You’ve spent a lot of time and energy building your business. Having a website seems the next logical step. Properly done, an ecommerce site can do just that. Done incorrectly, it will turn into a waste of time. On the internet, you are competing globally for customers. The point is to attract and retain them. Here are five things that will frustrate purchasers and immediately turn them away.
The Site Takes Too Long to Load
People have short attention spans and are typically impatient. This greatly applies to ecommerce. Users expect websites to load within 2 seconds. After 3, chances are they have already left. Keep in mind that the more pages and images are on a site, the slower it will load. When adding images, scale them to size before uploading them. While it is possible to do so afterwards, the image file size will remain the same and slow load times. It’s also important to use the correct format for pictures. Images with few colors, like logos, should be in GIF format. Those with a lot of detail should be in JPEG format.
The Homepage is not Enticing
First impressions are everything and in the world of ecommerce this feeling is determined by the homepage. This page should be a neat space that communicates what the purpose is in a clear and concise manner. Wording should be short, sweet and easy to read. Avoid long blocks of text and stay away from hard-to-read fonts. Pay attention to font size. Smaller fonts allow for more information, but can be hard on the eyes. Make sure images used match the message being conveyed. Don’t clutter the page with tons of advertising.
Homepages should also offer users a platform that is easy to navigate. If finding products is hard, they will leave. Menu bars should be clearly labeled and take into account the needs of the user. Consider using a navigation bar at the top of the page for general categories and a side menu bar to further narrow down product groupings. If working with a large product base, an effective search engine would be a great help to visitors.
The Site Uses Excessive Pop-ups
Nobody wants to deal with the hassle of constantly closing out pop-ups. They are distractive and annoying, like a television show with more commercials than content. That’s not to say they don’t have their place, but if you are going to add pop-ups, use them sparingly. Before loading up on pop-ups, consider if a slide-in banner on the side or bottom could be used. These provide less interference to visitors while still conveying a message.
The Site Requires Users to Install Plug-ins
Potential customers should not have to download anything to have access to any content on your site. Avoid Flash files and go for a more modern HTML5 video player. If you are using videos, add a summary for those who don’t wish to watch. Stay away from auto-play. If customers want to watch a video, they will push play.
Site is ‘Under-Construction’
You can’t bring in customers if you don’t have a functioning site. While sites do need constant updating, visitors will be put off by consistently seeing an ‘under-construction’ message. Instead of posting a generic page, put up interesting content consumers can read. If the site will be down for a long period of time, keep that page updated. When the site is up and running, click through it on a third-party computer to make sure there are no broken links.
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