By Jami Miedema

As a research analyst, I get to scour through hundreds of websites per week. These sites belong to several different types of companies and organizations, public and private, manufacturing and service companies, small business and Fortune 500, and government agencies. While each website has something different to offer, one thing can be said about all of them: They only have mere seconds to create a first impression on their visitors.

Just like individuals, websites have their own personalities which make them unique. Your website is an extension of your company and, often, the first experience a potential client will have with your company. What kind of first impression do you want them to have? What is the most important message to convey in a matter of seconds? Below are a few questions to ponder when creating or visiting a website:

Does it showcase the company’s competitive advantage? For what is the company known? Innovation and design? Durable products? Friendly service? Green practices? Does the website’s content and layout effectively communicate these capabilities?

Is it user-friendly? Is the website’s navigation intuitive? Does the format look neat and clean? Is the text easy to read? Does the site provide important information in a concise manner? Is it appealing? Does it make you want to browse around to learn more about the company?

Is it personal? Does the website express how the company can cater to your needs? Is it apparent how to contact the company and with whom to speak? Does it evoke an emotional response? Do you get a sense for the company’s personality?

Great websites feature the above characteristics. They not only create a pleasant user experience, but they’re also the foundation to build trust, integrity, and loyalty.

One website that gets an A+ in my book is The company, 2Advanced Studios, is a design firm specializing in website design and development, rich media, branding, and other interactive solutions. Their website contains sensory features which provide users with a fun, aesthetically-pleasing experience that creatively showcases the company’s capabilities and innovative nature. Click on the link above, and take a look!