Many people have seen demotivational posters before. They are treated as slightly humorous distractions from an otherwise busy day, serving to provide a reminder of what to avoid or what not to do.
In spite of the fact that these demotivational posters have a dual purpose, many people only see the amusing side of things and move on without ever truly paying attention to the other side of the coin. Take for example the Professionalism demotivational poster above; the image is not a new one, and many people have seen either this image or other similar images before. We look at them, shake our heads, and wonder to ourselves how someone could be so lazy, and then move on with our days. What we fail to realize is that in some aspect of our jobs, no matter what they are, we have painted around the fallen branch instead of moving it.
Are You Wearing Shoes, Does It Matter?
In some instances the lack of professionalism that is displayed doesn’t really affect the workplace. No one can really see the fact that you have taken off your shoes under your desk, after all. The trick is just remembering to slip them back on before you get up, and BAM! Professionalism has been restored.
The issue arises when everyone is able to see the lack of professionalism that you present; think of it as greeting clients wearing mismatched socks and no shoes, or having them step over a fallen branch in order to get to your office, where the real professionalism is. I’m not going to suggest that you work to convey perfect adherence to the standards of professional conduct; let’s face it, we are all human and we all make mistakes sometimes. What I do suggest, however, is working to ensure that the face that your customers see is always professional, and the first step in that process is your website.
Be Sure Don’t Accidently The Wrong Grammars
Typos and formatting do matter. If your text overlaps, if you have misspellings, poor grammar, improperly used words (they’re instead of their, or where instead of wear), poor navigation, and even improper features all serve to convey the idea that your site is unprofessional. While there may be simple reasons for these things to occur, like an update that was not compatible with your theme (if you use WordPress), or an old version of Magento that was upgraded, for example, there is no excuse for not double checking yourself.
Your site is the first experience that your customers have with your company. It is how you are reaching out to introduce yourself to your target market through the internet. While there are instances where a consumer may overlook one issue, such as one improperly spelled word out of the entire site, you want to make sure that your customers do not see your company as one that is prone to mistakes.
Think Like A Customer
As a consumer myself, I know that I personally will not spend money with a company if their site isn’t professional. How do I know that they will address any issues with my order in the appropriate manner if they cannot even manage to ensure that their site is error free? This is the mindset that you will need to have when reviewing your site in order to ensure that it maintains the appropriate level of professionalism all the way through. This does not mean your site cannot be fun! There are a host of highly professional websites that are fun. (We like to think Hostgator’s site is not just professional, it is fun too!) It simply means that your site needs to convey the tone that you want it to, contain the appropriate information, and work to present the appropriate image to your customers. It doesn’t matter what you are selling, it simply matters that it conveys the right message, a message that cannot be present if your site is less than professional.
If you are unsure as to whether or not your site looks professional enough, ask a friend, or find an online editing service that can review the site for you to double check and give you pointers. Take the extra time to double check anything you post, and in doing so, you will make sure that your customers aren’t being asked to step over any branches, giving them the confidence in you that they need in order to purchase your products or services.
Image Source: Professionalism Demotivational Poster. (2014). [image online] Available at: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_MIqc0txxDNM/SvfBIqftprI/AAAAAAAAAA4/S63X2RMUECo/s320/professional.jpg [Accessed: 20 Mar 2014].