecommerce seller’s checklist. Wix and Shopify both made the list.

Head over to our best ecommerce platforms guide for an in-depth look at where every product stands, along with what criteria do we think they are best for.

Shopify Wins 

Several Useful Ecommerce Features: As it’s specially designed to be for ecommerce, Shopify sites come with many useful ecommerce features to cover every little aspect of the sales process. It has multiple payment gateways, inventory management tools, third-party platform integrations, and shopping carts. The platform is also scalable, allowing you to grow with your expanding business needs.

Fluid Themes and Greater Flexibility: Shopify offers 60+ professionally-designed and customized themes, giving you the liberty to add individual product pages based on your needs. Moreover, this customization and flexibility extend to changing page elements too. You can move, add, remove, or resize page elements to make your shop more on-brand. Tweaking themes is also possible—provided you know HTML and CSS. If you’re tired of how your site looks, you simply have to choose a new theme, and you’ll have a brand new store within minutes!

Custom Domain Name: Every Shopify user gets a custom domain name that allows them to brand their respective stores and online business more efficiently and effectively. You can handle your domain on the same site location as your domain store, which, in turn, allows you to make changes to either with ease while simultaneously managing your domain.

Excellent Built-In Analytics: Shopify goes the extra mile by offering you plenty of built-in analytics features like Google Analytics, customer behavior, stock levels, and conversion tracking to know exactly how your store is doing and which aspects need a bit of tweaking for better results. You can also view online store sessions, total sales, top-selling products, returning customer rate, average order value, and behavior reports (phew!) on the platform to make better decisions.

Shopify App Market: Nearly every ecommerce plugin and feature are developed for Shopify first due to its vast popularity. Whether it’s free or premium add-ons for marketing to content management, you get all kinds of unique features with this platform. Case in point: An augmented reality feature that allows you to use your smartphone to navigate the product and see every little detail. What’s more, even other marketplaces like AliExpress and Oberlo offer compatible apps to make your store management easier.

Faster Checkout Options: Shopify has prioritized customer preference when designing login and checkout options. You can make the registering of users before heading to checkout mandatory, optional, or prohibited. Plus, registration is also incredibly easy as users only have to fill out basic information. As a seller, you can add users manually or import the list via CSV and sort them through a tag system.

More Payment Options: Shopify gives you several options to sell items anywhere in the world thanks to its Amazon FBA or a 3PL order fulfillment support, along with multiple-currency support through a complex, non-supported HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Liquid hack. This may not be ideal, but it’s definitely there. You also get direct access to 100+ different payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Shopify’s fully integrated payment system.

No Cap on Products and Inventory: Most web servers or external platforms restrict the number of products you can add to your store—but not Shopify. You can add unlimited products to your Shopify store. Even the lowest subscription package does not put any restriction on the number of products you can add to your inventory.

Shopify Losses

Learning Curve: Shopify developers claim the platform is the best for creating and managing online stores, but they don’t claim to be the easiest, and rightfully so. Although Shopify uses templates that eliminate the need to edit HTML code and CSS styling, its websites are harder to edit than Wix. It’s because the focus is on the products and how you present the page. If you want to make additional changes, you’ll have to learn to edit the backend code.

Limited Free Themes: While we love how modern and responsive Shopify themes are, it’s the limited number can restrict your options. You have to pay a one-time fee for most themes, ranging between $140 to $180, as only ten themes are free.

Expensive: Shopify gives you a wide range of subscription plans starting at $29 per month. However, not only is it more expensive, but you also don’t get a free plan (only a 14-day free trial). The basic plan includes only the barest of features, so if you want access to advanced features like fraud analysis and reports, you have to pay a higher price. Further, unless you use Shopify Payments—something that isn’t available everywhere—you have to pay a transaction fee on top of the payment processor fee.

Lacks Email Hosting Facility: You don’t get an email hosting feature despite web hosting being included in all Shopify plans. So, you can’t host a domain-based email address like [email protected] What you can do, however, is set up email forwarding. This will forward all emails sent to [email protected] automatically to your regular email account. You’ll have to set up other third-party email hosting connections to use the email forwarding function.

Wix Wins

Massive Template Collection: The basic Wix editor lets you pick from 500+ beautiful templates for your site and populate it with any content of your choice. There are several built-in dynamic templates—from homepages to blogs to landing pages—suitable for novices and experts. People on a tight budget will be happy to know the platform offers 60 completely free, modern, and stylish ecommerce templates.

Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Interface: The drag-and-drop interface is the heart of Wix, making it incredibly user-friendly. Because of this, not only people with all levels of skills can use the platform, but it also gives you enough options to convert your side into a real powerhouse by extending its functionality. You can use the mobile editor to review and edit your site to optimize it for mobile devices.

Free Plan: Wix is definitely the cheaper platform, with prices starting at $23 per month. There’s also an entirely free plan and a free domain name facility (for the first year) that further boosts its appeal. Plus, you don’t have to worry about paying any extra fees with the platform.

Built-In Video Function: Wix seriously lets your products shine, which is one of its biggest USPs. It has a built-in product video function that helps improve customer experience by allowing them to see the product live. You’ll also appreciate the product zoom feature and the fact you can build a distinctive checkout page to make the checking out process as hassle-free as possible.

Efficient SEO Guidance: Wix helps you optimize your ecommerce site for SEO by highlighting areas that require your attention. It then does the hard work by letting you fill in keyboard tags and other metadata. You can also modify the URL of each page, so it best fits what Google needs to know.

Tons of Extra Features: Aside from the core functions, Wix is built with an entire ecosystem of useful tools and products to make website building easier. It offers your free HTTPS to ensure visitor interactions with your website remain secure, templates to create quotations for customers, and integrated payment options like PayPal and Stripe. There’s also a logo maker to make branding even easier!

Online Store Integration: You can include an online store with your website at no additional cost with Wix. As the interface is easy to use, the integration process is very straightforward, and you don’t even require an external shopping solution.

Wix Losses

Harder to Redesign: The intuitive drag-and-drop interface of Wix makes designing your site simple, but it’s the redesigning where you have to pay the price. You don’t have the flexibility to make any major changes by just selecting a new theme. Instead, the redesigning process is extremely manual. If you want to make any drastic changes to your online store, you practically have to rebuild your entire website. Besides that, you don’t have access to HTML and CSS, which makes the overall process more time-consuming and tough.

Limited Integration With Third-Party Apps: When we talk about app integrations, it isn’t even a fair fight as Wix has far fewer ecommerce developers creating apps for its platform. For instance, you won’t find a Google Shopping Feed or Facebook Product Feed. This means you can’t run Google shopping ads or run dynamic product ads on Facebook from the platform. Native integration with email marketing applications is also absent, making it troubling for owners who rely on email marketing for revenue. The only way you can integrate a Wix store to an email marketing add-on is to use either Zapier or write the code yourself.

Forced Wix Branding: They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and Wix very well proves it. If you decide to choose and stay on Wix’s free plan, be prepared to carry Wix branding—right at the top of your site. It isn’t too obnoxious, but it isn’t exactly discreet. What makes it more annoying is it appears before your website header!

Non-Transferrable Site: While some may justify Wix not wanting users to export websites created with their technology, it’s a con for those who want to migrate. And the fact that scalability isn’t Wix’s biggest forte, makes this an even bigger problem. If you want to recreate and transfer your website away from Wix, you have to pay some serious amount of cash. In short, if you sign up for Wix, they might just have you for life.

Comparing the Top Ecommerce Platforms

While Shopify and Wix are excellent ecommerce platforms, there are several other alternatives with their own advantages. Make sure you check our top picks for the best ecommerce platforms to find the right option based on your specific needs.

  1. Wix – Best for flexibility and customization
  2. Squarespace – Best ecommerce platform for creatives
  3. BigCommerce – Best for medium to large stores
  4. Shopify – Best all-in-one ecommerce platform
  5. WooCommerce – Best for WordPress websites
  6. OpenCart – Best for selling digital products 
  7. Ecwid – Best for integrating with your current platform

Summary

Shopify is the more obvious choice since we’re concerned with ecommerce functionalities in particular. But that doesn’t mean Wix has lost its charm.

Shopify is the best solution for sizable online stores that need all the bells and whistles of scaling and selling everywhere around the globe, while Wix is more appropriate for general-use cases and for owners who rely on content creation to acquire more traffic. It also offers more creative freedom as opposed to Shopify.

In the end, the choice is yours—just make sure you make the right one.

The post Shopify Vs. Wix appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

WordPress Vs. Shopify

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Online shopping is more convenient than ever, and so is building an ecommerce store. 

If you’ve ever considered launching your own online business, chances are you’ve thought about the required tools. And while there are several ecommerce platforms on the market, Shopify and WordPress remain the most prominent.

Cutting right to the chase, you have to consider your use-case scenario to choose between the two.

If you already have a WordPress website ready, it would be better to go with WordPress for ecommerce as well. All you need to do is install WooCommerce, and you can launch your ecommerce store as an element of your existing website. It also means much less work on your part.

Shopify is better for those who don’t have a website yet, and hence, would want a hands-off and dedicated solution. It also comes with plenty of advanced features to make your life way easier.

Let’s dig into the details to help you understand my verdict better.

Shopify or WordPress: Which is Better?

Offering unparalleled flexibility and power-packed performance, Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce website builder that will give you an excellent website in minutes. Even if you’re new to things, you can always fall back on the 24/7 Shopify support to help you with the technical stuff. If Shopify sounds like the right fit, sign up for its 14-day free trial to test out its features.

As you can imagine, having a WordPress website is a prerequisite to use WooCommerce. But this also gives you direct access to so many other functionalities, ranging from a greater selection of themes and apps to managing content to SEO. If you prefer a more hands-on solution and have the general technical know-how, I’d recommend checking out WooCommerce, for sure.

A Review of the Best Ecommerce Platforms

As mentioned before, Shopify and WordPress for ecommerce (WooCommerce) aren’t the only options available on the market. In fact, on the contrary, there are way too many.

We did the hard work of reviewing the most popular and reliable ecommerce platforms and cut out our list to the best seven sites that will surely uncomplicate the various aspects of ecommerce for you. And both WooCommerce and Shopify made the top seven!

Head over to our best ecommerce platforms guide for an in-depth look at where every product stands, along with what criteria do we think they are best for.

WordPress (WooCommerce) Wins

Free and Open Source: WooCommerce is absolutely free and open-source, making it the go-to option for startups and small businesses wanting to create an online selling platform. It integrates well with WordPress, and the fact that any user, designer, or programmer can alter its code gives you access to a large community where you can get inspired and share ideas to simplify site management. That said, keep in mind that certain WooCommerce extensions are chargeable.

100% Customizable: You have the freedom to choose your desired theme from a wide variety of professional-grade and high-quality themes. You can decide exactly how you would want your site to look by customizing the various sections like header, footer, checkout, product pages, and so on. It would be even simpler if you have CSS, HTML, and PHP style code knowledge. Moreover, even the plugins are customizable, but we’ll discuss that in more detail in the next point.

Great Plugins: Plugins are incredibly helpful to ecommerce sellers as they can uncomplicate otherwise complicated tasks. WooCommerce is a plugin itself that converts a standard WordPress site into a fully functional ecommerce store. You’ll have to upload products still, but the overall process becomes ten times simpler. Similarly, there are different plugins for different tasks. For instance, there’s Yoast SEO for website and content optimization, WooCommerce MailChimp for email marketing, and WooCommerce Google Analytics to track store performance.

Flexible Product and Inventory Management: You can create web stores with WooCommerce to sell both physical and digital products. You also have the option to keep adding products regularly and set different product types. What’s more, the platform makes inventory quite simple thanks to its WordPress-centric user interface that allows you to keep track of current stock levels and manage day-to-day inventory.

Mobile-Friendly: We live in a time where mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives. It’s why WordPress’s responsive and mobile-friendly designs and themes are a huge plus point. You can also benefit from its emergent responsive web technology without the hassle of having to create new websites.

Tons of Extensions: You can choose from all kinds of extensions—free and paid—to suit your specific needs if you have a WordPress site. These are great to add functionality to your web store to boost customer experience without writing code. You also have all kinds of extension options, such as store management, product page, checkout, shopping cart, better search, payments, shipping, and reporting. 

Useful SEO Capabilities: WooCommerce SEO isn’t challenging anymore, thanks to the WordPress plugins and extensions you can choose based on your precise needs. You can select any plugin or extension you feel most comfortable for optimizing your site. Further, the extensions and plugins undergo regular updates, which makes them secure and efficient at all times.

Uncompromised Cybersecurity: With hackers coming up with more sophisticated methods to steal your private data, consumers today are more aware of their rights to privacy than ever. Keeping this in mind, WooCommerce prioritizes privacy and protection in transactions to create a trustworthy and secure environment for its users. There are frequent updates to ensure the ecommerce platform stays ahead of security issues and is aligned with the newer versions of WordPress.

Multiple Payment Gateways and Currency Support: WooCommerce offers geolocation support that enables you to accept multiple currencies from people across the globe. Having multiple payment gateways and shipping options is very attractive for customers living in various locations and countries. This, in turn, could help boost your sales and revenue. Even from the customer’s viewpoint, the flexibility to pay in their specific currency and tax rate makes things very convenient. It’s a win-win for both sides. 

WooCommerce Losses

Lacks Many Advanced Features: The whole point of WooCommerce is to help developers build web stores, which is why we can’t use the platform as a robust ecommerce content management system or CMS. This is mainly because it lacks some of the essential advanced features that could make store management easier. Moreover, most of the themes and features to improve customer experience cost money, which will increase your project overheads. 

Frequent Updates: Yes, the regular updates ensure your online store has optimal security and is aligned with WordPress, but sometimes, it becomes too much. Having too many updates also makes using WordPress for ecommerce more time-consuming. Therefore, you have to prepare yourself to handle common issues associated with updating a WordPress plugin–such as data backup and testing.

Not Exactly Beginner-Friendly: Navigating through WordPress web design, development, and maintenance is challenging, especially for people who don’t have prior experience or knowledge about web development and marketing—and WooCommerce is no exception. As it offers minimal maintenance support, you have to rely on online forums for solutions. You need to have a fair level of web knowledge to understand which advice you should follow. Also, if you want to customize your site, you need coding knowledge.

Performance Glitches: There is something known as too many plugins. Considering WooCommerce users often have to install many plugins to add functionalities, they have to pay the price elsewhere. Firstly, plugins take up a lot of memory. Secondly, you may face slow downloading speed and average performance, which will make the process frustrating. Keeping this in mind, I’ll encourage you to implement desired functions through CSS, HTML codes, or jQuery instead of downloading 24 different plugins. On top of this, whatever plugin you do install, make sure you evaluate the pros and cons with care before proceeding.

Shopify Wins

Professionally Designed and Mobile-Responsive Themes: Shopify has ten free themes and 64 premium themes, starting from $140. Every one of them is mobile-responsive. This means your site will automatically reformat to suit the smaller screens, appealing to customers who have logged on from their cell phones. The themes look spectacular and professionally-designed and are available in different styles to match your brand best. 

Better Security: Did you know that a customer will wait for only three seconds, and if it takes any longer than that, they’ll simply abandon it? It is said that one in ten customers expects your page to load in one second. Shopify understands this, which is why they provide 100% SSL to keep their sites fast. Also, since customers mostly pay via credit cards, it takes the initiative to keep things super secure. But Shopify hires cybersecurity experts to keep their website hack-proof and integrate with multiple payment providers to keep checkouts fast and secure for customers.

In-House App Store: Shopify has an in-house app store as one of its biggest USPs that contains over 1200 plugins and apps. This means you can find anything you could possibly want by either paying the price or potentially finding free options. You can use these apps to automate and streamline your business processes, making them faster while also boosting the efficiency of other processes like accounting, inventory management, and shipping. 

Custom Domain: You’ll get a custom domain name after signing up with Shopify–one you chose for your company–to brand your business more effectively. This also gives you the flexibility to handle your domain on the same site location as your domain store. As such, you can make any changes to your domain site as well as your domain store.

Top-Notch Analytics: You get plenty of built-in analytics features to keep track of your store, including customer behavior, stock levels, and conversion tracking. This way, you’ll have complete knowledge about your store–how is it doing, and which parts need to be optimized for better results. The detailed analytics also lets you keep track of online store sessions, products, total sales, returning customer rate, and average order value.

24/7 Customer Support: There are millions of Shopify sites around the world. And while the ecommerce-rich features of Shopify is a great leverage, it’s efficient customer service is also one of the main reasons customers love the platform. You get direct access to a massive database of FAQs, plus email, chat, and phone support with a knowledgeable rep on the other side.

Scalable: Shopify can accommodate the expanding needs of store owners wanting to take their store to the next level. Built with scalability in mind, they are efficient enough to handle sudden traffic spurts or steadily increasing traffic over time. Besides, you don’t have to worry about changing or redesigning your store due to this.

Shopify Losses

Transaction Fees: Starting from $29 per month, Shopify gives you several subscription plans to choose one based on your needs. There are two problems here: First, the basic plan comes with very basic features, and second, $29 for an ecommerce platform isn’t very cheap. While Shopify does support multiple payment gateways, if you don’t use Shopify Payments, you‘ll have to pay an additional transactional fee on top of the payment processor fee (PayPal or Stripe). Let’s also not forget that you only get ten free themes and will have to pay a one-time fee for others.

Customization Limitations: Don’t get me wrong, Shopify is definitely customizable—it just has some hard-to-ignore limitations. If you want to unlock additional features, you’ll have to work on your coding because otherwise, it will remain locked. Besides this, you can customize your site without spending long hours doing detailed coding on their platform.

Steeper Learning Curve: Every ecommerce platform has a learning curve, but Shopify has a slightly steeper one. What further complicates things is the site’s jargon. For instance, instead of saying Categories, Shopify uses Collections, which might confuse some customers. The main problem with Shopify jargon is it unnecessarily complicates the user experience.

Product Filtering and Categorization: I think Shopify’s search mechanism needs to be more efficient, especially considering the millions of users on the platform. For example, when you go search for jeans, you’ll see a listing for jeans. However, you won’t be able to narrow down your search to view “light wash jeans.” There’s no option to narrow down your search, and even if you do, the filter will apply across all products. This may reflect negatively on your customers and stop them from giving your store another shot.

Lacks Email Hosting Facility: Shopify users don’t get an email hosting feature, which is why you can’t host a domain-based email address like [email protected] The alternative here is to set up email forwarding, which will forward all emails sent to your domain-based address (in our case [email protected]) to your regular email account. You can also answer your customers’ queries through this feature.

Comparing the Top Ecommerce Platforms

While Shopify and WordPress are excellent ecommerce platforms, there are several other alternatives with their own advantages. Check out our best ecommerce platforms buying guide that includes the best the industry has to offer:

  1. Wix – Best for flexibility and customization
  2. Squarespace – Best ecommerce platform for creatives
  3. BigCommerce – Best for medium to large stores
  4. Shopify – Best all-in-one ecommerce platform
  5. WooCommerce – Best for WordPress websites
  6. OpenCart – Best for selling digital products 
  7. Ecwid – Best for integrating with your current platform

Summary

One cannot simply choose between Shopify and WordPress for ecommerce as each has its own advantages.

While Shopify is one of the best ecommerce website builders that offers excellent support to help you with the technical stuff, WooCommerce is a better choice for those having WordPress-powered websites.

In the end, it all boils down to your specific needs and requirements. 

I’ve done my best to include the advantages and disadvantages of each ecommerce platform in detail. I hope this guide gives you a clearer view of each platform’s high and low points and helps you make the right decision for you.

The post WordPress Vs. Shopify appeared first on Neil Patel.

ecommerce

5 SEO Tips For Bonanza E-Commerce Sellers

As an e-commerce seller, your business depends on your relationship with search engines.

Search engines are one of the first stops potential buyers make before purchasing an item. When your store is invisible to search engines, you simply don’t exist to the vast majority of your audience.

It’s a concerning thought and one reason e-commerce sellers spend so much time fixing and maintaining their on-site SEO.

Of course, understanding your platform is critical if you expect to stand out. If you’re serious about gaining that SEO edge, you need to know how search engines interact with your platform.

That’s where Bonanza comes in. It’s a great platform if you’re trying to avoid crowded, oversaturated sites like eBay and Etsy.

This article explores how Bonanza works and shows you how to drive traffic to your store from search engines. 

What is Bonanza and How Does it Work?

As a platform for e-commerce sellers, Bonanza exists as a marketplace for all kinds of products. 

The sheer variety of products you can sell on Bonanza is impressive. Bonanza lets merchants sell art, books, coins, jewelry, and everything in between. 

What Is Bonanza and How Does It Work

Bonanza functions similarly to many other e-commerce platforms. Sellers pay fees on both the price of the goods sold and the shipping fees associated with that purchase. However, you don’t pay unless your items sell—there are no listing fees or subscription costs. 

You can advertise on the platform, but for our purposes, we’re going to focus on how to drive organic traffic to your business using SEO.

5 SEO Tips for Bonanza E-Commerce Sellers

To increase views on Bonanza, you need to provide customers with the most relevant information at the right time. Let’s look at how to optimize your Bonanza listings to drive organic traffic.

Use Strong Keywords in Bonanza Listings

As with all types of SEO, effective keyword usage is paramount when optimizing for Bonanza. But, before you can use keywords in your title and listing, you need to figure out what your keywords are.

Google Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool for testing the strength of specific key terms and phrases that you’re considering for your content.

Bonanza - Use Strong Keywords in Bonanza Listings

Let’s say your e-commerce store revolves around hiking. The word “hiking” itself might be a perfect fit for your content, but this presents a few problems. 

The biggest issue here is hundreds, if not thousands, of other merchants selling hiking equipment on Bonanza. There’s little chance your content will stand out to either the algorithm or potential buyers based on that term alone.

Instead of using a broad keyword like “hiking,” you can use a strong keyword phrase that accurately describes your product. Suddenly, you’ve narrowed down your audience significantly.

Your audience is no longer anyone who types in “hiking” in a search engine. 

You sell hiking boots to people actively looking for sales. By narrowing your focus to keywords related to that, you’re telling search engines your site is useful to a particular group of buyers. The more specific the solution, the more likely these search engines are to recommend it.

Don’t just look for keywords with high search volumes—seek out phrases that naturally fit into your site and signal genuine value.

By the way, if you’re looking for more in-depth keyword analysis, you can use my Ubersuggest tool for free here.

Bonanza - Use Ubersuggest for Keyword Research

Include Quality Images

Discussions on SEO tend to revolve purely around the text. But, believing search engines only look at the text on your site would be a serious mistake.

The images on your site send data to search engine algorithms and can signal a higher quality experience for users.

Remember, search engines are in the business of having the right answer. When your business becomes the best possible fit for a potential buyer, search engines may give you the spotlight.

Image quality is essential. Take clear, well-lit pictures of your items with backgrounds that don’t distract. Use multiple images from different angles so your audience can fully see what they’re considering purchasing.

After you’ve taken your photos, change the file names to match your content. If you used a picture of a national park for your hiking store, don’t just call it DMG_33223.jpg. Change its name to something appropriate and relevant, such as hiking_boot_brand_style_name. 

Make sure your image dimensions match the image size as displayed. This can impact load times for your site, which can have a dramatic effect on your on-site SEO.

Additionally, use the right format for your visual content. If you want to preserve background transparency, use PNG. Logos and icons should use SVG. For larger photos, use JPEG. This option preserves the image’s colors and clarity while taking up less storage space.

Speaking of which, reduce the file size of your images! If you’ve ever wondered why your pictures take so long to load, this is likely the culprit. Slow load times mean less attention from search engines.

Images also have alt text (or alt tag). Essentially, this is the information conveyed to users who can’t see pictures. Whether they’ve disabled images or they’re using a screen reader due to a visual impairment, alt text helps provide information on that image.

Search engines use alt text to vet the quality of a site. This means if you don’t have alt text (or you do, but it’s nonsensical), you’re probably missing out on free traffic.  

Choose Your Item Titles Carefully

When shopping online, you likely see a lot of products with titles that are a list of keywords rather than a clear title like you’d use on, say, a blog post. This isn’t the way to go.

I’ve found a simple way to help e-commerce sellers understand the value of item titles. 

Think about your store from a search engine’s perspective. Your site description is pretty similar to an article or blog post as far as they’re concerned. Search engine algorithms see everything as content, and they want to provide positive experiences for users.

If you created a blog post on hiking titled “hiking positives why you should hike how to like hiking,” would a search engine find that valuable? Of course not. You’d probably title that post something like “Making the Most of Hiking” or “The Awesomeness of Hiking.”

For articles and blogs, you likely already take the time to build compelling, relevant, engaging content regularly because you know how valuable it is to both a search engine and your audience.

Do the same for your store listings—research using the Keyword Planner. Run a competitor analysis and see which titles excel and which are failing.

Above all, your item title and product descriptions need to be helpful. When they’re helpful, they’re valuable— and when you’re valuable, search engines are more willing to pay attention. 

It’s also worth noting paying attention to the differences in the buying cycle. Online shoppers with low buyer awareness need lots of convincing. For example, a buyer that searches for “hiking boots” may still be researching their options and not yet ready to buy, while someone who searches for “Women’s Newton Ridge Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot” is likely ready to buy.

If they aren’t familiar with your product, you’ll need to focus on education first.

Start with key features, product usage, and brand guarantees. This makes your product copy both user-friendly and valuable.

Add Product Features and Benefits

Now that we’ve established that product descriptions function like any other piece of content, it’s time we broke down how to craft a valuable description. 

Start with product features. From an SEO perspective, potential buyers are searching for perks and features when they use search engines. 

After all, they aren’t just looking for “boots.” They’re looking for “high-quality, comfortable boots.” 

The mistake some sellers make is assuming the list of features is enough. That list is just one piece of the puzzle. What makes a product description stand out to a search engine’s algorithm is contextually appropriate copy. 

These aren’t just high-quality, comfortable boots. They’re boots that stand up to the harshest of winters. They’re boots you can wear for hours on end. Maybe they are waterproof. 

While Bonanza allows you to fill out boxes with item traits and listing details, they also give you space to write out a description. Provide details you couldn’t give in the boxes.

For instance, you can put the boots’ size and material in the traits, but you can’t tell them the heel height. Put that type of information in your written description.

When you create a clear picture of the experience with a particular product, you bring a high level of authenticity to the shopping experience. 

If your content checks some of the keyword boxes but isn’t valuable, your site won’t get organic traffic for long.

Grow Using Content Creation

One of the most frustrating challenges you’ll deal with as an e-commerce seller is being unable to innovate. As a business owner, you want every business-building tool at your disposal. Which brings up the question: at what point do you start to expand your marketing efforts?

After all, you don’t just want to beat your competitors by a small margin. You want to dominate your e-commerce space and have your site on the first page of a user’s search engine results.

Commit to creating a blog for your site. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be value-driven. 

You could use a free option like WordPress.com and write two articles a week on topics your audience cares about—and link to relevant items in your Bonanza store. You’ll have over 100 articles in a year, all linking to your Bonanza store, which shows search engines a series of healthy links to your store.

Bonanza - Grow Using Content Creation

More high-quality links mean validation, plus there’s the added perk of adding another layer to your marketing funnel. 

You can even use this content to collect email addresses for your newsletter. Use that to drive repeat business, and before you know it, you’ve built a truly profitable ecosystem. 

Conclusion

SEO is just as crucial for e-commerce stores like Bonanza as it is for other types of content. Without solid SEO for your store, consumers probably won’t find your products.

Understand what users need from their search experience. Take the time to create a user-friendly product page. Offer engaging content and create a store that puts the customers’ needs first.

You’ll never be able to “trick” search engines. But with enough patience and hard work, you can get search engines to work for you and drive traffic to your Bonanza store.

How have you found success on Bonanza?

The post 5 SEO Tips For Bonanza E-Commerce Sellers appeared first on Neil Patel.

Translate »