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The 7 most important things customers want on your website:

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.

What is unique about your business? Why should I buy from you? This is missing from many business sites because the owners haven't done the strategic thinking necessary to figure that out.

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 services and / or products with links to specifics on a service/products page.

I know many service-oriented companies, are concerned about divulging too much information about their offerings, for competitive reasons. Some also feel that consumers will have no reason to contact them by phone if they get all they need from the website. More often than not, consumers will not contact a company for the missing service/product or price information-they'll just move on to a competitor. So there's a balance that needs to be reached in giving your potential customer enough info to make a buying decision.

Contact information This may seem like a no-brainer, but many companies are purposely vague about their location. Some prefer to do all of their business online and see no need to publish an address or phone number. Others are home-based or they worry that giving a street address or hometown will somehow hinder them.

This is a must, and it's one small way of building “credibility and trust" with the consumer. A street address and even pictures go a long way toward building credibility. But if you don’t want to do that, even just a phone number (rather than just an 800 number or email form) comforts a customer that your business is real and legitimate.

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. 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. Also, Social networking has strong validation, having a presence on social networking sites and blogs, especially those serving your industry, so make sure your website includes this links.

Ease of use and navigation If people can't find it, they can't buy it. Keeping you site "crisp, clean, and easy to navigate.

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. (Don't list your shipping costs and procedures after people enter their credit card information) Last but not least, customers want to know how you handle complaints and problems, return procedures and whether you have a money-back guarantee.

Your processes can be described in a "FAQ" page or separate "how to order," shipping and/or confirmation pages. Include a way customers can contact your business or fulfillment agency for more information.

Clear calls to action If you have a captive audience, this is the time to grab them!" 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.

Special offers and personalization Having a personalized touch is something small businesses can do that many big businesses can't. By personalizing a sale with a special offer, incentive or coupon, small businesses can gain an edge on their bigger counterpart. This can be as simple as a hand-written thank-you note, free gift wrap services or a special offer for repeat business.

Expect more from your website? I’d would like to offer you a free (no obligation) 30 minute website review. I’ll give you a truthful analysis of your website, and provide you with specific steps you can take to get your brand out there— REALLY WORKING FOR YOU. I only offer a few of these each month, so claim your spot in June by emailing me at today !


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