If you manage an ecommerce website, when was the last time you reviewed your web pages from top to bottom? If you can’t remember, chances are it’s time to plan a site audit.
An e-commerce site is a living ecosystem in a sense, and it needs to be maintained much the same as one would care for an aquarium or a large ranch. Change is a constant.
Over time, content becomes outdated. Products reach the end of their life cycle. Branding may be tweaked. Competitors’ sites can overtake yours in search results.
How do you keep your site relevant, fresh and most useful to your customers? Execute a methodical site audit from your home page to the lowest points of your site map.
Here are five objectives for a successful site audit:
Remove the dead wood. Expired pages, obsolete products and well-past-their-news-date pages should be deleted. Nobody cares about your Day of Caring team photo from 2008. Old news releases can be archived.
Improve search results. Understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how it can make or break your site’s performance in customer search results. Remove duplicate pages, add keywords and metatags (the short descriptions that describe your web page in search results).
Finish empty pages. Nothing says “Lame” quite like a web page with a cheesy “Under Construction” message. Better no page at all. Either complete — add content — or delete.
Enrich product content. Be sure that the level of product information you provide is (1) sufficient to facilitate a customer’s purchasing decision or spark a follow-up inquiry, and (2) populates the most important fields in your data model, such as headers, bullets and imagery. As a merchant, you wouldn’t let customers see a sloppy display in your store. Why would you make the same mistake with substandard content?
Review product data at two levels: High (Name, features, benefits) and low (SKU-level attributes such as size, weight, color, capacity, material and electrical requirements). Are SKUS in the same product family differentiated by the data?
Burnish the brand. If your brand identity has been updated, or if brands have been consolidated, you’ll want to change out old logos or slogans and be sure your imagery, colors and content conform to the prevailing brand standards.
Engage your content and web teams on a site audit, and you’ll have a first-rate showcase for your company’s brand.
Dan Skantar is Director of Content Services for JP Enterprises