When you have an open house, you want to create a good impression. Make people feel welcome so that they will come in. If you want them to stay a while, you have to make it easy to find things and pleasant to be there.
Your website is just the same. It is your unique space that reflects who you are. It sends an impression of what you do, how you do it, and what it is like to work with you. It’s your one shot to make a connection so make your website a reflection of your house.
When a prospective customer pulls up to an open house, the first thing they take in is the overall appeal of the outside. What’s the neighborhood like, the yard, the overall appearance of the outside of the house. This is what we call “curb appeal.” If it looks appealing from the outside, it increases your chance that they will come in.
This is your main page of your website. You want it to be neat, trim, color coordinated, and have a single overall theme. Pictures are like your landscaping. They pretty the place up. Too much, too flashy, or too unkempt a look is NOT appealing. Keep it simple. Your navigation buttons are like your walkways. They lead your prospects to where they want to go. If it isn’t clear what your site contains or how to get there, your prospects may just drive on by without stopping.
Once the prospect is inside, you want to give them a feel for who you are and what you offer. After all, they are considering buying YOU! So, show them pictures that put you in your best light. Don’t use photos with poor lighting, ill-fitting costume, weird facial expressions, or things that appeal to a small sector of the population. I am not saying you can’t use your favorite snake shot. If you decide to do that, just confine it to one small shot and use more generic ones for the rest of the site.
Content is still king. People want their questions answered quickly. If they don’t find what they are looking for quickly on your website, they will move on. Content also gives people a reason to stay and browse. If they see an interesting article headline, they may read it. And the next one. And the next one. The longer they stay, the better your chances of forming a relationship. Give them what they are looking for.
What you don’t want ANYWHERE are messy graphics that are hard to read, tons of fonts and colors in your text (think “tacky Christmas lights”), irrelevant content, rants, or too much on one page (think “sensory overload”). Keep it clean and simple. You want them to be able to have a sense of who you are and what you do and then plop that into their vision of what they want. If you create too rigid/clear a picture of yourself, they may not be able to imagine you at their event. Leave room for the imagination.