Looks do matter

Written by 1:54 pm Brand Focus, Business, Digital Focus

Ever had an experience like this? You have an appointment at a company that you have never dealt with before. You arrive, on time for your first meeting and press the buzzer at the front door, you wait and wait and wait. You press it again and eventually after what seems like hours, the door clicks and you walk in. You make your way towards the reception counter and there she is, the receptionist. Jaded by years behind the same desk, she has put the absolute bare minimum into her appearance and the only telltale sign that she even works there is the noticeably wrinkled, faded company outfit and scratched name badge. You can instantly tell by her deadpan look that she is beyond bored of her job. She chews gum while doing her nails and is way too busy catching up on Facebook to bother acknowledging that you are even standing there. Eventually, annoyed that you aren’t going away, she looks up at you, unimpressed with the interruption and says, Yes! What do you want? Completely dumbfounded you know in your head that if you hadn’t already committed to the meeting you would have quickly replied, “Yes, you can buzz me out, I’m clearly in the wrong place.”

I’m not sure any boss in his right mind would want a receptionist like that, it would be detrimental for business. Unfortunately, many companies already have this in place and don’t even know it. I’m however not referring to receptionists (you might want to look into that and double-check) but more so, your company website. This is often the first touchpoint a consumer will have with your business and first impressions couldn’t be more crucial. Just like a receptionist is the face of your company, the look of your company website is the digital face and online presence of your business and everything it represents.

With the current pandemic, it makes logical sense that potential customers, are now more than ever, likely to google your business and look at your website before deciding on taking the next step and making contact with you. They will make up their minds up in seconds of landing on your home page, what kind of company you are and how you do business. How you portray your business online couldn’t be more important than at this present moment.

Design is paramount
“A study found that first impressions are 94% design-related.” Experiments have shown that users can judge a web site’s credibility in as little as 3.42 seconds merely based on its aesthetic appeal’. This may sound elementary but you will be surprised how many corporates overlook the basics. An even scarier fact is that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. Unfortunately, you only get one chance at making a great first impression so make it count.

Does your website carry your corporate Identity in terms of logo’s, colours and typography? Having a consistent brand image across all your marketing channels portrays a strong and consistent business. In terms of imagery have you done what everyone else in your sector is doing or have you pushed the thinking a bit further and taken a less predictable route that will set you apart? At the end of the day you are speaking to people, so your imagery should resonate with your consumers and be human-centric. Are those images enticing, engaging or entertaining? Are your images and pages optimised so that your pages don’t take long to load? With the amount of content people consume, patience levels are getting shorter and shorter and people won’t wait around if your website is slow or the links are broken. Do you have video content, studies show consumers are 10 times more likely to interact with video content than text (sorry to all you writers out there). As the home page is generally where their journey will begin, it is one of, if not the most important page on your site and deciding what content resides on there is crucial. What you leave off your page is just as important, don’t try and bombard consumers with information but rather leave room for negative space. This helps the page “breathe” and creates a better user experience in terms of directing people’s attention to the content you want them to see.

Does your website have a beautiful and easy user experience or is it confusing and difficult to navigate? Like any great story, you are taking your customers on a journey, in terms of a beginning (Introducing your business, middle (what services you provide) and end (the step or action you want them to take “contact me” for example). Or is your website just a tsunami of company information plonked on your website that you expect the consumer to wade through to get the relevant information they are seeking? Statistics show that more than half of people who search your website will do so on their phone, have you ever considered this, is your website mobile optimised?

Your competition is probably doing it
Do you need more motivation than that? In isolation, you may think your website is up to scratch but when you get some free time, it might be an idea to have a look at what your competition is doing, you might be in for a nasty surprise. Who knows, they might have taken some business away already. Always try and put yourself in your customer’s shoes when looking at your site and try and be objective. Wouldn’t you rather navigate a beautiful website that functions well and has a smooth user experience versus a dated, ugly and poorly functioning site? A great looking site portrays a professional and competent business and will build a sense of trust with your consumers.

There are many things to consider when building a great looking website, I have briefly touched on a few points but one thing remains true. Looks do matter. Just like the terrible receptionist, make sure that your company website is working for you and not against you.

Ref: The Effect of Aesthetics on Web Credibility

Ref: 27 Eye-Opening Website Statistics: Is Your Website Costing You Clients?

Tags: , , , , Last modified: July 7, 2021