The internet is absolutely massive. Every day, there are more than one billion searches on Google. As the internet continues to grow, the demand for everything to be on the internet also grows. Having a clean, easy to navigate, and well thought out website means a lot more than you might give think.
Firstly, as those who grew up with the internet now are getting jobs and becoming real money spenders, not only is a good website appreciated by them: it’s required. Many of this new generation have grown up with internet access since early childhood, and are quite accustomed to navigating exceptionally well run sites such as Google or Twitter, where everything is easy to use and makes sense. These massive websites set the standard; never think that just since your site is just better than a competitors is it good enough.
However, having a clean and easy to navigate website means a lot for those that are less accustomed to the internet as well. Keep in mind that although you might be able to navigate your site easily and it makes sense to yourself, you have much more knowledge of the site and the business behind it than almost anyone who visits the website. Whenever you are reviewing your website, try and look at it with the point of view of a first time visitor. Does every page clearly demonstrate its purpose? Is the path to any desired page blatantly obvious? Is the design universal around the whole site? Is each page uncluttered and simple? These are all excellent questions to ask yourself.
A website is a representation of a business. I would almost argue that having no website at all is better than having a bad website. When a potential customer arrives at a bad design, it not only drives them away from the website that instant, but also lowers the customer’s view of your business. I can’t count how many times I have been embarrassed for a business when looking at their websites. So if you don’t think that getting a good website is a viable option for you, I’d suggest not even getting one, as a website represents your business in a very strong way.
Also, your website needs a purpose. Customers rarely go to a website for anything but what the company offers. For example: if you are a computer store, have up to date information about the computers that you offer. If you are a hotel, have a way to book a room online. The internet is becoming the convenient way to visit a store: so imagine walking into a store with no products on display, no way of buying anything, and no form of contacting another person. That’s what a weak website feels like.
One thing to keep in mind: if you are self hosting your site, it is the important to have quite the high upload speed. A slow loading website can almost be as bad as a poorly designed one. Not only is it annoying for the user to have to deal with a slow site, but also the speed at which your page loads affects the ranking of your page on search engines, the primary way a potential customer would find your website. If your upload speed is slow, this alone could push your site down precious ranking spots, which translates very directly to the clickthrough rate of your site. Good hosting for your site is nothing to ignore.
So ensure that before your website goes live (or if it already is), check to ensure that it is well thought, clean, purposeful, and hosted well. A website is the first impression for many people: don’t make it their last.
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