The Value of a Good Website
By: Chris Kujawa
November, 14, 2018
I remember several years back talking to an electrician friend of mine about building him a website as he was looking to strike out on his own. In that conversation, he told me that all his colleagues were telling him that if you do not have a website, you are not going to make it. And I somewhat agree with that statement. In my own search for skilled contractors, the first place I turn to is Google. But I think you will agree when I say that not all websites are created equally. In fact, it only takes a person 50 milliseconds to make a value judgment on your site. So not only do first impressions count, they happen in less time that it will take you to finish reading this sentence! So how do we make the most of that first instant when someone visits our site? Read on to find out.
Credibility is Vital
I’ve seen several blog posts now that reference a Stanford study that claims that 75% of the people visiting your website will make a judgment on your company’s credibility based on the site’s design. Full disclosure—I’ve tried to go find that specific study myself and have not been able to—though Stanford does offer a page with guidelines on how to generate credibility—and we’ll get there. If ¾ of the people visiting your site determine they don’t trust your company based on a 50ms glance at the site, that is potentially a lot of lost revenue. That’s a strong argument for investing in your online presence if I’ve ever heard one. Let’s look at how we can do that.
First and foremost, your website should feature a clean, modern design that represents your brand. It should be catchy and make you stand out (in a positive way) from the crowd. If your site looks like something straight from the early 1990’s, people will think you aren’t keeping up with the times and move on. This category includes typography, color scheme, and quality photography among other things. It should all work well together to make a sharp impression of your company on the viewer.
Another major consideration that is at least as important as eye appeal is mobile design. With an ever-growing percentage of your traffic coming from users on cell phones and tablets, if your site doesn’t well on those devices, you’ve got issues. When a user visits your site from their phone, the site should be optimized for that device. They should not have to pinch, zoom, and scroll to see what you’re offering. That can ultimately lead to them leaving in frustration—and it’s easily avoidable.
Security of the site is another major concern—especially if you’re accepting online payments. Your customer’s information should be kept secure. In fact, if your website accepts text input of any kind (login panels, contact forms, search bars, etc.) and it is not using SSL (i.e., your site is using http://) then Google Chrome is flagging the website as “unsafe” since the release of version 62. That flag erodes trust (i.e. credibility) and ultimately your brand power. Again, this is something a professional web developer can easily fix for little to no cost.
One final thought here: avoid cookie cutter templates and themes. Anyone can buy (or not) one of these and slap a logo on it. But then your site looks just like the sites of thousands of others that have done the same thing. By investing in a professionally designed website, you stand out from the crowd. Additionally, you can customize every aspect of your site to make sure it fully represents your company in a way that ties in with all your other marketing materials. Finally, you can add unique functionality and flare to your site that can really grab your visitor’s attention
Let’s face it: content is king! It can serve to establish your brand as a powerhouse in your industry—or not. Things like a lack of easily locatable contact info, broken links, and hard to find product/service information make a user doubt that your company is ready and able to serve them.
On the positive side of things, making that information easily accessible builds your potential clients’ confidence in you. Additionally, adding client testimonials and client lists also help build confidence as people see how pleased others are with your product. Finally, blog content that contains regularly updated information that is relevant to your industry can really help establish you as an authority in your industry.