What do you need to consider to ensure you have the foundations of a profitable website?
When you set out to build a brand new website for your business then you fall into 3 general categories:
- Know exactly what you want in terms of web design and functionality
- Have no clue what you want or how it should function
- You have some ideas in your head, you’ve seen a few sites you like but would like some feedback and advice from experts
Urban Attic Design can help you no matter your level of expertise. Even those that know exactly what they want always walk away with more and some different ideas than they had when they started out.
There are 2 fundamental principles to work from when you set out to have a web site professionally designed:
These are the basics; let’s go on to discuss the other main factors.
Usability (or User Experience, UX for short) is the base for all design decisions that you will make! You would think that usability refers to how your web site will function and that is correct, however, have you considered how someone with a sight problem would access and use your site? Or how easy the site is to navigate on a device?
When you are planning your new web design then try to consider every visitor type that may land on it. Although you won’t be able to cater for everyone, you can make sure that most people can use your site easily and with confidence.
Think clean and crisp, a branded colour scheme, photos with instant appeal and a site that’s going to load easily and fast on a phone as well as a tablet and a desk top. (51% of all purchases online in 2016 were made on mobile! Make sure your site is responsive or you’ll be losing custom).This is expected to rise over 2017 and 2018.
After colour scheme, navigation is the next area to focus on and a cornerstone of your site. Web sites live and die on how easy visitors find it to get from landing on your site, to achieving their goal – whether information or purchase.
We would assume that any business that has a web site has it for the purposes of a revenue stream. This may be the linchpin of the business, or be in addition to your existing bricks and mortar shop. In either case you need to ensure your website is quick, clear and easy to explore.
With e-commerce you are selling products to visitors. Whether through a unique 1st visit or to a repeat customer, you must ensure the path to checkout is clutter free and completed in the minimal amount of clicks.
At worse your customers should be able to:
- Land on the site
- Navigate to the product through an easy to use and read navigation path
- View the product and read the product information on the same page
- Add the product to the basket
- Create an account whether as a sign up or a visitor checkout the minimum of an e-mail address and name will be required at this point.
- Enter billing, shipping and payment information
- (Or go to PayPal to make payment)
- Confirm the order and be presented confirmation.
Already you have approximately 10 clicks in order for them to complete the transaction, and that’s assuming that the navigation system is clean, clear and simple to use. If that’s your current site, then it needs reducing as soon as possible!
To push people beyond that amount of clicks severely reduces the chances of them converting into a sale – and conversions are key in any business. So when we design a site it’s with the goal of the fewest clicks to get to a sale, in a way that is intuitive and easy and that works as well on mobile as it does anywhere else.
Navigation on an e-commerce web site usually consists of categories and products. Depending on the nature of your product, you may also need to present your visitor with options (such as colour, size or configuration), which would also need to be considered.
It’s true that image is everything, and if you are promoting products then you need to make sure that you use the best quality images possible. This can be time consuming, but in the long term is an invaluable use of your time. Take a look at the use of fantastic imagery over at Nami Sushi, a great example of how to do things right.
So, you’ve taken the time to create an easy to use web site, you will have put money and time into making sure people find your web site through either investing in SEO or Adwords, visitors have easily navigated through the site to get to the product they want to buy, so the worst thing you can do is disappoint them with a poor or unrealistic image.
There are normally 2 scenarios that come into play here:
- You manufacture your products
- You buy them from a supplier
If you sell products freely available on other websites then the chances are that you and other sellers will use images that your supplier has provided. If that is the case, then you can either take the time to unpack each product and take your own unique images or you can use the stock images supplied to you. Don’t forget people use Google Images too as a search tool, so make yours the ones that “pop” and get the attention.
If you choose to create your own images then that’s fantastic, not only will you be able to demonstrate the features each product has, or present the visitor with a different angle of the product you will be differentiating yourself from the competition.
If taking your own product shots is not an option, then make sure you have a good quality extra large image – size normally 800 x 600. This will allow visitors to expand the product image. High quality pictures have a strong impact on conversions. A good image creates the desire for the product – online retail psychology studies have proven this. We can help with taking and producing the right images for your website, so talk to us today and see how.
If you produce your own products, then this becomes a lot easier to take care of. You will be in a perfect position to showcase your products with unique, interesting photographs.
Another way to think about your product images is to look at them as part of your mainstream marketing. They represent what you sell or offer to people.
B2B sales can be slightly forgiven in this case – e.g. if you are selling paper towels, people are going to be more interested in price and quantity than a photo, however well lit. But you can still make sure it’s a crisp non-blurred image.
Delivery is always a huge decision and can make or break the conversion success of your e-commerce website.
Always look at direct competition, see what they are offering but if you can’t match it without losing money then don’t try. Look at your content and what added value you have, that will far outweigh the delivery you need to charge.
Create a delivery page and use this to explain why you charge what you charge. If your products are specialist, such as perishable foods, then tell people you have to use specialist packaging. If your products are expensive then explain to people that you have to use a fully insured service. It might be the case that you are a small business, not yet fully established with volume shipments with your courier company, if that’s the case then again, tell people this, at least that way they can understand and make a more informed decision about completing the sale with you.
You can also consider looking at an average cost of shipping, where you lose a little on some shipments, but gain on other smaller packages.
Try to avoid reducing the headline figure of your shipping by adding it to your products! This is a false economy and will decrease customer satisfaction.
So by now, you should have a really good understanding of how your web site is going to look – how people will navigate round it – that the legal information required is in process and that delivery methods and shipping charges are accurately explained and competitive.
We still need to discuss your web site’s content. This is a subject in its own right and can be accessed by visiting our content page.
Clear Calls to Action
Whether your website is an e-commerce site or just a brochure site, you need to make sure that every page has a clear call to action. That is to say, what do you want someone to do as a result of reading the page? If it’s to show off your expertise, then direct users to contact you to find out more. If it’s to promote a product, then make sure there are links to ‘buy now’ on the page. Never forget to make it as easy as possible for the user by signposting their way through the site and always encouraging them to do what you want them to do, which we are assuming is to buy, or to enquire.
By taking the time to work through the above, not only will you have excellent site architecture, you will also save money and time by avoiding having to fix early mistakes.
This basic structure also helps us to deliver your website quicker, meaning reduced costs and faster promotion of your products.
If you want to make the most of a new website then we can help to make it a cost effective, efficient and enjoyable process. Give us a ring or drop us a line, or even better, come and have a cuppa at our offices, we can talk your project through in detail and give you an idea of costs involved.