From the Editor – February 2008 issue of eBiz Insider magazine. Download the complete issue as a PDF by clicking here.
Think about websites you’ve discovered that made you say “wow!” Was it the design, layout, functionalityâ€” what? Here are my fundamentals.
Design – A visually appealing website is paramount. The site design needs to be functional and non-distracting. Keep flash, animation, and unnecessary elements to a minimum. Avoid using elements that require installation on your front page and any landing pages.
Navigation – Make it easy to buy. Keep sections and subsections to a minimum so the customer does not get confused or lost. Keep nav bars quick-loading by using text instead of graphics.
Page Layout – Put the “add to cart” button in a prominent location that commands attention. Make it stand out visually. Also, keep pricing simple. Don’t clutter up the price area with hard to read tables or formulas.
Product Photography – Don’t sacrifice quality when it comes to product pictures. Customers need photographs to convey texture, color, finish, etc. Invest in a good digital camera and lightbox for product photography or send your products out to a professional photographer. NEVER put items on your site without a photo!
Copywriting – Good copy sells. Unique copy gets you better search engine placement. Descriptions provided by manufacturers will turn up on other sites selling the same item and that’s not good. If you aren’t a good writer, hire a copywriter. It’s an investment that will pay off.
Checkout – Keep your site design consistent through the checkout process and don’t clutter the checkout with unnecessary information. Customer service policies can be put at the top of a checkout page, but links should be given to the entire policy in your About Us section. The goal is to get the customer to checkout, not bail.
Those are my fundamentals of a good website. To share your own, drop me an e-mail.