The web design theme you use for your eCommerce site can have a major impact on your business. Whether this is positive or negative depends on how much research you put into your decision.
Consider your users: The number one criteria when choosing a theme is your user base. Many businesses that are trying to appeal to a young and trendy audience will have the most success with modern minimal templates. This style is currently in vogue and does not provide an abundance of distractions from your call to action. Flat themes typically feature light backgrounds and darker text, making your content really pop off the page.
A full-width template is a great option to achieve a very contemporary look. For a more traditional design, a boxed width design is another great choice. These templates include a border around your content and tend to be perfect for websites marketing to other businesses.
No matter what theme option you choose, you will have some empty space on your page. While it might be tempting to fill that negative space, it’s important to avoid over-saturating the user. If you have a lot to say, consider a simple link to another page where you can go more in-depth.
Choose the right header: A strong header sends a strong message. As soon as a user lands on your page, the header should be the first thing that draws their eye. A bold, bright image is truly worth a thousand words. You can tell an entire story about your brand with the right combination of graphics and text at the top of your page. If that story appeals to your user base, it will leave them hungry for more information.
You also want to be sure that your header leaves enough space for users to want to continue their journey through your site. A header that takes up half of your page might make your website appear underdeveloped.
Instead of extending your header vertically, you might want to extend its width beyond the rest of your content, guiding users from the literal big picture to the important details about your business. The right balance between the “curb appeal” of your header and the substance to back it up will be what keeps users interacting with your website.
Check out your competition: If your business has competitors with a successful website, take some time to navigate them. It’s never a great idea to use the exact page template as a competitor, noting their successful layout features will help you improve your own site.
Does your lead competitor place their menu above or below the header? How do they lay out their links or organize their products? All of these factors can contribute to their success and might be a huge help when deciding what your customers want to see for your business.
You should also consider the inverse, what does their site lack? Are there clunky or unnecessary features on the competition’s website? Avoiding their mistakes is a great way to give your site a superior layout.
Menu designs: Your menus are your user’s travel guide to the rest of your website. You need menus to point users towards your products and more information on what you offer as a brand. Whether you feature a simple dropdown menu or what a custom designed mega menu, making your site easy to navigate is key to retaining users and increasing visit durations.
Factors like whether you want to include subcategories to your menu can affect the ease of use for your website. A challenging menu will lead to increased bounce rates, but having too many subcategories can be confusing to users. Be sure to test your own menus and make sure they serve as an efficient gateway for visitors to understand you and your product line.
Branding: What is more important to you, your brand or your products? The idea of your brand is important, and how you feature it on your site will send a message to users. You definitely want your pages to prominently feature your brand logo so visitors will see and remember it.
If your brand is the focal point of your business, you will want that logo front and center. This works well for businesses that are selling a “lifestyle” that goes with their products. For markets like footwear, sometimes having a popular brand of shoes is more important than having shoes in general to consumers. These businesses will want to display that brand first and the products second.
If you want your products to speak for your brand, placing your logo off to the side or in a corner might be a better choice. This placement will give visitors an idea of who you are, while still maintaining your site design’s focal point to display your products. For businesses that want customers to display their product’s utility, or do not have powerful brand recognition, this product fronted design will focus visitors’ interest on what you have to offer.
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