Build a User-Friendly Site

05/06/2013
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Build a User-Friendly Site
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Despite what they may say, no company can do everything well. Using a technically aware team like Flow Online will get you the right advice for all aspects of Digital Marketing.

With a domain name in place, you’re ready to start building your e-commerce shop-front.  But before you begin, take some time to plan.

Planning Your Website Carefully

First, identify clear marketing goals for your site, such as generating leads, building a database of potential customers’ names and e-mail addresses, or putting a product catalogue online to save the time and expense of printing and mailing.  Quantify your objectives, such as increasing sales by 15%, so you know whether or not your site is successful.

Then, figure out what your potential customers need to know before buying your products and services. This might include:

  • An overview of your company, its products and services, and their applications
  • Complete product or service descriptions, including features, key benefits, pricing, product specifications, and other information, for each product or service
  • Testimonials, case studies, or success stories so customers can see how similar individuals or organisations have worked with you
  • An FAQ section that anticipates and answers customers’ common issues

Plan the structure of your site, focusing on making it easy for customers to learn what they need to know, make a purchase decision, and then buy quickly.  Use analytics software, and then compare the results with your goals.

Choosing the Right Site-Building Tools

With a solid plan in hand, you’re ready to start constructing your e-commerce site.  At the outset some small businesses try to build their own website with platforms like WordPress.  This may be ok to get you going, but you will not become a serious e-commerce company using software that is not specifically built for the job.

Many e-commerce businesses turn to design studios to create their websites, and I’m afraid this is not a good move either.  Of course it is important to have a good looking website designed by a professional graphic designer, but there is no point if it can’t be found by search engines.

Despite what they may say, no company can do everything well.  Using a technically aware team like Flow Online will get you the right advice for all aspects of Digital Marketing.  If we need to use specific graphic design, we have some brilliant people we work with regularly, who design with our technical guidance in mind, as well as brilliant design.

E-Commerce Site Design Tips

Following these basic guidelines will help make your site not only attractive, but also easy for customers to use—and that means easy to buy from you.

Carefully examine your favourite e-commerce sites. 
Creatively adapting the most compelling marketing and design techniques will enhance your site’s effectiveness.

Your home page is your site’s—and your business’s—online front door.
It’s essential that it makes a good first impression on visitors.  Make sure it clearly presents the following basic elements that customers are always likely to look for:

  • Your company name, logo, and phone number, prominently displayed. Take full advantage of the opportunity to showcase your brand identity.
  • A link to an “About the Company” page for customers to quickly learn who you are and what your business offers.
  • A site menu listing the basic subsections of your site. Keep this menu in the same place on every page throughout your site to make it easy to navigate.
  • Contact information. Give visitors your phone number, e-mail address, mailing address, etc.
  • Your privacy statement, and returns policy.

Make it easy for customers to explore your site.
As you build your site, try to minimize the number of clicks it takes the customer to go from your home page to checkout.  Make sure links make sense, and navigation is logical.

Keep things simple. 
Don’t fill up your site with graphics, animations, and other visual bells and whistles.  Stick to the same basic colour palette.  Ensure that images and graphics serve to enhance, not distract from, your marketing goals. Make sure your text is easy to read.

Keep download times short. 
Make sure pages are not too overloaded with graphics that slow load times, and minimize the size of your images when possible.  This is another way that the wrong software will slow things down.

As soon as you’ve completed this step, you’re ready to put your site on the Internet.

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