So you’ve got a website. Job done – you’re on the internet. But what message is your website giving to your customers and potential buyers? When did you last review your site? Yesterday…a week ago, a month – or even a year? Have you put yourself in your customers’ shoes and looked objectively at your site? 
Believe me, in my business I see a lot of websites, from fabulous to downright awful. Of course, it’s not just about being pretty to look at - your site needs to work for your audience so that they can find solutions to what they’re looking for easily and quickly. 
In today's world, it’s essential that small to medium businesses have a website to establish a strong online presence. However, many business owners don’t see the importance of investing in good web design and maintenance, so their sites begin to look old and dated... 
Every interaction that a customer has with your business, be it online or in person, adds to their perception of your brand. Although you may think just having a website is enough, you can be sure that your competitors have one too. 
First impressions count 
How many times have you searched for something online and come across a site that looks promising, yet makes it so hard to find anything you need? So what do you do? Yes – you move on, and fast. 
There’s so much competition – which makes it all the more important to really focus on that user experience. Make sure that your site is an extension of your business and brand. 
A poorly designed website with expired content can have a detrimental impact on your business if your marketing messages aren’t consistent across every channel. 
If your website offers a poor experience that takes the user ages to find the information they need, what message do you think this gives to the user about your business? Do you care about your customers? Are you lazy? Do you lack attention to detail? 
Think about what impression you want to give to your customers – and what’s going to be important to them. First impressions really count! Your web page is the window into your business. It’s a brilliant way of showcasing what you do, who you are and why someone would use your product or service. 
Your brand is you 
You should be obsessive about your brand – after all it’s your business, so why allow your website to let your branding down? Your brand colours and typeface should remain consistent across all types of communication so that your customers recognise your brand position and develop trust in your value promise. 
An inconsistent brand image has completely the opposite effect. You'll struggle to build a relationship with your customers because your communications vary visually between every channel and your brand identity will suffer. It's like you're wearing different masks. 
Content, content, content 
Another important factor is content. Your website is a great place to share your business vision and mission, in an effort to try to encourage emotional buy-in from your customers. If they understand who you are and what you can offer, they’ll start to trust you – and that brings business. 
The last thing you want is typos and errors throughout your content - yes, I’ve seen sites with that pseudo-Latin “Lorem Ipsum” placeholder text which has never been replaced! 
It's also important that the content is designed well - too much text on a page is daunting. It isn't enough to just list anything and everything about your business, anyone can do that. 
What you say on your site needs to be relevant to your customers – so think very carefully about what they are trying to achieve when they are looking for a product or service. It’s not about you. It’s about what you can do for them. And why you’re the best. 
No matter what industry you're in, your customers are the reason that your business exists. Your website is undoubtedly the most effective and efficient way of communicating to them, so time and money invested in web design will always pay dividends in the future. 
Ultimately, your website is there to assist the development of trust between your customers and your business. If your website isn't a complete representation of your brand, then go back to the drawing board. Great, responsive web design can help to add credibility to your site, which will positively impact your traffic and sales. 
If your user experience means that your site is a nuisance to use, then visitors will leave quickly. Design a space where they'll want to spend time. This will ensure that your customers keep coming back for more. 
Look at your website now and check. And don’t forget to look at it on a smartphone – if you can’t read it easily without pinching and scrolling (or getting the magnifying glass out!) – then it isn’t responsive. You’ll be missing out on customers – Google report that around 70% of people browsing for services are looking on a mobile. 
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