How to create an engaging online retail business website

An attractive and engaging website will be a vital factor in the financial success of your retail business. With this in mind, if you want to create a new website or improve your existing one, here are some tips to help you on your way.

1.   Choose a domain name that will make a good impression

The domain name is your website address and it is used by people to find you online. Therefore, it is imperative that you use a domain that is easy to remember, appealing and search engine friendly.

Here is some practical advice to consider when choosing a domain name:

  • Make sure it is easy to spell and don’t include slang or obscure words.
  • Keep it short so people can easily remember it and type it correctly.
  • Use the appropriate domain extension. As you are a business concern, ‘.com’ should be your preferred choice.
  • Numbers and hyphens are more difficult to remember than words. They can also cause misunderstandings when the domain name is being vocalised.
  • Select a name that is broad enough to take account of future growth. For instance, ‘amazon.com’ is a broad site address compared to ‘clothes.com’. With the former, it is clear that all types of goods are available for sale rather than just clothes.
  • Make sure you use a memorable name. You need to consider the fact that many other websites will be selling the same products as you so you must ensure your web address is catchy enough for easy recall.
  • As there are countless domain names on the market, you should visit a site such as gov to ensure you haven’t chosen a registered trademark.
  • If you are purchasing a domain name from its current owner, make sure you pay no more than is reasonable.
  • It is advisable to choose a name that will let users know the nature of your business. Although Amazon and Google are both catchy, you would need a very big budget to market this type of brand name.
  • It is essential that your business website address is SEO-friendly. Also, make sure you include your primary keywords and location.

2.   Create a user interface that is interesting and engaging

It is imperative that your site interface is user-friendly. In order to increase your sales, you need to create a positive impression on users. In this regard, you should consider the following advice:

  • Use eye-pleasing graphics and readable fonts.
  • Images can take up precious data space and slow down websites. Compress and optimise them. Remember, search engines such as Google penalise sites that load slowly.
  • Check out how your competitors have designed and optimised their sites. If feasible, consider incorporating their best features on your site.
  • Learn about your target audience and discover what they want and how you can provide it.
  • Bear in mind that the design of your website should consistently reinforce your brand.
  • Invest in an intuitive navigation design that allows users to land on pages quickly.
  • Include your contact information and make it easily accessible.
  • Make sure you incorporate several call-to-action (CTA) buttons in strategic areas.

When creating a retail business website, you need to include the following pages:

  • Homepage
  • About us
  • Products (incorporate engaging descriptions and images)
  • Sitemap (you need this for SEO)
  • Management team (you can include names, job titles and pictures)
  • Contact us (provide your business telephone numbers and email address)
  • Terms of use (an online contract that stipulates how visitors can use your website)
  • Privacy policy (this informs users about the type of personal information your site collects and how it will be used)
  • Any page that is relevant to your business

3.   Use search engine optimisation (SEO) to increase online traffic

According to DeType, SEO is vital to the success of any online business. Therefore, you need to identify the appropriate SEO strategies for your online store. Remember, the primary goal is to persuade search engines to display your website to your target audience. Even if Google discovers your site, you will still be competing with similar stores. If you improve your site’s design and content, search engines will often reward you with a higher ranking.

Consider the following SEO steps:

  • Conduct keyword research and utilise the results on your site.
  • Optimise your website’s codes.
  • Ensure a quick loading speed.
  • Secure your website with an SSL certificate (security technology that protects data transfers between servers and browsers).
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly.
  • Include high-quality backlinks that lead to your site. These are links on external websites with related content.
  • Encourage users to post positive online reviews on various platforms, such as Yelp, Facebook and Google.
  • Use internal links to encourage visitors to stay.
  • Use social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to link to your site.

SEO requires constant improvement. If you achieve a high ranking on Google, you will generate lots of free and potentially profitable traffic. However, if your site is ranked near the bottom of the results pages, you are unlikely to attract a single visitor.

4.   Regularly write and post high-quality content

When it comes to content, quantity and freshness are important considerations for search engines such as Google. You should plan how you intend to publish high-quality articles and post them on your site or create external links to them. Furthermore, you need to update your site with new, current and relevant information to attract visitors and encourage them to return on a regular basis. Another type of content worth incorporating is customer testimonials as positive feedback will help make your brand appear trustworthy.

Conclusion

If you own a retail business website, you need to ensure every component works to your optimum advantage. For instance, people will be using your domain name to search for your products online so you must make sure it makes a good impression. Moreover, you should always provide your target audience with relevant and up-to-date information. Remember, they are unlikely to read your content if your site’s navigation menu is not user-friendly. Finally, consider implementing SEO strategies to guide search engines and customers to your site.