Websites pop up like weeds on the Net, so your first impression has to be a good one. You have exactly 20 seconds to grab your visitor’s attention. If you miss, your competitor is only a click away. What does this say about your business website? Have you looked at your competitors? Are their websites more advanced than yours?
These are all questions you should take very seriously if you want to stand a chance at grabbing your piece of the pie.
What makes a “good website”? Is it easy to navigate? Does it provide helpful information about a product to educate visitors? Does the site have a professional design, or does it look like it was made with an online website builder? Is the message clear about the mission of the website? All of these items are key to a good first impression.
How does the site look?
This is going to be your very first impression. Site design is not something that should be left up to chance. Would you consider hiring a high school student that took a drafting class to redesign your house? Of course you wouldn’t. Then why would you consider using an online service to create your website. Online website creators serve their purpose, but their purpose is not to design professional looking websites. Hiring a qualified Web Design Company is key to getting a website that directly describes your business’ mission.
Just like a mechanic knows how to fix your car, a Web Design Company knows what features (Web Architecture) need to be incorporated into your site to convert visitors into buyers. Also a Web Design Company is going to know what design elements need to be used in order to appeal to your target market. Color theory has a strong impact on how your target market will react to your design. Keep in mind that your website has a direct reflection on your business’ branding. Do you want people to remember your company because you have an “ugly” site?
Can I find what I am looking for?
Navigation is another area that can make visitors click away from your site. I actually lost money on a redesign because the navigation was so poor; I missed about 30 pages of content (I sure learned a lesson).
Navigation not only needs to be concise, by allowing your visitors to find all of your content, but it must be done in a way that is easy to understand. Navigation can be easily understood by thinking of an outline for an essay. A website is constructed in the same manner. A website is going to have the main categories, the subcategories, and the pages that make up those areas. Next to design this is the most important aspect of your business website. If a visitor cannot find your product, they certainly cannot buy it.
What do people click away from my site after looking at the front page?
Does the front page of your site tell your visitors exactly what you offer? One of the problems faced by a business website owner is to make their statement clear for people as well as for the search engines. There is so much emphasis placed on search engine optimization, business website owners tend to forget who they are really “talking” to. Yes it is possible to please both your visitors and the search engines. Certain text formats can be used to draw attention to your visitors, and also make it clear to the search engines the focus of that page.
Your front page is there to grab attention and get people to click deeper into your site. One way to see if your front page is working is to check the stats offered by your hosting company. Most stats will show you a list of entry and exit pages. If you see that your front page gets a lot of impressions, but your sub pages do not then it is time for a change. Two things can be happening here. One the text on your front page is unreadable or hard to understand, or two your navigation is so poor, a visitor does not know how to go deeper into your site.
Run a test. Make subtle changes to your front page. Wait a few weeks and check your stats again. If you notice that people are going another page or two deeper into your site then clicking away, you know that it is your content and not your navigation. There needs to be a few weeks placed between each set of changes you make in order to provide you with a clear point of reference for future changes. This amount of time will allow you to gain new visitors, and you may also be getting new search engine results. As you progress and notice that now your visitors are reading your content, but not buying, then consider revising your actual product page. Does it have a call to action, or are people left with a feeling of wanting more?
Wrapping it all up
Business websites have a lot of elements that are similar to a brick and mortar store. You must have an inviting storefront (your design). It must be easy to find your products (navigation). People need to know what your business is offering (front page message). Can your customers find the cash register (call to buy action)?
First impressions can only be made once. Be sure that your visitors’ first impression of your business is a positive and memorable one that will keep them coming back for your product or service.
If your business website could use an overhaul, be sure to contact us today