By Rieva Lesonsky, courtesy of SCORE , at the blog post here

Most Grand Rapids area businesses, regardless of size, understand the importance of having an online presence.  In fact, it’s become expected for just about all businesses to have a website and, increasingly, a social media presence as well.  But it’s not enough to just have a website, even if it is rich with content that will help get it to show up on search engine results pages.

In a recent post that appeared on the SCORE web site, columnist Rieva Lesonsky, who is also the CEO of GrowBiz Media, wrote about the importance of ensuring that your website delivers on customers’ expectations.  Read the post, and then take a look at your business’s website.  Are you delivering what your audience wants and expects?

Is Your Small Business Website Living Up to Customer Expectations?

Actually, the answers are pretty simple, according to a recent study, the State of the User Experience Report. But failing to deliver on customer expectations could have lasting repercussions for your business.

Page load delays impact customer satisfaction. Page load delays impact customer satisfaction.

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”? Most consumers (60 percent of those polled) 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 will leave the site and buy from a competitor’s website instead.

Know your audience. Know their content interests. Know your audience. Know their content interests.

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.

Tablet, smartphone, laptop or desktop - the experience should be the same. Tablet, smartphone, laptop or desktop – the experience should be the same.

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.


Personalization is a hot buzzword in online marketing today, but the news from this survey is that customers don’t care about it 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!

Learn more

Rieva Lesonsky’s blog provides important considerations for maximizing the effectiveness of your website.  If you feel yours is lacking, reach out to people who specialize not only in website development but also in content strategy, responsive design, search engine optimization and yes, social media.  Don’t risk letting your website create a bad online experience for your prospects.