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August 5, 2010

Seven Things That Customers Look For in a Website

If you are doing business online, consider your website as your main product and your readers, your customers. You can’t always think that people really spend their time and money on your website so it’s essential that you make a periodic audit to figure out if your customers have really meet their needs and not just reach out to them through social media and blogging.

People are diverse but when it comes to the internet, we all look for a few things in selecting who to follow, trust, and patronize. The following is a list of seven essential things that every web site should have.

* Ease of use

Your website should not be confusing or hard to navigate. Web customers typically look for simple things: your products, information about you, your blog, your contact page. These should always be prominent and easy to find, as should any other information or links you want people to follow. The font should be easy to read and the links should be keyword-rich and easy to spot.

* Clarity of content

Your content, including the call-to-action, should be easy to understand. This applies to every single page of your website. If your readers can’t understand you, they will leave.

* Credibility

First, your website should definitely have a dedicated contact page with a contact form, e-mail address (avoid free email addresses like @gmail or @yahoo) and a physical location and phone number. Credibility also includes not only on-page content like testimonials and comments, but also third-party validation in the form of Twitter followers, Facebook fans and awards or certifications. The quicker readers are able to discover that you are a thriving business vouched for by other people, the sooner they can make the decision to trust you.

* Uniqueness

This applies to your site design, to your product and to your content. If your site doesn’t look interesting, people are not gonna waste their time looking on it. If you’re like every other business in the market, why should your readers listen to you?

* Participation / Ability to give feedback

If your customers can’t reach you easily, they’ll give up. If they contact you but don’t receive a speedy respond, they’ll leave and either forget you or damage your credibility. So provide an easy way for customers to interact with you and give them as many options as you can
handle: phone number, social media, contact form, and blogging are some of the most popular ones. People will likely trust and be loyal to you if they see that you are open and are always available.

* Personalization

Remember that every single person you interact with or sell to is unique and has his or her own expectations from your product and services. No one likes to be referred to as “Dear Customer” in an e-mail, and everyone likes offers and products about subjects that are of special interest to them! So get to know your customers, store the individual information they share with you and use it to build personal and lasting relationships.

* Security

Readers and customers want to be sure that any and all personal information provided to you will stay confidential and not be sold to third parties or misused. If you are selling products, this means SSL security. If you are asking for e-mail addresses for a marketing list, this means respecting your readers’ privacy. If you are connecting with people on social media, this means discretion on your part about any and all personal interactions.

Does your web site pass the test?

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