How to Repel Customers from Your Web Site

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 3, 2009

Having an online presence is imperative for small businesses to both attract and retain customers. But if you don’t pay close attention to the design and upkeep of your site, you may end up repelling, rather than attracting, new customers. Here’s how:

1. Hide your site. Sure, you’ve built your Web site, but let’s make sure no one finds it! Not listing your business and site with GoogleMaps, Yahoo Local, and many others will make sure local customers can’t find you.

2. Don’t rush it. A Web site load time of 30 seconds or more leaves your customers wanting more. You don’t want them to think you’re desperate by providing too much content too quickly, do you?

3. Bury the treasure. Your customers come to your Web site seeking information on your company and products or services—make them hunt for it! Simple navigation and a clean layout makes it way too easy on them.

4. More is better. Clutter your Web site with pictures and lots of different colors and designs. Don’t bother thinking about what kind of image you want to project or how you want your company brand to be perceived. It’s not like your Web site will ever be the first impression you make on a customer.

5. Be shy. So what if you have something that customers want—make it difficult for them to purchase items or contact you. Making it easy to engage with your business and site with an obvious shopping cart button or an easily accessible phone number would turns lookers into customers.

6. Keep it stale. I know, getting your Web site up and running alone is a huge accomplishment. So updating it on a regular basis with your latest deals or new menu items to keep customers coming back is just too much to ask. Besides, fresh, relevant content will keep search engines interested in your site… and we know where that leads.

As you can see, repelling customers is easy—it’s keeping them coming back to your Web site that is more challenging. Here are the top three ways to use your Web site to keep customers engaged and excited about your business:

1. Keep customers engaged. Make your Web site speak with them and not at them.

2. Get your Web site out there. Search engine listings like GoogleMaps and Yahoo Local, optimization, and advertising help make sure you are reaching the right customers.

3. Make it special. Give your customers content, coupons, and information that they can’t get anywhere else.

Angus Thomson
Vice-President and General Manager, Grow Your Business Division
Intuit
Mountain View, Calif.

Reader Comments

Terry

December 4, 2009 3:11 PM

It isn't just small companies that make these mistakes. I'm amazed at how poorly some of the largest and best known brands in the US and world represent themselves with their websites.

In many cases, it appears that management has delegated this responsibility to IT and never actually tried to use their own sites. The worst seem to be crammed with every possible web technology available, but it's extremely difficult to find simple information like what a product weighs or how big it is.

When I find it too difficult to find the information I need on a product website, I vote with my money and go elsewhere. I remember not to consider them in the future and I tell all my friends and relatives about my experience with them. If they annoy me enough, I'll blog about them or post comments on newsgroups. In the Internet Age, even titans can be felled by Lilliputians.

Victor

December 6, 2009 9:20 PM

Nice tip. Thanks to mr.Thompson. Yes, indeed the company website only looks like showcase, and while the target on international, then the high end website drowning much bandwidth and makes slow in some country. This create a worry high price just because the showcase too superlook. Like or not like, market always judge by its cover and first impression mostly decide future trade.

LadyOTrout

December 8, 2009 12:29 PM

I love your sarcasm - I have been making posts on "how to's", and "make sure's" and it doesnt sink in - I want to link my latest blog post to this!

william

March 3, 2010 11:04 AM

At many large companies, the management KNOWS their website is difficult to use. This is deliberate. In today's world, "job creation" is a big problem. If their website is TOO easy to use, it will kill all their call-center jobs. Then what? The real problem is that we live in an economy where people must have a "job" to "earn money". Technology is eliminating jobs faster than corporate management can invent them.

Richard

April 12, 2010 3:52 PM

Another idea: If you don't sell it, but it's related to what you sell, have a link to where they can find it. Then they will come to your website next time they need it and maybe stop to buy your product.

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