The 8-Second Itch: Capturing Customers with Good Web Design and Good Content

hour glassResearchers have found that roughly 50% of visitors to a website will click off after just 8 seconds. This leaves you very little time to capture anyone’s attention. But you don’t have to just accept that you’re going to lose half of your potential audience. Here are some important things to keep in mind when designing your website.

Keep It Calm

It might seem like bright colors would be a way to grab attention. This often does work with flyers and print ads. But on the screen, bright colors are distracting and unpleasant. Avoid them.

Keep It Short

Long chunks of text are intimidating and boring. When people are looking for products or services online, they are quickly browsing for a site that gives them what they need. Let them know you have it ASAP.

Keep It Simple

Don’t make information hard to find. For navigation, use intuitive, clearly labeled navigation buttons, either on the top or the left of your page—these are the areas readers scan. Within your text, use bolded headlines, bulleted lists, and so on to cover the main points quickly and concisely. Online, readers don’t really read, they scan quickly, looking for what they need and bypassing everything else.

Keep It Clean

Pop-up ads, endless lists of products, too many pictures—any type of clutter is going to frustrate your visitor and drive them away.

Keep It Relevant

Content is crucial. Talk about what people are there to find out, and nothing else. If you’re selling widgets, don’t get sidetracked talking about gizmos.

Keep It Attractive

A pleasant web design with consistent placement of navigation buttons, contact information, content, and other features, goes a long way. Use easy-to-read fonts, subdued colors, white or light backgrounds, and don’t overdo the graphics.

Keep It Edited

Typos, misspellings, lousy grammar? These are the quickest ways to communicate to a potential customer that you just don’t care.

Remember, people are making decisions about your company based on what they see online. You may have the best products, or the best service. You may be a much better business than your competitors. But if their website is better than yours, they’re going to get your customers. To paraphrase an old shampoo ad, you only get 8 seconds to make a first impression. Don’t blow it.