Welcome to the penultimate instalment of my five part series on how to set up your own online store – how to populate your store with content. If you are just coming across this series now, please check out all the stories – from choosing products, to setting up platforms, to shipping – elsewhere on this site. Or read the first one here and follow the links back through to this article.

Here we will explore the main basic requirements of filling – or ‘populating’ – your website with essential content. This includes design elements, text, images, graphics and other media, such as video and audio.

Content has a number of purposes. It tells the customer the story behind your business, brand and products. It reassures them, as it also provides information about your shipping, returns, privacy policies and terms of service.

But, most importantly, your content is one of your most powerful sales tools. Only by making a clear, convincing pitch for your products, can you ultimately convert visitors to your site into customers.

 

Step 1: Design, Imagery and User Experience

The natural starting point to create your content is your chosen target market. This is the group of people that you identified and perhaps even surveyed when you first formulated your business.

Your website is the digital embodiment of your brand, so your target audience will need to find your platform and its content as attractive and engaging as you can possibly make it.

To get a better idea of who they might be, create four or five brand personas or avatars and attribute to each a gender, age, location, interests, favourite media or whatever other criteria you think might be relevant.

During this process you must also identify what specific problems or needs they might have – and decide how you will communicate how your product can solve these problems for them.

Then you will need to create a site map, which is a visual representation of its structure. This should include, as a bare minimum, a home page, about page, shipping information and privacy policies and terms of service. 

Most importantly, it must include your product categories and product pages, as well as your shopping cart and checkout pages. 

Each page will also need to be laid out neatly, to create an effective user interface (or UI) and satisfactory user experience (or UX) – utilising attractive design elements and quality images.

Remember that your website user experience needs to be designed with a clear purpose, which is to convince visitors to your site to purchase your products.

The outcome of a well designed website that creates a satisfying user journey and motivates a customer to click through to check out page to buy a product.

 

Step 2: Copywriting and SEO

Another important aspect of populating your website is the text or copywriting. If you have a limited budget you will need to do this yourself, otherwise you must hire a skilled copywriter or rely on Artificial Intelligence (see more in my upcoming article on the topic).

But before we continue, a quick note on a term you may have heard of: Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

SEO ensures your website will be found easily in online search engine results. One of its main components is inserting keywords – the terms and phrases people use when searching to buy something on the internet – into your website text.

SEO is an important part of all online copywriting, which will be covered in more detail in the next article on digital marketing.

TASK

Conduct your own online research to get a good grasp of how SEO influences the copywriting on your website. 

 

Step 3: Product Descriptions

One of the most important texts on your site is the product descriptions on each product page. A great product description effectively outlines the best benefits of the item for sale and makes the customer want to buy the product. 

The product description must culminate with what is known as a ‘Call to Action’ or CTA. This is a convincing line of text that will make your customer feel compelled to click on the purchase button once they have finished reading about the product.

For more information for creating a great product page see below. 

 

Step 4: The About Page

Most websites feature an ‘about’ page, which describes the website, its products and brand. A well-written ‘about’ page is another key element of your ecommerce platform content. 

Here you can communicate to your customers the story behind your company, by using text, photos, graphics or videos.

Tell them why you exist, how you hope to make a difference in the world and how you intend to meet their needs and solve their problems

You can also introduce the people behind the company and anything else you think your customers might want to know, before steering them to your product pages. 

TASK

Find out more about the different kinds of content you can utilise on your website and other digital marketing platforms, such as blogs, photographs, infographics, videos and podcasts.

 

5 TIPS FOR WRITING GREAT ONLINE COPY FOR ECOMMERCE

  1. All of the text on your site must be written in a consistent tone and voice, using clear and simple language that both reflects and appeals to your target audience. 
  2. Write in the active voice, using short words and avoid complex jargon or excessive slang.
  3. Understand the power of SEO in online copywriting and incorporate keywords into your text, taking care to focus on punchy headlines and subheaders.
  4. Make sure your page names, menu tabs and links are concise and not confusing to navigate.
  5. Pay special attention to your product descriptions, which must be powerful, persuasive and written as if you were selling your customer your product face to face. 

 

Step 5: Mandatory Policies and Terms

All ecommerce platforms must display mandatory information concerning shipping and delivery, returns and refunds, terms of service and policies around the storage of customer information.

If you have opted to go with a premade platform, you will most likely be provided with template documents to compile these pages. 

Similar templates are also widely available on the Internet if you have created your own website, which can be customised by your chosen web developer.

Either way, these texts will need to be amended to suit the specifics of your digital store. 

There is a plethora of information online outlining ecommerce terms and conditions. You can also consult legal counsel if you are unsure. 

 

As an ecommerce trader your relationship with content will not end once you have completed your website. In fact, it is only just beginning, as you will find out in our next article – digital marketing, to follow soon.

 

Product Pages – The Basics

The ideal ecommerce product page should feature:

  • A clean and uncluttered layout, with a plain background, free from unnecessary distractions.
  • Fast loading time. A slow loading product page will likely experience a high abandonment rate.
  • A clear, horizontal category menu.
  • High quality product photos. Effective product pages must include several quality images of the product, preferably taken from a variety of angles that are sharp and clear and decent resolution. These must be saved in the proper file format, to prevent slow pages – 100 kilobytes per image is usually more than enough.
  • Product videos. Well-produced product videos can increase ecommerce conversions by up to 80%.
  • Products should have catchy, attractive names.
  • Product descriptions must be written in clear, convincing language that outlines the main attributes of each product, which are the main qualities the customer will need to consider before deciding to make a purchase. These texts must also be SEO-optimised.
  • Many sites include a short and long version of their product descriptions, which can be hidden or revealed using cursor scroll overs or clickable buttons. 
  • You can decide what format you would like to present this text, usually either in a paragraph format, bullet point or a combination of the two, and how long or short you want it to be. 
  • A clear call to action, utilising active words like ‘add’ or ‘buy now’ as well as bright colours, frames or boxes to draw the user’s eye and encourage them to click on the link. 
  • Clearly display links to your shipping and returns policies.
  • All relevant product information such as the size, size charts, weight, colours, price of the product and shipping information must be clearly and consistently displayed.
  • Provide further options for upselling or cross selling other products on your site.
  • Provide feedback mechanisms, such as ratings and reviews.
  • Include back end SEO optimization, including alt tags, headers and subheaders etc.

 

Next article: Part 5 – Digital Marketing for your Ecommerce Platform