Your website is real estate in the online world. It's the gateway between your ideal customer and the product or service you're selling. Your goal as an entrepreneur is to deliver immense value in exchange for a loyal customer. Even if the product you are selling is a dime a dozen, the way you package the information is crucial in order to convert visitors into paying customers. Other than your social media account(s) your website is the first place people will go to learn more about your business.
This is why I am creating this blog post because I get tons of questions regarding what exactly should be included in a professional website. I'm going to focus mainly on e-commerce websites but honestly you can use these actionable tips for ANY website you decide to create whether that be an informational website, a blog website, or a personal website.
Let's Dive Right In!
CONTENT & CONSISTENCY are the most important factors to anything you do online. Think of content as the backbone of any online business. Before we get into the specifics of your website there's a few things we MUST get clear first!
Quality over Quantity
You must only use high quality images and videos throughout your ENTIRE website. NO EXCEPTIONS. Do not use blurry or distorted photos ever in life lol. If you want to be able to compete online in the year 2017 you cannot afford to be cheap or lazy when it comes to producing quality content. Only use high resolution images (1024 x 768 pixels minimum). You should also have a color scheme that is visually appealing. Make sure all text is readable.
OK! Here are 25 more elements your website must have if you don't have them implemented already:
When I first click on your website address there should be a pop up that contains an opt-in form where I can submit my name and e-mail address in exchange for an incentive. The incentive or lead magnet should be store updates, access to special events, exclusive deals, or a coupon/discount offer. Here are a couple of examples of verbiage:
be the first to learn about promotions, special events, new arrivals and more!
get exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else straight to your inbox!
- receive a 10% discount off your first purchase!
Your opt-in form can 'pop up' immediately upon visiting or a few seconds after scrolling down your website. Make sure to include your opt-in form in the footer section of your website also for anyone who didn't subscribe initially.
LOGO + NAVIGATION MENU PLACEMENT
Ok, once I've submitted my name and e-mail address the pop-up will exit and BAM I'm back to scrolling!
Your custom brand logo should be in the top left hand corner. The navigation menu should be easily visible next to your logo or right below it. If I'm using my phone I should clearly be able to see where the menu is (usually I will see an icon button with 3 horizontal bars).
WHICH PAGES BELONG IN YOUR NAVIGATION MENU?
You never want to over crowd your main navigation bar with so many pages. This is why you have a footer area to put more information. However these are the pages you should ALWAYS include in the top menu but you're not limited to them:
Your main page or home page displays your company's key features. Here are some examples of what you can feature to fill in your areas of content:
- a slideshow (3 slides min)
- featured collections (sets, accessories, denim etc)
- featured products
- best sellers
- new arrivals
- $20 and under
- Instagram feed
In your Frequently Asked Questions page you should answer the following questions (if they apply to your business):
How do I check out?
Do you restock sizes?
Do you have a size guide or chart?
Do you offer wholesale?
How do I use a promo code?
Which payment methods do you accept?
What is the processing & delivery time for my order?
How can I track my order?
Who can I contact about my order?
Is it safe to order online? Example answer:
Our site meets the highest standards in security and encryption. When you enter your details such as name, address and credit card number, this information is sent to us using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which encrypts the data, preventing anyone else from seeing what is inside the transmission.
Your details are safe with us. We also 3D secure enabled, this means at check out you will be asked to provide your unique password to authorize the payment, only the card holder will know this information, if the password is incorrect the transaction will not go through.
Include a contact form. You should also include any of the following that apply:
- phone number
- store location(s)
- e-mail address
- office hours
Imagine that I am visiting your company's website for the first time and I don't know ANYTHING about your brand and what you have to offer. I want to know more about your business and the meaning behind why you started it. I want to know if I even belong on your site and if your brand will reflect me in any way. Here's what I need to know:
- When was your company founded?
- What is your mission?
- What separates your brand from others?
- Who shops at your store? [Who is your ideal customer?]
- Which country is your business based?
- What does your brand represent?
Some people want to know right away which items are on sale especially if they are purchasing from you for the first time.
When my mouse hovers over the SHOP or PRODUCTS button on your website it should prompt a scroll down menu of the different product categories. When I click on a specific product this is what I should see:
Multiple Product Images [High definition quality]
- What size is the model wearing?
- Wash instructions?
Related Products or Last Viewed Products
Add to Cart Button
WHICH PAGES BELONG IN THE FOOTER SECTION?
- Order status (for members)
- Order history (for members)
- Gift cards
- Are returns allowed?
- Exchanges only? Under what conditions? How many days within receipt of purchase?
- Any final sale items? Anything non-refundable?
- Out of stock concerns
- What's the processing time?
- Which shipping carrier(s) do you use?
- What's the delivery time? Domestic and international?
- What about on holidays and weekends?
- Is there free shipping?
- If so, is it only when I purchase over a certain amount? Is it domestic only? Is it free next day or standard shipping?
- What are the shipping rates domestic and internationally? Next day? Standard?
- If you or your business have been featured in the media this is the place to showcase it.
- Offer a contact e-mail for collaborations
This isn't completely necessary but creating an account on your website should provide three options:
- Faster check out
- Save multiple shipping addresses
- View and track orders
Size Chart or Guide
We do not currently require our users to register in order to access our website, but reserve the right to do so in the future. Should we implement a registration process we will of course commit to comply with any privacy legislation applicable at the time in respect of your user information.
Security of Information
Unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed as totally secure. Whilst we strive to protect such information, we do not warrant and cannot ensure the security of any information which you transmit to us. Accordingly, any information which you transmit to us is transmitted at your own risk.
Termination of Access
Access to this website may be terminated at any time by us without notice. Our disclaimer will nevertheless survive any such termination.
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In these terms and conditions, the expressions "we", "us" and "our" are a reference to '___________' (YOUR COMPANY NAME)
Changes to Terms and Conditions
We reserve the right to alter and change these terms and conditions occasionally. Changes to the terms and conditions will be effective immediately upon publication on this website. Your continued use of the website following such publication will represent an agreement by you to be bound by the terms and conditions as amended. It is your responsibility to be aware of these terms and conditions as they may be altered.
This website and its content are provided 'as is' and except to the extent required by law, without any warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including but not limited to, implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement, to the fullest extent permitted by law. The information on the website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute as advice.
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© 2017 FAB FASHION KILLAS (your company) | All Rights Reserved | Designed by (website developer)
- Upcoming sales
- Latest trends
- Recent photoshoots
- Campaigns, Contests & Giveaways
- Behind the scenes look
- News and updates
- Shopping cart icon
- Search bar
- Social media icons
- Currency icon
- Quick shop option
If you want to see examples of popular and well put together e-commerce websites I'll provide a few links below!