Your website is your tool for showing online community an image of your Drop Ship retail business. Whether or not your business succeeds depends heavily on your website. If your website design is user-friendly, more visitors will purchase your products or subscribe to your newsletter. This will ensure that you are not wasting time and money you spent attracting visitors to your website. It does not pay to drive large amounts of traffic to your website and have 99% of them leave due to poor content and navigation.
When designing your website, it is important that you switch from your own profit-oriented perspective to prospective customers’ perspective. First place yourself in your customers’ shoes. After which, you should take some time to sit down and plan how your website should look like.
Below I will describe factors that contribute to a successful sales-optimized website for a Drop Ship business.
1) The critical components of your homepage.
- Your title tag. It should describe your website effectively and concisely. For search engine optimization purposes, it is necessary to include your main keywords in your title, without it being unnecessarily long. For example, a good title would be ‘Renaissance Oil Paintings ½ Abstract Oil Paintings’.
- Your headline. Being one of first few elements of your homepage that captures attention of visitor, it should clearly and concisely state what benefit your website can offer to visitor. For example, your headline can tell your visitors how to earn extra income, how to lead a healthier lifestyle or how to save them time or money. In short, it should offer a solution to their problems, or address their needs. The headline should be placed strategically right at top center of page. You can also use italics or bold functions to draw attention to your headline.
Internet surfers are not known for their patience. That is why it is crucial to capture their attention during first few seconds of their stay at your website. Your headline plays most important role, as it is usually first thing that visitors see. Research has shown that you have about ten seconds to fully capture attention of visitors and compel them to read on, before they leave your site.
- Your content body. In your main body of your homepage, you have to describe in further detail benefits your website or your products can offer to your visitors. Note that you provide benefits, and not features of products you are selling. This is basis of effective marketing: you tell customers what is in it for them. You must also give strong directions to action in your content body and tell them steps they need to take in order to benefit most from your website. For example, you can include links like ‘Click here now to discover why our oil paintings are among best in Europe’, or ‘Sign up for our free newsletter now to get latest tips and guides on good gardening practices.’ Note that you have to be concise in your content body so that you can include most attractive benefits near top of homepage, without visitor having to scroll down.
- Your opt-in offer. Ask for your visitors’ names and email addresses in your opt-in offer box. Email marketing is central to success of your Drop Ship business. First-time visitors who leave your website without buying anything have a chance of signing up for your free newsletter. This allows you to keep in contact with them and send them promotions in future, and your effort and money in attracting them to your website would not be wasted. This feature should be placed somewhere near top left or top right of your homepage because of its importance.
2) Professional look/atmosphere. Your website must not be full of graphics, banners or flashing advertisements. These only serve to distract your visitors from your main product offers. You should avoid flash animation as well. When formatting your text, use only a single type of font like Times New Roman, and two different colors at most. Page backgrounds should preferably be white or plain, and not be patterned or fanciful.
Another important factor to keep in mind is to minimize time that your webpage takes to load. Since visitors are normally very impatient, they are likely to leave if a page is slow to load, hence need to exclude large graphics or animation which slow down your loading speed.
3) Good content. Most online retailers sell products in a niche they have expertise in or which they are passionate about. For visitors to be convinced of your authority in niche, you need to establish yourself as an expert in that area by providing useful, reliable content. Customers tend to trust retailers with strong background knowledge as they can recommend best products for customers’ needs, or answer any queries well. Fly-by-night businesses, on other hand, are just out to make money, and normally do not have necessary expertise to earn trust of customers. It is thus critical that you make a consistent effort to update your website regularly with latest tips, resources or articles to serve your visitors well. At least even if visitors do not buy from your website on their first visit, they would continuously return to your website for useful information. After a period of time, when you have earned their trust, they would feel more compelled to buy your products. This form of marketing, which develops an online community, is a very cost-effective method as it costs next to nothing to supply necessary information.