Online presence is the key to a successful business, and no element of that is more crucial than a product website that’s as good at selling your products as any salesperson you could hire.
Luckily, that’s not as difficult as it may sound – as long as you work from the ground up and build the kind of website that you would want to visit yourself.
Here are a few key tips that can help you build a successful product website:
The first step in making a good product website is to make a good website, full stop.
Getting customers to your website is wasted energy if it’s disorganised, slow, or filled with pop-ups that will keep them from ever returning.
Sometimes the best offence is a good defence, so your first priority might just be to avoid making a bad website.
But some basic principles will always apply:
- take pains to improve your load times
- keep pages logically organised and intuitively navigable
- make sure it all works on mobile
It’s also important to understand basic SEO principles and analytics (Google Analytics is pretty much a must-have).
If you don’t have web design expertise (and can’t foot the bill for someone who does), you might consider a website-building tool such as Squarespace or WordPress.
These are simple to use and often include tools to help you; WordPress, for instance, has tons of SEO-related plugins that will take care of some of the legwork for you.
Think of basic web design as the foundation for your product website. Once it’s fully functional and running as smoothly as possible, you can move on to things like…
Effective product page design
You know your product is great.
Now you need to show your customers.
The product page is the single most important part of your website. It’s where your customers browse for the things they might want, and it’s where you convince them to buy.
Information about your product should flow logically, pictures should be of the utmost quality (with a white or transparent background), and your call to action – where they make their purchase – needs to be clear.
Don’t be afraid to take your cues from other successful online stores, either. Knowing what other sellers are doing gives you clues as to what works without having to go through the trial and error yourself.
But the bottom line is this:
Your product might be miraculous, but if your pictures are poor and the product page is confusing, it won’t matter.
Write crisp, balanced product descriptions
You might expect this to be included in the above section.
But it’s important enough to warrant its own.
That’s because the most important thing your website needs to do is convince visitors to buy your product – and while visual elements draw them in, the words on the page do the convincing.
The key to writing good product descriptions is balance.
You need to be detailed, but clear and succinct. You need to frame your product well, but do so honestly.
Most importantly, you need to strike the right notes and include the right phrases without coming off as just another salesman.
It’s not an easy line to toe, but it’s absolutely crucial in completing the transition from page visitor to paying customer.
Create shareable supporting content
A good online store by itself can be enough, but expanding your consumer base takes more than just advertisements and plastering your products everywhere.
Writing good supporting content – blog posts, lists – can help you frame your product from all sorts of angles, especially if this content is good enough to share on its own merits.
Write about a problem customers may be having in their day-to-day lives and subtly demonstrate how your product can help solve that problem.
And as with product descriptions, be honest: Readers can tell when your product isn’t really related to what you’re talking about, and that causes you to lose credibility – and potentially lose a customer.
Supporting content can be broader than this, though.
One of the best things you can do for your website is to write a great “About Us” section. There, you can describe your mission and how you decided the world needs your product.
If that lines up with someone visiting your site, you’ve just formed a connection.
You might also include an FAQ, bios of your team members, and contact information where potential customers can reach you.
Being readily accessible to your customers is good for them and for you, as you can build a trusting relationship just by responding promptly to their concerns or questions.
Work from the outside in
Another avenue for building a good rapport with customers and expanding your base is through social media.
Just like with the contact info, this is all about communicating with customers, as they’ll be spending far more time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram than they will browsing your blog.
One smart way to use social media? Develop hashtags for your brand or your products.
It takes very little effort on your part, and if done well it provides an easy avenue for customers to share their experience and even promote your product for you.
This is the last item in here, but it may be the most important rule to never break.
Think of the time you got a broken product, or when you had ghastly service at a restaurant. Did you go back?
Probably only if they took great pains to fix what was wrong.
To that end, keep your website as secure from hackers as possible, respond to inquiries and complaints, and include customer feedback right there on the product page.
Offer an easy return policy to make sure customers get exactly what they’re looking for.
Trust is difficult to build and easy to lose, but the best way to prevent lost business is to be readily accessible and to promptly correct any mistakes you make.
Building a successful product website takes a lot more than web design talent.
Thankfully, that means it’s eminently doable for a brand and team that already cares about what it has to offer.
If you keep your website user-friendly and let your passion for your product and customers be evident on your pages, you’ll have no trouble crafting an enjoyable online shopping experience that your customers will be happy to come back to.