Although it is not the sole reason for operating a website, the generation of revenue through sales remains the main purpose of creating and maintaining an internet presence. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, not all commercial websites produce the sales returns that their owners wish for. In this article we examine a few of those reasons and suggest how, if they are adversely affecting your own sales generation, you might remedy them.
The Website Copy
One of the most important characteristics of a professional site is that it looks professional. It should also be easily readable to its visitors. Choose a text font that is attractive and consider the size of the text with your audience in mind. The font size should be neither too large nor too small. It is essential that the spelling is correct and that the grammar is equally accurate. Your website is likely to be seen by those who visit it as a reflection of the overall quality of your goods and services. If you expect your potential customers to have confidence in the high quality of those services or goods, the standard of your website copy will need to be equally high.
One of the best ways of augmenting the attractiveness of your site is the inclusion of images. Once again, the quality of this content is all-important. Whilst it may be tempting to take your own images for uploading onto your site, this is likely to be a false economy unless you are a particularly skilled photographer. It is far better for you to use the type of professionally taken images that can be purchased at a relatively low cost from a commercial stock image site or engage your own professional photographer. High quality imagery is likely to depict your goods, services, premises, staff team, etc in an attractive and positive manner, making it more likely that they will help to generate sales.
It is also important, especially with larger commercial websites that have many pages, that the site is easy to use. Visitors to the site will need easy to follow links that take them to and from the different site pages. The content of the linked pages should be as described in the text, logo, tab or button that takes the visitor to them. There should be clear guidance on how to contact you, preferably with the inclusion of a contact form that is easy to complete. If you are selling products online, the procedure and any forms that must be completed for making a purchase should be clear, straightforward and, most importantly, secure. Your site should be as user-friendly as you would expect from any commercial website that you visit. If it is not, any potential sales that it might generate are likely to go to one of your site’s more user-friendly competitors.
One of the most frustrating experiences, when visiting a website, is to encounter site errors. Broken links, which lead to a visit to a page with a “Page Not Found” script rather than to where you wanted to go, are amongst the most annoying. Not far behind are links that take you to a page that does exist but is the wrong page. Broken and/or inaccurate links, as well as email links that do not work, contact forms that are ineffective and other similar site errors all have the same effect on potential sales. These kinds of site error have two obvious effects. Firstly, they are likely to result in your site visitor leaving it before they even get to the point where they are considering making a purchase. Secondly they reflect detrimentally on your organisation’s overall professional presentation. Either way, they will inevitably reduce the prospects of your website generating sales.
If you want your website to be an effective aid in generating sales it is essential that you spend the necessary time on perfecting and maintaining its content so that its professionalism is seen to be a reflection of the quality of the goods and services that it is showcasing.
Image Credit: Bryan Kerrigan