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First impressions count – How to improve your website design

So you have diligently worked on improving your search engine marketing (SEO) to increase website traffic from search engines like Google, and your efforts are paying off in the form of more visitors.  So far, so good.  But wait, what happens when prospective clients do find and visit your site?

Did you know that it takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person, and that websites impressions are no different?

According to research by Peep Laja the founder of ConversionXL, one of the leading conversion optimization experts in the world, it takes about 50 milliseconds, (that’s 0.05 seconds) for visitors to form an opinion about your website, that determines whether they like your site or not and whether they’ll stay or leave.

So the purpose of this article is to explain what you need to do with your website to make sure it creates a good first impression and your hard earned search engine marketing doesn’t go to waste.

Unsurprisingly first impressions are 94% design related.

First things first

The first question to ask is – is it clear to your visitors, who you are, how to find the information they want on your website, and do you engage with their needs?

Your website represents who you are and what you offer. When people see it for the first time they’re thinking:

  • Is this site credible?
  • Is it trustworthy?
  • Is this a professional company?
  • Is this company stable?
  • Does this site make me feel welcome?
  • Am I in the right place?

– Hubspot 2015

What is most important?

You may think that the text on your page is the most important element or that big expensive photo you paid for which fills much of the screen.

A test from conversionxl tracked user eye movements and found that the website sections that drew the most interest from viewers were as follows:

  • The organisation’s logo. People focused on this for 6.48 seconds
  • The main navigation bar. People on average spend 6.44 seconds viewing this menu.
  • The search box, just over 6 seconds.
  • Social networking links, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + etc. Users spent around 5.95 seconds viewing these areas.
  • The site’s main image was looked at for an average of 5.94 seconds.
  • The site’s written content, 5.59 seconds.
  • The bottom of a website, 5.25 seconds.

So make sure you pay attention to all of these elements and not just rely on one aspect of your site design.

How recent is your web design?

In the ever-growing world of digital, it’s important to keep moving with the times. The chances are if your site was designed more than 3 years ago, it may be starting to look its digital age.  Keep your website from looking dated and unloved by keeping content and design fresh.

Your home page is key

  • Make sure Navigation is clear and easy to use and inviting
  • Include a Call To Action (CTA)
  • Include Navigation in the Footer
  • Social media icons
  • Make good use of white space
  • Don’t over clutter you want people wanting more, not having all information shoved in their face in the first seconds.

Above or below the fold?

There is a phrase in use by website designers known as ‘above the fold’, the fold is the bottom of the screen. This refers to the part of your website that the visitor can see on their screen when it is first shown without scrolling. Your website may have a long page, with lots of useful information ‘below the fold’, but unless the visitor scrolls down it is invisible to them.

Therefore it is essential that the visible part of your website creates the right first impression and that the key information is within this area. This should include:

  • Your logo
  • Easy to use navigation links or menu
  • Your key message to visitors, which explains who you are or what you want to say to them
  • A clear ‘call to action’

Mobile website design is important in 2015

Did you know that typically 30% or more of your visitors will see your site on a mobile? Unless your website is optimised for mobile viewing it can be very difficult to read and navigate and it may be slow to load. Visitors

may only see a tiny portion of your website on their mobile, if your key content is missing from their screen it is unlikely to spend long on your site.

From the Spring of 2015 Google actively penalises you and pushes your website down the lists if your site is not optimised for mobile devices. So make sure your mobile website design is up to scratch.

And lastly be aware of using Flash on your site as this doesn’t always work well on mobile.

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