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Making Your Website Work for Customers

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The whole point of shopping on the Internet is to save time, money and hassle. Today’s customers have become remarkably savvy shoppers, investigating and researching their interests and purchases before they make commitments. With the rise of Smartphones and tablets, customers have vastly expanded their ability to find new products or find a better deal online, even if they are physically in front of a product in a store.

Matching your company’s website to meet the demands of increasingly shrewd shoppers can be a constant challenge. But, an effective company website gives you the ability to connect with these online customers even when your business doors are closed and the answering machine is the only voice left in the office. Keeping up with your customers opens the door an entirely new realm of upkeep issues that your problem-solving team must learn to tame and master if you want to keep your online viewers and customers happy.

Whether you’re gearing up to launch a new site or just looking for some fresh updates, here are a few online customer pet peeves that you can easily avoid with the right set of tools and preparation.

Automated messages

Automated purchase confirmations have become expected, so they are a great opportunity to communicate further with customers. However, they can cause you problems if you try to take a “set it and forget it” approach. Always make sure your messages reflect your company’s current information, policies, and deals to avoid customer confusion or disappointment.

Auto-play videos

Almost nothing is more annoying than browsing multiple tabs only to hear random audio start playing from one of them. While it is certainly tempting to get your message to readers immediately, it is better to attract them with interesting content rather than forcing them to watch and listen. If you want a video on your homepage, make sure it is muted.

Social media and blogging

There is hardly a middle ground when it comes to pleasing or repelling your online customers with social media and blog usage. Every organization is different and social media may or may not fit your niche. If you know you don’t have the time, content, or resources to keep a blog or social media page updated, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

If social media is a communication channel you want to explore, it’s important to remember that researching and knowing what your online customers want is only the beginning. You should always know what your customers are looking for before you build your social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, and company blog pages that are neglected, disjointed, or over-promoted will only make sure your actual message gets lost in the clutter. Social Axcess has some good social media tips that will help you build a following.

Be mobile friendly

More and more web traffic is coming from Smartphones and tablets, and your site should be able to meet the needs of that traffic. Older sites may just not work on mobile platforms, so it is a good idea to create a mobile version of your site, or redesign your site to include responsive design that will fit the dimensions of most devices used to view your site.

Website maintenance

Don’t get caught with a compromised network or server. Keeping your website up and running is just as important as keeping your lights on in the office. Having a website means you’ve promised your customers more: You’ve plastered a permanent, flashing “OPEN” sign on your company’s services, products and stream of information. Trying to access a website that is down can detour customers from ever trying to return. Outsourcing this responsibility to a network monitoring company that can make sure you avoid downtime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. iGLASS Networks has a small business division specifically for server monitoring services that will give you and your employees some peace of mind so that you can have more time to focus on achieving the real goals of your company.

Broken links and “Coming Soon” content

Broken links, outdated information, photos that won’t load – you know the drill. These are all common errors you can easily avoid. But, what about your “coming soon” pages? You can have the greatest intentions for that soon-to-be-completed page, but if “coming soon” doesn’t pertain to something relevant like a promotion or new product release, your customers may just assume that you were too lazy, busy, or distracted to finish your website. Bottom line: don’t launch an incomplete website. No information is better than an empty “About Me” page when it comes to pleasing your online customers.

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About Erin Everhart