The Short Story

Would you trust this business?

Their website is obviously one of those "quickies" -- using a free or cheap template, and built and on the web in a matter of hours. The business owner grabbed some free clip art, and slapped on a scan of his logo, and his website was ready to go.

And yes, they have a blog, as many businesses do these days. But it is one of those freebies that sits on a different domain than their website, and it doesn't even match their own site. They even use one of those free email accounts, instead of having email via their own business domain!

If their website and blog looks like they slapped it together, what does that say about their business?

Maybe that they don't pay attention to details? Or don't even care?

If their website looks like they put it together as cheaply as possible, what might that say about the work they do?

That they might take any chance possible to cut corners?

Would you trust them?

As the old saying goes: You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Having a professional-looking website can be the first, best way to impress potential customers - or even returning clients - of your professionalism and the quality of your company.

However, most of us don't have experience designing websites to create the best first impression. That means that you may have to turn to a website design expert.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you need to take out a business loan in order to have a professional looking website. You can get a great looking and fully functional website without breaking the bank.

Think you need all the latest Internet bells and whistles on your website? We suggest they are mostly a waste of your money.

But you do need a website that has the following characteristics:

  • Your website needs to be visually appealing. If your website is hard to read - or is just plain ugly - your visitors will leave quickly. A well-ordered, professional look speaks volumes about your company.
  • Your website needs well-written, compelling content. You need to give your potential customers a clear and well-defined call to action.
  • Your website needs to be easy to navigate. If your visitors can't find the information that they want or need quickly and easily, they will leave.
  • Your website needs to be easily editable.  Your site needs to evolve with your business, and if it seems out of date, your visitors will assume you are too.

A poorly designed website will make your potential customers doubt your abilities. On the other hand, a professional-looking, well-designed website will enhance your business's reputation and help to show the value of the goods or services that you are offering.

In today's tough economic climate, everyone is looking for ways to cut their business costs. While there are a lot of areas where you can cut back without causing too much negative impact on your reputation, your online image isn't one of them.


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