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Business Forums : 15-April-10 2:07PM

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How your customers can help you improve your website...

By: Dan Moore [15-April-10 2:07PM]
540 posts
Business picture

When you run a website, it can be pretty hard to take an objective look at it and work out the strengths and weaknesses.

Because you know the site better than anyone else, you know what all the terminology means, you know what the products are and where to find them, taking that necessary step back is impossible.

The best way to get around this is to simply ask your users. You can either add a questionnaire survey with an incentive such as a prize for filling it in, or you can actively ask people to contact you who are interested in responding to a short script for a modest fee of, say, 10.

You need to ask targetted questions to get the most from this. Ideally ask people to perform a series of tasks, and then rate how long it took them to do and how easy/hard they found the process, and particularly to identify any stumbling blocks they found.

This is one of the best ways that there is to quickly work out what is right and what is wrong on your site and get quality feedback about how to improve things. If it turns out people find it very hard to perform the key task that you want them to do on the site, whether that is to fill out a lead enquiry form or to actually purchase a product, then realising that is worth its weight in gold.

Re : How your customers can help you improve your website

Tim Briggs [26-January-11 11:33PM]
881 posts
Business picture

Also the analytics for a site are great for working out ways you could improve.

Re : How your customers can help you improve your website

Sasha Evans [31-January-11 5:03PM]
319 posts
Business picture

I don't have my own website, but I'm a great believer in just asking other people for their opinions generally on a whole host of matters.

However you have to be aware that not all comments made will be representative of general opinion and some will be wide of the mark.

The key skill is to be able to pick out the gems of wisdom in feedback given to you whether it is on a website, product, service or anything at all, and also tease out common themes and therefore things you can improve

Re : How your customers can help you improve your website

Tim Briggs [1-February-11 5:41PM]
881 posts
Business picture

I think that's an interesting point Sasha.

The hardest part for a business owner of receiving feedback is that they can take it personally and get offended by it. The best response is simply to view all feedback as trying to help you and accept that some will be wide of the mark and some are better at expressing themselves than others!

The only people who don't like "feedback" are web designers because invariably it's a client completely changing their mind on what they want

Re : How your customers can help you improve your website

Lianne West [7-February-11 11:49AM]
462 posts
Business picture

Bad Feedback is certainly hard to take for many of us. For instance if you are a cook and someone slates your recipe it feels like a knife through the heart - well perhaps that's a bit extreme but you know what I mean!

Re : How your customers can help you improve your website

Tim Briggs [10-February-11 1:02PM]
881 posts
Business picture

Try not to take it personally Lianne... smile politely. And next time that person comes round to dinner have a little accident with the salt

Re : How your customers can help you improve your website

Sasha Evans [8-March-11 12:51PM]
319 posts
Business picture

Going off at a tangent slightly, but it really frustrates me when so many companies pretend to be desperate for customer feedback, or even pay a fortune for focus groups and so on.

Then when people send in actual messages and feedback by email they seem to go into a black hole and never get a response of any sort...

Re : How your customers can help you improve your website

Motaquote [17-June-11 5:18PM]
18 posts
Businessman image (c) About My Business

If you find criticism hard then you could try using a heat map - like the one supplied through Google analytics - go to "In-page analytics" under "content" and it will show you the areas visitors are drawn to on any given page.

From this information you can rearrange elements of your webpage to increase click-through conversion / customer interaction.

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