By: Peter Girard
Last week’s post on the death of SEO got me thinking. If you didn’t get the chance to read it and want to, follow the link in the first sentence. In a nutshell, the article recommended keeping a tidy, up-to-date website as the best SEO practice you can adhere to, and there’s some data that supports that claim.
I linked to the article about study done by the Missouri University of Science and Technology in last week’s post but I wanted to revisit some of the figures and elaborate on just how important it is to have your website in tip-top shape. If you think your website is just ‘alright’ or ‘gets you by’ I’m talking to you. Hopefully you’ll change your tune after you learn that it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand after they’ve glanced at your website. It then only takes them roughly 2.6 seconds for their eyes to concentrate in such a way that reinforces that first impression.
So what’s a company to do with a window of under 3 seconds to ensure they make a good first impression on a potential customer? First and foremost, you need to understand why customers are going to your website and it’s almost always for information. According to a 2014 survey done by Intelliresponse, 68% of the respondents said a company’s website is the first place they go when looking for information regarding a product or service.
Once a potential customer lands on your page, where do their eyes go next, and go long do they rest there? In the study done by Missouri S&T, participants were asked to rate sites on the basis of visual appeal and design factors during an average of 20 seconds spent on each of 25 websites. In descending order based off time spent on each, here are the design elements participants found most important:
- Logos – visitors spent about 6.48 seconds focused on this most identifiable portion of a website.
- Navigation Menus – visitors spent almost as long (6.44 seconds) studying the menu for the webpage they were visiting.
- Search box – this aspect held visitor attention for a little over 6 seconds.
- Links to Social Sites – participants focused on social media icons for 5.95 seconds and offers insight onto how important it is for your business to engage with customers outside of your website.
- Primary Image – the main photo or graphic held visitor attention for approximately 5.94 seconds.
- Written Content – this portion of the webpage only held their attention for 5.59 seconds.
- Bottom of the page – engaged users for about 5.25 seconds.
According to BrightLocal, when it comes to local websites, customers most value the “four P’s” identified as product, price, place, and phone number. If these 4 elements are not quickly discernable, you run the risk of losing the potential customer. In the aforementioned Intelliresponse survey, it was uncovered that 59% of respondents look for a transactional relationship where they can get in and out with they want while only 24% of respondents seek out ‘friendly’ relationship where they can personalized service. All this data suggests that taking steps to make sure your website is context rich, clean, and easy to navigate will benefit any users visiting your webpage.