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How To Create A WordPress Ecommerce Website

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How To Create A WordPress Ecommerce Website

WordPress is the most flexible platform for online sales available today.

The open-source nature of WordPress ensures that it is a reliable platform that is not going to disappear one day or go out of business.

Continue reading to learn how to create a WordPress ecommerce website and establish a successful online sales presence.

What Are Ecommerce Platforms?

An ecommerce platform is the content management system used to build and manage an online store.

There are generally two kinds of ecommerce platforms:

  • Proprietary SaaS (Software as a Service) Ecommerce Platforms.
  • Open-source Ecommerce Platforms (WordPress).

A proprietary SaaS platform handles all of the technology, hosting, and to varying levels, the SEO of the ecommerce store.

The benefit of a proprietary ecommerce platform is not having to think about the technology, which frees the merchant to focus on marketing and sales.

The downside of closed platforms is less control over the SEO and website. A merchant may be unable to add unavailable features on the closed platform.

The SEO capabilities of closed platforms vary, with some offering competent search performance options while others less so.

Rob Snell of GunDogSupply.com said WordPress wasn’t an option in 1997 when he and his brother opened their online store.

He shared that his experience with Yahoo! Stores (Turbify) has been exceedingly positive. Rob noted that paying extra not to have to deal with technology is money well spent for him.

He shared his experience with a SaaS platform:

“When you use a platform built for ecommerce, you get peace of mind, but that comes with a price.

I really don’t mind paying enterprise-level hosting rates to get that level of security, support, and uptime.

I sleep pretty well knowing that the engineers at Turbify (formerly Yahoo! Small Business) are on the job. At the end of the day, I’m a retailer, not a software engineer.”

What Is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is an open-source plugin that adds ecommerce functionality to WordPress. It is developed by Automattic, the commercial side of WordPress.

There are two versions of WooCommerce, a free and a paid version.

The free WooCommerce plugin enables everything a small business needs to create a successful ecommerce store.

Payment gateways, configurable shipping options, automatic sales tax calculations, and access to hundreds of free and paid extensions vetted by WooCommerce, are available on the WooCommerce website.

The paid Professional version provides more advanced features that accommodate the complex needs of a larger online business.

The modular nature of WooCommerce means that whatever function is needed can be seamlessly added to the WooCommerce store.

While it’s possible to create an ecommerce site without WooCommerce, it’s generally easier to create a store with WooCommerce than without it.

Katie Keith of Barn2 Plugins explains the benefits of using WooCommerce to create a WordPress ecommerce store:

“WooCommerce is the best path forward because of the size of the community, the number of extensions, and the considerable amount of resources.

WooCommerce is the easiest option because you can take advantage of the wide range of compatible themes and plugins, allowing most store owners to create an ecommerce store to exact requirements without needing to write any custom code.

If anything custom is needed, then it’s easy to find a developer to do it.

WooCommerce is easy to use, and many learning resources and tutorials are available to help you with it.

If you ever want to know how to do anything in WooCommerce, just Google it. You’ll almost certainly find a free tutorial or video to help you!”

Why Choose WooCommerce?

The primary benefits of WooCommerce are the nearly limitless possibilities of what can be created with WordPress, lower costs, and a huge community of developers to support the platform.

The ability to launch an ecommerce site with WordPress depends on the skill and knowledge of the person creating the website, which is why (depending on the scope of the online store) it may be helpful to engage a WordPress developer.

But it’s not always necessary to engage a developer because some web hosts offer a custom point-and-click WordPress feature that makes creating a store as easy as answering questions.

Once the store is up and running, the daily maintenance of the CMS (content management software) itself is relatively trivial.

At the same time, the costs of operating the site can be remarkably low compared to a proprietary ecommerce platform.

Plan For Site Speed Optimization

High Core Web Vitals speeds are within reach of WordPress ecommerce sites. But it’s something that has to be planned for.

Business owners can (and do) leverage the open-source freedom of WordPress to create speedy ecommerce stores.

Adam J. Humphreys of Makin 8 shared his insight:

“WooCommerce is for those with a solid SEO strategy that want to write solid content and bring people to their site with that.

Shopify’s platform for content is satisfactory but not at all designed for a high search performance approach, which is why most of my clients don’t opt for it.

If you don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount for an ecommerce platform then WordPress with Woocommerce is the best place to get started.

Most inexpensive WordPress hosts are enough to get started with a proper CDN like Cloudflare.”

WordPress Ecommerce Hosting

Site speed depends on many factors, but the foundation of a high-performance ecommerce store begins with web hosting.

Choosing the best web hosting for a WordPress ecommerce site is essential.

The following are top considerations for choosing the best hosting for a WordPress ecommerce site.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is basically thousands of websites hosted on a single server (computer), all sharing the resources of that one server.

The benefit of shared hosting is its incredibly low cost.

The downside is that inexpensive shared hosting is notoriously underpowered for intensive applications such as ecommerce. Consequently, low-cost shared hosting should generally be avoided.

Virtual Private Servers

Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a type of shared hosting but with very few sites sharing the resources. A VPS is a relatively affordable option for fast performance.

A major consideration for a VPS is that it requires familiarity with server control panels, which adds an additional layer of technology to deal with.

Managed Dedicated Servers

A managed dedicated server is a  server that is operated by a single customer.

Managed means that the web host takes care of the server hardware, updates the software, maintains backups, and in general, removes a layer of technical overhead.

An unmanaged server is one where the customer handles the software.

Both kinds of dedicated servers provide high-speed performance.

Managed WordPress Hosting

A popular option is to use a managed WordPress web hosting platform.

Managed WordPress hosting offers the convenience of not having to deal with the underlying technology.

A major benefit of managed WordPress hosting is that they provide a fast and secure WordPress environment that is optimized for site speed out of the box.

There can be limitations to what plugins can be used, such as caching plugins, because they tend to use too many resources. But the managed web hosts offer their own optimized replacements at the server level.

Many managed WordPress hosts offer built-in site performance benefits such as caching and Content Delivery Networks (CDN).

Thus, with a managed WordPress web host, one can achieve the speed and security benefits of a closed SaaS system but with the freedom and generally lower costs of an open-sourced system.

It’s a great choice because it solves the problem of site speed at the hosting level, is secure, and the hosts offer service specific to the needs of WordPress websites.

Popular Managed WordPress Hosts To Consider

The following are examples of popular managed WordPress web hosts.

Click And Build WordPress Hosting

Bluehost is an interesting choice because they offer a straightforward click-and-build approach to WordPress ecommerce websites that can rival any of the closed-source ecommerce platforms.

The Bluehost fill-in-the-blanks style approach to WordPress ecommerce handles payments, inventory management, and all other aspects of ecommerce.

Bluehost offers the freedom to easily build an online WordPress store with the flexibility to implement a solid SEO strategy.

It offers all of the conveniences of a proprietary SaaS ecommerce solution but with WordPress.

What Are WordPress Plugins And WooCommerce Extensions?

WordPress and WooCommerce can be upgraded with additional functionalities using plugins and extensions.

  • The WordPress core is extended with plugins. Changes made with WordPress plugins affect the entire website.
  • WooCommerce is upgraded with extensions as well as plugins. WooCommerce extensions only apply to the WooCommerce part of the website. But there are also plugins in the WordPress plugin repository that are specific to ecommerce (with or without WooCommerce) and plugins specifically for WooCommerce.

Adding a new feature related to ecommerce is done through WooCommerce extensions available on the WooCommerce website and through plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository.

WooCommerce extensions can generally be grouped into four essential functionalities:

  • Payments.
  • Shipping and tracking.
  • Inventory management.
  • Sales.

There are multiple ways to browse for WooCommerce extensions, such as by functionality and collections.

WooCommerce offers a collection of recommended extensions called WooCommerce Essentials.

WooCommerce Essentials are extensions chosen by WooCommerce to form the foundation for launching a successful ecommerce website.

Some of the essential functionalities are:

  • Payments.
  • Backup.
  • Product Display and Sales Add-ons.
  • Theme.
  • Coupons, Gift Cards.
  • Google Marketing Integrations.
  • Automations (like abandoned cart reminders).

How To Choose WordPress And WooCommerce Plugins And Extensions

WooCommerce developer James Kemp, the founder of IconicWP, shared his insights on extending WordPress ecommerce stores:

“Make sure every plugin and extension you choose serves a purpose.

Does it increase the average order value?

Does it ensure more customers complete their checkout?

Does it improve the user experience?”

Dorron Shapow of 100PercentOrganicSEO.com shares what store owners need to focus on when deciding what plugins they’ll need.

“In my experience, site owners seem to lose sight of the user experience.

How an ecommerce store is structured and what the user flow is like from different touch points of entry should be considered before a single pixel is on the screen.

So the most common mistake I see is not thinking like a site visitor.

For example, site visitors that are cash in hand and only want a few things may convert into a sale because of competitive pricing, fast or free shipping, and a quick and easy checkout.

For them, it’s important always to be three clicks away from a complete transaction.

Not everyone needs to be pushed or have to swat pop-ups and bells and whistles.

And that’s going to influence the choices of plugins needed.”

Examples Of Ecommerce Extensions And Plugins

Chuck Price of Measurable SEO shared a list of recommended ecommerce plugins and extensions:

  • WooCommerce.
  • Advanced Order Export For WooCommerce.
  • Booster for WooCommerce.
  • Braintree for WooCommerce Payment Gateway.
  • Contact Form 7.
  • Conversios.io – All-in-one Google Analytics, Pixels and Product Feed Manager for WooCommerce.
  • Multistep Product Configurator for WooCommerce.
  • PW WooCommerce Gift Cards Pro.
  • Woo Custom Related Products.
  • Woo Invoices.
  • WooCommerce Bulk Price Update.
  • WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration.
  • WooCommerce Side Cart.
  • WooCommerce Single Product Page Builder.
  • WooCommerce TM Extra Product Options.
  • WooCommerce Tree Table Rate Shipping.

Dorron Shapow recommends the following WordPress plugins:

  • WooCommerce.
  • An SEO plugin (I prefer Rank Math because it offers more free functionality and built-in schema).
  • Payment gateway integration.
  • Analytics Integration and dashboard.
  • A CRM for newsletters.
  • Website security plugin.
  • A page builder I prefer: Elementor.
  • Shipping integration and tracking.
  • Contact form plugin.
  • WooCommerce Email Customizer.
  • WP optmize cacheing plugin.
  • Optional chat functionality.
  • A backup plugin with daily backups.

James Kemp recommends:

  • Flux Checkout (ensures checkout process is optimized for conversions).
  • RankMath for SEO.

WordPress Ecommerce Website Mistakes To Avoid

Among the top mistakes an ecommerce site can make is to pile on so much functionality that conversions begin to suffer.

Plugins and Extensions work by downloading extra code and scripts to the shopper’s browser.

The more code and scripts downloaded, the longer it takes for a webpage to function, which slows down the shopping experience.

A smart developer can overcome these issues by doing things such as only downloading what each page needs.

For example, there is no reason to download scripts and fonts related to a contact form if there is no contact form on that webpage.

Unfortunately, an old coding practice of adding scripts to every page is still widespread in the software development world, so make sure that every extension or plugin is absolutely necessary.

Chuck Price notes that many mistakes common to any WordPress site are common for WooCommerce sites.

Chuck shared:

“Probably the same mistakes as any WordPress site can hinder a WooCommerce store:

Not keeping plugins up to date.

Forms don’t work

Vulnerable to security threats

Plugin incompatibilities.”

Dorron Shapow focuses on the user experience to avoid mistakes that hurt sales:

“A failure to find the right balance of design, user experience, and SEO.

What sometimes shocks clients is telling them that an ecommerce site should have little to do with the merchant and more to do with the customer.

The website is for them.”

Before Going Live With The Online Store

No matter how much thought is devoted to how a site should work, it’s almost inevitable that customers will encounter unforeseen problems.

That’s why I recommend making it easy for site visitors to contact you to provide feedback about the site. It can be through email, chat or text, or all three.

Customer feedback is super important to understand what works and what does not.

Another tactic for ironing out user experience bugs is a free user experience analytics offered by Microsoft called Clarity.

Clarity helps site publishers understand how far users are scrolling on a page, identifies what parts of a webpage are frustrating, which pages work best, and even offers machine learning AI to make improvement suggestions.

Some mistakenly compare Clarity to Google Analytics, but there is no comparison between them because they each do different things.

  • Clarity tracks the site visitor user experience on individual webpages, showing how users interact with a webpage.
  • Google Analytics is useful for tracking site visitors to gain insights into conversions relative to ads or individual webpages.

It may be useful to use Clarity to gain insights into site performance during at least the first three to six months after the website goes live.

What to do before and after the site is live?

James Kemp of IconicWP offers five considerations:

Is your store easy to navigate? Can customers easily find their way through your store right up to the purchase confirmation page?

Is your store optimized for search engines? Don’t go overboard with optimizations – ensure you’re using an SEO plugin like Toast or RankMath to help people find you in search results.

Have you tested your payment gateway and purchase flow?
There’s nothing worse than going live and finding out your influx of potential customers can’t checkout!

Have you optimized your checkout? Use a WooCommerce extension (like Iconic’s Flux Checkout) to ensure your checkout process is refined and optimized for conversions.

How will you promote your store? It’s unlikely you’ll be able to launch and expect traffic without further effort. You’ll want to consider paid advertising on Google, Facebook, and other social media platforms, ongoing content marketing on your website via a blog, and being active and valuable in relevant online communities.”

WordPress Is A Top Choice For Ecommerce

WordPress is a stable platform for creating an ecommerce store, offering virtually unlimited options for almost any need.

According to BuiltWith.com, WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce platform.

Katie Keith of Barn2Plugins shared why WordPress is so popular:

“The huge community around WooCommerce means that there are more extensions available to add extra features than any other platform.

There’s also a vast community of WooCommerce experts who you can hire to build and support your store.

You won’t find a wide range of professionals with any other platform.”

Those are great reasons to feel confident in investing in a WordPress ecommerce website for your business.

More resources:


Featured image: Shutterstock/Lysenko Andrii



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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

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GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After 'Unexpected' Delays

OpenAI shares its plans for the GPT Store, enhancements to GPT Builder tools, privacy improvements, and updates coming to ChatGPT.

  • OpenAI has scheduled the launch of the GPT Store for early next year, aligning with its ongoing commitment to developing advanced AI technologies.
  • The GPT Builder tools have received substantial updates, including a more intuitive configuration interface and improved file handling capabilities.
  • Anticipation builds for upcoming updates to ChatGPT, highlighting OpenAI’s responsiveness to community feedback and dedication to AI innovation.

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here’s How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

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96.55% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. Here's How to Be in the Other 3.45% [New Research for 2023]

It’s no secret that the web is growing by millions, if not billions of pages per day.

Our Content Explorer tool discovers 10 million new pages every 24 hours while being very picky about the pages that qualify for inclusion. The “main” Ahrefs web crawler crawls that number of pages every two minutes. 

But how much of this content gets organic traffic from Google?

To find out, we took the entire database from our Content Explorer tool (around 14 billion pages) and studied how many pages get traffic from organic search and why.

How many web pages get organic search traffic?

96.55% of all pages in our index get zero traffic from Google, and 1.94% get between one and ten monthly visits.

Distribution of pages by traffic from Content Explorer

Before we move on to discussing why the vast majority of pages never get any search traffic from Google (and how to avoid being one of them), it’s important to address two discrepancies with the studied data:

  1. ~14 billion pages may seem like a huge number, but it’s not the most accurate representation of the entire web. Even compared to the size of Site Explorer’s index of 340.8 billion pages, our sample size for this study is quite small and somewhat biased towards the “quality side of the web.”
  2. Our search traffic numbers are estimates. Even though our database of ~651 million keywords in Site Explorer (where our estimates come from) is arguably the largest database of its kind, it doesn’t contain every possible thing people search for in Google. There’s a chance that some of these pages get search traffic from super long-tail keywords that are not popular enough to make it into our database.

That said, these two “inaccuracies” don’t change much in the grand scheme of things: the vast majority of published pages never rank in Google and never get any search traffic. 

But why is this, and how can you be a part of the minority that gets organic search traffic from Google?

Well, there are hundreds of SEO issues that may prevent your pages from ranking well in Google. But if we focus only on the most common scenarios, assuming the page is indexed, there are only three of them.

Reason 1: The topic has no search demand

If nobody is searching for your topic, you won’t get any search traffic—even if you rank #1.

For example, I recently Googled “pull sitemap into google sheets” and clicked the top-ranking page (which solved my problem in seconds, by the way). But if you plug that URL into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you’ll see that it gets zero estimated organic search traffic:

The top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demandThe top-ranking page for this topic gets no traffic because there's no search demand

This is because hardly anyone else is searching for this, as data from Keywords Explorer confirms:

Keyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demandKeyword data from Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer confirms that this topic has no search demand

This is why it’s so important to do keyword research. You can’t just assume that people are searching for whatever you want to talk about. You need to check the data.

Our Traffic Potential (TP) metric in Keywords Explorer can help with this. It estimates how much organic search traffic the current top-ranking page for a keyword gets from all the queries it ranks for. This is a good indicator of the total search demand for a topic.

You’ll see this metric for every keyword in Keywords Explorer, and you can even filter for keywords that meet your minimum criteria (e.g., 500+ monthly traffic potential): 

Filtering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for keywords with Traffic Potential (TP) in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Reason 2: The page has no backlinks

Backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors, so it probably comes as no surprise that there’s a clear correlation between the number of websites linking to a page and its traffic.

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
Pages with more referring domains get more traffic

Same goes for the correlation between a page’s traffic and keyword rankings:

Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywordsPages with more referring domains rank for more keywords
Pages with more referring domains rank for more keywords

Does any of this data prove that backlinks help you rank higher in Google?

No, because correlation does not imply causation. However, most SEO professionals will tell you that it’s almost impossible to rank on the first page for competitive keywords without backlinks—an observation that aligns with the data above.

The key word there is “competitive.” Plenty of pages get organic traffic while having no backlinks…

Pages with more referring domains get more trafficPages with more referring domains get more traffic
How much traffic pages with no backlinks get

… but from what I can tell, almost all of them are about low-competition topics.

For example, this lyrics page for a Neil Young song gets an estimated 162 monthly visits with no backlinks: 

Example of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content ExplorerExample of a page with traffic but no backlinks, via Ahrefs' Content Explorer

But if we check the keywords it ranks for, they almost all have Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores in the single figures:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

It’s the same story for this page selling upholstered headboards:

Some of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks forSome of the low-difficulty keywords a page without traffic ranks for

You might have noticed two other things about these pages:

  • Neither of them get that much traffic. This is pretty typical. Our index contains ~20 million pages with no referring domains, yet only 2,997 of them get more than 1K search visits per month. That’s roughly 1 in every 6,671 pages with no backlinks.
  • Both of the sites they’re on have high Domain Rating (DR) scores. This metric shows the relative strength of a website’s backlink profile. Stronger sites like these have more PageRank that they can pass to pages with internal links to help them rank. 

Bottom line? If you want your pages to get search traffic, you really only have two options:

  1. Target uncompetitive topics that you can rank for with few or no backlinks.
  2. Target competitive topics and build backlinks to rank.

If you want to find uncompetitive topics, try this:

  1. Enter a topic into Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to max. 20
  4. Set the Lowest DR filter to your site’s DR (this will show you keywords with at least one of the same or lower DR ranking in the top 5)
Filtering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerFiltering for low-competition keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

(Remember to keep an eye on the TP column to make sure they have traffic potential.)

To rank for more competitive topics, you’ll need to earn or build high-quality backlinks to your page. If you’re not sure how to do that, start with the guides below. Keep in mind that it’ll be practically impossible to get links unless your content adds something to the conversation. 

Reason 3. The page doesn’t match search intent

Google wants to give users the most relevant results for a query. That’s why the top organic results for “best yoga mat” are blog posts with recommendations, not product pages. 

It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"It's obviously what searchers want when they search for "best yoga mats"

Basically, Google knows that searchers are in research mode, not buying mode.

It’s also why this page selling yoga mats doesn’t show up, despite it having backlinks from more than six times more websites than any of the top-ranking pages:

Page selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinksPage selling yoga mats that has lots of backlinks
Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"Number of linking websites to the top-ranking pages for "best yoga mats"

Luckily, the page ranks for thousands of other more relevant keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. So it’s not such a big deal that it doesn’t rank for “best yoga mats.”

Number of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga matsNumber of keyword rankings for the page selling yoga mats

However, if you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic—and they already target a keyword with traffic potential—another quick SEO win is to re-optimize them for search intent.

We did this in 2018 with our free backlink checker.

It was originally nothing but a boring landing page explaining the benefits of our product and offering a 7-day trial: 

Original landing page for our free backlink checkerOriginal landing page for our free backlink checker

After analyzing search intent, we soon realized the issue:

People weren’t looking for a landing page, but rather a free tool they could use right away. 

So, in September 2018, we created a free tool and published it under the same URL. It ranked #1 pretty much overnight, and has remained there ever since. 

Our rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the pageOur rankings over time for the keyword "backlink checker." You can see when we changed the page

Organic traffic went through the roof, too. From ~14K monthly organic visits pre-optimization to almost ~200K today. 

Estimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checkerEstimated search traffic over time to our free backlink checker

TLDR

96.55% of pages get no organic traffic. 

Keep your pages in the other 3.45% by building backlinks, choosing topics with organic traffic potential, and matching search intent.

Ping me on Twitter if you have any questions. 🙂



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Firefox URL Tracking Removal – Is This A Trend To Watch?

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Firefox URL Tracking Removal - Is This A Trend To Watch?

Firefox recently announced that they are offering users a choice on whether or not to include tracking information from copied URLs, which comes on the on the heels of iOS 17 blocking user tracking via URLs. The momentum of removing tracking information from URLs appears to be gaining speed. Where is this all going and should marketers be concerned?

Is it possible that blocking URL tracking parameters in the name of privacy will become a trend industrywide?

Firefox Announcement

Firefox recently announced that beginning in the Firefox Browser version 120.0, users will be able to select whether or not they want URLs that they copied to contain tracking parameters.

When users select a link to copy and click to raise the contextual menu for it, Firefox is now giving users a choice as to whether to copy the URL with or without the URL tracking parameters that might be attached to the URL.

Screenshot Of Firefox 120 Contextual Menu

Screenshot of Firefox functionality

According to the Firefox 120 announcement:

“Firefox supports a new “Copy Link Without Site Tracking” feature in the context menu which ensures that copied links no longer contain tracking information.”

Browser Trends For Privacy

All browsers, including Google’s Chrome and Chrome variants, are adding new features that make it harder for websites to track users online through referrer information embedded in a URL when a user clicks from one site and leaves through that click to visit another site.

This trend for privacy has been ongoing for many years but it became more noticeable in 2020 when Chrome made changes to how referrer information was sent when users click links to visit other sites. Firefox and Safari followed with similar referrer behavior.

Whether the current Firefox implementation would be disruptive or if the impact is overblown is kind of besides the point.

What is the point is whether or not what Firefox and Apple did to protect privacy is a trend and if that trend will extend to more blocking of URL parameters that are stronger than what Firefox recently implemented.

I asked Kenny Hyder, CEO of online marketing agency Pixel Main, what his thoughts are about the potential disruptive aspect of what Firefox is doing and whether it’s a trend.

Kenny answered:

“It’s not disruptive from Firefox alone, which only has a 3% market share. If other popular browsers follow suit it could begin to be disruptive to a limited degree, but easily solved from a marketers prospective.

If it became more intrusive and they blocked UTM tags, it would take awhile for them all to catch on if you were to circumvent UTM tags by simply tagging things in a series of sub-directories.. ie. site.com/landing/<tag1>/<tag2> etc.

Also, most savvy marketers are already integrating future proof workarounds for these exact scenarios.

A lot can be done with pixel based integrations rather than cookie based or UTM tracking. When set up properly they can actually provide better and more accurate tracking and attribution. Hence the name of my agency, Pixel Main.”

I think most marketers are aware that privacy is the trend. The good ones have already taken steps to keep it from becoming a problem while still respecting user privacy.”

Some URL Parameters Are Already Affected

For those who are on the periphery of what’s going on with browsers and privacy, it may come as a surprise that some tracking parameters are already affected by actions meant to protect user privacy.

Jonathan Cairo, Lead Solutions Engineer at Elevar shared that there is already a limited amount of tracking related information stripped from URLs.

But he also explained that there are limits to how much information can be stripped from URLs because the resulting negative effects would cause important web browsing functionality to fail.

Jonathan explained:

“So far, we’re seeing a selective trend where some URL parameters, like ‘fbclid’ in Safari’s private browsing, are disappearing, while others, such as TikTok’s ‘ttclid’, remain.

UTM parameters are expected to stay since they focus on user segmentation rather than individual tracking, provided they are used as intended.

The idea of completely removing all URL parameters seems improbable, as it would disrupt key functionalities on numerous websites, including banking services and search capabilities.

Such a drastic move could lead users to switch to alternative browsers.

On the other hand, if only some parameters are eliminated, there’s the possibility of marketers exploiting the remaining ones for tracking purposes.

This raises the question of whether companies like Apple will take it upon themselves to prevent such use.

Regardless, even in a scenario where all parameters are lost, there are still alternative ways to convey click IDs and UTM information to websites.”

Brad Redding of Elevar agreed about the disruptive effect from going too far with removing URL tracking information:

“There is still too much basic internet functionality that relies on query parameters, such as logging in, password resets, etc, which are effectively the same as URL parameters in a full URL path.

So we believe the privacy crackdown is going to continue on known trackers by blocking their tracking scripts, cookies generated from them, and their ability to monitor user’s activity through the browser.

As this grows, the reliance on brands to own their first party data collection and bring consent preferences down to a user-level (vs session based) will be critical so they can backfill gaps in conversion data to their advertising partners outside of the browser or device.”

The Future Of Tracking, Privacy And What Marketers Should Expect

Elevar raises good points about how far browsers can go in terms of how much blocking they can do. Their response that it’s down to brands to own their first party data collection and other strategies to accomplish analytics without compromising user privacy.

Given all the laws governing privacy and Internet tracking that have been enacted around the world it looks like privacy will continue to be a trend.

However, at this point it time, the advice is to keep monitoring how far browsers are going but there is no expectation that things will get out of hand.

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