Abstract of the report ITForum 2016: Reducing the cost of developing an online store. What to leave for later?
On September 16, OkayCMS CEO Vitaly Vladov spoke at the third all-Ukrainian conference IT Forum 2016 with a report: "Reducing the cost of developing an online store. What to leave for later?"
Vitaly spoke about:
- What are the main mistakes made by the owners of online stores when planning technical specifications for the development of a website? How to reduce the budget for its creation?
- What functionality is not required to start an online store?
- What tools should be implemented first of all so that an online store brings sales and is well ranked by search engines?
Most often, store owners do not know where to start developing a website and scatter the budget for tools and functionality that are secondary to necessity. We have compiled a list of recommendations on how to reduce the budget for the development of an online store, choosing the primary tasks for its operation.
These tips are relevant if you are starting on a tight budget (under $ 4,000). If you have a higher budget, there is a completely different approach. But those with such a budget usually already know about it.
So, first we will select what to leave for later, and at the end we will go through what needs to be implemented from the start.
The first thing that you don’t need to do right away is to create an online store using “samopis”.
Many studios say that they have their own, unique, super-optimized engine and the site will take off on it to the top. It is not true. Samopis makes sense to use when you know exactly what you need and typical solutions do not suit you. Perhaps in the future you will develop to the point where you need your own system. But not from the start. It is better to use a popular solution from the start.
There are three main reasons to refuse:
- By developing a store on samopis you are addicted to the "igloo" of the studio. Nobody else will undertake to modify someone else's engine, and in the future you may face unpleasant situations. For example, a web studio will ask for $ 50 for a five-minute job and you won't go anywhere. Or, in general, the web studio will disintegrate, go into another sphere and you will be left alone with the engine that no one knows.
- No matter how good the studio is, it still has less experience than a large number of developers. And they may simply not receive feedback from users about some flaws that have long been discovered and corrected in popular CMS.
- If the studio does not want to do some kind of revision, it will simply refuse. And you won't find another contractor to do it on a custom engine.
Therefore, the rule for creating a store is number one - make a site on the CMS that several developers can support.
The second - what is done right away, although this is often wrong - an individual design.
Many store owners want a unique, individual design that will convey the depth of their company's philosophy and immediately motivate the user to order on this site. They order the development of a design for $ 800, approve it for 2-3 months, then give it for layout, another $ 300-400 and 1 month, and then get a store. For an inexperienced user, an individual design will be no different from a template solution for $ 100-150. But a website based on a template solution will be launched in 2-3 days and will be 10 times cheaper.
There are several requirements for choosing a template for a store:
- test it on a demo, imagine how your products and categories will look like on it
- contact its developers, it will be ideal if they can modify it for you
- make sure it works on the latest CMS version
- make sure it has all the functionality you need.
When launching a store, a template solution outperforms an individual solution in many ways. This does not mean that you do not need to make an individual design. Need to. But then, when you yourself will understand from the acquired experience what exactly your visitors need.
The third idea, which is better to postpone for later, is full CRM integration. For some reason, everyone still thinks that after the creation of the store, orders will fall straight. NOT. Time will pass before reaching the indicators of at least 5 sales per day. And up to this point, it's easier to do everything in regular Excel. It is cheaper, it is more convenient, it will allow you to understand exactly what you need from CRM. And when you already have sales, by that time you will have a clear understanding of what you want to see in CRM and you can order integration with it.
Instead, the integration of unnecessary tools is often performed, which takes time, raises money, but is ultimately not used by anyone. Do not integrate with CRM "just to be", do the integration exactly what you need and when you need it.
The fourth mistake of those who make the first store is connecting all possible payment methods.
Quote: “I sell women's clothing. It is important for me that the user can pay for the order in any way. You need to connect LiqPay, WebMoney, YandexMoney, Privat24, QIWI, Interkassa and PayPal. "
As a result, a person has about 50 orders per month, of which 1-2 are paid for with electronic money. Others prefer to order by cash on delivery, look at the purchase and then pay. And the store owner wasted several weeks on the coordination of all legal issues with all payment systems. And this despite the fact that the modules of payment systems have already been built into OkayCMS.
If they were not there, you would have to spend more money on the development of the corresponding modules. Connect one, the most popular payment method in your country, and see how often people pay through it and whether they will ask for payment through other methods. Most likely, there is no point in wasting time on something that is not useful to you.
Sometimes customers who have just made, or even are still making a store come with the following offer:
"Let's make a referral program so that our customers invite their friends and receive bonuses for this."
The problem is that you are a new store. You have no reputation, no history of relationships. There are no regular customers. Nobody knows you. Nobody will recommend you. Stay on the market for at least six months, build a loyal customer base with regular orders, increase your awareness, and then think about a referral program. Doing this when creating a store is not worth it. Anyway, it will start working no earlier than in six months (at best).
This mistake is rare but expensive. Some salespeople persuade the client to make a mobile application for Android and iOS in addition to the online store.
But there is one Newas. Nobody uses these applications. If you are not Aliexpress, then no one will download your application to their phone for no reason. And for the development of such an application, developers will take at least 50% of the cost of creating an online store.
Better instead of creating a mobile application, invest in promoting your website.
These are the most popular mistakes people make when they decide to create an online store for themselves. Do not do it this way.
And now a few words about what you need to include in the development of your store at the start.
A couple of years ago it was a "feature" that would be nice to have.
Now it is a "must have" for any site, and especially for a store. This has even become a ranking factor for search engines. Even if you take a template solution, make sure that the site is displayed well from mobile phones. You can also check using Yandex and Google services.
If it is not there, you will wait much longer for your site to be indexed. And this means a later hit in the index, fewer clicks from search engines, and lost profits. Why do we need this?
It's not enough to get into good positions, you also need to make an attractive snippet so that you can click on it . And micro-markup will help with this. It is better to implement it from the start, so that it is already at the first indexing of the site.
Export to XML ( YML ) file
This is only becoming a trend with us. YML file is a file with your commodity items generated according to special requirements. This file can be uploaded to various product aggregators (Price.ua, Hotline.ua, YandexMarket) and this resource will process this file itself and add your products to its search results. In addition, Yandex uses this file to form more beautiful snippets.
The ability to generate meta tags by template
At the first stage of filling an online store, you most likely will not have much time to correctly write meta tags in each product and category. But you don't need to leave it to chance either. It will be very good if you can set the formation of meta tags from a template, and then, when you understand the main tasks, redo the meta tags as you should.
As practice shows, even meta-tags set by a template can pull low-frequency and medium-frequency queries into the TOP10. Therefore, this should not be neglected.
The filter in online stores is most often their sore spot. It either cuts off all micro-frequency requests, or creates a bunch of duplicates. Therefore, he needs to pay special attention. There are many nuances that will be enough for a separate report, so I will give a couple of simple tips to start:
- Try using a filter. Are you comfortable? Can you find the product you are looking for?
- Ask the developers how it affects SEO and listen to their response. You can often understand a lot about developers on this issue. If they "floated" on this issue - this is a bad beacon. Good developers can tell you a) filters are indexed or not, b) in which cases they are indexed, and in which they are not c) with unique meta tags or not d) good or bad, and how to do it well, or at least not to there was harm.
That's all, I hope that you will not make mistakes when creating your online store!