Over time it’s easy to become so familiar with your website that you lose sight of how it appears to a new visitor – a potential client clicking into your site for the first time. That first impression could be the difference between winning their business or losing them as they click into a competitor’s site.
What to avoid
- excessive load times
- limiting your audience by not being responsive – if your site can’t easily be viewed from a phone or tablet, your online visitor will find a site that is simple to navigate and read when it is convenient for them
- error messages
- outdated content
- poor quality images
- a confusing layout which makes the site (at least appear) difficult to navigate. This includes a page ‘heavy’ on text with no natural breaks or images. Nobody will read the entire page before they decide to find out more, they will jump between headings and scan the site to decide if they like it enough to keep looking
- a generic site which hasn’t been branded – when a search pulls up your site and your potential customer clicks in, they scan the page to check they recognize a logo, location or slogan which reassures them they are on the business they thought they were
The next consideration is what first impression you would like to give. Are you trying to present information or encourage your visitor to explore your site?
If you are trying to draw clients literally to your place of business, consider maps and clear directions from major nearby cities.
When your business is visual eg. florist, artist, designer, showcase your work so that a glance conveys your colors, style and design. Put your best images in the most prominent place as they are your ‘hook’ to spark more interest in exploring your site. Brand the image if necessary so that it is clear the image is your own and not a generic stock image. If you can’t choose or your product range is diverse, consider a scrolling gallery with 4 or 5 images which rotate.
Imagine yourself in a potential client’s shoes (or ask someone you trust who is not familiar with your website for their opinion) and consider:
- do the colors appeal
- are my service or product clear to see
- do I appear an expert in my field
- does the site look professional and trustworthy
- is any of the content out of date
- do I have better images to represent my brand
- is it clear how to contact the business
- are the navigation menus intuitive
- are there distractions drawing a client away from my content (eg excessive links or ads)
- does the site reinforce the other branded material you are distributing? (business cards, shop front, advertising)
- is there a link to social media so that it is easy to ‘follow’ you
A website that looked great a few years ago may look tired to your audience today. If you are spending money on SEO (search Engine Optimization) to drive your site higher up the rankings, you need positive first impressions to capitalize on your advantage and persuade prospects they have found exactly what they need as soon as they find your site.
If you’re ready to revisit the first impressions you are giving , contact us today firstname.lastname@example.org