Here at Bayard, we are very experienced at creating websites for all types of companies. Nowadays, with the Internet being almost everyone’s primary resource, you would assume that companies would realize how important a tool their website is for communicating with their customers and potential customers. However, after browsing a variety of sites, we have often found that some corporations have spent inadequate time creating an effective webpage.
How big a deal is a company’s webpage anyway? HUGE! Let’s take a second to point out some of the main advantages of a good website.
You only get one first impression, so you better make it a good one, since that initial notion will stick with your customer. When people are looking to find out more about a company, they will usually go to the website to learn more. Since the site is the only tangible piece of the company that the customer is able to experience at the time, the customer will base their opinion off of what they view. For example, if a business has a very eloquent, straightforward, and well put together website, a customer is more likely to understand the business’ offerings and feel comfortable doing business with them, compared to viewing a subpar website. According to studies by Chao Liu and colleagues from Microsoft Research, Users often leave Web pages in 10–20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer. The study states the following:
It’s clear from the chart that the first 10 seconds of the page visit are critical for users’ decision to stay or leave. The probability of leaving is very high during these first few seconds because users are extremely skeptical, having suffered countless poorly designed Web pages in the past. People know that most Web pages are useless, and they behave accordingly to avoid wasting more time than absolutely necessary on bad pages.
If the Web page survives this first — extremely harsh — 10-second judgment, users will look around a bit. However, they’re still highly likely to leave during the subsequent 20 seconds of their visit. Only after people have stayed on a page for about 30 seconds does the curve become relatively flat.1
How many times have you struggled on a website to find the necessary information you were looking for? Keeping your webpage organized and easily navigable promotes a better user experience on your page, and allows your customers to form a closer understanding of your business. This especially stands true for businesses that have a lot of close competitors. When a potential customer runs across your page via a search engine such as Google, they aren’t going to spend a ton of time searching for their required information. Instead, if they can’t quickly find what they are looking for, they will commonly give up and move onto a competitor’s website (the next one down on the search engine). Wal-Mart recently created a new recruitment website, and Corporate Recruiting VP Mike Grennier says the following about their site, “It wanted something clean and simple, with as few clicks as possible. It wanted to improve the candidate experience, reduce the time it takes to navigate the site, and make sure people are captured, not lost before they leave.”2 Simply, failing to create a logical and easy layout for your site will result in lost potential customers.
Less is sometimes more
One reason the Internet has become so popular is it allows us to access information quickly and efficiently. The key here is speed. No customer goes on a website looking forward to reading heaps and heaps of information. They want to get in and get out as quickly as possible, while finding the sought after information to answer their questions. Don’t spend lots of time putting fluff and excessive information on your site, because chances are your customers don’t care. They want their question answered as quickly as possible, and don’t want to weed out a lot of extra words in the process. I’m not saying that detailed communication is always a bad thing, and in fact, can be comforting to a potential customer, but the site needs to be laid out in a manner where they get to decide for themselves if they would like to go through the given information.
A website is the easiest place to gather information about a business, but it is not the only place. A website can often feel impersonal and distant from the actual company, and a customer may want the comfort of talking to a representative to answer their questions, or visiting the “store” to see the place for themselves. It is thus essential to provide contact information for your company in an easy to find location on your site. If a customer is taking the time to personally reach out to you, then chances are they are quite interested in what you’re offering.
The task of setting up a successful company website may seem daunting, but there are so many resources out there today to help with the challenge such as website templates and guides to creating a site. Also, taking a look at several companies’ pages will give you a better understanding of aspects you like and dislike in a webpage. Here is a link to a helpful article that goes more in depth with the steps of creating the perfect site: http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/designing-tutorials/9-essential-principles-for-good-web-design/