What could be stopping your ecommerce site’s visitors from buying?

Piranha Designs - Friday, December 21, 2018

The festive season is a period when you will want to see high conversion rates from your ecommerce store; the truth is, however, that even a strong-performing online shop can improve in some respects.

Fortunately, some of the reasons for any faltering conversions may be obvious to you; you may already know that your current checkout process is cumbersome, for example, or that your delivery costs are high compared to obvious rivals. Sometimes, overly restrictive returns policies can be harmful as well.

However, customers can also be deterred from purchasing from you by seemingly minor, ‘easy-to-overlook’ issues. Here are just a few that you may look to fix.

Colours that are harsh on the eye

Yes, even a site’s colour scheme can cause a visitor to spend less time browsing it than would otherwise be the case – and that means potentially lost sales.

Is your site largely decked out in a less popular colour – such as brown or yellow – that could be putting off visitors? Maybe the overall colour scheme is a bit unsightly, or there are clashing combinations of colours in various crucial parts of the site, such as its navigation menus and buttons?

Standard manufacturer descriptions

Guess what? Manufacturers have an interest in making their own product look like the best in its industry, so their own product descriptions can feature more than a little hyperbole.

Indeed, the typically highly sales-focused vibe of manufacturers’ own product descriptions can even sometimes fail to provide a clear outline of what the item is and how it could benefit the customer.

By writing your own site’s product descriptions, you could therefore do a lot to engage your particular visitors and give them the information and insight that they most need.

Typos, poor grammar and run-on sentences

Most of us naturally stop when we encounter an obvious spelling or grammatical error in a piece of text. It’s especially glaring on an ecommerce site, as it would normally be presumed that you have the professionalism to at least proofread the content on your site before making it ‘live’.

Also be sure to avoid especially long sentences that can be difficult to quickly read and understand.

Substandard photos and videos

The photos and videos that you use to advertise your stocked products should clearly show the item in question, not least so that the prospective buyer can easily understand what it is.

Remember that smartphone and tablet users – who make up an especially large proportion of online shoppers today – will frequently wish to pinch to zoom for a closer look at a given item. You should therefore ensure they can easily do this on your own site, even if you already provide a dedicated zoom feature.

To find out more about how Piranha Designs’ expertise in ecommerce website design could make all of the difference to your brand’s efforts to significantly bolster its conversions during 2019, simply email or get on the phone to our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices.

Could your ecommerce site's search functionality be improved?

Piranha Designs - Monday, December 17, 2018

It's difficult to think of many more important elements of a shopping site's design than its search features. We say 'features' rather than 'feature', because we aren't necessarily just talking about the keyword search box – the likes of category browsing and faceted search can also be key elements. 

In case you're wondering what those latter two features are, the first should be fairly self-explanatory – it refers to when users select categories on your website and then continue working through subcategories to narrow down the items they are interested in. 

Faceted search should also be very familiar to you. It's all about the various filters – such as size, length, colour and brand – that ecommerce sites customarily use to help shoppers to get to the products that are of greatest relevance to them. 

There are, though, many ways to optimise site search 

You shouldn't underestimate the complexity and sophistication of site search technology these days – but also the relative ease with which you can start improving this aspect of your ecommerce portal, as long as you know which components to focus on. 

It's worth scrutinising, to start with, how your site search currently uses synonyms and substitute terms. If your site is an online health food store, for example, people won't necessarily look for food supplements simply by typing in the term 'food supplements'; others could be 'health supplements', 'nutritional supplements' or perhaps something slightly more specific, like 'digestive supplements'.

Remember, too, that there are also differences in the terminology used from one industry to the next. Your visitors may perform searches for popular acronyms, abbreviations or even slang terms that lead to a zero results page, despite the products they are seeking being available on your site.

Misspellings can easily happen too, which leaves you with a decision to make: just how tolerant should your site search be to them? You could optimise your search functionality to account for one or two letters in a search term being incorrect, which could increase the number of results produced from a user's search, but also risks decreasing their relevancy.  

Then, there are such features as predictive search and type-ahead that have become 'in-vogue' on ecommerce sites in recent times. These elements can be instrumental in making life easier for your prospective customers by giving them product, category and keyword suggestions as they type. 

Get on the phone to Piranha Designs about a complete new ecommerce site design 

Is the state of your site's search functionality just one aspect in which you consider your brand's present ecommerce presence to be below-par? In that case, it may be the best decision to invest in one of our comprehensive shopping site design packages, which are offered at a range of highly competitive price points and give you full Content Management System (CMS) functionality. 

We can also undertake exacting bespoke designs if you prefer. So, why not enquire about the possibilities to the Piranha Designs team right now?

Tips for converting festive shoppers into regular customers

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, November 14, 2018

For many people, the Christmas shopping season is now very much underway – and for this reason, you can expect your e-commerce website to attract a flurry of eager customers. However, there remains a question mark over whether they will stay with you for the long haul.

Unfortunately, if you tailor your site to primarily target fleeting Christmas shoppers, you shouldn't be surprised if the festive season brings you only a spike in sales. You need to capitalise on the valuable opportunity to tempt these customers into making repeat visits.

Advertise your loyalty program

Yes, you might be advertising a round of attractive deals in the run-up to Christmas, but your visitors might expect those deals to vanish in the New Year. You could therefore reserve prominent space on your website for promoting your company's loyalty scheme.

After all, educating your site's visitors on this scheme will give them an incentive to purchase from you again – perhaps during the January sales, other seasons or even just regular shopping.

Streamline the shopping process to make it easier

If a customer has a great experience the first time they shop at your site, they will remember that. Such a good memory could easily persuade them to shop with you again, especially if you give them a good choice of payment methods and limit how many details must be typed into entry forms.

Respond quickly to customer queries

If a festive shopper has simply stumbled across your site after seeing one of its products listed on – for example – the Google Shopping portal, they might have questions about your service.

For this reason, you should implement a range of communication channels – including live chat and social media, as well as the more traditional options of email and telephone – to ensure you are ready to deliver a prompt and useful response whenever a message comes your way.

Of course, a site that is easy to navigate, compelling and informative might relieve a shopper of the need to drop you a message in the first place, which is where the importance of powerful and well-tailored website design comes into play.

Contact the Piranha Designs team today, and we’ll be able to advise you in more detail about how we can make the best-suited site design possible for your brand.

How your website's design can prove a formidable storytelling tool

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Are you old enough to recall the early days of the World Wide Web in the early '90s? If so, you probably have lingering memories of the rudimentary appearance of websites of the time, compared to today's much more aesthetically slick and sophisticated online portals.

Reassuringly, web design techniques have advanced leaps and bounds since then, allowing modern webmasters to communicate essential details in many different ways.

If you wish to tell a riveting story through your website, you can even use design components to do it, as the following examples show.

Let your visitor form their own online persona

When you watch a great film or book, it's possible to relate to the lead character so strongly that you can easily imagine yourself in your shoes, effectively making yourself the hero.

Unless you feel emotionally invested in a given character, you probably won’t be greatly eager to follow their journey.

You can take inspiration from this for your website by allowing the visitor to create their own persona – complete with an avatar and detailed profile – that they can use when exploring the site.

Carefully select images to guide the visitor through a story

You might not have known that people are 22 times likelier to remember data when it is presented to them in a narrative form. Furthermore, as we digest visual material at a 60% faster pace than textual content, you shouldn't overlook visual elements like video and animation.

You could incorporate the above media into your site as chunks of a visually-told story. If your company offers package holidays to exotic locations, for example, photographs of the destinations could show prospective holidaymakers where they could take steps for real.

Symbols enable you to use mobile screen space more effectively

Apple recently grabbed headlines when it launched the iPhone XS Max with a supposedly monstrously large screen. However, the device’s display actually measures only 6.5 inches diagonally, which still makes it much smaller than the average laptop screen.

The continued popularity of smartphones means web designers have to keep asking themselves how they can communicate information effectively within limited real estate.

However, easily recognisable symbols can effectively convey all manner of information to visitors within a small amount of space. One obvious example of this is the hamburger menu button, which takes the form of three horizontal bars meant to resemble a collapsed navigational menu.

Would you like your own organisation’s new website to embrace techniques like the above for concisely communicating vital information and telling a story? If so, you may wish to enquire to our skilled and seasoned website design professionals about how they can help.

Some lesser-spotted advice on optimising your site content for search engines

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, October 17, 2018

While the design of your website will always play a central role in ensuring it ranks well in the search engines, it can be easy to forget just how crucial the most relevant content also is. If your site content isn’t relevant to anyone, you can’t expect to generate many visitors and revenue from natural search.

It’s therefore well worth considering the below strategies for tweaking your site content in a manner that is search engine optimisation (SEO) friendly.

Allow keyword research to guide your content strategy

Keyword research is a key component of all of our SEO and marketing packages here at Piranha Designs, and with good reason. The higher the standard of your keyword research, the more you will know about what searchers truly want.

That’s why keyword research is so vital when you come to devise your natural search and content strategies for your site. Good keyword research enables you to spot the gaps in your site that you need to fill with fresh content.

It’s also important to assign intent to keyword themes – whether the user is looking for information, to make a purchase or to merely navigate relevant sites – so that you can craft the content that will stimulate and fulfil the visitor’s desire in each case.

Make sure you aren’t competing with yourself

Once you have established certain keyword themes, you will be able to map them to specific pages of your site to accommodate the broadest range of relevant keywords.

This greatly helps to ensure you don’t end up simply attempting to optimise every page of your site for a similar set of in-demand keywords, thereby forcing your pages to compete with each other for rankings.

Optimise in both scalable and manual ways

You can efficiently enhance your site’s tag-based content through the use of default ‘formulas’ for generating title tags, meta descriptions, headings and image alt attributes.

However, it’s also true that you can only get so far with your SEO when you depend purely on formulas. In any case, your pages based on the highest-value keyword themes will need to be manually optimised as part of the fine-tuning process.

In a lot of cases, you might simply find yourself needing to fix awkward grammar brought about by the aforementioned formulas. One aspect of your pages that should always be manually optimised, however, is the main body of text, as you can’t apply scalable optimisation methods to what is supposed to be creatively written content.

These tips cover just some of the many elements that you will need to think about when you are tweaking and adjusting your site with the search engines in mind. Contact Piranha Designs’ Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today, and we can give you more hands-on assistance with your site’s search engine profile.

Struggling to find good-quality, free stock photos? Try these 5 sites

Piranha Designs - Friday, October 12, 2018

While – in an ideal world – you may aspire to only populate your website with images that your company has created itself, the truth is that there will also likely be times when the use of stock photos on your site is necessary or desirable. In any case, there are many high-quality stock images out there; a lot of the problem for online business owners is the difficulty of finding them.

This is why you may be thankful for our below suggestions of free stock photo sites.

Unsplash

With Unsplash having even been used for the default theme provided with WordPress, it has come to command a great deal of respect in the stock-photo world. Its library now consists of a whopping 600,000 high-resolution images, and more are continually being added by the site’s photographer community.

Pexels

There aren’t too many better sources of high-quality free stock images than Pexels, which draws its photos with user contributions and free-image sites. Visitors can browse hundreds of thousands of photos, while the search feature and use of tagging makes it easy to find the perfect image for almost any conceivable application.

Pixabay

It’s one of the most instantly recognisable names in the stock-photo world, and with good reason. Pixabay is a relatively ancient site by the standards of most stock image portals, having been launched ‘way back’ in November 2010. However, the opportunity that it affords you to sift through more than 1.5 million copyright-free images and videos surely can’t be passed up when you are in need of such commercial-ready material that also doesn’t require you to request permission for use.

New Old Stock

Stock images aren’t a phenomenon solely of the 21st century, and New Old Stock takes advantage of this fact, granting you access to all manner of vintage photos and image collections from the public archives that aren’t subject to any known copyright restrictions. Both colour and black and white images are available, as may be handy for those areas of your site where you’re delving into the past.

Startup Stock Photos

It’s worth keeping an eye out for any stock photo sites that specifically represent your industry or even, in the case of Startup Stock Photos, your company’s size and stage of development. Expect to see images on this site that include laptops, whiteboards, office spaces and all of the other paraphernalia and motifs associated with small companies.

Remember that when you turn to Piranha Designs for CMS website design services, we will provide you with stock photo library access as part of our Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum plans, further strengthening the range of images from which you can pick for your site. Simply call our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices today for more information.

Sophisticated ways to boost the appeal of your landing pages

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, September 19, 2018

You surely won’t need our team here at Piranha Designs to tell you about the importance of your site’s landing pages quickly commanding the attention of your visitors and enticing them to act. However, some of the most effective techniques for doing so can seem less than obvious, until you know them – at which point, you may wonder why they weren’t the very first things you did.

With that in mind, here are just some of the proven means by which you can make your landing pages more impactful.

Include a testimonial as a headline

Would you most trust someone telling you that their product or service would work for you... or an actual past customer of the given product or service telling you that?

Including an approving quote from a person who has used the product or service previously, detailing not only the result they gained – for example, their company growing by 50% - but also a recommendation that it would work for a wide range of other potential customers or clients, can be very powerful indeed.

Include a real name, job title and photo of the person sharing such warm comments, and you will be able to maximise the trust level still further.

Use an authoritative image

Does the main image on your landing page communicate the values that you would like your brand to be associated with?

If the picture shows a person from your company, for example, this is an invaluable opportunity to depict them as authentic, authoritative and intelligent... rather than hapless, untrustworthy or incapable. It all contributes to your ongoing efforts to build the right reputation for your organisation and its people, products and services.

List impressive past customers or clients

If your company is fortunate enough to have formidable and respected past customers, your landing pages give you a great chance to feature these in a manner that enables your site visitors to immediately recognise them.

You could do this by showing the given companies’ logos, or perhaps an image of a well-known person if the customer is an individual. Whatever you do, make sure the people or firms you include are those that would impress your target customers or clients, rather than necessarily the general public.

Save mention of the cost until later if it may be an objection

Sadly, you can’t offer everything for free or a bargain-bucket price – but you can make a given price seem like exceptional value if you have taken the time to establish that value first.

This is what you may be best-advised to do on your landing pages, depending on the particular product or service you are advertising. After all, not all products or services are about the price first, and you won’t want to unnecessarily turn away many of your prospects before you have had the chance to properly pique their interest and build a relationship with them.

We can rustle up captivating and relevant websites for all manner of businesses, ranging from estate agents to ecommerce companies. So, why not get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today to talk to us about all things web design for your own brand?

5 things to include in your retail website’s footer

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, August 22, 2018

One element of your retail site that you may almost forget about – and not even see on other sites unless you’re scrolling down to find the bottom of the page – is its footer.

But this bottom section of your site isn’t just somewhere to put all of the links and content that you may not have been able to fit in elsewhere. In short, you’ll need to make conscious decisions on what will be contained within your site’s footer.

Here are just some items that are especially common in website footers, and which you may therefore decide to include in yours.

Social media links

The importance of your retail website interfacing seamlessly – or almost seamlessly – with your brand’s social media presence should never be underestimated.

Links to your firm’s pages on such platforms as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may therefore be invaluable for alerting those looking at the bottom of your pages to the opportunities to continue engaging with your brand, even once they have left your site.

Job openings

The footer is an obvious place for many of those who have perused your site to hit their browser ‘back’ button. Including information about the latest job openings – even if this simply amounts to a ‘Careers’ link – could therefore be another great way to keep them interested and on your site.

A link to your site map

Could some visitors to your site do with a refresher of what pages your site consists of, and where they can be found? After all, the given person looking at your footer may have ended up there after unsuccessfully searching for a particular page on your site through the main navigation system.

Trust, certification and accreditation badges

Has your site been formally approved by a well-known and reputable body? Perhaps it has gained some form of external accreditation or certification that you feel could convince a lingering prospective buyer to go ahead and place an order?

Links to your terms and conditions and privacy policy

These are the mundane, but informative pages of your site that will likely reassure the customer about such matters as how your store uses their personal information and how they are entitled to use various parts of your site. Remember that these are vital pages for filling in gaps in knowledge left by your Frequently Asked Questions and similar sections, and it’s almost a given to the average customer that your terms and conditions and privacy policy links will be in the footer.

Do you want to have your very own ‘mini Amazon’ that will bring your brand impressive performance and ease of use for years to come, while driving ever-greater customer numbers? If so, our team here at Piranha Designs would be delighted to talk to you about our in-depth know-how in ecommerce website design, and advise you on which of our packages may be right for you.

3 possible explanations for your site’s indexation numbers dropping

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, August 15, 2018

If your site’s pages aren’t indexed, they don’t have any chance of appearing in natural search results. There are many reasons why your site’s indexation numbers may be on the wane, so let’s have a look at just a few of the most potentially obvious and easily spotted.

Page speed

It may seem logical that when search engine spiders are unable to access a given page at all, they demote that page in the rankings and eventually remove it from the index altogether. However, you may not have known that this can also happen to pages with overly slow loading times.

If enough of your site’s pages have this problem, you may therefore suffer a significant enough drop in indexation numbers for your entire site’s rankings to be affected.

Design changes

If you’ve been tweaking your site’s header and footer navigational structures lately, the resultant impact on categories and pages may mean that entire areas of the site are removed from site-wide navigational elements. With the affected pages receiving fewer internal links as a consequence, search engines may end up demoting their value.

Other design changes can also be problematic for indexation – for example, if they mean the page no longer has as much content or some of its content is included within an image, instead of being readily indexable as plain HTML text.

Duplicate content

There’s no point to a search engine in keeping two or more copies of the same page in its index, so guess what? When the search engine spiders begin to perceive your site as having a lot of duplicate content, your pages aren’t likely to be indexed as much.

Nor is this just a problem for pages that are duplicated exactly, with pages that are merely very similar in their content also vulnerable. This can be a particular issue for ecommerce sites, where browse grids for two subcategories may have largely the same products, meaning the search engine sees little use in indexing both.

Is your own site receiving the close and informed attention that it requires if it is to thrive in the natural search results? Yes, that’s right – as well as web design, Piranha Designs can provide comprehensive search engine marketing services incorporating such vital elements as keyword research, page optimisation, guest blogging, monthly reports and much more.

So you’ve got a long page... how can you encourage users to scroll down it?

Piranha Designs - Thursday, July 26, 2018

While split tests have often shown that it’s better to make a page long than short, there’s one potential downside: you won’t feel the benefit if the reader isn’t aware that the page is long.

You won’t want to put a lot of hard work into creating the perfect long page, only for the visitor to not realise that they can scroll down further, or even wish to scroll down.

Defining the ‘fold’

You might well have come across the term ‘above the fold’ quite a bit when researching all things web design. It refers to the part of the page that a user can see without scrolling.

However, the fold isn’t always in the same place for different users. Instead, its position can be impacted by such factors as the user’s screen resolution, the number of bars – such as toolbars – that they have open in their browser, and whether they have zoomed in on the page.

That’s before you consider the even greater complexity brought to the issue by the ever-increasing variety of mobile and tablet web browsers these days.

But there are ways to get your users to scroll

Given such factors as the variability of the position of the fold, it’s fair to say there’s no single, universal solution to the issue of how you can encourage visitors to your long pages to scroll down.

There are, though, proven strategies that you can try. You could incorporate a distinctive background into the top, left and right-hand corners of your page, for example, so that it’s obvious to the reader when they still need to scroll down further to reach the bottom.

Alternatively, you could be a little less subtle, by actually asking the reader to scroll down in your sales copy – explicitly saying “Please scroll down for...” or words to that effect. Remember that users are more likely to follow such an instruction if they are given a clear incentive to do so – for example, if you have a discount code or a download link for a useful PDF to give to them.

You might even go as far as incorporating a ‘please scroll’ graphic just above the fold. You could simply place it where most of your visitors’ folds lie, or add it to a freestanding object attached to the bottom of the browser window. The latter tactic will ensure the graphic is always seen at the bottom of the reader’s screen, regardless of their screen resolution.

Why not talk to us about website design?

Long pages can certainly deliver great results for your organisation, but it’s vital to ensure your readers are quickly made aware of their length and are encouraged to scroll down them.

If you would appreciate the highest-quality bespoke web design services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team, so that we can discuss with you the best route forward.


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive

Follow Us

We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.
Send us an email, stay in touch and follow us on facebook/twitter/linkedin.