Few things are worse than a customer leaving your webstore because it feels like they logged onto 1994. 85% of customers’ first impressions are design-related, so a website layout that is difficult to navigate (or just plain ugly) can cause customers to lose confidence in your brand-or worse, make them leave without buying anything. Luckily for you, we here at ScupeCommerce have put together a comprehensive checklist for creating a strong, conversion-driven website layout.
✓ Strong homepage
Visitors should immediately know who you are and what you’re selling. If you don’t believe in love at first sight, now is a good time to start because you’re going to need to woo your visitors at first click. A strong homepage should be:
- Undeniably Clear
Being bold and forward can be a hit or a miserable miss when it comes to dating, but not here. Be forward. Make what you’re selling undoubtedly clear from the very beginning. Any questions visitors could have about you or your product or service should be answered on the home page whether they’re long-time listeners or first-time callers. A video could be a great way to do this. Do be careful not to get too heavy handed with information on the homepage though. You have plenty of room to be more thorough throughout the rest of your site.
A strong homepage should look and feel like your brand (link to forthcoming brand blog piece) from the homepage to the product page to the check out page. Nothing should look or feel out of place. Page layout, button designs, link styles, writing tone, cursor – anything that can be branded, should be branded. Channel the level of customization your 2006 MySpace page wore with undue pride. Your ecommerce site should be totally and consistently you throughout the customer’s entire journey.
- Built to sell
Do you have to, do you have to, do you have to let it linger? No. Lead them to the product page as fast as possible. Brush up on your customer psychology as it relates to ecommerce. Think about your customer’s motivation to buy as well as their ability to buy. Then, plug in effective triggers like calls to action or promotions to seamlessly move visitors through a customer journey strategically designed to increase conversion. Here’s a crazy idea: if it makes sense for your site, why not have the product page right on the homepage? You can’t get any faster than that!
✓ Keyword Optimized
✓ Strong Photography/Graphics
Like online dating, we tend to go for what looks good so swipe right on high quality photography. Bonus: If your brand is in any way connected to the arts or your local community, use a local photographer or an artist aligned with your work. Not only does it support the local economy, elevate the value of the arts, and build brand “niceness,” but there’s a built in blog concept for you. Look at you multitasking! You go, Glen Coco!
…to use! Get your mind out of the gutter and into some UI articles. We’ve all experienced this: a customer is so painfully close to buying your product, but they give up because it took them three clicks for something that should have only taken one, your cookies are in the brownie section, or you sent them to a payment page that looks nothing like your site and they’re wondering if it’s safe to check out. Make sure your site looks more like Marie Kondo’s closet and less like a Forever21 on a Saturday afternoon.
✓ Mobile responsive
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by a website that translated poorly on a mobile device. We can’t see you, but we assume most of you are raising your hand right now seeing as 73% of consumers will leave a terrible mobile site for one that makes it easier for them to complete a purchase. Listen, we understand. Our websites are our babies too and we pour over them….from the comfort of our laptops. Be sure to test your design on a mobile device from the very beginning and with each update. Like it or not, if you’re in the business of ecommerce, you’re in the business of mcommerce.
Tap back into MySpace for another second. Remember how you could customize the cursor on your page? It’s small details like this that bring your brand to life. Think about what happens when you hover over a photo, graphic, or button. Don’t lie, you know you’d spend more time than you’d like to admit playing around on Full Bundle’s homepage.
✓ Creates a Sense of Belonging
Jimmy Buffet has Parrotheads, Insane Clown Posse has Juggalos, Justin Bieber has Beliebers, and Lady Gaga has Little Monsters. What do you have? How can you make your visitors feel like they are part of your community? Personalize their experience and create a NORM! moment for your VIP every single time.
Use HTTPS to secure your entire site, not just the payment page. Not only does it encrypt all of your data, but it also comes with a slight ranking boost.
✓ Engaging Web Content
Engaging web content like blogs or articles proves to your customers that you know what you’re talking about and invites them to learn more about what you do and why you do it best. Customers do their own research before they buy. Write some pieces that explain different aspects of your product, industry, or lifestyle and then tie them back to how your product solves the problem on the same site where they can purchase the solution to that problem from you. Strong and up-to-date content also creates an opportunity for you to stay relevant in a fickle digital landscape. Ride those Twitter trend coattails and use current events as a launching pad to talk about a new aspect of your product. This is an excellent place to flex that writing tone we mentioned above.
✓ Prevents Cart Abandonment
Our attention spans are shorter than ever. What? Oh. Our attention spans are shorter than ever. Things like exit pop ups can help reel a customer back in if you feel like you’re about to lose them to a Facebook notification or an email ping from a competitor.
✓ Customer Verified
Your homepage was impressive. Johnny Buyer made it to your product page with all the beautifully branded buttons, strong calls to action, and strategic pop ups…but Johnny still has that skeptical Futurama meme face:
Enter customer reviews. Insightful reviews can soften the most skeptical customers. It’s like when your parents told you to do something over and over again, but it doesn’t really sink in until someone who is not your parents says the exact same thing.
✓ Constantly Updated
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Check in with your customers often. Just because your approach worked yesterday, doesn’t mean it will work a few months from now. Customer satisfaction influences whether or not first-time customers become loyal customers. Design and technology is constantly evolving so make sure you are growing with it.
Making sure your website’s conversion game is strong can clearly be a lot of work. Connect with ScupeCommerce today to see how we can take that weight off your shoulders. After all, we do all of this in our sleep. It makes for some trippy dreams about Jimmy Buffit themed exit pop ups, but it’s worth it!