E-Commerce Web Development Gaffs: Build a Business Website and Avoid the Top 3 E- Commerce Mistakes


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E-commerce entrepreneurs have many things to consider when having their retail, wholesale or affiliate website built and designed. An e-commerce storefront, like its brick and mortar real-world counterpart, is the physical representation of the company. As such, it must be an accurate reflection of the image the entrepreneur would like customers to see.

E-Commerce Web Development Management Pro Shares Tricks of the Trade Bill Snowman owns a full service website design, print media and graphic design company. His company, CreateSource.com, caters to a variety of individuals, small businesses, corporations and other organizations. When asked to identify the top mistakes these entities make when having a website built, Bill had no trouble creating a list. In fact, he could have mentioned several more!

After paring the list down to the most critical, absolute worst mistakes e-commerce entrepreneurs can make with their website – the types of mistakes that cost businesses money, negatively impact their reputation, or send customers running in the other direction – Snowman shared the Top 3 E-Commerce Website Mistakes.

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Accessibility and Usability Fall to the Wayside in Favor of “Cool” Effects

This is probably the biggest mistake made in all types of web design, Snowman points out, but it is rampant in e-commerce web design.

He notes that the “Web 2.0 crowd” love to use Ajax, Javascript, Flash and other widgets to make their site look cool. However, visitors with Java or Flash disabled lose not only aesthetics, but functionality.

Snowman recommends that e-commerce entrepreneurs disable all Flash, Javascript, images and even CSS style sheets to test their website. It might not be pretty, but if the forms work and the text is legible, it’s functional. If it’s not, it needs to be fixed so all visitors have access. Don’t cut customers off in order to have a prettier website.

E-Commerce Businesses Fail to Answer One Simple Question

Snowman regularly asks clients this simple question, but most don’t know the answer to, “Why does your website exist?” He hears a variety of responses, including:

  • To advertise the business
  • To increase the company’s profits
  • To sell products or services

These are all results, Snowman says, not reasons. A website exists for one reason, he claims: to solve the problems of its visitors. The problem could be anything; the visitor is bored, they are price shopping, they need advice, or they want to buy a product. The key, he says, lies in doing market research to understand what customers want, then being able to give it to them.

Does a Home Builder Paint the Walls Before Pouring the Foundation?

Although it is easier to picture the finished website than it is to imagine all of the boring, technical components, Snowman notes that the actual design is the least important aspect of creating an e-commerce website.

He likens the website building process to new home construction. “You draw up plans based on the new household’s needs,” he says, “…build the foundation, erect a solid frame, add plumbing and electrical, and then you think about decorating.”

For those who disagree, Snowman points to Craigslist.org as a perfect example. It is popular because it works. It’s not pretty, but it is built well.

Accessible, Functional E-Commerce Web Development Key

Snowman points to Zarifas.com as an example of a custom e-commerce website with a simple interface, allowing the entrepreneur to perform most maintenance and other functions on their own.

Before commissioning any professional to develop an e-commerce website, check references, ask to see an online portfolio, and have a contract or work order in writing.

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