This might seem like an odd question to ask but the whole point of an effective website comes down to questions like this. A website is your storefront, your initial point of contact with the world, your first impression. So does it make the customer walk through the virtual door to find out more? More importantly, did they even find the door in the first place?
So let’s put it another way, does it work for you or does it seem like it works against you?
Merely having a website doesn’t guarantee results any more than owning a car means that you can be Formula One driver. But the right car, with the right engine and the right tuning up, certainly gives you a massive head start. Your website needs to do more than just exist, it needs to do more than just function, it needs to perform and do so better than the competition. Putting the failing car analogies aside, what it needs to do is attract visitors, educate them and convince them that they not just want but need your products or services.
Today’s internet is social and interactive and so your website has to be just as switched on, just as connected, just as dynamic. To be effective it must now encompass search facilities, social media, enticing content, personal blogs as well as professional but above all be user friendly.
Flashy graphics that used to temporarily boost sales are, thankfully, a thing of the past but your website still has to look great. After all, you want the customer to stop long enough to find out more about you. This may sound obvious but yet there are still so many ugly websites out there all falling to lure the customer in or that simply aren’t functional.
And when you do lure the potential buyer in that initial first impression needs to answer so many questions in a single glance. Is this site reputable? Is it trustworthy? Is this company professional and stable? Do I feel comfortable? Does this site make me feel welcome? In short… Am I in the right place?
Whilst people will always say that they judge on results, studies have shown that subconsciously they judge on aesthetics. Adding all manner of technical whistles and bells might seem impressive but they are really just distracting, what is actually far more important is a concise and welcoming first impression.
A great website uses the right colours, highlights the important elements, avoids gizmos and gadgets, is easily navigated, employs unfussy fonts and striking and relevant images.
But of course, none of those elements which help to create a good first impression matter if the customer doesn’t find their way to you in the first place and this is down to a concept called Search Engine Optimisation (which we will now just refer to as S.E.O to save space.)
S.E.O is perhaps the most important part of your web strategy. It revolves around concepts such as your site containing keywords being used in the most common search enquiries, it ensures that your page has the most enticing titles and tags, in ensures easy navigation and it keeps your site relevant and sought after.
Perhaps another analogy. Successful S.E.O. is the equivalent of having an elegant shopfront on the busiest part of the High Street, complete with complimentary coffee and the smell of scented candles wafting through the air. Poor S.E.O means that you share a basement with a fake watch dealer on an industrial estate on the edge of town accessed through an unmarked door behind the wheelie bins.
So the customer has found you, your pages are attractive enough and informative enough to have stopped them clicking onwards to check out a rival site. So what now? Well, there is a reason that we keep using words such as enticing and engaging. You have got them through the door, now you need to keep them here long enough to convince them that you are the only company who can offer them exactly what they need.
But this isn’t a sales pitch, or if it is, it is perhaps one that they take in subtly with really realising, a form of business osmosis perhaps. Remember, not every customer is ready to buy straight away. Just as with real shops many will just be window shopping, some might be just comparing your business against the competition, some might not really be sure of what they actually need and they are looking for more information, some might have just come in to get out of the rain.
This is why your content needs to be informative, accessible, entertaining and there’s that word again, engaging. This might take the form of instructional articles, demonstration videos, useful images, more conversational blogging entries, testimonials, everything that helps walk the customer gently from the door to the point of sale. You can’t make them take that walk but a great website is the perfect series of stepping stones.
And even if they don’t buy on this visit, and the vast majority won’t, you are ready to start building your relationship with them. Can they leave their e-mail address so that you can send them follow-up information? Do they like your Facebook page so that they stay up-to-date with any announcements? Would they appreciate a phone call from an actual, real human being to help them understand what your business has to offer?
You may not have made a sale but you have one more person who knows where you are, who perhaps will return for more information, suggest your business to a friend or secure that sale. All of that happened just on the strength of you having built an effective website in the first place. All of that happened whilst you were asleep or watching The One Show or sunning yourself in the Algarve.
Isn’t technology clever?
So you have to ask yourself, what first impression is your website giving your potential customers? Is it time you contact SN1 Digital to find out how can help make cost-effective changes to your website. If so, please use the form here to get a no-obligation quote or to just say Hi 😊