Gone are the days when web design companies offered once-size-fits-all solutions. Now you can build you own website with little to no tech knowledge, and the number of design companies, hosting services and related businesses has exploded. This is good news for web entrepreneurs; it means that you can get innovative, custom design work at bargain prices. Before you build your own site, or hire someone to do it for you, there are some common mistakes you should avoid.
1. Requiring a customer account before purchase. This is a common practice, and it’s a good way to build a mailing list and offer a custom shopping experience for return buyers. However, most consumers don’t like it, for a variety of reasons. A good compromise is to offer a choice to register for an account or proceed to checkout as a guest. Consumers appreciate it when you give them the option, and many will decide to register anyway if it isn’t a decision that’s forced on them.
2. Minimal customer service. Your customers like to know that you’re accessible to them, and that you care about correcting issues. Simply putting an email address or toll-free number just screams “Generic.” It doesn’t take much time or money to provide a form for customer support, implement a help desk ticketing system and/or create an FAQ of common problems and solutions.
3. Unclear product description and images. This can run the gamut from images that are too small to generic descriptions that don’t provide much information. Remember, online consumers don’t have to chance to see a product before they buy it, and it will increase your sales and the level of customer loyalty and satisfaction if they have confidence in their purchase. You can either provide a large, clear image or offer a zoom tool, and combine it with a concise, accurate description of the product that includes dimensions, weight and available colors.
4. A generic or ineffective checkout system. Checkout is the place where a lot of potential sales are lost. You can help alleviate the problem of abandoned carts by including a fully functional checkout system that allows your customer to add or subtract items with ease, calculate taxes and estimate shipping charges automatically.
5. Few or no payment options. This goes back to offering choice. If you allow only one form of payment, you’re potentially losing a large pool of customers. The more ways your shoppers have to pay, the more they’ll spend. In the old days, it was more difficult and expensive for online retailers to get merchant accounts. Now it’s easy to accept multiple credit cards, allow customers to use their bank debit cards or simply bill it to their Paypal account.
There are some companies who will offer you a free custom website design. Usually, this is dependent upon you contracting with them for hosting services, but it’s a good way to save time and money by getting your website designed by a professional who is also hosting your site and providing other services. It’s one-stop shopping at its best.