#askninja Episode 1: Choosing A Theme and Driving eCommerce Traffic

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Welcome to the first #askninja! Each Thursday Tim will answer questions asked, by you, using the hashtag #askninja.

This week’s questions:

1. How Do I Choose A Theme For My Website?

There are three things to keep in mind when choosing a theme, whether it’s WordPress, Magento, Shopify or whatever.

  1. Is the layout optimal for conversions? Ask if the most important elements of the site are shown at the top (contact details, lead capture forms, product categories etc) or is the site’s usability sacrificed for the sake of fancy design? Remember your site is there to sell, not just look pretty. For eCommerce themes, check the product page layout as this will seriously influence your profitability! Are the additional product images easy to navigate? Is there a short description visible above the fold? How are user reviews handled? Is the basket positioned in an obvious place?
  2. Does it look good and feel easy to use on all devices? Of course, your business is judged on the quality of your website, so design is very important. Super fullscreen images look great, but once the theme’s default pictures are taken out and yours are put in, the site might not look so pretty, so only use a theme heavily reliant on images if you know you have the jpgs to back it up! Check out the theme on mobile too. Is it easy to navigate? Is scrolling smooth? Is the navigation intuitive?
  3. How fast is it? This one can be tough to analyse without a code background, but a nice simple test you can run is to send the theme’s demo site through GTMetrix and see how it stacks up. If the server response time is low, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the theme is poorly speed optimised, but if the page itself is still a long time to load, this can indicate that the theme hasn’t been particularly well optimised to load quickly on all devices.

2. How Can I Drive Traffic To My eCommerce Store?

The example shown in the video is Gift Prezzy. The first thing to make sure is that the site is running smoothly and conversion optimised, as traffic costs time or money or both, so we need to make sure that it’s likely to turn it into customers before you invest in a lot of traffic.

In this example, there were quite a few areas of potential improvement, in particular, the first impression when landing on the homepage. the navigation also needed work. Remember that the goal of eCommerce navigation is to get visitors to the right product as quickly as possible, preferably within 2 clicks (one to find the narrowest category page possible, the second to click the product).

As for traffic, Gift Prezzy should be focussing on paid traffic from Google Adwords and Shopping (PLA) ads as the products on show in these areas are a similar sort of price range to the products Gift Prezzy sells. It’s important to keep in mind that Adwords clicks can be expensive, so there must be a solid backend email follow up procedure in place to maximise customer lifetime value. If you rely on profit from the first sale only, it can be difficult to make Adwords profitable.

The second source of traffic should be organic (SEO) traffic (see: eCommerce SEO). The Gift Prezzy blog is, at the moment, stuffed full of very similar and crudely targeted posts trying to rank for the most competitive and shortest phrases in the market. Instead, we’d suggest focussing on longer tail phrases which have more of an evergreen appeal. The listicle angle in the blog is good, although it  needs sharpening.

You can use this angle in your outreach to authority publications too, both general interest and specific to the niches catered for by the gifts. Running blogger review campaigns and vouchers or giveaway products can make great prizes for social media giveaways.

3. Why Don’t My Competitors Use Meta Keywords?

Because Google doesn’t care about them either. Usually, the only people who take notice of Meta keywords are competitors who want to see which keywords you’ve identified as the best ones to target. In short, Meta keywords won’t do you any harm but they won’t do you any good either.

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