Have you ever bought something online only to find out that the product or service had been misrepresented? Often what is marketed to us is not an accurate representation of reality.
One of my favorite episodes of The Middle gives a humorous example of this. Patricia Heaton's character, Frankie Heck, decides to buy herself a brand new dining room table. She finds one online for just $50 and anxiously awaits its arrival only to discover what she actually bought was a dining room table for a dollhouse!
For small businesses, we often see this scenario in reverse.
Many small business owners forget that the first impression they’re making is online. Within a few quick seconds during a Google search or scrolling your site on their smart phone, your potential customers have already developed an opinion about you.
Often, instead of representing the quality of goods or services small businesses provide, their company website falls short in these three key areas.
Are there spelling errors, formatting issues, or bad or broken links on your site? If you pull up your URL on a smart phone or tablet, do all the tabs and buttons function properly? Is the text legible?
Probably the most important question to ask is if your website properly represents you. If it’s the first “face” potential customers will see, does it look like and sound like what you want them to see and hear?
Is your website organized well? Information like your email, phone number, and physical address need to be easy to find not buried three tabs in.
What’s the number one reason people need to visit your website? Is that information easy to find? If you offer online booking or online sales, this is crucial. If you don’t tell them what they need to know quickly, website viewers will give up and move on.
Users make their decision to stay or leave your website within 10 to 20 seconds. Nielsen Norman Group reports, “To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.”
And if you’re missing a clear call to action (like a button with “sign-up," “subscribe,” “order now,” or “call us”), you could be missing out.
The third area of key importance is the attractiveness of your website.
Unlike Frankie’s dollhouse dining room table, which was inaccurately portrayed like the life-size version, you want your website to correctly showcase who you are and the value you bring to the marketplace. You just can’t do that with a poorly organized or outdated website.