Effective Web Design to Help Your E-Commerce Business Shine

Thu 23rd Nov 2017
Effective Web Design to Help Your E-Commerce Business Shine

Here are some ideas and principles surrounding effective web design that will make your E-Commerce business look snazzier than ever and boost SEO. The impact of effective web design on your e-commerce business is so great, it can make or break it.

Think of your homepage as a shopfront. Every good high-street retailer knows that to pique people's interest, the shop needs a neat and clean exterior, shiny windows, and a display that draws the eye.

What makes you want to go in? Sure, the products might be just what you're after. But if you're window-shopping, what would you need to see to draw you inside? The answer to that question can be translated into your homepage. And once you're in, the experience needs to live up to expectations.

Without further ado, let's dive into our 10 tips on effective web design.

1. Understand your Brand
When you've met someone new, what do you remember about that person? It's not just what they look like - it's their conversation, their mannerisms, their qualities. It's their personality. That's what your brand is - your business' personality.

Your brand is everything that people think about when they hear your name. And the thing is, like a human's personality, your brand only exists in the customer's mind. It's the perception they have of your business.

With effective web design, make sure your brand comes across the way you want in both looks and content. Your colour scheme, your content 'voice' (the way you speak to customers. Are you ultra-professional in your tone, or laid-back and fun?), and your website's design and layout are all keys to successfully showing off your brand.

2. Build in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is your search engine popularity ratings.

Search engines like Google and Yahoo rate websites depending on how often they've been viewed, the length of time users spend on them, and more. They then use this information to deliver the most relevant content to internet users.

SEO is vital to the success of your e-commerce website, and effective web design goes a long way to incorporate it into the workings of your site. It's best to build SEO into your site at the design stage. But if you're an established business wanting to grow and increase your digital marketing, then begin to integrate SEO into your website now.

You can do this by becoming a master of SEO yourself, or use a professional service to do it for you. SEO is a sure-fire way to bring in more customers, so it's definitely worth the time or money.

3. Simplicity is Key in Effective Web Design
Think about those high-street retailers again. What do their window displays and stores look like?
In the same way that an overcrowded, psychedelic display is a confusing turnoff, your website needs to exude an elegant simplicity through its use of colours, images, and text.

That also means you need to...

4. Find the 'White' Balance
Making the best use of whitespace is a great way to keep it simple. What's whitespace? Whitespace is all the gaps between things like your images and text, and the margins of your webpage.

It's easy to want to fill every inch of your whitespace, thinking the more content, the better. But in the case of effective web design, less is definitely more. More whitespace means less clutter, a website that's easier to read, and fewer distractions to slow readers down. It also helps you to highlight a mid-season sale or a promotion, for example, in a way that's easy for your customer to see.

Whitespace also brings an appealing balance to your website, so you can show off your products to their best advantage, in a clean and clutter-free setting.

5. Your Typeface Should Be Easy on the Eye
It's understandable that you may want to use a non-standard font when designing your website, to make it stand out as different. While that's perfectly acceptable, you need to make sure that your typeface follows certain rules. If it's too difficult to read, you may end up alienating demographics that can't read your website.

• Don't ever go for design over legibility. If you can't read the text in a single glance, use a different font.
• Don't use a comical, or 'silly' typeface if you want to be taken seriously, no matter your audience
• Don't use random font sizes. Rather, use the preset ones - they've been chosen because they look the best.

• Do choose a font that best fits your brand and suits your target audience
• Do use a font that is easily legible and looks good in bold, italics and underlined
• Do favour black-on-white (it's the easiest combination to read)

Here are a few examples of Google fonts that are legible and different to the ones you'd normally see.

6. Pick Good Colours
The choice of colour palette is crucial in effective web design and adds to your business' personality.
Those high-street retailers - let's look at them again. What colour comes to mind when you think of Vodafone? Starbucks? How about McDonald's?

It's very easy to see exactly how those big-brand companies use colour to form and showcase their personalities. Now think of the Cath Kidston brand. There are a variety of colours used in her products, but the colour palette is very specific, isn't it?

In the same way, you want to keep it simple and cohesive with your colour scheme. Pick the colours for your brand, and then hold on to them. Use them throughout your website. You want your colour scheme to complement your images and layout. Only pick a finite number of colours - too many, and your message becomes confusing.

Most of us try and colour-coordinate our outfit for the day. You want to use the same logic and skills to colour-coordinate your brand and website.

Here are some key points to remember when choosing a colour scheme:
• Pick a main colour. Tailor this to your target audience for best effect
• Choose an accent colour or colours
• Decide on your background colour

As an e-commerce website owner, you'll probably want to opt for a white or neutral background colour. This places the focus on your products and services, rather than the design of your website.

7. Use the Right Images
Effective website design always incorporates just the right images that promote your brand and add to your business' persona. You obviously want to use images related to your company and audience, and you want the highest-quality images you can afford.

If you can't produce your own, you may want to invest in some stock photos or graphics to make your website really stand out. When you place your product images on your site, make sure you do it in a neat and organised way. Think about how a mobile phone shop arranges their devices in neat rows and divides them up into grids for easy viewing.

Mimic this idea when placing your products on your page. Make sure they're neat and uniform, and allow enough whitespace between each one to help consumers see them more clearly.

8. Make it Mobile-Friendly
In 2017, mobile commerce accounts for more than 31% of total sales! There is overwhelming evidence to show that incorporating a mobile-friendly display into a website can boost sales enormously.

What does that mean for your e-commerce business? It means, for your business to succeed, it's essential you convert your website into a mobile format. In fact, companies who have successfully converted their websites have seen an up to 62% sales increase!

With effective web design, you can arrange your website so that it adapts to a mobile browser. Or, you can design a separate mobile-friendly webpage for mobile users. Either way, you'll find that, when you convert your website to a mobile-friendly format, your sales can only increase and your customer base will grow.

9. Make it Easy to Navigate
Ever been on an online shopping website and struggled to find what you were looking for? Maybe the dropdown lists kept disappearing, or the labels weren't clear enough.

Effective web design makes your website sing in terms of navigability. To do it...
• Use clear and appropriate labels
• Make your top-level label clickable
• Include a search function and make sure it's sensitive

Your aim is for your customer to have the most pleasant shopping experience possible, and so good labelling is key to that process. Top-level clickable labels mean customers can enter the department they're interested in and browse, the way you would on the high-street.

10. Use Social Media Icons
You want to make your social media presence link to your website, and vice versa. Social media's role in e-commerce is evolving and changing as companies are harnessing the marketing power of advertising through social media.

The availability of clickable-ads means more and more consumers are buying through their social media accounts, too. Effective web design ensures that you're in on the action. Incorporate clickable social media icons into your website, and allow customers to follow your business.

Encourage likes and shares; the more your website is shared, the more sales you'll get.

The Takeaway
Effective web design has a huge positive effect on your company's image, reputation, and success. Invest in a good look and layout for your website, and use the tips above to stand out in a busy marketplace.

Your website is the front of your business, the first thing your customer sees. Make a great first impression, and the rest will follow.

Liked what you read? Why not check out 7 e-commerce strategies to grow your business.