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At the recent WebmasterWorld Conference in Las Vegas, I attended a few sessions about optimizing e-commerce sites. I will summarize the takeaways in this blog.
Acquiring traffic and driving sales are two different processes that need to be considered. The most common reasons for people leaving a site are: the user intent is not met, poor page design, and dead links. You should look at the search terms that are driving traffic and try to discern what the visitor is expecting of that query, and make sure the content matches that intent.
It is also about the formatting of the content. Be consistent in navigation and use recognized naming conventions, don’t get cute.
There should be multiple navigation options: primary navigation, a site map and an internal site search utility. The internal site search can dramatically increase conversions. This function is also great for reporting the most popular searches & allows customization of search results. Create a custom search. For instance, if there is something you don’t have, instead of yielding 0 results, show similar items that might be of interest.
Its almost the new year and time for the major engines to publish the search statistics for the outgoing year. While not to be used as serious data research (I believe the results are highly filtered) it is still fun to see which terms people are searching for and how they compare to your own top searches. Here they are the top search results for 2006 from the big three engines…
Google Zeitgeist – They were first to do the end of year list and still a fun read today.
Yahoo! Buzz Index – Technically available all year round, the “overall top searches” is a great read
MSN Top of Live Search – They are the new kid on the block, but are not to be out done.
Let us know if you think any important searches are missing or if you are just plain shocked at something on the list. Personally, I have no idea who or what “bebo” is but it made the top of both Google and MSN. Can anyone help me out with this?
Usability of your website is very crucial to its success and often sites make mistakes which have a negative impact on the website. I have comprised a list of top mistakes made today when it comes to usability.
1. Poor categorization and labeling of information
Issues with site structure and the naming system of the main categories are among the most damaging problems for a website. Too often websites reflect the internal structure and labels used by the organization, rather than those of their customers. This can cause the customer to become confused and frustrated, ultimately leaving the site.
2. Poor navigation
Even if a site is well organized and information is in clearly labeled categories, the design of the navigation elements can undo all the good work. Developing a navigation which is easy to use and clearly showcases its sections is key.
3. Cluttered page layout
Many pages are difficult for users to scan because the design is cluttered. Information isn’t aligned and there is too much unused space. The most important information on a page isn’t clear at a glance. Few pages make effective use of section headlines and sub headlines, so that it is obvious how the information on a page is structured.