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When you’re creating or updating your website, it is very easy to come up with an idea yourself for how you can make your website better. Much of the time, you’ll be right and your idea will improve your site and give a better experience to your visitors or even better: turn visitors into customers. One important source of ideas that is often overlooked, however, is your customers or visitors. Doesn’t it make sense that their opinion matters? After all, they are the ones using the site & hopefully paying you with time or money. Let’s go a little further: For years, entrepreneurs would essentially come up with an idea, then write a business plan, then raise funding and find the best team to execute that plan. This resulted in A LOT of failures, because they built up a business and a product and tried to sell it, just to learn that their customers didn’t really care. The newest theories in entrepreneurial science involve talking to your customers FIRST. Instead of building up funding and a team, go talk to some potential customers and see if they even have this problem you want to solve. If they do, then keep moving forward. So what does this mean to you? Well, you can take the lessons learned from the smartest entrepreneurs and apply them to your business website. Instead of guessing what they might want, or what they will think of the site… ask them! Remember, they are the ones who are paying you… their opinion matters. Here are a couple quick ways to do this: 1. Ask your customers in person. If you have a business where you interact with customers in person, try asking them to use your website in front of you. It's fine to give them a small gift, like a free coffee or a sticker or something to entice them a bit. Most of all, watch them use the site and ask them to think aloud so you can take great notes. Write down the things they do that surprise you, those that take longer than you’d expect, or the things that frustrate them. Also, try asking them if they’ve been on your site before and why they went on. It is important to know if a lot of your customers are looking for your phone number, a menu, an email address, location, list of services, etc. 2. Ask potential customers Ask people you don’t know at all (less bias) to review your site and give you feedback. Just like with the previous one, this helps you find things that surprise you or you didn’t notice. Honest feedback is often tough love, but sometimes its important to hear. Yes, this is slightly a plug for our service Web Review Ninja. But I very honestly stand by it and have used it for my own projects and websites. In fact, I’m so confident that this is a good strategy I’ll give you two other services that are very similar to Web Review Ninja so you can make the choice on which to use. Peek User Testing – This is a free service that will get you video reviews of your website (a video of someone using the site and talking about it). They’ll do 3 videos for you per month for free. I’ve used this a bunch and it is great! The reviews usually take a few hours to get and some are more useful than others. Web Review Ninja - This will get you some written reviews of your website from a pool of US consumers. Are they web experts? No, but neither are your website visitors. So have your website reviewed by the same people who are actually visiting your site. Feedback Army– This is actually very similar to Web Review Ninja by giving written reviews of your site. They give you a little more freedom in what questions you want to ask, but also costs a bit more as well. I have not used this service myself, but I’m sure that it gives great results. Best of luck getting feedback for your site. It is very important and is especially useful when alongside other opinions like your own or your designers.