When you start your business, getting your website launched is likely a lofty goal. With limited resources initially, and an uncontainable urge to get going, you probably wanted to get something “workable” in place. You may have known from the beginning that it wouldn’t be the most comprehensive or carefully designed site, but you wanted it to go live and serve its functions.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But now that a little time has passed, it might be time to reevaluate how your current website is serving or hindering your customers.
Put a Spotlight on Architecture and Navigation
How your site is structured may seem like something to be left up to your Web designer, but it’s an important element that needs to be guided by you. Your Web designer may (and should) understand how to make a site easy to navigate and can give you helpful tips throughout the process. But nobody knows your business quite like you. As a business owner, you know what prospects are seeking as well as what existing customers want to find once they come to your site. Keep this in mind when designing your site.
If purchasing a product is the goal for new visitors, make this landing page accessible via one click from the home page. If logging into a customer portal is what your existing customers need to do, make the login prominent. You get the idea. The Southwest Airlines website is expertly created and easy to navigate. Above the fold, the home page is clean and uncluttered. Web forms are available immediately for quick travel booking, and current deals are showcased. If someone wants to go deeper into the site, there are plenty of resources and information available, but if they just need something quick, they can do that too. It’s a perfect balance.
Chatting Should Be Easy
How many times have you gone to a new website and simply wanted someone to answer a question? You either get a runaround with contact forms, or you’re left having to call the business and often get routed through a frustrating calling maze. Few people in this instant gratification age want to wait for a call back or get patched to different people time and again, so your website should give them other options. Consider using a service like Zipwire, which offers inbound services and live chat. Your customer service quality will increase significantly, and customers will appreciate getting direct answers and attention.
A company that employs this well is the cloud hosting provider FireHost. The company has a proudly displayed, “Chat Now” button on the homepage. Once you click on this, you’re asked for a couple pieces of information, as well as given a picture of the person on the other end of the chat. By making it simple to chat and ask questions, gathering follow-up contact information from prospects and showing the personal side of the business by showing a picture, the company does several things right. Think about mirroring this type of approach with your website.
Your business’ site can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be, but no matter the number or pages or diversity of functions, it needs to be visitor-friendly. Build the architecture to be intuitive and gear the design toward easy navigation. Figure out an easy way to keep your customer service a focal point and make chatting available. Your prospects and customers will want to keep coming back and you’ll gain some devoted fans for your business.