Small Business Websites

What Do Your Customers Want From Your Website?

Written by Chris Martin for Gaebler Ventures

Entrepreneurs often have lots of ideas of what to put on their business website. But what do your customers want to see on it? Here are some ideas.

Entrepreneurs know that a smart, functional website goes a long way toward bringing in customers and boosting the bottom line.

But there are thousands (perhaps millions) of articles and sources that offer advice on how to make your website smooth, flashy, and trendy.

Here's a concept: why not structure your site with consumers in mind?

After all, they're the ones who will be deciding whether they like your business and want to spend their money on your products or services. So when building your site, here are some tips on what your customers want you to include.

What your company does. Sounds obvious, right? You'd be surprised how many sites are on the Web that are vague and generic. If customers don't know what you're offering, they won't buy it. So be sure to explain in at least general terms what your products and services are.

Why you are unique. You should already know what makes your company stand out from its competition. But you have to illustrate this point on your site. Personal bios, company history, and areas of expertise are good things to include. But don't go overboard with your verbiage or your potential customers may get bored and click somewhere else.

Contact info. For some reason, there are companies who want their locations to remain a secret. Maybe they think it makes them seem more global – but in fact, it makes them more suspect because consumers might think they are a scam. So include your street address, phone number, and email address. It's the very first building block of trust and credibility for your company.

Simple navigation. If your site is harder to get around than a Minotaur maze, frustrated customers will quickly move on to your competitors. So provide clear and easy directions for navigating among product pages, through signup screens, and around checkout systems. Also, be transparent with shipping costs, return policies, and delivery information (it's easy to put all this on an FAQ page). This will give your customer confidence that he or she has made the right decision by buying from you.

Feedback ability. Customers may want to pay you a compliment or point out how you can serve them better. So give them a way to do that by implementing email links or feedback forms. Not only will you keep your finger on the pulse of your market, but your customers will feel like their concerns are being heard and addressed.

Validation from independent sources. You say you have a great company – but it might mean more to customers if someone else thinks you do. So provide links to client lists, testimonials, news articles, and awards you have received. Just be sure to get the required permission from clients, newspapers, etc. to display their names and content on your site.

Offers tailored incentives to your customers. Any large business can run a promotion. But offering a personal touch to the people who buy from you will stick in their minds. A coupon for free shipping or gift wrap, a reduced price on a renewal, or even a written thank you note makes your customer feel like they are appreciated.

It's natural to try to "think big" when designing your website. But studies have shown that consumers like the idea of dealing with a small business. So you shouldn't go out of your way to model your site after a national conglomerate. Relatability to your customers is one of the most powerful payouts your company website can give you.

Chris Martin has been a professional writer for the last seven years. He is interested in franchises and equity acquisition.

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