Pleasant Website = More, Happier Customers

December 30, 2011 by Susan Gunelius
Customer Service

Guest Post by Barbara Austin.

You could say there are two kinds of websites: those that are enjoyable, and those that are downright painful to use. The more pleasant the site, the more we tend to gravitate toward it, spending more time there and going back more often. So how can you ensure that your website is providing that positive experience, as opposed to making your customers want to pull their hair out? Just follow these three essential rules:

Quality of information: Without the right content, everything else is pointless. Ask yourself: “What do my visitors want to see? What specific information are they looking for? What would they find most useful? And what do they NOT want to see (what would annoy or frustrate them)?” By giving people what they seek, you’ll make their lives easier, leaving them happy and more likely to return to your site again and again.

Ease of use: How you organize your site’s pages and the information on them can make a big difference in helping your visitors find what they’re looking for. To use the needle-in-a-haystack analogy, if you have a big messy pile of hay with the needles buried in the bottom, people will either give up looking before they find them, or be so exhausted upon reaching the needles that they’ll never come back again. Better to have your hay organized in small, neat piles with the needles sitting in plain sight on the top where they are easy to find! And while you’re at it, if any of your “hay” is old or rotten (read: outdated or unnecessary), get rid of it. The less clutter there is on your site, the easier it will be for visitors to see the things that really matter.

Overall experience: This is the icing on the cake! With a pleasant atmosphere that personifies your company, visitors get the “big picture” of what you’re offering, along with an enjoyable experience to keep them coming back time after time. Strive to make your website a reflection of your business, to show new visitors what makes your company unique, and if you have brick-and-mortar storefront(s), to give an experience consistent with what they would get in person. Take The Container Store, for example: if you’ve ever shopped in one of their stores, you know that they’re very neat and tidy, streamlined, and it’s generally easy to find what you need. Their website is the same: a clean appearance, organized product menus, and again, it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. And all of this embodies The Container Store’s mission to help people become more organized.

Providing a helpful, enjoyable online presence can improve your business at every stage: new visitors get a great first impression, first-time customers will be pleased with the experience and more likely to return a second time, and repeat customers will remain loyal not only for the product or service you provide, but also for the pleasant experience they have every time they come to your site. Use these guidelines to craft a better online experience, and you’ll be well on your way to more, happier customers.

About the Author

As owner of CreativeGem Designs, Barbara Austin creates sparkling print, web, and identity designs to help passion-driven entrepreneurs capture the attention of their target markets. For a treasure trove of marketing tips, design advice, and freebies, subscribe to her newsletter The Diamond Mine.

Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Women on Business. She is a 20-year veteran of the marketing field and has authored ten books about marketing, branding, and social media, including the highly popular 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing for Dummies, Blogging All-in-One for Dummies and Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps. Susan’s marketing-related content can be found on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com, MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, and more. Susan is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has worked in corporate marketing roles and through client relationships with AT&T, HSBC, Citibank, Intuit, The New York Times, Cox Communications, and many more large and small companies around the world. Susan also speaks about marketing, branding and social media at events around the world and is frequently interviewed by television, online, radio, and print media organizations about these topics. She holds an MBA in Management and Strategy and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Zsa Zsa January 2, 2012 at 8:40 am

Usability really is very important. The website is the face of a brand/company so it has to be a reflection of what/who you are. Thanks for reminding us about the importance of giving visitors/users a pleasant experience everytime they visit the site!

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