Websites: Giving You a Second Chance at a First Impression - Part 2
Written by Nick Kane
In the last post, you read a story about how first impressions don't always work out how you'd like them to and that a professional website can be there to help redeem you and your business. This second part provides some advice to ensure your website will make the ever-so-important "virtual" first impression needed to keep the interest of a potential client.
How do I know if my site needs to be more professional?
Do you have confidence that when a customer or potential customer visits your site it will favor your business in their minds? DO NOT fall into the "making excuses for your website game" – people this day in age are too smart and have already heard or used all of them before. Just get your website where you know it needs to be and be proud of it. If you are not sure where it needs to be, contact a trustworthy web developer for a free consultation.
Check out competitor sites. How does yours compare? When a neutral or undecided customer is visiting your site in addition to your competitor's, which way will they swing?
(It's important to evaluate their sites frequently. I can't tell you how many times a client has gone to reference a competitor's "not so great" website only to find it has been redeveloped and is looking much better. Who knows, maybe they have read this article too.)
Steps to Take When "Professionalizing" Your Site
- Logo = Do you need a new one? Maybe your existing logo needs a little digital enhancement for use on the web?
- Looks Clean = Clean is synonymous with professional in many people's minds. Think about the difference between a clean looking office vs. a messy one.
- Content = Be sure it is up to date, applicable, and professional.
- Nice images = Often times the difference between an ordinary and an incredible looking site is the images that are used. There are many stock image websites where high-quality images applicable to your business and content can be found. If you choose to use your own images, consider hiring a photographer to ensure this same quality level can be achieved.
- Loads fast = Nothing can be more frustrating than a website that loads slowly. The days of waiting for your dial-up connection to catch up are long gone. Visitors will discredit you and your site if it doesn't respond quickly to their actions. Many "bargain" hosting solutions oversell the space on their servers or use outdated hardware. Be sure to choose a reputable hosting solution provider for your site.
- Reaches Out = Provides an opportunity for your site visitor to reach out to you in a convenient way. Whether this is a custom consultation web form or a link to your social media page, providing contact methods comfortable to your visitors will result in higher contact frequency.
- Appeasing color scheme = Be sure your site's color scheme is consistent, relevant to your company, and appeasing to the eye.
- Navigation = It needs to work well, be logical for your visitor. We all know how frustrating a site can be with poor navigational structure.
More often than not, a website owner knows if their site is up to par. It's similar to someone needing to get in better shape…they know full well they are out of shape but may be missing the motivation, the know how (easy to get lost in a sea of options), or the understanding of its importance to their overall personal health. The health of your business WILL BE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED by a website lacking in professionalism.
You now know what you need to do – throw away that old shirt. Well, in addition to the shirt thing take ownership and responsibility of your site's professionalism as it can mean the difference between a potential customer's confidence in you or confirmation that the waterlogged business card was no fluke.