Very often your website is the first interaction someone has with your business, so it needs to make a great first impression.
First Impressions & Relationships
Every time you meet someone new, you are instantly evaluated. How you look and act in that first encounter makes a deep impression that is not easily changed, and influences the relationship that follows. As they say:
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
The same goes for your website. When someone lands on your site, it only takes a matter of seconds for them to decide if they will stay or move on. So the goal of your site, especially your home page, is to make a great first impression.
(Side note: I tried to find some statistics on exactly how many seconds it takes for people to decide, but there are a lot of varying answers out there. I did a Google search on “human attention span” and several articles came up saying that humans have an attention span less than a goldfish. I’m not sure why comparing our attention spans to goldfish is significant, but lets just say humans are an impatient species.)
First Impressions & Websites
So how do you make a great first impression with your website?
By focusing on these three areas:
1 – Attention Capture
Most people who enter your site will land on your home page. So your home page is where you need to really focus on capturing attention. It needs to clearly answer these questions:
- What is it? What is your product or service? This may seem obvious, but make it obvious! A photo or illustration is a great way to make this immediately clear.
- Who is it for? Who are you targeting? Who’s problems are you solving? If I can’t quickly relate to what you’re offering, I’ll move on.
- What do I get? Do I get to call you? Or watch a webinar? A free consultation? A coupon? A PDF that solves all of my problems? I am here for a reason. Help me!
- Where do I start? This relates to the above bullet point. You need to direct people to the action that will help them fulfill their need.
2 – Emotional Message
Engaging with your audience on an emotional level is how you’ll make a deeper connection. People are emotional beings who make decisions based on feelings more that facts. If you can quickly connect with their emotions, they’ll stick around. Therefor your site needs to evoke these feelings:
- Feels right – When presenting your product or service, focus on how it will make them feel. Don’t just describe the features, show how the features will make them happy.
- I belong here – What you offer probably isn’t for everyone. You are trying to connect with a certain group of people, and therefore need to show your angle on making those people happy. Make it feel personal. Speak to what’s in it for them, not what’s so great about you.
- Trustworthy – Be genuine and professional. A well designed site is a professional-looking site, and a professional-looking site builds trust. Photos and videos also build trust. Show the person (or people) behind the brand. Show the people you’ve helped. Use language properly. Quality over quantity is always better.
3- Rational Message
You want people to visit your website, but you really want the right people to visit your website. Therefore what you are offering needs to make complete sense to your target audience. Make sense of your unique product by providing the following:
- Pain understanding -The group of people you are trying to attract have a common problem they want solved, so start by identifying their common pain points.
- Solution explained – Follow up by explaining how you’ll remedy those pain points.
- Social proof – You know how people don’t like to eat in an empty restaurant? Well, the same is true for your product or service. People want to see that other people like what you’re doing. So provide some social proof in the form of testimonials, reviews, an article praising your work, etc.
Can you really provide all of that in a matter of seconds? Absolutely. Do humans really have an attention span lesser than a goldfish? I don’t know. Maybe we just have the ability to process stuff a lot more quickly. I don’t know a lot about goldfish, and I’m no brain specialist, but I believe our brains, hearts, and subconscious all work quickly and closely together to help us navigate our world.