Your first impression from a new visitor to your site is only a fraction of a second. If you fail, not only do you lose a customer, but Google penalizes your site’s ratings too. Here are five steps that can make any professional website perform better and create an improved split-second impression.
This is one of the most important things to do. When a new individual lands on your site, what is the thing you want them to do?
Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Call your office? Set up an appointment? See the newest product? Go bowling?
Take some time to narrow down the ultimate thing, or golden action, you would like most visitors, clients, or potential clients to make. If clients normally need to talk to somebody on the phone to set up an appointment, your golden action would be: call our office.
When there is only one path and only one sign to your destination, it’s very easy for that sign to be forgotten.
Make it very easy for visitors to know where you want them to go and how. To continue our path metaphor, make signs!
Be willing to creatively repeat directions to the golden action at least three times on any landing page: once at the top, once in the middle, once at the end. “Creatively repeat” means to avoid verbatim or cut and paste wherever possible.
For example, if the golden action is to call your office, perhaps have a Call Now button at the top, a “Call us to order” link in the text copy and a Contact us at (phone number) in the footer.
Be sure to have one golden action sign on every website page, at least once.
Whatever you do, don’t have the only way to get to your golden action be by clicking the correct words in the correct order in the navigation menu.
Clickable links and images are very neat, and can be useful. However, neither of those signs alone conveys the immediate “this way!” direction the same way a button does. When done right, a button is swift, simple and stands out immediately.
A word of caution. Just as too many signs overwhelm and lose their purpose when there are too many packed in a single place, too many buttons within the same section of your website will confuse instead of help. Confused or frustrated visitors often quickly leave and look elsewhere.
If you have Silver and Bronze actions, so to speak, make their buttons different from Golden Action buttons.
Choosing a button color may seem like the easiest step in this process, but if there is an impulse to simply make it red please, take a moment to read further.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a color theory expert to make a good decision about your button colors but there are two simple essential things to understand when making your golden action buttons: value and contrast.
Value is how dark a color is, and exists on a spectrum, with white and lighter colors on one end and black and darker colors on the opposite end. Why does this matter? Red is closer to the black side of the spectrum than we expect. Even pink can be quite dark on the value spectrum. Why does this matter? If there isn’t enough of a value difference there isn’t enough contrast.
Black and white have 100% contrast, being on exact opposite sides of the spectrum. Black text on a white background is easier to read because the contrast between the two is so high. But a light grey sentence on a white background is hard to read because there is very low contrast.
High contrast makes things stand out. Higher value contrast guarantees something will stand out even if a visitor is color-blind, and we want the most visitors possible to be able to easily see and complete your golden action.
Therefore, if your website has a lot of navy blue on it, a red button will not offer enough contrast to stand out. In that case, a better choice might be orange, yellow or white.
Ask a volunteer unaware of your company or website for 5 minutes of their time. Parents, Grandparents or that one uncle you only see every holiday can be valuable.
Pull up your site (or even a mockup design of your site), and don’t let them know it’s yours. You are a spy undercover, and have a great opportunity to see how others may see your site.
Ask these two questions:
1. If you were seeing this site for the first time, what would you think it is for?
2. How would you (insert your golden action here)?