10 mistakes in creating a website you should know
December 27, 2022
Table of Contents:
Online stores open and close daily. The reasons for going out of business can be different: problems with logistics, competition, marketing or other workflows. Want to make your store unprofitable and out of business? Take a close look at our 10 "harmful" tips. These tips apply to both large and small specialty projects.
Mistake #1: Don't Calculate Efficiency
If you want to ruin your business in the first days, start the online store without any calculations. Do not determine the prospects for your venture and do not predict the number of sales. A great option - to order the development of an expensive site, even without studying your niche.
Calculate the profitability of the niche
In all seriousness, business is math. Remember this from the first days of launching your online store. Staying in a niche with high demand, you need to intelligently calculate your profit. This is done by the following formula:
Profit = Demand * (Revenue - Expenses)
Having made the necessary calculations, you will better understand the limits of profitability and form a conclusion about the prospects for the chosen business.
In order not to ruin the creation of an online store, start selling gradually. To begin with it will be sufficient to have only one account in Instagram or group VK. If there is demand, you can invest in a website. As sales increase, you can upgrade your online store, making it more sustainable and more expensive.
Don't choose a niche at random. The promise of a business model is determined only through in-depth research. Carefully study your competitors, try to understand their problems and strengths. Develop a USP, which could distinguish you from your future counterparts. Perhaps the chosen niche is already unprofitable, or promotion in it will drag on for many years.
Make a marketing plan
All failures should be calculated in advance. Create a marketing plan to keep your online store afloat. The plan should cover all engagement channels: SEO, contextual advertising, linking the site to social media, content marketing, email newsletter, etc.
Form a plan in advance. It will become your trusted assistant in launching the store and working with it afterwards. As the campaign scales, the plan should be changed and supplemented.
Form specific terms of reference
Sooner or later you will ask for professional help. For this case, develop a detailed set of requirements that they will work to. Do not expect that the developers will make up the terms of reference on their own. So you are a few steps closer to the destruction of your project.
It is not difficult to draw up TOR. You can study the competitors, and then choose your favorite aspects of their work. Based on them, draw up the terms of reference. It is not necessary to adhere to a strict form. It is important that the requirements be as clear as possible. For example, not "increase the number of clients", but "achieve a minimum of 150 calls by the end of the year".
Mistake #2: Don't focus on product and brand
Why think through the brand and positioning of your online store? Just include everything in the range. Sell bags, shoes and spare parts for foreign cars at the same time. Customers will always be found! True, the store will be impossible to promote, and soon it will disappear from the radar.
Think about positioning
In fact, branding and proper positioning - these are things that you should think about even before opening an online store. Be clear about what exactly you are going to sell. The narrower the niche will be, the better will work its promotion.
A big mistake - the realization of completely different products. Even unifying categories such as "environmental" or "health" will not help you if you have not thought about positioning.
The store sells too different products
You've decided on the brand and positioning, but you still don't know how wide the range of products will be. Small, just opened an online store will be sufficiently one or more similar themes. For example, it is "parts for VAZ," "goods for babies, etc.".
If you are going to sell TVs and linens, then make two separate sites. Here is an example of a not very successful project, which sells trampolines and boats at the same time:
Avoid transforming your online store into a bazaar. Mindless expansion of the range will lead to nothing good.
On the main page is unclear what the store sells
You've decided on positioning and calculated the optimal range of products. But does the user understand what you are selling? On the main page of your online store should be a clear reflection of its specifics. If the user in the first 2-3 seconds does not understand where he came to, with a high probability he will close the site.
Immediately below the logo indicate the scope of your business. For example, "Light" - an online store appliances for lighting. Make any information on the main page as clear and informative as possible. Place several cards of your store on the first screen.
The first screen is like a showcase: the more attractive it looks, the more likely it is to retain the user.
Mistake #3: Don't form a content plan
Why do customers need your articles, reviews, and videos? It's not like you have an informational site. Therefore, working with content is a waste of time.
Such reasoning will help you "ruin" your online store in record time. In fact, content marketing is the most important stage of any promotion. Attracting visitors to a dry site where there is nothing else but price cards - this is a big mistake.
Long text on the main page
Some owners of online stores are straying to the opposite extreme. They prepare huge texts about their products and upload them directly to the main page. Remember that you have to write not so much about the product, as about the customers themselves. Try to solve their problem.
Visitors come to the site with their thoughts and experiences. Offer them products that will help get rid of problems. Let's say a man has a problem: he needs socks. He opens the site and sees this:
And how will a customer's problem be solved by a page like this?
Avoid "water", make your proposals short and to the point. To do this, study in advance the needs of the audience, then make a content plan. Under the header of the site put some interesting suggestions and talk about products. And about the company itself, tell them in a separate tab.
By framing your content strategy in the context of your audience, not the product, you'll find plenty of topics to communicate. Even if your audience is specialized and small.
Poor content, poor content
Content marketing is a long-term promotional strategy. In the future, themed content will give you constant free traffic, and the attitude towards the store will become loyal. It would be a shame if the content you've been working on for so long turns out to be of poor quality and useless.
The content should be flawless. The absence of any errors, beautiful images, the use of indents and paragraphs can override even design flaws.
Each item should have an interesting and comprehensive description. Include photos from different angles and use unique content. So you'll avoid problems with promotion and maintain user loyalty.
Mistake #4. Make your store intricate and complex!
Don't waste time and effort on beautiful design and user-friendliness. Your customers will buy your product anyway. Much more important is to show the seriousness of your intentions and to present the entire assortment already on the main page.
In all seriousness, the lack of clarity and simplicity affects many, sometimes even very well-known online stores. And this clearly affects the number of sales. Below we will analyze the three most popular problems with usability.
A complex catalog
For sites with a large assortment it is not easy to form a clear and logical structure of the catalog. For this reason, visitors use the search - there to find the right product is many times easier. But how many users are not willing to waste their time? Such persons simply leave the site, leaving its owner with nothing.
In developing an online store, pay special attention to the breakdown of products by category. It should be as familiar as possible. Visitors find it difficult to perceive a catalog with more than 7 elements in one place. Here is what it looks like:
Not every visitor will agree to study such a list longer than 2-3 seconds. To fix this, you should at least enlarge the main categories.
No matter what niche you work in, there will always be many competitors. And the visitor knows it. He does not linger on one site in search of the desired product. Not finding what he was looking for, the customer moves on.
If you do not want to ruin your online store, think through an ideal navigation system. The user must always keep track of his location. This is done by "bread crumbs". A great example of navigation is presented on the famous store Wilberries:
Here's a bad example of navigation:
How will the user know where he is? The answer to the fact that this is the "Novelties" section is given only by the pale inscription above the catalog. Indication of the active section is absent.
"Sticks in the wheels" at checkout
Suppose you have perfectly designed the catalog and navigation. Large budgets spent on SEO and contextual advertising, but orders are still few. Trace the path of the customer. Perhaps he puts the product in the cart, fills in the data, and then disappears. The reason for this - deficiencies in the process of placing the order.
Here's just a small part of the possible problems:
- The button for continuing doesn't work;
- The site gives an error about incorrectly filled fields, although everything is correct;
- Some of the payment methods are not supported;
- There are no clear error messages in the form;
- Problems with authorization through social networks.
Periodically test the order placement by yourself. This way you will detect the main bugs and glitches.
Mistake #5. The importance of good design - a myth
Is a pretty design will solve all the pressing problems of the user? Of course not! Encourage visitors to take the desired action must be different. Place as many large and bright buttons "Buy", scatter the words like "action", "Sale", etc. Using the same UX / UI - it is expensive and impractical.
It may seem that such "harmful advice" - this is nonsense, and every owner of an online store has long known the importance of good design. But it is not. A lot of selling sites are in a deplorable state. Some have not heard about the requirements of good design, and some talk about their uselessness.
What should be a good design?
It is wrong to think that modern design is a departure from popular requirements and norms. Non-standard grid, a variety of fonts and the general strangeness will only spoil the site. Most users simply won't understand what the store is about and how it can be useful. It is important not just to make it "beautiful", but above all to solve the problems of the user in the shortest possible time. This is what website design code is for.
Here are just some of the actual requirements for website design:
- Accentuation. Focus the user's attention on what's most important - the brand and products.
- Contrasting. Visually separate two or more elements.So you give the visual diversity of the site and can avoid mediocrity in his appearance.
- Balancing. Each element on the site should balance the other. The left and right sides carry an identical visual load, the same goes for the top and bottom.
- Alignment. Elements should be arranged so that they come as close as possible to the natural boundaries and lines.
- Repetition. Assumes the repeated use of the same elements in different ways.
All of these requirements come down to one principle: ease of perception.
No pictures of the goods or photos of poor quality
Various studies have shown that on product cards without photos of the conversion decreases to 80%. Photos can be found online, but better - make them yourself.
Do not be stingy with professional photography. Buyers are more willing to order goods on those sites where real, not filtered images are posted. Realism inspires more trust.
Real pictures lower the number of returns. 25% of shoppers have been known to cite "unlike what was on the screen" as the reason for returns.
Lack of consistency between offline and online store style
If you're launching an online store based on a physical location, be sure to adapt the style of the actual store. This way, you'll increase audience loyalty. The brand itself will establish itself in the minds of customers. Moreover, you will be able to save on promotion of online and offline business, because doing everything in one style is many times easier.
Let's take the Wildberries company as an example again. A single color scheme is typical for both physical locations and a website with a mobile app.
Mistake #6. Inoperative service is normal
So what if the customer can't reach the number listed on the site and the managers are rude? If a person wants to buy, he will do it anyway!
Reasoning this way, you are one more step closer to the elimination of your project. Do not keep your customer waiting. He knows that besides you, there are hundreds of other stores where you can place an order quicker and more pleasant. To retain the user, work the interconnection system to perfection.
For a quick response on orders or phone calls set up a system of notifications, which can come via SMS or email. This feature is offered by modern CMS and CRM-systems.
Often customers do not reach the shopping cart at all. All because customers are guilty of overcomplicating or oversimplifying it. What exactly should be in the checkout cart:
- A selected item with a specified cost;
- The ability to manage the quantity of selected items (in this case the price should be recalculated automatically);
- The ability to remove items from the cart;
- The ability to return to the page of the site from which the transition was made;
- A field for entering a discount promo code.
This will be enough in the online store. Do not complicate the ordering system, do not make it too cumbersome. Firstly, the buyer has no reason to trust you with his personal data. Secondly, not everyone will agree to waste time on a lot of boxes. A phone number, name and delivery point will be enough.
Mistake #7. You don't have to plan the contest
What could be easier than running a contest? Pick any prize you want and attract traffic. That way you're sure to get a lot of new customers who will continue to contact the store even after the promotion is over.
In fact, the contest is one of the most complicated and costly promotion options. Every detail should be calculated in advance. Many online store owners suffer huge losses because of illiterate discounts, promotions or special conditions.
A common mistake - choosing the wrong prize for the contest. Drawing non-thematic prizes will attract a non-target audience that likes the prize and not your products. If you sell products for car enthusiasts, raffle off either your products or a certificate to buy from your online store.
Even if you've miscalculated everything and run the contest perfectly, you need to think about retaining the customers you receive. Before launching the promotion, make sure you have content to continue communicating with subscribers on social media or through email newsletters.
Many owners achieve a large number of sales through giving away free product samples. Giveaways, contests and samples are great tools, except they don't work for all niches. For example, for products that can only be bought once (like shoes), this technique certainly doesn't work.
Contests are great for building store awareness and brand building. But in the absence of a clear marketing plan, no activity will help you.
Mistake #8. Don't care about repeat sales marketing
If a person bought your product once, he's likely to buy it again. He definitely remembers your brand and is satisfied. Don't invest in repeat sales marketing, you'll waste money!
And seriously, repeat sales are just as important as new sales. Working with an established, loyal audience is many times easier than attracting new visitors. What's more: it's always more expensive to get a customer back than it is to get a new one.
What is characteristic of repeat sales marketing? If a customer has allowed you to send out messages, it doesn't hurt to remind them of yourself once in a while. This should be done in an unobtrusive way: once or twice a month, notify the customer about discounts or promotions. Take care of your customer by sending him useful information. This can be articles, reviews, videos, etc.
The second option for repeat sales marketing is retargeting. It is implemented in social networks. The advertising content here can be the same as for email marketing.
The most important tool for audience retention is working with critiques and reviews. More than 70% of customers study reviews before making a purchase. They are the basis for making a decision: whether it is worth buying a product or not.
Online stores lose thousands of customers due to their inability to handle negative feedback. It is equally important to ask visitors to leave reviews - not necessarily positive ones. Any opinion about the site will benefit you.
Mistake #9. Do it yourself!
Why spend money on freelancers? Save your money, do the online store only yourself! This is your project and you should not trust its formation to just anyone.
Wrong again. In economics there is a concept of "opportunity cost". The time you spend is not free. While you yourself are engaged in writing texts for the online store, you lose the opportunity to do other, more effective work. For example, find suppliers or form new ways to deliver products.
Do not do everything yourself. If your store assortment is large enough, you are unlikely to be able to create a website, make all the descriptions of your products and promote them in parallel. So you lose a huge amount of time that can be spent on something more important.
There are many specialists on the Internet who are ready to provide you with services. Write detailed technical tasks and regularly check the success of the work performed.
Mistake #10. Selling features don't make much difference
The last way to "kill" your online store is to not care about the actual selling features. Many owners spend a lot of money and time on beautiful design. However, the priority should be to attract customers, and design will only partially help with that.
Think about how your store will sell. Create a unique selling proposition, form creative ideas, think of ways to interact with customers. Already on the basis of this select functionality and design.
Test the chosen niche, and only then start selling. As you increase the number of customers you will turn into additional functionality based on the requirements of the market.
Each element of your site should be clear to the visitor. Avoid inaccuracies. Sales are reduced if the "Check price" bar is set instead of the cost.
Most modern CMS allow you to mark or hide missing items from internal documentation. Do not keep items in the catalog that are not in stock.
Work out the conversion elements. Avoid mandatory registration - it's a "conversion killer". For registration of orders need 3-4 lines. Their greater number will already lower the number of sales.
What you need to do to start the online store?
- Study the market and calculate the effectiveness of your niche.
- Pay attention to the products and the brand.
- Make a content plan in advance.
- Make the store as clear as possible.
- Use a simple and neat design.
- Contact customers in a timely manner and be courteous to them.
- Plan ahead for contests, promotions and special conditions.
- Pay attention to repeat sales marketing.
- Don't hesitate to delegate functions to professionals.
- Pay attention to sales functions.
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