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February 2009
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Give Your Customers What They Want

The decision on what type of content to place on a website is usually always made by people within the company.  While it is important for a company’s stakeholders to determine how much and what type of information to put out there for visitors to their website, it is even more important that they give their customers what they want!

Of course your website needs to focus on the products and/or services that you provide, but all of your web content does not need to be company centric.  A significant part of your website’s content should be focused on what your customers want and what they are actually looking for online.

If a visitor to your site is able to easily locate the information they are looking for, rather than just what you want them to see, they will feel more engaged with your site and they will stay and look at more of your pages.  Furthermore, your site content will be more likely to match the search phrases that most people type into search engines when you focus on customer centric content.  This means your site will naturally move up in search engine rankings, which equates to more eyeballs on your site.

So, how do you figure out what your site visitors are actually looking for?  It’s actually easier than you may think!  First, start by simply asking them. 

Add some surveys or polls to your site to ask visitors specific questions.  Make it easy for your visitors to interact with you by allowing them to post comments.  Provide a “contact us” form requesting that visitors let you know if they were looking for something they didn’t find, or if they have any questions.  If you ask them, people are much more likely to tell you what is important to them, and what their needs or questions are.  Keep track of any questions that are posted or emailed to you and display the questions and your answers on a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.  The questions and comments will also provide you with current topics to write about on your site.

Another great way to find out what your site visitors want is to use keyword search tools to see what terms and phrases they are searching for online.  Two of my favorite free keyword search tools are Google’s External Keyword Tool and Wordtracker’s free keyword suggestion tool.  Simply type in a search phrase or keyword that relates to your business, and the search tools will return a list of keywords that users have recently been searching for.  Another terrific tool is Wordtracker’s keyword question tool.  Type in the same phrase or keyword and  it will return a list of actual questions users have typed in related to that keyword.  For example, if you type in sewing and hit search, the most asked related question is “Who invented the modern sewing machine?” 

This is valuable information that you cannot afford to ignore.  Once you find out what it is that people really want to know or learn about in your field, you should figure out some ways to give them the answers.  If your site is brand new and you don’t yet have any “frequently asked questions”, you can find some here to get you started!  You should also be sure to highlight any frequently searched terms that relate to your site, or create content based on those terms.

These are quick and easy methods to give your customers what they want.  Find out what they want to know and give it to them.  This will not only instill loyalty in your current visitors, it will bring many more visitors to your site because you’ll get higher rankings in search engines.

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Author, Instructor & Pattern Designer

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