Business Websites

World Wide WebA common requirement for business is to ensure you are known by people. Businesses of all types need to be known by their customers otherwise they do not have customers.  This can be as simple as having signage or mailing a flier.  For other businesses the marketing can be rather complex with TV ads and all sorts of other attempts at gathering new customers.

I am finding that businesses lately are realizing that the Internet is one of the best ways of creating a presence.  With a simple website a business can essentially compete with any other business out there.  Unfortunately far too many businesses have been given incorrect information.  Having a website is not all that matters, actually having a bad website can be far worse than not having a website at all.

I have been to my fair share of exceptionally crappy websites.  Even major companies are not exempt from building unusable websites.  This is hurting businesses reputations and often it can be killing sales.

Why would you spend any more time on a website than you have to when looking for a product?  If you had two nearly identical stores next to each other would you go to the one with bad customer service or the one with good service?  Would you wait in a long line to purchase your products when the next store over has the same products and no lineup?  This is typical of the web, with just a few mouse clicks you are transported anywhere and staying at one store is pointless.

What I am saying is this.  Do not provide junk on the Internet if you want to attract customers.  If a website is designed to generate a profit then give it the time and effort that you would give to designing your storefront.

The Internet is a vast marketplace and having a website gives you the ability to tap into the billions of dollars that will be spent online this year alone.  Capture a larger share of that money by providing an excellent website experience for your customers, or don’t and let others collect the money from your customers.

5 thoughts on “Business Websites”

  1. While I can understand completely where you’re coming from with this I feel the need to point out something:
    There are many companies out there that are just starting out and don’t have the luxury of doing what is needed to be done in order to get a new business out there with an online storefront that would be anything other than ‘junk’ or less-than-amazing.
    I myself have started out on a business venture recently and my store is located ONLY online right now. I don’t have the luxury of hiring someone to help me build an online storefront that’s anywhere near amazing as I absolutely can’t afford it and I’m lucky that I actually know some basic coding. As it is, my store is rather.. dull.. but I’m continuing to work on it in hopes that I can make it look much better.
    Sometimes it’s not that a person isn’t putting the time and effort into making their online store look good, it’s that they’re having a hard time getting it to the point at which it’s what they want it to be.

    1. I actually agree with you. Looks are not the point here. Its usefulness that is the point I am trying to make.

      Do your customers have to step through twelve different pages before they are allowed to purchase something? Does it require a Masters Degree or a PhD to navigate your website?

      How much time a customer is willing to spend fighting with poor site design is usually very low. The only companies that can actually afford to have crappy sites are companies with a monopoly like Microsoft. Looks are not a part of this equation, its functionality. If a customer can find a product and buy said product with a minimum of difficulty then you have a website that ranks in the top 10%.

      If on the other hand a customer must sign up for 2 different accounts and give out a thousand different pieces of useless information before being given the privilege of purchasing then you have a crappy website. Looks can be important for longer term conversion factors but function is far more important. When a manual is needed to navigate a site you have a problem. For some reason way too many websites require a manual lately, the saddest part is most of these websites were actually designed by “professionals”.

      BTW, I checked out your storefront and while there are improvements that could be made it is actually fairly respectable as far as online stores go.

    2. Side note. Most smaller brick and mortar shop owners don’t hire people to lay out their stores either. They do spend time considering where things should go and how to ensure products are better found/purchased. If you spend the time and give a crap then you are far ahead of almost everyone out there. If you are making good money then consider hiring someone to make things even better but giving a crap and trying is the most important place to start with.

  2. Now that you specify that you were talking about the navigation aspect of online storefronts as opposed to the way they look I can definitely say that your article is actually quite helpful. I apologize for taking your article the wrong way but the way you worded it didn’t make me think of navigation.
    However, I definitely understand where you’re coming from. If it wasn’t for google I never would have gotten anywhere with sites like microsoft. I can spend hours on the Microsoft site and not get anywhere.
    I’d love to hear about the improvement ideas that you have. However, I must point out that I don’t know how to code a storefront very well and have had to go with an opensource precoded one.

    1. A few site improvement idea from the top of my head are:

      The landing page of your store doesn’t really explain anything about the store. What you sell or why, it just shows products. Having a description of some sort there would help customers and make your store more likely to be picked up in a search engine.

      Your products are completely unclear as to what a person would be purchasing. At first glance I think you are selling artwork but what size and such is unknown to me.

      Having a user account for faster purchases is nice when customers come back over and over. In the short term though it takes way longer to setup and for people who know it is a one time purchase this may discourage people from signing up. I personally have over 100 passwords and accounts, more is very annoying when it is unneeded.

      That is a few things I noticed at first glance. As far as graphics go I think that changing them is unlikely to provide a great spike in sales. Your site is quite functional and looks better than a number of sites I have used in the past. After brisk business is achieved then a new site should be rolled out to improve the look and feel and help to spur more purchases.

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