Your website is often a potential customer's first point of contact with your company. As a result, it’s crucial that your site be well designed, easy to use and informative. Unfortunately, many sites suffer from problems that actually drive customers away.
To ensure your site helps your business instead of hurting it, you should pull it up on one side of your screen. Then put this post on the other side of your screen and use it as a checklist to see if your site:
Is Too Hard to Use
Your site's navigation should flow logically from one area to another. All navigational links should be clear and obvious. Most importantly, your homepage and key landing pages should offer a strong call to action that links directly to your order or contact form. Customers who cannot figure out how to order from or contact you will very likely move along to a competitor.
Seems Vague or Confusing
Customers need precise information regarding the service they are ordering and the price they will be paying before they place an order. Unclear pricing structures or vague descriptions of services can leave your customers too confused to place an order. Your best bet is to explain each service concisely but thoroughly. You should also include detailed pricing in a table or list that is easy to read and comprehend.
Provides Too Many Options
Presenting customers with too many choices can actually be a bad thing. If your business model allows for infinite service or product customization, you don’t need to include every possibility on your website or in your price list. Instead, select the most commonly ordered options and list those. Then make your contact information visible and clear so that customers who want a specialized order will be able to reach you. This is the best way to avoid discouraging potential customers who have simple needs without losing those with more specialized interests.
Looks Insecure or Unprofessional
Appearance does matter. Customers can make snap judgments about businesses based on little more than the appearance of their website. If your site looks cheap, has spelling errors or outdated design features, a customer may conclude that your business is less than reputable. They may also think your site has been abandoned. Keeping your website up-to-date and well written will prevent customers from hitting the back button.
If you collect orders online, customers want to know that their information is safe and secure. Your website should use secure processing for all personal information, including addresses, phone numbers and credit card numbers. Making it clear to your customers that their information is secure and will only be used for the fulfillment of their orders will go a long way towards winning their trust.
By taking the time to review your site and then fixing any issues you identify, you should be able to improve your sales in a very short amount of time.
About The Author
Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.
Posted on Mon, May 14, 2012
by Brian Waraksa filed under