While you might benefit from the occasional “stumble-across” visit, most of your visitors come to your Web site with a purpose in mind. They want to be informed, entertained, or satisfy a need by making a purchase. Determining what your users want, and what you’re expected to provide, is mandatory if you want to earn loyalty and repeat visits.

Information – If the goal of your site is to provide information, do just that. Use easy to understand language targeted to the least-educated of your customers. Be wary of using too many words that will bury the information your visitor seeks. Refrain from technical terms and jargon that, while perfectly understandable to you, might be confusing to your visitor. If you must use a technical term, define it. Less is more. Keep it simple.

Entertainment – As a rule, advertising is not entertaining. And while it might be necessary to support your site, keep it to a minimum and as unobtrusive as possible. Sound effects and background music provide value for some, but not all visitors. Unless the entertainment you provide is sound-related by definition, give your visitors the option of adjusting the volume or turning the noise off altogether.

Merchandising – If you advertise a product, make sure it’s in stock. Monitor your inventory and if an item is unavailable, temporarily remove it from your product catalog. It’s certainly OK to use vivid language when describing your products, but never be less than honest. Be transparent with your prices, including shipping and handling charges. Visitors don’t want to wait until checkout to know the price of an item and they don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised by hidden charges. Learning a item is out of stock, or final bill is more than expected only leads to abandoned shopping carts and disgruntled customers.

Remember when catering to Web visitors that the competition is but a click away. Give your visitors what they want and you’ll keep them coming back for more.

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