Wednesday, October 1, 2008

StoresOnline Presents Common Web Design FAQs

StoresOnline Merchants often have questions that can best be answered by a StoresOnline Customer Service Representative. However if you have questions about what works online or not, here is a snippet of an article found at that might help answer your questions:

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.

Search engine meta crawlers recognize text only alternatives and will usually skip past images, flash, Javascript, video or other multimedia. If search engines cannot find and access your pages efficiently your customer will have a harder time finding out you exist. Since getting customers to your store is a vital part to being successful it is better to use as many text alternatives as possible rather than heavy graphics or other forms of multimedia. In addition, unnecessary graphical content can annoy your customers and may slow down the load time of your pages in which case your customer won’t be waiting for the page to load.

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.


teddy said...

One of the things I love are the templates.
You can try every single template and never lose your info. It just re sises to the template.
This gives you the opportunity to find the right design for you without losing any of your info. And you can work with many color schemes as well.

Stu said...

Another great thing about storesonline is that they offer programming in most of their packages. This is a great option for those who might might their store design to be unique.

A.Ro said...

I definitely love the point about content being the key to your website, not flashy graphics. Unless you really know what you're doing, it's very easy to look cluttered and unprofessional when you're messing with graphics. Just make sure your website has good info and a clean layout.

Geroge said...

There are so many ways to design you web with this software. If you have questions about what is available all you need to do is call customer services and they will show you the many different things you can do. And they are constantly updating and adding new things.

Beverly said...

One important to remember when creatin a site is Emotional Response. Make sure that you use action verbs and active voice.
Passive voice: "marked improvement in clarity has been experienced by our customers."

Active Voice:"Our clients experienced marked improvement in clarity!"

Stacey & Nico Gonzalez said...

If I want help in programing my website, is that offered in the package? I know I can call customer support for help, but I want to know if it is offered in most packages? I want my website to be different and unique.

Kathy said...

Meta is one of the many ways to market your site. Putting in the correct keywords for the robots to find. While you do this for each of your pages don't overlook your products.
If you go to your products tab, choose a product, click description on the right, you will see at the bottom where you can add meta keywords for you product. This is important because if someone is searching for a specific product and they hit your keyword, they find your product, they click the link and you have them in your site. So don't forget to do meta on your products.

lsutton said...

Having the StoresOnline builder set up where it has the templates, and the colors, and helpful tips on every single page is a huge plus. I had to make a website for a college class a few years ago and it did not take near the short amount of time that it took me to create my site through the software.

Also I do like what Teddy said that the templates are there and you never lose your information. It automatically saves it. Of course I am a bit OCD when it comes to saving information, so I still make backups of my site. I definitely recommend publishing your site for decent changes and always using the backup feature for more major changes.

Froggie said...

I have seen many a webpage that has suffered the painful death of too many words. Several years ago a study was done that showed that the average attention span of a user reading a webpage was 8 seconds. 8 seconds. If it took that long just to load your webpage you would lost 75% of these readers. Whenever I have created my own webpages I keep this statistic in mind. What words do I want to pop out and be visible to the human eye within a few seconds? What image did I want portrayed in that little of time in which to attract the attention of a user that he would stay longer?

Kenneth said...

One thing to keep in mind when designing your site is to take the time to get it right the first time. Even storesonline programmers take a a day or two to make sure they have everything fine tuned.

Fred said...

Another way to add images is through a text elements. You can size an image if it is too large by putting it in a text element. If you have several pictures and, or text, that you want to add, putting them in a table might be the best way to go.
Call customer support if you have questions on how to do this and they can walk you through it.