business website

By Rieva Lesonsky

Is your small business website poised for success? A recent poll asked Internet users what they expect from websites—and meeting their demands is actually pretty straightforward. Here’s what the study, the State of the User Experience Report, found are the most important things customers care about when visiting a website.

1. Website performance: a high-performing website loads quickly, streams without buffering and otherwise delivers from a technical standpoint. This is by far the most important thing customers care about, cited by 52 percent of respondents.

What defines “loading fast”? Sixty percent of consumers polled say they won’t wait more than five seconds for a Web page to load; about 20 percent won’t even wait three seconds. If a website doesn’t load quickly enough, more than 30 percent of respondents say they leave and buy from a competitor’s website instead.

2. Fresh, updated content: The second-most important factor in consumers’ experience. If you have an ecommerce website, it needs to be updated regularly, just like a physical store’s displays would be, to entice customers to buy new merchandise. If you create other types of content, such as blog posts or articles, those need to change regularly, too.

3. Consistency on mobile and desktop: This is the third most important factor, but can be the hardest for small companies to achieve. A whopping 85 percent of customers use mobile devices at least occasionally to go online, and more than half use mobile devices to go online “most of the time.” If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, don’t delay in getting it there—and keep in mind that 40 percent of customers expect your site to load just as fast on their smartphones or tablets as they do on their desktop computers.

4. Personalization: Personalization came in dead last on the list. While it is a hot buzzword in online marketing today, the news from this survey is that customers don’t care about personalization all that much. In fact, 40 percent of consumers don’t want a website to remember them from visit to visit. Concerns about privacy are still very real for online visitors, so a business’s efforts to personalize the online experience must tread a fine line. You don’t want to freak customers out by making them feel like Big Brother is watching them!

Does your website give prospective customers what they want? If you’re not meeting visitors’ expectations, they’re not going to stick around—and that can have a huge effect on your business. If your website is missing any of the key elements, take steps—now—to fix the problem and get your site back on track.