This weeks post is a guest blog from Terry. We hope you enjoy it.

Over the years, one thing I’ve often found is that small businesses generally don’t invest enough into their online presence. To me this is just plain bat-poo crazy as, when it comes to User Experience, it’s the small businesses that have the upper hand. They are  able to quickly adapt to customer needs much more so than their larger competitors.

A well designed website that has a great user experience is a must for the small business owner who relies on a good experience to encourage repeat business, larger order sizes and word-of-mouth recommendations, yet many smaller businesses spend as little as possible on their website, without realising that your online presence is your shop front.

Not convinced? Look at this way, you’re walking down your local high street and see a shop that looks a bit run down and tatty on the outside. Paint’s peeling off, signage faded and difficult to read, the items inside are crowded in the dirty window and the door sticks.

Would you go in?……….. No.

Well, it’s exactly the same with your online shop or website. Your logo (or Company name) needs to be easy to read, your home page should feel welcoming and not overcrowded or busy. Make it instantly obvious what you do and how the user can find the information they need to purchase your products/services – make it simple.

It does take a bit of effort to make your online presence an attractive experience that feels pleasant and easy but, put the effort in and your customers will reward you by buying more from you, returning more often or recommending your site to people they know.

You’ll also find you need to spend less money on marketing as customer recommendations are the most powerful marketing tool you could hope for.

Research your customers, research your competitors. Find out what your customers need or want from a site selling your products/services and answer this need. What are their expectations?

As I said, the advantage you have over your larger competitors is that you can adapt much more quickly. You can meet your user needs more easily. User experience really is your secret weapon – use it!

Author: Terry Kiermasz. Terry is a highly experienced Contract Digital Project Manager over in Corporate Land. With over 30 years dealing with massively expensive projects he understands user experience inside out. He has been known to make a mean chocolate cake and the odd cuppa.