We recommend that all small businesses make a New Year’s resolution to review their websites and make improvements that invite visitors to stay rather than encouraging them to leave.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) December 31, 2012
According to Bop Design, a San Diego web design agency, the New Year is a good time for business owners to find out if their websites encourage visitors to leave.
“No business would intentionally ask customers to leave,” says Jeremy Durant, Business Principal at Bop Design. “But companies often act in ways that inadvertently or unintentionally drive customers away – both online and offline. We recommend that all small businesses make a New Year’s resolution to review their websites and make improvements that invite visitors to stay rather than encouraging them to leave.”
What can cause customers to leave a business? Long-winded marketing materials that inundate prospects with unwanted information. Automated phone prompt systems that anger and frustrate customers. Poorly trained customer service reps who can’t solve problems in a timely manner. Difficult or non-existent refund policies. These unthinking actions and policies send a subtle but powerful message to customers, "We don’t care."
On websites, “we don’t care” messages aren’t quite so obvious. Yet, they still crop up in many different ways:
- Fancy graphics that take forever to load. The latest technologies may look hip, slick and cool. But they often take time to load, especially for visitors with older computers or slow internet connections. Making people wait for a home page to load implies that the company’s time is more valuable than theirs.
- Confusing and/or difficult navigation. Don’t make prospects and customers hunt for the information they want. People should be able to find what they’re looking for in two clicks or less.
- Slow response time. When online customers have a problem, they want an answer now. If a company doesn’t respond to an email or online help request within 24 hours, customers are probably already looking for another business that will. At the very least, companies should acknowledge the email right away and promise to contact the sender as soon as possible.
- Links that don’t work. Few things are more frustrating to site visitors than links that go to the wrong place or don’t work at all. When a website doesn’t work properly, prospects and customers wonder the same about the products or services on the site.
- Low-quality videos. With today’s inexpensive digital cameras, anyone can throw together a video and post it on their website. But when companies put up cheap-looking, poorly produced videos, viewers will assume they put the same level of quality into their product or service.
- Webinars and podcasts that promise more than they deliver. Today’s time-deprived viewers will not tolerate self-serving marketing pitches or delaying tactics. Even if a webinar or podcast is free, it had better deliver real value, and it had better do it quickly. Otherwise, listeners will click off and conduct their business with someone who shows more respect for their time.
- Poorly designed shopping carts. Slow, cumbersome, and difficult-to-edit shopping carts rank high among online shopper complaints. When a company makes it hard for customers to buy on their site, they will go somewhere that doesn’t.
- “Me, me, me…” content. No one likes to get stuck at a party with someone who talks only about themselves. When a website talks only about how great the business is, customers feel the same way. A website should always focus on the customer’s issues and concerns. Otherwise, visitors won’t stay on the site for long.
“Encouraging visitors to stay on your website isn’t hard,” says Durant. “Respect their time. Make it easy to find the information they want. Give them different ways to contact you if they have any problems or questions. Design the website around their needs, not yours.
“When your website shows you care, visitors will stay longer and buy more. And if your product or service delivers as promised, they will come back to your site and buy from you again.”
About Bop Design
Bop Design is a San Diego web design agency with offices also in the New York metro area. We express a business’ values through brand development, advertising, design and web design. We also help attract a firm's ideal customer through search engine optimization and social media marketing services. The marketing firm's focus is on small businesses that want an external team of marketing specialists to help give their brand an edge in the marketplace.