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Does my website make a good first impression
ThadSep 8, 20153 min read

Does Your Website Make a Good First Impression?

How to make sure your website deserves a second visit.

As consumers, a lot of what we think about a business is riding on our first impression—if you try a new hotel chain, and find food-crumbs in the bed, will you be stopping there next time? Probably not. Just like with “brick and mortar” businesses, websites are subject to the same rules of first impressions—if you visit a retail site, and it looks like it hasn’t been updated or even maintained since 1997, chances are you’re not going to be buying anything. So, to help you avoid a “crumbs in the bed” situation, here are a few design tips to make sure your website creates a great first impression.

1. Use color wisely

Just like selecting a tone for your website’s written content, make sure that your color scheme is appropriate for your target audience. If your traffic is typically a younger, more vibrant crowd, it’s ok to have a bright, and varied theme. Likewise, if you deal with an audience that’s primarily interested in retirement planning, it’s probably a safe bet that that you should stay away from a loud, complicated scheme. However, regardless of your demo, when deciding on a palette, make sure to choose two to four colors that work well together (read-up on color theory here). These should not only look great in a variety of combinations, but also make sure that your text, and other images are easy to see/read, while still directing traffic to your actual content.

2. Avoid visual clutter

It may be impressive to some that you can host that many animations, videos, and other gizmos on one page, but to the majority of your traffic, it’s distracting. One of best ways to make sure your website creates a great first impression is avoiding ANYTHING unnecessary. Instead, focus on the “meat” of your website—the content. If you’ve got engaging, educational, and entertaining information on every page, then adding a tasteful animation, or helpful gadget is just icing on the cake (as long as it supports your content).

3. Practice good typography

Once your visitors have found what they’re looking for, they should be able to read it. Make sure to use fonts, font sizes, and font colors that are simple, and easy to scan. Also, if you’ve got a text-heavy page that contains important information, break it up using bullet points, section headers, and short paragraphs. Organizationally speaking, this will make sure your website creates a great first impression with your visitors, and also creates a more aesthetically pleasing environment.

4. Keep the layout intuitive

The key to great content is being able to find it. According to Hubspot, 76% of respondents said that the most important factor in website design is ease of finding information. So, when you’re looking at the structure of your site, have these factors in mind:

  • Keep the structure of your primary navigation simple (near the top of the page).
  • Make sure the user knows where they are within your site (and how to get back to the level above in the site structure).
  • Don’t offer too many navigation options per page.
  • For larger sites include a Search box near the top of your site (so visitors can search via keyword).
  • Include links within your page copy. Make it clear where those links go (this is great for SEO).
  • Don’t make visitors dig too deep. It’s best to keep your navigation to no more than three levels.

When you’re designing the structure of your site (or just cleaning house with an existing website), keep one thing in mind: is this intuitive? The less a visitor has to consciously think about where they need to go to find specific information, the better.

If you need help with your website design or development, download our 26 Website Redesign Must-haves Guide to learn how to drive the website traffic, leads and sales you need to grow your business and turn your website into your #1 marketing asset.


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Co-founder & CEO at TANK New Media