You’re chatting at a coffee shop with someone and they ask what you do. Click—you send them your website. A past client refers you to a friend with a glowing recommendation. One stop at Google and click—they’re at your website. You have a sale to promote, a brand new product or an announcement to tell your customer base. Click—you post it on your website.
In today’s media-centric world, your website doesn’t just represent your business. It is your business. Far more than just a digital business card, your website can be a place where you book customers, take reservations, sell products and even create community.
Your website can single-handedly determine whether or not your business will sink or swim.
In fact, your website can single-handedly determine whether or not your business will sink or swim. And, like it or not, in today’s world of immediate gratification and decision making on-the-go, most customers will give your website no more than 5 seconds before they make one simple choice: Interested. Or Not.
The Power of the First 5 Seconds
In those first crucial moments, a visitor to your site will make a staggering number of decisions and assumptions. They’ll decide if they think your business looks legitimate or professional. They will try to gauge how much experience you have. They will try, subconsciously, to get a sense of whether you’re a high-end pro or a brand-new fledgling, just starting out and trying to make a buck.
As a business, you can never get those 5 seconds back. If the first fold of your homepage turns a user off, you may as well lose them for good. So should your website be a side project that you throw together, doing the very best you can in your free time, even though you’ve never made a website before? Or should it be done by a professional, a designer who knows how to create a website that accurately reflects you and your business in a way that will attract and impress your target market?
Those questions were, of course, rhetorical. Hiring a professional designer to create your website is money well invested and may well have an ROI that you will see in a matter of months.
Here are just some of the benefits of hiring a professional web designer:
1. They are on top of current design trends.
Did you know that “living coral” is the color of 2019? Officially known as PANTONE 16-1546, this color symbolizes,“our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits.” Web designers stay on top of this kind of information. They know what colors are in, what colors are so 2005 and—most importantly—what colors to use to send just the right message to your site visitors.
2. They know how to play with colors to send a message.
Speaking of shades and hues, professional web designers will also know how to use colors to make your message pop off the page. A carefully chosen color scheme that both compliments and contrasts will attract your customers’ eyes to the core message of your website and to the enormously-important “Call to Action.” (That’s just a fancy term for where you want them to click, such as a button that says, “Shop Now, Call Me or Book an Appointment.”) In other words, the right colors can mean more business.
3. They’ll make your website look great on any device. Your website might look amazing on the screen of your home computer, but it can look totally different on an iPhone or tablet. The vast majority of people view websites from mobile devices so you need to make sure that your website looks great from any device. For your web designer, checking how your new site looks on any device is just part of the job.
4. They’ll build a site with Google in mind. An awesome website can convert visitors into paying customers. But first, those visitors need to find your site. Your web designer should know something about the world of SEO (showing up high on Google.) When they create your site, they’ll take Google into consideration and build a site that makes it easy for both readers and Google bots to quickly and clearly understand your business.
5. They know design matters. But so does code. H1s. Alt text. iFrames. Google Search Console. Favicon. Meta data. Sound like Greek? That’s ok! If SEO or web design isn’t your line of work, you should have no need to know these terms. But your web designer should know them well, and understand why they’re important for your site. When a professional web designer creates your website, all of these things will be taken care of for you.
6. They can let you know when it’s time for a facelift. The Internet is dynamic and fast-paced. Designs that looked fresh in 2015 can look outdated just a few years later. A professional designer will let you know when it’s time to update your site to look current. This, in turn, will send the message to your clientele that you are current, up-to-date and pay attention to what’s going on.
7. They can give you advice about content.
Last, but not least, a great web designer can give you advice about content. While it might seem counterintuitive, a professional designer has built tons of websites and seen lots of content, both good and bad. She can provide important guidance about how to write text that quickly and clearly explains what you do and why customers should choose to work with you. Your designer should also have a strong grasp of content hierarchy and can help you strategize about where and how to place the content on your website. When your content is clearly organized, visitors to your site can easily find the information they are looking for.
Sure, you can make a website on your own. And if you have a good eye, you can probably make a site that looks good, too. But a professional designer does this all day long. They are a pro with a specialized skill set, just like you’re a pro at what you do!
A designer will know how to take you to the next level and create a website that is current, professional and designed to convert. They’ll build a site that will elicit a “wow” in just 5 seconds and convince people to stick around and explore. Most importantly, they will know that in helping you create a brand new website, they are doing much more. They are helping you build a business and bring you steps closer to where you really want to be.