As an entrepreneur, you already know you need a website, sure.
In this day and age, you can’t move forward without one – but is your website really working for you?
Many people think of their website as a landing spot for customers, or simply a place to post and distribute information. But it can also be a dynamic tool for understanding your business.
When you’re figuring out what’s working in your business (and what’s not), you need to poll your audience – the very people who are visiting your website on a regular basis.
To help with this task, here is a list of methods and tools you can use to get feedback from your audience and understand what your website users really think about your business.
Tools for Collecting Feedback
One of the most responsive ways for you to interact with your customers on your website is live chat. This means that users can literally open a window to chat with a customer support representative in real-time about their issue.
For whatever reason, I use to always treat this feature on websites as just another “pesky” pop-up window. Almost annoyed at the idea someone was trying to talk to me while I’m using their website. That is, until I actually starting utilizing these support windows… now I’m a convert.
If I’m on a service based site, I go out of my way to look for those “Chat” boxes. They’ve come a long way, and the people on the other end can save you tons of time.
A service like SnapEngage puts the live chat option on your website, so customers can directly ask you for what they need. This tool logs chats so you can study them, and they can even integrate with your “customer relationship management” (CRM) software to keep track of customer questions.
This type of tool is not only excellent for providing a high level of customer service, it builds trust and support between your brand and prospective customers.
One of the oldest ways of soliciting feedback is still one of the best: following up by picking up the phone.
If you collect customer information, you can use that to literally ring them up and see how you did.
Email lists are also super useful, and you can send out surveys or directly ask for feedback in marketing emails.
The service Inspectlet records how your users navigate through your site, so you can see exactly what elements of your site are getting clicks and which are getting ignored.
Website analytics can tell you some of this information (e.g. which pages were visited), but recorded screen capture videos give you a real sense of how your website is performing as you track user behaviors.
Another [more cost-effective] option is PT Engine – which specializes in producing user “heat maps” (a visual representation of how users engage with your website) – showing analysis of your visitor’s clicks, attention, and scroll-reach.
This type of service takes a more literal approach to viewing website visitors and their behavior while navigating your site.
There are now tools like UserTesting which take actual video footage of real people using and constructively sharing their thoughts while using and testing your website.
UserTesting gets testers to use your website and see exactly what they think. Not only do you get videos of their experience like with other services, but you can hear their thoughts about your website, mobile apps, prototypes and more.
Oh ya, and in case you’re interested, you can even get paid to be a User Tester yourself – check it out here: https://www.usertesting.com/be-a-user-tester.
Another great (and relatively easy to implement) tool for understanding what your website needs is the exit survey.
This can come in the form of a little popup that appears when someone clicks away from your site that asks directly for their feedback about their experience.
With an exit survey, you can solicit feedback in a way that doesn’t require much effort on their part.
Don’t know what questions to ask in your exit survey? You’ve got to check out Ryan Levesque’s book “Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy…Create a Mass of Raving Fans…and Take Any Business to the Next Level.”
Typing that out made me realize how comically large the sub-title is, by comparison to the tiny three-letter word that makes up the main title (“Ask”). But I digress… the concepts are simple, the book is highly tactical, and the results are guaranteed to be valuable.
Your website is the core of your business – it’s your public face, your virtual receptionist, even your virtual store. So naturally, your customers’ experiences at your site can greatly impact the potential performance of your business.
When it comes to understanding that user experience, simple traffic analytic tools aren’t always enough.
You need to think outside of the box and really get feedback from your customers about what’s working… and what’s not.
This is especially important when validating your business because it helps you to fine tune your offerings and make sure that you’re putting out the best product that truly serves the needs of your customers.