People make judgments about your company the moment they see your website, so you need to make sure you are creating the right impression as soon as the page loads.
They say when an interviewee walks in to the room, the interviewer makes up their mind within the first few seconds whether they believe the candidate is suitable for the job. Interviewers then spend the rest of the interview looking for reasons to support their initial view.
A potential customer treats websites in much the same way. If a website looks good at first glance the reader will automatically attribute the owner with credibility and professionalism, and spend time browsing to find out more. However, unlike an interview, if the potential customer does not like what they see, they do not have to stay and instead move quickly on to a competitors site.
It is true that some ugly sites do make money, this is because style is more than just the colors and the graphics, it also relates to how easy it is for users to find what they are looking for. Even if the content is really great, poor navigation can prove to be a barrier preventing you reaching your target audience.
The average internet user has high expectations of the websites they visit. They will have spent time on sites such as Amazon, Wikipedia, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, MSN etc, and just because you’re a small business it doesn’t mean they will forgive a poor website, as a competitors site is only a few clicks away.
When deciding on the layout and content of your website you need to be constantly thinking about your customer, put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself what are they looking to do and how easy is it for them to do it. And not only that, how can you direct them to the information you most want then to read, such as your sales copy or affiliate links. Don’t ask people to contact you then bury the ‘contact’ information in some obscure place, make it obvious.
Consider using video clips to illustrate your points, it takes a lot less effort on the part of the potential customer to watch a short video (even if it’s just you speaking) than to read the same information themselves.
Also remember when choosing someone to build your site that just because they technically know how to build a website, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can build you an effective website. So be very specific about what you want, look at your competitors sites for ideas, and decide what you like and what you feel your potential customers will relate to.