A lot of businesses settle for just having an online presence. But it’s not enough to simply be in the race. A recent study at Carleton University in Ottawa revealed that users take less than 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your website. ‘Their first impressions give way to a ‘halo effect’, so if they think the site looks good, they transfer that assessment to its functionality… we have only milliseconds to persuade customers that sites are trustworthy, efficient, and can do what we want them to do.’
Here’s a checklist of some quick and easy tips to really get your website moving.
- Looks matter! A beautiful website with a coordinated colour palette goes a long way. It sounds harsh, but people do judge a book by its cover. Make sure your cover looks professional. You can do this quickly by using a coordinated colour palette and high-quality pictures. These are the first things a user will notice and will instantly add a level of professionalism to your website that text just cannot do.
- Short and sweet. A user shouldn’t have to think to find what they are looking for. No need to use fancy language. Use short, easy-to-understand navigation terms, so they can quickly find what they’re after.
- What’s new? When you visit a website and they haven’t updated their news since March 2011, you start thinking that business isn’t really on top of things. Keep your news up to date and use images where possible – news articles with images are 90% more likely to get viewed than articles without images.
- Are you well liked? People like reassurance they’re doing the right thing. Would you select a restaurant that 5 people liked or that 100 people liked? So encourage everybody you know to like your website on their social networking sites.
- Are you trustworthy? People use your business name, domain name, and your email address to evaluate the legitimacy of your business. Which of these email addresses would you trust more – firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com?
- Is it easy for me to give you my money? When a consumer is ready to pay, it shouldn’t be hard work for them to give you money. They want an obvious and easy way to complete their transaction. Given that the three most popular uses of the interest for business owners was paying bills on suppliers’ websites, buying products and services online, and using internet engines to promote their business, you really want to get this step right.
- What do you do? As previously mentioned, you have 50 milliseconds to tell people what you do. Write your website headline and positioning statement as if you had only 5 seconds to say it.
A website is a powerful business tool. Last year, those with a business website were 53% more likely to experience a revenue increase – 23% saw their revenue rise versus 15% of those without one. They also said positive business changes were more likely a result of having a website than using other promotional media, or a result of utilising both. More than one third (37%) of SMEs with a business website reported it increased customer leads and 34% said it improved their customer interaction. 33% said they enjoyed better conversion of leads to sales, 32% grew their revenue/income as a result, and 30% said it enabled them to compete more effectively. It’s all about how you use your website.
Do all these things for free with MYOB Atlas.