Business website

Understand your customers to create the perfect small business website

Every small business thrives or fails depending on how it treats its customers. Keep their needs in mind and you will build confidence, increase repeat sales, and increase your income. If you don’t understand your customer, you’ll push them into a competitor’s arms.

When you build a small business website with one of the top website builders or one of the best small business website builders, getting insight from your customers gives you a huge advantage.

We’ve already talked about the intent when building a small business website and what it means when you build your site. It’s worth exploring customer intent a bit more so you can frame your website around your audience.

Let’s get into it.

The Importance of Viewing Your Small Business Website From Your Customers’ Perspective

If you want to build a great customer-focused small business website, then you need to see it the way your customer does. It seems obvious, but it is easily forgotten. If you are a business owner it is very easy to see things only from your point of view, based on your business needs.

Getting out of your own perspective and understanding the customer’s experience from their perspective can be a challenge. It is useful to illustrate this with a few examples, by opposing a logic of “business needs” to a perspective of “customer needs”:

  • “This product is awesome, look at all the features! “(Business need) vs.” I have a specific problem and I’m running out of time, will this product solve it? “(Customer’s need)
  • “This product is so easy to use, it’s self-explanatory” (business need) vs. “I really need to get in touch with customer service, but it seems like a lot of effort” (customer need)
  • “Our resource-rich website is fantastic and loads fast on this modern laptop” (business need) vs. “My smartphone is five years old, why is this website taking so long to load? (customer need)

All of these business views are rational and reasonable, but they’re missing something small that makes all the difference to your customer. It’s this extra quality that makes the difference and helps your customer see your website as a trusted brand of your business.

It helps to think of all of this as part of the “customer journey”. We’ve provided a few examples below that cover four key stages of this journey:

  1. First-time arrival and access to your website
  2. Navigate and search for information on the site
  3. Build trust in your website and the products you sell
  4. Facilitate the purchase of the products desired by the customer

While this customer journey assumes that you are building an ecommerce website, you can easily apply the principles to any online presence.

The speed and ease of access to your small business website

MacBook and iMac on the desktop at home office

The only thing that can prevent your site from succeeding is the inability to access it. (Image credit: Unsplash)

Nothing will stop a customer from using your small business website like not being able to access it in the first place.

Examples of customer issues accessing your small business website

  • Use an older model of smartphone, tablet, or other device that is having difficulty viewing your website
  • Have a disability like poor eyesight, limited fine handling, or similar issues that cause frustration when using your website
  • Mobile signal strength is weak, making media and resource-rich websites slow and difficult to use

Manufacturing your small business website more accessible to customers

Easy to navigate and find information on your small business website

Mac in the office displaying website designs, in an office

Make your website easy to browse and navigate (Image credit: Photo by Format de Pexels)

Part of winning a customer is making sure it’s easy to navigate your website to find the most relevant information.

Examples of Problems Customers Have When Searching Your Website

  • Not knowing that important information is hidden deep in navigation menus or subpages
  • Difficulty understanding industry jargon that obscures the characteristics of your products and services, and how they can help the customer
  • Read “business first” content and promote products, rather than “customer first” and answer questions

Create accessible information and navigation for your customers

  • Identify all of your most important content and make sure it’s no more than a click away from your homepage or top-level navigation
  • Understand your average customer’s knowledge level and explain features and concepts in an easily understandable way
  • Create a site search feature so that customers can easily search for information on your website
  • Focus content on meeting customer needs, solving problems and answering questions

The confidence a client has in the professionalism and approach of your small business website

woman typing on laptop in office

Customer trust is imperative when it comes to your website – the more professional it is, the more they will trust you (Image credit: Unsplash)

Customers want to feel that you understand them and that your products match their needs. It shows in the tone, style and expertise displayed on your website.

Examples of customer issues that could affect trust or reliability

  • Noticing issues with your website security, such as insufficient account protection or expired security certificates or credentials
  • Not being able to find content related to another site but creating a “404 – page not found” error
  • Having to read content on a “spam”-like website that does not add value to the reader or contains many spelling or punctuation errors
  • Difficulty finding good pricing information or details about a particular product

Building confidence and reliability in using your small business website

  • Keep all your security tickets and credentials up to date and offer account protection like multi-factor authentication
  • Run checks and audits on your website to identify and correct poorly linked pages or other errors
  • Focus on content that is useful to read and write for customers, not search engines
  • Keep price and product information straightforward, simple and consistent

The Ease of Buying Products From Your Small Business Ecommerce Website

group of people sitting working together on laptop

If it’s easy to buy products from your website, customers are more likely to do so (Image credit: Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash)

Ultimately, you want your customers to buy from you. For an ecommerce website, that means making things as smooth and simple as possible.

Examples customer issues that will prevent them from buying

  • Make it difficult to register or access a customer’s account
  • Not providing a wide range of payment features like payment methods, fair exchange rates, etc.
  • Problems accessing e-commerce options such as alternative products, delivery times, or personalization

Simplify How A Customer Can Buy Ecommerce Products From Your Small Business Website

  • Provide multiple registration and login options such as accessing Google or Facebook account, or set cookies to make your website ‘remember’ customers between sessions
  • Offer a range of integrated and reliable options to make payment effortless
  • Create other ecommerce options based on what your customers are asking for and how they use your website

These are all starting points for optimizing your website for the needs of your customers. Depending on the direction of your business, there are several good website building tools, ranging from Shopify for an e-commerce approach Wix for personalization, or Square space for a beautiful and responsive design.

The right customer-centric approach will help you drive repeat purchases, improve your business brand, and gain the trust of your customers.

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