Bob Willis, the former England cricketer, wrote in his autobiography about being a teenager trying to break into the Surrey first team. His father, unimpressed by his shoddy appearance, admonished him: “You’ll never be a professional unless you look like one.”
The same applies to websites. Our new help and support site at Carphone has had, until recently, a fairly weak and disjointed landing page. It’s now been replaced by this super-swish version that has lots of new images and a much cleaner appearance (modesty prohibits me from revealing who did a lot of the designing).
Our stats show that this new sexy page is going down well – people are clicking the links on it far more often than they were on the old version. Of course, not all the changes we’ve made are cosmetic – the structure of the new page is more user-friendly and our most popular content has been made more prominent.
But I definitely think the fact that our new landing page looks smarter – and more professional – is an important factor. Visiting a website for the first time is a bit of a lottery and there are so many terrible sites out there that it’s easy for a bad first impression to make users give up completely.
So it’s vital that our homepage gives at least the vague idea that we know what we’re doing. Having the best content in the world is no good if users take a glance at the first page they see and decide the site is rubbish. Websites are judged by their covers, but luckily ours seems to be much less of a dirty old dust jacket these days.