You have written plenty of pieces on the content of your site, and that is vital for collecting viewership, but the first things your viewer sees are the most important in capturing their attention.
That’s part of the reason a Call to Action is important, especially on your landing page, so viewers aren’t asking questions about what their role is in the buying process. And, especially with all the competition out there, the look a prospect gives your site will be cursory at best.
An abundance of research shows how important a first impression is, and even if that first impression is later proved to be wrong, there’s no real coming back from it. So, what can you do on your website to make sure you nail your first impression?
We have a few ideas that’ll help:
1) Find What Makes a Poor First Impression?
For me, it’s initial load times. If a landing page takes too long to load, I’m impatient, will hit the back button, and go to the next one on whatever Google returned. (And this is why Google considers your website load times!)
Secondly, if I find the website doesn’t answer my question or service relatively quickly, I’m bound to move onto another option. If there are too many irrelative pop-ups or the layout seems old-fashioned and difficult to navigate, well, if you’re not contemporary, you’re probably not worth buying from.
2) Try a Short Video
I used to work in corporate and commercial media, writing and producing videos running from $2000 all the way up to $50,000 in cost. There are some amazing things you can do with 2D and 3D graphics to capture viewer attention to make a great first impression.
This Psychology Today article helps break it down. Consumers are 39% more likely to share content if it’s delivered by video, 36% more likely to comment, and 56% more likely to “like” it.
Moreover, a video is perfect on your landing page to inform your customers as well as increase your viewership. Watching a video is passive and does not take nearly as much effort as reading. It just requires less processing. Which in some areas may be bad, but when trying to produce conversions, going the route where the brain processes information 60,000 times faster is definitely the safer bet.
3) Being Too Vague and Impersonal
When shopping online, consumers usually have a good idea of what they’re looking for. It’s not like walking through a mall and “window shopping”; they’ve deliberately searched for a specific item or service, and your first impression – again, usually on your landing page – tells whether they’ve found it.
So, when they land on your site, they want to see what you have to offer and for how much. This is what’s called a value proposition. It’s not a slogan or a call to action, but can be somewhat related to both of them. It can include bullet points, a 2-3 sentence paragraph, visuals, etc.; as long as it’s concise and clear. You want a person who knows nothing about your site to see it, and in one sentence, be able to pass onto their friend exactly what you’re offering. Your Call to Action is then the medium to the conversion.
Seeming like a faceless corporate entity can also lose you some prospects as well. Despite it being an online process, consumers still want to know they’re buying and helping someone local or someone personable rather than funding the corporate machine. This can be as simple as a few sentence mission statement of the Founder/CEO, a picture, or a short bio. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on your landing page, but a bit somewhere on your site is sure to benefit.
4) Spark Interest for a Great First Impression
Just like playing the dating game, the key to starting and continuing a successful relationship (at least one of them) is sparking interest. A study was conducted where participants ranked sites of what sparked their interest, spending only 20 seconds on each site. The results, in order, were:
- Navigation menus
- Search Box
- Link to Social Media
- Primary Image
- Written Content
- Bottom of the Page
Take this list and conduct a vetting process for your own website. I think how these items are ranked is pretty accurate, so make sure that your pages follow this order of what’s catchy and exciting. On a budget? Think of it as a game of Risk: you don’t have to distribute your pieces evenly at the start of the game, and similarly, when starting your website on Nili Site, put the majority of efforts into what matters.
To Sum Up
A first impression is vital and near-impossible to come back from. Don’t let it go to waste, especially after all the extensive labour you’ve put into drawing viewership in the first place. I say it all the time: have an objective third-party scan your site and tell them to be as critical as possible. You don’t have to pay for it; there are enough in-laws in your family who will be happy enough to find reasons to criticise you.
What do you think are the most important factors in spicing up a website’s first impression? Why are you most likely to ignore a site, and how can it be efficiently mended?