Whether you're building your site from the ground up or modifying a template, keep in mind the following points.
- White space is your friend. Websites should never appear cluttered. That's not inviting. They should have a good balance of graphics, text and white space. Less is more.
- Tell them who you are. When someone lands on your home page, it should be immediately obvious what your company sells.
- Make navigation easy. Don't make visitors guess where they can find your phone number, or how to narrow down your women's shoes selection. It should be blatantly obvious.
- Give them what they need. Don't make your site too text-heavy. Keep information short, bulleted and to the point. If you're selling relatively complicated products with a lot of specifications, let them access the info via links, pop-ups and the like. If you're selling a lot of similar products, create a table comparing them. You can also include interactive tools that compare products the shopper has selected from your product line by clicking a check box next to the item, and then clicking on a "compare" button. A table then comes up that compares those items side by side.
- Put contact info front and center. Make sure customers can find you in the real world if and when they need to do so. Even if your business exists solely in cyberspace, you should still have a physical address or P.O. box and a phone number where someone can contact you if they have a question -- and it should be easy to find, not hidden five clicks away. This gives customers a higher comfort level that your business is legitimate.
- Don't forget the SEO. Search engine optimization is critical if you want people to be able to find you easily. Incorporate the information search engines look for into your pages as you design them, or hire someone to do it.