First impressions are crucial in all aspects of life.
When you meet someone new, they’ll have formed an opinion of you within 7 seconds. When someone visits your website, you’ve got less than 15 seconds to encourage them to stay.
Your website personifies your business, and it’s essential that you pay as much attention to the design, layout and format of your website, as you would the clothes you wear to an interview. As much as we’d like to believe we’re judged on more than just our appearance, when it comes to first impressions, 55% is based on the way you look.
Your website is no different.
The average user spends less than 15 seconds on a website, and if they’re not impressed by what they see, they’ll waste no time in closing the browser, flicking to another app, or hitting the back button.
When it comes to our own appearance, we all know that cleanliness, neatness and facial expressions can have a huge impact on what others think, but have you ever thought about why certain websites make you want to ‘read more’ or ‘try for free’?
Very few of us will run through a mental checklist of ‘things that make a good website’ when we’re scrolling online, so what exactly are customers looking for?
Let’s take a look at the top 4 elements of your website that form a visitor’s first impression.
Expectation vs Reality
We’ve all seen the memes flooding the internet regarding what you expect, versus what you got, and the same applies to websites. If you ordered a jumper thinking you were getting a great price, but when it arrived it wouldn’t even fit the cat, you’d be disappointed because you didn’t get what you paid for.
It’s the same for a potential customer visiting your site: they want to find what they were looking for. If the name and headings you use on your website don’t fit the content of your site, you’ll have immediately lost customers. You need to make sure your website is full of content your users are expecting to find.
The Aesthetics of your Website
75% of ‘website credibility’ is based on the design. The design of your website needs to be exceptional. Without a well designed site that’s beautifully laid out and neatly organised, you risk customers assuming that because you haven’t spent time on your website, you won’t have the time for them.
A rushed, inconsistent or unprofessional site suggests that your business possesses the same qualities. The design of your website should reflect your values, professionalism and quality of the services you offer.
Ultimately, the aesthetics of your website should clarify your message. The way your website looks should reinforce your content, and help to drive the information across to your audience quickly and easily.
The design of your website is as much about how easy it is to navigate as what it looks like. Your website should be clearly sectioned and have obvious pathways for users. Even if someone has never visited your site before, they should be able to find exactly what they’re looking for.
If you’ve ever had a phone call asking where to find something on your website, you need to rethink your design. After a poor user experience, 89% of consumers will move onto a competitor site that’s easier to navigate.
If the images on your site are low quality and the text has got misspellings, you’re in trouble. Everything on your website should come together to form a cohesive and professional impression of your business that is a true representation of your brand. It’s no good having a delightful design if the text is unreadable and the images are blurry.
In order to ensure all of the elements listed above are in place on your site, you need to be clear about one thing: your target market. Without a clear idea of who your customers are, there’s no way you can create a site that’s designed specifically for them.
But surely a good website will appeal to everyone?
Yes, a website that’s well designed, easy to navigate and has good content might be enough to ensure your website is looked at by lots of people, but as a business, is that really what you want? In order to get the most from your website, you need to ensure the ‘right’ customers are finding your site.
Who are the ‘right’ customers?
The right customers for your business are those who will benefit most from the value you offer. According to Seth Godin, ‘the riskiest thing you can do is make average stuff for average people, and pitch it to the masses’. He argues that instead, you should focus on a specific group of people and offer services that they will love. In a previous blog we discussed how to encourage customer loyalty, and it’s these loyal customers that need to be the focus of your website.
How do you ensure the ‘right’ customers find your website?
By having a clear understanding of who the right customers are for your business, it becomes much easier to design a website specifically for those people. For example, if your business is primarily aimed at female CEOs under the age of 30, you want the images on your website to reflect those demographics. Even though a high quality stock image of men in their 50s might create a professional looking site, it’s unlikely to resonate with your target audience.
It’s undeniable that your website has a huge impact on the customer’s you attract, but by having a specific customer in mind, you can ensure that every aspect of your site, from design to usability, is aimed specifically at your ‘ideal customer’. In our next blog we’ll look in more depth at how you can find the ‘right’ customers for your business, and how to avoid the ‘wrong’ customers.
If you’re happy with your website but you’ve noticed that you aren’t attracting the best customers for your business, we can help you to rework your site so that it hits all the right notes. Just send us a message, and we’ll be in touch!
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