Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

As much as the saying “content is king” rings true, form and function needs to be balanced in order to create an effective web site. This balance is even more critical when it comes to creating an effective e-commerce web site for your business. Based on a survey of U.S. online shoppers done by interactive marketing solutions firm Questus (http://questus.com), web design plays a key role in determining whether or not they decide to shop on your online store. Listed below are five main web design factors that can make or break your online selling efforts:

1) Visual designVisual design encompasses the arrangement of content, as well as the use and consistency of colors and images in your web site. Colors and images can be used to emphasize your company’s online image, giving customers the impression that your company is professional, reliable and trustworthy. Arranging the images and information in a clean and consistent fashion throughout your web pages can very well improve the odds of converting your web site visitors into online customers. Therefore, use components such as Flash animations, sound clips, and other bandwidth-consuming forms of multimedia ever so sparingly. If using these fancy components do not add to improved web site usability or improved understanding of your product, then please, avoid using them at all cost.

2) Site navigationMake sure that your product navigation links are the first thing your online users can focus on when they visit your site. Site navigation needs to be obvious and user-friendly, that is, requiring less clicks and links to follow in order for your customers to locate products or other information. Other than that, online users feel that it is hard to find the information they need when there are too many links in your site navigation. If you feel that you require more than seven links in your site navigation, consider grouping the links into different navigation groups. This will help un-clutter your navigation sections, thus creating “zones” to help your customers focus better when they browse your site. For instance, links pointing to your company information, contact page, press releases and site map can be grouped together, while product categories can be in an entirely different navigation group from your promotions and special offer links.

3) Check-out processThe check-out process starts as soon as your customer selects a product into his or her shopping cart and selects the “Check Out Now” or “Buy Now”. Your customer then needs to review the order, enter shipping and billing addresses, provide payment information, and confirm the sale. Experts recommend that you make these tasks into simple steps of three or less. Even the placement of the Check Out/Buy Now button should be conveniently placed in each product page. In addition, you may include user registration to allow quicker check-outs for customers who frequently purchases from your e-commerce site so that they do not have to re-enter their details. However, do not make a habit of making registration compulsory to all buyers, since one in every five online shoppers prefer not to register and give out too much personal information.

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