Don’t let the name confuse you. The term ecommerce refers to electronic commerce – aka online stores and sites. It’s pretty easy to build an ecommerce site for both tangible and digital products, but there are certain things every site should have in order to ultimately become successful.
You Need a Clear Name and Logo
There’s nothing worse than landing on a website only to see a nice storefront but no name or logo aside from what you can ascertain from the domain name itself (if that’s even possible). As a matter of fact, for me personally, it’s one of the things that will make me leave a site. I’m not going to waste my time looking for contact or “about” information if you weren’t astute enough to at least make your company name clear. I’m going to look for someone with a more professional image to purchase from – plain and simple. It doesn’t take much to create a good graphic with your name and/or a logo. Just do it.
Shopping Cart and Search Boxes
Imagine landing on a really cool store site with a specific product in mind. Imagine not being able to find what you’re looking for because the product categories aren’t clear. No problem – you’ll just use the search box, right? Well, you would if you could find it. Most ecommerce cites have a search box at the top of the page. In the same area you’ll find the shopping cart box as well (because no one likes not being able to check their cart, either). Make sure these items are clear and easy to find so that your customer’s experience is painless.
Please, please, please – for the love of all that is good – invest in having some decent copy written for your site. Don’t have time? Don’t think you’re a good writer? Can’t get through a paragraph without making a dozen typos? It’s ok! There are plenty (and I do mean plenty) of people out there who write for a living and will gladly put together some product and site descriptions for you. The money you’ll spend on this service will be well worth the time saved, and your typos won’t scare your potential customers away or lead them to believe you’re simply unprofessional.
Social Media Profile Icons
Does your business have a Facebook Fan Page? Do you have a Twitter account? How about a Google Plus profile? If not, get them and then make sure there are clear links to these accounts on your website. The public will look for you on these pages if they like you. They’ll also look to talk about you on these pages if they don’t like you. Make it easy to monitor your own social media and online presence by taking control. Monitor and connect with others. Doing so will help you to keep your customer service satisfaction levels and reputation intact.
Behind the Scenes – the Sitemap
A sitemap is what the search engines will use to crawl your site in order to identify and index new content. You can use a simple plug-in or you can have a sitemap created separately by your webmaster. Make sure to list your sitemap in your Google Webmaster Tools account (you should have one), with Yahoo Site Explorer, and anywhere else your SEO expert deems necessary. Having your new content indexed quickly will help to keep your site rankings strong.
Building an ecommerce site isn’t about slapping up a few images and a shopping cart. It’s about creating a user-friendly experience that will entice your shoppers not only to buy, but to come back time after time.
About the Author: Joane Beswick loves building ecommerce sites and general blogs. She uses a wide variety of different custom themes and Magento templates and is learning how to build her own themes from scratch.