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8 Tips to Improve Your E-Commerce Website

8 Tips to Improve Your E-Commerce Website

With the continued increase in consumers who rely on Internet shopping instead of brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce websites have become an increasingly valuable asset to any business. Whether you use only the web to sell your products or you use it to supplement your physical store, the website is the equivalent of your storefront. It is your customer’s first impression of your business and will decide how they perceive your brand. Below we’ve provided eight tips to help you make a lasting first impression and to increase those conversions once you’ve pulled visitors in.

1. Stand Out

Standing out from the pack is easier said, right? Not necessarily. It is a matter of researching what everyone else in your market is doing and finding creative ways to avoid falling in line. Maybe you’ll offer more evocative content on your website than the typical promotional copy like catchy videos or songs, or perhaps you’ll go above and beyond with customer service policies that no one can match. Any way you choose, avoid following the same cut-and-paste tactics that all e-commerce sites use if you hope to increase your sales above theirs.  Incorporate gifs and flashy graphics onto your landing pages to better entice and entertain visitors. (Protip: a little goes a long way with this! Also, make sure this doesn’t sacrifice site speed.)

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2. Get Help

Unless you have an extensive web and graphic design background, you’ll likely want to seek the help of freelance professionals and outsource your site design. Many entrepreneurs fall victim to the pitfall of trying to do everything on their own, either because they don’t trust anyone else with their vision or because they think the cost isn’t worth it. This can often lead to great products that are never seen because of poorly designed landing pages.

3. Show Your Human Side

Many consumers find the big business appeal comforting and reliable. Many others would rather see some sort of personality behind the scenes so they feel like they are doing business with a human being instead of a machine. You can extend your hand by offering peeks behind the scenes — without revealing too much, of course — and by letting them get to know that another person cares about their satisfaction.

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4. Stay on top of Inventory

After all the marketing you’ve employed to get people to visit your e-commerce site and stick around, you can still lose them for good if the product you advertised is out of stock. Consider how many items you need to have for different times of the year, and pay attention to demand trends to avoid losing potential consumers.

5. Always Keep the Customer in Mind

This is Sales 101, and one of the most important considerations in any front-facing operation. It pays to set up a system that allows consumer feedback and to have a means by which you use this feedback to improve the way you serve them. Strategies going forward should involve finding ways to remove any obstacles between the consumer and their purchase.

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6. Optimize Your Pages for Search Engines

Every site in existence should employ some form of search engine optimization (SEO), and this is especially true for e-commerce sites.   Over seventy percent of all sales inquiries begin with a search engine. Consumers usually type in contracted terms and expect the engine to know what they mean. For your site, include these key terms wherever possible, so their searches lead to your landing pages.

7. Streamline the Checkout Process

A general rule of thumb in e-commerce is to place the least amount of obstruction between the initial view of a product and the big button that allows customers to buy it. There should be no more than three steps from the main page to the checkout, and navigation should be engineered toward ushering the customer along without complication. New customers should be able to figure out how to enter their information quickly and return customers should have even less to figure out.

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8. Content is Key

Outside of the sales pages and the main page, commit your blogs and articles to generating interest without bogging the consumer down with homework. Create easy to follow guides to share on social channels. Showcase your standout products in easy to read product guides, or give easy explainers on the types of products you sell to better answer your customer’s questions. As with any action you take toward potential consumers, the idea is to add value. This can often take the shape of informative content that leaves them with a better idea of how to best use your products or services.

It is important to have patience and accept there are no shortcuts. It takes time for word-of-mouth and marketing ploys to take hold, and you’d much rather have a slow build that leads to permanent success than a quick one that evaporates just as fast. Just remember these eight tips and you’re ready to start selling!

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Alex Wolk

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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