Give Your Web Site a Personal Touch

It's not personal--it's business. A mantra heard by business people through the years, but when it comes to our business Web sites, it's more personal than business.

Living online today is social, and that means personal. To attract customers and keep them, you need to think about the social touches that can give your Web site a way to connect and increase customer loyalty. Here are three ideas to get you started.

BloggingThis social tool has been around for a long time, but most people still miss the bull's-eye when it comes to launching a blog as part of their Web site. The real reason to launch your in-site blog is to connect with your audience. The power of the blog is that it gives visitors the ability to comment. Additionally, your blog should be a space to encourage discussion and share your knowledge, not a long sales pitch on a new product or service. Blogs do not have to be 1,000-word posts full of video and photos. Your blog needs to connect with your customers. If you sell different types of fashion or home products, explain to your readers how to get more from your products. If you're in a service business, find ways to educate your audience or discuss industry trends that will affect their businesses. To truly take your site social, you'll want to integrate your blog feeds on other pages of your Web site based on subject matter. This will give your visitors more value and illustrate your commitment to connecting with your clients.

WidgetsBlogging does mean a commitment of your time, and if you're not ready to take that step, then look for other options like widgets. A Web site widget is a mini-application that can be embedded into your Web site. Widgets can deliver content from other sources that give you the ability to connect with your customers. Selling a product or service, you can find a widget that will help you stand out from the competition. If you're using social media to connect with your customers, then add the widget to your Web site. These widgets will feed your recent tweets or other posts to your Web site. This will show new visitors and existing customers that you are active and open to connecting.

VideoWe live in an interactive world, and one of the best ways to connect and share is video. Business-to-business and business-to-consumer people like to know who they are working with or buying from. Getting personal through video is a way to give your site that added advantage. Similar to the blogging advice above, your videos needs to have value for your customers. Take your customers' frequently asked questions and provide video demonstrations. This practice will cut down on buyer remorse and shopping cart abandonment rates. The key to successful online video is getting to the point and addressing one question at a time. Stay focused on your core message and objective.

There are many other ideas and ways to connect with your clients on your Web site. Find the ones that work for you and show your visitors you're not afraid of getting personal. After all, it's the personal touches that keep customers coming back.

Jennifer Shaheen, the e-marketing and Technology Therapist, has more than 10 years experience working with small- to mid-sized businesses on their e-marketing and web development needs. You can learn more about her by visiting her web site,

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