The Importance of Website Design and Branding

Research performed on consumer impression show that in less then a second an opinion is formed about the website they are visiting. This first moment they visit your website is critical to building trust. Many factors are at play, one of the most important aspects is the design of the website. Other aspects you must consider is site browser compatibility and layout functionality. It is important to ensure that your website looks and feels like a professional website where time has been spent on the look and branding of the website. This in no way means that you need to overdo it with fancy graphics and fancy flash animation. Remember the simple rule, Keep It Simple Sir!

A professional design helps to convey the overall message of your product or service. When a customer arrives to a professionally designed website they should within seconds be able to realize what the purpose of the website is. The best website designs are ones that you don’t notice the design but rather the design facilitates your ability to see and find exactly what you are looking for helping to move your customer through the conversion process. Of course the design of the website is not the only factor in a successful e commerce website, there are other things that also need to be addressed such as pricing, appeal of your product or service you are selling are among a number of other things that should be addressed. Some important aspects of design include factors such as proper contrast, applying the golden rule, appropriate repetition to bring consistency and to build branding, proper alignment and proximity.

When building the layout of a website it is always very important to layout the site to be understood by the most illiterate computer user. Everything should be defined and easily understood by even a 9 year old. If a 9 year old can not shop on your website neither can a 30 year old father trying to buy his yellow crickets. As I have mentioned earlier the axium KISS. More is not always better, it’s always better to find elements on the website that can be removed to better help the flow and only feature elements that have a big punch that you want your visitors to focus on. Keep in mind that these principles are not etched in stone. Often the best designs are those that find creative and interesting ways to break the rules. However to break the rules you first must know what those rules are.

Be sure you do not get Penalized by Google for Duplicate Content

On-site SEO is very important and something every e-commerce web store owner should invest in. There are a number of on-site SEO steps that should be performed to ensure you have the best chance on coming up in Google search engine results.┬áSome of these include ensuring that your site is W3C Validated, non important links should have no-follow’s added, there should be an ssl blocker for bots using an ssl.txt file, all sites should include a robots.txt file, url addresses should include keywords and not just a bunch of nonsensicalness among other important on-site SEO steps that should be taken.


In this blog post we will focus on duplicate content. One example of duplicate content is is Google or another search engine bot caches multiple versions of lets say your front page.


All of these url’s essentially lead back to the index page of your website but Google or any other search engine bot could very likely index all of these pages and ding you with having the same content on all 4 pages. You can resolve this issue by the addition of 2 rules to your .htaccess file that is located in the root folder of your website. Open this file in a text document and add the following code. (be sure to change all the yoursite’s to the url of your website)


###################Canonical WWW Correction###########################
RewriteCond %{http_host} ^ [nc]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [r=301,nc]

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*index\.php?\ HTTP/
RewriteRule ^(.*)index\.php?$ /$1 [R=301,L]


Another thing to note that can cause duplicate content issues is the zenid parameter that is added to the url for user cart tracking. There is an admin switch in zen cart that will allow you to prevent bots from starting a session thereby preventing the search bot from adding the zenid parameter to the url. You can activate this by going in to your zen cart admin console and activating the switch in configuration –> Prevent Spider Sessions. You will also need to change the permissions for the Cache folder to 777. Sometimes through FTP the server will not allow you to change the file/folder permissions so you may need to change this via the file manager in your cpanel.

New Zen Cart Blog by ZCCAD!

Welcome to our new Zen Cart blog where we will be discussing various things about e-commerce, web development and working with zen cart. Keep posted as we will be adding new posts periodically.