Optimising Your Online Offering

Everyone knows a business’s website is a window into their brand. Therefore, having a professional online presence is indispensable, no matter the size of your business or sector you work in. For online retail brands especially, it is one of the main points of contact in attracting and retaining your customer base.

Here, Patrick Schaudel, Head of Product Unit – Sitebuilder, Marketing & eCommerce at IONOS, lists the essential top-tips you need to know when setting up a website, or optimising your e-commerce offering, to ensure its success.

Build the basics

It sounds obvious, but for those setting up a new online presence, it all starts with a name. It must be memorable, meaningful and ultimately make sense. If your brand is in a particular industry or sector, reference this within the name where possible – for example ‘Dream supplies’ would be better as ‘Dream office supplies’ to make it easy for customers to understand your business or product, and recognise your offering. It’s also vital this brand name appears in the website address, or so-called ‘domain name’, as well as social media handles wherever possible. This means customers will be able to find the official accounts ran by your brand.

You want to welcome customers to your website, so don’t overload the homepage with information. The design of your site needs to attract and retain a viewer’s attention, so use a uniform typeface, attractive colour scheme, and create a simple user journey that’s easy to follow.

Website navigation is also key. Avoid unnecessary technical gimmicks within your website structure that make it difficult to explore pages, and test out the visitor experience of your website on friends and family – if they can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, re-think the layout.

Excel on the essentials

Reading on-screen is the same as real life; capturing the eye is essential. A website with an attention-grabbing main image that relates to your brand is a good start, and professional pictures throughout your webpages help draw more emotion and interest from customers than those without.

For more serious websites, setting a theme by using images with similar colours works well, whereas bold and bright imagery suits more creative brands, products of services. It’s also important that images are selected in isolation, but that you understand the purpose for including them, and what you want to convey to your website visitors. However, remember to use images and content that is your own – other copied text, pictures, music and videos are copyrighted, and you must have a license to use these.

In addition, make sure to update your website frequently when needed. Nothing annoys users more than finding misinformation online and services that have changed or are no longer available.

Optimise your offering

For those who’ve set up an e-shop on their website, mobile optimisation is essential. Not only does it simplify operability, but it can also considerably reduce page loading times – improving the user experience. A huge percentage of us shop online through mobile devices, and therefore any business must ensure this audience is catered for. The ideal solution is a website with a responsive design, as it adapts to the mobile device in use.

Businesses should also pick an e-commerce set-up that can be linked through to social media business pages or profiles. This will help maximise the amount of traffic directed to your website from social platforms once in-feed imagery and content or sponsored posts have captured a browser’s attention.

Make the process simple

No matter how sophisticated you want your website to be – there’s a wealth of tools available to ensure you have the best possible offering.

Homepage construction kits, for example, allow you to easily create modern, mobile-optimised homepages according to your own ideas and creative vision – without the need for any previous design or website knowledge. Thanks to modern fonts, template themes and copyright-free image databases, the templates can be easily personalised to reflect your offer, while providing a professional feel in the shortest time possible.

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