Essential Software Tools for eCommerce Websites
How’s your e-Commerce website doing? That may depend to a large extent on how well you are using the tools for search engine optimization (SEO) that are available to all e-Commerce practitioners. Let’s start with the services that are available for free.
Google Analytics is a basic software application available to anyone with a Google account. It will not only count your website hits but analyze them in myriad useful ways. If you want to move beyond Google, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may offer an analytics program as well. Just be sure you’re aware of all of the freebie possibilities before you move up to a paid analytics service.
The next step will be to set up an Adwords campaign. Adwords is Google’s name for it, but all of the main search engines offer an advertising program that gives you the opportunity to create “featured links.” These are those links that appear on the right side of the page, or nowadays sometimes at the top of the page, in internet searches.
Featured links also appear on websites one accesses, usually at the right side, or at the bottom. Typically, you, the e-Commerce practitioner, write the text of the link, and provide a graphic if desired. Then you select a daily budget (how much you are willing to spend per day to push this link), and list a series of targeted websites where you would like the links to appear.
The search engine’s featured link site will give you an enhanced analytics page that monitors links, click-through rates, conversion rates, and other useful information. Cost is minimal, and if the campaign is cleverly mounted, rewards can be substantial.
Programs like Adsense enable you to select other ads to place beside your content. These programs enable you to align yourself with like-minded e-Commerce practitioners and get commissions on their click-throughs and conversions from your site. Other search engines have similar programs.
More is available, but the price goes up, of course.
There are tools for analyzing your competitors and their web performance on the search engines. These can be invaluable if you’re involved in a rivalry with a similar marketer. Choose your keywords in a way that will give you a competitive advantage over the others in your field.
This can be done completely ethically. Keyword research tools can help you find the best keywords, and sometimes even analyze their potential performance before selecting them. Most who have done any SEO have run into machine-generated keyword suggestions that are off the mark because the machine that’s generating them doesn’t understand your situation at all.
Social networking tools are becoming increasingly essential. It’s no longer just a way of posting your family photos for your friends around the country, and around the world, to see. It has become a powerful marketing tool, something an e-Commerce concern just can’t afford to be without. Use a tool to maximize its positive impact on your e-Commerce venture.
Here are some of the best tools available for eCommerce businesses, serving a variety of needs:
- Get Satisfaction: Get Satisfaction allows you to figure out what your clients think of your business and the way they interact with it. The feedback is incredibly extensive, providing a proper mechanism for customers to send in questions, concerns, comments and so on. Timely praise is also an option – so if your business is doing extra good (or poorly), you’ll be sure to know about it.
- Basecamp: Web-based project management solutions are popular between business owners, but Basecamp allows many kinds of business management tasks to be properly handled. How does this help your ecommerce business? Well, it’s not specific to ecommerce business, but project management (and timely fulfillment of orders) sure is. That’s what Basecamp aims to streamline.
- Cloud Hosting: Online businesses, especially those focused on eCommerce, need proper hosting. Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (or the EC2) is suited for eCommerce businesses, as is Windows Azure. Both have incredible uptime, wonderful reliability options, and redundancy for your services.
- CrazyEgg – This tool helps you figure out exactly how many clicks, scrolls and hovers (and other user actions) happen on your website. Why is this relevant? Well, if you’re selling products and your users are frustrated are confused by your website’s design, it’s important for you to know about it.
There’s virtually no end to the many online tools available to e-Commerce marketers. The field of internet marketing is changing so rapidly that it’s difficult for enterprises or individuals to keep up. But with the help of tools, you can keep apprised of the latest developments and enhance your performance with state of the art apps.
Ready to start? Go ahead! Get into the fray. It’s not as difficult as you may think, and there’s going to be help along the way.
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