This is the first in a six part blog series on the elements of a developing a great website. In the series we will look at what grabs the online visitor and how to convert that visit into a sale through proper design and development. It seems only fair to start the series with a look at the initial contact between visitor and webpage.

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1. First Impression

One thing is undeniable – first impressions happen only once. Web designers have as little as 50 milliseconds to capture the interest of potential customers. Through the halo effect, first impressions can influence subsequent judgments of website credibility and buying decisions.

Pull up your website. Pretend you are a new prospect and ask yourself the following questions.

  • What’s your first impression/where do your eyes go first?
    • It’s essential that the most eye-catching and important elements load first and near the top of the landing page.
  • What is the purpose of the site/ is it clear what your site is about?
    • The purpose of your website should be very clear and easy for new visitors to determine. About us pages are very helpful for communicating purpose.
  • Is navigation clear and obvious for your visitor?
    • There is nothing more frustrating than a website with poor navigation. Allow for simple search functionality and clear links to products/services and specific content pieces.
  • And lastly, how long did it take your page to load?
    • Improving loading time on your website is critical to not only your visitors but also for SEO purposes. Sluggish loading times discourage visitors; users lose their patience and leave the page. Independent tests have shown that more than 3 seconds is a problem for users while
      anything less than 1.5 seconds is considered fast by Google site speed.

To summarize: Create your site keeping these critical points in mind:

  • Incredible copy
  • Easy-to-understand navigation and overall design
  • Super quick loading times