Every so often we find a brick of yellow paper on our front step. At this point it never even makes it into the house, it goes straight into the recycling bin.
It wasn’t that long ago that it was difficult to get by without a phonebook. How else were you expected to find the number for the restaurant you need to make reservations at? If you needed a service, you grabbed the phonebook and looked through the list. Those times are long gone, and the first thing people do now is look it up on the internet. In fact, even if someone recommends a business and gives us their contact info, we still look up their website before calling.
That means the first impression many people get of your business is your website. If your website is old and outdated, ugly, difficult to navigate, or just vague in it’s purpose, people will attribute those characteristics to your business as a whole. If you don’t have a website at all, people question the legitimacy of the business.
It doesn’t matter if these assumption are off-base or not. If people get a negative or even neutral impression of your business by visiting your site, they’re more likely to look elsewhere. The fact is, in most cases if you wear ripped jeans to a business meeting with a potential client, you’re less likely to earn their business than if you wear something nicer.
This doesn’t mean don’t have fun with it. You can be both relaxed and professional. What it does mean is that it’s important to take a good hard look at your visitors first impression. And of course if you don’t have a website for your business at all, it’s time to catch up so your customers or clients can find you.