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How to get more business with a better website

Written by Jeff Allen on July 14, 2014 in How to Sell Products Online

web development

Ever been to a website and immediately left because your brain emitted a giant “Nope”? Many websites simply aren’t successful because we don’t like the way they look. Others fail to keep visitors because things just get too complicated. People even leave e-tail websites because the item they’re looking to buy isn’t described well enough.

Visuals, navigation, content, and product descriptions all play a vital role in the success of your online business. If even one of these isn’t up to customer expectations, your business could be passed over for a competitor, even if you offer the better deal.

Being aware of and taking the right steps can help turn a hesitant shopper into a return customer. Here are some helpful tips and advice for you to keep your website attractive, efficient, and effective.

Utilize High-Quality Images, Properly

use high quality images

It’s been covered many times (even in our own blog) the importance of taking quality pictures. And it’s true. Customers like to see what they’re buying. But if you really want a better chance of selling your product, you need to create more than just a quality picture. You need to create an experience.

Stores like Amazon do a great job showing what they sell. They don’t, however, do a good job showing what they sell in action. “What does that watch look like on my wrist?” “I wonder how that pot would look on my deck.” Would that bookcase look nice in the livingroom?” These are all questions that your customers will have, and they’re all questions that you can answer with your photos.

Arguably the best way to sell a product is to get it into someone’s hands. With dropshipping, that’s usually not an option. The next best thing, then, is to get them to imagine the item in their hands. Take the right photos, and you’ve got yourself a buyer.

Colors and Images Aren’t Just for Show

colors and images for your website

Ever heard of a “visual hierarchy?” For those not familiar, it’s basically that objects with the highest contrast to their surroundings are recognized first by the human mind. When you go to a website and instinctively know which text is clickable, which images are not, and which buttons are the most important, you’re experiencing a website with good visual hierarchy.

Here’s an example. You have a button you want your customers to click on and your website is, say, a pale, soothing color. If you make your button the same or similar color, chances are your customers will pass right over it. If you change it to a bright, abrasive, or vibrant color, the contrast will be a focal point for customers and they’ll likely click on it to see what it’s all about.

Utilizing proper image sizes will help as well. Fitt's Law states that our eyes are drawn to larger items, making them more clickable. Basically, if you want someone to check it out, make it bigger and stand out. People won’t likely shop from you if nothing on your site looks important.

Using the Right Descriptions for the Right Products

letter magnets

When people write a product description, they usually follow the same format for every product they sell: “Here’s what the product does, here are the details.” According to a study done by the Nielsen Norman Group, this isn’t how the average shopper wants descriptions.

The study showed that people looking for TVs would rarely look at the actual picture, but would scour the description for all the details. On the other hand, people looking for furniture would typically skip over the description and spend most of their time looking at the picture.

In the study, those looking for the TVs were more interested in the specs, while those looking for furniture were more interested in how it would look in their homes. Pay attention to how your customers shop. Are your items like the TV, where your customer cares more about performance? Or are your items like the furniture, where your customer cares more about appearance? Adjust your images and descriptions to cater to your customers' needs, and you'll have happier customers and better business.

Good Navigation

map and compass

Have you visited a website before and been completely clueless how to proceed? It may have looked visual appealing, but it turned out to be a navigational nightmare.

Many websites try to be creative by adding unique buttons (like butterflies around a tree), or hidden images that pop up when you scroll over them. While in theory these sound like great attention grabbers, in reality, these typically result in people leaving the website.

You can still be creative without being confusing. Many of the tips from #2 apply here as well. Make the most important buttons and images stand out. However creative you make them, be sure any given customer knows what they are.

Also pay attention to the checkout process. Many customers will give up because of how long the process takes. If possible, incorporate an “auto-save” feature when customers are typing in their information. It gets extremely frustrating having to put your info in all over again because you messed up on your zip code.

Increasing Trust

handshake

Customers like to know your site is trustworthy. Some options include adding a security option to your checkout, privacy settings, and others. If you’ve received good feedback from previous customers, consider posting that. New customers like to see that others have had good experiences with you.

Customers also like to see what you’re all about. Having a big “About Us” button is a good way for you to share with your customers details about you and your business. Ultimately, though, the best way to increase trust is to make your website customer oriented. If the customer feels like you care about them, they’ll trust you, and in turn, buy from you.

Keep Tweaking Things

It seems like at the end of every advice blog the writer will tell you to keep trying different things. It may get redundant, but it’s true. People are always changing. These tips may work now, but you could get new customers who like to be catered to in different ways. Follow these tips, but also try your own ideas. In a business as organic as e-commerce, being able to adapt to new changes will always keep you on top.

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