01 August 2012 by Web Bureau
Too often we hear of online merchants asking: ‘How can I drive traffic to my website and increase conversions?’ or ‘What makes a successful website?’ or ‘How can I improve sales on an e-commerce website?’
Well, ask no more because this August we’re revealing all our secrets to achieving a successful e-commerce website!
We’ll be giving you a tip a day through our blog and social media sites to ensure your e-commerce website is doing its job and selling for your business.
Check back Every day in August for daily successful website tips!
Tip 1. Benchmark
Where are you now? Always a good place to start. Assign a Google Analytics account to your website to measure how successful your website currently is. Find out how many visits your website gets currently or how many people actually contact you through your website. You can also review your customer flow and assess customer behaviour around the cart and basket process. If you are unfamiliar with how to use Google Analytics see the following article - www.google.com/support/conversionuniversity
Tip 2. Find Your Customer
Do you know where your customers are online? Facebook? Twitter? YouTube? Find them and target them with content appropriate for the site they favour using. If your competitors are doing well somewhere, it may work for you but get a strategy as chances are they have an online strategy!!!
Tip 3. No fuss Calls to Action
Ultimately you want users to buy. Therefore the content and design of your website must engage users and make the ‘buying’ process as easy as possible for them. On each product page ‘Add to basket’ or ‘Buy Now’ buttons should be instantly visible to the user. Having payment buttons in certain colours like blue or green may even be influential when it comes to buying. For a little inspiration ‘Check out’ this interesting article from a few years back on “Buy Now Buttons” http://www.flatfrogblog.com/2009/09/25/top-add-to-cart-buttons/ and don’t hide your calls to action at the bottom of the page or even page fold.
Tip 4. Give a little extra
Make sure your customers are getting enough information about the products you are selling to them. This can include informative text descriptions of the individual products, technical information, images or even videos (images and video are really important). You should include all the information possible to help your customer make the decision to buy your product rather than anyone else’s. (if you don’t have images for your products, it is a good idea to get some as your competitors do – buy a camera here www.dlkphoto.co.uk )
Tip 5. Structure success
Effective site structure and easy navigation will encourage users to take the next step and put an item in their basket with the intent to purchase. A well thought out User Interface should allow the user to browse without having to think about it where things are.
Tip 6. Outsource with Care
An e-commerce site needs to be done correctly in order to achieve success which can result in a lot of work for the developer. If you are outsourcing the work, make sure you are hiring a professional. Ask to see a portfolio of their previous work and even surf the net to see the design and functionality of the sites live. Employing a freelancer at a small cost may be appealing in the short term, but should come with a warning. What if something goes wrong with the site and you have to employ a professional company to fix previous errors.
What happens if your freelancer gets hit by a bus, quits to go backpacking in Alaska, or gets abducted by aliens? Meaning you have to seek help from a professional company anyway.
Tip 7 Clean Up Your Coding
The web is changing and ever evolving, so it’s important to build a site that can grow with it and easily ride the current instead of drowning when a new wave approaches. Sure, it works… for now, for you. What about next year, or three years from now? What about new browsers? What about accessibility?
A clean mark up and building with web standards will help you create a faster interface and stabilise your site across multiple browsers. Search engines have high standards and clogging them with messy coding methods will not go down well meaning your search ranking will take a negative hit down the rankings. Doing it right the first time will save time and money.
Tip 8. Don’t lose out at the basket stage
Customers with items in their basket should be treated as an egg at an egg and spoon race....with extreme care! Get it right and you could be laughing all the way to the bank. Get it wrong and you won’t see conversions. Distractions or delays should be kept at an absolute minimum. A ‘1 page’ or ‘1 click’ paying solution could be implemented to take up as little time/effort as possible for the customer. Banner, skyscraper and pop up adverts should be kept to a minimum at this stage as this could cause the user to get confused and exit all windows. Keep it simple and keep it convenient.
Tip 9. Make use of the latest technologies
Making use of the latest CSS3 and HTML5 techniques will allow you to create a more engaging website through movement and colour manipulation. This will keep your user interested in the site for longer. The amount of time a user stays on your website or on a specific page of your website can be measured through Google Analytics. This may seem a little “techy” but make sure you have your sited coded using some of the latest technologies for the web and make sure it accommodates the old stuff too.
Tip 10. Set up an online help centre
A help centre on your website can provide further information to users. FAQs and product manuals can be uploaded to this section to provide users with as much information as possible before they commit to a purchase. Writing FAQs can be a useful troubleshooting process in itself. It puts you into the mind of your customer and prompts you to ask all the questions they may have. If an answer isn’t straightforward, make sure an alternative contact method is clearly visible for the user.
Well thats the first 1/3 of August complete and that means if you are reading this you are 1/3 closer to having a great ecommerce website or website indeed.
For tips from the 11th August until the 20th, our follow on blog http://www.thewebbureau.com/blog/post/31-Days-to-a-Successful-ecommerce-Website.aspx is well worth reading for those additioanl extra ecommerce successful tips (Website Tip 11 through to Tip 20)
The Web Bureau is a team of dedicated digital media specialists who work hard to transform initial design concepts into websites that offer the user a fluent and engaging online experience.
We can provide support for all our clients right from the initial design process right through to the marketing off the complete website. Our SEO experts can advise on improving traffic to your website, old or new.
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Tel: 028 9073 1190