Let’s set the scene. What’s the most important thing on a date? To make a good first impression. First impressions will affect how you interact with that person for the rest of the date, and will affect what you think about them until they do something to make you think differently, or until the date ends.
So why am I talking about dates?
Because people every day are dating your website; your most important marketing tool. Every person to walk through your virtual doors is taking your website on a date.
And your website has almost no time to make a good first impression.
Almost five seconds to be exact. If you’re lucky.
I opened up our website a few months ago and decided to see what I could take in during 5 seconds on our site. You should do the same. Mine went something like this:
Chewie media would like to (1 second) announce the release of (2 seconds) a new project. We are (3 seconds) pleased to display this website (4 seconds) in our portfolio. Please click (5 seconds)
As you can tell, and I could tell, this was not good. Our website made a terrible first impression on our “date”. On top of that, the picture next to this information was small. A list of services could be found below, but there was little in the way of material that was even capable of making a good first impression on the front page.
We set about redesigning the Chewie Media website after this, and some other consideration. We had failed to even listen to our own advice (link to other blog entry) and felt that part of the reason was how the site didn’t capture us the same way that our other projects capture us immediately. The reason why is because of the first five seconds.
People are becoming increasingly less forgiving when it comes to how long they will stay on a website that doesn’t immediately engage them. So much can be gleaned from a website about the company or person it represents without even reading the content and visitors are more discerning of that than ever. As website runners, it would do us well to keep this in mind on a daily basis.
And I would encourage all of you to take your website out for a date from time to time. The sooner the better.
You may learn a thing or two about it.