Lately we’ve been working on and developing multiple videos and rich media presentations for various applications and I felt I’d be beneficial to discuss some of the benefits video can bring to the table and what we’ve seen happening. I believe video is the best way to quickly educate a visitor on your service or product, but it also has a lot of value in other respects.
For many of who run (or advertise) eCommerce websites / online stores or even a serviced based business, it’s not always easy for the owners or partners to meet with each client and give your customers the warm feeling that you’re there for them and you genuinely care about them. Online video is the perfect way to say “hello”, introduce your company and build that personal connection. The personal touch may be a larger benefit to a service based business while product demo may be more powerful for the eCommerce industry.
Working with Germ Guardian on their most recent site launch we not only developed a custom eCommerce website, but also put together a rich media piece that incorporate a presentation and also has video embedded. The rich media piece has been used on their website but will also be featured on Cosco, Lowes, Walmart and other various outlets in which they sell. Within days of the launch we saw the presentation almost double their sales of the featured product. Why? Because a buyer wants to know what they are getting into. They want to lear all they can about the product and we need to make them excited!
Keeping a visitor on your website and engaging them in one of the toughest parts to developing any website and we’ve found that video make it much easier to accomplish that at a high level. Simply offering video on the homepage will often double the time a visitor may spend on that page and in the end increase your conversion rate. As we all know, in the end it’s about the conversion rate! Below are a few tips to consider when developing an online video:
- Be to the point. If the video drag on too long your visitor may lose interest. Say what you need to say or show what you need to show in order for someone to make the decision of buying from you or requesting more information. I believe product demo should be short while a company introduction or overview may be longer.
- Quality is Key. We’ve all seen the attempts at web video that look like they were shot on a web cam. If the video is not as professional or as high of quality as your products or services, don’t use it! Spending the money on professional video recording is the best money spent.
- Brand it well. When shoot and editing the video be sure to include contact information at the end, your website address and of course your logo. Use company colors throughout and be sure there is a call to action (purchasing, calling, filling out a quote request, etc.)
- Share it! Once your video is done it may have a powerful impact on social media sites, You Tube and all over the web. Don’t put the video on your website and no where else. You have it, show it!
Many clients ask about Web 2.0 features as they have heard this phrase before and of course, it sounds like the latest and greatest. In some ways, it is. Web 2.0 can be very complicated or can be basic, clean and easy. Our goal in using Web 2.0, especially within eCommerce design, may be a little different than some of the over-the-top Web 2.0 sites.
How Web 2.0 works in eCommerce design and development: When designing an eCommerce website we look at the user experience. The question we try to answer is “how could the user experience be easier and quicker?” The goal of any eCommerce site is to get a visitor from point A to point B (ordering). If Web 2.0 features are distracting than it can hurt your site and send visitors in the wrong direction. An interesting navigation is great, but would you rather a user play with a navigation for 5 mintutes or learn more about your products? Website visitors have a certain amount of time to purchase an the quicker you can get them through the order process the better! We often use Web 2.0 and AJAX to load content without the page reloading. This is one of the most effective ways to use these features to make the experience easier. When going from one tab to another, for example, the tabs content can reload but not the whole page. When options are choosen on a products (red shirt, green shirt) the product image can change or fade to the next color. These basic, but effective, Web 2.0 features will give you site the edge needed to boost sales.
Flash or Web 2.0? A lot of elements or interactivity that was acomplished through the use of Flash is now accomplish through Web 2.0 development. Sliding navigation, fading images, roating photos and interactive experiences can be developed without the use of Flash. What the benefit? One, Flash is not always installed on all computers. If a visitor does not have Flash installed those elements will not dispaly for the visitor. If your navigation is in Flash, you’ve just lost a customer. Web 2.0 features do not include 3rd party programs to run (Flash does) and it will also allow the search engines to easily read all of the content within your site. eCommerce Search engine optimization is one of our key services and we always want to be sure everything we develop will be found by the search engines.
I’m going to say no, but this doesn’t mean clean code doesn’t matter. It can make all the difference!
In my experience and research, both in witting this and reverse engineering hundreds of websites that rank, I’ve seen many top sites that do not pass validation perfectly (without any errors). Now this isn’t to say they are not fully CSS / XHTML driven websites. Many sites that are all CSS based may still fail W3C validation for one reason or another. For example using Google’s Website Optimizer will cause your site to fail validation sometimes.
The main difference in sites that have an advantge in code is they do not use many tables. It may not even mean they don’t have any, but that don’t have a bunch and especially not tables within tables. Looking at code and going line by line to be sure you’re using as little of code as possible is always going to be a benefit.
Why does Google or other search engines care? One, sites with clean code load faster. A faster loading site is going to give a better user experience. Remember, (always) Google wants to display websites that’ll be best for the user searching, in all aspects. Two, I believe Google thinks you probably have a more up-to-date, better developed website than someone with a mess of code. This seems to make sense and I like to think Google thinks logically sometimes (it helps me sleep at night.)
All in all, clean code matters. If you have a few W3C validation errors, life and rankings should go on. For fun try to validate some of the biggest sites. Almost none will pass.