Out of site, out of mind.

The unsung heroes of ecommerce


This week is a short week for us here in NZ following King’s Birthday weekend – Happy Birthday Charles.

As the weather gets colder and the days a bit darker, it’s nice for the team to have an extra day to recharge their batteries. I hope you’ve had a chance to do the same, or will do soon. For anyone in Auckland, I’ve got a recommendation at the end of this email.

Before I get into that, I want to dig into two areas that don’t get a lot of attention when it comes to ecommerce – in fact, sometimes they’re forgotten about completely. But when executed well, they can create deep, long-lasting connections with your audience.

Here’s what I’ve got for you today:

💻 The humble meta description
🎧 Alt text as poetry

Celebrating the wins
😶‍🌫️ A second location for Hana


The humble meta description

When people talk about what makes an ecommerce site great, they might talk about the inspiring UI (user interface) design, or the seamless UX (user experience).

Seldom do they praise the humble meta description.

While it might not be the sexiest part of an online store, that little description sitting underneath the title tag in a Google search can be the very thing that gets a new user to click through to your site.

It’s for this reason that meta descriptions deserve your attention.

Succinct and expressive with a clear USP and incentive, Max gives us a masterclass in meta descriptions.

Shopify outlines some tips in this article:

Consider the customer mindset
Think about why a customer should visit your site or buy your product over all the other search listings. What can you offer them that will pique their interest?

Make it unique
At the end of the day, your meta descriptions are little ads. They should be a continuation of your brand and your personality while also communicating your USP (unique selling proposition).

Keep it short
The optimal length is around 160 characters – after that, Google will most likely cut it off. With this in mind, you should place the most important messaging at the start of the description.

This has all the makings of a good meta description but just as it’s getting to a really unique and interesting point, it gets cut off.

Set expectations
Let users know what they can expect from your site or product succinctly. Don’t be afraid to be direct. With such a limited character count, you want to avoid using too many adjectives or fluffy descriptions.

Add a CTA (call to action)
Focus on the motivation behind the user’s search. If they’re shopping for seasonal clothing, you could say something like ‘Shop winter layers’.

Include your target keywords
See how you can naturally work keywords into your meta description – naturally being the operative word here. Avoid keyword stuffing as it can cheapen your brand and turn customers away.


Alt text as poetry

I’ve talked about accessibility a bit in previous newsletters, most recently discussing the scam in the United States. You can revisit that here.

Making your site more accessible ensures you’re not alienating any disabled members of your audience, and while there are plenty of ways to make your site more user-friendly for those who are visually impaired, often it’s approached as a purely functional exercise rather than a creative opportunity.

Alt Text as Poetry is a project by artists, Bojana Coklyat and Shannon Finnegan. Their goal is to reframe alt text, encouraging people to approach descriptions with care and creativity, adding expression to a feature that has historically been treated as an afterthought.

“We don’t just want alt text users to be able to access visual content on the internet, we want them to feel a sense of belonging in digital spaces.”

Shannon and Bojanna outline 3 key principles:

  1. Attention to language – consider your choice of words, your tone and how that aligns with the visual you’re describing.

  2. Word economy – keep alt text succinct rather than over-describing visuals.

  3. Experimental spirit – find creative ways to write alt text that provides better, more nuanced accessibility for disabled users.

An example of a great alt text, highlighted on the project’s website.
The description is written by Sinead Burke for the Instagram post below.

Learn how to add alt descriptions to your Instagram posts here.

With a workbook full of educational content and exercises, you can learn how to write descriptions that deliver a much more enriching experience for an often-overlooked segment of your audience. The whole workbook only takes 1.5–2.5hrs to complete and can be done on your own or in a group.

Need help with your meta descriptions and alt text? We’ve got a copywriter for that. Reply to this email if your words – alt text or otherwise – need whipping into shape.


A second location for Hana

We love seeing our clients succeed, so this week I wanted to give a little shout-out to health and wellness heroes, Hana.

A couple of weeks ago, Hana opened a new location in Parnell. If it’s anything like their Grey Lynn space, I know it'll be just as welcoming and rejuvenating – anyone who has had been can attest to the beautiful curved walls and premium finishes.⁠

A sauna room at Hana Grey Lynn

We had the pleasure of building and designing their website last year. We learnt a lot from the expansive educational content in their journal and podcast. And with a brief to translate the in-person experience online, it's safe to say the project converted a lot of our team to light and contrast therapy.

Ice bath anyone?

If you’re in Auckland, do yourself a favour. I can’t recommend them enough.


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Until next time.

Alex Murton
Managing Director & Co-Founder
Studio Almond