One of the most important things about any business today is it’s ability to make a good first impression, and make one quickly. In the Internet age the 50 mile circle around your physical office is no longer your main concern. Every business is now an international entity since the people no longer need to be able to visit your office to work with you. Anyone, anywhere in the world can now be your customer. For that reason your website or any other media you use for advertising and promotion must make you and your company look professional.
When I look for a product or service I generally search for a keyword that describes my need, then choose six to eight of the search results and open each of those in a new tab in Firefox or Chrome. I then give each tab a quick look so I can decide whether I want to read and learn more about that company, or if I feel like it’s not worth my time. I make that decision based on the front page of your site within 30 seconds to a minute.
That’s how long you have to grab my attention, AND to tell me why I want to come back for a second, more in-depth look at what you offer.
If your first impression isn’t good it doesn’t matter how great your product is, or how wonderful your staff is. You could build the greatest widget in the world, and have the greatest customer support team, but if I can’t see that info quickly or if your front page looks like an 8 year old put it together I’m most likely going to close that (your) tab and move on down the line. If your front page is so full of typos and grammatical errors that it distracts me from your message – I’m gone.
The time and effort you put into your front page will instantly telegraph a message about your company which will include your attention to detail. Your front page will either make you look professional or make your company look like an amateur organization. It can also tell me if you care enough about the little things that you worry about my impression of your product or service. I will get 100 impressions of you and your product in the minute or two that I spend there.
And here’s the kicker – those impressions will be what remains with me after I’ve moved on whether they are accurate or not.
You only get one chance to make a first impression so be sure you put some thought into that web page, or letter to a client, or communication to another business. What you say, how you say it, and how easy it is for me to read are all extremely critical components of your written content. In this day and age of short attention spans and long to-do lists every one of your first attempts to communicate is now equal to a 90 second elevator pitch.