Imagine you are setting up shop on a street in your neighborhood, and wherever you look, another shop is selling the same products and services.

This is what it is like for businesses on the web. How can you stand out from the crowd?

Your website visitors use search engines and links from social media to find what they need.  To help your website stand out from the competition, your SEO may provide well written page titles and descriptions, create PPC campaigns, and set up My Google Business and Yelp pages.

When someone arrives to your website, it is important to be ready to meet them and show them around. It’s the same as if you were on that busy street vying for the attention of potential customers.

What can you do to make a powerful first impression?

Clear Away the Clutter

On the web, when someone arrives to a web page, studies indicate they decide to stay in five seconds or less.

In those first few seconds, they need to know if they arrived at the right place. They want to know if the product, information or service is what they are searching for.

Five seconds may stretch to 10 seconds if the page loads quickly, the header contains the brand and main navigation menu and text is placed near the top of the page, such as a heading, that introduces the website.

Many things go wrong during this introduction. The most common is simply too much content to see all at once.

This is why image carousels lost popularity. People did not wait for each picture to load to understand what the website offered. Search engines ignored this valuable section of the web page too.

Know Your Purpose

Start out by organizing your thoughts and ideas.  Feel free to brainstorm, look at other websites for design ideas and do competitive research. When you create a list of goals and plans for your website, they become your foundation and help you stay on track and focused.

The most successful websites know their purpose for being online.

What are the goals for your business?  How do you wish to meet the goals of your online visitors?

What makes your business stand out?

For example, if you are a local medical provider, what types of information do you want prospective patients to know about your practice?  How well do you understand what they are looking for and how they are searching for it, such as their mobile device or laptop?

Are they at work or at home when they need your service? Can they get emergency help? Do you accept new patients? Can they download forms to bring in with them?

Do patients refer you? What does your business look like on the inside and outside? Is it wheelchair accessible?

Tips for Improving Your Message

Persuasive website design focuses on presenting the value proposition when and where website visitors look for it.  This is typically at the top of a web page but there are plenty of other opportunities to gain trust, interest and conversions.

Here are some ideas:

  • Instead of using the term “services” or “products” in the main navigation, add a descriptive word or category to communicate in seconds what type of services or products are offered. For example, “pet sitting services”, “exercise equipment products”, “discount antique furniture”, etc.

  • Show expertise by providing clues inside the content. This can be the year the company was founded, or how many years in business, or highlighting skilled staff, or presenting research data on specific products.

  • Remove the focus on you. Your web visitors are interested in what you have for them. They look for your empathy and acknowledgement of their needs.

  • Solve problems. This is a key value proposition. There are many creative ways to illustrate how your business provides solutions. This may be a video demo, podcast or video interview, blog article, testimonials or how-to instructions available to download.

  • Address your target audience by identifying them within your text. For example, “homeowners ask for”, “dog lovers choose”, “freelance writers tested these tools” etc.

  • Provide an immediate clarity of content in page titles and section headings. People scan these first.

  • Clearly label actions you wish visitors to take.

  • When presenting an action step within content, be sure to link to that page or task so that your visitor can choose to go see it at that moment, rather than waiting for later. (And they may not return to that spot.)

  • Remind readers what sets you apart from the competition. Perhaps it is your established brand, or unusual skills, or specific specialization in your field. List at least 3 bullet points near the top of a webpage to highlight them.

  • Write content in brief paragraphs, with subheadings that break up large sections of text and add images carefully chosen to illustrate or validate the topic.

On the web, many of the protocols we use in person are easy to emulate on websites.

When we want to make a great first impression we may pick up the clutter in our environment, put on new clothes, stand up straighter, smile more, and be on our best behavior.

For websites, good grammar, a clean and organized page layout, professional pictures, clearly labeled tasks, buttons and links and warm colors are design techniques used to make a great impression online.

Try new ideas to see what works for you.

Have questions or want more information? Please contact us today.