After visiting well over 2000 Coffee websites to create our Coffee Roaster List, I decided to post this article.
Consider this – If YOU visited your own website (without knowing it was your website) would YOU buy from it? Do you consider contact information Important? Do you investigate legitimacy of a business before giving your credit card information? Do you shop for product and/or website reviews before buying? Do you judge a business on the design and accuracy of information of it’s website? Read on….
- Get an Appropriate Domain Name
- Find a Reputable Host Server & Hosting Plan
- Design & Build Your Website Around Your Objective
- Make It Easy for Your Customers to Contact Your Business
- Expose Your Website on the Internet
- Describe Your Coffee
- Why Aren’t You Selling Coffee on the Internet?
- Describe Your Coffee Education & Experience
- Don’t Confuse Visitor’s With Non Related Homepage Photos
- Routinely Check Your Website
Get an Appropriate Domain Name ⇧
To most of us choosing an appropriate domain name for our coffee website is a given, find a domain name that is descriptive of your website. If your name is Qwerty and you sell Coffee, but “QwertysCoffee.com” is not available, then you may have to settle for “Qwertys.coffee” (both were available at the time of this post). Think twice before settling for something like Qwertysbeverages.com – unless your goal is to sell wine, beer, coffee and soda.
Your domain name should be descriptive of what your website is about, if you sell Coffee, then “coffee” or a synomyn for Coffe (i.e. Java, Joe, etc.) in your domain name would be ideal. If in doubt about choosing your domain name, ask trustworthy family and friends for opinions – sometimes things that might be clear to you, are not be clear to the millions of multi-ethnic internet coffee customers. Local ideology may impede your business growth on the internet.
Find a Reputable Host Server & Hosting Plan ⇧
Finding a reputable server hosting company for your Coffee website might take a little time – research with the internet and other website owners can save frustration later. Do your homework on this topic, check the average website down times and page load speeds on customer reviews. Also, check what others have complained about at the Better Business Bureau.
Many server hosting companies hit you with many options that can increase costs needlessly. Choose a website hosting plan suited to your website and expected traffic – you can always upgrade as your traffic increases. Chances are your website is not going to be inundated with web traffic unless you have wildly unique popular products – with almost 2000 coffee roaster websites in the U.S. alone, that is not a likely scenario.
Avoid Scenarios as this Ad Depicts
Many companies offer new customers a great deals to enlist you, then neglect you and increase rates – loyal customers should be appreciated. Some business practice beliefs are that once you install your website(s), it is too much work to move to a new hosting company. However, it is not, if your website is relatively small (dependent on the data it contains), even WordPress sites can be moved easily with WordPress migration plugins like Duplicator and others.
Design Your Website Around Your Objective ⇧
First, ensure your website design is responsive and mobile friendly. Google and others search engines will lower website rankings in searches if the site in not mobile friendly. Check to see if your website is mobile friendly on Google’s Website Mobile Friendly Test page or other mobile friendly analysis page.
Most websites have a primary goal or objective – in this case Sell Coffee – there may be a secondary goal, such as charitable community service, but without selling coffee the second goal may not be feasible. So design tour website with your primary goal in mind. Build your website on paper first, decide how many pages and what info and images each page will contain. Flowchart or map your website, it’s easier to make changes on paper than online. Use Office or Open Office (a free Office alternative) to check Grammar and spelling if your HTML editor does not have these options.
During my review of the thousands of coffee roaster websites, I was amazed how difficult it was to find where to buy or shop coffee for coffee on some websites. The most important point of this post would be if you sell Coffee then make it “obvious” where to buy or shop for that Coffee as visitors may spend only a few seconds on your website. That’s why car dealers will make every effort to keep you on their sales lot – while you are there, they can make a sale – once you leave, you are probably not going to buy a car. Website design should practice the same methodology – to keep you there to sway you into a purchase.
on average, website visitors will spend much less than a minute while searching your homepage for the desired topic, don’t risk losing that brief opportunity. If you sell coffee, make it obviously clear in a well seen font contrasting top menu. In my experience, the above menu contains some text link topics that are well defined and may be in a good coffee website main menu.
Finally, please choose a font that is legible to all. Script and fancy fonts are difficult to read – not everyone reads well, reads English, and has great vision. In addition, these fancy fonts are even more difficult to read on mobile devices. Review your website pages with different screen sizes and devices – shrink and enlarge your browser to check if the text on all pages are legible as planned, especially if your site is responsive and mobile ready.
Make It Easy for Your Customers to Contact Your Business ⇧
The lack of contact information can be a sign of a non-legitimate business. Some customers try to confirm legitimacy before buying from any website. In today’s world being skeptical about giving personal and credit card information on the internet is smart idea. Most legitimate businesses will display an email address (usually with the website domain), a physical location, and a working phone number. The lack of contact information may also worry someone if something goes wrong with a purchase – How will they contact you? Easy access to customer service is expected from today’s consumers.
Methods to check for a legitimate business:
- Try the Better Business Bureau
- Check if business is registered with local, state or federal authorities
- Check the registration data for the company website with ICANN WhoIs
- Check Google and Social Networks
- Check is the website’s method of payment is secure and reputable
- Examine the website for professionalism & credibility
Coffee Roasters who run their business from home may want to keep their privacy by not listing a physical address, however, there are alternatives to using your home address or a post office box. Mailbox services companies like the UPS Store offer mailboxes with physical street address not PO Boxes. These mailbox services may allow for compliance of a legal street address and they can accept packages for you. In addition, you might even consider clarifying on your website contact information page that your business home run.
Expose Your Website on the Internet ⇧
Get some quality exposure on the internet via top rated search engines, like Google and Bing, and include social networks. Google is the most popular Search Engine, so we’ll use Google as the example. First, you will have to register with Google to perform these tasks, but it may be worth it. Afterwards, submit your website to the Google Search Engine, or Google may have already crawled your website, but this is only the first step with Google. If you are a business not concerned with location privacy, getting linked with Google maps may be the second priority, as anyone searching for Coffee with a mobile device using an app that uses maps or locations will show your business on the results. Coffee businesses should also investigate these business tools below to improve expose of your business on Google:
- Google for Retail – Promote your products on Google Shopping, Google Offers, and other properties; submit your product catalogs digitally to Google Search.
- Google My Business – Get your business on Google Maps.
- Business View – Invite customers on a virtual tour of your business.
- Check out more options on how to Get your content on Google
Categorize your business as accurately as possible aid to aid in accurate searches for your type of business.
Bing and other search engines offer similar services.
Approximately 66% of the U.S. population is registered with social networking, take advantage of this free service to optimize your business exposure. Social networking can be done by you or you can hire someone to do it for you. Facebook and Twitter appear to be a minimum base for networks to join.
Furthermore, if you don’t mind paying a percentage of your sales for more exposure to customers, consider selling on eBay.com or Amazon.com. Manage your own sales or use the selling services offered by both companies to lessen the burden on you. eBay.com offers an eBay Valet option, where someone else handles the selling for you and Sell on Amazon.com offers similar services.
Describe Your Coffee ⇧
A good coffee description of your coffee would be ideal and may save questions or sway hesitant customers to try your coffee. If possible, besides the source of your beans and roasting methods, include some other factors, like Aroma, Taste, Finish, Body and Acidity. Maybe the final score results from a recent cupping of your coffees, if results are good and are from a reputable source. Display a photo of the packaging the coffee will arrive at the customer’s home and maybe include a photo of the actual beans if the coffee is a staple of your coffee sales and not a seasonal roast. The more information provided will likely reduce complaints and lessen any surprises after the coffee is delivered to the customer.
Use quality photos on your website, “an image is worth a thousand words”, and non-quality images can give a poor impression and make the visitor leave prematurely. If you cannot take good photos, ask a good amateur photographer, if you do not want to pay a professional, offer some Coffee in trade for a few good photos.
Why Aren’t You Selling Coffee on the Internet? ⇧
One topic that does not include the Coffee Roaster websites in my Listing are Coffee shop websites that sell liquid coffee to go, but do NOT sell Coffee online from their already existing website. Some sell T-shirts, coffee accessories, coffee and food “to go”, but not Coffee Beans! The absence of Coffee let my imagination wonder why they did not sell coffee…
In addition, hundreds of Coffee Roasters list their business website on Facebook. I realize there are Facebook stores, but our sources indicate the majority of people do not shop for Coffee in these Facebook stores. If you own a legitimate business, setting up a website in today’s world should be a priority. If you can’t afford to hire a website developer, there are free websites templates and WordPress themes available for basic websites which can be setup to sell Coffee via telephone orders. When setting up a payment option for your website, seek professional help to avoid security issues.
As stated above if you don’t mind paying a percentage of your sales, consider selling on eBay.com or Amazon.com. Manage your own sales or use the selling services offered by both companies to lessen the burden on you. eBay.com offers an eBay Valet option, where someone else handles the selling for you and Sell on Amazon.com offers similar services.
Also, this author has noticed that Coffee packaging can play an important roles in sales, especially if planning to sell of ebay on Amazon. Attention getting and attractive names and colors can increase sales. This was proven in micro beer sales and other products studies and probably safe to assume for Coffee too. Check out some Coffee packaging photos and Coffee names on our Coffee Gallery Page there are over 100 Coffees displayed.
Describe Your Coffee Education & Experience ⇧
If you Roast your own Coffee, as compared to outsourcing your roasting, and have a background in Coffee Roasting, special education or years of roasting experience you may display this somewhere on your website. Don’t get too lengthy on the home page, link your Coffee curriculum vitae to a separate page if experience is extensive. This display of Coffee expertise and professionalism may instill confidence in some consumers. If your roasting experience is not noteworthy, but your Coffee is great, don’t mention experience.
Don’t Confuse Visitor’s With Non Related Coffee Homepage Photos ⇧
While visiting some of the 1800+ Coffee websites, I sometimes got confused when the homepage opened and displayed were photos of bicycles, guitars or some other non-Coffee related images largely and boldly displayed on the home page. At first, I hit the back button, then somewhere on the page at the bottom my eye must have caught the word “Coffee” and I went back to verify the website sold Coffee. As stated above in the design section – you may want to design you website around your priority objective. If your Coffee doesn’t sell, would you still have a Coffee website to financial support the secondary goal? How about a Photo of your bicycle in the background of your Coffee Roaster or the guitars hanging on the wall of your Coffee Shop. There is always a way mixing your primary and secondary goal without compromising Coffee sales. A quality image is worth a thousand words….
Routinely Check Your Website ⇧
After your website is up and running frequently go back and check to verify it’s loading speed and functionality. This routine check may be best performed by different individuals, as new eyes can often pick up missed errors. Data can become corrupt on the server or your page can get hacked (as were a couple of the sites visited). Check your spelling and grammar, verify your contact page functions properly, check your payment system functions, especially if sales are declining for no reason, and scan your website for viruses if you suspect malware. Your hosting company may offer a virus scanning software or WordPress websites have plugin to search for malware (as good portion of the websites visited were WordPress).
On occasion you may want to use an analysis website to test your page loading speeds, many of the websites visited took 10-20 seconds to load, and some never loaded. Remember the average visitor won’t wait longer than 5-6 seconds when waiting for a page to load. Check some useful analysis websites below.
Speed and Mobility Analysis Websites include:
- GTmetrix gives you insight on how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it
- Pingdom Website Speed Test – Enter a URL to test the load time of that page, analyze it and find bottlenecks
- Google.com Page Speed Insights Make your web pages fast on all devices
- Google.com Mobile Friendly Test
If you change your product packaging, product description or prices of any product you sell online – Take the time and update your website with these changes (including photos).
These ideas are derived from actually visiting over 2000 websites on our Coffee Roaster listings at least once to verify coffee was for sale online. There are hundreds of other websites visited that do not sell online. Only repetitively seen issues were mentioned here. Yes, we realize no website is perfect to all people – you can never please all of the people all of the time. Clarity of coffee sales is the single most important purpose of this post.