Creating a website that sells
Long gone are the days of slow mail orders and catalog shopping. Today Internet users can buy books from Belize, tea from Taiwan and beans from Boston--and do it all in their pajamas from the comfort of their living room. The Internet has forever changed the way we shop and where we spend our money.
A poorly designed website or unreliable web hosting can cause business owners to lose a sale in seconds. If Barnes and Noble's website goes down and you need a book, what do you do? If you're like most, you head off to Amazon or eBay or Borders. Thanks to the World Wide Web, we no longer have to wait for anything.
Are you driving your customers away or do you have a website that sells? If you're not sure, follow along as we take a look at what you should be doing online.
Be professional, look professional
First impressions go a long way, especially online where you're only a mouse click away from the competition.
Your website should look clean and professional and inspire confidence.
Prices should always be visible
Nothing is more frustrating for online shoppers than not being able to find the cost of an item or having to click through ten pages to get to the pricelist. Make information about your products and prices readily accessible to shoppers.
Make it easy to buy
Have "buy it now" buttons next to products and a clearly defined way for customers to check out and get on with their day. If you don't have a system in place, look into online shopping carts that will do most of the work for you.
Provide a search feature
Give shoppers a simple way to find the items they're looking for by having a search feature built into your website. If you don't have one already, set yourself up with a specialized
Google site search.
Easy navigation means smooth sailing
Your business must be easy to navigate. Your layout should include a navigation bar with these features:
- Shopping cart: A place where users can see what they're buying and how much they're spending.
- Contact Us: One page on your site that gives shoppers the ability to get in touch with you by email or phone.
- About Us: This page tells customers about you and your business, plus provides a mailing address, phone number and other customer service information.
State shipping options
Have you ever loaded up an online shopping cart, arrived at the checkout and realized the shipping prices were more than double what you expected? Give your clients shipping options ranging from slow, inexpensive delivery to speedy overnight service, and let customers know your prices before they even begin the shopping process.
Fast loading pages
If your website is slow or the pages fail to load completely your shoppers will move on to your competition. You can keep load times low by keeping pages short, routinely checking your website for errors, and finding a
reliable web host.
Check browser compatibility
Not everyone surfing the Internet is using the same web browser or operating system as you. Use services like
Browser Shots and
Browsr Camp to make sure your website is visible across multiple platforms.
If you give customers a professional looking, quick loading website to work with and provide reliable service, your website will sell itself. Are you driving your customers away?