Online Catalogs: Top 10 Features Your Catalog Needs

Discover 10 essential features your online catalog needs to thrive in the digital marketplace. Learn about the content, design, and hosting of your catalog.
Online Catalogs: Top 10 Features Your Catalog Needs

If you sell more than one item online, you need an online catalog.

Shoppers find it convenient to browse online catalogs to help them find what they want quickly.

Sellers like displaying all their goods, giving customers ideas for further purchases.

Your catalog can be simple or fancy. It can be one page or hundreds, even thousands of pages.

Every online catalog that succeeds in getting customers to buy goods or services has features in common.

Let’s look at the features these successful catalogs share.

We’ll start with what format your online catalog will take.

And there’s a bonus at the end.

Online Catalog Formats

Online catalogs take various forms. The primary difference is in the interactivity between the catalog and the customer.

There are passive, read-only catalogs, and dynamic catalogs that feature active links, videos, searching, filtering, and sorting.

Each has its intended audience and intent.

Each has its level of difficulty and expense for production and delivery.

Here are some of the most popular choices for online catalog format.

PDF Catalogs

The PDF format has limited interactivity but is effective and inexpensive to produce. PDFs are simple to create and widely used.

PDF files support beautiful product images, stylized text, active links, searching, and easy updating. Many PDFs are designed to be printed out a page at a time for customer convenience.

PDFs are extremely easy to post online using automated hosting platforms like ours,

Interactive Web-based Catalogs

Web-based catalogs range from simple PDF hosting to fully interactive and dynamic sites like Amazon.

Interactive web-based catalogs require more developer skills than PDF creation. They are also significantly more expensive to produce.

The advantage of a dynamic catalog is in customer engagement. The shopper takes an active role in choosing which products to view. This investment in time and effort leads to more sales—as long as they find what they want.

Flipbook Catalogs

Flipbooks are digital versions of printed catalogs. They mimic the page-turning actions of a traditional, paper-based publication.

Flipbooks contain the same content as a PDF while offering some of the interactivity and engagement of any web-based catalog. They can also share videos and animations.

Mobile App Catalogs

Some companies develop dedicated mobile apps for their catalogs. These are expensive, although, with modern techniques, they are getting easier and cheaper to produce.

Mobile apps are very interactive and share information back and forth between seller and buyer, just as web-based apps do.

Mobile app catalogs can do anything your device is capable of.

Top 10 Features Your Online Catalog Needs

Our top 10 list is broken down into three useful categories:

  • Content
  • Design
  • Hosting

Here, you’ll find the ten features that all online catalogs need, regardless of format.

Catalog Content

1. High-Quality Product Images

Shoppers want to see what they’re getting. Clear, high-quality images are essential.

Viewing the products from multiple angles is compelling. If the format supports it, you can use videos or even 360º product shots.

2. Detailed Product Descriptions

To help buyers decide—and to help prevent fraud, returns, and chargebacks—you must provide clear, detailed, and accurate descriptions of all your products and services.

These descriptions work in tandem with your product images.

Make sure your customers understand all your products’ features, benefits, and specifications.

3. Clear Pricing and Availability Information

Prices should be clearly displayed. If your catalog is dynamic, you should also include accurate, real-time stock availability.

Customers get frustrated if they can’t find the price, especially if hidden costs aren’t transparently indicated.

Frustrated customers often leave without buying. And they don’t come back.

4. Up-to-date Content

Regularly update your catalog with the latest products, prices, and promotions. This applies especially to passive catalogs like PDFs. You must keep the content fresh.

Fresh content encourages repeat visits and satisfied customers.

5. User Reviews and Ratings

Social proof is vital in online sales. People want to see that others trust you with their money.

Including customer reviews and product ratings in your catalog significantly influences buying decisions and adds credibility.

Catalog Design

6. Easy Navigation

A beautifully designed and well-structured catalog layout helps users browse through categories and products effortlessly.

Intuitive catalog navigation is crucial so your potential buyer doesn’t get lost in your catalog and give up in frustration.

7. Responsive Design

You can’t predict what device your shopper will use to browse your catalog—desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, TV, or whatever.

Your catalog should be accessible and easy to navigate on all devices, ensuring a good user experience across all platforms.

This is called Responsive Design. Use it.

Catalog Hosting

8. Fast, Secure, and Simple Hosting

Whether you’re hosting a one-page PDF or a large interactive site, you don’t want your hosting to let you down.

Also, traditional web hosting is complicated and time-consuming. Not to mention expensive.

Automated hosting requires only naming your website, dragging and dropping your PDF or zipped web catalog, and clicking a button. All the complicated uploading, formatting, and configuration are eliminated. provides an automated hosting service using state-of-the-art AWS infrastructure for stability and security.

9. Easy Catalog Updating

Find a host with a quick and simple updating process to ensure your content is always up-to-date.

Stale content turns off buyers. They go elsewhere.

10. Easy Sharability

Once you host your online catalog, you’ll want to share the link extensively.

Online Catalog Sharing with

If you host your catalog with, you are one click away from sharing your link in any creative manner you choose.

One click also gets you a scannable QR code that can be shared in any medium.

Shoppers use their smartphone camera to scan the QR code and tap the link provided. Then, they are transported right to your catalog’s homepage.

Next Steps

If you have questions about online catalogs, design, or hosting, we can help.

Visit to reach our excellent customer service people. Our customer service is available free of charge, just like our free hosting tier.


You didn’t know that you could host a PDF, web catalog, static website, or other web project for free on

Well, it’s true.

Visit’s homepage.

  1. Name your site.
  2. Drag and drop your catalog file (PDF or zipped website).
  3. Click a button and sign in for free.

That’s it. In seconds, your online catalog is live on the web, ready to share. is the simplest way to host and share your web project.

Try us out for free today. Advanced features are also available.

FAQ: Online Catalogs

How important is mobile responsiveness for online catalogs?

Mobile responsiveness is crucial with the increasing use of smartphones for shopping and browsing. A mobile-friendly catalog ensures a positive viewing experience across all devices, potentially increasing engagement and sales.

Can online catalogs be integrated with eCommerce platforms?

Yes, online catalogs can be seamlessly integrated with eCommerce platforms, allowing customers to purchase directly from the catalog. This integration streamlines the shopping experience, making it more efficient and user-friendly.

What role do high-quality images play in online catalogs?

High-quality images are essential for showcasing products effectively. They help capture the viewer’s attention, clearly represent the product, and can significantly influence purchasing decisions.

How often should online catalogs be updated?

Online catalogs should be updated regularly to reflect new products, stock availability, promotions, and prices. The frequency of updates depends on the business type and how often changes occur, but a best practice is to review and update the catalog at least quarterly.