So is your online shop looking a little dated and you’re thinking of giving it a makeover?
Perhaps you’re thinking of giving it a fresh look with new colours … perhaps adding a little extra to the width of the page?
Monitors certainly aren’t as narrow as they once were and narrow designs tend to look cramped and take something away from the shopping experience for your potential customers so making the layout a little wider is probably a very good idea.
And of course you’re going to update your graphics aren’t you? A new header image … maybe even a fresh logo?
Of course you don’t want to go overboard and make so many changes that your regular customers won’t recognise your online shop now do you? You’ll want them to come back and shop with confidence because there’s enough of the old design to reassure them that you really are still the same people they shopped with in the past.
Yes, giving your online shop a makeover can be fun and it can be challenging but if all you’re going to change are your colours, graphics and the width of your pages perhaps your missing something.
What about your categories and your navigation links? Perhaps you need to look at them to see if you can simplify them … make them easier for your site visitors to follow … because they may not be working as well as you think they are.
At this time of year one of my online shops always experiences a drop in revenue because people aren’t buying so much of what I’m selling in the month or two after Christmas. But that still doesn’t stop me from getting just a little concerned when the sales drop off.
So today I’ve been using Google Analytics to see where people are entering my online shop … where they’re going once they arrive … and where they’re leaving and I’ve begun to realise that some visitors are struggling to find what they want because the category links give them too many choices and aren’t all that descriptive.
Of course when I built the shop I thought that the number of categories was perfect and everyone could find what they wanted because of the very descriptive link-text I used.
Right now a visitor to my online shop has a choice of 11 category links to click on … and the text used in some of those links is probably a bit vague … I was sure that those links were descriptive but not everyone uses … or understands … the same terms that I do.
So for me, the challenge is to reduce those 11 category links (I’ve been doodling on a pad and I’ve already got them down to 6 with some sub-categories to make the navigation even easier and more intuitive).
I also need to come up with text for those links that gives people a clearer indication of what they’re going to find behind those links. And I have to do all that and still keep the number of clicks from home page to product page to just three or less.
So do you need to do some work on the number of categories and the wording of your links in your online shop? If you do then tread carefully because while you need to be thinking of your potential customers you also need to be thinking carefully of your top ranking pages in the search engines.
While you can change colours, layout and graphics without any problems once you start fiddling with links and the page URLs in your online shop you really need to tread carefully.