There’s one thing that we can all be certain of: investing in your website is very important. It’s the finer details, such as when to start, how much to pay or what resources to utilize that can be a little tricky.
That’s why we sat down with our very own Guliz Sicotte, Director of Services, to help crack your toughest questions. From investing in new graphics to DIY design and marketing, she tackles it all.
How do I know when to invest in ecommerce services? Is there a certain period of time or milestone that I should reach first?
There’s no set rule for investing in ecommerce services. One thing is certain: you can’t afford to not invest in your site. Your store’s success is directly tied to its professional aesthetic, which garners trust, credibility and online exposure. Achieving these things require some sort of investment, whether that investment is your own time, hiring additional employees or outsourcing the work to a professional team. Design is typically one of the first things that startup businesses should invest in so that they can establish a professional look. After the design is in place and your site launches, you can then focus on marketing.
Growing a business requires continuous investment. My recommendation is to budget for a combination of design and marketing on a couple of channels initially – perhaps a combination of shopping feeds, social media, and/or search engine optimization (SEO). As your business hits certain milestones, you can cast a wider net and explore new marketing channels.
I have a limited budget, but want to invest in improving my online business. What’s the first change/addition I should make?
Each business is unique, so there’s no absolute answer to this question. If you don’t know where to start, Google Analytics is a great tool to help you make informed decisions. For instance, if your site just isn’t getting enough traffic, you should invest in outbound marketing like SEO, PPC or shopping feeds to drive the traffic you need. On the other hand, if your site has a high bounce rate and low conversion, you should consider investing in a site redesign and/or conversion consulting. With a limited budget, the main takeaway is that it’s even more important to prioritize your goals and take things one step at a time.
Why is it important to invest in custom design?
Design isn’t just about making your website “pretty,” but it’s something that can truly make or break your business. Custom design helps establish credibility, differentiate your company from the competition, convert prospects into buyers and create consumer loyalty that simply can’t be bought with any form of marketing or advertising. A modern and intuitive site design can have a huge impact on how users perceive your company and relate to your website.
Your website design should:
- Easily communicate your selling proposition
- Provide an appealing, positive and memorable user experience
- Build credibility and convince users to trust you
- Have a clear call-to-action and guide visitors through the purchase process
- Be consistent with your brand identity and appropriate to your industry
I’ve owned an online store for several years. When should I consider doing a site redesign?
I recommend updating the look and feel of your site design once a year. According to a recent survey, nearly 70% of marketers redesigned their websites in the last 12 months to modernize its appearance and align the site with their branding efforts.
Redesigning your site doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul, however. You can easily change your homepage for the season or during the holidays, when consumers are specifically browsing the web for promotions. If you have a lot of repeat customers, I strongly advise keeping your site design fresh and exciting for them with lots of limited time promotions.
Have more design questions for Guliz? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below and we’ll have her get back to you ASAP!
For more insights, stay tuned for part II of this series, where Guliz dives deeper into your questions about social media design, as well as SEO and PPC services.
Guliz Sicotte, Director of Services, Volusion
Guliz Sicotte, Director of Services has been an integral part of the growth of Volusion. She has led the way to create and offer new design and marketing services to help Volusion merchants become more successful with their online stores. Her creativity and innovative thinking in developing strategic plans for services has led to an astounding revenue growth in the last few years.
Guliz joined the Volusion team in 2009, after working for a successful advertising agency in Houston and previously for Google as a contractor while running her own business as a consultant. Guliz has received the Volusion Trail Blazer Award in 2010 recognizing the best manager in the organization for overseeing the Services team. In 2011, she has been nominated for the Stevie Awards for Women in Business as the Best Executive in the Computer Services and Software industry.
Guliz earned a Master of Science degree in Information Systems from the University of North Texas and Bachelors in International Business. She is a Google Adwords Qualified Professional, and completed the Project Management Institute program. In her spare time, she likes to enjoy the beautiful Austin outdoors with her husband and daughter.