The Art of eCommerce Website Design
Although it may not seem like it, there is a big difference between traditional website design and eCommerce website design. Where everyday website design consists of some of the ordinary components that go along with digital marketing and optimized images when it comes to building a website that is geared to sell items and collect money for those items the focus shifts from ordinary to complex.
What is an eCommerce Website?
In order to fully appreciate the art of building an eCommerce website, it is important to understand exactly what one is, and why it is important to build it differently than a normal website.
An eCommerce site is a place on the web where people can sell merchandise. Commerce is when people buy things, eCommerce is when they do it on a website. eCommerce actually stands for electronic commerce. This is where there is no physical transaction of money between the buyer and the seller, only an online digital transaction with the use of electronics.
Over the decades the eCommerce market has grown and changed tremendously. If you look at companies such as Amazon and eBay it is easy to see that there is a lot of money to be made by selling things online.
The only big problem is that when smaller eCommerce sites sell things they have to compete with both of these giants, and more.
In any event, buying and selling merchandise, services, or both online is considered eCommerce. To have an eCommerce website, you have to have something to sell and a way to get the money for your sales.
You may have heard the term “web developer” all over the internet and seen it around over the years, but what does it really mean? If you take a deeper look into the way that the internet works, it is easier to understand.
When it comes to the difference between web design and web development there are a lot of variables to consider. Although a web designer is not necessarily the same as a web developer, both of them should know and understand the fundamentals of how websites work and what makes them work better for users.
A web designer can choose from a plethora of different tools to help them create websites. A web developer will build those tools. Big difference, but both serve a huge purpose.
Since an eCommerce website is much more than a traditional website it takes a web developer to create the mechanics behind the store and make all of it come together in a way that is free from bugs and allows the user to flawlessly move from one end of the site to the purchasing end without having any issues.
There is nothing more frustrating when entering credit card information on a website than for there to be pauses and hiccups during the process. If the site is developed correctly, the chances of losing customers greatly decrease.
Selling Items On Websites
Of course, the main point of having an eCommerce website is to sell stuff on it. Regardless of what you sell, the way that you present it to users makes a huge difference. In addition to the way that the website looks, the way that it is seen in search engines is vital for the success of the site.
Some of the key components of a successful website are:
- Home page design
- Proper structure
- Clear calls to action
- Easy navigation
- Trustworthy development
Whether you are selling toiletries or fine jewelry on the site the way that the users see your pages when they visit the site is going to help to determine whether or not they go through with a transaction and make an order.
The one thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to build an eCommerce site and sell things on it you will have to compete with some of the largest companies on the planet. The world wide web is accessible and available to everybody on the planet earth, which means that there is a potential for trillions of other sites out there that want a spot at the top of the search engines.
However, if you develop the website with every single page being part search engine optimization structure, you will have a better chance of being seen, especially if what you are selling is unique.
Many businesses have to compete on a local level where they want to show up in results for the areas that they serve, however, eCommerce sites are on a global level, if you only show up for one city, you could be selling yourself very short.
Where it Counts
Assuming that your eCommerce site is going to rely on digital marketing instead of other means of media such as television, radio, or paper ads in order to reach the top of the search engine results that will get you the success you are looking for it is going to take a lot of work.
Websites do not simply appear at the top of search results by mere luck and chance, especially when there is a lot of competition. Just like you would never show up to take an exam for a topic that you never even studied for and expect to pass on the first try, you should never expect search results without putting in the effort to make them happen.
Here’s where it counts for search results:
- Page structure
- Relevant content
- Keyword placement
- Page titles
- Page headings
- Outbound links
- Inbound links
- Internal links
In the grand scheme of things, when your website is built it has to be structured in a way that is pleasing both to the search engines and the users that will visit it. Where users see the front end of the site where all of the nice content and pictures are, the search engines will see the backend of the site where all of the code is.
On the backend of the site is where the details that matter come to life. If the backend of your site is healthy and looks like a legitimate place to provide quality information to the public, the search engines are more prone to offer it to users for information. If the backend is full of mistakes and errors, the search engines are more prone to hide it from visibility.
One of the most important characteristics of an eCommerce site is how well the code is written. The higher quality of code, the more trustworthy the site will seem to search engines.
When it comes to the art behind creating an effective eCommerce site, the people that create the back end of it are the ones that can make or break the entire website.
Front End and Back End Design
If you ever feel like being adventurous, right-click any page of a website and search for the option to “view source.” When you do this you will open another window on the browser which will show all of the code for that page. You can see the HTML, CSS, linking files, and everything else that pertains to the way that the page is rendered in your browser.
To the untrained eye, the page will look like an endless sea of jibberish and unintelligible characters. The professional eye and the eyes of the search engines will be able to see an altogether different environment.
That jibberish on the page is what makes a user able to see the contents of a web page. The front end of the website might appear to be beautiful with great images and cool headings, but the backend could be confusing to search engines.
The key is to develop great-looking pages with tight, correct structure beneath them. The tighter the code, the easier it is for search engines to decipher it.
Images with descriptive alt text elements are crucial for page structure and search engine visibility. Headings, bulleted lists, numbered lists, links and other components that could very easily be overlooked by inexperienced developers are all crucial for the health of the website.
Links, Items, and Descriptions
It is not a secret that when a website is structured with deep internal links and provides outbound links it works like a well-connected machine. All pages have links to them, and every page has a way for users to navigate to any page on the site. In addition to link structure, the links must contain words that describe the pages.
Each item that the website sells should have its own individual page that is equipped with a keyword-rich description and some remarkable pictures of the product from different angles. Each picture should have an alt text tag with descriptive keywords.
In order for people to find the items that are available for sale, they must be able to locate them without having to spend much time on the search.
The descriptions for the products themselves are all part of the structure that allows search engine visibility. With each item that has a description, the developer has an opportunity to use pillar keywords and long string keyword phrases in order to boost online visibility.
The Ultimate Art
Some people can appreciate all of the intricate details of profound artwork. When you take at the level of detail that comes with building a successful eCommerce website it is easy to see why many developers consider building sites an art. If you are pondering creating your own eCommerce site, don’t sell yourself short. Find an artist to help you make it work.