Company Websites – Why First Impressions Matter

A sticky note pinned a to a board with the words "Make a good first impression"

Make it a priority that your website makes a good first impression

For companies that want to establish themselves or rebrand online, a well-designed and functional website cannot be emphasised enough. It’s surprising, however, how many businesses still overlook this crucial aspect of their online presence.

Case Study: Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth

Recently, we were invited to tender a web management proposal for a medium-sized company that had been steadily expanding within its market. Over the past three years, their online sales have shown consistent growth, culminating in a successful year in 2005. Visiting their office for a presentation on SEO services and website development, I was struck by the simple yet stylish elegance of their offices. The ambience held a touch of Japanese aesthetic, presenting a harmonious blend of style and comfort.

Website Analysis

Before the meeting, I had thoroughly evaluated their website. The initial impact was interesting – a chaotic mishmash reminiscent of a first-year web project. The site featured pop-up windows, erratic flash banners, placeholders claiming pages were under construction, and text that seemed to have a mind of its own, literally flying off the page. The colour palette, a yellowish hue resembling recycled parchment, and the occasional absence of textual content only added to the impression of disarray.

Despite this, the company was performing reasonably well within the search engine results pages (SERPs). Their services; aimed at the property market were sought after, and offline were in the process of establishing a decent reputation. It emerged that numerous individuals, including staff members and even the IT Department, had contributed to the website’s development daily. Initially, a local company had been responsible for the site’s construction, charging a small amount – a classic example of “you get what you pay for.”

Your Website is Your Shop Window on the Web

During the presentation, I highlighted these issues to the company’s director. I encouraged them to consider the impact of the site’s appearance not only on their visitors but on their reputation. Their brand and the quality of their offerings were being undermined by an ineffective website.

I emphasised the need for a complete overhaul – a website that mirrored their professionalism. The site should seamlessly integrate its branding, offer a user-friendly experience, and include a content management system for effortless updates without compromising aesthetics. Additionally, I advised that the marketing department, rather than the IT department, should spearhead the website’s management.

Visitor first impressions

Understanding the first impressions and how a visitor views your website is crucial to your online success. Researchers have revealed that individuals form aesthetic judgments within a mere 20th of a second of visiting a webpage – an incredibly brief window that can make or break a visitor’s engagement. Negative first impressions can swiftly lead to visitor disengagement, potentially resulting in lost opportunities.

Make Your Online Presence a Priority

Long-term planning and strategy are essential for sustaining a powerful online presence. Businesses should avoid falling into the trap of delegating their websites and online properties to IT departments or settling for pre-packaged solutions. Rather, the website should be an extension of the brand, guided by sound marketing principles and seamlessly integrating the company’s objectives.

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