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Importance of the first look of a website
When people are on the net, they are not looking for you. They are just looking. They may pass you by or they may stop for a second look. The second look comes only when the first look has impressed. So, what do we do to impress and make people stay? No, it’s not looking glossy, sorry. It’s looking ‘right’.
Please remember, your potential customers are not ‘browsing’- they are ‘searching’. They are not idle teenagers looking for glam and gossip. They have a need and are searching for the best person who can help them meet that need. That is why it is important to look ‘right’ – you have to look like the person who can help.
So, what makes you look right? Here are few simple things that can do the trick. You can choose to use all, a combination of a few, or maybe just use the one that you believe will make you shine:
What is it that you do? Most people get so caught up in making their website looking trendy or informative that they forget the basic rule of first meetings – introducing yourself. Most people coming to your site are new. They don’t know who you are of what you do. So, speak out. Loud and clear. Use a descriptor under your logo, or use a clear catchy headline. Just say what is it that you do and why you do it best. This is the most important point in looking right – with your intro people will know whether you might be of any use or not.
What is your core strength? A damsel in distress does not run into just anybody’s arms. She chooses the strongest and most reliable. Let your strength shine. Is it your unique products or services? The quality? Your innovations? Is it your prices? Your number of clients? Famous clients? Awards? Or maybe its your business model? Whatever it is, pick one, just the one and no more please thank you, and highlight that one core strength. This helps you to stand out from the competition and gets you into the consideration set. This is your chance to advertise and say run into my arms because these arms are simply the best.
What is the feeling you exude? This is where you dress pretty and look nice. However, your looks have to exude a certain personality at this point. The general look of the website should say something about the company behind the website. Are you just any other company or are you a company with your own mind and opinions? Remember, people always choose someone with an opinion. No one like an anybody, you have to be somebody. However, this is not a matter of attractive pictures, high tech graphics, alluring text and typography. It’s a matter of strategic decision. Which somebody do you want to become? If you have a strong personality and ‘people should just go and rot if they don’t agree to me’ personality, you are more than welcome to wear that on your sleeve. Trust me, it works. Some may hate you, but most will love you. However, for most companies it is about strategically deciding who they are trying to woo and dressing up to match their taste. This too works – you just have to make sure that you are not faking it too much, because if you are found out, you will not just loose a client, you will loose the possibility of getting any new ones – social media not only has ears, it has a loud mouth too!
Will you look after me if I come to you? All searchers are insecure. Remember, they need something from you. That makes them insecure and they are spending their time browsing out of that insecurity – they are trying their best not to make a mistake. They don’t want to go to someone for help who might not give them enough attention. They want someone who will give them their full attention and will make sure that their needs are met fully and completely. That is why people coming onto your site want to know in their very first glance whether you are targeting small clients or big ones, whether you would be genuinely interested to take their business or just have them for the sake of some added revenue? You can go and spell it out for everyone and add a sub headline saying how you serve the top firms of the state or how you welcome all small and medium entrepreneurs, how you serve only the CBD or how to supply to the deepest suburbs. Or, you can decide to leave a subtle hint. People usually read subtle hints very well.
How easily can I know more about you? If possible, please make a serious effort to give options for details on all relevant search queries on the landing page itself without anyone having to scroll down or up. If you are a furniture company, there should be clear tabs saying ‘office furniture’ ‘garden furniture’ ‘bedroom furniture’ or however you want to club it. If you are a grocery then just by landing on your page I must be able to see whether you supply veggies, fruits, milk, and all things grocery. In short, you have to lay yourself bare to all at the very first glance.
A little too much to fit into the very first impression of a landing page? Not really, if you think strategically. Put up a picture and let it speak volumes for you. Use a simple crisp headline saying the rest. Smart tabs on the top or bottom about your full range of services and your portfolio completes the task. The rest is up to the actual quality of your content. Keep it short, simple, intelligent and genuine and you will find people almost never leaving too early.
The reason for the stress on the first look is because it the first look is the most unforgiving. Research, done my Microsoft and other research firms, shows that most people leave within the first 10 seconds! They stay to browse through and make an enquiry only if you can make them stay beyond the first 59 seconds. However, let’s catch up on content, retention and conversion later on other days over other short coffee breaks. Till then, polish up that first look! Best of luck and cheers.