It’s not 1998 anymore. You’ve got no excuse for an ugly website. Ecommerce with Shopify offers you a world of opportunity, so don’t waste it by having the first thing your customer sees being a messy homepage. You want to dazzle your customers from the get-go, so sit down and listen up! I’m going to give you my six tips on how to create a beautiful ecommerce homepage…
Negative space is positive space
Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer makes a website? Do you remember how slick and user-friendly it was?
Maybe not. When your customer arrives at your homepage, you don’t want to greet them with noise and fanfare, blinding color and a whirlwind of movement. You want their first experience of your brand to be calm and clear. To that end, you should try and reduce the amount of clutter on your homepage. Unnecessary sidebars and images only serve to distract your viewer, forcing them elsewhere.
The fashion retailer Hera has nailed this. Designed by a professional Shopify web designer, their homepage is the digital equivalent of a zen garden. Lots of negative space and just a single photo creates a positive user experience which is crisp and clean.
The rotating carousel is dead
Rotating carousels used to be the visual darling of ecommerce. Showcasing your products, promotions and offers in a constantly moving merry-go-round of images was the go-to for web developers everywhere.
These days though, carousels tend to only irritate and distract the user. They have low click-through rates, and take up valuable space on your homepage. On top of that, they slow down your website, which in turn has a negative impact on your SEO.
Leave the carousel where they belong, in Facebook ads and carnivals, and instead embrace some alternatives. Try focusing your homepage on one specific offer instead to grab your customer’s attention, and maybe add a few other small offers below it.
A Shopify development company knew the importance of this when they designed Buff Her House of Exfoliation’s online store. The first thing you see when you hit their homepage is a huge special offer, guaranteed to hook even the most sceptical of shoppers.
Avoid information overload
Have you ever ordered a coffee and been offered extra espresso, soy milk, flavored shots, marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles, vanilla dust, a biscotti and all the rest? You just want a coffee, not a full meal!
When your customer clicks through to your homepage, you need to keep them hooked by keeping it simple. You’ve got the information they want, but let them find it naturally. Include relevant links to broad topics, where they can funnel down to what they need. And keep it intriguing too — a little mystery is a great way to draw your customers in. When you start thinking about how to build your first online store, don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to hit all your value propositions on the first page. Just focus on a few key messages instead.
You know who does this right? The health food supplement Nutri-Rich, created by a certified Shopify developer. Confident declarations and tantalizing promises followed by bold calls to action entice the viewer to seek out the details at their own pace.
Focus on the quality of what you have
What would you rather have: a single Porsche 718 Boxster or a fleet of worn-out old pickups? Unless you run a user car traders, I think I know you’re answer.
Yes, it’s true what they say: quality really is better than quantity. So instead of spreading your homepage thin with mediocre photos and lacklustre design, focus on doing one thing perfectly. Hire or invest in a decent camera to take high quality photos, and use great stock imagery to fill in any gaps. Make sure your menu is intuitively organized and your brand logo is clearly distinguishable.
Case in point: the exquisitely designed Fulton & Roark’s online store, courtesy of expert Shopify web developers. Their homepage features insanely detailed photography and a clear menu, with the distinctive Fulton & Roark logo front and center of the page.
Nail your navigation mechanics
Hark back to your school days. You might remember the fun you had creating a PowerPoint presentation for the first time. The slide backgrounds! The WordArt! And perhaps the most exciting feature of all, the custom animations. Star wipes, ripple effects — the world was your oyster.
Unfortunately, while it was fun and maybe acceptable at school, those days are behind you. When you’re designing your website, you need to make sure your navigation is fluid and not too flashy. While some sites do use dynamic navigation menus, and they do it well, it’s tricky to get right. Keep it simple for now, or get one of Shopify certified developers to do it for you.
Learn from Homer. Keep your homepage uncluttered and minimalist. It should be a zen garden for the eyes. And remember: high quality photos makes for a high quality website. When your brand is nothing but that, you’re going to want to make sure the rest of your online store follows suit.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. For all the latest on developments in ecommerce, marketing, and design, check out her blog, Victoria Ecommerce. Victoria has a drive for helping store owners get the best return on their ecommerce businesses.