14 mistakes online stores owners make

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14 mistakes online stores owners make

14-errors-in-online-store (2)

If you have ever been involved in online business, you know that this is not so easy. It is

it’s not enough to fill out product cards and wait for profits to flow. You always have to monitor the technical condition of the site, analyze usability, do SEO. Of course, each business has its own problems that must be dealt with individually. But there are common mistakes of many online stores that you can easily find yourself without developers. We analyzed our customers experience and collected a list of the most common technical mistakes in online stores.

1. Inappropriate theme

Choose the right interface theme that suits your needs. Analyze what tools your business can use and ask developers to consider it. The correct code is important so that the new theme can be easily integrated into the online store, customized and updated without bugs.

It is important to check in advance:

  1. Does the theme support plugins and future updates?
  2. Is the theme ready for translation into another language or it is multilingual?
  3. Is this theme adapted for SEO?
  4. Can you customize the interface of your online store in the future without developers?

2. There is only a desktop version

Make your online store multi-platform. Most customers around the world make purchases using different devices. They enter the site from their mobile phones, continue shopping through laptops, and can pay through the tablet. Think about how you can ensure consistent connectivity across all devices.

3. Missing Sitemap and Robots.txt Files

Without a Sitemap and Robots.txt, your online store will not be able to deal  normally with search engines.

When developing a new site or updating a previous one, make sure that a sitemap is created for new pages. It improves the visibility of your online store using keywords or phrases used in the search.

The Robots.txt file contains instructions for search robots. The file tells them which pages are allowed or not allowed. This file is an open text file and is usually located at example.com/robots.txt. You should place there your online store URLs which you do not want to index. If your online store does not have a robots.txt file, then any

confidential data can be found through search engines. SEO mistakes and indexing problems can also occur if the file is not correctly composed.

4. Security is not guaranteed

SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is a required condition for online payments. It is used to encrypt information transmitted over the Internet. Install this certificate where confidential information is entered in the online store. The safer the customers in your online store feel, the more often they buy.

5. Unnecessary pop-ups

Nobody likes unwanted notifications that appear at inappropriate moments, block the main content of the site and interfere with purchases. You need to correctly manage how, when and where pop-ups should appear. The main purpose of pop-ups is to convert more and not annoy visitors.

6. Missing filters and sorting options

Using product filters is an easy way for visitors to find a specific product on a category page. Install this feature in your online store and configure it for easy searching.

Basic principles when setting up filters in the online store:

  1. Ability to sort by options.
  2. Filtering within a category.
  3. Special filters depending on the specifics of the goods. For example, sorting by: anniversary, new year, wedding, childbirth, etc.
  4. Ability to install more than one filter.
  5. Easy to add and remove filters.
  6. Quick filter list generation.
  7. The ability to hide unnecessary filters.

7. Browser incompatibility

Quite often, only one browser is used in the process of site testing. Developers should switch browsers frequently to avoid errors. When the final product is close to completion, you should also test its performance in different browsers.

What you need to remember at the development stage:

  1. Test your online store regularly with different browsers.
  2. Not every customer will use the latest browser. Make new site updates compatible with older browsers.
  3. Use cross-browser code if possible.

8. Duplicate content

Duplicate content is when the same information is presented on the pages of your online store. Search engines scan the duplicate content and don’t know which page to show the user. As a result, pages may no longer appear in search results. This reduces SEO and site rankings.

How to remove duplicate content:

  1. Use a 301 redirect. The redirect should lead to the desired page without subsequent redirection.
  2. Try to keep your internal links consistent. For example, do not post links to example.com/page/ and example.com/page and example.com/page/index.html.
  3. Use top level domains.
  4. Force pages to index using Google and Yandex.
  5. Remove related content.
  6. Use canonical URLs (tag rel = “canonical”). They show search engines that there is only one version of the page URL that should be indexed, regardless of what other versions of the URL are displayed in the browser.

9. Set up static links

URL structure is important for an online store SEO, usability and indexing. There are two types of URLs: dynamic and static.

  1. The page address and information displayed to the user are constant with a static URL/
  2. They are generated on the fly upon receipt of a particular request with a dynamic URL.

The advantage of static URLs is that they are normally indexed and accepted by search engines. If the site has only static URLs, the robot will not index the same information twice and will not consider this as intentional duplication of content.

Static URL should be friendly to make it easy for people to remember. A common technical mistake of online stores is not to configure the default URL structure.

URL structure tips:

  1. Your URLs should be short, but still friendly and understandable.
  2. Categories and subcategories should be organized into folders. They reflect the navigation or organization of your site.
  3. The fewer folders, the better.
  4. Try to keep your URLs up to 100 letters.
  5. Include product keywords in the URL. Keywords should also be in the page title, product name, product description, image tags.
  6. Use hyphens to separate words.
  7. Avoid using parameters, cut off unnecessary parameters if possible.

10. Do not create automatic backups

When an online store crashes, automatic backups can restore site information. Backup solutions are not expensive and cannot be neglected, otherwise you will lose all the information from the site. You can configure scheduled backups.

11. No data markup

Rich snippets or structured data is a marking of the page elements with special tags and attributes, which helps search robots to more clearly understand the content of the Internet resource pages. Thanks to this, the content is correctly displayed in the search results.

You can read more about data markup in our article “Everything you need to know about the markup in CS-Cart online store”.

12. The payment system is inconvenient

To make the online payment process as easy as possible for customers, identify these important points:

  1. Find out what payment methods your target audience is using.
  2. Do you want customers to enter their payment details directly on your site or redirected to another resource?
  3. Consider optimizing your payment system for mobile devices.

If possible, choose a payment system that already has a plugin for your platform.

13. The products were “in stock,” but ended

When an item is out of stock, you can use three main options:

  1. Leave the product page, but add the text “Out of stock” or the expected date of appearance in the warehouse.
  2. Redirect to the page of a similar product.
  3. Delete the product page and show the 404-error or 410-error if there are no external links or traffic on the page.

Do not keep your customer in the dark, otherwise he will go to the competitor.

14. Crashes when filling out forms

Unexpected technical crashes when placing an order can especially upset users and interfere with data entry. Make data recovery easy for users. Save the user information in the client database.

Offer users alternative ways of making a purchase (for example, placing an order by phone).

Here is an incomplete list of common mistakes in online stores. We understand that sometimes you have more serious mistakes related to the specifics of your business, and moreover, you cannot always resolve every problems on your own. The Cart-Power team will always help you identify your online store problems, find a special solution, and most importantly, teach you how to avoid them in the future.


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