Tried to Use Your Own Website Lately?

By | July 26, 2010

Have you ever gone into your own website as if you were a customer and tried to use it? Have you tried to make a purchase or locate basic items like contact numbers, company address, case study files, service descriptions, and case studies? If so, how did you fare?

I went through a humbling experience over the weekend. I’d released a new report, “QR Codes: What You Need to Know,” and the emails started coming. But they weren’t the emails I was hoping for.

Your payment buttons are confusing.

How do I download my files?

How do I select which reports I want to buy?

Help!!!

Those are not the kinds of questions I wanted to hear. For every person who took the time to ask, certainly there were plenty of others who simply bailed. How many sales had I lost because, over the years, I had been more concerned with adding content than addressing navigation and usability?

I finally bit the bullet and dedicated the weekend to completely redesigning the Digital Printing Reports website from the ground up. As I selected content from existing pages, it was one groan after the other. Way too much text. Cluttered pages. Outdated content. “Last update” notices that were a year old (three or four updates ago). Payment buttons that were more like a maze than a way to buy things.

At the end of the weekend, I had a website with less than half the content but content that was easier to find. Intuitive links. Streamlined payment options. A site that didn’t give you a headache from the moment you logged in. And I have client complaints — I mean constructive and helpful comments — to thank for it.

Many of us know that our websites need updating, but as the old proverb goes, we’re too busy chopping wood to sharpen our axes. Are there client comments and suggestions ringing around in your ear? Maybe it’s time you set down your ax and sharpened it.

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One thought on “Tried to Use Your Own Website Lately?

  1. Shela Xu

    Totally agree with you Heidi. Keeping an updated and streamlined website is one of the most useful things a company can invest in. When websites are outdated and full of clutter it is so difficult to glean useful information from them and it’s certainly not worth losing all that potential business!

    PS. speaking of clutter, I have quoted you in my recent blog post regarding clutter in the printing industry as a whole over at the L2 Better Response Marketing blog linked here: http://www.betterresponseblog.com/index.php/marketing/1458/.

    We at L2 find your knowledge of industry trends very influential and we’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Shela

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