BUSINESS TRAINING: WEB DESIGN AND TRAFFIC
Before you spend a dime on website design make sure you read this guide. You might be surprised at how easy it is to build an e-commerce store.
Website Design and Traffic
Who Is Your Website Catering To?
Creating all the elements included in a new CBD brand can be overwhelming. Instagram, email, YouTube, web design, logo, brand message, your products, all need to be designed from scratch. Your website is the main cog that pulls this entire wheel together. It is the online version of your retail store. It’s very important that your website design (layout, colors, content) conveys the right message and visitors come away with the correct impression of your brand.
Understanding your average CBD website visitor will help you better decide on things like color, font, image size, and overall layout. A 22 year old college student uses a website differently than a 35 year old stay-at-home mom. Make sure you’re catering to your ideal customer and not just designing a website that you think looks cool. Unless you are launching a brand that caters to a specific niche or business type, you can assume that for the most part your customer base will be similar to the “average customer” who is buying products on other CBD websites.
Here is some information on average CBD customers to remember:
|CBD PRODUCT SALES|
|Product Type||Tincture & Vape|
|Reason For Buying||Pain and/or Sleep|
Keep in mind these are average statistics. Of course, men are buying CBD products too. Just not as much as women according to the studies conducted thus far.
Designing Your CBD e-commerce Website
CBD products are mainly used for for pain relief and as a sleep aid. Your design approach in terms of looks and feel should cater to this type of consumer. Using colors like blue, grey, and green is better idea than creating a website with red and black as the main colors for example. (More on color choices later)
Now that we know a little bit about who we are designing for and why they’re buying CBD products, let’s talk about the best platform to use for hosting your CBD website.
For the most part, the majority of CBD oil e-commerce websites online are using 1 of 2 different platforms.
A small handful of CBD brands have hired programmers to create custom websites for them but that’s definitely not necessary. In fact, I recommend against paying someone to custom code a website from scratch. It’s way too expensive and with all of the “out-of-the-box” options available today, not the best way to go.
So let’s take a look at the 2 most popular options at the moment.
WordPress Rules The Internet. Do I need it?
WordPress powers something like 75,000,000 websites online right now. Yes, I said 75 million.
I have been using WordPress to power all of my websites for 10+ years. It is by far the best option available when you’re looking for a CRM. And it’s free! But does that mean it’s the right fit for you and your CBD site?
After building my Shopify e-commerce stores, I’m not so sure about WordPress being the best way to go for a retail CBD website.
WordPress is incredible and has been able to take care of any idea that I’ve had so far. I’ve used it to build a finder site with a giant custom map, multiple blogs, email newsletter, and a handful of other unique websites.
That being said, e-commerce is a different story and an e-commerce website is VERY different than any of the websites that I’ve built in the past.
Normally, WordPress websites are built around a central content theme – videos, blog posts, pictures, reviews, etc. All of that content is available for free to anyone who views the site.
E-commerce websites function much differently.
A majority of the “content” or what is being offered by the e-commerce website is behind a paywall. As a whole, the site needs to very diligent when handling personal data and credit card information. Security is one of, if not THE the most important factor, and has to be top notch. And, if that isn’t enough, the site needs to be able to handle and process incoming orders without making any mistakes along the way.
To put it mildly, comparing a normal WordPress website to an e-commerce website is like comparing apples to screwdrivers. There’s that much of a difference between the two.
Until Shopify came along, I used to make WordPress work. It wasn’t the ideal solution many times but WordPress is flexible enough that with the help of an e-commerce plug-in or 2, it gets the job done.
The main reason I prefer to use Shopify over WordPress for my CBD websites
In a nutshell. Shopify is designed specifically for what I need, whereas WordPress takes a little coaxing to get achieve the same outcome.
Shopify is an online service that makes it very easy to set up and run a professional e-commerce website. WordPress is a piece of free software that you or your host have to install yourself.
Using Shopify is as easy as opening shopify.com and creating an account. It takes all of 5 minutes and you’re ready to start building your company. There are a handful of quick and very helpful tutorials to follow that show you how to use your own domain name and get your store up and running right away. It’s awesome.
Using WordPress requires a bit more work that at times can be a bit frustrating unless you’ve worked with WordPress before.
- Buy a domain (need for Shopify also)
- Web hosting account
- Choose a theme/look for your website
- Buy necessary plugins (some are free)
- Install WooCommerce plugin for e-commerce features not included with WordPress
- Configure store
A couple of these steps (1 and 6) are needed to launch a Shopify store as well but one major difference is that with a Shopify store, you also get support from Shopify. Which means that whenever there’s an issue, you can contact them directly for help. Contacting a web host is a lot more time consuming as they need to learn all about your site and plugins as they help you. Shopify techs know their platform inside and out.
A good analogy is think of Shopify as a turnkey rental property. You pay a small fee, and you’re in. WordPress is like going to Home Depot, buying everything you need to build a house, and then putting it all together yourself onsite.
What You Need To Know:
- All-in-one e-commerce platform designed specifically to help people like you.
- No coding or developer needed.
- $29 Basic Plan.
- 100’s of template designs to choose from.
- 24/7 Support
- CBD is allowed (See processing section below for details on credit cards)
As I mentioned earlier, WordPress is multi-functional. For the purpose of this guide we are focusing on the e-commerce features and functionality.
- All-in-one software for managing website content and design.
- Requires installation on web host, plugin installation, theme installation, e-commerce plugin.
- Depending on how custom you want your website to look/function, some custom coding may be required.
- WordPress is free.
- Semi easy to use. (If you can send an email, you can update a WordPress website.)
- Thousands of themes to choose from.
- Support provided by whomever you use to host your website.
Being able to have your website set up in a couple hours is huge. Shopify allows you to set everything up much quicker than a WordPress site. (Assuming you’re not a tech.)
Shopify helps you with a lot of the back end details (taxes, shipping, etc.) that can be quite frustrating when trying to solve on your own.
When is WordPress a better choice?
WordPress is a beast and used by so many people for a reason. It’s pretty much a perfect website platform with the ability of running just about any kind of website you can think up.
But there are limits that apply:
- WordPress is software, not a real platform per se. It is free which means you need to download it, install it, configure it, and then build your website using it.
- WordPress was designed as a blogging software. All of the e-commerce features and functionality come from additional plugins that you need to install.
- In addition to an e-commerce plugin, you will need to buy/download a handful of additional plugins to handle normal tasks like SEO and a theme to handle the look of the site.
WordPress is great if you have the experience needed to make everything work. Web host tech support can be helpful but often times requires you to know enough to answer their questions about your setup.
If you already have a WordPress website and are familiar with setting one up and how they work, WordPress/WooCommerce could be the correct solution for you. Even then, I still recommend you at least familiarize yourself with Shopify so that you can make an educated decision on which is best for your CBD business.
Credit Card Processing
Providing customers the ability to pay for your CBD products online using their credit card is essential. Lose your ability to process credit cards and you might as well close up shop.
Whichever platform you decide to use you are going to have to set up your own credit card processing. This is might be normal for some WordPress/WooCommerce users but for Shopify, this is something different than the norm.
As an all-in-one solution, Shopify provides everything including credit card processing for a small fee. It’s very convenient and saves shop owners a lot of time and relief from the headaches that come along with having to set up your own processing. That is unless you sell CBD.
Shopify does not mind if you use their platform to sell your CBD products. But they do mind if you try and use their credit card processing services in doing so. Understandable considering the current environment around CBD company banking.
Once you set up your CBD Shopify page, it usually takes them a few days to find you. Once they see your page you will receive an email from Shopify compliance letting you know they are ok working with you, you just need to find your own processing.
I received emails from Shopify 2 days after setting up my sites. Both times I was expecting them and had my own credit card processing solution that is compatible with Shopify in place. Setting it all up was a breeze.
Traffic Is King! Quality Matters
I need more traffic. This statement will be true as long as you are running your website. Period.
The good news is there’s a ton of traffic available. The bad news, only a small fraction of it is interested in buying a CBD product. But the really good news, because the internet is so big, that “small fraction” equates to a ton of business. Some estimates have Americans making over 220 million purchases online in 2019. A lot of those purchases will be CBD oil and CBD products.
A big challenge we all face is not just needing more traffic, but needing the right kind of traffic. Traffic that is interested in learning about CBD. Traffic that likes to use CBD products. Traffic that likes to buy CBD online. Finding that traffic is the key success.
There are different types of internet traffic, each with its own pros and cons depending on the website in question. YouTube loves traffic that is looking to spend time watching free videos about cats falling off the back of the couch. That same traffic would be considered very low quality to a CBD oil website owner and would most likely convert horribly on a CBD oil e-commerce website.
Finding your ideal customer online and then placing your website in front of them can be hard but with the right tools and a solid understanding of traffic, it is very profitable.
Search Engine Optimization is important to your website because SEO traffic spends money. When someone Googles “cbd oil for pain” they are usually looking for solutions. That is your ideal customer! Being one of the websites that appear on page 1 of Google’s search results when people are looking for what you sell is an excellent way of generating sales. It is considered some of the highest quality traffic available.
Google is the king of Search Engines. Ranking high on Google takes time (in addition to other factors) and effort. Try optimizing your website for a term that is still relevant but maybe a little less competitive. Appearing on page 1 for “CBD Oil” is going to be a lot more competitive than showing up on page 1 of Google for the term “CBD oil and gummies in Los Angeles.”
SEO is a long term game and should be addressed from day 1. There are some great guides and tutorials online to help you understand SEO a little better. Read up and apply a few of the techniques to your site and it will make a huge difference.
Email is still, and probably will always be, one of the most effective methods of digital marketing. People that have subscribed to your list are your best customers. They know you and your brand well enough to trust you with their email address.
Email marketing will continue to provide some of the highest ROI of any traffic type/marketing idea you employ.
The trick is to keep providing your subscribers with free content that they look forward to receiving. Once they get to know and trust you, you ask them to buy your products.
You don’t just need to offer discounts to keep people interested in hearing from you.
Try fostering a community of like minded people by creating and providing content that speaks to your ideal customers interests. Maybe an article about CBD and inflammation accompanied by a subtle link to your newest CBD oil.
Growing your email subscriber list should be of the highest priority to you and/or your marketing team. Don’t be afraid to ask your Instagram followers or your website visitors to subscribe to your email list.
Social media influencers can be very effective when it comes to driving targeted traffic to your CBD e-commerce website. Finding the right influencers to partner with is the key.
Defining an influencer is tricky. In a nutshell, they are anyone with a social media following that pays enough attention to them that they buy what the influencer recommend and uses.
Getting your CBD products in the hands of the right influencer(s) can drive a lot of targeted traffic to your website and bring a ton of attention to your brand.
I prefer doing the legwork needed to find the right influencer to work with my brands. There are discovery tools that are supposed to make the job easier but I don’t trust them.
Once you find your influencer, reach out and introduce yourself. Explain what your company does and why you’re contacting them. Depending on how popular they are, their “payment” may consist of a free sample. Or it may cost a lot more.
Choosing the right platform for your CBD e-commerce website and knowing how to drive traffic are valuable skills. Whether you use Shopify or WordPress, make sure you keep the consumer in mind. Design a website that makes it very easy for someone to find what they are looking for and quickly checkout.
Make it easy for people to contact you if they have questions, comments, or complaints. (Hopefully, not too many complaints!)
When driving traffic to your website, remember that there are different types of traffic. Free traffic from a Instagram is decent but search engine traffic from Google is better. Put together a plan of attack and list 4 or 5 traffic sources. Track all of your sales and when you find a traffic source that generates sales and is profitable, go all in.
After reading this you should have a better idea of which website platform is better for you: Shopify or WordPress. If you have any questions about either, or about how to generate quality traffic and leads feel free to email me anytime.
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