You only get twenty seconds to make a first impression. You might think that in the online world, time isn’t as much of a factor, but you would be wrong. If you mess up in those first twenty seconds, you could lose a potential customer forever. So, what do you do about it? Here, we’re going to be looking at the unhelpful, the unintuitive and infuriating things that online businesses can do to turn their customers off them for good. Hopefully, we’ll identify a few fixes that you could start implementing right away.
Online, there are a lot of ways to ask the customer to do a little more for you. You can ask them to subscribe to an email that helps them stay up-to-date with all the latest news and offers. You can ask them to take part in surveys that help you collect data and improve the business based on your opinions. However, if you have interruptive popups asking this of them immediately, as soon as they visit your site, you are already getting in the way of their experience. In e-commerce or business information pages, you need to give them a little more time. After a purchase or after they’ve finished reading some content, they’re more likely to be convinced of the value of the business and more likely to be forgiving of and even do what you’re asking of them.
If someone hears about your business, how easy is it for them to find you online? This comes down to a couple of things. First of all, if you’ve put no effort in your search engine optimization, they might get links on Google to all sorts of other businesses and sites before yours. The other half of the equation is the URL. If you’re using a complicated or poorly written URL, it’s likely to get entered incorrectly even by someone trying to type it directly from memory. Make sure your site is visible on search engines and that it has an address that’s easy to remember.
Maybe they have no problem getting on your website. Instead, they might have a lot more trouble actually getting on it. The arena in which this problem is most commonly faced is through online devices. If you focus only on designing the site for computers and fail to take responsive web design into account, you could make the site immediately unusable for the growing majority of web users who like to browse using phones, tablets and other devices. Inaccessibility might also be down to relying too much on certain rare plugins. If a curious visitor sees that they have to download and install a new feature just to see your website, they’re more likely to close the page.
If a customer has questions, you better be able to answer it. The best online support you can offer tends to be through site additions like live chat solutions. Now, not everyone has the manpower or available time to be able to answer questions directly on the site every time it has a visitor. But if you fail to have any hands-on method of being able to provide customer service, you’re going to look unhelpful and, even worse, uninterested in the website visitors. Make sure that your site has at least some way that people can easily get in contact with you. To a lot of people, a contact form simply isn’t enough for them.
When people are using your site, there’s a good chance that they already have an idea of what they want to see. Perhaps you have a piece of content they want to read. Or they want to check product and service descriptions to learn more about what you do. Or they even want to purchase something online. If that’s the case, you have to make sure that their journey to that page or content isn’t full of wrong turns and interruptions. One of the biggest culprits of that issue is the navigation bar. Navigation bars that have too many options or have options that are ambiguously worded will have visitors clicking multiple links trying to find the information that’s relevant to them. At some point, they will stop clicking and simply give up.
Even worse than making the path hard to find is sending them down the wrong path entirely. Poor link-building in the site and erroneous hyperlinking is a problem, but a more major one is how you connect the pages of the site to your other marketing methods. If you’re using social media adverts, for instance, you have to make sure they’re leading to relevant landing pages. For instance, if the advert is talking about a specific product, then when the reader clicks that ad, it better link to a page relevant to that product in particular and not the whole range. Otherwise, you’re adding more steps to your visitor’s journey and increasing the risk they’ll lose interest somewhere along the way.
The content on your site won’t already be read by your visitors, but when it is, you better make sure it’s only including what’s relevant to them. Waffling in writing is common. It’s part of the process to include extraneous details that aren’t as relevant to the reader as the rest of the content. That’s why it’s crucial to double-check content not just for errors but for irrelevant or redundant parts of writing. If it gets too long winded and full of details the reader doesn’t care about, they will start to think that the whole piece of content isn’t what they’re looking for after all.
Naturally, the first impression is only the first part of the relationship with the customer. Don’t think that once you get past that first hurdle you’re free to make more mistakes. Take the same approach to every step of the relationship and keep those customers happy.