Q: Are Flashy Graphics More Appealing or Quality Text and Descriptions?
A: Content is king, links are queen. Or at least that’s what they say in the world of search marketing. While graphics and flash or other multimedia can add aesthetic quality to your storefront, having well written text and descriptions is definitely more important. Without content, search engines will have a harder time finding and accessing your site.
Q: What are the costs associated with building an online store or site?
A: This greatly depends on whether you build the store yourself or hire a professional to build it for you. If you design the store yourself, building it will not cost as much. Designers may charge anywhere from a few hundred dollars all the way into the high thousands to build your store. Professional design can certainly help with conversions, but you do not necessarily need the best looking store to make money online (it’s where you show up, not how it looks). On the other hand, your potential market customers may not want to buy from a store that looks less than professional. The cost really does depend on your specific selling and platform needs and the needs of your target market or niche customers.
I have built online stores for less than $500.00 and I have built larger stores that sell for nearly $30,000.00. The one with less value was built on a free open source platform and had little to no built-in search engine friendliness. The higher end store had all the bells and whistles, was custom programmed with custom graphics and came built extremely search engine friendly.
Q: What do potential customers look for once they land on the homepage?
A: Online shoppers who regularly navigate the shoposphere are used to seeing certain elements or design layouts on eCommerce enabled shops. Users who buy Online often are typically more savvy, more aware and better informed about what to expect once they land on a Web store they are thinking of purchasing from. Once a new visitor enters an eCommerce store they automatically become a potential customer of that store. If merchants can provide their visitors with what they expect during their first visit to the homepage, that merchant has a greater chance of turning a potential customer into a new buyer.
Online retail shoppers are really no different than traditional brick and mortar retail shoppers in that they expect to see the same things upon entering a store for the first time, whether Online or not. Brick and mortar consumers want to see a safe and secure shopping environment, names or brands they use, a store that is accessible and easy to shop in, convenience, item displays, price tags, in-stock merchandise, flexible policies related to returns or exchanges and that their questions or concerns will be addressed quickly and efficiently. The same general rules will hold true for consumers who shop Online.
If you have any web design tips that you'd like to share, please leave a comment.