How Fast Does Your Homepage Communicate What You Do?

In his book “You Sold Me at Hello:  How to Get People to Buy Without Being a Salesman” business management and sales expert Doug Johnson says you’ve got 10 words or 10 seconds to make an impression. He isn’t holding a stopwatch, but his point is that you have very little time to impact your prospect.

Remember in my last blog when I said, “What is your logo worth? Is a first impression important? Is a lasting impression important? If the people who make the decision whether to do business with you are given one impression of your business, will your logo leave a positive, powerful, lasting impression? The first impression you make may be the only impression you get a chance to make.”? The same holds true for your homepage of your website. Ask yourself if there something there to capture your prospect’s interest quickly, beyond that first 3-5 seconds.

It’s not about being flashy or stylish. It’s about interesting content that’s relative to what you are selling. Something flashy or stylish will impact your viewer by getting their attention. But after you get their attention you have to keep their attention. The content of your website is critical to your success in doing that.

It should be true that we know more about what we offer than anyone else. But that doesn’t mean that we know how to say it the most effectively.  Hiring a professional to work with you on your content may be some of the most cost-effective money you ever spend on building your business. An expert may not know your business as well as you do, but they do know how to communicate the message you provide better than you do because their expertise is in communication.

Have you google-ized your SEO (search engine optimization)? Okay, “google-ized” is a term of my own creation, but it’s important to know that Google is the standard for searches on the internet. Optimizing your website for search engines is important to make sure you get the most impact from web searches. It’s also important to make sure that your SEO is geared towards Google since that is the standard and the most used search engine. It will increase your success on the internet.

Ever tried to find a place when given poor directions? That’s what it’s like on some websites. It is important to have a well organized, easy to navigate website.  You may know where everything is on the site, but can the average person who’s never seen it before easily find things? Does it make sense to the average user?  Most websites do not. They are not user-friendly. This is another area where professional help is really important. We often forget that the person we are speaking or writing to does not have the knowledge that we do. We have to make it easy for them to find things.  Your site should be intuitive, easy to use. The more friendly your site is, especially to a novice, the better. You cannot make it too simple.  And simplicity will help assure success.

And don’t forget to have a lead capture device that will allow you to get information for follow up. If someone visits your site and you get this information you have an opportunity to follow up and increase your chances of a sale.

All too often people overload their websites. Either they have too many visuals to “impress” people (which often means they don’t have much content or don’t know how to present it), or they have too much content.  We tend to talk too much when we’re selling. Use as few words as possible to get your message across. You don’t have to answer every question on your website.  You have to create an interest that will cause your prospect to want to contact you to find out more. By keeping a good balance of visuals and content you can educate and encourage your prospect so that they will seek more information. And when they do you can have personal contact with them which will increase your chances of making the sale.  Don’t forget that your website won’t make the sale for you. Your website is there to drive people to personal contact, which is where the sale is made.

Not everyone knows how to dress well. Not everyone knows how to decorate a house well. In fact, most people have difficulty doing things that require visual taste.  Yet if your website is not nice to look at you send a message that you really don’t care. Ugly is a turnoff. Pleasant, appealing sites draw people in and send the message that what you have to say is important. It’s much like how you dress.  When you dress nicely you are non-verbally telling your prospect that they’re important and you’re glad to be there. How you “dress” your website sends the same message.

Don’t be something you’re not. The visual style of your website should match the look and feel of your industry. It would make no sense for a company selling window coverings to use a Star Trek style for their website. Match your industry to the style and you will increase the effectiveness of your site.

Websites have become the norm in business today. Very few businesses are without websites, yet few websites are effective. It doesn’t take a huge amount of money to make your website its most effective. It takes careful thought, planning, and often professional help in a few areas. When you do this you turn the chances of effectiveness from poor to great.