When you land on a website, how long does it take you to come up with an opinion on the quality of that site? Do you stop to read all of the content, look over all of the pages, and weigh the best qualities of the site against the worst? Of course not. Like all other web users, your opinion of a website is made nearly immediately after you land on the page.
You have very little time to impress new visitors to your website. Five seconds, on average, and that includes loading time. ADD-like behavior is king in the online world, and very few people have the attention span to sit and really check to see how qualified your website is to provide the information they need. You have to impress, and you have to do it as quickly as possible.
Why does this matter? If you’re not trying to sell something, shouldn’t the fact that people are landing on your site at all be counted as a success? Sure, if all you care about are the numbers. But that’s probably not why you originally started your website. You probably started it because you wanted to teach something, or share some part of your life. You wanted to seek out other people with similar interests. Maybe you wanted to sell a product or service. To do any of that, you need people to stay on your site for more than a few seconds.
If you have a high bounce rate, your website is in need of improvements. Attack the visual problems first. Unappealing or dated color schemes, too pe that takes up most of the top half of their screen all make it difficult for people to fairly judge your website. When it comes to websites, design matters. Make sure your design is giving your website the best possible chance for success.
Once the visual problems are solved, tackle your content. You need well-written, informative and interesting content on your site. You need to make your content easy to read: add in white space, use bullets and bold text to highlight important areas, and keep your writing as clear and concise as possible. People should be able to scan through your page to see what your content is about, and they can’t do that if your text is all scrunched together in one big chunk.
Finally, you need to solve any navigation problems your site might have. If your navigation isn’t intuitive, or if people complain that they can’t find what they’re looking for on your site, you need to fix that. While you’re at it, you should also check for bad and broken links, 404 errors, and other issues that might make navigating your site more of a challenge.
If your website isn’t performing as well as you think it should, the problem might that you’re not making a strong first impression. Fixing these issues should help. If you can impress visitors in the first five seconds, you can keep them around long enough to read your content, sign up for your newsletter, or make a purchase. Those first few seconds are crucial; make sure that your website is making the most of them.
What do you love most about the first impression your website gives new visitors?