More and more people are using the Internet on mobile devices to find the products and services they’re looking for. Google estimates that an average of over 50% of your website visitors are on a smart phone or tablet, so not having a mobile-friendly website could be turning away a large chunk of your potential customers.
Responsive websites are ones that automatically change their layout depending on the device they’re being viewed on without the frustrating need to pinch and zoom — put simply, responsive websites provide a better user experience than their ‘static’ counterparts.
Here are a few tips when preparing your website for a mobile responsive upgrade.
Check those images. Sorry to keep banging on about it, but the better your images, the better your site. For grid based layouts, having at the very least all your thumbnails at a uniform size will give a massive boost to your visual impact.
Keep your social ticking over. So it doesn’t come as a surprise ‘new launch’ announcement amidst a sea of nothing, make sure you are posting regularly. You don’t necessarily want to trail the launch with a countdown to avoid putting undue pressure on yourself, but instead tweet or post regularly on other topics so that you are a familiar presence on customers timelines.
Sort out your navigation/structure. This is the main issue we come across, especially when transitioning from older sites. Is that big horizontal navigation sidebar 30 links long going to be easy to use on a mobile phone? Could you break things up into 5-6 broader sub headings that would work well in a horizontal menu?
Prepare your content. Do you have links or content to take advantage of any new features? For example instructional videos, new multiple product images, video links, social channels set up and so on.
Make sure you have the latest software. Keep up to date so you are on top of bugs and have the latest features.
Get your images into the Site1 folder. Due to some recent SellerDeck issues with design snapshots your products may need to be imported afresh via a CSV. This will only work completely if the images are present in the Site1 folder. It’s a good practice, so start housekeeping as early as possible!
Check SEO issues. If you have new single product pages, make sure the URLs are optimised from SellerDeck’s defaults, and if you are replacing old section pages with single products, make sure you have copied the old section URL across, because that is where Google may be looking. Make a note of any you change so that traffic can be redirected.
Get in early. Ask for early access to get used to using WordPress before your business depends on it for sales. Make sure you know how to edit pages and posts, add things to your menus and change widgets. Just before you go live, make sure you have a play about with WooCommerce (or your chosen WP E-commerce plugin) so that you know where to find things, change products and confirmation emails etc and make sure your payment provider settings are correct.
Prepare your content ahead of time. Brand new site with lots of products? WordPress is fun but if you have a few hundred products, adding them manually could get boring quickly. Get a spreadsheet ready for doing a bulk import using a plugin such as WP All Import.
Before you go live
Offer an incentive. Think of a sale offer to launch with once you are happy it is all working properly, to get that traffic pouring in.
Test, test, test. Test in your own hosting environment so any unforeseen issues can be ironed out. SellerDeck has a test mode for this. Make sure you place a test order, using real or at least realistic details. We’ve seen a few ‘bugs’ that actually turned out to be true errors caused by inputting ‘Test’ for a name when the payment service provider required a firstname lastname type format and the checkout was doing its job.
Check SEO. Make sure redirects are in place for any page names that have changed, that you have well-optimised Meta tags, titles and product descriptions. Make sure you have product descriptions – and not ones borrowed from elsewhere!
Back everything up! Have a plan in place to roll back to the new site if anything goes wrong. Make sure your developers have some time set aside on the day you plan to go live in case any quick fixes are needed. But of course, you will have tested it to within an inch of its life…
Now watch the sales roll in…