Build an Ecommerce Home Page that Sells

Hostway Tech Team - February 15, 2010

By Joyce Harrison

You may have a very small business but your Web site has to compete with the big guns. You have only a few seconds to make an impression with “window shoppers” who come to your home page. If your “storefront” doesn’t attract them, one click and you’ve lost potential sales.

Here are some tips for creating the ideal ecommerce home page.

Make It Quick and Easy to Identify Your Product/Service

Get to the point. Display your logo with a brief tagline at the top of the page. Use everyday language such as “gourmet dressings to spice up your salads.” In 7 words, the line identifies the category (dressings), defines it (gourmet), and gives the end-user benefit (spice up your salads).

Keep the Menu at the Top

Place your home page menu where it’s expected to be: at the top and/or on the upper left side. Make the product categories simple but specific. If you sell cameras, list digital cameras separately from video cameras to help your customer easily find what they’re looking for.

A site that looks organized for easy navigation is critical. Experts say any destination should be reachable in 3 clicks.

Make the Search Box and Cart Obvious

Most shoppers are searching for a particular item or service. That’s why it is important to make your search box easy to locate. Do include a go button to avoid any confusion about where to click.

Your cart along with a customer service or contact link (reassurance for the shopper) typically goes upper right. A checkout icon helps too.

Use Graphics to Help You Sell

A picture is not only worth a thousand words; it’s also an excellent sales tool. Showing a sweater on a sportsman versus a woman adds product appeal and, at the same time, instantly communicates the line of clothing. Make your graphics relevant to your business. But absolutely avoid cluttering the home page with images.

Include Keywords and Links in Your Text

Opinions vary on text length for a home page. Brief is always better. Stick to the highlights and expand on the other pages.

  • Use subheads to break up the text.
  • Evaluate the readability of your font and background color choice.
  • Consider what words the shopper might use in a search to find your ecommerce site. Include those key words in your text for Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
  • Say you have a special offer, a blog, or recent important news. Embed links to the details.

Check the Browser Views

One more point that’s often overlooked. Once you create your ecommerce home page, plan to check it out in different browsers to make sure the view doesn’t vary.

About the Author

An independent freelance writer, Joyce Harrison has had a long career in advertising, broadcasting, and music. Her Web site is

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