Before going any further, it has to be pointed out once again the root of the perception problem.
According to scientists, technology has helped reduce the average human attention span to less than 8 seconds, less than that of a goldfish. (Source: Telegraph UK)
It’s safe to assume that, if you aren’t hooked to read the rest of this article, that you will be clicking away in 3…2…1.
The Web is Everything
Well, not really. But, studies show that most people use the Web to research a new company first and foremost.
A 2014 study by the AMA shows that consumers visit a company’s website first to research product information 52% of the time. (Source: AMA)
So, does your website provide ample information about your company to consumers in a manner that keeps their attention? Or, are they leaving frustrated…not just with your website, but your company a a whole?
The Eye Test
First off, let’s do a quick eye test.
- Go to your company website.
- Count to ten while viewing your site.
Done? OK…now answer these questions…
- Did your site load within 2-3 seconds?
- Could you find your contact information quickly?
- Did you find an actionable statement or reason to keep browsing?
Now, I know its easy for you to find this information on your site because its your company. But, if none of the above questions were easy for you to answer, imagine the frustration of a consumer visiting your website for the first time.
The Need for Speed
It’s not too far fetched to think of your website as a bus that will explode if it gets below 55 MPH…really. With the increasing efficiency of high speed internet nowadays, users have become accustomed to fast-loading websites.
Did your website perform well in the loading test we did earlier?
If not, that should be priority number 1. Not only is a slow-loading website a huge deterrence for users, but it also negatively affects your ranking in popular search engines.
So, how do you speed up your site? Here are a few steps you can take…
If you use WordPress, install a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. These plugins help speed up your site by storing site files (images, content, etc…) on a user’s computer for quick reloading while browsing.
Many ISPs also offer caching services as part f your hosting package. Check with your ISP for more information.
Put Your Site on a Diet
Large images? Boated code? Unnecessary files? Your site may need to go on a diet. Does your site use large images that are being resized by the browser on load? Take the time to re-size these images to a more manageable size. This will reduce load times.
Check for Errors
Images that are no longer available? Code errors? These can also add to load times. Thoroughly check your site for errors or unavailable images/files.
Check Site Speed
There are several services that will allow you to check your site’s speed and compare it to other websites.
Does Your Website Do Its Job?
As stated above, your website is the informational front door of your business. You should be clearly stating your services and product offerings. Contact information and locations should be easily accessible.
No “Company Speak”
One of the biggest deterrents for a consumer is a website that uses heavy “company speak.” This is industry-specific language or terminology that most normal visitors would not understand. Keep your content concise and readable for every user. No unnecessary industry babble. You understand it, but it doesn’t mean that your users do.
Speak in terms that your visitors will understand.
Can They Contact You?
As your website is usually the first step a visitor takes to research your company, they many times look to contact you for more information. Can they find your phone number, email address or physical address easily? Do you have a working contact form? These are easy fixes to make your site more usable, but are many times seen as a low priority.
Make your information concise and give users multiple, easy ways to contact you.
Mobile. Mobile. Mobile.
Mobile website usage continues to rise. Over half of internet traffic nowadays is via some form of mobile device. So, is your site compatible on phones and tablets? It better be.
A responsive website is one that offers much of the same information as a desktop site, but is easily viewable on a mobile device as well. Text is easier to read on a small screen. Unnecessary images are hidden. Contact information is upfront, allowing users to e-mail or call your company directly from their device.
Check your website on mobile devices (both phones and tablets) ASAP. Make any re-design of your site to be more usable on mobile a top priority. It not only affects the experience of around half of your users, it can also affect your search engine ranking as well. Mobile is the future of the web. Don’t fall behind.
Don’t know where to begin with your mobile website? We can help.
We only skimmed the surface of many issues affecting perception of you company via the Web. The good thing is that many of the issues highlighted above are easy to fix.
Your website’s sole focus should be to lead the consumer to the information they are looking for in a clear and concise manner. If your site is an enjoyable and easy viewing experience, chances are the user will continue to browse. At minimum, they will leave your site with a positive perception of your company and its offerings.
Next in our series “The Perception Problem,” we look at the issue of search results and online reviews.