I'm not going to lie; I judge businesses on the quality of their website. And it's not just because I've spent several years of my life writing effective websites. It's because I know quality when I see it. Most users do.
We see something that's out of date, or broken, or takes forever to load, and we might assume that their service is as janky as their site.
Your website only has a few seconds to convince consumers that you're worth a second look. Let’s talk a little bit about why that is and how you can make a great impression.
Users Have Infinite Options
The internet has made the world a very small place. Gone are the days where a business could succeed just because they were the only name in town – at least for the most part.
When I took my cat to the vet to get fixed, I did not take her to the closest vet clinic. I didn't even take her to one in my quadrant of the city. I drove her to a vet clinic that was 40 minutes away from my house. And I did it because that clinic had the best reviews online and the most comprehensive website.
Virtually every market is more competitive than it's ever been before. If you want to bring users in, you have to demonstrate quality and trustworthiness long before a client or customer ever walks through your door.
Users Have Limited Patience
How long does your website take to load? If it's longer than 3 seconds, it's too long. That’s how long an average website user will wait before they leave for another site. Even once your website loads, you still only have about 6 seconds before the user makes a decision about your business.
An effective website makes an impact within a matter of seconds.
How to Survive Past 6 Seconds
I know; these tight timelines feel like trying to defuse a bomb — as if every time someone visits your website, you only have a few seconds before it blows up in your face. The good news is there are few relatively simple ways that you can diffuse that bomb.
Here are a few good starting points:
- Shorten your load time. Optimize your images for the web, avoid video heroes or sliders, and make sure any videos are embedded from third-party sites like YouTube.
- Choose a modern design. It could be a custom build or a WordPress template. Use colors, textures, and design elements that don't feel outdated. For instance: in 2021, clean lines, negative space, sans serif fonts, and simplistic iconography are very popular.
- Say less. Digital users don't expect digital media to be flowery, ornate, or sophisticated. They expect something friendly, informal, and straightforward. As a general rule, try to aim for a 7th-grade reading level.
User Behavior is the Most Important Element of Website Creation
In many ways, it doesn't matter how pretty your website is or how well it's written. If it takes too long to load, or if the user has to scroll too far to read it, it's basically all for naught. Put your best foot forward on your site and give the user what they're looking for right away. Chances are pretty good they'll reward you with their business.
Learn even more about making your practice look good online with this free guide: