First Impressions Matter, Here's Why You Should Care...
As our mothers always said, “first impressions matter!” Whether applying for a job or meeting a client for the first time, we all know the importance of appearing at our best. Most industrial equipment dealerships and manufacturers go to great lengths to attract and engage customers as they walk through the door. The same concept holds true for your website. Mobile-friendliness and site speed (page load time) as two crucial factors in making a great first impression online.
In today’s digital world, your website is the foundation for your sales and marketing efforts. A properly built and top performing site is critical to your brand, your reputation, and your ability to attract and engage both customers and employees. We are not just talking about good design. Other essential factors such as content, backlinks, architecture, HTML, usability, site speed, mobile-friendliness, trust, social, and features that encourage visitor engagement and time on site need to be considered.
Google’s Guidelines MatterGoogle's bots are constantly crawling your site and tracking hundreds of factors that impact your ranking in search results. Although Google does not publish all these factors, they do publish some and studies have uncovered many others. With Google's search engine market share continuing to grow, you cannot ignore their guidelines. According to Search Engine Journal, Google's search market share in August 2016 was 85.52% (Desktop: 79.88%; Mobile: 94.53%).
Mobile-Friendly - Ensure a Positive ExperienceAlthough it varies by industry, most B2B websites get at least 30% of their visitors on mobile devices. This number is significant and is growing at a rate much faster than desktops, which are actually in decline. In today's multi-screen mobile world, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re essentially closed for business to over 1/3 of your visitors.
Additionally, Google’s algorithm is known to favor mobile-friendly websites and often penalizes those that aren’t with lower rankings. The two primary considerations for a mobile-friendly website are:
- Site structure is responsive and readable on all mobile devices (phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop).
- Site loads quickly (less than 2 seconds) on mobile devices and meets Google Site Speed criteria.
Site Speed - Don’t Drive Visitors AwayAs mentioned above, when Google crawls your website, it judges its worth according to many factors. One of the other important factors is site speed. Site speed is a measurement of how long it takes between the time someone clicks on your link and when the page loads and is visible. If your site is optimized, it should take a second or less to load most pages.
However, if elements of your pages load slowly, visitors will be stuck waiting, which is unacceptable. Site visitors are very impatient; if your page takes more than three seconds to load, the odds are they will click the back-button and vanish.
Research by Google shows that you will lose 40% of your visitor traffic if your pages take longer than 3 seconds to load, especially on mobile. Moreover, that’s a lost prospect or customer, creating a negative impression, and ultimately, lost revenue. This is not just bad for business, but Google tracks page speed and they will likely lower your search ranking due to slow loading pages.
RELATED FACT: Nearly 50% of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds. (Source: Google)
Takeaway: Test your site with these tools. Identify areas that score poorly and prioritize a plan to make improvements. If you don’t have the in-house resources, hire an experienced web agency to assist your team.
First impressions matter both in person and online. In today’s digital world, it only takes a few seconds to tarnish your reputation or lose a customer. Don’t be short sighted. Just like facilities, tools, and people, building and maintaining a professional web presence for your company is a serious investment in your future.
Learn more about leading online strategies by downloading our Checklist for Industrial Website Must-Haves.