The current business market is internet driven, and chances are that your website will be the first, and possibly only, impression potential customers have of your business. Don’t believe me? Consider some of the below statistics from Adobe’s 2015 The State of Content report.

  • If the content or layout of a website is unattractive, 38% of users will stop engaging
  • Two-thirds of internet users preferred to read something with beautiful design versus plain design when given fifteen minutes to consume content
  • When images won’t load, or take too long to load, 38% of users will stop engaging

What are the most important elements of a website’s design?

According to a study conducted by the Missouri University of Science & Technology, It takes the average internet user two-tenths of a second to formulate an opinion of your business once they have viewed your website. Even more importantly, this opinion is reinforced within 2.6 seconds.

Nerve wracking, right? But don’t worry! These same researchers tracked participants eye movements to determine the key portions of the websites that the users focused their eyes on – giving us clues into what areas of your website are the most important to focus on to ensure a positive first impression.

The results of this portion of the study showed that participants eye movements focused the most on the following elements:

  • Company Logo
  • The primary image
  • Links to social media accounts
  • Written content
  • The navigation menu
  • Search box
  • Bottom of the page

Let’s not forget about color and images

This study did not track color and images; however, the researchers involved in the study noted that these were also critical elements in determining the participant’s first impressions of the website they were viewing. The researchers found that color influenced participant’s perceptions of the websites they were viewing, with attractive, welcoming colors with easy-to-read text and color contrasts performing the best.

They also found that appropriate imagery was critical to first impressions of the website. With unfavorable impressions resulting from inappropriate use of imagery.

What you can do about it

After reading about the above study and statistics, you are probably asking yourself what you can do to improve the appearance of your company’s website so that customers will have a good first impression of your brand, and stick around to find out what your business is all about. And don’t worry, we are here to help!

1. Figure out what you are doing wrong and fix it!

We have previously discussed the many ways that your website can actually work against your company. If you think that this may be the case, you should check your website to ensure you are not making any of these common errors that will drive potential customers away from your company. Some common issues include boring/lackluster design, poor copy, unresponsive web design that is not mobile-friendly, and a lack of clear and convenient contact methods.

2. Review the elements that influence first impressions

Taking a cue from the Missouri University of Science & Technology study, take a look at the elements that study participants focused on the most, including the company logo, the navigation menu, and links to social media accounts. The researchers did all the hard work, now it is time to review and apply to your brand!

3. Determine the top actions that you want visitors to make as a result of visiting your website

Every business is different, and in order to ensure that your website is having it’s intended effect on potential customers, Entrepreneur recommends sitting down and figuring out what the top three actions are that you want your website visitors to make. We recommend asking yourself these three questions when marketing you business as you determine the list. After you have determined what these are, it is time to sit down with your design team and figure out how to guarantee this happens.

As you can see having an attractive website is a critical aspect of your company’s inbound marketing efforts. If you want to learn more about how Inbound Marketing can improve your business, we encourage you to check out our Introduction to Inbound Marketing, that is filled with information on marketing your company in the internet-driven economy.

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