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The six keys to creating a website that improves your sales

There are several simple strategies you can employ to improve your website and thereby improve online sales, writes DAVID BROWN.

There are many jewellers who feel the internet is the single biggest threat to retail growth these days.

Although I believe ‘experiences’ being preferred over ‘material items’ is also creating an impact, there’s no doubt  the internet is strong competition that  will continue to increase for the  foreseeable future.

The trend of many online retailers opening bricks-and-mortar stores shows that a two-pronged approach to shopping is not only very effective – it’s essential. Therefore, it’s important that physical retail outlets also beef-up their online presence in order to create the widest possible retail footprint.

Having a strong, effective website is a starting point for ensuring you get the maximum benefit from your online presence. A good website needs to incorporate the following factors if its to become an extra salesperson – and not just a pretty piece of online wallpaper.

1. One purpose per page

I’ll let you in on a little secret: most people are lazy and don’t like to think. Between making a choice and doing nothing, we tend to take the do-nothing option.

That’s why a web page that asks a customer to do multiple things, such as ‘like’ a Facebook page, sign up to a newsletter, make a purchase, and enter a competition, is likely to finish with the customer choosing none of the above and closing the window.

"Many small businesses that utilise web designers sadly find their site being all about ‘the look’"

Each website – with perhaps the exception  of your home page – should ask the customer to do one thing and that page should be all about getting the customer to do whatever that one thing is. Simple!

Oh, and about that home page…

2. Don’t over-focus on your home page

You might think your home page is the front door to your site, but chances are most website visitors are coming in through the tradesmen’s entrance, so to speak.

Google does not give preference to home pages. The search engine treats all pages the same based on their relevance, which means it’s most likely that a customer who found you by searching Google for ‘diamonds’ will be directed to your website’s diamond-specific page, not the home page.

Only those people specifically searching for your business will be directed to the home page and that’s not going to be most web searchers.

3. Keep it clean

Less is more, at least when it comes to your website. An overabundance of images and words is not conducive to an effective website. It is there to do a task, not win an award for artistic achievement.

Many small businesses that utilise web designers sadly find their site being all about ‘the look’. The design is important, of course, but it should not override user-friendliness and purpose.

4. Responsive design

Responsive design refers to your content being readable on any device. Be it tablet, laptop or smartphone, your readers need your website to look tidy regardless of the format.

It should automatically adjust – ‘respond’ – to the screen size upon which it is  being viewed. Most website-building services, such as Squarespace, include this feature automatically.

With more than 70 per cent of readers now using a mobile device to view the internet, its time your site caught up. Have you recently viewed your website on your smartphone? Now is the time.

5. The power of video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million! Maybe not quite, but video content is the preferred means of absorbing content for an increasing number of web visitors, especially those in the under-35 market. Hello, engagement rings!

Furthermore, a high percentage of websites still don’t offer good video content, meaning those that do are getting a jump on their competitors. It also gives you a chance to stake a presence on YouTube, which is the world’s second-largest search engine after Google.

Lights, camera, action, people!

6. Check your load speed

Most visitors will only give a website a handful of seconds to load – some surveys have estimated this to be less than three seconds. Yet a large number of businesses are losing traffic (potential customers) because they did not spent time and money to ensure their page load speed was reduced to within this window.

This issue can be very easily rectified. There are many ways a website’s performance can be improved, but start with these six factors and you’ll be on the right track to making yours a more effective business tool.

David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more:

DSM Pacific (Melbourne)

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