You finally have your website just the way you want it. But if you built it, will they come and buy?

Sometimes we don't realize what is good or bad about our website. At this point it is time to seek out fresh perspectives on your things. I am sure you would hate to discover a few months down the road that people were not hiring you because of something you included or forgot to include on your website.

After a quick proof read by someone you trust, it is time to conduct an external assessment of your website. It involves a three step process:

  1. Telephone at least 5 to 10 people that you trust (the more the better) and ask them to visit your site and honestly tell you what they don't like about it or found difficult to understand or find. If succesful, you WILL receive negative feedback from them. I say "successful" because this is actually good thing. It will give you a preview of what your customers will think about your site and an opportunity to address the issues as soon as possible. If you know people in your target markets, ask them. Not only are they in a position to see things from your potential clients perspective, will appreciate the fact that you value their input. They will also become aware of your services which could open the door for discussion about hiring you.
  2. Be prepared to follow up by sending them list of three specific burning questions that they will need to answer. Choose questions that will help you the most. Remember, the point is not to boost your ego but to lean where you can improve. You really want to hear the constructive criticism they have to offer. Naturally you want to write your questions out as professionally and clearly as possible. Even though this is just a survey, people are always evaluating you as a potential service provider for their business. Here are some examples of questions you might ask:
    1. "I really value your opinion and I really want to have a website that connects with my clients. Please share with me what did you not like about the website and how do you think it could be better?"
    2. "If you were to consider hiring my services, what information would YOU want to see on my website?" -- This question sets the person up with a hidden agenda. Not only are you asking them for information, psychologically they will start to consider the possibility of hiring you.
    3. "Can you give me the name and contact information of someone you think who would be interested in completing this survey?"
      You can express gratitude by letting them know that you will be offering a 5% (or whatever you feel is fair) discount on your services for each question they properly answered up to 15% (again, you decide what you are comfortable with). This discount will be applied to their first invoice dated and paid before June 24, 2012.
  3. When you receive the their comments, regardless of what they said, be sure to reply and thank them. If you addressed one or more of their concerns, follow up and let them know. Everyone likes to feel that they made a difference.

For each person who gave one suggestion, chances are pretty good that 10 others thought the same thing  but didn't say so. Check your ego at the door and take what is said seriously. Above all else, remember they know their business and are just trying to help you.

Feel free to come up with your own version of these questions. You might even choose to customize it based on who they are and what their business is. Don't forget to include a link link to you sites home page and a telephone number in case they want to contact you for questions (or to hire you!)

And don't hesitate to send them a friendly reminder, if they haven't yet used their Thank You discount as the expiry date approaches.