This is an old saying but still a true statement. When considering where to go with your website development plan it’s a critical consideration. It’s easy to get sucked into the “glamour” of a beautiful website – but will it keep your potential customer’s interest? One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is to spend money “foolishly” on their first website. I’ve been in this business for more than 10 years now – I’ve seen a lot of really ugly websites – but in all honesty some of the ugliest websites are getting the BEST results! Why? because they carry the CONTENT that the site visitor is seeking and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Content aside though, you want your first time visitors to feel good about taking time to look around. I encourage my clients to consider these 3 points:
1. Content will bring them in.
2. Design will get them to stop for a minute
3. Usability will encourage them to hang around and learn why they should choose YOUR company to meet their needs.
Even I forget the importance of easy navigation some times. If, like me, a person spends much time browsing the web getting around websites becomes second nature but if your target market might (and most do) include people that view the web as a tool and not a passtime, beware – if you make it hard to get around the most beautiful graphics in the world will not keep them there.
To make a good first impression – combine the best of the best:
Make sure your site provides enough information to make them glad they clicked the link to get there.
Make sure your design – color and graphics theme – is appealing to your target market – if you have a broad range of demographics it’s always better to go for “understated elegance” than totally now graphics – it’s just like a job interview – better to have your outfit unnoticed than noticed for all the wrong reasons!
Make it easy to do more than walk in the front door. Don’t try to break out of the box – people are used to some basic navigation tools – if you don’t provide them they might find someone that will. Think about it – no matter how GREAT a restaurant might be – if it’s hard to get there you won’t go nearly as often as you would if it were just around the corner and had plenty of free parking.