Here are a few things you can be doing to ensure you’re creating the best 'digital' first impression.
If the last 12 months have taught us anything, it is that your website is your digital shop window, when the physical shop window is unable to open.
It is what your website visitor assesses to determine whether they want to make a purchase.
The pandemic has taken this a step forward, as your website now serves as a window into how your company operates.
Around 88% of online consumers are less likely to return after a bad website experience.
But a modern website design can create a very positive first impression.
Visual first impressions can make the difference between losing potential customers forever, or turning them into repeat purchasers.
So, making the most of your website experience should be your highest priority, as we look to finally return to a state of normality.
Here are a few things you can be doing to ensure you’re creating the best digital first impression.
The best way to avoid bad first impressions on your website is to improve your homepage design.
Your website visitors will have a good idea of what they expect your website to look and function like, so deviating away from that could be costly.
Make your website design simple and familiar, but be sure to differentiate with your design to include your brand, personality, and unique selling points.
Great design means that your website visitors will stick around, a poor design creates mistrust and encourages people to leave and never return.
Offering a variety of images or a media gallery can provide your website visitors with visual content they can view to get a fantastic understanding of your company.
Images add an additional dimension and significance to a website visitor’s understanding and interpretation of a business.
These images must be of the highest quality though as pixelated or poor quality imagery can have the reverse effect.
Videos are able to tell a story like no other media and as such can keep your website visitors engaged for longer.
Video consumption has never been higher and the value it can add to your website shouldn’t be overstated.
Whilst website video content has never been more popular, many businesses are still out of the loop, so it offers the ability to stand out from your competitors.
We always recommend that video should be served via a link from Vimeo or YouTube, as video can seriously impede website speed, which leads us on to our next point.
It’s estimated that slow loading websites cost retailers on average £59.6 billion in lost sales each year.
The modern day website visitor is time precious and your website must load almost instantly (Google would say in less than 2 seconds) to have any hope of keeping them on your website.
This would mean that even a 1 second deviation can harm engagement and conversion, so be sure to compress your files and optimise assets to keep those page load speeds down.
One of the quickest ways to frustrate a website visitor and leave a bad impression is to offer confusing navigation.
It is business critical that your website visitors are able to find the information they’re looking for at ease.
Offering a site search facility provides your website visitors with the ability to avoid a menu, giving them the power to search what they’re looking for. Utilising predictive text functionality can avoid spelling errors and improve findability.
So keep the menu and navigation simple, if it is too difficult for you to navigate, chances are your website visitors will too.
The addition of a chatbot or live chat lets visitors instantly know that you can be accessed at any time should they run into any issues.
However, it is very important to notify website visitors when there is nobody around to accept live chat messages or you could end up leaving a bad impression!
Around 85% of people believe that a company’s mobile experience should be even better than a desktop version.
This correlates with the fact that 68.1% of all website visits in 2020 came from mobile devices.
To ensure you’re offering an intuitive experience across all devices, use a simple mobile responsiveness testing tool like Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
Be aware that websites that are not mobile friendly or responsive, by nature are poorly designed and almost instantly ensure a bad impression is left.
It’s easy to say ‘develop engaging content’ and a lot more difficult to actually do it.
Start with your customer and look to understand their needs and challenges and work your way from there.
There are lots of tools you can use to do this, Answer The Public is a personal favourite of mine.
Ensure you use a variety, from blog posts to news articles, video content to emotive imagery, infographics to interactive polls.
If your content is bland and boring, then you’re not giving your website visitors a reason to return.
Your website is your opportunity to ‘wow’ your audience.
Modern day website visitors have high expectations, and if your website leaves a sour taste, there are a bunch of competitors that they can turn to.
A good first impression will lead to a longer visit.
We have seen so many poor websites in the last 12 months lead to tarnished reputations.
But a quality bespoke website can help to extend a company’s influence and help to create leads.
The first second on your website matters more than any that follows.
So make sure that that one second makes the best digital first impression.