Spring 2015
Editor’s Letter: Websites – Your first impression By Zeke Jennings

Heading to the Web to check out a new restaurant, museum, zoo or just about any other business prior to trying it is commonplace in today’s society.

We want an idea of what we’re getting into before expending the resources needed to actually visit the location, even if the time and monetary commitment is only minimal.

If that’s the case for casual, non-binding endeavors, just think of the online research diligent entrepreneurs do before even inquiring with another party about entering into a sales arrangement.

The first place people visit is usually a company’s website, Facebook page or both.

That is why I was taken aback by how many product vendors and distributors I spoke with at the NY NOW marketplace, which took place in early February, and who seemed to have a rather aloof attitude when it came to their company’s website.

I heard things like we don’t do a lot with our website,” and “we’ve been meaning to have it revamped.”

A poorly organized, neglected or out-of-date website has the same effect as sending a haphazardly dressed and unprepared sales representative into a meeting with a potential business partner — you may still wind up reaching an agreement, but you’ll have to overcome an avoidable poor first impression to do so.

It’s dangerous to take the “I prefer to do business face-to-face” approach with regard to your website. Don’t get me wrong — noting can duplicate personal interaction. However, a poor website experience can easily result in that personal interaction never taking place.

Whether looking to purchase products to sell in our store or for personal use, we’ve all visited websites when not only did we not find what we’re looking for, but also struggled to find a current phone number or email address to seek more info. More often than not, visitors take a bad website experience as an omen for a poorly organized business.

You don’t need the most eye-popping or visually impressive website for it to be effective. However, you do want it to present show organization and professionalism to those interested in your business (don’t use Comic Sans font or low-resolution pictures taken on your flip phone). There are plenty of website-building resources out there, online and otherwise.

Like with advertising, how much you opt to spend developing and maintaining your site is ultimately up to you, but a website and even social media accounts should be considered necessities for small businesses.

Until next time,

Zeke

P.S. — Do you have any stories to share on what has or hasn’t worked for your website? Email [email protected].






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