Moving on to more of the nitty gritty details (Part 1):
kick ass index page
This is your first impression to a lot of your customers. What is it demonstrating? Is it clean, does it convey all of the messages you want people to know about your products? Does it make navigation simple? Is there a crapload of scrolling? That seems to be one of the biggest problems I find for self-made websites. When a vaguely-interested customer has to scroll, invariably they’re scrolling past what you’re looking for them to know. Todays society is particularly ADHD so get rid of the fluff and keep it short and sweet.
social media output
Your job as an online business is to make it painfully easy for people to be narcissists. (In my opinion, anyhow!) Most social media is about sharing what YOU love, what YOU’RE looking at, what YOU bought. Make it easy for folks to spread the love by offering facebook/pinterest/twitter sharing options for ALL aspects of your site, not just the product pages. Some people may really really like your bio…a lot of people like to associate the owner with the company (I mean to say: they’re one in the same in some peoples’ eyes). Own it and let the social media options shine through.
a robust backend
I know what you’re thinking when you read that and all I can say is “indeed.”
But seriously, if you have a shopping cart system, you should try to get as many bells and whistles for the administration panel as you possibly can. More stats = more information on your customers and their buying habits. You should also be able to offer discounts, coupons, variable shipping options…think of the big guys, what makes their shopping carts so awesome? It’s the care they took to make sure the customer felt like they were given choices. By offering options and variable options through a capable shopping cart system that can do it seamlessly, you can increase customer loyalty even though your website is on autopilot.