“Web sales have increased by an average of 15% for the past 5 years, and at the end of 2014, consumers in the U.S. spent $304.91 billion online.”
In this article, we will introduce and define the nature of good web design and why now, at the precipice of the digital age, entering the online space is absolutely necessary to reclaiming all the customers whom you would otherwise alienate forever. Not to worry; this is merely the first in a series of following articles, in which we will walk through various essential elements of web design, such as: conversion rate optimization (CRO) and call-to-action (CTA), effective landing pages, domain names and types, color and site aesthetics, and A/B testing. Hopefully this discussion will paint for you a clearer picture of the importance of internet presence, and how to make it work for your business.
The New World of Online Business
Globally, e-commerce has become ubiquitous, and its necessity is growing exponentially with the ever-speeding train of technology. It is no secret that we all use the internet for almost everything, but what you may not realize is that web sales are driving business more than ever before. If you are not willing to start making yourself available online, then suit yourself—a competitor with a strong web presence will gladly take the business that you are missing. Consumers are enthralled (some say, even addicted) to the availability and accessibility of information online, which is the key reason why a business cannot anymore expand to its full potential without an online presence. According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, online sales have shown unbroken growth, since nearly the inception of the internet. Web sales have increased by an average of 15% for the past 5 years, and at the end of 2014, consumers in the U.S. spent $304.91 billion online. Last year, online commerce made up over one-third of all sales for the year. If you are in business, this is a trend that you cannot afford to ignore.
Meet Your Customers Where They Are
Not only are your customers buying online, but they want to connect with you online; it is the preferred point of contact. What is someone going to do when they are beginning a search for a company providing the service they need, or if they are referred to your company? You can bet that they are not going to track down your phone number and call your office—they are going to look up your website, if it exists. These potential customers can instantly visit your website (basically an online extension of your store or office) then, once they are persuaded to buy from you, all they have to do is click a button and the sale is closed. Think about your own experience. If you do an online search when you want to buy new curtains for your house, then why would you expect anything different your own customers? By making this feature available, you are gaining the favor of your customers and augmenting the frequency of inquiry and sale, all at the same time. Give the people what they want; without them, your business cannot exist.
You Don’t Just Need a Website; You Need a Great Website
You hear it from people trying to sell their product, in every field: “Bank with us for quality representation… using ingredients of the highest quality… quality is our top priority,” and so on. Your customers are looking for this in everything they buy, which is why you have to present quality on your company’s website. During the process, you will have options as when building anything else, and you will be much better off if you resist the urge to use the quickest route because you want to get up and running fast. There must be thousands upon thousands of businesses who, deciding to set up a website after avoiding it for probably far too long, throw together a barely complete page that is neither user-friendly, nor aesthetically pleasing—not to mention the confusing or misleading web address that it is attached to. Coming up in the following articles of this series, we will get into the specifics of turn-ons and turn-offs for visitors to your website, such as excessive loading time, confusing navigation, etc. Never forget to respect your customers, and realize that they can tell the difference between a slapdash arrangement of information, and thoughtful design that is simple and easy to use.
If your business does not have a website, then you are already behind the game. Even if you are bringing in plenty of money to stay in the black, you are losing a significant amount of sales, without this. Did you ever sit down at a restaurant that you have been to a million times, and you get the feeling that there is something really cool going on somewhere else? Well, you’re right. There is something much cooler going on somewhere else, and it will continue going on without you, until you jump in and start creating a web presence for your business.
In this series, we will focus on how to build a great website for you business. Not only will we be sharing web design do’s and don’ts, but we will dive into real statistics taken directly from our own experiences right here at Talkroute.
Here are just a few of topics we will be covering in the coming weeks:
Doing your own web design? This article points out 11 common mistakes that you should avoid:
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1. U.S. Department of Commerce. Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales 4th Quarter 2014.
February 17, 2015. Washington, D.C..