For any local business web sites, the user experience and user-friendliness is key. If businesses can’t quickly capture attention and draw user engagement, audiences are more likely to turn away and seek services or products elsewhere. The good news is that making an effective web site for your local business does not require an understanding of psychological trends or significant market research. In many cases, making an engaging, user-friendly web site is just a matter of common sense and spending some time thinking about what enhances—and detracts from—engagement in your own searches.
What Do Online Consumers Expect from the Web Sites of Local Businesses?
This is a big one that gets overlooked more often than you would believe. It’s very important to have your business’s contact information on the web site and for it to be easy for users to find. There are a few different reasons for this, but they all boil down to the fact that your web site, no matter how adept it is at user engagement, will never be able to cover every need on its own. The reason for desiring direct contact doesn’t matter—it could be for specific product or service inquires not covered by a general FAQ or even verbal confirmation that what is on the web site is accurate. What is important is that readily available contact information is a crucial, basic part of a customer- and user-friendly web site and one that allows for more trust.
It should go without saying that you should list the prices of what you sell and that the more specific these are, the better. If your product is adjustable or comes in different versions, make sure to list each one or possibly provide a calculator tool so users can select different features and see what the total is. Online research is part of smart shopping and consumers can’t know they are getting a good price without knowing what that price actually is.
Similarly, users want to know about products before they commit to a purchase and your local business’s web site needs to accommodate this properly. The type of details that should be provided will depend on the exact product in question. For instance, an appliance might warrant including the wattage, energy consumption, water usage (if applicable), and physical measurements. Clothes would involve describing the material, stitching, and size. Regardless of what the product itself is, a picture is always advisable.
When selling services, your “product details” should focus more on process. Give a step-by-step of your approach and give users the option to read more in-depth details about different steps if they need more information. The more your customer understands, the more they can be confident in their choice.
Speed and Responsiveness
Being able to navigate your site quickly, without having to wait for load times, is a key part of a good user experience. This is especially true on mobile devices where optimization and compatibility can be considered mandatory. If your web site is unwieldy, slow, and hard to read let alone use, customers aren’t going to stay. Their experience should be smooth, not a slog.
Every few months it seems like another company has a high-profile hack. While you can’t help it if you get targeted, what you can do is put up some defenses. If your web site does any form of e-commerce, then you should have at least an SSL encryption. Customers, especially web-savvy ones, are more likely to do business with you if they can trust you are taking their security seriously.
Good Design and Layout
User engagement is heavily reliant on first impressions and your web site’s appearance is a major part of this effect. You don’t necessarily need a sleek, streamlined design, but you should have one that looks like actual effort and professionalism have gone into it. Poor grammar, awkward-sounding text, a weird font, excessive banner ads, pop-ups, and blatant keyword seeding are just some of the less-than-professional design elements that can turn users away.
Is Your Local Business’s Web Site User Friendly?
In addition to the above items, there are some additional aspects of a user-friendly experience that you should be checking for. The following are not hard-and-fast elements, but they are key concepts that should be included in any business that cares about its customer’s views or needs.
A Reason to Care
Two of the first things you need to establish in your customer’s mind are who you are and why they should care. What makes your business stand out? Are you more affordable or do you offer a non-standard payment model? Do you include special repair or maintenance services? Is your product somehow different from your competitors’ products? Find what makes you unique and emphasize it. Be compelling, be interesting, but above all be honest.
You should also allow users to learn more about who you are. A bio should be able to establish credentials and offer a bit of personalization so readers can feel like they know you or your staff better. An “About Us” page doesn’t need to be that long and some can benefit from brevity.
It’s important to have a way to prove that the claims you are making can be supported or otherwise verified. Customer testimonials, news clippings, awards, lists of clients, and case studies are all ways you can provide third-party evidence that you aren’t just full of hot air. If you are selling a product with specific claims attached, demonstration is going to be key. This could mean providing scientific study citations or even demo videos. Honesty is a key part of this process and you should always assume that users will try to verify the information you tell them.
People like to feel appreciated and this applies to where they shop, just like it does elsewhere in life. Finding ways to personalize elements of the user experience can help promote return business and otherwise foster good relations with customers. This doesn’t need to be an overly elaborate process, either. Something as simple as special offers for repeat business, a greeting card during the holidays, or even a birthday letter (assuming you have that information) can go a long way.
Get an Enhanced User Experience for Your Web Site
Numero Uno Web Solutions works to improve the user experience and user retention of our clients’ web sites through a variety of tried and proven techniques. We have done the research and have the experience to know what customers are looking for in a web site, and we have the teams to make sure they get it. Our methods have benefited industries and businesses across Toronto, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and more. Our success has even allowed us to extend our reach and offer web site services to local businesses in Texas, Massachusetts, and Florida as well. Whether you want web optimization specifically or you wish to learn about search engine optimization in general, we are just a call away at 1-855-SEO-XPRT.