| Branding, Design Basics, Web Design

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In my last post, I talked about first impressions as they had to do with physical spaces, such as your office or storefront. When I tweeted about the blog post I asked: When Does A First Impression Start? Many people responded to me (without reading the article) that first impressions start with your web site.

@jesch30 Responded to When Does A First Impression Start? with: “The first glimpse of a website”

In this internet-focused world, web sites have trumped the business card, or logo as the key brand identity element for making a great first impression.

Of course there are times when we meet someone from a business face-to-face first, such as at a networking event. But the reality is that for many of us our first response when hearing about a new company is to check out their web site.

We  immediately make web site first impressions based on:

  • How easy it was to find: Is their business name the URL itself or did I have to Google-around to figure out which was the right web site.
  • The first look at the web site itself.

I don’t think any of this is too much of a surprise. We all go through this exercise of checking out every thing, every one, every company, every product first on the Internet. But what pains me is to hear the backlash against design. I read about how elements such as search engine optimization or conversion rates are more critical to your web site success. I even hear developers and internet marketers who claim that designers sacrifice those things in the name of design. The fact is that without a positive first impression your viewers (potential clients and customers) will quickly move on to one your thousand or so competitors.

That’s not to say that at Visible Logic we don’t care about the key elements of search and the fact that a web site should be a business tool, not just a pretty face. In fact, we just had a client tell us:

Our web-based sales have quadrupled since you redesigned our site!

How did we do that?

  • We built the design using CSS and HTML without an over reliance on images and graphics for informational elements. This is a best practice for making a site that’s easy to search and easy to maintain.
  • We designed the site in WordPress which made it easy for the client to keep it updated. We also used the Platinum SEO Pack to prompt the client to fill in key words and descriptors that enhance searchability.
  • We assisted the client in setting up their Google Local account and seeking reviews from their customers.
  • Oh, and did I mention… we designed a visually appealing web site. That is the part the client always hears about: how great her web site looks.

If you are a business owner or marketing person charged with redesigning your company’s web site, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the things that are critical to a web site design and development project. You will hear about search, about conversion, about content, about social media. Each is an important pillar to how effective your web site is.

Just don’t forget that first impression. Spend the time and money to work with a profesional who can create a strong brand image for you, in those critical first seconds when someone arrives at your web site.

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