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Survey Shows What Buyers Want From Small-Business Websites

A shoddy website can cost small businesses sales. That’s a key implication of a new study that revealed that more than six in 10 consumers likely wouldn’t do business with a company after visiting its poorly designed/unprofessional website.

Based on the responses of 1,800 U.S. adults who have visited small-business websites, the findings are part of the recent Small Business Consumer Expectations Report from Vistaprint Digital. The results reveal what is most likely to leave consumers with negative or positive impressions of small-business websites.

Want to turn off potential customers with a bad site experience? Then have outdated contact information. Nearly 50% of respondents listed that as an aggravator – the most commonly cited peeve. Failing to provide an address, directions or business hours (41.5% of respondents) and having no product information (34.3%) were other commonly cited factors that make a negative impression. Consumers also mentioned unprofessional design/color scheme (26.2%) and fonts that render text difficult to read (23.7%).

To have a positive experience with a small-business website, 68.4% of respondents said they require up-to-date and accurate site content. About one-quarter of consumers would consider a website outdated if it has not been updated in more than a month. Others were more forgiving: 29% said they would only consider a site outdated if it hadn’t been updated in more than six months. Still, some 10% think anything longer than a week without an update is too long, while 14.6% are okay with sites that haven’t been updated in more than a year. Seven percent expect real-time updates.

Beyond desiring site content that is accurate and timely, consumers said a positive website experience is contingent on a professional appearance (27.7% of respondents). More than one in five (21.5%) say they need the website to be mobile-friendly.

In additional insight, the survey showed that product information (45%) is what respondents most commonly search for on small-business websites.