It has been said more than once (I’ve even said it myself) that one could launch an online store using WordPress as the back-end in a matter of minutes, but the truth is that extra time should be taken for each product added to the store. Even up to 30 minutes per product could go a very long way, but I recommend even more than that. Sure, the entire site from the ground up can be built in 30 minutes, or perhaps in less than 3 hours for absolute beginners with the proper manual in hand. Here’s the break down of the time to “build” the site:
- Buy/prepare the domain/hosting for the store’s web site – 7 minutes
- Setup WordPress and install the proper theme/plugin for the store – 13 minutes
- Configure the store and payment gateways – 3 minutes
- Add a few products with name, price and basic description – 7 minutes
If my math is accurate, the above should amount to approximately half an hour to setup an eCommerce site with WordPress ready for sales. But, there are many ways to give the store more conversion potential out of the gate. One such way is to focus on each product.
I setup a store for a customer recently and the following are the tasks that I proposed to be done for each product added to the store. I will go more in depth for each one below the list.
Spend Extra Time on Each Product Listing with the Following Steps
As I mentioned, in general, an online shop owner, when adding a product will include a title, image, price, and description for the product. While those are the basics, they could be improved upon significantly. Consider the following:
- SEO optimized title
- Product FAQ (perhaps in a collapsible view or on its own page to prevent information overload)
- Main details about the product in around 100-200 words
- Advanced information about product in 500+ word article (discuss uses, benefits, uniqueness, value, etc.)
- Video discussing/demoing the product (embedded from YouTube or Amazon)
- Another 500+ word article (or 2) about the product (to be added on an external site, or an external or internal blog)
- A PPC campaign setup for the product
- A re-marketing campaign setup
- Product URL shared in social circles
- Photo gallery
- Unsolicited product testimonials/reviews
- Product comments (moderated)
The above represents a lot of steps and they’re certainly not for the faint at heart. Of course they don’t all have to be done, and they all certainly do not need to be done in one go. One of my customers, for example, ran his WordPress store with just a title, image, price and short description, and more than 5 years later he finished the above list. He did indicate however that he wished he had done each step as he was adding the products into the store.
Consider Keywords People Type in the Search Engines to be Used Within Titles and Descriptions
Naturally when optimizing the title, subtitles, and description for a product geared towards what people type in the search engines, the product pages have a better chance of showing up in the organic search results. This can bring in free traffic to the product pages. Also, having longer descriptions (500+ words) the product has more value to search engines and customers.
Think of what you would type into a search engine to determine what keywords to use. Perhaps a keyword research tool would be a wise investment (I suggest Market Samurai). There are also free ones (Google’s Keyword tool for example). Consider long tail key phrases (3+ words) for the titles and sub titles. Keep a list of short phrases as well (1+ words) so that you could use them in a PPC campaign for the product.
Extra content like FAQs, reviews, testimonials, comments, and the like can be added directly into the page, or made available with a click (usually the best approach). Displaying one random testimonial might be a good idea.
Adding a photo gallery can help illustrate the product much better. Showing labels for food items, or the product in use, in the galleries can make a big difference for SEO and for potential conversions.
Also, external content linking to the product can help with increasing the number of people that find the product. This can happen indirectly (through rises in search engine results because of the backlinks), and directly (from traffic on the web page the article was published to).
I have a client that included an article, for each of the products in his store, on an external site that had loads of traffic of its own in the same niche. He linked to his store and product page from the article. Plus he had a standard “blog” section on his WordPress store that he added content to (drip-fed daily) for each product in his store. He embedded a YouTube video within the content. Note: To embed a YouTube video into WordPress, all that needs to be done is paste a plain link onto its own line within a post (or page). When the content is viewed the video will be there. The “embed” shortcode can also be used for more control over the maximum width and height of the video. I personally just grab the HTML of the iFrame using my own dimensions direct from YouTube, but I just wanted to point out a faster way.
Shoot a Video Discussing or Demonstrating the Product
It’s not just text and photos that attract search engine traffic and increase conversions, videos really helps with product sales in a big way. Demoing a product’s use on video can mean the difference between a sale and not. Also, discussing the benefits and features of the product with a call to action is a great addition.
Some people like to host their own videos (usually through a cost effective service like Amazon) and others like to host with YouTube and/or similar video hosting site. Each one has its own advantages. One customer I worked with did both. He shot one that had a call to action that made sense for embedding the video within his WordPress posts (i.e. product pages). Plus, that video had more information. Then he shot a quick video about the product, often a demonstration, for use on YouTube. Then, in the description of the video he would link direct to the product page at the beginning. Near the end he would link to the store front as well as the category that the product belonged to. His YouTube video descriptions were often 500+ words and unique from all other articles written about the product. So all in all there were about 4 500+ word articles written for the product (one for the site, one for an external site, one for the blog, and one for the YouTube video).
YouTube has built-in traffic of its own leading to more traffic to the store and products.
Social Traffic and Paid Traffic Sent to Product Pages in WordPress Stores
Most store owners figured out that it’s smart to be in the social networks as well. Setting up accounts at sites like Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and Twitter (and perhaps others) are almost default behavior. On those sites, one can share all types of content and information. Everything from product URLs, article links, demo and info videos, photos galleries etc. are being shared in the social web.
In addition, paid traffic provides a great avenue for traffic. It’s smart to have tracking in place to be sure your efforts aren’t wasting any money. It’s smart to track on the keyword level but even time of day may factor into the equation. Ads might get lots of clicks but no conversions. Just find the disconnect in the process if so. The keyword is the starting point and the promise, the advertisement is the extension to the promise and the product page is the full promise and must deliver.
Examples of paid traffic sources include Google AdWords, Bing and 7Search, as far as Pay Per Click goes at least. Mostly you can duplicate your Google campaigns into Bing paid search as well. 7Search is lower quality but much cheaper traffic and they just recently created an AdWords import tool. There is more flexibility on 7Search. Be very precise when working with Google though. Make sure that all keywords in an ad group essentially are “asking” for the same thing. And make sure that all ads in the ad group are answering the same question in a similar way. And the landing page (the WordPress post/product page) should deliver, as mentioned.
Another paid strategy is “remarketing,” or “retargeting.” You can setup these campaigns through Google, Simpli.fi, AdRoll and others. I have worked with all three. With Google and AdRoll you do the work yourself. With Simpli.fi they care of a lot of the process. I still found Google and AdRoll much simpler to implement personally, and I enjoyed working with the staff at AdRoll much more than Simpli.fi (for the most part). And AdRoll has much more control of how the ads are run than Google does.
The way it works basically is: you install code that will add visitors to your site into a defined “group” (I will explain in a second), and then show them ads when they visit other sites. This is mostly for customers that visit and don’t buy.
When setting up remarketing on a product level, you might add someone to a group specific to that product if they either “view” it, or add it to the cart. Then you can diaply them an ad later saying something along the lines of “come back and buy.” You can even offer them a discount for doing so. Rather than the product level you can also track those who abandoned the cart for any product. You can get them back directly to the cart and offer a 10% off coupon for example, if they “check out by noon today.”
Check the 5 ways to improve conversions for e-Commerce sites article for more e-commerce conversion tips