Essential tech and tools for a new eCommerce site

Assuming you’ve already chosen your eCommerce platform. Below is a list of essentials that you should consider for your new e-commerce store.

If you haven’t chosen a platform already. Some of the main contenders are Shopify, WooCommerce with WordPress, Magento.

If you are selling digital products you could use Gumroad or GoSpaces.

If you are a maker then you should be selling on Etsy.

Below are some of the most useful tools for your eCommerce site:

SSL

Use https / SSL to give customers confidence you are protecting their information on your site. Contact your hosting provider to get them to install SSL for you.

Hosting

Find reliable web hosting like Digital Ocean where you can spin up a “droplet” for as little as $5/mo, RackSpace has a wide variety of hosting options.

Backups

Make sure your hosting has backups enabled and you know how to use them and restore them

Analytics

Enable analytics on your site from the beginning. Even if you don’t look at them to begin with, the data will be a valuable asset in the future. Google Analytics is free, why wouldn’t you use it?

You’ll be able to see where visitors are accessing your site from, what content they are viewing, how long they are spending on your site. Also what technology they are using to access to your site. You are also able to set-up specific eCommerce goals to track. All for free, don’t waste time looking for another analytics solution.

Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) gives you more insights and tools into managing your websites presence. You can configure how your site appears in search results. Get tips for HTML improvements. See analytics on searches to your site, lists of other sites linking to your site. Submit your site and sitemap(s) to the Google index. Also view crawl errors and security issues.

Bing also offers it’s own tool: Bing Webmaster tools

SEO

Make sure the basics are there, good quality title tags for each page, keywords and description, image tags

Social

Set-up social media accounts for your site, Twitter, Facebook page and Instagram as a minimum. Of course there are more like Pintrest

Email Marketing

Create an email list, capture email addresses so you can market them, MailChimp is a good platform to start with

Physical Location

If your site has one or more locations, like a retail store. You can set them up on Google Places.

Testing

Test everything, test your check out process, test your contact forms, test regularly and if make updates – re-test.

Backups again!

Take backups before changes, need to update a WP plugin on your Woocommerce store? Take a backup first, it should take minutes with a plugin like ….

Supporting content

Make sure your site has a good FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.

Shipping

If you are shipping products, explain your shipping and return policies.

Make sure HTML is well formed

Use the W3C HTML validator tool, to check your website and it’s pages are producing valid HTML

CSS / Cascading Style Sheets

Use the W3C CSS validator tool, to check your website CSS is valid

Broken links

Use the W3C Link Checker tool, to check your website links aren’t broken

Optimization of assets

Optimize images, javascript, css files, these files will need to be downloaded when someone accesses your website, making sure they download quickly will help make your website load quickly

Caching

Use GZIP, caching and CDN’s
Cloudflare can be used to cache and free SSL

Developer Tools

Use free tools like Audits available in Chrome Developers tool (right click on a web page > Inspect or Ctrl + Shift + I) to analyze site performance and improve things.

Reviews

Product customer reviews provide valuable feedback and validation to other shoppers on your products and service.

Did I miss anything off this list? Please let me know and I will add it.

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