4 ½ Ways to Make an Impactful 1st Impression With Your Website.
There are currently more than 1 billion websites jockeying for our distracted attentions. A daunting figure made even more daunting by the fact that the average human being, according to a Nielsen study, only visits 96 different domains per month.
Adding to this dauntingness (I don’t think dauntingness is a word but its my blog and I’ll write as I wish) is that according to researchers at the Missouri University of Science of Technology it takes less than two-tenths of a second for a first-time visitor to form an opinion of your website.
Hence, the importance of creating a compelling first impression with your online presence.
4 ½ Ways to Create a Strong First Impression with Your Website While Never Mentioning SEO
1) Pinpoint Your Online Audience
Avoid generalizing. Think less is more. Focus on one rather than some. Or as entrepreneur buzz-bomb Brian Chesky once uttered, “Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.”
Knowing your exact audience makes it easier to streamline your online presence. It eliminates second-guessing on what to post and how to present content so that it meet the needs and expectations of your targeted circle.
For a prime example compare Patagonia and L.L. Bean. Though both are granite-chipped pillars in the outdoor industry they are decidedly distinct. They understand their core audiences.
Patagonia targets the hardcore. The people proud to be called dirtbags, who treat hat-hair like a badge of honor. All of its marketing mirrors their mindsets. So much so it can take the risk of showing its political hand, supporting environmental causes, without fear of consumer retribution.
L.L. Bean focuses on the less venturesome, the weekend recreationalists, who, based on catalogue photos, enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time on cabin porches holding monogrammed tote bags and petting golden labs. Its online presence – website content and images – reflects the Norman-Rockwell-meets-Mark-Trail sensibilities of its core audience. There’s no deviation. No false posturing. No trying to lure Patagonia dirtbags which, if tried, would dilute focus from its base.
2) Use Compelling Website Photos
Photos are your website’s handshake and smile. They are the biggest factors in delivering a favorable first impression.
A picture may, as some say, tell a thousand words, but on the Internet your picture needs more. It needs to tell, sell, and compel. All with your target audience in mind.
Make it real. Make it personal. Make it distinct.
And don’t settle. Avoid stock photos like conspiracy theorists avoid reality. A stock photo conveys “I don’t care.” And if you don’t care why should someone visiting your website care about you.
3) You can Learn a Lot from a Pink Flamingo
There are 140 species of sparrows in the world. You would think with these kind of numbers people could easily spot a sparrow. Yet these birds go unnoticed. They are so common they’re invisible. Nothing makes them standout, causing people to grab their binoculars, or post pictures of them on Facebook.
On the other hand there are only six species of flamingos in the world. Yet everyone recognizes a flamingo. And when they do they’ll stop and look, take pictures, tell others, and even be inspired to reject common sense and buy flamingo lawn ornaments.
You have two-tenths of a second to get your website noticed. Ho-hum won’t do. More of the same won’t cut it. Play it safe and you’ll be as common as a house sparrow in June.
Study your competition. See what pictures they employ. What copy they write. What headlines they post. Pinpoint a trend and then do the opposite. Avoid the flock mentality. Think flamingo.
4) Covet Criticism Like Outdoor Types Covet Plaid Shirts
Criticism means you’re getting noticed. Don’t reject it. Accept it is as a positive. Place it on par with compliments. The purpose of your website is to gain notice. Attract eyes. Get people to stop and look.
With more than a billion websites shouting for attention the fact that someone took the time to criticize your site, your product, your cause, means you’re doing something right. You dared to be different. You dared to share your vision. You dared to be you.
Assess the criticism. Learn from it. And, if applicable, use it to better hone your message.
4 ½ ) Personalize Your Website
This is only ½ because it incorporates a little from each above tip but in a more direct manner.
Bring out your personality. Lend it a human touch. You can do this with photos and/or with your text. The faster visitors can decide who you are the better your chances of keeping potential target audience members engaged and, ultimately, converting them into followers.
Strive for real over formulaic. Think storytelling. Post a picture of your dog or your kids. Employ humor. List a favorite recipe. Share a video. Use the word daungtingness. Be original. Be You. Be noticed.
What leaps out at you when visiting a new website? Photos? Headlines? Logo? Share your thoughts. Our online office tent flap is always open.