We all know what eight seconds is, right? It’s about the amount of time it takes to read these last two sentences out loud, and at a normal speaking speed. I actually timed that and for me, it takes closer to nine seconds—but hey, I’m from the South and it takes us longer to get the words out!
Eight seconds is also the average amount of time a new visitor to your website will give you before they’ve decided your site is worth actually looking at…after all, the “Back” button is only one easy click away. All those months you spent designing a website, weeks deciding on a name and logo, days writing website copy, and hours looking through photos for the perfect slider image are distilled down to eight seconds of white-knuckled suspense by your potential clients.
In today’s business world, it’s pretty clear to everyone that their website is important. What’s not so clear are what your customers and clients want to see when they’re there and what decisions you can make in order to give your website the best opportunity to shine.
Making Your Website Shine
Everyone’s website is different and there are thousands of articles addressing specific implementation ideas/problems out there, so, like our October article on ads & collateral, this month’s article will take a high-level view of basic website marketing.
The First 8 Seconds
When someone comes to your website, you have about eight seconds to impress them with your branding and to demonstrate that your website is both professional looking and possibly interesting. In these initial eight seconds, visitors will only scan your home page (probably only the part of the page they can see without scrolling), looking for indications of professionalism, titles with keywords of interest, interesting eye candy (photos, graphics, videos, etc.) and possibly short /well defined/bulleted lists. Unless you’re positive of what you’re doing, don’t create complex or confusing situations on your home page. And don’t, under any circumstance, put up a wall of text here: At best, visitors will ignore it; at worst, it’s a barrier blocking them from the rest of your website (and your business)
If everything looks good, then the second clock starts ticking…
The Next 20 Seconds
In this next span of time, your site visitors will actually read something that you’ve written on the page! You have twenty seconds to say something interesting, in a way that they may actually bother reading. Interesting bullet points, fascinating header titles, sensuous photos, riveting copy and meaningful keywords all come into play (again) and let your visitor know that you’re interesting and able to speak to them about exactly what they’re looking for. At this point, they’re likely to be at least one page (maybe two pages) deep into your website.
The Rest of the Time on Your Site
If they’ve stayed on your site for this long, they’re yours if you want them. Sometimes visitors may be confused (or dazzled!) and stick around a little longer, but the majority of them will be pretty certain they’re interested in what you have to offer. It’s like a first date…they’re interested…you’re interested…now something needs to happen. You need to give them a reason to stick around (your website), and that’s where the carefully crafted explanations, photos, diagrams, case studies, collateral, prose, etc. come into play. This is where you get to demonstrate that you understand their problems, can eloquently describe the issues to them, and then tell them how you can actually solve their problems. If you’ve been holding back a deluge of information in those first 28 seconds, this is your chance to begin letting loose. Just remember to make it a trickle before it becomes a flood: The flood of information should happen slowly, as visitors get deeper and deeper into your site.
Next month, we’ll get a little more specific and jump into some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) issues you should be thinking about.
Gnu 2 Marketing
Powerful Marketing & Branding