How to improve your website

As it becomes easier to sell products online, web standards are dropping and crucial trigger points are being left out. Here is a handy guide on making the most of your website.

1. Include a free phone telephone number on your website. Some companies are nervous about putting a prominent telephone number online, especially a free phone number, in case it sparks a flood of customer service calls – but it’s better to have it, especially on higher priced products. Also think about live chat and Twitter.

2. A “Sign up for our Newsletter” option isn’t good enough. List any free added-extras they well get for giving their details. If your email marketing strategy is effective, this one address could make you hundreds in future profit.

3. Site navigation should be made as easy as possible, with a good menu structure and nothing “buried” or hard to find. Products should be categorised into easy-to-find groups.

4. Every website should mention the company’s unique selling point. Do you offer free shipping? Are you more knowledgeable than any other online company? Do you have a free phone sales line? When someone is only a click away from leaving your site, differentiation is paramount.

5. Your homepage is usually the first page people see so make sure there are lots of mouth-watering offers on there to draw visitors in. When buying online, good pictures make the difference

6. “Add to Cart” and “Checkout Now” buttons need to stick out and not blend in with the whole site. In our tests, we have found that green and blue buttons work well.

7. Don’t make your checkout process too long. The best checkouts have only one or two pages to complete the transaction. The more clicks in the process, the more chance people have to leave.

8. Email confirmations for orders are very important. It is your chance to prove you are trustworthy and available when it really counts. Email confirmations should contain contact details and state the products bought and prices clearly. They are also a good time to up sell and cross sell.

Guy Levine is the founder of Manchester-based digital marketikng agency Return On Digital

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