A few weeks ago I celebrated my birthday. It was a great time and I thank you all who wished me well.
But along with birthdays come obligations. One such pain in the rear end is car inspection and registration here in my State.
If you’ve been a reader for a bit, then you may remember that I go to the same mechanic, Ed, every time.
He’s a great down-to-earth guy. He understands that things come up, money isn’t an unlimited resource for me, and he doesn’t try to upsell me into junk I don’t need.
Great service and his honesty benefits the both of us.
However, it used to be that his shop needed some help. You walked in through a flimsy, oil smeared front door and made your way through a dim-lit hallway leading to his main desk. The hallway was lined on either side with parts that were meant for return to vendors and cases of oil.
The windshield wipers on display and hanging on the wall for sale had an obstructed path to them making it near impossible for an interested customer to pull down a set.
His main waiting area was small with an employee fridge sitting atop a rickety cabinet. There were random posters and manufacturer signs and decals scattered on all walls and every surface had the remnants from hard-working mechanic hands.
It wasn’t welcoming.
The initial feelings you get about a place say a lot. They dictate whether you’ll stick around and wait or head running for the hills. Ed’s wife remodeled the main office and hallway area so that it’s open, clean, and complete with a new coat of paint. It’s pleasant.
But what of the people who may have been scared off when they arrived pre-remodel?
Your website or business
What first impressions are people getting from your website design? Is it sloppy and hastily pieced together? Are there random signs and posters (widgets and ads) cluttering up your content making it unwelcoming?
When people walk into your store or visit your website do you think they’ll want to come back? Give them reason to return by welcoming them in. Make sure your links work, your navigation is clear, your site header is clean and complete with a tagline that makes your offer clear.
Spruce up that about page as well to show people what you’re about and what’s in it for them in terms of doing business with you.
Ask for help
Solicit a friend or family member to look at your site (or store) with a fresh set of eyes. Be bold and ask them to truthfully share their thoughts with you about their initial reaction. You want to know if you’re scaring people off or inviting them in.
This is especially important online as you and I know we’re critical at times. We don’t want to hunt around for the info we want or need. Plus, visually accosting websites will have us clicking “Back” on our browsers faster than that widget loads in the sidebar.
Get to work
Look at your site and see for yourself. Try hard, right now, to place yourself in the shoes of a newcomer to your site.
What is your gut reaction?
First impressions can only be made once so work hard not to blow your chance. Let’s hear a story about the feelings you get from your favorite stores (clothing, food shopping, etc) or websites (favorite blogs, news sites, video sites, etc).
Please share a story in the comments.