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Building the perfect store website

Building the perfect store website

To compete in today's market, you have to have a store website that is neat, engaging and informative. This is easier said than done, but there are a few tips you can use to make sure your site stands out from the rest. Think of your website as an online version of your store window – you'll need to use the same techniques online that you employ when creating the perfect display.

Get to the point
The part of your website that will require the most attention is the homepage, as this is the first thing visitors will see when they navigate to your Web address. Obviously, you'll want the name of your store and a logo to greet visitors, and it's not a bad idea to use images of your display tables or adult and child mannequins as a backdrop. However, you also need to make sure the essential information about your store is front and center. Many people will come to your page simply to find out your location and store hours, and if this info isn't listed prominently, they may give up on trying to reach your shop altogether. Make sure you list your phone number, too, in case they have any questions or concerns. It's not a bad idea to "anchor" all of this text so that it is visible on every page on the site.

Additional pages
You'll need more than just a home page, so think carefully about what other information you might want to list. Perhaps you'll have a page dedicated entirely to listing the sales and promotions you are running in your store. This is also a good place to list a "special" deal for individuals who have visited your website. You can post a code that they can use at the register at your store, thus bringing online traffic to your door. You may also want to have a section of the site that describes the stock you currently have on your wall displays and clothing racks. Consider putting up a page that introduces prospective shoppers to the friendly faces who make up your store staff. The possibilities are virtually endless, but don't overdo it – more than four or five informational pages will be overwhelming and could drive away business.

The social side
Your page should also be a portal to your social media presence. Most website builders allow you to play "buttons" that link visitors to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+ pages, which is a great way to boost traffic. You can also consider having a running ticker right on the website that updates in real-time as you make posts on the social web.

Hiring help
There are a few websites out there like or that make it easy for virtually anyone with a cursory knowledge of Internet technology to create a website. However, if you want something hassle-free that will really dazzle, it may be time to hire outside help. You can easily find graphic designers on the Web, though you may be able to save some cash by going with a freelancer. Just be sure to have them send you a portfolio that demonstrates their competency and ability to create spectacular websites. This individual will become part of your team – though the bulk of his or her work will be done creating the initial site, you'll want to touch base with the graphic designer a few times a year to make updates and troubleshoot any issues you encounter.