The importance of first impressions

by Martin Reed on 16 April 2007 in Snippets

Just as in real life, first impressions online are hugely important. A study has shown that web users decide whether they are interested in a website within just a 20th of a second. This means your site must be focussed and clear enough so that the surfer who spends that 20th of a second on your site for the first time gets the right first impression and hopefully stays for a little longer!

Making your site user friendly

Your site should be clear, well designed and easy to read. People should be able to tell exactly what your site is about as soon as they arrive – make sure you have clear titles on your pages, and use headings to draw eyes towards the main focus of your content. Keep graphics well optimised and relevant to your content.

Although your site’s index page is perhaps the most important page of your site, remember that a user may arrive at any page of your website therefore every single page of your site should make it obvious exactly what your site is about, and what it offers the visitor.

I am a strong advocate in simple, functional design. I would rather visit a clear site with well spaced text and one or two graphics, than the latest super-charged, graphic and flash intensive site where I get confused about its purpose and navigation structure.

Take a fresh look at your site, perhaps get a friend to look at your site (someone who is unfamiliar with it) – count to one and then close the browser. Is it obvious what your site is about? Did the user get the right impression about your site?

I hope so as if you had one second to look at your site, you had five times longer than the time it takes others to decide whether your site is of interest to them.

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Jonathan-C. Phillips April 17, 2007 at 6:52 am

Totally agree, design, functionality and ease of you should be the first things to focus on when building a site/blog. Thanx to wordpress, you can easily (default) have all the pages of your blog with the same “page template”. We want people to come back for more, might as well give them what they want. and it starts with a nice design that is catchy enough to make people wanna read a little and maybe get involved ;)

Martin Reed April 17, 2007 at 10:19 am

Hey Jonathan – thanks for your comment. With WordPress it is easy to be consistent – but it is still important to create a good first impression, be it with your overall design (as you mention) or with fantastic content.

Bollywood October 27, 2007 at 6:36 pm

The first impression is important, when someone visit you first time.. if he likes you on first meet he’ll come back to visit you!

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 29, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Bollywood – You’re right; it’s just like when we meet people for the first time in real life.

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