As one of best eCommerce platforms available to online sellers, a Magento store has lots to offer retail businesses. The open source software has a high level of flexibility in what you can achieve both in terms of design and functionality.
So, how exactly do you optimize your Magento store for more sales and success?
Throughout this article, we discuss five ways in which you can improve your Magento store, increase conversions and help scale your business on the eCommerce platform.
1. Maximize the security of your Magento store
As an open source eCommerce platform, you are responsible for ensuring that your Magento store is as secure as possible.
However, many users choose to overlook this important aspect.
In fact, more than one thousand Magento stores have been hacked to steal customer credit card data just recently. Such incidents happen far more often than you may think.
Without a secure website, it’s unlikely that you will be able to create much trust or loyalty with your customers and therefore stifle your business growth.
Here are some ways in which your online store could be hacked:
- Site is infected with malicious redirects
- Fake or adult advertisements appear on the website
- Unable to access the store login with an account suspension message
- The store is blacklisted by search engines
- Site becomes very slow and shows error messages
- Rogue admins appear in the login database
- Admin panel is defaced, or blank screen appears after login
All of these factors can lead to customers avoiding your Magento store and in turn decrease your website traffic and annual revenue – harming your business in the long-term.
So, how exactly do you enhance the security of your Magento store?
Try out the following:
- Set up strong passwords and change them every 90 days
- Keep the software up to date and install patches and updates immediately
- Stay informed of new patches by subscribing to Magento security alerts
- Scan your store once a month at Mage Report to detect any malware and identify security patches you may not have installed
- Review your admin user accounts regularly and remove any that are no longer in use or that you do not recognize
- Verify that the system file permissions are set according to Magento file permission guidance – misconfigured permissions may allow attackers to modify code files and inject vulnerabilities to your store
- Ensure that you follow Magento security best practices at all times
Another way in which you can improve the security of your Magento store is to use two factor authentication. Magento offers an excellent 2FA extension for its users.
This gives you the opportunity to enhance your Magento admin login security by using the password and a security code from your smartphone.
It can also be good practice to get in the habit of having a Magento security review done once or perhaps twice a year – leaving your site unchecked may do your business a lot of harm in the event of anything sinister happening.
2. Utilize Magento product alert notifications
Sometimes, a little nudge in the right direction can improve your sales tenfold.
If a customer has visited your website and browsed at particular products – perhaps even adding items to their basket – then it’s safe to assume they are close to making a purchase.
A reminder a while later can make a sale happen where it had once been lost.
With product notifications, your customers will receive alerts when products are released, or prices are lowered. This can be a powerful way to monitor customer behavior and drive further sales.
Finding a large chunk of your customers are abandoning their shopping carts? Here’s how you can create a perfect abandoned cart email to reduce those missed sales.
3. Invest in better website hosting for your Magento store
One aspect that can make a huge difference to your Magento store is having a proper, optimized website hosting to host your business online.
Magento is a successful and popular eCommerce platform due to its extensive customizability; however, the size of the platform with extensions can be very intensive.
If you want your Magento store to run at its best, then you’ll need an optimized website hosting package to support your needs.
You’ll want to steer clear from shared hosting as this won’t give you a fast-loading website.
Instead, look towards using a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server environment.
VPS hosting guarantees more speed and stability in terms of site performance. Dedicated computers host your online store, which minimizes the chance of slow connections or reduced site speed.
A dedicated server, on the other hand, is one step up from a virtual private server.
It is your own personal server that is not shared with anyone. You have full use and access to its resources (e.g. CPU, RAM and storage) and can install any OS and application software that you see fit.
Such a server can handle thousands of unique website visitors on a daily basis.
Site performance is also enhanced as you have the full power of a dedicated server, unlike shared hosting where resources are shared between customers.
4. Improve your Magento checkout process
An easy way to influence your conversions is to improve your online checkout process.
The less steps there are in the checkout process, the better experience for your customers.
In comparison, a lengthy process with a lot of steps can result in losing customers who were interested in your products to begin with. It can turn them off and they may leave during the checkout process if it becomes too long or annoying.
Some good practices to follow include:
- Minimize the steps as much as possible – opt for one if possible
- Make it easy to reset customer passwords
- Offer a guest checkout function
- Ensure your checkout process is optimized for mobile shopping
- Use visuals to make the process easier
You could try using one step checkout extensions, such as Amasty or Landofcoder, to simplify your Magento store checkout for your customers.
Keep in mind that when you make buying easy, your customers are much more likely to stay loyal to you and your business – increasing the chance of repeat business.
Finding that many of your customers are jumping ship too soon? Check out these proven strategies to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
5. Enhance search engine optimization for your Magento store
One way in which you can increase the amount of traffic to your Magento store – and therefore the likelihood of more sales – is through search engine optimization.
Magento is one of the best eCommerce platforms for search engine optimization. As you have so much control over the software, you can optimize your store as you see fit.
Here are some ways in which you can enhance your search engine optimization and, in turn, increase your website traffic and the likelihood of more conversions:
Utilize header tags and title tags
Although the eCommerce platform does create title tags automatically, creating them manually can improve your SEO. The easiest way to achieve this is to create product groups.
In doing this, you can predefine title tags and assign per product groups.
When using header tags, remember to format them correctly.
The most important header tag is H1, while the least important is H6.
If you skip any tag numbers (e.g. go straight from one to three) then the heading structure will be broken, which will affect your Magento store’s SEO.
Remove duplicate content
Did you know that duplicate content is one of the most common SEO issues affecting the performance of thousands of Magento stores?
Duplicate content can occur because of the following:
- Product filtering
- Product sorting
- Same product in different categories
- Variation of the same product
In order to remove duplicate content, make use of canonical tags.
Go to Stores >> Configuration >> Catalog >> Scroll to Search Engine Optimization and set the canonical link meta tags for categories and products to yes
Optimize your product images
A really simple yet effective way to improve your Magento store’s SEO is to optimize your product images. Ensuring that all images have proper ALT tags help search engines determine what they are so they can rank them correctly.
Some key points to consider when creating ALT tags:
- Always use a proper description
- Don’t keyword stuff your main keyword into the image unless its correct
- Label your image files to describe what they are (e.g. “small-black-handbag.png” is more descriptive than “IMG0000123.png”)
- Make sure your ALT tags are short (2-3 words) and to the point
Make use of the ‘nofollow’ link
In almost all cases, there will be webpages that you don’t want to be indexed by search engines. For example, your checkout page, shopping carts or admin pages.
By adding a ‘nofollow’ link to these pages, you can stop search engines from crawling them.
Use search engine friendly URLs
Another factor that can affect your ability to rank well on the likes of Google is how search engine friendly your page URLs are.
The cleaner the URL, the higher likelihood you have of securing a better ranking.
A search engine friendly URL may look like this:
Because of the structured approach, a site visitor can easily understand what a particular page is all about. It also helps search engines to rank the page more effectively.
Grow your Magento store
When it comes down to it, there’s a lot you can do to optimize your Magento store.
Whether it’s improving site speed and performance, enhancing security or simplifying your checkout process, hopefully you’ll have found a new technique to help your business grow.