Better Website Client Service

How’s Your Website Experience?

There’s nothing more frustrating than a website that fails, because our visitor’s expectation is 24/7 service. It’s important that you make sure your site is serving your clients well, and that if it does fail, they’re not at a dead end. Here are three ways to ensure your client’s experience on your site is what it should be.

Fix Your Broken Links

First, make sure your site isn’t littered with broken links. If you’re running WordPress, the Plugin Broken Link Checker makes this easy. It will monitor your site for links that no longer work, and point them out to you for repairs. Remember that a link may appear broken if a site is down temporarily, so don’t rush to fix a broken link that just appeared. If it’s still there in a day or two, get on it!

Broken Link Checker Options Screen - WordPress Plugin

Make Sure it’s Search-able

Your site should offer a search box, typically in the upper right of page. If you don’t have a search box on every page, there should be a search option on the menu. If I come to your site looking for specific information, I want to be able to find it with a minimum of struggle. If your website was created in WordPress, you can simply go to Appearance, Widgets, and make sure the Search Widget is positioned appropriately in your sidebar. Some WordPress themes already have a search box displayed, and you won’t have to add a Search Widget in those.

Adding Search Bar Widget

Improve Your 404 Page

A 404 page is where your visitor lands if they mistype a website address, or go to a page that no longer exists. It’s important, first, to make sure you HAVE a 404 page. Just type your site name followed by a forward slash and a page name that doesn’t exist. Where does the lost visitor end up?

If they do land on a 404 page, does it give them an easy way to get back to the home page, and a way to search for what they’re looking for? At a minimum, that’s what your 404 page should offer.

I encourage you NOT to insult your potential client on this page, as I’ve seen lots that say something like “Looks like you’ve made a mistake”. That’s annoying to them if they did err, and even more so if they didn’t and it was your mistake. Here’s an example of a good 404 page from one of my other sites: http://bootstrapblogger.com/imlost You’ll notice that my Broken Link Checker Plugin is displaying the link to you in red, with a strikethrough, to let you know it goes to a non-existent page. In this case, however, that’s the point! Try it out.

You’ll notice the 404 page you land on apologizes, and offers five ways to find what they’re looking for:

  • Search
  • Homepage
  • Sitemap
  • Encouragement to check spelling
  • Link to Contact form for direct help (or report an error)

A further great way to improve your 404 page can be to make it entertaining, particularly if the humor is slanted to your website audience. For some fun examples, check out Mashable’s list of 35 Entertaining 404 Error Pages – complete with pictures.

About the author

Karilee

I'm a big fan of entrepreneurship. Most of my learning, teaching and business is focused on effectively creating "freedom businesses" that allow you to focus on your strengths, and bring what you're really good at to the world - profitably. My clients are looking for more of the right customers - and I show them how to make that happen. I help them develop their web presence through their website, SEO, social media and other marketing tactics.

Posted on by Karilee in Website Creation

47 Responses to Better Website Client Service

  1. Matthew Needham @ Big Red Tomato Company

    You can do all this with the plugin? Cool. I’m going to download that. Thanks for the tip!
    Matthew Needham @ Big Red Tomato Company recently posted..How to get great results from your presentationsMy Profile

     
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    I just found this through Facebook. Twitter is so much fun and this is helpful. I’m always on the lookout for twitter programs. I’ll check back soon, Thanks!

     
    • Karilee
      Twitter: KarileeO

      @Marcelle Motton, glad you found it helpful. I find Twit Cleaner gives me the right amount of control over who I keep following and remove, I really like it.

       
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    • Karilee
      Twitter: KarileeO

      @Luciano Ardd, I’ve tested it in Safari, and it looks fine in my version, which is 4.0 for the PC. Can you let me know which version you’re using, and what specifically looks messed up? I’ll try to fix it up for you. Thanks.

       
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    • Karilee
      Twitter: KarileeO

      @Harold Quinn, Well, Harold, nobody is paying me by the hour, but I’m building community and credibility that helps my business succeed.

       
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      Twitter: KarileeO

      @Chuck Celani, It’s hard work, Chuck, but it’s a great feeling to take care of yourself without relying on a job you could lose at any time.

       
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    • Karilee
      Twitter: KarileeO

      @Ricky Benyo, this blog is fairly new, it started in July 2010. You might find the posts at http://bootstrapblogger useful too, if you like what’s here.

       
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      Twitter: KarileeO

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  28. Karilee
    Twitter: KarileeO

    @Dona Grosby, It really varies, Dona. Right now I’m spending a great deal of time on workshop creation, so the blog is getting less time than it deserves. As a general guideline, I’d aim for at least an hour per day on a fairly new blog.

     
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      Twitter: KarileeO

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