marți, 25 ianuarie 2011

5 Things To Make a Successful E-commerce Website

Nowadays web designers and developers are looking for the best way to create a successful website for their clients, one that is going to look great, be easy to use and will have decent content to attract users. But in these difficult times there is little response from clients that would like to have a website that would knock the competition down few steps. Here are few things to remember while building a website that aspires to be a successful e-commerce platform for your clients.

1. Prioritize the client, not the turnover.

Here’s a very first, very tricky one, as the website we build should earn us money, right? Right, but the old sentence says that you will gain as much profit as the effort you will put into the motion. Most of us easily skips this part and focuses only on minimal costs and simplicity of the project, leaving the customer to his own self. That’s what is being done by companies that are offering design and development services as a part of other deals, knowing very little about User Interface Experience (UIX) and website marketing, as this is not their primary field of work.

Instead of pursuing the money try focusing on what is important to the user: flexibility, speed, navigation, solid information and time, because time is money. Invest more time and money into researching your customers, if you are an already established business you definitely know your clientele, but if you are about to start then researching the market will tell you what you and your prospective clients are looking for.

2. Focus on usability and user experience.

Try creating a very simple to navigate and usable layout where everything that is important to the customer (shopping cart, prices, registration and login buttons, contact information, etc.) will be visible and obvious. Don’t try to make checkout process painful by adding some more special offers in between as this will draw visitors away from the checkout and will result in no sale.

Remember, you can offer them whatever you want, but when they click this magic button called “checkout” you cannot disturb the customer. The only thing you can really do well is simplify the whole process by removing unnecessary stuff. For example, if your prospective client is using Google Checkout as a payment method and your system grabs feed from Google then don’t mess around with addresses as this will be fetched from Google via XML. Instead add option to change the address if they would like to send a gift somewhere else than their home address.

3. Brighten up your site.

Color harmonies are as important for the customer experience as your budget for your web designer. Too dark theme and some of the people visiting your site might basically go somewhere else just because they don’t like the atmosphere on your site. Remember that colors represent your business and nowadays sleek and bright colors are in demand. If you have an established color theme take a good look at it and decide whether you need an upgrade or not. Not sure? Choose blue as it’s universal!

4. Look for something catchy.

People from day one were looking for something interesting that they could keep an eye on. This should be your target, to give them a reminder of your site. Got a nice logo? Put it somewhere different than top-left corner. Maybe add a nice flourish to the main theme around the edges to spruce the design up.

5. Don’t exaggerate.

Like with everything you can overdose and create a monster, so watch out. Too many ads will quickly get rid of your customers leaving you with no sales. Too much graphics and the website loading times will fall. Too many keywords in the META section and your Google ranking may be affected. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to please everybody with your website, so once you’ve got it running and earning money for you keep an eye on Google Analytics as it’s one of the best ways to get to know your audience.

There is a lot more than those sole five points to talk about but all in all it comes to patience and smart thinking. Web design might be your best friend or your worst enemy – it all depends from which perspective you will look at it.

I wish you all good luck with your shops!

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