There are many jewelers who feel the internet is the single biggest threat to retail growth these days. Although I believe the social media pre-occupation with experiences over material items is also creating an impact, there’s no doubt the internet is strong competition that will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. The trend of many online retailers to open brick and mortar stores shows that a two-pronged attack can be very effective, so its important that physical retail outlets also beef up their online presence in order to have the maximum effect over the widest possible retail footprint.
Having a strong, effective website is a starting point for ensuring you get the maximum benefit from your online presence. A good website needs to incorporate the following factors if its to become an extra salesperson and not just a pretty piece of online wallpaper:
1. One purpose per page. I’ll let you on to a little secret - most people are lazy. We don’t like to think. Given a choice between making a choice and doing nothing, we tend to take the do-nothing option. That’s why one web page that asks a customer to join their Facebook page, sign up to a newsletter, make a purchase, and enter a competition is likely to finish up with the customer choosing none of the above and reaching for the exit button. Each page on your website (with perhaps the exception of your home page) should ask the customer to do one thing and that page should be all about getting the customer to do whatever that one thing is. Simple. Oh, and about that home page…
2. Don’t over-focus on your home page. You might think it’s the front door to your site, but chances are most website visitors are coming in through the tradesmen’s entrance. Google does not give preference to home pages - they treat all pages the same based on their relevance and its likely if a customer finds you based on a diamonds search then Google will take them to your diamond page. Only those people looking for you specifically will go to the home page and that’s not going to be most web searchers.
3. Keep it clean. Less is more - at least when it comes to your website. An overabundance of images and words is not conducive to an effective website. It is there to do a task, not win an award for artistic achievement. Sadly, some web designers still think its all about ‘the look’
4. It should have a Responsive Design. This is techno babble meaning it needs to be readable on any device. Be it tablet, laptop or mobile, your readers need your website to look tidy regardless of the format, and with over 70% of readers now using a mobile device to view the internet its time your site caught up. Have you checked out your mobile version lately?
5. Don’t under-estimate the power of video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. Maybe not quite, but video content is the preferred means of absorbing content for more and more web visitors, especially those in the under 35 market (hello, engagement rings). Furthermore, a high percentage of websites still don’t offer good video content on their site meaning those that do are getting a jump on the crowd. It also gives you a chance to stake a presence on YouTube which is the world’s second largest search engine after Google. Lights, cameras, action people!
6. Check your load speed. Most website visitors will only give a website a handful of seconds to load - in fact surveys have estimated this to be less than 3 seconds! Yet a huge number of businesses are losing web traffic because they don’t have a web designer spend any time on making sure their page load speed is what it could be. The result? Lost visitors from an issue that can be very easy to fix.
There are many ways a website’s performance can be improved but start with these and you’ll be on the right track to making yours a more effective business tool.