“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Many of us have heard this famous Will Rogers quote, but we typically think of it in the context of presenting ourselves for the first time to someone new. But this adage goes beyond personal meetings and also applies to a business making its first impression on a new prospect, with the hope of converting them to a customer. In today’s digital age, a consumer’s first impression of your business is often your website, and if that’s not impressive, you risk losing sales.
We all know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but your business may have a hard time inspiring confidence in consumers if your website does not have a professional appearance. Surprisingly, some established businesses have websites that haven’t changed much in the past decade, and their look reflects that. And just like consumers might view a home contractor with an old, rusty truck as untrustworthy, they may have the same view of a business with an outdated, unattractive website.
A website, just like a home, needs to be maintained to have maximum “curb appeal” for visitors. It is definitely an investment to keep your website updated in looks and security, but it’s worth it for the marketing value it adds to your business. Take a moment to really assess your current website, then read on for some tips to make your website current and fresh.
- Make sure your website is mobile optimized (for phones and tablets). The bulk of online research now originates on mobile devices, so a well-designed mobile version of your website is now a must-have. According to socpub.com, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site.
- The theme of your overall design should be clean and make it easy for users to navigate your website. Keep menu names simple to understand, like “Products,” “About Us,” and “Contact.” Make all links clear and easy to find – it’s frustrating when it seems like text or an image is clickable, and then finding that it’s not. The easier it is for users to get around, the longer they will stay on your site, which could convert to a sale for you.
- Choose design elements that fit your target market. For example, frilly, colorful fonts may work wonderfully for a pastry shop’s website, but probably won’t work as well for a hardware store’s website. Stick to a coordinated color palette that reflects the “energy” of your business. For example, a spa might choose soothing blues and greens for their website colors, while a trampoline park would probably select vibrant reds and yellows.
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t overwhelm your visitors with blocks of text, especially on your homepage. Use images and minimal amounts of targeted, meaningful text to convey your message.
- Avoid too many flashy elements – if your image sliders move too quickly or you have blinking text, it may be ineffective and frustrate your customers.
- Keep it secure – if your website offers e-commerce, an https address is a necessity to ensure that customer-submitted data remains secure through encrypted transfer. But even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, an https address helps inspire trust within consumers, making it more likely that they will visit and engage with your site.
Does this list inspire you to make some updates to your website? If you are managing your site on your own, it can be overwhelming to implement changes for design and security, and handle general maintenance items. Therefore, if you want to make your absolute best first impression with consumers, it’s a good choice to hire a professional web design firm to help you.
Whether you manage your website yourself or put it in the hands of the pros, it’s important to understand what appeals to your target market and make your site attractive to them. By keeping the look, feel, and navigation of your website current and fresh, you can increase traffic, reduce bounce rate, and gain more sales. Make your first impression one that lasts!