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How To Ensure Your Small Business Website Is Customer Friendly

Having an online presence of some form is considered to be a necessary requirement for any business today.

Some businesses use every online resource available, from a website and blog through to Facebook and Twitter, while others opt to have only a simple yet effective website in place.

Due to the online availability of information and resources, which makes it a possibility for most people to develop their own website and online presence after time has been spent researching and learning various information and techniques, there are often several issues encountered with the final product because of the lack of professional involvement.

Of these issues, one of the most prominent is that the website that is produced, although appearing perfect in the eyes of the business, doesn’t attract and / or retain customers – or at least not to the level that was expected.

There are numerous reasons why this might happen, all of which are generally easy to resolve, but the one overriding factor is that the website isn’t customer friendly and the following information explains three of the most common reasons for this issue and how to resolve them.

1.  Not thinking like a website visitor

Arguably one of the most common reasons for any new website not being as successful as expected, if a website is developed without any thought for the potential visitors, it’s almost destined to be a failure.

It’s very much like offline store design.  Supermarkets, for example, invest substantial sums of money in ensuring that their stores are laid out in the best way possible for their customers, so that they not only find what they want quickly and easily, but spend as much money as possible.

If your website isn’t performing, visit it with the mindset of a customer – can you find what you want?  Was it difficult?  Does the website look appealing?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, you need to be reviewing your website’s design immediately.

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2.  Going for the hard sell

No one likes to be pressured into buying a product.  When you encounter a hard sell offline, such as in a face-to-face environment, people naturally feel more obliged to go with it, as they don’t want to appear rude saying no.

Online, however, it’s a lot easier as you can simply click off the website.

Therefore, if you have any pop-ups on your website or your customers have to go through a lengthy process looking at advert after advert before they get to what they want, remove these and it’s almost guaranteed your visitor numbers and retention level will increase.

3.  Lack of basic SEO principles

In theory, SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is fantastic, as when it’s implemented properly, it will do wonders for your rankings within the search engines.

However, there are far too many people who consider themselves to be experts in SEO after reading through a few documents and whether this is something you’ve done yourself or you’ve hired an inexperienced agency to do, you really need to reconsider your SEO techniques.

One of the most prominent ways to tell whether a website has had a quality SEO strategy implemented is by looking at its traffic data – when a website has had effective SEO techniques implemented, they are done so with the customer in mind, not the search engine and as long as suitable keywords are chosen, the website’s organic traffic should naturally be increasing.

There’s no question that businesses need an online presence today and a website should be the minimum part of that presence.  However, if the website is developed incorrectly, it may not necessarily make customers have a negative image of the businesses, but it will do nothing to increase sales and it’s therefore imperative that you take the time to ensure that your website is as customer friendly as it can possibly be.

This post was originally featured on August 9, 2011.

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