What was the last small to medium sized business website that you visited online recently?
Why did you visit it?
Often times, when small to mid-sized businesses begin the design of their websites, these two questions don’t come up. The businesses worry about the questions of, “How are we going to present our content? What are the colors going to be? How can we best highlight how up to date we are? Do we want a graphics and video heavy site, or go with something more basic?” The questions are geared towards WHAT the website will be, instead of WHY.
Why have you visited a small business website? Was it to contact the business? Shop? Look for support on some issue you had after making a purchase or obtaining a service? Was it something as basic as “Where are they located?” or “What time are they open?”
Design elements are extremely important, and using your website as a platform that explains both your projected brand image and is visually pleasing is obviously such an important part of website design that sometimes the usage is negatively affected. Here are some solutions to making sure your website is functionally up to par.
- Look at the emails you have received.
- How many of these are asking questions that the customer should have been able to answer easily from reading your website?
- Are there usage questions of your product that you could create additional pages/videos for? Perhaps a “How to” section?
- Count the number of clicks to get to your main reason for having a website.
- Do you sell online? How complicated is this process for the customer? Is there a one-click method for returning customers?
- Do you take some form of application? How many clicks is it to reach said application? Is the application worth doing online, or would the customer find it too complex?
- Simple usability.
- How many different pages is your “About Us” spread over? (About us, What We Do, Our Story, From the Desk of, etc.)
- Does your customer have to search for contact information? Business hours? Store location?
- How’s your beautiful site look on a smartphone? Is it still usable?
- How many levels down does your website go? Can you get back to your main menu with a couple of quick clicks of the “Back” button?
- There are questions that your cashier/ service technician may hear all the time, that could be answered on your site. Be proactive.
Aesthetics count, but no one goes to your business web page simply to see how pretty a website you have built. Make sure it delivers on content, and on functionality.