By Victor T. Miller, Sydney based marketing specialist
The 2017 Forrester report suggests that Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms. Now, there is a good reason why this eCommerce platform has won the hearts of its users. A Magento store is SEO-friendly, it’s flexible, it has ready-to-use extensions, it boasts a large community of developers and users. Above all, it’s safe.
However, in the ever-rising eCommerce ecosystem, just launching a Magento store is not enough to succeed. To boost your site visits and turn them into leads and, ultimately, into sales, you first need to improve the user experience. Each element on your eCommerce store, from its design to speed, tells your customers how secure and trustworthy you are.
Most importantly, it impacts their purchase decisions. Did you know that 79% of mobile searchers will go back to the search and choose another site if they’re not satisfied with the experience you provide? Moreover, some recent stats claim that 80% of customers won’t make a purchase if your returns policy is inconvenient, while almost 40% of them don’t want to buy from sites with an unattractive design.
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Simply put, to rank higher on Google and grow your eCommerce conversion rate, you first need to optimize your Magento store.
Here are a few tips on how to do so.
1. Choose the Right Hosting Plan
In terms of hosting, Magento is extremely demanding. Because cheap and shared hosting solutions tend to hurt the overall performance of your eCommerce store and ruin customer experience. To ensure your resource-heavy site works as expected, be ready to allocate more resources to a reliable hosting plan.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a hosting provider:
- Know the requirements of your store. Different factors, like your website traffic, the number of products you sell, and website latency should impact the choice of your hosting provider.
- Choose a hosting option that supports Magento. It will provide you with the right server configuration, PHP extensions, solid firewalls, and SSL and SSH encryption.
- Invest in servers that run on the latest PHP.
- Shared hosting plans won’t work for you, as they lack the disk space and server control. Preferably, you should choose a dedicated hosting plan that lets you use the entire capacity of the server, helps you handle large traffic surges, and provides you with the optimal site speed. However, it’s expensive. So, if your store isn’t that big yet, you can always go for cloud hosting that also offers great site performance but is far more affordable.
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2. Boost your Magento Store Speed
Boosting your website speed should be high on your priority list. Not only does it decide how your magento store will rank on Google, but it also impacts user experience. For example, did you know that poor page load time costs online retailers more than $2.6 billion in lost sales every year?
Interestingly enough, by boosting your website speed from 8 seconds to 2 seconds, your conversion rate may rise by an impressive 74%.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to skyrocket the speed of your Magento store. Here are some of them:
- Use caching to give your Magento site speed a boost. There are different cache systems to use, such as Magento’s prebuilt Magento Full Page Cache, BlockCache that is used by Magento by default, OpCode Cache, etc.
- Use gZIP to compress each page before sending it to your customer. As compressed pages are lighter, they will load faster and increase browsing experiences.
- Optimize images. One of the most common SEO myths among digital marketers is that images don’t require any optimization. Well, they do. To make sure they appear in front of your website visitor, use jpeg over other image formats, as well as optimize image sizes using photo editing tools.
- Minimize the number of extensions and modules. The more extensions you’re using, the slower your site will be. So, go to the “Advanced” option under “Configuration” and disable the modules you’re not using.
- Enable the Magento Compilation option that can boost your store’s performance by 50%. The compiler will copy your application files to one location and cache the ones that are used frequently.
- Optimize your data logs. By default, Magento saves your data logs for 180 days. That’s lots of information and it may hurt your website speed. To avoid that, you could simply alter the number of days during which the data is stored to two weeks or even less.
3. Personalize User Experiences
Today’s customers are more demanding. To persuade them to buy from you, you need to provide highly personalized and relevant user experiences.
For starters, get to know your customers. Learn more about them and try to understand what their needs, preferences, expectations, and worries are. For example, if you’re targeting the customers from Sydney, then you should know that most of them make online purchases in the evening.
So, when using Magento in Sydney, you should localize your store. This means adapting your offers, targeting the right keywords, optimizing your landing pages successfully, and writing content that resonates with your local customers.
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Many big brands have already invested in this sort of website localization. For example, Australian Vogue hosts a massive Online Shopping Night, where they offer attractive discounts to many luxury brands.
Here are some other ways to personalize user experiences:
- Recommend items based on a shopper’s previous purchase history.
- See what products customers search for or buy most frequently and make them easily findable.
- Send targeted emails to your customers, informing them about the products and offers they’ve already searched for.
- Leverage geo-targeting options to identify a customer’s location and provide them with accurate pricing and shipping information.
- Display products related to the one a customer already added to the shopping cart.
4. Choose an Up-To-Date Template
Launching your store with a template is fine. But, to ensure you won’t hurt your website performance, you need to choose the latest, conversion-oriented version of it. Here are a few things every good Magento template should provide:
- A user-friendly layout. Your site should be easy to navigate, with the search bar, menu, and CTAs on the expected places.
- New technologies like SASS, Bootstrap 3, HTML5, and CSS3.
- Responsive design. Make sure your website looks and feels great across different devices and browsers.
- Social media elements. Cross-promoting your website across different channels (especially social networks) will grow your brand awareness and put more eyeballs to your site.
- An in-built blog. Creating and publishing quality content is the only way to get yourself noticed, engage visitors, build relationships with them, and convert them into customers.
- It should be easily optimized for search engines.
- It should support multiple languages and RTL languages.
Back to You
No matter how time-consuming or frustrating it may be, revamping your Magento store may deliver great results. Whenever you feel discouraged, just remember that, by boosting your site speed by only 1 second, you may increase your conversion rate by an astonishing 7%.
Now, even though there are numerous ways to improve the performance of your Magento store, these four tips may be a solid starting point. Just don’t forget to back your site up before you dive into improving your eCommerce store.
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