What does your website say about you?

First impressions are everything. For example:

-You walk into a store to get lightbulbs, head straight to the lighting aisle, except they’re not there. You walk up and down the surrounding aisles, look around for help and don’t find what you need. You get frustrated. You leave.

-You’re interviewing candidates for the position of an administrative assistant and one shows up late, dressed in dirty, torn gardening clothes. You conduct the interview but have trouble looking past how they’re presenting themselves and wonder if you can consider them fairly for the position.

-You sign up for yoga classes and arrive at the first session only to find it’s a bodybuilding fitness program. This isn’t what you signed up for. You get frustrated, leave and tell your friends about your experience.

Now ask yourself: Do you go back to that store next time you need lightbulbs, look past the appearance of the candidate vying for the corporate office job, continue paying dues to that yoga instructor?

Chances are, you’ve answered no. You turn somewhere else to get what you need because we have options and there’s always a chance we’ll find a better experience elsewhere.

With more than 1.8 billion websites currently available online, the same can be said about your website. In the age of digital, people are more likely to discover your brand online, making your website the first impression for your business.

Because of this, it’s critical to understand that your website strategy needs to be part of your overall business plan. Your site must convey and provide the same experience, service and message as your physical business, because the first impression your site creates will result in deep-rooted thoughts and feelings that are difficult to change. Just like those offline examples, we as consumers have unlimited options to get what we need and have the experiences we desire.

So, what can you do to create the right first AND last impression on your website, so you don’t lose leads and customers? Let’s take a closer look and consider what does your website say about you.

The most important part of any website it that it is easy to use. If your site is slow, difficult to navigate and not mobile responsive you will lose people before your site has a chance to even load. In fact, 40 percent of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load (Econsultancy) and 48 percent of users who arrive on a site that isn’t working well on mobile, take it as an indication of the business simply not caring (MarginMedia).

What poor navigation says about your business:
-You don’t value your visitors’ time

-You don’t understand your audiences’ pain points

-You’re unwilling to pay for faster website hosting

-You don’t get the importance of mobile and are out of touch with your customers

-You DON’T CARE about your audience

What it should say:
-You respect your customers’ time and will get them what they need quickly

-You know how to address their pain points and have mapped out a simple way to address them

-You’re willing to invest in your customers because you care about their needs

-You take time to understand your customer and go to great lengths to meet their needs

-You CARE about your audience

What you can do:
-Get a website speed analysis at GTmetrix

-Revisit your site map to ensure it addresses your customers’ needs, not just yours

-Keep your navigation simple so your customers have no trouble finding the information they need

-Leverage your Google Analytics to see what devices users are accessing your site with, pages they’re visiting and the bounce rates across your site

Despite the age-old advice, people do judge a book by its cover. Fair or not, the candidate who showed up underdressed for the interview, starts off at a disadvantage. We tend to act and judge something by what we see.

In turn, a poorly designed website is not going to make a good first impression. Every design aspect that goes into your website; your logo, typeface, color palette, imagery, iconography, layout, etc., must be strategically selected and placed. Forty-six percent of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of a company. (Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)  

It’s critical to remember that your site is a channel that represents your brand and should remain consistent with your established identity and other marketing efforts. Think about the design used across your marketing efforts and ensure you’re providing a connected design experience on your site.

What poor design says about your business:
-You don’t care about how you look

-You don’t spend money to improve your business

-You aren’t aware of or connected to the rest of your organization

-You DON’T CARE about your customers

What it should say:
-First impressions are important to you

-You take pride in what you do

-You care about the small stuff and are willing to invest in your business

-You are innovative and current

-You CARE about your customers

What you can do:
-Stay on top of trends

-Conduct audience research and determine what resonates with them and how your competitors are presenting their brands

-Pay attention to the details

-Look closely at every marketing effort and determine how to consistently represent your brand across channels

Customers are researching solutions to their needs online and connecting with your brand as a result of their search efforts. In most cases, prospects are 57 percent of their way to a buying decision before they connect with your sales team. Your website must: deliver the core messages of your brand, provide solutions for your customers, demonstrate why your offerings are better than the competition and showcase proof of this. Make sure your site is well-written, easy to understand and delivers to your customers’ needs.

What a poor content experience says about your business:
-You don’t know who you are and what you can do for me

-You lack focus and purpose

-You’re no different than your competitors

-You DON’T CARE about your customers

What it should say:
-You know who you are and what you’re good at

-You can help me with my problem

-You have a proven track record of helping people like me

-You CARE about your customers

What you can do:
-Clearly communicate who you are as a business and what you offer to customers

-Identify what makes you stand out from competitors

-Showcase testimonials and wins from satisfied customers

Are you providing a positive experience for your customers through navigation, design and content?

We’ve seen how the first impression your site creates can result in deep-rooted thoughts and feelings that are difficult to change. The difference between a negative and positive website experience will determine how your customers feel about your brand. So, what does your website say about you?