The Importance of Website First Impressions

The Importance of Website First Impressions

Your website’s appearance is one of the most important factors in determining how successful it is at converting visitors into customers. When a potential customer visits your website, they make a judgment on whether or not they like the look and feel of it within 0.2 seconds. Typically, the first thing they will look at sits ‘above the fold’ in the top part of the homepage. This will normally include your logo, an image, some headline text, background colours and a navigational bar.


A recent study conducted by SocialStrand found that the average website viewer spends more than six seconds looking at content above the fold. In comparison, content below the fold was usually viewed for approximately five seconds. This may not seem like a huge difference, but it does show that visitors pay more attention to the first part of the website that they look at. Therefore, the content which appears above the fold is the most important part of your website, and can play a significant role in whether you keep your visitors interested.


Your website’s first impression acts as an introduction to the visitor. This works in a similar way to real-life; your visitors will form an opinion about whether they want to navigate further or go elsewhere within a matter of seconds. These initial perceptions are created in a similar way to an employer interviewing a new potential employee for their company. As they approach the person, they begin to notice how they look. At this point, they begin evaluating how professionally and appropriately they are dressed and presented. Once they get closer, they will hear their voice and how they speak. They might not like the tone that they use, or on the other hand they may appreciate their courteous manners. The employer’s opinion will have already been significantly influenced within 20 seconds, often before the real content of the meeting has even started. This also applies to website design, and this factor should be considered when evaluating the performance of your website.


Go through the process yourself as a visitor on your website. Load it, and look above the fold. What is the first thing you see? Which part of the website attracts you the most? There will be one specific part of your website that draws the attention of the viewer first. From there, you can determine whether the content and design is good enough to attract them further. If not, will they navigate to another website or try to find the same resource elsewhere? Can they find the content they want easily? If they’re supposed to be buying a product, do they need to scroll down to find it? These are they type of questions that you should ask yourself.


Now that you know how important this part of your website is, how are you going to draw visitors in further? It is important to attract their attention so that they go on to read your content, or buy your products. People make a split-second decision about how relevant a website is to their requirements. For this reason it is a good idea to make sure all of the content above the fold relates to your products, services or content. This can be done overtly through the use of images that clearly relate to the subject, or subtly through colours or textures that portray a feeling such as sophistication or fun. For example, if you are selling gardening products, a black background on your website would not give the feeling of nature and outdoor activity, and may put visitors off exploring your site further.


In addition, there are also SEO benefits associated with keeping and maintaining your visitors. Google tracks the ‘bounce rate’ (the percentage of people who only look at one page) and ‘visit duration’ for your website and uses these factors when determining your search ranking. Therefore, if your visitors click to another page within your website, this will make your bounce rate lower and visit duration higher. All in all, first impressions are very important.


If you are looking for some expert help with your website then we offer Affordable Website Design services specifically created for small businesses. Our designers are very experienced at creating the perfect first impressions for your website visitors, and making your business professional and profitable online.


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