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The New Storefront 2024: How Websites Shape the Image of Businesses

Table of Contents

In 2024, a business’s online presence is its storefront, and the main way customers form impressions. Now more than ever, a well-designed, high ranking website holds the power to shape the image and credibility of a business within mere seconds. 

Research indicates that users make snap judgments about a website in under 7 seconds, highlighting the importance of a captivating online presence instantly. As potential customers navigate hundreds of websites, they’re looking not only for information but also reassurance of a brand’s authority, professionalism, and trustworthiness.

The First Test - Accessibility

The internet has reshaped everything and even sales that happen in person begin online. Customer behaviour has very clearly changed in the recent years, this is seen all over the country as we see different businesses come and go, while more transactions occur online. 

The very beginning of any customer’s journey in 2024 is typically a google search, whether this is a general query like “thai restaurants near me” or a specific search of a business they’ve seen or heard of if you’re not near the top you don’t have a chance.

Can Your Customers Find You

The very first test for any business is being accessible. If a potential customer searches for your business and you’re not among the top results, your credibility takes a nosedive. Appearing at the top of search results not only boosts visibility but also gives a sense of trustworthiness and authority to users.

Your first goal should be ranking on the first page for your business name. Typically if you have a decent domain name this shouldn’t be too hard but if your name is more generic it could become very competitive. 

Once you’re ranking high for your brand name, it will be time to start focusing on ranking for keywords potential customers might search for. If you’re a shoe brand called “Alligators” it would help to rank for searches like “crocs alternatives”.

The Second Test - Usability

Once users are able to find your site comes the tricky part, it is your job to put yourself in the shoes of the potential customer. What are they expecting, what do they and don’t they know?

A small-medium business can expect to have thousands of visitors a month, all finding your site in different ways, each on different devices looking for different information.

A truly successful website accommodates to as many of these visitors as possible, your website needs to be easy to use and tailored perfectly to your prospects.

Making a First Impression

Users are often picky and judgmental, they tend to know what they want and they want it fast. Website visitors make their first impression in under 7 seconds so if your website is slow and clunky or the information they want isn’t easy to access they’re going to leave.

You need your website to not only load quickly but be responsive, it has to work across every device without sacrificing quality or speed.

Helping to Guide Website Users

Most users will only see the top 50% of the page, whether they’re on mobile or desktop, so it’s critical to have the most important information and links at the top part of the page. You need to structure your site in a way that guides users to their desired location. If you have many services this can become pretty difficult but if you only have a few products/services this should be manageable.

Even though users can be picky it’s helpful to think of them as not knowing anything and having bad eye site. You want to make information that is important big and bold or users will miss it. For directing users to click buttons it helps to use different colours and animations so they know they’re clickable. 

The Third Test - Credibility

If you’ve made it to the 3rd test you’re doing well users have been able to find you, they’ve loaded up your site and they’ve found something they wanted. But why should they trust you?

Fraud and scams have never been more common, if you don’t have a big brand name then users won’t know if they can trust you. Even if they have heard of your businesses before, how can they know if they can trust you to provide the quality of service/product they want.

Judging a Book By it’s Cover

As mentioned earlier, users make their first impression in 7 seconds, we talked about how this is why a fast loading site and easily accessible information is important but that’s not everything.

Website visitors are also judging your sites aesthetics and theme. If it doesn’t look modern and up-to-date why would I trust it’s payment or security system to be updated? Or if they site is just generally poor quality and hard to use I would expect you to take the same approach with all their business activity, including your products/services

What Others Think About You

When it comes to making a choice we are all highly influenced by what others think, it’s no different with websites. If you have lots of positive reviews it’s important to make these visible.

People want to know more about who they’re dealing with so a positive interaction with someone else goes a long way. Even a bad review can be seen as good, if they can see you respond by trying to find a resolution.

Awards can also be helpful it doesn’t have to be first place but having awards can show your credibility and longevity in the industry.


James - Senior Developer

James - leads the development team, ensuring high-quality code while staying up-to-date with the latest tech trends. Outside of work, he enjoys rock climbing, fuelling his passion for adventure and challenge.