An online business that sells products over the Internet is wholly reliant on the integrity and efficiency of its ecommerce website. Those who may not be in online business may say that it’s foolish to put all of your eggs in the Internet basket, but the lucrative ecommerce industry will tell you otherwise. It has gotten to a point wherein being in ecommerce is definitely a viable business venture that doesn’t entail as much risk as naysayers are led to believe.
Therefore, having an ecommerce website that does everything it’s supposed to do is crucial to your revenue. The major way of doing this is to have good web design from the get-go so customers are drawn in to visit and browse the website, know exactly where to look, and be able to purchase what they want right then and there.
There are no hard and fast rules to design of any kind, but there are certain principles to designing an ecommerce website that seem to work well and have pretty much stuck as good practice, and here are some of them you should keep in mind.
Business Goals and User Experience
These two things must become consistent with each other in your e-commerce website, and that can be done through good web design. If you want to earn revenue, you must provide a seamless online shopping experience through a solid shopping cart system and easy-to-browse product listings. If you want to retain your customers, make sure that you have good products and a website that provides more than just those products, but also content and other services if possible.
Make sure that when your e-commerce website is being designed, you always think of the customers and what they’ll think of it once it’s online. Make sure that they’ll be able to use every important feature as easily as possible without too much hand-holding. That seems hard to do, but that’s just how big of a task designing an ecommerce website really is.
Choosing a Domain and Host
You can’t have a website without a domain name and web hosting. For ecommerce websites, dedicated web hosting is necessary, and a unique domain name with it. Whatever domain you choose, make it a succinct one that contains your business’ brand name. As for web hosting, pick one that is known to cater well to ecommerce with consistently good performance and 100% uptime, as well as dependable customer support.
Performance is a big thing when it comes to ecommerce websites. If it loads slowly, it may cause customers to abandon their shopping due to impatience and frustration. Also, it can even cause problems during the checkout and payment process that can cause your customers to lose their money and your business to lose face as a result.
Therefore, your website’s loading speed is indeed important. It comes down to your choice of host and the server being used to run your website; it’s not something you should skimp on.
Content is the meat with which your website exists with. Ecommerce websites these days can’t just exist by their online stores alone, lest they be left as barren wastelands. By having content that is relevant to the customers’ interests in the website, it’ll show them how much you care about the products and services that you provide them and they’ll care more about what you have to say and sell.
Double-checking and Proofreading
You can never be too thorough, even though being too meticulous can mean wasting your time on minor details when you could be tackling more major problems. Little problems like misspellings and grammatical errors can cause confusion and even resentment from customers, especially those who happen to be sticklers about such things (which are common on the Internet).
Double-check things like links and URLs that are critical to your website’s SEO and user experience. If there are broken links, fix them as soon as possible. If your URLs are not up to snuff, then get them sorted out. If there are missing or broken visual elements in your web design, make them right (as much as possible, without having to take your website down).
Check your HTML and CSS markups to make sure they’re valid and also check if there’s duplicate content on the website. All of these little things can add up to big things, which is why you have to be meticulous with your maintenance of your ecommerce website.
Mobile-friendly Responsive Design
In this era we’re in right now, mobile devices rule the world. No longer is ecommerce limited to computers as you can now shop online while on the road. Therefore, if you are to have a successful ecommerce website, it must be made with responsive design in mind that can adapt to whatever platform it’s being viewed in, including mobile devices.
Clean SEO-friendly Code
Search engine optimization is extremely important to ecommerce websites since no business can do well without exposure and visibility. A lot of your potential customers can come from those who stumble upon your website through search results, and they’ll be there if you happen to offer what they want. Therefore, having your ecommerce website coded cleanly and with SEO in mind is crucial to the long-term success of your website. When it comes to online business, every bit of advantage counts.
This isn’t just about keeping control of your website, but also protecting your customers’ personal information. There would most likely be sensitive information like addresses and credit card numbers that can be stolen by hackers who get into your website without permission. Make sure that you have strong security and strong passwords to make sure that you don’t see your business get compromised by a breach.
Make the Shopping Cart Visible
This is incredibly important for ecommerce websites since that’s just how customers buy from the website for the most part. If the shopping cart isn’t noticeable at the first look of the page, your number of customers can dwindle significantly or not even grow in the first place. Make sure that the shopping cart is right there where it’s supposed to be, reasonably visible and accessible to all who visit the website.
Credibility and Trustworthiness
This can only be achieved the old-fashioned way—through consistent display of honesty and integrity over time. Earning the trust of your customers doesn’t happen immediately, and losing it means they don’t give their money to your business at all, no matter how much value you promise to give them. This is the most important part of any business and is the bedrock upon which your business is built from the ground up and towards the skies it may hopefully reach one day.
Image credit: CC by Robert Douglass