Does your current website design inspire confidence, or are your potential customers keeping their credit cards close to their chests?
It's easy to think that a website is just a website. It doesn't really matter what it looks like, as long as it works, right?
Well, I have to disagree. Just like a picture says a thousand words, your website is saying all kinds of things about you and your business.
If you operate an online shop (and even if you don't), your website needs to appear credible. With so many online scams out there, people are wary about handing over their credit card details - and so they should be. It's therefore vitally important that your website looks trustworthy, your business looks bona fide and you're available to contact through off-line methods too.
Does your website look home-madeIs there a lot of flashing banners, Google AdSense adverts or broken links? Is the branding consistent throughout or does the layout change from page to page?
All these factors can turn people off buying. Keep your site consistent, clean and uncluttered. Avoid too many adverts and animated images.
It's worth investing in a professionally designed website, but that doesn't have to break the bank. Having said that, it does cost money and opting for a free website builder could cost you in the long run. Beware of sites that offer free websites based on Flash - these websites will not display on Apple mobile devices and tablets. You'll also find a lot of restrictions with free software that will mean you'll find it difficult to get the design you want.
Take a look at the competition and put yourself in the shoes of your customers - ask yourself: Would I buy from this company? Does this look like a legitimate business? Now look at your website and ask yourself the same questions.
Websites are not set in stone, so don't be afraid to rethink the content and design from time to time. Make sure you're tracking your customers with software like Google Analytics so you can identify any issues. If you're concerned your website isn't generating sales for your business, ask for a second opinion - there's nothing like getting advice from someone on the outside of your business looking in.