Is your site designed to appeal to your ego – or is it designed to attract customers and make it easy for them to BUY?
If you have an existing site, or if you are just getting your business onto the web, here are some simple steps you should take to ensure you have a successful e-Commerce website.
Get your content right. When a prospective customer goes to your website they are expecting to find expert information and useful content that will help them make a buying decision.
Think of it this way, if you ring up a business or walk into a shop to buy something, you expect the salesperson to know what they are talking about and to give you helpful information.
If the salesperson doesn’t know their product and can’t give you helpful advice, you are probably going to walk out and check the competition.
Did you know 80% of people surveyed use the web for comparative shopping, or to gather information that will help them make a buying decision. They do this prior to ordering online or visiting a bricks and mortar shop.
If your site doesn't give them the information they need they go to your competitor's website - its as simple as that.
When you design your site forget the hype, instead be information generous.
With an editable website you can upload new information and create informative web pages without any programming knowledge. This is extremely important if you want to get your site into the top listing on the major search engines, and it's even more important if you want to be seen as an expert in your field.
But remember, when writing content use short sentences and short paragraphs to keep your content scannable. Most web users scan copy – they don’t read it.
Moving icons, flying pigs, ding-dongs, and music drive most people crazy when they are browsing your website. It drives search engines away too because the robots ignore content utilising the above technology.
Flashy sites are great for some owner’s ego, but you won’t be able to count the sales lost because you drove your customers away.
The choice is yours – big head or more sales! Simple sites attract business; complicated, flash filled sites could drive business to your competitors.
Make sure your site loads quickly – within 3-4 seconds - longer and you lose 10% of your viewers for every second it goes over 4 seconds (10% can mean the difference between profit and loss for many businesses).
Spell-check your scripts and make sure your grammar is correct. You won’t get any brownie points for mis-spelled words or bad sentence structure. In order to build trust with your audience you need to look and act professional at all times.
Stay away from virtual hosting. The cost of quality hosting and professional support is nothing compared to the cost of your site going down or having broken links and not knowing about it.
Just about as bad, is having to pay $80 - $120 per hour for technical support to fix broken links and other problems because your host does not have the skills to provide in-house technical back up of your site, and believe me the best of websites get glitches all the time.
Talk to your web developer about optimising your key pages for the search engines and how you can add quality out-going and in-coming links to your site. It can be expensive, but for some organisations it will pay off in a big way, particularly if you use professional real-time web tracking to analyse your marketing activity.
Keep adding informational content to your site. New content keeps your site fresh and interesting for people who re-visit your site…and a big bonus is it stimulates the search engine spiders. When they see fresh content on your site they automatically make a note to return soon and spider the site again. They absolutely crave new informational content.
Beware of turning your site into an online brochure – viewers get annoyed by online brochures, they may be interesting in print, but they just don’t work online. When a client insists on having brochures on their site, we normally place an icon on the page enabling them to download the brochure in PDF format.
Tip 9: Make sure there is provision on your site to gather names and email addresses automatically. Building a list of opt-in names of people interested in your products or services, and keeping in regular touch with everyone on your list, will pay HUGE dividends in the medium to longer term. You can get further information on building a profitable list at http://www.sitedesignnow.com/
Mike Greenfield is Marketing Director, SiteDesignNOW.com and NOW Technology Systems, an Australian and Brisbane Web Design company specialising in ONLINE CATALOGUES and NEWSLETTER HTML Marketing Systems. You can contact Mike@SiteDesignNOW.com