As with most things, simplicity rules in website design. The days of flashing text, scrolling marquees, and page counters are long gone, and elegance rules the internet. There are many companies offering templates and hosting solutions, all adhering to essentially the same aesthetics of functionality over form, while retaining simple lines and placing usability at the centre of all their design decisions. This doesn’t mean that a website can’t be great looking, just that design for design’s sake is no longer en vogue and is seen as a throwback to Web 1.0.
Use design intelligently
Whether you choose to code the site yourself, use a template from an eCommerce platform or site provider, or call in a professional designer, your site needs to make it immediately obvious who you are and what you do. This doesn’t need to be an essay about your company’s strengths and fields of expertise, rather a thoughtful layout that speaks to your audience, with menus and navigation that makes sense for the type of customer your business will attract. Just as a person designing a mechanic’s workshop wouldn’t include an area for throw pillows and have valances around all the tables, a site for a mechanic should be equally forthright and uncluttered. This will make it easy for a customer to know that they are in the right place and build a rapport knowing that your business will have the information and expertise they require.
Engage with your customers
An eCommerce website’s main purpose is to sell to customers, but it isn’t its sole one. Engagement beyond the transaction has become increasingly important, with customers more likely to buy from businesses that take the time to get to know them. Providing an informative site, with a blogs and videos, pictures and informative graphics, is becoming a vital retention tool, as well as a powerful SEO rankings factor. While it might seem just as easy to have a site with just a phone number for them to call and speak to your business directly, the way people shop and interact is changing, and as the world becomes even more connected, the more value will be placed on websites and digital customer service. This might seem fanciful and unlikely for your industry, but it wasn’t so long ago that people were saying “who would buy clothes without trying them on?”
Stay current and pointed forwards
This all means that your website must be treated as an ever growing, ever evolving entity. Google, and other search engines, dislike static content and repetition, so your site needs to be refreshing itself with new and interesting content regularly. There is no golden rule about how often is best, and this will differ from industry to industry. It can often be as simple as keeping an up-to-date blog that offers commentary and insight on trends and news. This will ensure your customers and the search engines know that your business is still active and an authority in whatever field it operates.