8 Things Your Bigcommerce Developer Wants You To Know

April 3, 2018 | |

Tips from BigCommerce Developers

Web Design Tips From BigCommerce Partners

Ever wished you could pick your developers’ brain? We talked to our development team about the things they wish BigCommerce merchants knew. Here’s what they came up with: the top eight guiding principles for Bigcommerce websites in 2018.

1. Make Decisions With Data

How can you be sure that changes you make to your site are helping to grow your business? Invest time (and maybe money) into tracking and understanding your Google Analytics’ metrics. Understanding what pages or features are converting – and which are causing bounces or abandonment – can help you improve performance across the site.

“The time you spend digging into analytics will pay off tenfold,” said Aaron Nowlen, one of IntuitSolutions’ lead developers. “People talk a lot about user experience, but it’s more than general principles. It’s about creating an experience that works with your specific users.”

Not sure where to start when it comes to analytics? Contact us about monthly marketing services.

“People talk a lot about user experience, but it’s more than general principles. It’s about creating an experience that works with your specific users.” -Aaron Nowlen, Lead Developer

2. Website Content Affects Conversion Rates

What’s the most crucial thing merchants do to ensure that the development work they invest in actually pays off? Focus on getting great assets. Product photos and copywriting make a well-developed site truly sparkle, and are key to getting customers to buy.

“The most important thing you can do for your website is to bring us great assets,” said Devin Fitzsimons, an IntuitSolutions lead developer. “When we have great product photos and great text, we can leverage that into an absolutely amazing BigCommerce site.”

3. Images Affect SEO and UX

When asked what they spent the most time troubleshooting, our developers agreed that images were the most pervasive challenge.

“A lot of clients think bigger is better when it comes to image size,” said Nowlen. “Actually, big images tank your page speed and hurt your rankings.”

Fitzsimons agreed images were a common stumbling block for merchants. “Don’t put text directly on the image file,” he said. “It’s terrible for SEO, but almost everyone does it. What you should do is have that text as a heading and let your developer position it over the image. That way, Google can actually read it and count it positively towards your SEO.”

4. Page Speed Affects The Shopping Experience

The most common reasons new clients reach out to us? Their websites are too slow. And they’re right to be concerned. Studies show that customers expect websites to load in 1-2 seconds. Anything longer than that will cause abandonment.

Page speed optimization is a major focus of all the development work that we do. But our developers encouraged merchants to take a big-picture view of page speed.

“Everything you do on your website affects page speed,” explained Fitzsimons. “For example, installing a chatbot is a great idea for lots of sites, but it will impact your page speed. The trick is to work with a developer to limit the impact of your design choices on your page speed.”

“The trick [to great page speed] is to work with a developer to limit the impact of your design choices on your page speed.” -Devin Fitzsimons, Lead Developer

The best way to improve page speed on BigCommerce? Move to Stencil. Read more about Stencil’s metrics here.

5. Most Shopping Carts Are Abandoned At Checkout

Ever notice that your customers tend to drop off at checkout? You’re not alone. Research shows that most ecommerce sites see checkout abandonment rates of 40-60 percent.

Optimizing your checkout experience should be a major priority for any BigCommerce merchant. We designed our One Page Checkout to address common checkout user experience concerns. It preserves BigCommerce’s secure checkout process but gives it a user friendly, single-page upgrade.

See a demo of our One Page Checkout app.

6. Take Time To Understand Your Ecommerce Platform

You may have been running a BigCommerce store for years, but how well do you actually know the BigCommerce platform? Our developers agreed that understanding the back office is key to long term success. When a client understands BigCommerce well, our developers are able to leverage more of its native features, which results in a better-performing site overall.

“Our most successful clients are the ones who take time to learn the BigCommerce platform,” said Fitzsimons. “Some of them have dedicated ecommerce managers but not all of them. The difference is, they invest the time in understanding the platform and back office.”

“Our most successful clients are the ones who take time to learn the BigCommerce platform.” -Devin Fitzsimons, Lead Developer

7. Optimize For Mobile – And Keep Optimizing

Your website isn’t a static, unchanging thing. You have to constantly work on it to keep up with changing web standards. And with over 50 percent of search engine traffic now coming from mobile devices, mobile experience is constantly under Google’s scrutiny.

However, many ecommerce merchants don’t keep track of changing SEO standards and end up with a mobile experience that’s not only clunky, but actively being penalized by Google.

“Just because you optimized your site for mobile a few years ago doesn’t mean it’s a good mobile experience in 2018,” said Nowlen. “It’s worth checking in to see if your website is following today’s standards and how better to do that.”

8. We Want Your Website To Look Good, Too

The takeaway message is: you and your developer are on the same team. Across the board, our developers said that they valued the collaborative aspect of working with clients, and that they took pride in making websites look great.

“The end product matters to us,” said Brynne Zdybel, an IntuitSolutions developer. “We take pride in our work and it makes us happy to see that your site looks great and is performing well.”

“It’s a team effort,” said Fitzsimons. “You are the expert on your business and we’re the BigCommerce experts. We’re bringing our expertise together.”

Get Ecommerce Solutions From The BigCommerce Experts

Do you want design and development support from a team that actually understands the platform you’re on? Our development team has worked on hundreds of BigCommerce websites, doing work that ranges from small tweaks to full site redesigns.

Want expert advice on how to solve nagging problems and make more money? Call us today for a free consultation!

Emma works on IntuitSolutions' internal resources and marketing initiatives. Previously, she taught ESL and worked as a freelance writer on a variety of subjects ranging from healthcare to education.