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Keys to Making Your Website Helpful for Users

Rex Hammock is Founder of SmallBusiness.com. Here he discusses some keys in order to make your website user friendly. These keys will help you in creating a website with great user engagement.

  1. Put yourself in the customer's shoes to understand their experience
  2. Remember the 4 W's: who, what, where & when
  3. Anticipate what will be on an FAQ page & explain in advance
  4. Take full advantage of your "contact" page
  5. Optimize your site for mobile devices

A key specially now in this era when all customers go to the web for pretty much anything, a key of being a helpful company and being more helpful to your users or customers is to really have a great helpful website. And I think the first point that one needs to look at or to do in this effort is to think like a customer yourself. Go to your website and put yourself in the shoes of someone trying to find out basic answers about the products and services that you offer.

I tell our clients and I try to practice to remember what in journalism they call the 4W’s. The who, what, where and when. They also have the how, but I think the 4Ws -- who, what, where and when are critical and is amazing to me how many websites that I go to looking for some basic information about who are these people or what exactly is it that they are selling or where do I find it? Or when does this, if it’s an event-oriented thing take place.

Some of the basic information is not there. So thinking like a customer and looking for those making sure that the 4W’s are covered is where you first begin.

I think another problem or another opportunity is to look at the ones frequently asked questions, the FAQ which is part of almost any website, and we’ve think our customer FAQ if we answer a few questions on that that we’ve helped. But, frankly by the time that a customer gets to the FAQ, they are really mad about something and they don’t know anything. So an FAQ page is not really enough and even having one is probably not—is not doing a very good job.

Really, there is a lot more that you can do to anticipate everything that a client or a customer may want to know before you have to do an FAQ and just really spell those things out. And things like the about page or the help pages, the how-to pages.

Now, I also want to encourage you to go to your contact page in your website and get the most out of it. It’s surprising to meet a number of companies that put in forms where you just fill out a form, and you click a button and that’s supposed to be the only contact you have. But, people really want to know the people on the other side of that. They want to send an e-mail.

They want—frankly, they believe you a little bit more I think if you have your name and your phone number and your address and how to get in touch. I think, too now that we’re more and more using mobile devices, if you have a business or a service or if you want people to call you or e-mail you from their phone or their iPad or their other mobile device, you want to make that contact page easy to touch and kind of contact you. And for example, using text instead of images on a phone number where you can click and dial the phone.

Those are the things that are going to make the contact page on your website more helpful to users than probably what you are doing today.