Making Sales Online
Importance of Having a Plan
You need to make a list of your goals and think about your target customers. Even if you are selling intangible services or digital products, you still need to have a plan for your website. Who would be interested in purchasing the products you intend to sell? How will you handle returns? Are you selling your own products or services, or are you selling for another party? When your plan is ready, show it to your web design company and ask them to help you build your store and implement the right tools. Here are some important factors you need to consider when building an internet store.
Design, Structure, and Navigation
The website should feature a unique, custom design that reflects your business. Every page should run smoothly and be interlinked properly. Navigation should be user-friendly so that visitors will find the product(s) or services easily. Give them the option to browse according to price, color, style, or whatever makes sense for your particular products or services. A search function should also be added.
How can you expect people to buy from you if you don’t give them reasons to? Provide your audience with interesting information and incentives to buy. Tell your potential customers how you differ from your competition. In other words, what is your value proposition? Keep your site updated with fresh, relevant information to keep people coming back.
Do you have testimonials from happy customers, or photos from projects that you could build into an online portfolio? Consider integrating them into your website.
Another way that you can establish trust is to provide more than one way for visitors to contact you. Don’t hold out on any information – provide them with your company’s name, address, email, Skype, etc. Make it easy for visitors to contact you and get back to them ASAP.
If you want people to enter personal financial information and credit card numbers on your site, be sure to use shopping tools that are secure. If you are working with a web design company, ask them which ones they use. Do research on those shopping carts to make sure they are safe and trustworthy. Give your customers peace of mind that their personal information is protected with the best encryption technology.
Domain Name and Reliable Web Hosting
You can have the best web store in the entire world, but it won’t do you a bit of good if nobody ever sees it. You will need a domain name and hosting. Some companies offer both as part of a package, although there is no rule that says you have to buy them both from the same provider. For a web store, some of the top companies provide e-commerce hosting programs. You might want to consider a dedicated server rather than a shared server for security purposes.
Search Engine Optimization
Every website should be optimized for the search engines – even if you plan on using a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to draw in visitors. Every single thing on your site, including product images, tags, product descriptions, the home page, contact page, etc… should be optimized for Google and other search engines. Check with your web design company to see if they also offer web development and marketing services.
Developing an online store can be a complex process as there are so many elements to consider. But, if you’re working with an experienced and reliable design firm, the return on investment can be well worth it.