Niche Markets & Ecommerce

Recently, Amazon topped over $1K in shares and now represent 47% of all online sales. Amazon is expected to surpass 50% of all online sales by 2019. What does this mean? Amazon has created an extremely competitive market where sellers and box stores alike are making pennies above cost. While this is great for the consumer, the seller is at a competitive disadvantage.

There are many keys to a successful ecommerce website: design, development, SEO, user experience, ease of checking out, shipping, trust, etc., all play a role in successful ecommerce. However, we have seen a steady rise in niche markets throughout the internet and believe that these niche markets – if done correctly – are a direct response to a number of topics.

1. Cheap is Not Good
2. Bespoke Design and Manufacturing
3. Recognition and Brand (knowing who is making your product)

Design Content First recorded a 7% positive rise in conversions after improving the render time of web pages by 68%, reducing page bloat by 46% and reducing load time by 64%. There are a lot of worse things than website load times – the impending heat death of the universe is one of them – but while we’re around, pecking away at mobile devices, iPads, and laptops (while sipping $6 lattes), lets talk about website load times. Improving render time, reducing page bloat, reducing load time. What are these? How do you do it? First, let us look at what makes a website.

What is Content First?

Let’s make this simple. You see a beautiful person, man, woman, alien. Whatever floats your boat. You happen to get significantly beautiful’s number and set up a date. You’re sitting across the table from each other at a 3-Michelin star restaurant. They serve the first course. You and beautiful have said nothing to each other aside from where you went to college and what happened on The Bachelor last night. There’s nothing there. Beautiful is just beautiful. What should you do? What any self-adjusted human would do. Leave. You see, there’s no content there.

Strip away the frontend – all the good-looking stuff. Strip away all the HTML and CSS. Take out all of the images. What are we left with? Content. Copy. If you don’t have much content or copy, we can equivocally say that you are losing the SEO battle. The internet is, after all, about content. It isn’t about making things “pop” or putting things “above the fold.” Imagery can certainly help, when you’re dealing with humans. But computers aren’t as superficial as we are, yet. Search engines don’t care about images. I mean, they do, if you want an image to be found, but they’re not important if your website is a hipster outdoor bikepacking blog or an ecommerce site peddling hand-cobbled, organic leather boots. Search engines want to know that you have original content & copy. Period.

Designing Simple Websites

First things first. There’s the front end of a website (what you see), and a backend (what we code). Somewhere in between, these two coexist together in what we term the “firmament.” Yeah, its biblical in origin but bear with us. The firmament is the area that bonds the front end and backends. It also separates the two. Its a constantly flowing and evolving yin and yang of design & development. It can also be called user experience. But we hate that word. Its too…market research-y.

It is a challenge to design simple websites.

Business (corporation, ecommerce, etc) web design is largely driven by people that don’t understand web design. Many of these people still think “above the fold.” They want carousels, images, banners, ads, all above 600px in height. They detest scrolling. With the rise of mobile use, scrolling is a necessity.

To design a simple website, we have to reduce the content down to its essence. To do this, we need to ask a few questions from the perspective of the client and the user. Here are a few questions to ask:

    User Questions
  • What is it that a user is looking for?
  • What do they expect to find?
  • How do we deliver it quickly?
  • Can we find ways to deliver more?
  • Client Questions
  • What is the maximum amount of information required?
  • What is the minimum amount of information required?
  • How valuable is this information to its space?

Design Mobile & Content First

No matter who the client, you’ll be sending design mockups to somebody. Could be a board, marketing team, could be a sole proprietor. Either way, it is best to send mobile first. This will provide them with a framework to view their information in the simplest form available. Build small, scale up. Their is a diversity of platforms, browsers, and web systems continue to get more complicated. We believe minimal is best. It speeds up load times, delivers the content first.

Design is Structuring Information

Most people define design as “making things pretty.” Pretty is subjective. People want to design things first then plug in content. This is disastrous from design and development perspectives.