Business Ecommerce Web Design
Small Business Ecommerce Web Design
If your small business is venturing into ecommerce, you may be
daunted by the technical wizardry you think is involved. But fear
not: complete web store software packages will keep all the technical
wizardry safely behind the screen, so you don't have to worry about
it. All you have to do is choose a design, stock your store, and
promote it. Here's how to do that.
Designing Your Online Store: Choosing a Template
When starting a brand-new online store for a small business, you're
better off choosing a pre-existing design template rather than having
a design done from scratch.
• Templates. If you’re not quite sure what kind of
design you'd like, you can browse through the design templates included
with most hosted online store programs.
• Themes. Some online store builders take the design template
concept one step further, with "themes." Themes are essentially
templates that include not only basic design elements but also text
styles such as font faces and sizes. Themes also allow for slightly
different pages across a website with a single unified design, without
having to configure each page individually. For instance, a web
store theme might include a product description page, a product
category page, an "add to cart" page, and a checkout page.
Just by choosing a single theme, you have all the pages in the shopping
cart designed with a single, unified professional design, just like
big, successful web stores.
• Theme builder. If you want to make changes to a theme–say
a different font or a different color–some web store software
packages make it easy with a "theme builder." With the
theme builder, you can select values for features such as color
and font. You can even choose to build a theme from scratch, though
for most web stores this will be a case of re-inventing the wheel
unnecessarily. You don't need to know anything about HTML; the interface
is much like a word processing program.
• Professional design. Once you've created your store using
templates or a theme builder, you can turn to a professional designer
to make your site really special. Still, you may want to stick with
the basic template or theme-builder site until you have a firm idea
of how users are interacting with it and what elements are working.
That way you'll have concrete requests to make of the designer.
Building Your Online Store: Inventory
The foundation of any online store is the products or services
being sold. With most web store and shopping cart software packages,
the functions for adding, removing, and pricing items are collectively
Even if you're selling intangibles such as downloadable software,
you will use the inventory functions to specify how the items will
be sold. There are options for setting the available quantity in
stock to unlimited, or handling just about any kind of permutation
of selling products or services online. Web store software makers
have seen it all.
One of the great things about using a hosted web store software
package is that if you do have trouble setting something up, you
can get help quickly from customer service.
Adding New Web Pages to an Online Store
If you want to add new pages to your online store, the store creator
software can help. If all you want is to add a new product, you
only have to use the "add a product" feature, which is
often listed under "inventory."
However, if you want to add pages for sales copy, manuals, privacy
policies, terms and conditions, the store creator interface is the
way to do it. Most online store creators have a way of adding pages
to a web store without having to use HTML; you simply type in your
text in the form and upload any images.
Getting Your Store Found in Search Engines
In order for your online store to generate the most business possible,
you’ll want to make sure that your store is easily searchable
for Internet shoppers. Unfortunately, some web stores create pages
using a dynamic script that search engines cannot index.
Often you can tell if a web store cannot be indexed by search engines
by looking at the URL of an inside web page (the homepage, also
called the index page or "front page," will usually be
search-engine-index-able no matter what).
If the URL is a long string of characters that is slightly different
from one user to the next (say, when you open the page on your computer
and someone else opens the page on another machine), that likely
means the site is using "session IDs" which search engines
have a notoriously difficult time interpreting. If the URL is something
simpler, such as "domain.com/category-5/product-6.php",
the page is much more likely to be search-engine friendly.
The best way to check whether a web store or shopping cart software
produces "search-engine-friendly" pages is to check the
documentation; software that's search-engine-friendly will usually
Of course, as with any website, doing well in search engines still
requires your site to have links pointing to it and some text on
the pages. Just because search engines can index a page doesn't
mean they'll return it for any searches.
About the Author
Joel Walsh is a web
business owner and writer. For a hosted web store software package,
check out this online store builder: http://www.easystorecreator.com