Why Every Small Business Owner Should Test Drive their Website’s Customer Experience
A large number of independent business owners employ either dedicated web developers on their staff or a team of remote developers to manage the creation and upkeep of their websites. Learning how to effectively work and negotiate with web developers is an important skill to develop in the event that you are not going to be directly managing the coding of your website. But apart from managing the creation of the site from a technical perspective, small business owners should also be aware of the need to test drive the customer experience of their sites as well in order to guarantee that they are providing the means to effectively access the core services your business provides.
What pages are entry points to your website? In order to begin to appreciate what your site feels and looks like from the standpoint of your customers, identify using your analytic suite what pages are the main landing pages that customers enter the site from. Usually this will be your home page, but sometimes other pages within your site will get a lot of entry traffic because of on page optimization or a specific keyword focus that makes them rank higher than the home page for certain queries. When this is the case, it’s important to be aware of that fact so you can address whether or not these internal pages are adequately addressing the questions that customers are asking when they land on them.
How easy is your site to navigate? The complexity of a website’s navigation can vary greatly depending on the purpose it serves. An e-commerce website will often have many more pages than a site that simply serves as an introduction to a business’ core value proposition. If your site is geared towards commerce, you should think whether or not the way it is set up allows for a clean browsing experience and whether or not your product photos and design are creating a sense of a visual shopping experience. If your business site is geared towards capturing customer information, creating leads or generating inquiries, think of how the narrative of your business story progresses from page to page. At the end of reading a page, is there a reason for a customer to sign up to hear more from you? If not, then consider how you can tell what you need to tell about your business in a way that creates the need for a continuing narrative.
Where are your customers leaving your site? You might have data capture pages set up to encourage customers to leave information for a follow up, but if they aren’t making it to those pages and are dropping out somewhere along the funnel you have created for sales, you might need to tweak the route you had envisioned your customers taking through the site and shorten the intended pathways to conversion.
Photo Credit to tux0racer on Flickr