Today we have a guest post from Max Emelianov. Max started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.
First impressions are everything, especially online. But is your website making the right one for your brand?
The importance of making a good first impression, especially online, cannot be understated. Modern consumers are bombarded with an overwhelming volume of information on a daily basis, to the point that we’ve very little attention to spare for any one site. What that means for you is that if your website doesn’t wow someone right from the start, they’re likely going to end up taking their business elsewhere.
“Your company’s website is today’s business card,” explains PR professional Jason Dodge. “More often than not, your website is a prospect’s first introduction to your brand. Is it a positive experience?”
Let’s take a bit of time to stop and consider what sort of impression your website may be making — and what you can do if it’s a bad one.
Bar none, the most important component of any website is that it’s easy to use. If a website is slow to load or frustrating to navigate, most people aren’t going to take the time to soldier through it. They’re just going to go to a competitor’s website, and hope that it’s better-designed than yours.
“A recent study presented evidence that 94% of participants rejected a small business website due to design flaws,” reads a Wheelhouse Advisors post. "Poor navigation is one of the leading causes of website bounce rates.... [Good navigation] has to be automatic. Instinctive. The more you enhance your usability and organization, the more user-friendly your website’s design will be.”
With that in mind, there are a few design rules every site should generally follow:
- Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm the user with choices, and avoid crowded navigation menus.
- Design your information architecture based on the pages you need, your target audience, what content you might produce in the future, and your primary goals.
- Orient things in a way that’s intuitive — in a way that makes sense.
- Stay abreast of modern design trends like single-page navigation. Failure to keep up could lead to your site looking outmoded or archaic.
Everything about your site, from the typeface to the colors down to your business’s logo, should be designed to inspire a particular reaction from your users. People respond pretty much immediately to color — it’s the first thing they notice. For that reason, I’d advise doing a bit of research into the most popular website color schemes in your industry, as well as the connotations different colors might have.
Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about your logo itself. Although color is the first thing people notice on your site, your corporate logo is the second. You thus need to think very carefully about the sort of message you want to convey — a playful logo might have cartoonish imagery and a large font, while one that’s meant to convey innovation might look artistic, intricate, or unusual.
Think of your website as something of a business card. It’s the first impression most of your online customers will have of your brand. If that impression isn’t a good one, you will lose out on leads.