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The website where the business is hosted should be user-friendly. The font should be legible and sized sufficiently for easy reading. Links should be obvious, and a person should not have to click too many times to get to a desired point. It may be best to include instructions even when they seem to be a matter of common sense. For example, a website targeting the general public may want to include “click to enlarge” below images whose size can be increased.
When doing business online, it is important to keep the information on the site relevant to the operations. Take, for example, a website offering handcrafted jewelry. In addition to the marketplace, there may be a blog or information section with news about the jewelry industry, style suggestions, or repair tips. This is all information that customers would find interesting or useful when visiting this type of website. The ease of adding content or a feeling of closeness to customers, however, should not encourage the inclusion of unrelated information, such as the owner’s baby taking her first steps, cute pet moments, or political rants.
Expansions or changes to a business should be thoroughly considered and professionally implemented. It may even be wise to announce that the change will occur before it happens. For example, when readers visit a financial news site, they have at least rough expectations of what they will find. If a new column suddenly appears on the homepage with articles about race relations, it may be shocking and a turn-off for regular visitors.
A means of contact should always be provided when doing business online. Not having one can severely damage a business’s credibility, and individuals are very likely to become distrustful if they have questions or concerns but there is no way to share them. Simply providing a mailing address is not sufficient. Most people wanting to interact with an online business will expect a quick, technological means of doing so.
The fact that customers are generally not dealt with face-to-face or by way of telephone lines does not mean that a lack of professionalism is acceptable when doing business online. A high standard of customer service should be set and maintained. This should include a commitment to fair and respectful treatment of clients and potential clients.
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