If you’re planning to sell goods or services online, you’ll need an ecommerce website. As this will be your shopfront, your showroom, your salesman and your cashier, you’ll appreciate how important it is. Essentially, the success of you ecommerce website depends on getting three factors right – design, usability and search engine optimization.
First, let’s look at design. Design is important as it influences the impression your visitor gets of you and your business. Your website should be attractive and solidly professional. This assures the first time visitor that you are the right company to do business with. In addition, your website should reflect your brand and mission statement.
Next there’s the matter of usability. This determines how easily your visitor can navigate your site. The first thing you have to consider is the mechanics of your business model. You have to decide what you want your visitor to do and then give him clear means to do it.
One factor that promotes clear navigation is making sure all links are well labelled. For example, ‘Click here for more details on our refrigerators’ is much more useful that just ‘click here’ or ‘more information’. And your visitor should always know his location and how to return to your home page. Remember if your visitor gets lost on your website, he’ll just click away, probably never to return.
The next factor in usability is the mechanics of your ecommerce model. If you’re selling online, you’ll need a payment processor and an online shopping cart. Here you have a host of commercial offerings to choose from. Or you can go for the open source shopping cart system, Zen Cart, a favourite of developers and shoppers alike.
Ultimately, your beautiful and usable site will do you no good unless you get visitors. For this, you have to get search engine optimization right. Your site needs to be optimized so that when searchers enter relevant queries in the search engines, your website appears high in the results. For this you need relevant text optimised for the keywords that searchers use. Achieving this requires expert keyword research and specialized writing skills. Your text must be not only readable and informative, but also indexed by the search engines for the right words and phrases.
When looking for a firm to handle your ecommerce needs, choose one which can handle the whole project. Otherwise, there’ll surely be coordination problems. So look for one firm that has both the artistic skill to design engaging and user-friendly website as well as the technical skills to handle the SEO requirements that will get you listed high in the search engines.