Written by Alyssa Hamilton.
First impressions are a big deal. In any new interaction, the first few moments are critical in forming an opinion. The same is true for your website. A user’s first impression of your organization is typically your website, which plays a huge role in what they think about your brand. The average time a user spends on a website is less than 15 seconds.11 In that 15 seconds, users quickly scan your website and form an opinion about your company and brand. Below are six mistakes you could be making that might have your users leaving them with a bad impression.
- Your content is hard to read and/or skim. Don’t assume that your readers will read anything word-for-word. They’re more likely to jump from one piece of content to another and start reading whatever pops out at them first.5 Make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for by using headings, sub-headings, paragraphs and bullets.10 Keep your content as short, concise, and easy to digest as possible.
- Your website is not easy to navigate. Your website’s navigation should be user-friendly and intuitive. If visitors can’t find what they are looking for in three or less clicks, they will likely leave your site.4 Find someone who has never been to your website and ask them to sign up for a membership. How many clicks does it take them? Do they have trouble finding it? You should have a navigation bar easily visible on each page3 that includes all crucial information with clear page titles.8
- Your content and design is out-of-date and stale. When was the last time you updated the look and feel of your website? If it’s been years since you’ve changed the design of your site, you might want to consider freshening it up. If your website looks old and outdated, chances are that your visitors will think your content is too.1 An easy bad habit to fall into is simply adding more content without going through and removing outdated or unnecessary items. Make it a priority to go through your web pages and make sure only up-to-date and relevant information is posted.3
- Your website isn’t mobile-friendly. More people look at websites on their phones than on their computers1 and nothing is more frustrating than having to swipe and pinch at your phone screen to try to view a website. Having a responsive website that is functional across phones, tablets, and computer is absolutely vital for your users.9
- You don’t have a search box. Search boxes are essential. Imagine you remember seeing an awesome product or reading a really insightful article a while ago and go to the website to find it again. Chances are you’re not going to want to sift through menus and pages trying to find it. You’ll want a way to narrow down the content based on topics or keywords. More than half of all users are search-dominant and come to your website knowing exactly what they’re looking for.5 Providing users with a search box will give them the opportunity to quickly find exactly what they want without having to get to know your navigational structure.
- There’s no way to contact you. If users can’t find how to contact you, you might be missing out on an opportunity to answer questions and potentially gain business. Add any contact information you have, including a phone number, email address, and business address so that users can contact you in a way that’s convenient for them.7 This information should be obvious and visible on every page.
First impressions happen quickly and can last long after a user has interacted with your site. They want to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. If your website meets their expectations, they will keep visiting it to seek more information. It’s important to test often and focus on design and content that will give your user a positive experience and a good, lasting first impression.