Three Main Components of an E-commerce Website.
• The look and feel should be cohesive and represent your brand accurately.
• The navigation should be simple and make it easy to find what you’re looking for and to get from one place to the next.
• The content should pre-sell your product by identifying your target audience and writing in their voice.

What Makes a Good E-commerce Website?

Content is King
Even though pictures may be worth a thousand words, nothing really replaces good copy. In fact it’s value can not be overstated. It is of great importance to remember that search engines can’t read pictures, they read words. Meaningful content is the key to reaching and engaging people and keeping them as loyal customers. Attention needs to be paid to the consistent use of fonts and colors, as well as structuring pages according to the meaning of their textual content.

Be Generous and Share
The web is linear in structure and practice. The fact that everyone has access to the same information makes the web useful and causes it to grow and evolve. You can try to copyright or otherwise protect your information but it’s really all out there to share.The better your information is the more likely it will be copied.

Accessibility is Key
Design and develop for the lowest currently accepted common denominator. If the average size screen is 1024x 768 pixels and the then don’t make a site that’s too big for that size. Make your site accessible to the largest group of people by using the generally accepted technology being used.

Communication Junction
Make yourself accessible and easy to communicate with. Offer information in syndicated formats such as RSS and link to other sites. The more sites you link with the better your search engine ratings will be.

Availability – Spread it Around
Putting your content on different sites and various venues can increase the chances that it will be found and consumed by a larger audience. When people find bits of your content on other sites it can create links back to your site.

Know Your Audience
Do your research. Ask as many people as possible what the want, need, like and don’t like. Take a look at the competition to see what they’re doing.

Offer Don’t Push
Don’t force anything on your visitors. Videos and music should not start unless the visitor chooses to start them. Offer downloads instead of loading everything in the browser window.

Keep it simple stupid. Make the navigation easy to follow so that the user can easily find what they’re looking for. The site should be easy to search Steve Krug explains this in How we really use the Web.

Advertising for Success
Advertising can be an annoying and turn visitors off. Avoid the use of pop-up ads and annoying features such as flashing icons and sound effects.

Keep it fresh. In order to keep people coming back, a website should be updated on a regular basis. The information can be purely informative or product or service based. Having RSS feeds will help to ensure a dynamic, content rich site.

Effective Calls to Action
If you’re paying for on-line advertising, your site must be designed effectively so that click-throughs will convert to sales.

If you want a successful search engine friendly e-commerce website it should be or have
• Image use for products
• Display accepted payment methods
• Display shipping charges
• Cart status on every page
• Clear calls-to-action
• Describe the features of the product
• Sell the product by explaining the benefits give examples of how it can be used
• Photos that are large, clear, relevant and numerous
• Shopping cart best-practices
• If you’re selling many products a search box on every page
• Relevant, optimized graphics
• Full e-commerce, shopping cart and database programming capabilities

• Alleviate fraud concerns by stating your privacy policy and secure certificate
• Adequate "help" pages and meaningful product descriptions
• Easy to update
• Fast loading pages
• Logical information architecture
• Consistent CSS styles, colors, fonts
• Valid HTML design and coding
• Intuitive navigation
• Cross-browser compatibility
• Include Web 2.0 technology

If you want an effective, search engine friendly e-commerce website, things to stay away from include:
• Graphically heavy designs
• Require registration
• Intros designed in Flash
• Too many pop-ups

• Auto play music.
• Free hit counters
• Date and time stamps
• Busy backgrounds.
BLOGs – although not traditionally used to sell anything, they can help drive traffic to websites which do.

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