13 Mar 2014
How Long Does Your Website Have to Make a Good First Impression?

How Long Does Your Website Have to Make a Good First Impression?

When you meet a person for the first time, how long does it take you to form an opinion of him or her? Does it take you a full minute before you’re able to decide whether you like how the person looks? If that person is speaking, how long does it take before you decide whether you want to pay attention?

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” And if you haven’t heard it before now, you have to admit that it makes perfect sense. There is absolutely no way that you can simply “start over” if you did not like how your first meeting with someone went. There is simply no way to reverse time and start from scratch!

Many research studies have been conducted that try to prove how quickly one person forms an opinion of another person upon an initial meeting. Some studies say it takes only two seconds and other studies say it takes two minutes… but in reality, judgments are always formed quickly.  And once opinions are initially formed, it can be difficult to alter them.

What Does This Have to do with Your Website?

This has everything to do with your website! Just like first impressions of other people, opinions of websites are formed by visitors in a matter of seconds. When a visitor lands on a website, an immediate attitude is formulated. Is the website pleasant to view? Is it easy to navigate? Is it going to provide the visitor with the information he or she is seeking? Many website visitors make assumptions about these issues (and others) in a matter of mere seconds. If a visitor does not immediately think the website will be useful, the visitor will vacate the site very quickly.

Because opinions can be formed so quickly, it’s especially important that your website provide a great first impression. Your goal should be to impress visitors, not turn them off. Especially important factors include the overall design of the website, the colors used, the logo, the ease/difficulty of navigation, the relevancy of the content on the page, and more.

If it takes your website’s homepage more than 15 or 30 seconds to load, you can bet the visitor will lose patience and attempt to exit before the website even fully appears. In such a case, the website won’t even have a chance to make any type of first impression.

Why are Bad First Impressions So Very Bad?

This goes back to the quote  you read at the beginning of this article. It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to re-do a first impression. When a visitor has a bad experience with a website, the chance that visitor will want to return to the website to give it a second try is very low. And a third try is extremely unlikely.

Your goal should be to work with a professional website design firm to develop a high-level, interesting, engaging, and engrossing website from the get-go. Once you capture the attention of a visitor and impress him or her with suggested solutions to potential problems or needs, you’ll find that visitor will return time and time again.

Great first impressions are lasting impressions – and those are the kind you want!


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