“It’s a wrap” is a Cornish company offering personalised gift-wrapped chocolate and sweets for weddings, birthdays, christenings and other special celebrations, run by sisters Karen and Nicola.  Customers can upload their own artwork to the wrappers, their own messages and even their own photographs.

Karen and Nicola would like to drive more traffic to their site, generate more sign-ups to their newsletter, and raise awareness of their wedding favours and children’s party gifts.  Here are some suggestions on how to develop their website:

1.  Minimise copy and images on the homepage

The homepage is packed with offers, products, links and small images.

Condense your copy into one key message and one image box – the slideshow you have at the bottom of the page includes some great pictures of your product at parties and events.

Try moving this slideshow above-the-fold (to the top half of the page) so users don’t need to scroll down to see it.

2.  Cut down your navigation menu at the top of your homepage

Any menu that goes into two rows is too long.  Include key headings such as ’About’, ’How to order’, ’Delivery info’ and ’Contact us’ in the top menu, and add a menu in the sidebar to enable visitors to search by occasion (’Wedding’, ’Birthday’, ‘Seasonal’, ‘Baby‘, ‘Anniversary’, ‘Corporate‘).

3.  Put a call to action prominently on your homepage

But make it soft sell.  Something like “Design your own now” linking through to a page where customers can select their product, the design, the words, etc. and see how their design will look.

4. Develop your ‘About us’ page

Add images of the founders to bring the page to life, and add more info about your professional background/experience to build your credibility.

Also close with how people can get in touch with you (To contact us, email …… or call …….)

(And move the contact details from the bottom of the home page to the ‘Contact us’ page).

5. Use video

Show visitors how easy it is to design their own chocolate wrapper with a video of the process.

Film the computer monitor while you do a design yourself from start to finish. YouTube has loads of videos like this so have a look around for inspiration then get filming.

6. Make better use of your testimonials

You’ve got some wonderful comments from happy customers. Pepper these throughout the site, with small images of the products that they received (with their permission of course).

Add links to relevant quotes (i.e comments about wedding favours on the wedding pages, feedback on children’s gifts on the birthday pages, etc.).

7. Consider changing your template

The background of brown and white narrow lines can be distracting and difficult to look at on certain screen resolutions and browsers (I keep thinking of ‘magic eye pictures’).

Look at having a single light colour (white, cream, pastel blue, green, pink) as it’s easier on the eye for shoppers surfing your site. Stick with this colour throughout for consistency.

8. Add a newsletter sign-up button to your home page

Then give visitors a reason to provide their details. People are far more wary about giving email addresses than they were 10 years ago, so you need to offer them something of real value before they’ll sign up – how about a list of the top ten chocolate recipes (gather some from other sources and put them together in one document)?

Or maybe ‘A day in the life of a chocolate wrapper’. Have fun with it and try out different incentives for members.

9.  Position all your special offers in a single box on the homepage

(like the current slide show you have).  The slideshow is a good way of showcasing your special offers without cluttering the sidebars.

Put offers in a small clickable image (250 x 250 pixels) that, when clicked, brings up a pop-up window, rather than taking visitors away from your homepage, with details of the product and an ‘add to cart button’.

10.  Make your newsletter interesting to your subscribers

Keep content seasonal.  Include special offers that are only available to them, give them the opportunity to buy products not available to everyone.  Your homepage currently lists Easter offers, as well as Christmas and Halloween ones – focus on just what is topical to

Bonus tip: You mentioned you’re considering setting up a Facebook page for It’s a wrap.  Social media can be an effective way to reach new customers and build loyalty.  But you don’t necessarily need your own business page to benefit from Facebook.  Add a ‘share’ button to the site’s sidebar (available from Add This – www.addthis.com) so it appears on every page so users can spread the word about your products straight away.

Thank you to Karen and Nicola from It’s a Wrap personalised chocolate company for inviting me into your website.

I’ll post another website makeover next week. If your homepage could do with a fresh pair of eyes or you’d like your own 10 point action plan, email me.

What changes could you make to your website?  Share the impact of any changes you’ve made in the comments below.