Launching a new business brings and onslaught of decisions. You’re focused on developing your product…
Your website is usually the first point of contact your customers have with your business. Just like a first date, people form impressions–good or bad–fast. In fact, users generate their impression of your site in about 50 milliseconds. That’s a pretty slim window in which to dazzle…or be deemed a dud.
Your website says a lot about your business. When new or current customers are interacting with your website, your site has the potential to let them know that your business is…
Web design is similar to the fashion industry. While it might not reinvent itself every season, certain trends, standards and aesthetics are definite signifiers of the times. You wouldn’t walk into a party this weekend wearing a hyper-color t-shirt, a crushed velvet vest and GAP cargo shorts (aka the hottest fashions from 1991), so don’t cloak your business in styles that expired when Ross & Rachel were on a break.
Making sure that your website follows a current design aesthetic (and isn’t stuck somewhere in the previous decade) tells your customers that your business is operating in the now, not trapped in the past. This will likely mean redesigning or refreshing your website every 3 to 5 years, just like you update your wardrobe.
If your website is a mess, your customers will assume that your business is a mess. Carefully organizing and curating your content not only helps your customers find answers to what they’re looking for, it also demonstrates that your business practices are methodical and that you pay attention to detail.
Make sure your navigation menus are intuitive and follow a user’s natural journey. Standardize image sizes across your website. Be consistent with fonts, content block placement, image captions and the appearance of headers and footers on each page. Organize your blog posts with useful category tags.
In the world of dating, a disheveled dinner companion might come off initially as charming, but a disheveled business website will have your clients running for the hills.
Even if yours isn’t the “premium-priced” option, a well-designed website will put your clients at ease with spending a little more. Why? Because your business will look like it’s worth it.
What makes a website look premium? First, fantastic photography. Second, font choice and layout–the cleaner and more classic, the better. Finally, certain minor functionalities add to your website’s premium feel: things like parallax effects, subtle animation on rollovers, and lightbox effects.
Of course, to live up to your client’s premium expectations, your services must deliver. You can’t run a scam and expect to get very far. But with a well-designed website, you can pull the trigger on that pricing increase and new clients won’t bat an eyelash.
Exercising restraint on the “sales-y” aspects of your site might seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want your business to be perceived as the “used car salesman” of your industry. Web design best practices dictate that you include a clear call to action on every page, but remember that your call to action (or “CTA,” as we call it in the marketing biz) can take many forms. It shouldn’t always scream, “Buy this product NOW! SERIOUSLY!!!1!”
Instead, consider your customer’s true path to purchase. Think of all the decisions they need to make along the way before buying. Let those decisions inform your calls to action and prompt minor actions along that journey. Encourage customers to download a white paper, register for your mailing list, view a webinar or request a quote. Applying less pressure, and more opportunities for engagement, takes the burden off of you to chase clients. Instead, it invites customers to come to you.
Everyone loves spending time with a fascinating person. It becomes more crucial in business because your customers are coming to you to solve their problem. Find ways to explain your services more in-depth. Share your expertise with your customers. Break down the basics, explain industry jargon and discuss common misconceptions.
Armed with helpful information, your customers become more empowered to make smarter decisions for themselves. Think of the mechanic who doesn’t just fix your problem, but who shows you WHY you need a new part, or explains how to get a longer life out of your fix. That mechanic has equipped you with valuable information help you in the future. You should be providing this service to your clients, too.
But remember: don’t elevate your expertise at the expense of your website’s aesthetics and modernity. Instead, find ways to incorporate both. This means carefully organizing information so as not to overwhelm your customers, or splitting a complex topic into a series of multiple blog posts.
How does your website stack up?
Evaluate your own website with a critical eye. How well does your layout, content and imagery match the above? If you think that your site could use some work–we’re here to help. Contact us today to discuss how your website can deliver an awesome first impression.