Many e-commerce websites are emerging every year. Professionals are faced with many issues, one of them being: how to stand out? Stand out from other products, but also from other websites.
Because you only get one chance to make a first impression, your e-commerce homepage plays a key role in the buying process. Even if it’s not essentially the first page seen by the consumer, he will go over it anyway.
The question raised here is: How to enhance your homepage to make it more effective?
- How to measure the success of my homepage?
- Tips to enhance your e-commerce homepage
How to measure the success of my homepage?
At first, you need to know the means to assess your homepage in order to improve it. Regarding your homepage, using the bounce rate is relevant because it represents the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the website after a single-page visit.
This rate is a quality indicator to measure your visitors’ satisfaction. It can be measured in two different ways:
- Bounce rate of a website: bounces on the website (include all the pages).
- Bounce rate of a web page: bounces on one page within the website, it helps to identify the problematic pages.
Applying this second bounce rate to your homepage is what you need to focus on. Thanks to an optimized homepage, your bounce rate will decrease, meaning that your e-commerce will directly reach out to more potential clients. As a result, when launching your e-commerce, some key metrics to improve your website are to be considered.
TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR E-COMMERCE HOMEPAGE
FOCUS ON THE HOMEPAGE SEO
As a website, a homepage must have a strong SEO (search engine optimization) ranking in order to be clicked on. Companies are working hard on this issue when creating or improving their e-commerce website.
Your title tag is the first thing you need to consider. It’s a major factor for Google to understand what your page is about: it can be one of the reasons why your website isn’t ranking well in Google.
Regarding the content of your title tag, it’s necessary to reflect on the important keywords you want to rank for. Also, you should be careful about your title length, the limit being 65 characters long: choosing the right keywords is therefore essential.
On Google, the meta description appears just under the title tag and also plays a decisive role in the SEO ranking of your homepage. Again, the appearing keywords of your meta description are making the difference.
More than dealing with SEO ranking, this description will draw people’s attention to your website and generate clicks on your link. An effective meta description has to be short and to the point.
Homepage content is also essential to rank on Google, here are a few points to help you optimize your homepage:
- Text and images: Assuming that Google’s recognition of images and visual banner ads is nonexistent, finding the balance between text and images is the secret of an optimized organic ranking. Here is an example with Zalando website:
- Flagship products, services, or brands: If your homepage puts under the spotlight your flagship products, you will increase your website’s ranking and get the attention of potential clients. In this section, you should also add the products for which you’re hoping a good ranking.
- Structuring your homepage: For your homepage, the best is to have only one header tag (h1) including the word you consider as the top searched keyword leading people to your website. This keyword has to be relevant and matching with your offer. Otherwise, you could mislead visitors and even create frustration.
- Updating your homepage: Regular updates will encourage Google to identify your homepage as relevant. However, never forget to ensure text continuity. Updating your homepage 3-4 times/year is a good frequency.
As mentioned before, homepage optimization to ensure a strong SEO ranking is crucial to make your website more visible on search engines. However, you should always keep in mind to offer relevant content to your visitors.
IMPROVE USER EXPERIENCE
When navigating through your website, it’s the user experience you’re offering that will keep your customer’s attention on it, or not.
HOMEPAGE LOAD TIME
The first impression of your website is conveyed by its load time. Indeed, 40% of consumers do not wait for more than 3 seconds to load a website page (Kissmetric survey).
It directly impacts consumers’ loyalty because people do not return on a slow website in the future. Moreover, it also has consequences on your conversion rate: compared to a website loading in 2 seconds, a website taking more than 4 seconds to load has 50% less in conversion rate (Kissmetric survey). You can use Google Page Speed Insight to measure your website load time.
To avoid this kind of issue, feel free to make some changes on your website. For example, you could reduce the file size of your images: the Internet offers you many free tools to do it. These tools are reducing the hidden information of your file without reducing the visual quality. Image optimization can be done with Tiny. For optimal rendering, you need to reach a compromise between file size and quality.
Mobile sales are increasing more and more every day and mobile commerce has risen by 27% between 2017 and 2018. (Statista)
Nowadays, it is essential to choose the right option (responsive design, app or adaptive design) in order to optimize your e-commerce for mobile. This issue is becoming one of the new priorities in e-commerce.
Consumers are expecting a clear and concise homepage: they do not want to be distracted by another offer or to wonder about the right way to access essential information.
It should be easy for any visitor:
- To understand who you are
- To understand your offer
- To be easily moved through the conversion funnel
To do so, important elements need to appear on top of the page. Visual communication is useful too: it should linger in the visitor’s mind.
THE RIGHT POSITION FOR YOUR LOGO
The most significant element of your graphic charter is your logo: it allows visitors to identify your website when landing on it.
Placing your logo at the top left helps for short and clear identification. By being put at this place, your logo is visible at first glance because it’s one of the areas receiving the most attention from the visitors.
If your logo isn’t explicit enough to identify the nature of your business activity, you can add a tagline to it.
In this attractive area, you can also add the search box: it’s always useful for consumers looking for specific information. Thanks to these optimization tips, you’ll be able to convert visitors into potential customers.
In addition to the search bar, a navigation bar must be added to your homepage: this is even more true for complex websites offering many sections. It will make your website easier to use.
Put a clear navigation bar at an easily visible place making sure that visitors can navigate effortlessly. Moreover, transparent or not, an attractive design matching with the website is needed.
MAKE SHOPPING CART AND CUSTOMER ACCOUNT EASILY ACCESSIBLE
On e-commerce websites, the consumer expects to be free to access and modify his shopping cart whenever he wants: this expectation needs to be considered.
Just next to the shopping cart, is a strategic place for the customer account icon. Both are elements linked to standard positions on which the users like to rely when navigating.
To help the consumer finding his way easily through your website, all of these features should be placed at the top right of your homepage. Trying to make a difference in this aspect isn’t a good idea: the consumer could feel frustrated and lost when buying, leading to cart abandonment.
As can be seen in the picture, your header is the first element seen by the visitor, therefore it should be a prime consideration. A header not matching properly with your e-commerce can lead to a significant increase in bounce rate.
PAGE STRUCTURE AND FOOTER ESSENTIALS
Being attentive to your homepage layout and adapting it to your activity must be a priority. Visitors can abandon your website because of ergonomics, leading to the loss of a potential client. Your homepage layout should be visual and easy to use because many visitors aren’t scrolling to the bottom of your homepage. To answer this issue, you should show the most relevant information off in a logical way.
Moreover, to reduce the size of your homepage, try to add images to the top of your page as much as you can. Pick some relevant visual elements that will increase the understanding of your website. However, you should keep some text which is essential for SEO ranking. Also, adding short and concise sentences to your footer is always useful. The secret is to put yourself in the shoes of your consumers!
The banner ad permits to directly convey a message to navigators landing on your homepage. Whether for product launching or for special offer promotion, the banner ad must be visible as soon as the homepage is loaded. The consumer should not need to scroll down.
This banner ad must respect the company’s graphic charter and web ergonomics. At last, the best is to display clear and attractive banner ads on your homepage.
SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTONS
Social media buttons (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) may turn out to be a wise choice for your homepage. Offering to consumers the opportunity to join your community and to follow your feed could be the best way to build brand loyalty.
Obviously, you should only lead them to relevant social networks, those providing value to your offer. These social media buttons are usually present in the middle or at the bottom of the homepage.
DISPLAY SOME PRODUCTS
Acting as a showcase, your homepage may display some products, but you should choose the most attractive ones to the eyes of the consumer. By doing so, the aim is to match the immediate needs of your clients.
BUILD CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE FOR YOUR BRAND
Building customer confidence for your brand is the key role played by your homepage. To do so, introduce briefly the company while showing your expertise:
- Age of the company
- Certified consumer reviews
- After-sales service conditions (refunding, delay…)
These elements should be displayed and contact details of your company should always appear in your footer.
Consumers must feel confident with your company as soon as they’re landing on your page. For e-commerce leaders or early-stage companies, some reassurance elements permit to create an environment conducive to the buying process. Here are some examples to apply to your homepage in order to build a climate of trust:
- Secure Base URL (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)
- Secure Payment System
- Customer reviews
- Contact details to get in touch with after-sales service
After adding these elements, you have different options to place them: never forget that the aim is to build confidence and not doubts. The best is to display these elements on your homepage but to give more information about them on another page.
HEATMAP ANALYSIS AND A/B TESTING
After identification of the elements penalizing your homepage, you can use a heat map analysis to confirm or dismiss your impressions. Heat mapping provides a visual representation of your customers’ interaction with your website.
In the following example, the warm colors stand for the areas getting the maximum user attention while the cool colors represent the ignored areas.
Thanks to heat mapping, you’re able to identify the less attractive areas of your website, but then, how can you make sure that the solution you’re thinking about is the good ones?
To do so, A/B Testing will help you: it permits to compare two versions of any page of your website, including your homepage. If you’re having doubts about some options (button location, text location…) you can test the impact they have on your metrics. The aim of this method is to determine which one of the two versions is the most effective one and to test options.
Driving traffic on your website, conveying your corporate identity and acting as a guideline for visitors, your homepage has to be balanced in order to stand out. In other words, comply with standards for intuitive elements but be innovative on other things to make a difference.