According to Netcraft.com there were 644,275,754 active websites worldwide in March 2012. With that much competition for views out there, your business website needs to stand out from the rest and offer a superior user experience—from your customer’s original contact with the website through the use of the website and with your follow up.
The factors that most affect the overall experience for customers with your website are:
• Content & Design
• Customer Follow Up
Infrastructure goes to the very core workings of your website, including your hosting choice, server reliability, and content management system. These aspects help ensure that your clients will rarely – and hopefully never – be kept waiting for content to load or see a 404 error. If you have little experience running a website your best bet is to have a qualified Webmaster available to help you choose and maintain your website infrastructure. If your website seems unreliable to your customers, you will lose them before they even have a chance to look and review what you’re selling or offering.
The second factor is content and design. Many people look at these as separate components. However, when operating an online business, it is imperative to look at these together. Your website should be designed around the content it will host. In other words, you should not find yourself trying to rework your content to your website. Instead, your content should look right consistently without any formatting or changes needed for each individual piece of content. *To be completely transparent, we view content as more than just words. Content refers to video, imagery, and yes, your words. Your website’s design should also have simple, intuitive navigation that empowers your visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly. A good Webmaster will be able to stay in touch with all of the people needed to bring your website’s design together and bring focus to your content.
If the infrastructure and the content and design are a strong “foundation” for your website, then the “walls” are built through your relationships. If you are not able to form relationships with your website’s visitors, they will never build trust with you or become customers. Relationships are built through having that foundation and then encouraging your visitors to interact with your website and return to it whenever they need your services or product. By providing relevant content that helps your visitors, you build a trusting relationship and keep your web traffic growing through referrals and links.
You have built your “foundation” (infrastructure and content and design) and added your “walls” (relationships), now you’ll need the “roof” of monetization. Monetizing your website is your ultimate goal and can be achieved by reaching out to your customers to continue their interactions on your website through email marketing, social media, and other means designed to drive customers back to your website for the excellent experience you provide.
No matter how well you do on the first four points, your online business will struggle to become profitable if you don’t listen to your customers, so the final aspect of operating a profitable website is to do customer follow ups. Poll your customers, ask for comments about their experience on your website. With customer feedback you can cement your relationship with your customers and adjust your infrastructure and your content and design in order to continue providing an excellent service they’ll return to use again.
When you integrate these five factors into your company’s website experience, you will be able to constantly improve and generate even greater profit through your online business.