The Do’s and Don’ts of Designing an E-commerce Website That Converts

"Unveiling the essential considerations for website design empowers you with the knowledge to craft an online presence that captivates and converts. It's not just about aesthetics; it's about creating a seamless user experience that resonates with your target audience and search engines alike."

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Step 1: Define the Purpose and Target Audience of Your E-commerce Website

When you start designing your e-commerce website, it’s crucial to identify your website’s purpose and target audience. A clear purpose will help you maintain focus and achieve long-term success in developing your online store. The more specific your website’s purpose is, the easier it will be to determine the content, features, interface, layout, and toolbars, saving you time, effort, and money while still achieving the desired results.

Some common purposes of e-commerce websites include:

  • Increasing the existing customer base, reaching new customers, and improving conversion rates.
  • Enhancing interaction with contractors and within the company.
  • Providing an effective means of communication with customers.
  • Offering customers the opportunity to purchase goods and services with the help of electronic payment systems without leaving their homes.
  • Delivering information and notifications to customers, partners, and employees about the company’s activities and the scope of services provided.

Step 2: Estimate the Cost of Building an E-commerce Website

The cost of designing an e-commerce website can vary, and it’s a common question among many. However, there is no definitive answer to this question as prices depend on numerous factors such as the website’s scale, the number of languages used, features, technology employed, and special requirements of the client.

Typically, quotes from professional web design companies will be based on the time, effort, and manpower needed to complete the project. Since it’s not a one-time service or free software, additional costs may arise during each stage of website development. Therefore, it’s advisable to prepare your budget beforehand to ensure a more proactive approach to web design implementation.

Domain Name Cost

Domain name (Domain) fees are a mandatory fixed cost that you must pay annually to maintain your website. The minimum registration period is one year, and the maximum is ten years. There are two types of domain names available in the market:

  • International domain names (.com, .org, .net, .info, .biz, .edu) are top-level domain names used globally by all countries. They are issued by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The cost of an international domain name from Tam Nguyen is 299,000 VND/year.
  • Vietnamese domain names (.vn, .com.vn)  are second-level country code top-level domain names and the highest-level country code domain names for Vietnam. They are managed by the Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC) and several service providers.

Vietnamese domain names tend to be more expensive due to their legal basis, stronger protection, higher security, fewer transmission errors, and better geographical location for brand recognition within Vietnam. However, international domain names are also a viable option, given their cost-effectiveness, ease of remembrance, and better search engine visibility, especially in today’s globalized market.

Hosting Costs

Similar to domain names, hosting services incur fixed monthly or annual costs for data storage. The price depends on the usage period, selected capacity package, and the service provider’s policies.

Another crucial factor related to hosting is website speed. Choosing a suitable hosting package with adequate capacity and bandwidth will ensure faster loading times for your website, providing a stable and satisfying user experience. Therefore, select a hosting package that best suits your business scale, capacity requirements, and necessary technical support while remaining cost-effective.

E-commerce Website Design Costs

Total Website Design Costs

As mentioned earlier, this expense entirely depends on the web design agency and the needs of the individual, organization, or business. The advantage of this investment is that clients only need to make a one-time payment and can use the website for an extended period, which is more cost-effective than other advertising forms.

  • Designing interfaces for cheap websites with common layouts doesn’t require as much time and effort as premium websites with custom requirements.
  • Simple website programming with fewer functions will cost less than a website with specific demands, such as SEO compliance and complex function integration, which necessitates experienced programmers.
  • Other human resources that may impact web design costs include consultants, implementation architects, testers, and customer care staff.

Potential Additional Costs

The notion that completing an e-commerce website means the end of all expenses is incorrect. During the website’s operation, several potential costs may arise for supporting services such as website administration, content writing, and SEO services to boost your website’s ranking on search engine results pages.

Step 3: Determine the Type of Website Based on Your Business

Once you’re sure about creating a website, the next step is to identify the type of website you want, based on your business. There are ten common types of websites in the market:

  • E-commerce Website
  • Business Website
  • Entertainment Website
  • Portfolio Website
  • Media Website
  • Non-profit Website
  • Brochure Website
  • Educational Website
  • Infopreneur Website
  • Personal Website

Step 4: Create a List of Website Requirements

•  Create a sitemap to determine the number of pages your intended website will have.

•  Storage capacity of the website (including images and videos will require additional storage space)

•  Tools such as online forms, blogs, customer reviews, maps, and presentations

•  Links/integrations with social media platforms

•  Video and/or audio players

•  Shopping cart functionality

•  Technical support

•  Mobile optimization (to ensure your website looks good on mobile devices)

•  Easy methods for content updates

Step 5: Brainstorm Web Interface Ideas: Layout, Style, Colors, and Menu Arrangement

This step might be time-consuming, especially if you lack experience in web design. However, you can easily overcome this challenge by studying similar websites in your industry and familiarizing yourself with layout and color-related concepts to develop a unique and innovative web design.

Alternatively, if you need additional advice, feel free to contact Tam Nguyen for expert guidance. With our experienced consultants and a long track record of designing websites for prominent companies and organizations, we can provide valuable insights to transform your ideas into a professional, modern, and trendsetting website.

Step 6: DIY or Hire a Web Design Company

Decide whether you want to create the website yourself (most current website building tools are designed for small business owners) or hire external experts.

If you opt for a web development company, you can search online or ask colleagues for recommendations.

Step 7: Prepare Website Content and Images

Content is the essence of a website, and it deserves meticulous attention. Imagine owning a massive and lavish storefront on a busy street but with minimal products and sparse decorations inside. That would be a terrible scenario.

Therefore, once you have a beautiful web structure, it’s crucial to prepare your website’s content and images carefully. Use the highest quality and most captivating images and publish engaging content that effortlessly guides customers through your website and encourages them to purchase your products.

Step 8: Promote Your Website

Promote your website! Think about how visitors will find your website and include your web address everywhere, from business cards and social media to advertisements and free online directories. Experiment with paid search features.

By following these eight steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective and successful e-commerce website.

Frequently asked questions

Keep the website design simple and uncluttered, with a clear navigation menu. Ensure the website is mobile-friendly and optimized for different devices and screen sizes. Use high-quality, engaging visuals and videos to showcase products. Feature clear and concise product descriptions, including all relevant information. Implement a straightforward and secure checkout process with multiple payment options.

Focus on creating a seamless user experience with easy-to-use features and a logical flow. Implement a powerful search function that suggests products and autocorrects typos. Include clear calls-to-action on product pages and throughout the site. Offer guest checkout to reduce friction and allow customers to save their progress during checkout.

Don’t overload the website with too much text or unnecessary graphics. Avoid using generic stock photos; instead, use unique, high-quality images. Don’t hide shipping and return policies; be transparent and easily accessible. Ensure the website loads quickly and avoid using auto-playing media, as it can be distracting and annoying to users.

Include multiple images from different angles and a video demonstration if possible. Write unique and detailed product descriptions, highlighting key features and benefits. Display customer reviews and ratings to build trust and social proof. Feature clear and easily accessible ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy Now’ buttons.

Keep the checkout process simple and avoid unnecessary form fields. Use a progress bar to indicate how far a customer is in the checkout process. Offer multiple payment options, including guest checkout, to cater to different preferences. Ensure the checkout page has the same look and feel as the rest of the website for consistency. Send a confirmation email after a successful purchase, reinforcing a positive experience.