Contrary to what some may believe, the Web is not an anything goes environment. Yeah, it used to be the “wild wild west” but those days are pretty much over.
The reality is that considerations and courtesies need to be implemented by all users. This makes sure that everyone can have a more enjoyable or productive experience.
Yes, Website Etiquette Exists
When it comes to websites, website owners and visitors alike seem to overlook the human factor. Yes, there are living breathing humans on both sides of the screen.
If both sides were to understand the basics, and the following checklist covers just the basics, website owners will produce more ROI. At the same time website visitors will find their inquiries are responded to more accurately and concisely.
Basic Etiquette for Website Owners:
Minimize the Intrusive Pop-ups
Having too many pop-ups (a.k.a. distractions) on your site that take forever to load or block content aren’t going to get clicked on. Take our word for it we’ll be gone by then.
If you want us to buy your products or services, remove the distractions. We don’t care about all that annoying stuff. We just want to find what we are looking for.
Have Consistent, Intuitive Navigation
In the same place on every page throughout your site. Make sure you also offer a “Home” option in your navigation so we can get to the start of your site if we so choose.
Don’t use buzzwords or make us wonder what is where. We should be able to tell at a glance and be where we want in no more than two clicks.
Company Contact Information Front and Center
If not on every page in the lower footer area, at the very least on your Contact page. Don’t have a “contact page”? No address or phone number? (What are you trying to hide?) No business from us!
Be Clear and Concise About Your Policies
We want to know what to expect if we choose to do business with you. Have your policies posted on your site where we can easily find them for review. Have a FAQ page to provide the info site visitors are looking for.
Respond Quickly and in Detail to Inquiries
Don’t send us canned or generic responses that really do not address our specific question. That’s where automation can make you look bad. The more detailed and promptly you respond, the more likely we will do business with you.
Correct Errors Promptly
When you receive an email about a broken link, a typo or functionality that isn’t working right, do your best to correct it at your earliest convenience. Thank the site visitor who brought the issue to your attention with a personal email.
Keep in mind that regardless of their motives in pointing out your errors to you, (some are kind and understanding while others will be condescending and terse) they just helped to make your site better.
Basic Etiquette for Website Visitors:
Take the Time to Review the Website
Make sure that the site’s focus will in fact cover what you are seeking. Sites cannot be everything to everyone and most are not. Don’t email an apple site about where to find the best oranges. Review the site’s FAQ before emailing to make sure you are in the right place.
Take the Time to Read the Offered Material
Such as the FAQ. Good customers do not email asking questions that with little effort the answers could have been found on the website. With all information provided literally at your fingertips, take the time to read it.
This includes reading the privacy statements and/or order policies. Do this before you engage in doing business with them.
Type Clearly and Concisely
All caps or all lower case, poor grammar and typos makes your inquiries appear less credible. Understand most site owners are extremely busy answering genuine customer emails to build their business.
Emails that appear to be from a sixth grader or worse, someone who could be trouble to do business with, are those less likely to receive serious consideration for a response.
Read Help Files and Tutorials
Always check for provided support information that is there to assist you before you email for support simply because you don’t want to make the effort to read and learn. Certainly if after making a sincere effort you still have questions, emailing asking for help in a kind and courteous manner will ensure our response.
Live Online Chat Courtesy
Be as courteous as you would if you were face-to-face with the support agent. These folks are there to help you.
Type using proper sentence structure, grammar and spelling so your request is understood. Then, once your session is completed, be sure to thank the operator for their time and assistance. That always makes their day!
Refrain from pointing out their errors out in public comments, social media or forums. When something isn’t right or link isn’t working as it should, email the site owner in a kind helpful manner.
Provide as much information as you can about what you perceive is wrong in such a way that indicates you want to help the site owner make their site the best it can be. Don’t be judgmental or condescending.
Remember, how you approach those you don’t know about their shortcomings speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. And the type of customer you will be.
Think About the Other Side
All too often both website owners and site visitors think too much about themselves and what they want rather than to give thought to the other side. Wouldn’t it be nice if that were reversed?