Online commerce is a fact of life. Even if you’ve been resistant to establishing an online presence and pursuing referrals and the revenues that come with them, it’s hard to ignore the reality that a well-functioning website can elevate your business to new heights.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that just any old website will do. Today’s online target is a savvy Internet consumer, but also one that won’t waste its time mucking around on dated websites. If your website isn’t able to offer the quality and service provided by your competitors, you’ll struggle to produce conversions, and your investment will deliver a much weaker return. Every commerce-focused website needs to have some basic elements in place. Here’s a quick guide to making sure you aren’t lacking in a critical area.
Having a traditional website is great, but in today’s market it’s not enough. By 2015, it’s expected that at least 50 percent of all small businesses will have a mobile website, which is – contrary to some misconceptions – not the same as a mobile app. Developing a mobile website, and one that is secure enough to process transactions, isn’t free but in today’s competitive market it is an essential asset. One answer to the mobile quandary is responsive design. Mobile conversions are only becoming more common and taking up a larger slice of the online sales pie. You need to make sure your business is equipped to handle this changing trend.
Organizing to Clarify
It isn’t hard to create a well-organized website, and because of that, it’s virtually an expectation. Your online wares are governed by a different set of rules than what you might find in, say, print advertising. Clutter can be your worst enemy, confusing website traffic and encouraging visitors to move on to their next online destination. What you want is an organized, simplified website that offers clarity and ease-of-use. Make your products or services evident and your mission clear. Ultimately, you want web traffic to understand your company and your website as fast as possible to keep their interest and push them forward in the conversion process.
In the inevitable process of browsing your website, web traffic tends to want to click-thru from one page to the next. When you have dead-ends – pages lacking internal links to other parts of your site – it can stop page perusal dead in its tracks. This can lead to some visitors leaving the site altogether when they otherwise might have ultimately produced a conversion.
Develop a website that has strong interlinking to keep users on the move and engaged with your site. Minimize external links – you want to keep these individuals around long enough for them to become a conversion.
Optimize the Conversion Process
How many steps does it take for a website visitor to successfully complete a conversion? If the answer isn’t “one,” you have some work to do. Yes, in some cases, a one-step conversion may not be feasible, but you should continually strive to cut down on the length of this process. Each additional step is another point where the referral can question whether or not they want to continue in the process. You’re bound to lose would-be conversions at each of these junctures, so get rid of as many as you can.
Customers respond well to a web design that’s clearly built for them. There are veritable mountains of marketing data telling us how online referrals behave, and what features and approaches they respond to best. Take shelter in the reliability of this information and build a website that, rather than opposing these consumer habits, respects and accommodates them.