Improve Your Site by Gaining Great Website Feedback!

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megaphone1Got Google Analytics installed on your website, or some other tracking tool? Getting some good website traffic reports? Good for you. But unfortunately these reports are only going to give you part of what you really need to improve your website - they only tell you ‘what’ your visitors did. Not ‘why’ they did it. Its very hard to optimize and improve websites based on just using these reports – what you really need is what your visitors think of your website, and how they would improve it – the true customer voice.
 
But what’s the best and easiest way of getting great feedback about your website? Its not as hard as you might think. I have put together a quick list of tools and sites you can use to gain this website feedback you need and start improving your website. And yes, you can even use Twitter to help you!

Twitter Search
Believe it or not, this tool does so much more than keeping your buddies up to date with what you are currently eating or what cool place you are currently at. Many users of Twitter actually discuss websites they use (like Zappos.com)… maybe even your own website! To find out what people are saying about your website, you can simply search twitter for your website name, or better yet you can set up an email Twitter search alert using TweetBeep (a great tool which will be back up and running hopefully any day).

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Website Survey Tools
A very simple and cheap way to gather direct feedback about your website is to use a web survey tool on your website. One of my favorite newer survey tools is Kampyle – its free and allows you to get great feedback and do great analysis. 4Q is another simple easy survey tool you can use. Both of these are free to use too! Remember to always ask your visitors their main reason for visiting, whether they achieved that, and if not, why not. Some great insights can be gained from those questions to help improve your website.
 
Google Blog Alertgoogle blog alert
Everyone seems to have a blog these days. And even more people comment on blogs in general. And they don’t just discuss the latest thing happening to Paris Hilton. Yes, often bloggers and commenters often talk about websites and how good or bad they are. The best way to monitor and hear what people are potentially saying about your website is to set up a Google Blog Alert. Just remember to chose ‘blogs’ and ‘as-it-happen’s as the options when setting this up.

Live Webchat ToolsClick to Chat
This is one of best and most direct ways of getting website feedback. You can wait for them to chat to you, or you can be more proactive and popup a chat window – great if the visitor seems to be lost of stuck. If you install Woopra on your site as a tracking tool, they even offer you a built-in live web chat tool to gain this feedback! Another good option to chat live with your visitors is by using Boldchat. They have a pretty good service.

Uservoice.com
This is really the ultimate tool for gaining feedback and ideas from your visitors. Pioneered by Starbucks as a way of gaining feedback regarding what to improve or create next, Uservoice took this tool to the masses and improved it. It allows you to ask your visitors for their website improvement ideas and feedback, and to have them vote and rate which ideas should be acted on first. MySpace have even used this very service to help improve their website. To make this tool even better, there is even a free version.

So there you have it. Go ahead and play with these tools, and start finding and generating feedback on your website. Then pick the feedback that you think is going to improve your website the most and implement it. Anyone else have any other favorite tools for getting website feedback?

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  • DaveM

    Actually, Dell was the company that pioneered the customer feedback idea through their IdeaStorm website http://www.ideastorm.com. Starbucks simply copied their brilliant idea. You might want to also take a look at Uservoice competitors like Crowd Sound, Suggestion Box, Get Satisfaction and FeVote.

  • http://blog.winerywebsitereport.com/ Mike Duffy

    One problem with twitter search is the use of TinyURL and other URL-shortening/obfuscating services. Any thoughts on how to get around this one?

  • http://www.cix.co.uk Charlie

    Great tips Rich. From a user point of view I currently prefer http://getsatisfaction.com/ as an alternative to Uservoice, I prefer the look and feel…

  • http://www.brandingyp.com charles palma

    I have been using twitter search to gather some information for my article and search for feedbacks from users and retweeters.

  • http://www.lukeeales.com Luke Eales

    I’m a fan of Kampyle. Some feedback helped highlight some usability issues that I wasn’t aware of whatsoever. And the compliments always make me smile ;)