We tend to conform to the attractiveness stereotype where we associate aesthetically pleasing things with other desirable virtues. Companies invest a lot of money and time designing their products to look appealing. First impressions count and in a lot of cases a great looking product is enough to make you want it before you’ve even researched all its features.
Let me put this another way.
You go to a restaurant and you’re served a beautiful, well presented looking meal. Before you’ve even tasted it, you will assume it’s also going to taste as great as it looks.
Or say you are in town. You’re shopped out and you fancy a nice coffee. You need a treat, so you will choose a coffee shop with an appealing branded shop front and interior, because you will assume they serve good coffee.
This has even more relevancy to you and your website. You will have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of competitors who are offer the same or similar things. They are just a click away, and if your competitors’ websites look and feel better than yours, you’ve already lost.
Your website is your shop front, the way you present yourself online. It’s perhaps your only opportunity to grab the attention of your next potential client, with that vital first impression.
Cutting corners on your website will never end well. If potential clients see very little effort being applied to impress them with your virtual shop front, then why would they think the service you provide will be any better?
There are lots of great web designers out there, but the market is not flooded with talent. There are plenty who offer cheap websites with a speedy turnaround in order to make a quick and easy profit. Let potential customers know that you take your business and their custom seriously. Invest in your website and do whatever is needed to make it attractive and appealing.
Tips for a great website:
1. Look Fantastic
The design and user experience of your website is the most important aspect, especially in the first few seconds of being viewed. You only have one chance at that first impression, Make your viewer want more. People don’t hang around, if the design is out dated and cramped, people will very quickly move on. Firstly make your website attractive, it will lead to new business. Make sure to always research the designer’s prior work before engaging with them, do they have an impressive portfolio with projects that you find appealing?
2. Avoid Clutter
Part of making your website look attractive is to avoid too much ‘stuff’ (a very common mistake). Look at your own website viewing habits, are you really likely to read pages crammed with text, or do you skim the headlines? A modern, slick and clean site will make your business stand out in the digital realm, it will also naturally make for a more user friendly experience.
3. Design For Mobile Devices First
If your website isn’t responsive in this day and age then you are way behind and you’ve lost the majority of internet users straight away. Your site has to look great on both mobile and desktop PC’s and should ideally be optimised for mobile first. Most people now spend their time looking at websites on phones and tablets rather than desktops.
4. Aim For A Great User Experience
People are busier than ever these days and need to make decisions quickly. It is essential that your site flows so that users are able to navigate seamlessly from page to page and clearly find the right information. Avoid overwhelming the user with reams of text, they won’t read it anyway. Break things down into simple bullet points or sentences.
5. Use High Quality Imagery
Images and videos enhance the look and feel of websites; they help the user to instantly connect with a theme or topic before they’ve even started reading the text. Imagery can be emotive and should compel the user to delve into the content. However, images and videos within websites need to be carefully thought out. Imagery has to be relevant to the subject matter and must be of a high quality and have good composition. Poor quality images will ruin a well designed website in an instant. If you don’t want to hire a photographer or filmaker, you can find modern high quality stock imagery at websites such as Stocksy, Shutterstock or under a creative commons licence for free distribution.
6. Maintain A Regular Blog
There are good reasons for maintaining an active blog and regularly updating content on a website. Apart from helping to actively engage your audience and giving them a reason to return, it is one of the key elements to good SEO. Read this fascinating article on SEO Basics. You will need to keep motivated and give it some priority, which is easier said than done sometimes when you are busy, but it’s so worth it. Maintaining links to your business social media platforms is also essential, google needs to know that you’re active and regularly sharing on your blog and social media platforms does just that. Dormant websites get dropped like hot potatoes, so stick to it!