Your website visitors are making judgments about your business the instant they land on your website, and you can influence those impressions positively by having the right type of web design. Here’s how.
Have you ever clicked over to a website looking for something specific only to be assaulted by a hailstorm of “stuff” — moving image sliders, menus everywhere, links galore — that make you feel lost, anxious, confused, let down, or even angry?
I have. I call it the “info dump.” And it’s one of the worst things you can do to your website.
Why? Because it can cause your potential clients to instantly lose trust in your brand, virtually guaranteeing they won’t become a customer.
First Impressions Matter
I’m sure you’re familiar with the old saying… “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”
Well… guess what? Everyone does it, and that applies equally to websites.
In fact, a visitor can make a judgement about your website in as little as 50 milliseconds(holy cow!), according to research by Google. Quite the first impression.
Moreover, that first impression sticks and influences how the user feels about your brand or product.
So that begs the question… what makes for a good first impression with your website?
Which Website Would You Purchase From?
In order to dig into the question of what makes a website highly appealing let’s take a look at a real life example.
It turns out there are two main factors that make for a good first impression: low visual complexity (VC) and high prototypicality (PT). This simply means that a website with a focused, uncluttered visual design and a familiar feel tends to evoke a positive impression.
Take a look…
In the example above we see two websites operating in the same market. But, ask yourself… based solely on your first impression of their homepages, which site makes you feel more comfortable about handing over your credit card details?
When we see the two side-by-side, we can clearly see that the harrys.com design has low VC and high PT compared to razorsdirect.com.
Harrys.com simplifies the experience for the user by eliminating distractions, focusing the user’s attention on their primary product offering with a visually compelling presentation, and directs their eye toward the single clickable call-to-action of “Get Started.”
Razorsdirect.com is an “info dump,” featuring multiple unrelated images, with menus and clickable links everywhere.
An “info dump” presentation on a website typically causes confusion and requires the user to dig through all that info to find what they’re looking for.
Additionally, more often than not a website visitor isn’t necessarily looking for a specific product or service. Instead, they’re looking for a solution to a problem.More often than not a website visitor isn't looking for a specific product or service - they're looking for a solution to a problem Click To Tweet
Harrys.com understands their customers aren’t necessarily looking for a mail order razor, they’re looking for a better shaving experience.
So, they instantly offer their site visitor a compelling solution with a simple three-piece kit that provides “all you need for a close, comfortable shave.” No searching, no hunting, no confusion. Just click that red button and your problem is solved.
[One quick aside: It may be that razorsdirect.com has intentionally gone with a visual design that looks like 1998 and feels “cheap.” The only reason they would do this is if they have determined that their customers are specifically looking for “cheap.” In that case, steering them toward a first impression that screams “you’ll find a cheap razor here but it’s going to be a crap shoot” may in fact drive the kind of sales they’re looking for. It’s the same mindset as wading through shelves of thrift store junk to score something decent for cheap. Keep in mind I said “may be.” Bottom line, whether or not that’s the case with razorsdirect.com, doing the same with your website would require you to know your audience intimately and to do a massive amount of testing. I don’t recommend this approach for a small business or startup.]
Evaluate Your Own Website
Now that you have a grasp on how to make a good first impression with your website using key design principles, take a moment to evaluate your own website using those same principles.
Does your website make a new user feel instantly comfortable, like they’re putting on an old pair of shoes?
Does your site’s visual design make it easy for a visitor to find what they’re looking for?
Does it eliminate confusion – taking them by the hand and leading them, visually, toward the next step in the process?
Do they know exactly what to do next within a second or two of landing on your homepage?
If you make sure the answer to those questions is “yes,” you’ll see all your major behavioral site stats improve, such as bounce rate, pages/session, average session duration, and ultimately… conversions.
And if you’re having trouble with making a good first impression with your website, contact us for a website audit.
At UpStart Media we don’t just create websites – we create websites designed to convert. That is, websites designed to guide the site visitor toward a specific action, such as email sign ups, trial subscriptions, or purchases.
To make a good first impression with your website, we recommend you take the same approach.
Questions or comments? Leave them below.