10 Things Customers Want on a Website


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Want to make your small business look big? You can learn a lot from Monte Enbysk, a senior editor at Microsoft Office Live, who in his article in Entrepreneur, today, points out these ten things as the answer to what customers are looking for when they visit:

1. How your business is unique
Answer the question “Who are you?” as interestingly and compellingly (and honestly) as possible. This includes writing management bios that mention your expertise, years of experience and any unique attributes or details that may set you apart from others.

2. A clear sense of what your company offers
It’s incredible how many sites you visit and you’re not sure what the company offers. Make it a priority on your home page to provide at least general information about your products and/or services, with links to specifics on a Products page.

3. Contact information, including a phone number and physical location
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many companies are purposely vague about their location. Showing a physical location, even one that no one will ever visit, comforts a customer that your business is real and legitimate. Provide a phone number that maps to that location, rather than just an 800 number, she advises.

4. Third-party validation
This means customer testimonials, client lists, case studies, awards and recognition you’ve received, positive news clippings and the like. Potential customers indeed want to know who you do business with, and what current customers have to say about their experiences. Such items “forge the underpinnings of trust,” Porter says.

Client lists are especially important if your customers are businesses. If you’ve got some big-name customers, people like to see that. But make sure you get approval from those you list as clients.

5. Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
SSL is an encryption system that helps protect the privacy of data exchanged between a customer and a website. If you have an e-commerce site that takes credit card information, customers want to know that their sensitive data is encrypted. Get SSL if you don’t have it. If you do, let customers know that and about any other safeguards you proactively take.

6. Ease of use and navigation
If people can’t find it, they can’t buy it. Keep sites “crisp, clean, and easy to navigate,” and study traffic and usage patterns to adjust the sites based on what visitors are coming for. The ability to search a site is very important. Businesses should study their search data to see if there are trends and what to make front and center.

7. Clear guidance on your processes
Let customers know, step-by-step, important things such as how to order–and where to go and what to do should something happen out of the ordinary. Customers also want to know your shipping costs and procedures and how they can get status reports. Last but not least, customers want to know how you handle complaints and problems, return procedures and whether you have a money-back guarantee.

8. An ability to give feedback
Encourage feedback about your products and services, your ordering process and your site in general, by providing a feedback mechanism–either feedback forms or e-mail links. Not every small business prefers to offer this, in some cases because of resource constraints. You might get some good stories to feature on your site or in your blog.”

9. Clear calls to action
Customers want signs or buttons in order to act, be it “Buy now” or “Sign up for our newsletter” or “Click here for more information.” But many small-business sites don’t provide calls to action or they don’t present them clearly enough.

10. Special offers and personalization
By personalizing a sale with a special offer, incentive or coupon, small businesses can gain an edge on their bigger counterparts, Porter says. This can be as simple as a hand-written thank-you note, free gift wrap services or a special offer for repeat business.

For the complete article, please go to: 10 Things Customers Want on a Website

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Smith
YCHANGE International
Jim Smith mentors entrepreneurial start-ups and counsels small to mid sized companies that are looking to expand or are under performing or under capitalized.


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