Imagine that you are walking through a mall, and every time you wanted to go into a store you had to stop and close your eyes for 1 minute before you could go inside? Then, when you finally get to go into the store, the shopkeeper followed you around, loudly playing their favorite song to you again and again! Now imagine you did happen to find a product that you wanted more information about, but couldn’t find anyone to answer your questions or even a place to buy the item! Unfortunately this is the experience many shoppers receive when searching to buy crafts and other products online…..
1. Load Time
Too many sites pack the pages full of bloated graphics, music files and other things that increase the time to load the page into the visitor’s browser. This is the sure-fire way to make people leave before they even get a chance to see your products. When someone gets to your site, they most likely don’t know if you have the item they want to buy. Don’t make them wait an online eternity to see what your business is all about! Like it or not, we live in an impatient world. Keep the file size of your pages small and you will keep your visitors happy.
The actual load time for a page should be no longer than 10-15 seconds on a 56K connection, even smaller if possible. Anything longer will ensure that most visitors click away, leaving your site never to return. There are many ways to decrease load time. Reduce graphic size. Break long pages containing multiple graphics into smaller pages with fewer graphics. Do not use music files which many users find offensive, (If you must play music on your site, at least provide an “off” button on the page so users can turn music off if they like.)
2. No Contact Information
The goal of your website is to sell your crafts. Most people like to ask questions before they make a purchase. If someone decides they need more information about your crafts, how hard is it for them to contact you? Web users want information quick and easy to find. Don’t make them hunt for your contact information, or they very well might just give up and go to your competitor for their needs.
Make a contact page containing your name, phone number, 800/888 number (if you have one), address, fax number, email address and additional information that may help someone contact you. Add a contact form on the page to make it easy for users to submit their questions. It’s been my experiences that people are 50% more likely to use a form to submit information than a standard email link. After making your contact page, place a prominent link to it on each and every page on your site.
3. No Online Ordering
A few years ago, it was possible to sell large amounts of products online without a way to order online. This was because many people were still wary of purchasing items through online payment systems. Now, while you can still show your products to the world without online processing, you are much more likely to sell your crafts if you have payment processing. Many people expect you to take their orders online. The convenience factor also demands the ability for online ordering.
There are many places to find online processing providers these days. Go to your favorite search engine and see what everyone has to offer.
4. Lack of Marketing
The Internet is a big place. So big, in fact, that some estimates say that only one-third of it is actually covered in search engines. Simply building a Web site does not bring customers to your online business. Consistent marketing is a must for any online venture.
Search engine registration/optimization, reciprocal links and banner advertising are just a few things that need to be done. Don’t forget offline marketing opportunities either. If you do not have the time to plan and carry out a marketing campaign, then hire a professional. This important step is well worth the expense.