Barrier to Entry

If you’ve run or worked at a brick-and-mortar business, you’ve probably come across procedures or regulations involving accessibility. These usually relate to things like doorways being wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, or making sure bathroom sinks can be reached by folks with physical challenges.

Some small business owners I’ve heard of become frustrated with these rules and regulations. They complain that they can’t afford the expenses involved, that they don’t have the time to do the necessary updates or that they just don’t like being told what to do.

Politics aside, there’s something here these business owners often miss: these kinds of accessibility accommodations are good for business. If someone in a wheelchair can’t get through your front door, she can’t buy your products. Regulation or no, it’s just good business sense. You want people to get through the doors. You want to remove what experts call “barriers to entry.”

Now, on the Internet, most businesses don’t have to worry about being compliant with handicap regulations. However, there are things we can do with our small business Internet presence to reduce those barriers to entry:

1. Keep your buying process simple. Whether it’s affiliate links or an actual product, the fewer clicks the better. There’s a reason Amazon went to the “1-click” checkout system. Streamline yours for maximum access.

2. Keep your products organized. Have a written site hierarchy. Know what belongs where, and keep it there. The same goes for information. Put everything at your reader’s fingertips.

3. Keep your site’s appearance efficient. Use readable fonts and plenty of white space. Grey on white print is hard to read. So are tiny fonts. Make your site readable. Leave some white space, too, so it’s not cluttered.

4. Only require essential information from your customers. Sure, you want a customer database, so you want them to create accounts. But, give them an option to not create an account and just buy, too. It will reduce your database but increase your sales.

5. Keep your customers interested. Don’t use filler content. Make sure every word on your site is purposeful. If it doesn’t contribute to your overall goals, dump it.