Create a Great First Impression with Your Website

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First impressions are meaningless  - said no one ever! Your first impression of basically anything, is the foundation to your relationship with that entity - whether it be a person, a business, a place, or thing. Sure, first impressions are sometimes (almost never) editable - with serious hard work. Or you can just make it right (or do everything you can to make it right!).

How does your website do with landing the best first impression with visitors? Does it push people away or make them stay? And those that stick around, are they the right people to be enticing? Or are they the ones that waste yours and their time because they misunderstood your approach and design and/or build services offered? 

Most websites average a 30-60% bounce rate (read more about how Google defines bounce rate here). That's the percentage of people who leave your website right after viewing the only page that brought them to your site. So imagine that - all that hard work on improving your search ranking results- all those blogs and keyword search - and those visitors just leave right away - likely to never return.

Leave the uncertainty behind. Here are the three questions your visitors value most when deciding to stay or go. 

Is this site credible and trustworthy?

A large study by the Stanford University and Consumer Web Watch, “How Do People Evaluate A Website’s Credibility? Results from a Large Study,” found that “while consumers say they judge on substance, these studies demonstrate that consumers judge on aesthetics, and get distracted by bells and whistles.” The study also demonstrated that features like a privacy policy isn't more important than aesthetics. What exactly does all this mean? Simple. Stay away from fancy shmancy design - especially Flash. Do dress up your site with consistent use of colors (following basic design principles), user friendly layout, and legible typography. Too often, we see the variety of typography and color combinations used can be plugged into a fourth grade PowerPoint presentation - that's not okay - and doesn't add to the credibility.

RELATED: WEBSITES SHOULD DRIVE LEADS

Is this a professional and stable company?

Professional and credible share a thin line with one another. Professional websites are well thought out and executed in details and come together with one holistic view. Think of it as a landscape project. A non-professional landscaper who has won a bid on a patio and pool space might use pavers that aren't installed correctly (so from first glance, they look okay but after moments of use, the poor foundation or improperly set coating will become visible. Or perhaps the combination of pavers don't complement one another - especially in colors or layout. Worse, maybe the patio space is too large or too small and therefore creates an awkward conversation space. Same concept with a professional website. You might love the design (as did this non-professional landscaper), but it has to all come together to provide a cohesive experience for the user - to encourage ongoing viewing. Not sure if your website is displaying the right professional image? Contact us for a free consultation.

Does this site make me feel welcome and am I in the right place?

Keyword research and content help this one. A blog with 100 words (or even 2000 words) and stuffed with the same keywords used over and over again in different variations make visitors feel un-welcomed, confused, and will definitely leave (since they're reading the same thing over and over again!). Content should be written for people first and search engines second. If it's flipped the other way around, then you end up with a ton of traffic (maybe) and zero leads (definitely). How do you know if your content is written for your target customer? With a well thought out keyword strategy. Not all landscaping, architect, or design customers are made the same. Every indoor and outdoor home services company has a slightly different target reach. Changes can be in age range, salary, family size, and of course, locale. Even if the target market is the same, dialects vary by region. In one area, a target group might use backyard quite a bit in their search terms whereas in another area, the same term is often substituted with lawn for some reason. Thorough research of keywords - as well as common problems with your specific target market help create content that is truly interested and enticing for visitors. Top off the approach with an easy navigation system for content, and you have a winning website!

RELATED: KEYWORD RESEARCH, DEMYSTIFIED

 

Learn more about creating the best first impression, increasing the right traffic, and getting more calls with this free download.

-image Flickr Ben Grey