DIY websites

E-commerce sales growth is expected to top the trillion-dollar mark within three years.
In today’s competitive retail environment, having an online store to complement your brick and mortar store has become a necessity. Let’s face it, the foot traffic you used to enjoy isn’t coming back and if you don’t try to capture some of that lost traffic you’ll be losing out on customers and sales.

The growth and affordability of “DIY” website builders has simplified the task of making your own website. If you have the time and aren’t afraid of the learning curve, it can be a very good skill to learn. However, before you jump in and go the DIY route, there are a few things to consider.

The competition for the limited attention span of shoppers is intense. Your website needs to present your company and products in the best possible light to the shoppers who are looking to buy from you. While many of the DIY templates rely on splashy images for their homepages, you need more than just a few pretty pictures and a logo with a cool font to get visitors to stay and shop on your website.  You only have a precious few seconds before your visitor gives up and clicks off to another website.

What you so often see with DIY websites is a homepage with an oversize photo, a logo and a few pages with very little text and poor product photos. Pretty pictures and a logo are not enough to keep visitors on your website. While going the DIY route simplifies the process and maybe more affordable upfront, these websites often fail to answer the questions shoppers are asking such as:
  • Who are you?
  • What are your values?
  • Why should anyone buy your products?
  • How can you help them?
  • How are you different from your competitors?
  • Why should they trust you?

A visitor that leaves your website without taking an action provides little value to your business.

 

Why else is content so important? It’s a major factor in search engine ranking. Search engine crawlers can only understand text so a website full of photos but not much content is not going to rank well. Photos can improve the visual appeal of a website, but you need much more to rank well in search results.

 

Content has to be written to your target audience, so you must know exactly who that audience is and what message they want to hear. It’s what allows visitors to form a connection with your company and products. Today’s website visitors don’t respond to a one size fits all message. They want your content to speak directly to them.

 

Your content should be written for your customer, and include the keywords and search terms they would use to find your products. While a bare bones description of your products will certainly suffice and is quick and easy to do, it won’t satisfy today’s shoppers. Because there are so many websites to shop from, your product descriptions will need to stand out, explain the benefits and solve your customers problem.

 

The choice of words is integral to shoppers forming a favorable impression of your company. They visit your website because they have a problem they want solved, whether it’s finding the perfect little black dress or a gift for the person who has everything. You need to assure shoppers that your product is the clear choice for them by differentiating your products from competitors, building trust and encouraging them to purchase. This is one reason why content is so important in the design process.
The value of a good web designer lies in their ability to take all of the components and envision how they will fit together.
They will recognize the role of content in creating the best user experience, building the website to work with the content first and the visual aspects second. Unfortunately many website builder templates are structured the other way around.

It’s important to value web design not just for the simple template or splashy color scheme, but as the framework for the content that’s going to drive conversions.

While it might be more cost effective to go the DIY route instead of hiring a web designer, you should always read the fine print on these websites before signing up. Here are some of the pitfalls:

  • There are often monthly fees added in that over time erode the cost benefit.
  • In most cases you are required to host your website with the website template provider.
  • You can’t take your website with you if you decide to change hosts down the road, forcing you to recreate your entire website.

Time is also a factor to consider. However long you think it will take to build the website, plan on it taking much longer. You should always factor in the value of your time into the overall cost. The time you’ll need to spend learning and building your website will often take time away from building and running your business.

E-Commerce DesignYou only get one chance to make a good impression but with the right mix of design and content, you’ll be able to build a clear path to lead shoppers to your website, provide them with a memorable shopping experience and make the buying process as easy as possible.

 

The e-commerce landscape will continue to grow more crowded – whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a web designer, be sure to choose the option that will give your business the best shot at success.