A professional ecommerce website is a must-have for businesses with products to sell. This is as true for businesses with physical stores as it is for digital only traders; with online sales accounting for 35.2% of all retail in January 2021
Once you have your ecommerce site up and running and making sales, you’re on your way to building a successful retail business – but the work doesn’t stop there. You need to continually maintain your site if you are to achieve long-term success. 
 
Maintaining a successful online shop requires you to stay up-to-date in a number of areas: from image and branding to current marketing and technology trends. As well as keeping in line with security and legal responsibilities. 
 
To help you stay on top of your site's maintenance, we’ve curated and highlighted some of the main considerations below. So let’s take a look at how to maintain your ecommerce website and keep your shop performing well online. 
 

Structural and visual 

The key to success in the world of online retail is to create a great first impression and provide a positive user experience. 
 
A visually appealing storefront will attract visitor attention and create interest in what you have to offer. A customer that likes the way your website looks when they click on it, is likely to browse further, make a purchase and, most importantly, come back again. 
 
On the other hand; if your storefront is badly laid out and unpleasant to look at, visitors will very quickly leave and look for alternative options – highly unlikely to return in the future. 
 
A well designed and structured storefront is an important first step, but you must then back it up with an easy to understand layout. Making the customer journey as smooth as possible. 
Take a look at Boca Teamwear’s online store. Boca is a family run business based in Brislington, Bristol that provides sportswear to sports teams across the UK and Europe. 
 
Their website has colourful calls-to-action that stand out and provides easy navigation to all product types via links in the site header. The layout means that visitors don’t have to work hard to find what they are looking for. 
 

The high street aesthetic 

Think of your favourite high street shops. Think about how they look from the outside and what you see when you walk through the door. 
 
A high street store entices visitors with a mix of impactful branding, merchandising, and promotional materials displayed on or around the storefront. 
 
Once inside, customers are greeted with clutter-free and spacious walkways. Products are presented in a sensible manner with items grouped together in categories, limiting the amount of searching a customer has to do. 
Consider this when you are deciding how to present your brand and products online. Make your store visually stimulating. Ensure the route to purchase is clear and easy to navigate. Use quality images and great copy to shout about your latest products. 
 
Create an enjoyable experience for your customers, and they will surely return time and time again. 

Maintain the appeal 

Once you have an ecommerce website that looks and functions the way you want it to, don’t change it too much...but do change it a little. 
 
You don’t want to put loyal customers off by changing your whole site structure and shopping process. But you do want to keep it fresh and modern so that your store remains fashionable. 
 
Slight alterations to the design and look of your site every now and then will keep people interested. Just remember to not stray too far from your brand. 
 
Of course, there are elements that need changing more regularly. Your product line, for example, may change with the seasons. Your promotions are likely to be informed by current trends and holiday celebrations. 
 
Be sure that your site aesthetic is always up to date and in-line with customer preferences. This will ensure longevity in the very competitive field of ecommerce
 

Security maintenance 

Security is probably the most regularly actioned type of maintenance, and for good reason. You need to ensure that your website is free of security issues for many reasons. Not least because of the access you are granted to confidential customer information; such as names, addresses and financial details. 
 
A breach in security could cause any number of issues, ranging from your website being inaccessible through to legal action, if customer data was to be stolen. 
 

Update regularly 

Be sure to always have the latest version of your security software installed and regularly check for any vulnerabilities. By doing so you limit the possibility of a security breach and can fix any problems that you encounter before they become big issues. 
 
There are plenty of tools and plugins that can assist you in making your site safe and secure from hackers and viruses. If you’re not sure which option is best for your online shop, you’d be sensible to seek professional advice. 
 

SEO and marketing 

In addition to security maintenance and keeping your storefront at peak performance, you need to stay ahead with your marketing efforts and SEO strategy. 
 
Digital marketing and SEO is what drives users to your online shop. Keeping your content fresh and engaging is a great way to develop customer loyalty and be found on Google – which will drive more visitors to your store. 
 
Creating a positive user experience and staying on top of your security are contributing factors towards search engine optimisation – and accurate product descriptions and meta data will also play a pivotal role. 
 
If possible, include keywords in your domain name that relate to your products, industry or location of your business. 
 
A great example of this is ‘Born in Bristol’ – a company that sells baby toys, clothes and equipment in the Bristol City Centre. 
 
The domain for their ecommerce website is www.borninbristol.uk. This is great for SEO purposes, as it clearly states the location of the business and gives an idea of the products and services on offer from the outset. 
 
On top of this, you can increase your search ranking through blog posts. Adding value for your customers with shopping tips, advice and discount vouchers and other such promotions. 
 
Google offers plenty of useful tools for marketing teams to draw information about customer interaction and behaviour. 
 
Google Analytics and Search Console provide insight that can be used to inform your marketing and SEO strategies. Showing you what’s working and what isn’t. 
 

Free website review 

If you have an ecommerce website and are unsure as to whether it is up to scratch in terms of security, responsiveness and search optimisation – our free website review can help identify any issues affecting performance. 
 
If you're a Bristol based business in need of a professional, easy to manage online shop, then get in touch with our friendly team who will be more than happy to discuss the benefits of our affordable ecommerce website package
 
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