Why treating your website as an afterthought can stall your business before it starts

Don't Make Your Website an Afterthought

The latest statistics suggest that it will take visitors to your site all of 4 seconds to decide if they want to stay or move on. And that’s down from the last study which put the number at 8 seconds. On the web, first impressions count – a lot! That’s why it continues to surprise me when businesses treat their website as an afterthought. You simply can’t think that way anymore. When I ask would-be clients about their current websites, I typically hear some variation of this response: “I just needed to throw something up there quickly.” Ouch!

Your Website is the Face of Your Business

You wouldn’t go to a business meeting in bell bottom jeans and a tie dye shirt (unless you were very certain the theme of the meeting was “remember the 60’s“). Don’t “dress” your website in outdatedĀ  styles either. And it’s not just about looks. It’s about content, credibility and positive user experience. Remember that for many of your clients, your website will be the only connection they have to your business. If it fails to impress, it may well be the last time they consider doing business with you. Think of it this way: if your website is well constructed, looks professional and polished and is easy to use, it won’t matter if you are actually working out of a broom closet. Why? Because your website gives you the credibility of a well established, successful business. That’s what you really want isn’t it? But here’s the danger. It works the other way too. If you are a long established business with an impressive client list, a poorly designed and executed website will erode your credibility. See where I’m going with this?

Your Website is Huge Part of Your Marketing Effort

It’s true, and a bit surprising, that many business owners still don’t get the power of the Internet and the importance of a website. Why else would they “throw something up there quickly“? If you’re a start up or a new company still writing a business plan, make your website part of the plan. Budget for it. How much should you budget? Hard to say but you should be talking to a web professional early in the process to get a handle on the cost. If you don’t see clients at your office or facility then I would say this. Take the money you might spend on a fancy chair and expensive desk – which your clients will never see – and add it to your website budget. Not only will your clients see your website, they will judge you by it.

The Tragedy of Underestimating Your Website

Here’s why I call it a tragedy.You’ve spent countless hours planning, thinking, forecasting, hoping. You’ve spent hard earned money on equipment, office space, employees. Then you launch a website that squanders the precious 4 seconds you have to make a first impression. That’s a tragedy.

Summary

  • Understand your website is the face of your business
  • Understand your website is a very powerful marketing tool
  • Make your website part of your business plan from the beginning. Don’t treat it as an afterthought.
  • Budget for it. Make a web design professional part of your early discussions so you will always have a realistic idea about the cost

Is your website an effective expression of your business? What’s the feedback been?

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