Building a successful ecommerce store is not an easy task. Sometimes you might think that letting a few errors slide isn’t a big deal. But not until you find significant damages that they cause to your online business in terms of security, user experience, or search engine ranking.
However, every year global companies lose $6 trillion to cybercrime damages, including destruction of data, stolen money, and lost productivity. Poor user experience also costs money ecommerce businesses: 89% of customers will begin doing business with the competitor because of poor customer experience, including slow webpage loading.
A proper website maintenance plan not only helps you address security and UX issues but also drives traffic to your online store and grows your sales.
How to maintain an ecommerce website, what should be done to keep it secure, which marketing and storefront activities will retain your existing customers and attract new ones — read more in this article.
Ecommerce Security Maintenance
No customer will buy from you if your store isn’t safe. Consumers’ trust is already shattered: only 47% of adults in the US thought that most online companies can be trusted with basic personal information.
Read more: Ecommerce Support and Maintenance
There are hundreds of reasons for such distrust towards internet use, skimming and phishing being some of them. So you really have to work to keep your website secure and prevent possible cyber attacks. Here are a few aspects to consider in ecommerce security maintenance.
Backup & Update
Run website backups regularly and make sure that the previous version of your website is stored. Make it a golden rule of your maintenance routine, especially if you plan to update web plugins and extensions.
Updating and installing latest security patches is also of the utmost importance. No matter the platform on which your e-store is running, you’ll usually get a notification if an update is available. The same works for all third-party applications and systems integrated with your online store: once a company releases a security patch, you should immediately install it.
Failing to keep up with security updates gives hackers the chance to steal data from your website. Neither you as a merchant, nor a customer wants to be exposed to such digital attacks.
Get SSL Certified
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate encrypts all the traffic to and from your e-store and allows to store your customers’ sensitive information safely. Given that ecommerce businesses usually store credit card details, user addresses, and passwords, an SSL certificate is a must. When you get SSL certified, a padlock icon will appear next to your domain name and “https” in the URL itself.
To obtain an SSL certificate, you’ll have to turn to a certificate authority (CA) who will verify your identity as a merchant. The fee for a certificate varies from $0.80 to $125 per month depending on your CA and the security level you need.
Scan Your Website for Vulnerabilities
About 90% of all cyberattacks originate from a human error within your organization. Usually these are problems with the code as the hackers look for the weakest link or checkout form on your website. As Dan Brag, the owner of Brag Deal, impressively showed on his seminar, it takes a simple apostrophe added to the end of your URL to find the back door to the folder structure of your server. Like this:
Website security vulnerabilities include insecure direct object reference, security misconfigurations, and code issues leading to SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, cross-site request forgeries (CSRF). Try to perform professional security scans every now and then to have an in-depth review and explanation of your e-store vulnerabilities.
Maintaining the marketing activities quarterly will have an immense effect on your sales and ROI. They will also signal Google that your webpages are active and worth ranking high on search engines.
So how do you cover all your bases in marketing? Here are a few best practices you should include in your marketing maintenance plan.
Address SEO Issues
SEO is important both for users and search engines, so it’s important that you conduct an SEO audit of your website at least every quarter. It affects your Google ranking, which relies on 200+ factors like page speed, grammar and spelling errors, and publishing frequency. In return, website ranking defines user behavior: 75% of people won’t go past the first page of Google search results.
Try to look out for SEO issues, including but not limited to the following:
- broken redirects & links, like non-existing pages and 404 errors;
- on-page SEO issues, like keyword stuffing and missing title tags;
- off-page SEO issues, like poor SMM and domain authority outside your website.
- slow page load;
- missing calls-to-action.
Regular SEO maintenance may bring you to the top of the ranking page and attract more customers to your online store.
Analyze Your Website Content
Quality content matters basically for the same reason as SEO: it gives a good impression to the readers and high ranking in a search engine. So whenever a user finds repetitive, irrelevant, or outdated content on your website, they’ll hardly convert into a loyal customer at your store.
When analyzing your website content, pay attention to the following:
- outdated information — your article about market research in 2015 won’t be useful to the reader in 2021;
- duplicate content — your readers won’t find value in repetitive pieces of information across different blog articles;
- irrelevant visual aid — any user will appreciate stats & graphs accompanying your market research articles, rather than a picture of your favorite dog;
- spelling and grammatical mistakes — sloppy writing is neither trustworthy nor professional, so run a spellchecker (like Grammarly) before publishing something on your website.
No matter technological advancements, quality content always wins in marketing. Review it carefully every month.
Be Socially Present
Don’t disappear from the sight of your audience. Whether you’re using SMM, or email marketing, or SMS messaging, engage with your customers and attract new ones. Gallup research discovered that a fully-engaged customer represents 23% more revenue than average. Establishing emotional contact with your customers will get them to buy more, promote your brand, stay loyal to you.
To maintain your brand marketing, you’d better have a clear-cut plan of social media & blog publications, as well as paid advertising campaigns for the quarter. Use data analytics tools to track your customers buying journey and tailor content for them. Interact with your customers and influence their purchase behavior.
The world changes. Trends, people, products — all have a change of heart. Your storefront should, too! These updates don’t necessarily have to take place as frequently as security checks or marketing activities, but it won’t hurt to update your storefront from time to time.
Here are a few things to consider while managing your online storefront.
Change Your Products
Don’t stop on selling a single line of products; instead, let trends dictate the product choice for your store. If you see that some item of your store isn’t selling, and no paid ads can help it, it’s time to change. This is especially relevant for those working in the fashion and beauty industry.
Use Google Trends and social media pages to identify where the wind blows and adjust your product page as per consumers’ whims. Update the product selection of your e-store to attract new clients. Notify the customers about the stock availability. Be visual — add product images from different angles and provide a 360-degree view of an item, especially if you sell something as expensive as jewelry.
In short, keep up with the audience and make a saying “out with the old, in with the new” a motto of your storefront maintenance.
Offer Sales & Discounts
Discounts and promotions always work like a magnet for the customers. About 64% of online shoppers wait to buy an item until it goes on sale, and more than 53% of young people aged 18-29 search for promo codes before making a purchase.
It won’t hurt to introduce some sales into your online store, especially if you relate them to holidays and special occasions. Just make your message loud and clear:
- state where the price change can be found and how long it will last;
- include a code and explain the conditions under which the discount is valid;
- update your website as you go — take the discount off once it expires; otherwise, the customers will see it as false advertising.
How Much Does It Cost to Maintain an Ecommerce Website
Ecommerce maintenance costs depend on business size and your personal needs. Paying the platform you choose for your e-store may sometimes reduce operational costs, but you might still want to use some ecommerce website maintenance services to keep your store at the top of the game.
On average, maintenance of an ecommerce store (having $4k- $50k in sales annually) would include:
- platform subscription, if any — check Magento’s free and paid editions for more details about license costs;
- domain registration and renewal costs — about $10/year depending on the website where you register;
- hosting — $24+/annually, based on the provider;
- backups and migrations — for free and for a fee depending on the platform you choose for your store;
- SSL certificate — free;
- security — $25/month and rising based on the size of your business;
- website plugins and extensions —$50-$500 on Magento depending on how sophisticated your extensions might be.
The abovementioned rates are a starting price for small ecommerce websites and may change from one business case to another. For more specific cost estimates about the maintenance of your particular Magento store, feel free to reach out to us at Elogic and get a free consultation.
Mind the difference between support and maintenance. The former is reactive, meaning that when something breaks, you call support to fix it. The latter is proactive: you diagnose/fix/improve things before they break.
Maintenance and support packages at Elogic include the following services:
This is what we include in our support and maintenance packages:
- Website audit (code, security, performance)
- Frontend optimization
- Frontend/backend testing
- Security patches installation
- New feature development
- Performance optimization
- Systems integration
- Troubleshooting/bug fixing
- Extension updates
- Server setup
The cost will depend on the seniority of the developers required and the complexity of your project which will dictate the number of hours spent on support and maintenance.
Maintaining an ecommerce website isn’t all cakes and ale at first glance. But once you break a maintenance plan down into smaller tasks, managing an online store becomes less daunting.
Here’s a checklist of what you might consider doing for your ecommerce website maintenance daily to yearly.
- check your customers inquiries & requests left in feedback and “contact us” forms.
- check that all web pages and forms are loading with no errors;
- run website backups;
- update extensions and plugins, if available;
- check the website for broken links;
- post content in blogs, YouTube channels, on social media to keep your customers engaged.
- check the loading speed of your website and optimize it, if necessary;
- review your security reports and address the issues, if any;
- scan your website for security & code vulnerabilities;
- analyze your website performance and stats and create a monthly content plan.
- update all pieces of content that need to be improved, including text, figures, and visuals;
- review and tweak the links, forms, and calls to action if they direct to the correct webpage;
- test your website functionality in different browsers and on various devices;
- review your marketing campaigns and offer sales & discounts to attract new audiences;
- update your product descriptions and selection.
- update your platform and theme license;
- renew your website domain and SSL certificate;
- pay for website hosting;
- review top-performing articles on your website and update them, if necessary.
Don’t feel pressed by handling a lot of content, code customization, and customer data — at Elogic, we’ll keep an eye on your online business performance. Check our dedicated Magento support services page and let us help you get the most of online commerce now.