Periodically, I get emails from a company that are filled with images of beautiful, handmade products. I fall in love with these products. I dream of having them in my home.
Then I click on one of these beautiful, clickable images with every intention of buying it. Sadly, I get taken to a generic category page or the website’s homepage. Too lazy to spend 15 minutes figuring out which exact product it was I’d fallen in love with, I leave their website.
This has saved me a lot of money over the years. I doubt this business would be excited to hear that, though.
Plenty of small businesses jump through hoops to get potential customers to their website. Once there, I think it’s likely many of them also lose those potential customers because their website is not well organized from the customer’s perspective. It’s not enough to have a website – if people can’t find what they’re looking for on it, you’ll likely lose a sale. And just because the website makes sense to you, does not mean your customers can navigate it. Remember – they don’t know your business as well as you do. That’s why they came to you.
Here are some things to check to make sure your website is set up with your customers in mind:
1. Navigation Can customers easily find what they’re looking for on your site? It’s not uncommon that you understand your services extremely well. Your clients, however, don’t. So when you put together your website, you need to think about it from your customer’s perspective. Make sure your navigation – including page names – is something that easily makes sense to someone not intimately involved in your business.
2. SearchÂ Does your search functionality work? Most website owners will say yes. That’s often because they’ve never searched for anything on their website. Go to your website and input a few keyword searches your customers may use. You may be surprised what comes up. Depending on what platform your website is built on, what actually populates during a search can be affected by a number of things. As a result, you may be surprised what results you actually get on your website when performing simple searches.
3. Details When a customer is on your product page, can they fully understand what it is that you’re offering? For instance, if you sell marbles, you’ll want to explain how many marbles come in a package, how large they are, what color(s) the marbles are and more. Customers want to understand the full value of what they’re getting for their money. Be sure to put it all on the table for them – they’re much more likely to see the value in your offer.
4. Google AnalyticsÂ Your website analytics can tell your a lot of things – including how many people visit your website and how many pages they visit before they leave. Certain trends can tell you a lot about your website’s effectiveness. If people consistently leave from the same page, you may need to revise that page. Be sure to periodically check your Google Analytics and see what you can learn about your website.
5. Integrated Marketing As in my earlier example, so often business owners put together great marketing messages – and then drop the ball on usability. When you post a link to your products or services, whether it’s in a newsletter, an ad or on social media, be sure to include a link not to your website’s homepage but to that exact page on your website. Your customers are busy people, just like you, make it as easy as possible for them to complete the sale and they’ll be much more likely to do so.
If you’re unsure if your website is setup in a way that’s easy for customers to navigate, you may want to ask someone who is not intimately involved in your business to walk through the site. Take note of the questions they ask and see how you can clarify those points on your site. Have them go through the check out process and see whether they find it easy. A thorough website review can help you ensure that your site is easy for customers to easily make purchases.