Designing an E-commerce Web site is not as simple as having a "pretty" site that is a pleasure to visit. While it is important to have an attractive site, as much thought must be given to functionality as to appearance.
Many Web designers seem to focus more on appearance than functionality, and while an attractive site is helpful, visitors that become frustrated by the inability of a site to function well, will leave almost immediately, never to return!
Just as important in designing an e-commerce-style Web site, is a somewhat basic knowledge of Web site design, with some simple design skills included. While a thorough knowledge of design and functionality is not important, designing an e-commerce site does have some requirements, or else you'll always find yourself going back relentlessly and changing the features and functionality in a vain effort to stay abreast of your site visitor's needs.
E-commerce sites need to focus on some main areas of functionality in order to ensure maximum sales:
1. Load time, page size, and navigability.2. Less use of graphics.3. The use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).4. Breaking the site up into smaller tables as opposed to enclosing the entire body of a site in one large table.5. Use of sitemaps.6. Content that is keyword rich and well-written will aid in placement within the Search Engines, and keep visitors on a site long enough to purchase.7. Keyword rich title tags will increase traffic overall, and more traffic, of course, means more sales.8. E-commerce databases and purchasing procedures that are user friendly.9. A security feature that ensures visitors that personal information is "safe and secure" within the confines of the Web site and that reassures them that their personal information will not be shared nor sold.10. A thank-you page that is presented immediately upon ordering.
All in all, an e-commerce Web site is significantly different than a personal home page, or pages of a non-profit organization. The focus of the design and navigation, as well as all other aspects need to focus on the primary purpose of the site, and that of course, is the SALES!
About The Author
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of http://www.home-based-business-opportunities.com - A website dedicated to opportunities, ideas and resources for starting a home based business.