The 25 Questions Your Site Must Answer

How long will a user stay on your site before leaving?  Unless you can prove, quickly, that your site is trustworthy and relevant to their needs, we’re talking seconds. Maybe.

When a customer lands on your site for the first time, they’re coming to you with questions. Questions that they may not even realize they’re on the hunt to answer, but they are. As consumers we’re all looking for subconscious clues that the site we’re on is going to meet our needs, that we’ll have a good experience, and that we can trust them with our credit card information.

What is a first-time visitor asking themselves when they land on your site?

  1. Where is your search box? How usable is the navigation?
  2. Are you a real company? Do you have a store? Where is it located? What are the hours? Phone number? I need a map.
  3. Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? How do I learn more about your social side to scope you out?
  4. Is there an About page? Are your employees visible? Do you give them a voice?
  5. What is the culture like? Are you a “good” company?
  6. Are there company testimonials? What other people or companies have worked with you? Were they happy with the experience?
  7. What about product or service reviews? What’s everyone else saying? Am I making a good decision if I commit to this?
  8. If I’m not ready to buy yet, how can I stay in touch? Is there a blog? A newsletter? Some other way to stay up to date with you?
  9. How do I know if this is the “right” product for me? Is there a sizing guide? A product FAQ? Comparison charts?
  10. What’s your return policy like? Will I stuck with this if I don’t like it?
  11. Do you ship to where I live? Where are you shipping from? How long will it take me to get my goods?
  12. What are your payment options? Can I pay with Paypal?
  13. Is your Web site secure? Are there icons that tell me that?
  14. How will you protect my personal information? If I give you my email address, are you going to respect it or sell it?
  15. Do your prices make sense? Are you high? Low?
  16. What’s weird about you? How are you different from someone else? Do I want to align myself with your brand?
  17. Have any of my friends purchased from this site before? Are they connected with you on Facebook? Do you show that off?
  18. Are you fun? Serious? Quirky? Stuffy?
  19. Should I trust you? Are you part of any organizations?
  20. Do other people seek you out? Do you speak anywhere? Teach a class? Been features anywhere cool?
  21. What do you believe in? How do you make that part of your experience?
  22. What’s your story? Who are you in the market?
  23. Why you over someone else? What’s your point of difference?
  24. What does your process look like?
  25. How is this product different from that other one on your Web site? Which is better for me?

And the list goes on.

Is your heart racing a bit more rapidly having read through all that? I know. It’s a lot. But whether you (or they) realize it, these are the questions running through a potential customer’s mind when they land on your site for the first time and begin investigating. They’re also the questions your site must answer — through site content, trust cues, or specific features – before someone feels confident doing business with you.

So, using the questions above as a Trustworthiness Checklist. Does your own site pass?

Image credit: steph79 / 123RF Stock Photo


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

29 Reactions
  1. Lisa,

    The title of your post gave away who wrote it.

    Nice job!

    I’m always having an issue with search bar placement. I don’t want to put it above the fold-because it wastes the most valuable web real estate area.

    On the other hand, the user is the most important thing to focus on.

    What do I do????

    The Franchise King®

  2. Not to be picky, but your 25 numbered points actually contain 68 questions. Typical Lisa, always overdelivering.

  3. This is really a great article Lisa. I think you just about covered everything!

  4. Being in closeout industry, all are playing with low priced trump card, so do we, we are trying really hard to create better customer service and prompt dispatch as point of difference, for the same we have highlighted a page “why buy from us”

  5. Thank you!

    This list is great!

    We are a web design company and we sometimes don’t think about these important items.

  6. This is a superb article. Even seasoned professionals would do well to turn this into a checklist…. That includes me! There are a few things I realise I need to address in various properties.

  7. This is an excellent checklist. Thank you for sharing. I will forward to my networks and even run my own site through this criteria.

  8. List printed! A goal for a real estate site we have is to improve the basics before 2013. Much appreciated.

  9. Great article Lisa. We all should have known these in the past and your article article reinforces and sends us back to the basics. Thanks.

  10. Lisa,

    Thanks for these thought provoking comments. We just made some tweaks to our home page as a result of what you said!

  11. Excellent article where Lisa uncovers what netizens always ask before proceeding on the website of a physical business or an online business!

    We really have to go back to remember the needs of people who come to our website!


  12. Wow this is fantastic! I’ve just sent a link to this article to our management team – as an online business these sort of posts are beyond helpful! Thanks a lot for this!

  13. Lisa,
    good list, well constructed, makes sense in every sense! One word of advice if I may. Spell checker is free. thanks for what you do.

  14. You hit the mark with point 19. Web visitors are looking for affirmation that you are a trustworthy company. Video can really help here when the CEO or your best client’s speak on camera in a personal heartfelt manner. But don’t use video to try and sell your services if you’re looking to convey trust. Think about using video to answer top faqs or offer a warm welcome or ‘pledge of excellence’ to help the trust factor along.

  15. Great writing to shake anyone

  16. Some great points we will consider for our site. Thanks for the article.

  17. Hi Lisa,

    Another great post here. I’ve made every effort for my traffic generation blog to meet the most important questions and requirements that my visitors may be asking themselves, however, your list has brought some additional things to my attention that I need to address. Thanks for the resource list here. I appreciate it!


  18. I really like to define #18 with any new client’s website project. Not only is it smart from a marketing standpoint but it just makes doing the work more fun. Plus, it gives my clients that chance to express themselves more openly to me as I plan their website, which usually translates into a more personal user experience for vistors.

  19. Great post. Many important points looked int. thanks

  20. Great tips to compare against, Lisa.

    For me, one of the first things I check for on a site I might potentially buy from is its aesthetic and content. If the design’s distracting or the navigation isn’t intuitive or there are more than a few typos, then my seriousness where the site’s concerned dwindles accordingly and I’m less likely to make a purchase.