Making A Good First Impression Online
It always amazes us here at oneweb just how many websites have homepages that are so cluttered you can’t immediately see the content and struggle to gauge what the site is actually about. At first glance you are bombarded with adverts, banners and some text you daren’t hover over for fear of opening another ad box. Website owners are so desperate to get their keywords in, they forget all about the first impression they are giving new visitors. Thankfully, within the latest algorithm update, Google has put in place the incentive for websites to tidy themselves up and produce quality content. The algorithm acts as a quality filter by penalising websites with undesirable clutter and top heavy advertising. Phew.. We thought it was a good time to put together a reminder of the basic ‘First Impression Rules’ that should govern how you layout your homepages and/or landing pages.
Your website is very often the first time a potential customer comes across your business. In less than 60 seconds they will have asked themselves:
- Have I arrived at the right place?
- Is this a credible, professional company?
- Does this website make me feel comfortable?
- Does this website offer what I am searching for and can I trust it?
- Do I feel welcome?
You may think that design is not the most important factor in a website and that functionality plays a far more important role, but it’s design that’s responsible for making that good first impression every time.
While the immediate visual appeal of a website is the number one element in capturing your visitors attention, their second block of 60 seconds will be used determining the level of crediblity.
The 5 First Impression Rules:
- Use of colours: Avoid a chaotic mix of colours on your pages. Use 3 or 4 colours for your design that relate to your products / services.
- Animation and media: You would be shocked at the high percentage of web surfers that tell us they hate animations, video set to auto-play and the ultimate crime, background music without an option to switch it off.
- Layout: Elements of a page should be in a grid not scattered randomly and create a clear navigation structure. Web page visitors tend to scan the content in a ‘Z’ motion.
- Clutter: Avoid clutter at all times and remember, white space can be your friend.
- Typography: Use font families, sizes and colors that are easy to read. Visitors scan pages not read them so use proper headings, lists and only short blocks of text.
While design is important, don’t forget that offering great content is what your visitors are ultimately after. A well-designed website might convince visitors to take a closer look but they won’t look twice if the content isn’t useful and well organized. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.