by Fr. John A. Peck
This is a blog about how to actually meet your first-time website visitor. The following actually happened to me.
Today (as I write this) my wife and I were out on our morning drive with our grandson. It was almost his nap time, so we decided to pull into the local donut shop and get him a donut hole to munch on for our trip back home. I jumped out of the car and entered the shop, finding myself fifth in line, with no one at the counter and no one paying attention to the growing line of those of us waiting. After five minutes, no one had yet even greeted the man at the counter. There was one car in the drive-thru, and three employees ‘handling’ that part of the business. Everyone wore dirty white tshirts, dirty aprons, and unkempt hair.
And I stood there, waiting, hoping to buy one or two donut holes. Just that, no more.
Now, I’m an easy customer. I know the long, hard work that the average worker has to do, and the kind of nonsense food service workers have to put up with from a spoiled public. I don’t want to make things difficult for anyone, really.
When I stepped to the side to look more closely at the back to see what was going on, a woman making some kind of coffee (while still ignoring everyone in the shop) snapped at me saying,
“I’m only making beverages!”
So I just left, with a few others, shaking my head, and without a treat for my grandson.
Not a great first impression, was it?
If my websites treated first-time visitors like this shop treated ALL of its customers today, I would be starving and unable to support my family through design and consultation.
Just like any business, something website owners don’t take into account much is the experience of the first time visitor to their site.
If you’re a church or ministry, you should welcome and direct them to a page just for them – to answer the kind of unique questions that first-time visitors have, but no one else even considers. (Been too long since you were a first-time visitor? We know what they want. Call us. We have the answers.)
If you’re a business, you should be talking to that first-time visitor as if they were the only one to EVER visit your website. What do first-time visitors want when they look for a business like yours? Give it to them!
If you’re a non-profit, you should be inviting that visitor to either the products or services you provide, or to share in your mission and vision.
It’s true that you don’t get a second chance for a first impression, and unlike the donut shop, where I was willing to wait a few minutes for service, you don’t even have a few seconds to make that first impression a good one. Within a second or two, your first time visitor is already deciding whether or not they will stay to read anything.
A few seconds. If you can count to three, that decision has already been made.
What websites have you visited and evacuated? Did you ever go back?
Is that the experience you want for your first-time visitor?
Next week: Part Two – how to make sure your first-time visitor wants to meet you