Teach your Website how to Sell

Chris Wowak | 00-00-0000
Online selling is growing at such a fast pace it is easy to overlook some simple but key practices to be completely successful. It seems the focus today is centered on driving traffic to the actual website through search engine optimization (SEO) but what happens when the user lands on the website. Will it be ready to engage the user and close the sale?

Listed below are some key things to look at to ensure your customers have a easy and enjoyable shopping experience on your website.

Visual Pane: This term is used to describe all the information on the website that is displayed in the web browser without the user scrolling up or down. This is important because it is not guaranteed that a user will scroll down before just leaving the site if they don't find what they are looking for.

Contact information: It is very important to have contact information displayed in the visual pane because some users navigate to the website specifically to obtain contact information. When is the last time you picked up a phone book to find a phone number for a business?

Navigation: Navigation should always be clear, consistent, and easy to find throughout the entire site. If a user gets lost most times they just hit the back button. Make sure the navigation is prominent and in an easy to read font. Try to avoid hard to read colors or mouse overs that make the font hard to read. Also redundant navigation at the bottom of the page helps too.

Call to action: This is a statement used on the site to encourage the user to dig deeper or click further or buy. An example of a good call to action on a website is "Click here to learn how you can save up to 20% on your car insurance"

Content: This term refers to the images and words that are on the web page. Here is where you really need to spend some time in development. A best practice is to first get with the person or persons doing the search engine optimization and discuss what keywords you will be targeting for the page you are developing content for. The person or persons that are doing the search engine optimization will also have recommendations on how many times to use those keywords in your content. After you have identified what keywords you will be using and how many times to use them you can begin to develop content. Keep your target audience in mind while developing content. The content needs to be about them and their needs and less about you or your company.

Shopping Cart / Payment Gateway: Now that you have got the user's attention it is time for them to check out. Make this process as easy and painless as possible. Just like at a grocery store if the lines are too long some customers will just drop their items and leave. The checkout process needs to be as quick and easy as possible. Some things to look for in a good shopping cart are multiple forms of payment options, multiple shipping options, saved shopping cart for returning customers, and a recommended items function. Last but not least have the cart tested by actual users and use their feedback to make the experience as easy as possible.