5 Assets of a Responsive eCommerce Web Design for Your Retail Shop

In 2016, online sales accounted for nearly 12% of total retail sales for the entire year for a total of $400 billion. That number is quickly growing which is why more and more businesses are turning to e-commerce. Even if you do not sell products, there are many reasons why you might want an e-store from selling merchandise to maximizing the efficacy of your online platform. At the end of the day, the best stores feature a highly responsive e-commerce web design and here are our top tips to help you achieve this!


1. Compatibility

These days, everyone has a smartphone in their pockets. So if you have to focus, be sure your site is designed to work well with mobile. That said, many consumers still purchase things exclusively on their computers. With responsive e-commerce web design you ensure your website works with all sizes and systems. It’s not difficult. The three main platforms are desktop, mobile, and tablet. If you have this figured out, then you’ll be good to go!


2. Navigability

Responsive e-commerce web design is all about seamlessness. You should smoothly flow from one page to another to the shopping cart and through the checkout process. Everything needs to flow naturally with search compatibility. When you are discussing with your e-commerce web design company about the different programming languages for web development to find the one that works best for your needs.


3. Page Loading Time

When you are going through the website planning process, this is one of the most important things to consider. If your web page loads slowly, then you are going to lose your visitors. Not only that, Google and other search engines test how quickly your pages load. The quicker they do, the higher they appear in Google’s search ratings so be sure your site is optimized accordingly!


4. The Right Responsive Website Templates

Fortunately, you do not need to do all of this from scratch. Most sites run on variations of different templates. Take a good look at some of your favorite online stores. This will help you settle on the best e-commerce website design look for your needs. Remember that simpler is usually better.


5. Get the Best Images

You need big, crystal clear images. What you are trying to do is draw the eye to your page and in particular the call to action. The right e-commerce website design does just that. With the right photo, your audience can be sold in just a few seconds on whatever it is you are marketing. Take advantage also of backgrounds to market your products. Overlays are a simple way of boosting an item’s appeal!


The Advantages of Responsive E-commerce Web Design

Responsive e-commerce web design is all about making the shopping experience simple and satisfying for your customer. When you achieve, you’ll not only increase your conversion rate but have the best form of free advertising— word of mouth. So consult with a ZenDen web designer today to find the best layout to pave the way for your company’s success.

Business 101: 6 Must Have Shopify Apps for your Online Store

For viewers who may not know the concept, Shopify is a Canada-based e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. Shopify resides on an e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems and offers an impressive array of must-have Shopify apps to its clients.

Started in 2004 by three founding members, it followed a somewhat subdued attempt to float Snowdevil, a virtual store offering snowboarding equipment. The founders identified a huge gap in the market for e-commerce products, which then led to the launch of the Shopify trademark. The future looked prosperous back in 2004, and today Shopify confirms as the market leader in its field.

History Acknowledged, What Shopify Could Do for Your Online Presence

Having established the bona fides of Shopify, Zenden Web Design takes a quantum leap forward to reveal the 6 must have Shopify apps for your online store. Enjoy the read while you unlock the marketing potential unleashed by this powerful online e-commerce marketing portal. It takes a lot of knowledge and planning for a Shopify e-commerce store set up. If this describes your marketing prowess, welcome to this space.

Easy to Start with 6 Must-Have Shopify Apps

Shopify is the leading platform for users looking to start an online business or move an existing store to a comprehensive, user-friendly platform. Follow these five easy steps to get your online presence up and running using our 6 must have Shopify apps:

1. Open the Shopify App store: apps.shopify.com

2. Use the Search function, choose the app, and click the install button

3. Enter your store address to authenticate

4. Confirm installation of your chosen must have Shopify app

5. The app is ready to use on your phone

6 Must-Have Shopify Apps for your Online Store

1. Plug-in-SEO for Shopify

  • Identify problems it’ll be worth spending your time and money to fix
  • Install and forget about SEO with automatic, regular checking
  • Instant, simple verdict

2. Shopify Product Reviews

  • Increase the sales of reviewed products
  • Fully customizable design that looks great with any theme
  • Add SEO-friendly review scores to your Google search results

3. MailChimp for Shopify

  • Connect your Shopify store with your MailChimp account
  • Automatically add customers and their purchase data to MailChimp
  • Create powerful automation, targeted emails, and ad campaigns to personalize your marketing, sell more stuff, and grow your business

4. Shopify Facebook Store

  • Sell products directly on Facebook
  • Create Shop tab on your Facebook Page
  • Customers can purchase quickly without leaving Facebook

5. Shopify Google Shopping

  • Skip the 3-day Merchant Center Account approval process
  • Easily create or connect a Google Merchant Center Account
  • Synchronize all of your Shopify products and get them ready for Google Shopping Ads

6. SmartFox Social Media Stream

  • Allows you to showcase your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Youtube, Pinterest and Tumblr onto one stunning social widget


It is worth spending time reviewing these 6 must have Shopify apps to get your online shop noticed, in addition to writing a great product page.

The 6 must have Shopify apps listed above are brought to you by Zenden Web Design. The listed apps are free to install and use, and there are many other apps worth considering, depending on your e-commerce needs. If you want to spread your digital footprint, Shopify Store is the right space to start.

Essential Web Design 101: About Page Ideas

It’s very easy for us to see the about page to be something of an afterthought. This is doubly true when you have gone into significant detail to make sure your website’s layout and design is just right. But most of your site’s visitors are going to be curious about who you are.

There is a reason why they are looking at your website instead of your competitor’s so make sure you give them a good reason to stick around and use whatever product or service you sell. Sure, conversion has a lot to do with copy, but you’d be surprised how effective a good about page can be at getting people interested in you.

Step 1: Humanize Yourself

It’s very easy for users to get lost in the world of websites. They need to remember that there are people behind them. Sleek design helps make you look professional, but telling your story builds a connection with the audience. It doesn’t matter what you sell, even “boring products” still have interesting backstories behind them.

So tell your story about how you got here and why your company is important. Keep it short and sweet and it will stick with your users much better than any advertisement will.

Step 2: Skip the Industry Lingo

Each industry has its own buzzwords. This is not the place for you to try to cram into one page as many of them as possible. The whole point of having a website is reaching a broader audience. Even if you are describing a complex product or service, you should be able to explain it to the average person. Use simple, effective language that clearly communicates what you are trying to do and save the lingo for only when you must use it.

Step 3: Be Visually Interesting

This is another common website building mistake. The painstaking effort is made to make the entire site look great and then the about page turns into a couple of bulky paragraphs of text and not much else. Again, the about us is another opportunity to sell so design the page effectively. Use images, text, videos, and graphics to tell your story.

Step 4: Testimonials

Your website is you doing all the talking. Instead, let your customers share the experiences they have had with you. If you have done excellent work then your customers should be excited to share it with the world. Testimonials are a great way to build trusts because they let your users get a sneak preview of what your product or service will be like.

Step 5: A Little Flare

From here, there are all kinds of little touches you can put in to make your about page really shine. One example is timelines. People love them! A nice graphic showing when the company was launched and going through some important milestones will go a long way.

Another important feature is the use of team photos. Team photos do more to humanize your company and help users see the this has been a group effort. Add a few funny quotes about the experience of working together and things will be golden.

Take the Time to Do it Right

Websites take a long time to build so it can be easy to want to skip or gloss over some steps. While there are some areas where you can do this, be sure to do things right on the about page. It is always one of the most frequently visited pages on a site and it is a great opportunity for you to make a firm connection with your users.

The Difference between http and https – Why Is It Important?

With no time to waste, we will start this article with the essentials because this is going to be vital evidence in this argument. Have we grabbed your interest? We hope so, and we hope you read further. First up, what do “http” and its sibling “https” stand for?

Naming Difference Between http and https

The early computer geeks loved their acronyms, and the unveiling of the internet provided a great opportunity to expand their mysterious naming conventions. Put simply, this is what these two close derivatives stand for:

Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the long-winded meaning of http. Our faithful Wiki informs us that it “is an application protocol for distributed, collaborative, and hypermedia information systems”. Thank you big brother – you can learn more here.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is what https stands for. It refers to http over Transport Layer Security (TLS), http over SSL, and http Secure. No worries if you are still confused, let’s drill down further.

The Essentials

– The http URL in your browser’s address bar is literally that: http://
– Likewise, the https reflects as https:// in the address bar
– Whereas http is unsecured, https is always secure
– Https sends data using port 443, while http defaults to port 80
– The hypertext with the “s” at the end (https) operates at transport layer
– Http operates at application layer
– Http does not require Secure Socket Layer Certification (SSL), whereas,
– Https requires domain validation at the very least
– Https always encrypts data before sending, http requires no encryption

Pay Attention to the Browser Address Bar

The difference between http and https lies with security issues. If we have achieved nothing else, perhaps we have convinced you to look where you are going. None of us would willingly select an unsecured message server over a secure one, surely. If you do not know where you are going, more likely than not you will never get there!

Once Upon a Time

In the beginning, the internet was another zone that few mere mortals ventured out on, but things have changed massively. The World Wide Web is exactly that, and it has succeeded in redefining the planet as a global village. It is important to know from where we came before plotting our futures, none of us wants to make the common mistake of not learning from our history!

One Ted Nelson coined the term hypertext way back in 1965, when the author of this article was a pimply youth in the exciting world of pop culture in the United Kingdom. This time belonged to the likes of the Beatles, Stones and many more. The first http was the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee, director of W3C, or World Wide Web Consortium to give it its proper name. The mission statement was to “lead the web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure the long-term growth of the web”. By heavens! Have they achieved that and more…

Spare a Thought

Switching from http to https is not that difficult; consult your webmaster, who will provide you with the complete migration guide. These days, online environments are more secure. Can you see the difference between http and https? Make the switch as soon as possible.

How to Write a Killer Product Page

“How do I create a product page that will entice my customer into buying from me?”

As pivotal a question as this is to a business’ online presence, the answers to it are as diverse as the businesses that ask this question. However, regardless of what your business is, it comes down to describing your product in way that will convince a site visitor to become a valuable and loyal customer.

In fact, when you think about it, a good product description boils down to just one thing: the customer. If you have that down, everything else will fall into place. Like this article did, in fact. With the customer as my focal point, a good chunk of this article basically just wrote itself.

1. Characterize Your Buyer Persona

First off: who or what is a buyer persona? To put it in simple terms, a buyer persona typifies your customer-base. But there’s more to a buyer persona than the factors that normally define a target customer-base, i.e. cold, hard statistics and demographics. A buyer persona takes those hard numbers and shapes them into a virtual personality; it makes them an entity with personal tastes, feelings and social behaviors. In building a persona, your market research needs to center around questions that go beyond broad descriptors like age, location, and occupation, such as:

-What kind of websites/blogs do they generally visit?

-What kind of personal or professional challenges do they find themselves facing that your product/service is likely to be an answer to?

-What kind of families did they grow up in? What were their experiences at school?

-What are their tastes in reading, music and other leisure activities?

Hubspot has a handy list of questions that you can use to determine your customer persona. With the buyer persona in place, you’ll find that you can tailor your descriptions in the right tone that appeals to a more precisely targeted audience.

2. The Value Proposition

It’s easy to imagine that simply listing out the various features and controls on that sleek fitness gadget you’ve spent months developing is enough to have fitness freaks clamoring to buy it. Except, that it likely won’t. No one likes to read a generic laundry list of features. Rather, they want to know about your product’s value and benefits over other businesses which offer the same product.

Put it this way: as a customer, a value proposition doesn’t simply answer the question, “Why should I buy this product?” Rather, it’s about, “Why should I buy this product FROM YOU?

A good place to start is by listing out the features of your product and rendering them into the benefits that they offer. A good value proposition ideally has the following essential features:

-A headline that encapsulates the benefit of the product

-A visual representation of that benefit: an icon/image/video

-A 5-6 line paragraph or 3-4 point bullet list that describes the benefit in detail

Square, a mobile transaction company uses the value proposition to great effect for their product, Magstripe Reader.

3. Brevity, Yes. Wordiness, No.

Say what you will about him, but copywriters can take a lesson from ol’ Ernest Hemingway.

Waxing poetic about your product will put your customers off. Research has shown that 79% of readers tend to scan the page rather than read it word for word. Therefore, product descriptions should be scannable, that is to say, a customer should be able to gain all the information they need about your product within a short time.

-Use headlines and sub-headings to highlight the main points
-Bulleted lists are preferable to wordy paragraphs
-Use images and interactive graphics to complement the text
-Stay away from purple prose and “promo-speak”!

4. Include a Visual Interactive Element

OK, this is not always possible. But, where applicable, it can definitely add value to your product page. A visual element that allows customers to virtually picture or experience what the product does/feels like will increase their chances of purchasing it.

Businesses which offer customizable products can use interactive elements to great success the way BMW does here.

In conclusion, the only limitation to an excellent product page is your imagination. Build your product page with your customer as the focus, not the product.

5 Tools To Retarget eCommerce Abandoned Carts

Deemed the plague of digital retail, eCommerce abandoned carts are amounting to billions of dollars lost in revenue. If you’re operating an online shop, you know all too well, and dread, the abandoned items, forgotten, dismissed or removed. Retargeting customers that once showed a strong intention of purchase is necessary but shouldn’t take all of your time, energy and budget so you can keep doing what you do: grow a business. Enter 5 tools that take most of the workload away so you can claim back that shopper that was rightly yours.

Passive retargeting of eCommerce abandoned carts

To efficiently recover lost sales, you can track users and spark their memory (and possibly manage a conversion) through advertising, or you can analyze their browsing behavior to improve your content accordingly.


In terms of remarketing via advertising, AdRoll offers an array of interesting features. The main benefit of their solution is its versatility; your ads can shadow users across different platforms: browsers, apps, social media
Another key element is the ability to segment your campaigns based on product and/or progression in the purchase funnel. This allows you to better qualify your targets. With analytics reporting and you can track your spending and allocate your $$ more efficiently.

Crazy Egg

ecommerce abandoned carts

Crazy Egg is also an interesting retargeting tools, albeit indirectly geared towards abandoned carts. The tool helps you to gain insight in browsing/shopping behaviors so you can fix and improve. In essence, Crazy Egg tells you where the customers are coming from (so you can add details to your buyer’s personas). It displays where the users are on a page, where they click and how far down a page they are willing to browse.
Those features are priceless to guide you towards more efficiency: know what works, what may be missing, what CTAs are not performing and what content you need to keep up on the page rather than relegated to the bottom.
Cart abandonment is not only due to a real lack of intention or a change of heart. If the purchase doesn’t go through, it may simply be because some elements were missing. That’s where Crazy Egg is useful.

Direct engagement and conversion triggers

The staggering volume of eCommerce abandoned carts has prompted many retailers to try and engage the customers more directly. Email campaigns are still widely used in the industry, though new behaviors make it clear that personal contact needs to go one step further.


retarget ecommerce abandoned carts

You’re in business, so you know everything sits on 3 principles in retargeting campaigns: recover, retain, optimize.
Rejoiner allows you to recover lost sales through responsive, customized emails. You bring customers directly back to their cart. Via consistent communication and product display, it helps you gain the loyalty of your best customers and retain their favor. A/B testing and metrics reporting gives you an edge to spend efficiently. The cherry on the cake is that Rejoiner also includes a feature predicting what product people may buy next.


In the email retargeting tools family, CartStack holds its ground. Message and visual content personalization to fit your brand identity, automated recovery (like most, still a must-have) and actionable reporting.
Simply put, automated recovery means you set up the rules for remarketing and see what happens. Actionable reporting is the next step. Analyzing the results regarding opening rate, click rate and conversion tells you exactly what works and what needs improvement.
Choosing an email solution to retarget eCommerce abandoned carts can be a bit daunting. CartStack offers $1,000 recovery guarantee, or else!

Carts Guru

Finally, at last, a comprehensive tool that lets e-shops retarget at a multi channel level. New kid on the block, Carts Guru understands that the way people shop, communicate and use digital devices need to be taken into account. The plugin seamlessly integrates within the major eCommerce platforms (or via an API) and offers 4 solutions to grab the customers back: traditional email, text messaging, text with callback option and automated call.

You can use any by itself or create combinations. You have complete control over your retargeting scenarios (based on product or category, transaction amount, time between triggers,…). The fully loaded dashboard generates data in real time so you can monitor performance, test criteria and improve the campaigns.
Knowing that a text message is read within minutes of reception, the potential for conversion takes a new dimension. You can try Carts Guru for free until you recover $2,500 in sales (or for 14 days, whichever occurs first).

These 5 solutions to retarget eCommerce abandoned carts are but a few of what is available. As with any remarketing strategy, be it on site improvement or customer engagement, the first order of action is identifying segments to target and understanding shopping behavior. Not every abandoned order is worth recovering.


Pros and Cons: BigCommerce, Shopify, & MagentoGo

At Zen Den, our web development and design team is well versed in a variety of ecommerce website platforms having built extensively on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and Zencart, to name a few. Of course in our client’s best interest we choose the eCommerce platform that meets their needs and provides the right solutions for their business. Regardless of what platform is chosen we provide the same attention to detail by customizing layouts and creating a website that is unique to each business, as well as integrating SEO and marketing strategies into their site.

With our experience designing and developing websites using these various platforms we wanted to offer some pros and cons to working with three of the largest eCommerce platforms; Shopify, MagentoGo, and BigCommerce. Each offer great solutions and benefits, but also present different challenges. Please read our unbiased review which should help you understand why we might recommend one platform over the other.

MagentoGo is a bit different from the community version as it offers premium hosting, PCI compliance and world-class support. It is still an open source shopping cart platform that provides the same features to users and allows developers and programmers to build on the functionality and implement on their client’s sites. MagentoGo alleviates some of the traditional problems as Magento Community because of their support team and hosting services, but can still be difficult for clients to manage, update, and upgrade on their own. The Magento community is all adding new features and customizing or tweaking old ones, which is useful, but the themes available can pose longer development time as they aren’t as tightly coded as they could be. Development time does take a bit longer than say, WordPress, but it is a powerful eCommerce site that has extensive options for clients who are technically savvy or have a larger budget to hire a development team. MagentoGo is a good pick is you are looking for rapid growth within your business and don’t mind the learning curve associated with the platform. Features can be customized on a daily basis and modifications to functionalities can be made as frequently as you like. There are a variety of extensions and plugins that are readily available, but everything comes at a price. MagentoGo is around 25% more than BigCommerce and as mentioned previous development time can take a bit longer.

MagentoGo has different pricing tiers:

  • Offers 30-Day FREE Trial
  • GetGoing (100 products, 200MB storage, 4GB bandwidth) for $15 per month
  • Going Places (100 products, 500MB storage, 8GB bandwidth) for $25 per month
  • Go Beyond (Price drop to $50 after Stimulus deal. 1000 products, 800MB storage, 16GB bandwidth)for $65 per month
  • Go Anywhere ($110 after Stimulus deal, 10000 products, 5GB storage, 32GB bandwidth) for $125 per month

For more information check out their plans & pricing here.

Who’s using MagentoGo?

BigCommerce is a shopping cart platform that offers a supported and backed eCommerce solution. There biggest plus is their A+ customer service support that assists with anything from outside APIs and payment gateways to distribution partnerships and technical errors, but operates during standard business hours and unfortunately not 24/7. Their tech and development team manage the growth and updates to the features and options available to users to ensure quality control. BigCommerce is also one of the few shopping cart sites with significant tools for SEO. The straightforward optimization tools allows eCommerce businesses to establish their online presence and create a marketing strategy to assist in search engine visibility, traffic, and rankings. This eCommerce solution is great for the traditional brick and mortar retails who is beginning to create an online business as the platform can be operated with little technical knowledge and is affordable.
It is a user-friendly shopping cart which takes minimal development time and an easy to manage CMS, but isn’t as feature-rich as other eCommerce platforms. Many of their theme designs are outdated and not as polished as the competition. It is a matter of preference because BigCommerce offers over 100 free templates and is more affordable than, Shopify and Magento.

BigCommerce’s Pricing:

  • BigCommerce Bronze $24.95/month (100 products, 200MB storage, 2GB bandwidth)
  • BigCommerce Silver $39.95/month (500 products, 300MB storage, 3GB bandwidth)
  • BigCommerce Gold $79.95/month (1000 products, 500MB storage, 5GB bandwidth)
  • BigCommerce Platinum $149.95/month (unlimited products, 1GB storage,15GB bandwidth)

Who’s using BigCommerce?

And now, Shopify, an all-in-one and out-of-the-box solution for small and big retailers. It provides an easy to use and set up eCommerce store rich in features like built in marketing tools and one-click landing pages. It is a hosted solution which means setup can be accomplished in minutes. All of the technical details are taken care of by the Shopify team. The platform is very intuitive and the CMS is easy to use making customizations a cinch. Shopify also offers customer support 24 hours a day 7 days a week to handle all queries. The platform is feature-rich providing a large library of add-ons and plugins, but it is difficult to customize and create your own. Unfortunately Shopify is one of the more expensive platforms starting at $179 per month. They also charge a 2% transaction fee for Basic plans and 1% for professional plans which can eat up profits in a low-margin retailer. Lastly if your business decides to migrate away from Shopify your entire store and account will be deleted permanently making it difficult to move your store elsewhere.

Shopify Pricing:

  • Shopify Basic $29/month (100 products, 1GB storage, Unlimited bandwidth) But Shopify is the only one that charges 2% transaction fee($29) or 1% transaction fee($59 and $99)
  • Shopify Professional $59/month (2500 products, 5GB storage, Unlimited bandwidth)
  • Shopify Business $99/month (10000 products, 10GB storage, Unlimited bandwidth)
  • Shopify Unlimited $179/month (Unlimited products, Unlimited storage, Unlimited bandwidth)

Who’s using Shopify?

We will always recommend an eCommerce website that suits our clients business. If you want to learn more about eCommerce website design or request a quote, contact us today!


Understanding the eCommerce Conversion Path

By: Mae Demdam
As eCommerce business grows, purchasing and consumer behavior continues to adapt to its technology, thus it’s important to fully understand how consumers are getting to our websites and how they interact with it to convert to sales.

Conversion Path vs. Purchase Path

There are two specific paths when it comes to eCommerce sites, the conversion path and the purchase path. Although these two can appear the same they are different activities. The purchase path is the traditional path a consumer takes when visiting a website. The consumer can take up to four steps prior to purchasing a product., i.e. Enter, Search, Evaluate, and Purchase. The conversion path highlights all the ways a consumer enters the website and all the web pages visited prior to purchase, i.e. consumer finds your website through a search engine or PPC ad. Obviously the fewer pages visited prior to purchase the better, as more page visits distracts the user from making an immediate purchase.

How they work together

The homepage of a website is typically the starting point of the conversion path and is what makes the consumer aware of a website in the first phase of the purchase path. The secondary and tertiary pages like About Us, Blog and News provide information and reinforce the consumer to purchase from the website. Product categories help create a clear and organized picture of what the business sells and allows them to make an educated decision about the products or services. Within the product page calls to action like “Buy Now” or “Sign-Up” buttons finalize the conversion.

Although not all sites will have this exact conversion path, those that have products or services to offer will have an opportunity for conversion. According to a Leap Agency article,

It is important to have a call-to-action to provide ROI and justify the amount of time and resources you are putting into your eCommerce marketing efforts.

Even with the understanding of how a consumer navigates through a website, businesses should remain proactive to counteract abandonment and bounce rates. The purchase path makes the assumption that a user will make it through the entire site and make a conversion, but more often than not a user will fall out of the process and leave a purchase incomplete.

Studies have shown an abandonment rate, the percent of those who leave the purchase path, between 55% and 80%. Which means only 20% to 45% of those people you have driven to your site via marketing activities actually convert. abandoning the cart, including not being ready to purchase and trying to ascertain the impact of shipping costs.

Here are some ways to combat cart abandonment:

1. Make the Purchase Path Valuable
Implement strategies to reconnect with a user if they fall out anywhere in the purchase process. Email retargeting or promotions like a coupon code, are a great way to recapture the consumer’s attention and drive a user back to the site.

2. QA Your Website Often
It’s important to have a quality control and regular maintenance plan on your website Test and revisit pages and links. Errors on a website not only looks unprofessional, but will stop users from purchasing.

3. Optimize
Optimize your website for conversions. Improving the path to make a purchase not only improves user interaction, but increases the chance of a sale.

4. Provide Customer Support
Installing a live chat program to assist customers while they are shopping can alleviate them from bouncing or leaving your site before a conversion in order to do further research or ultimately find another site to purchase from.

5. Update and Monitor Inventory
Be sure to keep an accurate count of inventory. Being constantly “Out of Stock” is a way to lose consumer engagement and to get a bad reputation as an eCommerce site.

Understanding eCommerce business and consumer behavior can help you to drastically improve user interface, website usability and increase not only visitors, but conversions. For more eCommerce web design tips contact the Zen Den team!

Article Source: Leap Agency


Woocommerce Product Category Taxonomy with the Yoast Plugin

By: Mae Demdam
It’s no surprise that our team is enamored by WordPress. We love the plethora of features, plugins and eCommerce extensions like WooCommerce and when building a recent client’s eCommerce WordPress website, check it out here, we wanted to deliver a cohesive design and search engine optimization strategy that increased their business and visibility. So, we planned to optimize all their products and categories to maximize all targeted keywords and phrases for their site, but the task wasn’t as easy as we thought. Faced with a road block we scoured the web for shortcuts and now we share that with you, “How To Optimize Categories in WooCommerce” through Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin.

How Did We Do It?

We recommend the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast. Not only is the plugin completely FREE, but it also makes dynamic optimization of categories and products so much easier! The WordPress SEO plugin gives you full control of SEO Titles and Metas, you’ll see the “fill-in-the-blank” forms available on each static page as soon as you install and activate the plugin. You can easily create SEO Titles, Meta Keywords, Meta Descriptions for all your site’s pages and the plugin kindly gives you a score of optimization, Green meaning great, Yellow meaning you can improve and Red meaning you may want to take another look at your usage of keywords. The plugin also gives you options to optimize categories, it just hasn’t been explained as clearly as it should’ve been until now.

Step 1 Title and Metas

Find the SEO Menu on the left side of your Dashboard
Select Titles & Metas

Step 2 Select Post Types

A list of “Types of Post” will display
Locate the “Products” section

Step 3 Category Optimization

Customize the template for your products by inserting %%ct_product_cat%% which includes the category of the product into the Meta Title. Make sure you are still accounting for the proper character length and best practices and in case you forgot read our SEO Checklist.

The WordPress SEO Page Title Template Dissected:

Title Template: %%title%% | %%ct_product_cat%% | %%sitedesc%%
The SEO title will display in Search Engines with the “Name of Product” (%%title%%) the “Category of Product” (%%ct_product_cat%%) and Your Call to Action, Marketing Slogan, Name of Site or Additional Text (%%sitedesc%%).
See the example here:
Title: Calm Wind Teapills | Digestive Health | Buy Chinese Herbs Online

The Meta Description Template Dissected:
Meta Description Template:%%sitedesc%% the highest quality herbal supplements and products in the industry %%title%%
The SEO description will display in the Search Engines with Your Call to Action, Marketing Slogan, Name of Site or Additional Text (%%sitedesc%%) + Additional text and the “Name of Product” (%%title%% )
Same example above:
Buy Chinese Herbs Online The highest quality herbal supplements and products in the industry Calm Wind Teapills.

Through our research we’ve seen the common mistake of using %%category%% for the category/tag which will not display correctly in the fields. Be sure to use to correct category shortcode, %%ct_product_cat%%

Remember keep your “additional text” generic and relatable to all products so your meta titles and description read properly in Search Engines. WordPress offers a variety of plugins to make managing and optimizing your website easy. Our team recommends WordPress SEO by Yoast for optimizing a large number of products and categories, but if you’re looking for more extensive assistance with your Search Engine Optimization Strategy contact our team, we’d be glad to help!


Popular eCommerce Platforms: WooCommerce Magento or Shopify?

By: Mae Demdam

Which Platform is Appropriate?

Making a successful eCommerce website it no easy task. You need to consider what eCommerce platform works best for your business and and your budget.

With all the choices for eCommerce websites out there, it may be difficult to decide which popular eCommerce platform is right for your business?

At first glance many of these platforms seem similar, but once you take a closer look some major differences begin to emerge. We discuss the pros and cons of each of these popular eCommerce platforms; WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify.

Most eCommerce website design shops will recommend at least one of these platforms for budgets in the $10,000 – $100,000+ price range with Magento being by far the most expensive.

WooCommerce for WordPress:

WooCommerce is a free, open source eCommerce plugin for the WordPress Content Management System (CMS). The platform is very popular because of WordPress, which is known for its usability and effectivity. It is a popular choice among professional designers and developers because of WordPress’s scalability and ease of customization. WooCommerce uses WordPress as a framework and adds a full suite of eCommerce functionality to a WordPress website.

To start with WooCommerce costs absolutely nothing and better yet, the cart has very few limitations. It is easy to manage because it is tailored to WordPress’s CMS and its probably one of the easiest carts to customize and configure in the eCommerce industry.

In terms of design, there are a variety of WooThemes which have all the tools to create a storefront in its default form. Since WooCommerce is open source designers and developers have full access to the source code which offers unlimited options for design and development customizations.

WooCommerce is fairly new in terms of eCommerce platforms and although you will get the basics of an eCommerce store; shopping cart, database, marketing tools, etc. you may be lacking some 3rd party integration capabilities. For example, if you have inventory management software for your online store, Woocommerce may not have an off the shelf plugin that integrates with your software. The platform will cater to small and medium online businesses, but may not be the best solution for enterprise level stores. Just to qualify, a small to medium size online retailer has revenues from 100k – 5 million in annual sales.


  • Open Source
  • Easy to Manage
  • Integrates with WordPress
  • Customizable Designs
  • Variety of Themes
  • Easy Code Language


  • Limited Default Features
  • Limited API Extensions
  • Additional Features at Cost
  • Limited Documentation
  • Plugin Updates

WooCommerce seems to be the perfect platform for small to medium or new businesses and for those already familiar with the WordPress CMS. The eCommerce platform is very user friendly and operates with the same style as WordPress, but it does lack some features and functionalities that may be beneficial for enterprise eCommerce sites. Thus if you’re looking for an affordable option WooCommerce may be a great starting point while your business grows.

Magento eCommerce Platform

Magento has quickly made a name for themselves as one of the largest and popular eCommerce platforms on the market today. They have a license-free version called the Community version, which is a flexible and feature-rich, out of the box solution for small businesses. They also have fully supported enterprise edition at a heftier price tag, around 15k annually. Although Magento has been considered one of the most expensive CMS platforms, it may be well worth it for large online businesses with multiple shops.

Magento is built on Zend Framework which uses open source technologies and programming languages allowing for a lot of flexibility for developers and designers. It can easily be modified and expanded at additional costs with the right Magento expert. With that said, the Magento community is quite large with a vast community of users, developers, and customer service providers to assist. Because of this, the platform is constantly growing providing more templates, extensions, modules, and more, which are commercial and free.

Along with all of the add-ons, Magento is a very feature-rich eCommerce platform providing the user with advanced marketing and promotion tools and easy integration with third party services like Google Base, Google Analytics, and Google Optimizer. It also accommodates a variety of payment gateways, inventory management, and dropshipper API’s.

But in order to offer these amazing features Magento’s platform does boast some complexity which ultimately requires a larger budget. The intricacies of the platform require a skilled Magento or website development professional, which in itself may be difficult to find. The platform allows for design and development customization, but it the process can be cumbersome and time consuming, as Magento is unforgiving. These changes may cause an increased budget and longer development time. And Magento needs a very good environment, hosting environment that is. It doesn’t work just anywhere,Magento will need to have proper setup, hosting, and a good server or it will run slow with longer page load times.

Magento is at the foundation of Fortune 500 companies and is the forefront to over 125,000 sites. Despite the popularity, Magento still has it’s pros and cons.


  • Feature Rich
  • User Friendly
  • Community Version is Free
  • Large Community
  • Great Support
  • Flexible
  • Scalable
  • Large Database
  • Multiple Online Stores in One


  • Magento Knowledge is Key
  • Magento Developers are Difficult to Find
  • Less Friendly for Designers
  • Cost (Price Points are a la carte)
  • Developer Costs
  • Hosting
  • Slower Site Loading Times


Magento is a great platform for your business if you have the development resources; finances and budget, development time, and development resources, such as PHP and MySQL. If you’re running a smaller business on a fixed budget, Magento is not your best choice for eCommerce platforms because you’ll be spending quite a bit on the external factors aside from the CMS.

Shopify eCommerce Platform

If you need an eCommerce site as quickly as possible you may consider Shopify. It seems to be one of easiest platforms to push live without customizations, of course. Shopify allows you to create a website without a lot of coding knowledge and if you take the site “out of the box” you can have your store up and running on the web in a matter of hours. Shopify also offers easy-to-use templates that give you the option to customize your store without writing any code.

Even with it’s simplicity this platform has been a bit problematic in that customizations are limited throughout the platform. Although you can tweak some HTML and CSS, Shopify created their own programming language called Liquid, for customizing templates. And though they provide a great customer service program for users, working within the Liquid framework has a steep learning curve.

With that said there are also a very limited number of templates in Shopify’s library, under 200. Thus if you are making a drag and drop site without customizations, it’s likely that your site will look like many others. If you wanted originality it may be advantageous to hire a web designer and developer who understands the Liquid language. Shopify is a tiered price platform which means the more you pay the more you get so many of the features are not included in the basic site and add ons can get expensive.

The backend of Shopify is user-friendly with clear cut navigations and categories, but some of the marketing features and reporting tools aren’t as advanced as some of the other platforms. It does include built-in analytics, Google Analytics integration and SEO tools, but again additional features will need to be added from Shopify’s app store.

Although Shopify offers simplicity and quickness in website launching, you may be sacrificing some major factors for your eCommerce site. In a nutshell the pros and cons of Shopify are listed below:


  • Easy Setup
  • Easy to Minor Customizations
  • Inexpensive
  • Great Customer Support
  • Quick Launch Times
  • Fully Hosted
  • Number of plans and price points


  • Proprietary Coding Language
  • Limited HTML and CSS Customizations
  • Limited Functionality Customizations
  • Limited Template Library
  • Price Points are Higher
  • Not good for store with lots of Categories and Sub Categories
  • Limited reporting options


Shopify may be the perfect eCommerce platform for users who need an online store right away and cannot wait for development and design time. Although it tends to be very cookie cutter out of the box, it will suffice for small to medium sized business, but doesn’t allow you the opportunity to standout with their limited themes. Shopify isn’t the best for large stores with various product categories and for those who do not understand the Liquid language.