There’s always a lot to do after you’ve completed the initial production of a website. It’s crucial to manage and track a site for potential problems that could impact its usability and profitability in order to keep things running smoothly.
For eCommerce merchants, their entire company is based on their website. Also, small problems can have a major effect on their bottom line.
Consider these piece of advice
Consider these five actionable pieces of advice on maintaining a safe eCommerce platform for your clients — centered on our own website maintenance techniques — that you can implement today to increase your client’s profit and avoid any issues.
Google Analytics, Adwords, and other code fragments are almost definitely present on the platform you’re running. Without having to manually go through the code and hard code stuff, Google Tag Manager helps you to centralize and manage all of the code in one place.
It works like this: you place Google Tag Manager’s code snippet in the head> tag, and then anytime you need to install a tool (such as Analytics, Hotjar, or LiveChat), you tap to the Google Tag Manager website and type that code as a new tag.
The beauty of Google Tag Manager is that you can define when you want which tags to fire by specifying a trigger (for example, when the URL contains the word ‘thank-you’).
Tag Manager is a better choice than strewn around your website with third-party code because:
- You will speed up the site by getting more control over when each script is called.
- Developers aren’t needed by the marketing team to try out a new method.
- For easier management, everything is in one place.
- You can quickly get rid of any tools you aren’t using.
- You can set up monitoring events without having to mess with HTML code.
- Advanced analytics can be set up using variables, triggers, and data layers.
- If something goes wrong, you can easily reverse the changes.
- Until going online, you can test new code to ensure that it performs as planned.
Here are a few things we accomplished with Google Tag Manager: Every page fires up Google Analytics; whenever anyone creates a trial (or fails), an event is triggered in Google Analytics; and whenever someone converts into a paying customer, their data in Google Analytics is tagged with how much money they’ve changed, so we can see how much revenue each marketing campaign brought in.
Google Search Console helps you to see how Google views your website. It tells you how to enhance your HTML, shows you how your site appears in search results, who links to it, and how many pages Google has indexed, among other items.
The Crawl Errors portion of the Search Console is one of the most important features for me. It helps you to see all the websites that connect to the website’s non-existent, 404 pages. This is counterproductive to both SEO and user experience.
After you’ve collected all of the 404 errors, you have two options: build pages for the missing links or set up 301 (permanently moved) redirects. Setting up a redirect is much simpler and quicker, and it also consolidates all of the link juice and guides it where you want it to go.
Here’s an example of what we did: our plug-ins page was connected to a lot of websites. We substituted plug-ins with add-ons when we upgraded our apps.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric for measuring consumer loyalty. Here’s how it works:
“How likely are you to recommend our business/product/service to a friend or colleague?” ask from the organization in an email to each customer.
The customer must pick a number from one to ten and add a statement, which is optional.
The benefit of NPS is that it is both quick to incorporate and useful to developers (so they can figure out what needs a redesign or additional coding).
You position them in one of three groups based on the scores they send you:
Promoters are people who offer nine out of ten ratings to a company. They are satisfied with the service, and the marketing team will solicit testimonials, ratings, guest posts, SEO links, and other things from them. For example, we ask our promoters to write a testimonial, and we have a Customer Stories category on our blog where people who love our product can share their stories, which we then use for remarketing.
Passives — Passives are people who give between seven and eight. They are happy, but they can churn if competitors offer better offers. The business should concentrate its attention on them and provide them with exclusive deals, webinars, and other resources.
Detractor — A detractor is someone who gives anywhere from one to six. The business should try to figure out why they aren’t happy and then redesign to fix the problem.
When it comes to eCommerce, you can experiment with the size and layout of the product grid as a designer. Hugo Jenkins of Usabilityhub performed a test and discovered that larger images resulted in more sales. This is fair. If anyone visits a product page, they want to be able to see the item up close and personal without having to squint.
Product photos should be in a real setting so consumers will get a sense of the size of the product (and not have to wonder if the backpack they’re looking at is really big enough for their camping trip), according to Baymard Institute.
You should play with various factors to see how they influence conversion rates.
Following that, you can test the pages with the highest drop-off rates based on the funnel report. These pages should be your primary focus because they will provide you with the greatest return on your investment. For example, whether it’s a high-traffic or low-traffic page, design and development costs the same, but the high-traffic page would have ten times the effect of the low-traffic page.
As an example, we ran an A/B test on one of our landing pages, which is where our pay-per-click ads are focused. After the test, we discovered that if there is a footer on a landing page, more people would check it out — which goes against the popular advice to not have a footer on a landing page so tourists can concentrate on one item. As a result, we agreed to add a footer to all of our landing pages.
Since you’re trying to complete the site on time, you sometimes miss certain stuff when designing it. Alternatively, you can simply decide to shorten the testing process and patch non-critical bugs after the site has gone live. Watching video sessions with actual visitors using the site and putting yourself in their shoes is the perfect way to find bugs and make changes.
For example, when we designed our site, we didn’t realize how it would appear after Google Translate had gone through it. We found that many people translate the site to their native language, which causes layout problems, such as when the text on a button becomes longer than the button’s width, causing the CTA to overflow.
We’ve added FullStory to our website and check in on the sessions every two months (you should do it more often if you work on a larger website). Video sessions are useful because they allow you to see the website from the eyes of another person, as well as the story and the mission that the user wishes to complete.
We can track a visitor’s entire journey from the moment they land to the moment they build a trial by looking at how they use our platform (or leave).
We write down at least 20 bug fixes and enhancement ideas after each session, which we later enforce. We can see, for example, that people tried a million times to click in frustration (which is why those clicks are called “rage clicks”).
The best part is that we can see those rage clicks in the background (what they were doing on the website before/after they clicked, etc.) so we can try to find out why they clicked so many times and improve the missing features. Video sessions are more useful than simple heatmaps because of this larger sense. Video sessions allow us to see the customer experience from one website to the next, which allows us to come up with new ways to enhance it.
Maintaining a website is just as time-consuming as building one in the first place. It’s important to note that creation and maintenance are two distinct styles of work. The majority of designers and developers produce something and never see how it works. However, once you’ve learned what it’s like to maintain a site you’ve created, you’ll be able to develop your skills and create better sites in the future.
Aleksandar Olic works at Active Collab as a content marketer, front-end designer, and editor. Aleksandar has over 5 years of digital marketing experience. He’s typically focused on the folio3 production company’s partnership with Active Collab’s headquarters.