A polished and professional looking website can be an effective tool in marketing your company. Conversely, a website that is poorly designed or maintained can actually do more harm than good.
“…it’s not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously.” – Entrepreneur.com
That quote from Entrepreneur is one of our favorites. If a potential client/customer’s first impression of your website is not pleasing, industry statistics say they will move along to your competitor. And since visiting your company’s website is the first contact method for a large percentage of people, the above quote rings even more true. This discussion is an introductory overview of what makes a truly impressive website. In future articles, we will examine these and other topics in more detail.
So, what makes a website professional looking? Style, like beauty, to some extent is in the eye of the beholder; however there are some characteristics that make a great website… well, great. Let’s identify several areas that are key to making sure your website gives a great first (and continuing) impression. First, we must mention appearance. One study from Science Daily revealed that it takes less than one fifth of a second for a viewer to form an impression of a web site. That’s not enough time to read any content, sales banner, catchy slogan, or the “Contact Us” section. This is a snap decision based on design and style. Examples of important details are pleasing use of color, easy to read and consistent use of fonts, high quality graphics, and making it simple for viewers to digest all that they see.
“… it takes less than one fifth of a second for a viewer to form an impression”
The next item is content. If you held the visitor’s attention long enough for them to begin reading then make sure your content is current, organized, and informative. Static content is okay for some things. For example, slogans and mailing addresses rarely change, but just about everything else needs to be updated regularly. I’m not talking about changing your layout, color scheme, or menu. The content is the information you want to communicate like articles, photographs, white papers, facts and figures, sales announcements and all the rest. Fresh content is why people become repeat visitors to websites.
Usability or functionality is next item on our list. Usability is a measure of how efficiently a user can interact with your website. A big usability thumbs up for fast loading pages, a simple and consistent layout, menus that group similar items, and sites that work and look good on whatever device the user chooses whether it is a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.
So, how does your website stack up? If you have a professional looking website with compelling content that has great usability, congratulations! Your website is already better than most. In the meantime, remember to come back and read the detailed articles on these topics and of course, if you would like help improving the appearance, content, and usability of your website, Small Biz Media has a passion to help make your web presence the best it can be. Contact us today to get started!