The way you set up your site will have a direct impact on your conversion rate.
If your site makes no sense to visitors, they will quickly become confused and leave. However, if you pay attention to managing your linking patterns (even going to far as to diagram them on paper) you can ensure your pages are tiered for easy navigation.
If my site carries hundreds of different items in different categories, I need to find a way to make the store layout easy emnough for the average Joe to find his way around.
Assume that every visitor to your site is completely new to the internet and doesn’t know that clicking on ‘sitemap’ could instantly answer their navigational problem. You should of course have a decently worked out site map (this can actually be done in conjunction with setting up your linking schamatic) but don’t asume everyone will use it.
Your home page needs a link to the sitemap along with ones to your about us page and contact information. You can also have one to ‘wish lists’ if you have that capability, or ‘saved items’.
Work methodically down from your landing pages, for example a clothing site might have:
Main Home Page links to:
Categories (tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories, leisurewear)
Tops links down to:
blouses, t-shirts, sweaters, jackets
– each of those links to own subset;
dressy, casual, long sleeved, short sleeved
This builds a network of links that expands gradually as your customer gets nearer and nearer their desired destination. They don’t want to have to click a million times, but if each click clearly is bringing them nearer to their goal, they will feel rewarded and willing to move forward.
The idea is to make your website easy to navigate for anyone who visits. It doesn’t matter what they are looking for – if you can provide instant gratification with each click they are required to make, they won’t mind a few steps. Just amke sure you make it easy to get back to a previous page without using the back browser button, and make ‘home’ obvious from every page.
Make your ‘buy now’ option very obvious, but not screaming at them. Be sure the shopping cart method you employ is simple, fast and secure. Let your customers know as they complete each step that they are being properly taken care of and all of their information will be safe. Shipping charges should be very transparent!
Once you have made the sale, ensure prompt shipping and appropriate measures for the consumer’s happiness. Give them a valid, easy way for them to contact you if they encounter a problem, and don’t forget to thank them! Have a monitored space for feedback, too – this is a great way to get testimonials!