Regarding buyer personas “Will there be enough traffic in these groups that will sustain a business and what products will be needed for each group?”
That is unpredictable and has to be tested on a group by group basis.
Unfortunately, there is no way to know where a visitor comes from on Facebook other than “Facebook”.
Having sold pet supplies on the web for 18 years, I can unequivocally say “building an eCommerce website is not a solution to your financial goals.
It’s the single biggest problem you’ll need to unravel for success”.
Oh yeah, when you get admin access, for the first time click on EVERY link up and down the dash.
Learn what each link does, what it tells you, or if activation is required for functionality.
I have left out the plugin/theme ecosystem of WordPress and Woocommerce (for functionality) which will be visited with its own chapter.
Hosting, hosting levels, servers, support levels, Cpanel access and more will be treated as separate parts for your digital infrastructure builds as well.
The following questions fall under eCommerce 101.
They need to be asked and answered before launching an eCommerce site.
Do I think everything on this list should be considered as part of any eCommerce website? ~ yes.
- How much do you have to sell monthly to achieve ROI on the cost to build the website?
- What are your fixed expenses besides rent and utilities ie hosting, SEO software, credit card, and PayPal processing fees, Creditcard interest, internet costs, etc; if you use them?
- What are your COGs (Cost of Goods Sold)?
- Are any of your human/pet (food) products organic?
- What’s your minimum order?
- What is the threshold for free shipping?
- Do you ship to the Continental US, the US and/or globally?
- Can you offer discounts in the form of coupons?
- Are coupons stackable?
- Is the product image zoom working?
- Have you installed a custom 404 page?
- Is the saved carts function working?
- Has schema.org been implemented?
- Do you have a sales tracking interface including conversion data?
- Do you have shipping tracking installed?
- Does the site upsell?
- Is there a wishlist available?
- If you are offering downloads, are they working?
- How many products are showing per page?
- How many categories are in your main navigation bar? ~ (max 7)
- Are “share this” icons in all the product pages?
- Are all meta titles and meta descriptions filled in?
- Is the site’s meta title installed?
- Do all images have alt tags?
- Do you allow shipping to PO Boxes?
- Is USPS, UPS, and/or FedEx calculating properly?
- How are your products priced against other sites large and small?
- What are the shipping costs per order?
- What is your return policy?
- What is your payment policy?
- Are you leveraging your ESP’s marketing automation?
- Are your DKIM, SFF, and DMARC set up properly?
- Is my home page too long?
- Have you tested and looked at all your triggered emails (sales receipts, tracking and so forth)?
- Are you allowing anonymous checkouts?
- Are customers getting welcome emails when opening an account or placing first orders?
- Is your site’s password reset function working?
- Are your products priced to make money?
- What is your dropship fulfillment time where applicable?
- Can you enhance your product descriptions?
- Will you require an RMA Return Merchandise Authorization?
- How are you processing credit cards – who are you using?
- How fast does your money flow ~ providing access to it?
- Is your PayPal account linked to your business bank account?
- Is the information in your header and footer accurate and do all the links work?
- Is there a copyright 20XX in the footer?
- If you have migrated are all the necessary 301’s in place?
- Is your physical address easily found?
- Have you attached your PayPal account to the site via API?
- Does the site offer auto-ship?
- Are you tracking organic keyword rankings?
- Can you view heat maps of your site?
- Are screen recordings of your site available?
- How often are you planning to change your front page?
- How do you track inventory?
- Can visitors easily ask questions about products from within the product?
- Where are products being physically fulfilled?
- Are fulfillment costs factored into COGs (Cost Of Goods Sold)?
- What’s your refund policy?
- Will your site offer recently viewed items?
- Does your site have a REST API? (essential)
- How many hours a day will you set aside for interacting in your niche related Facebook groups?
- Have you launched a Facebook page?
- Have you considered messenger bots?
- Have you deployed push notifications?
- Have you emailed any friends and family to see if they’d like to try your product line?
- Have you emailed ALL your email contacts with a new site announcement?
- Who is your competition?
- Have you run speed tests on sites like https://gtmetrix.com/?
- Have your registered your site with Google Analytics and Search Console?
- Have you submitted any sitemaps to Google? (there can be up to 11 site maps in Search Console) /sitemap.xml – /ae_global_templates-sitemap.xml – /author-sitemap.xml – /category-sitemap.xml – /page-sitemap.xml – /post-sitemap1.xml – /post-sitemap2.xml – /product-sitemap1.xml – /product_shipping_class-sitemap.xml – /video-sitemap.xml – https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/news-sitemap.html
- Have you placed test orders to confirm your site can actually take money using credit cards, Paypal and/or other payment platforms?
- Is every page HTTPS://?
- Is “your” state sales tax set up on the site?
- Have you registered with your state’s department of revenue?
- Do you want to offer a 1st order discount?
- Do you want to offer a rewards program?
- Is your theme appropriate for your product niche?
- Do you have or need an EIN?
- Are you operating as a sole proprietor, LLC, S corp or other?
- Does the site have a blog if not what are your plans to start one and where will you place it?
- What does your content calendar look like?
- Is your website part of your email signature?
- Does your host offer email accounts (MX servers) with the website’s domain or will you deploy GSuite?
- Is your website taxonomy (google it) correct?
- Are you collecting emails?
- Are you sending marketing emails?
- Is cart abandonment software installed?
- Is your shipping cart java enabled?
- Are back in stock notifications working?
- Are the site’s breadcrumbs working?
- How are you handling support ~ phone and email?
- Has your favicon been uploaded?
- Do you need to connect to a physical store?
- How accurate is your product search?
- Is your currency set up (position, separators etc)?
- Is personal data retention set up?
- Do you want to install MindMax for security?
- Are you offering UGC product reviews?
- Are gift certificates available?
- What trust seals are visible?
- Are you a Google Trusted Store?
- Have you made sure your “Ship From” address is correct?
- Have you added your phone number and a contact email address in an easy to find area, like your site’s header?
- Do any of your manufacturers offer any videos to insert into your listings – have you scoured YouTube for UGC?
- Have you deleted all the social media icons in the header and footer?
- How many visitors is the site seeing daily?
- What are your site’s referring sites?
- How much traffic is each page seeing?
- What kind of firewall is on your server using?
- What is your severs base security software?
- What is your website’s base security software?
- What type of caching software is being used on the site?
- Is your site on a CDN?
Whether you use:
- Miva Merchant
- X Cart Ecommerce Platform
- WooCommerce (WordPress)
- paGO Commerce
- Magento Community Edition
- Spree Commerce
- JigoShop (WordPress)
- VirtueMart (Joomla)
- Drupal Commerce (Drupal)
- simpleCart js (NOT to be confused with ModMore’s SimpleCart)
- WP eCommerce
You can not operate an eCommerce website without knowing and controlling ALL of those metrics – and there’s a whole lot more.
There are no shortcuts – no squeeze pages – no perfect hosting platforms.
Good News: Google has 2000 math PhDs working to get your site found in search.
Bad News: Google has 2000 math PhDs working to not get your site found in search.
Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing