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2 Web Design 10 seconds maximum. That’s it. When online, you don’t have all the time in the world to tell someone who you are, what you do and why they should be interested in you. People have a very short attention span and it is important that you act on this advice to improve your conversion from the website.

Brace Yourself

Microsoft published a research study highlighting that you have 10 seconds at your disposal to grab your visitors attention, but to be honest, if you were a visitor, you wouldn’t take more than 5-6 seconds to decide whether to leave a website or browse it further. Others are no exception. So now it’s more about telling your story in less than 10 seconds.

Be Attention Hungry

Think of yourself as a 6-year old boy suffering from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). You would crave for attention, right? Your website design should reflect that, period. Use enticing visuals, colour schemes that catch the visitors’ fancy and anything and everything that helps you tell your story. But again, the visitors want to know more about you, your business and for this, you need an attention-grabbing sentence. Call it a tagline, if you may, but make sure you include it in the design.

Dos and Don’ts

Dos

Do Your Homework

It’s your website. You need to find out who your target audience is. This is the most important consideration you should have when designing your website. Understand what your target audience wants and how they feel. Then design the website in such a way that it enhances the visitor experience. The visitor should be like “Wow. They know what I want to find out, why I am here.” You do feel that you should speak to every visitor, but the idea looks good on paper unless you are willing to go that extra mile – to find a way and actually communicate.

Do Create A Lasting Impression (The Very First Time!)

If face is the index of mind, then home page is the index of your website, simple. Design an impressive website that had a good recall value. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Highlight yourself or rather your expertise
    • Remember, you have less than 10 seconds
    • Customer reviews or testimonials can prove to be beneficial
    • Ensure that the visitors know what they’d miss on if they don’t buy your products or services
  • Keep it simple, stupid! (KISS)
    • Try including long sentences and watch the visitors go away
    • If you think they may have some questions in mind, answer them proactively
    • Let the visitors use your design to their advantage
      • Must be able to easily navigate to supportive information 2 Img01
  • Make the most of list building
    • Devise a relevant strategy
    • Implement it wherever possible, homepage included
  • Give some space to social media
    • Mention about the social media channels on your homepage
    • You may also incorporate a widget, if the need be
  • Don’t consider SEO dead
    • It is pretty much alive
    • Do optimise the content on your homepage
  • A picture is worth a thousand words
    • Do not include too many images though
    • Give the visitors a reason to engage with your business
  • Also focus on blog posts and articles
    • If you update them regularly, cash in on them
    • These give a better idea of who you are

Do Strike a Balance

While designing the site, give equal weightage to ads and content (if majority of your revenue is generated through ads – for a serious business website, ads are a no no). If the visitors are listening (read: reading) to what you have to say, they won’t wait for the ads to load, despite the fact that to you, advertisements = money. Yes, you can’t do without them, but don’t make them a priority.

Do Include the Key Information

Let’s say you offer flowers, balloons and candles and also make arrangements for venue decoration. Would you only want your visitors to know that you offer balloons? Shouldn’t they know that you are also a service provider? More importantly, if you offer international shipping, shouldn’t they be informed of this in those 10 seconds that they are likely to be on your site for? Think about it – they may be based elsewhere. If they don’t know you can indeed ship over the order to their area, would they even think for a second before closing the browser?

Do Give Attention to Detail 2 Img02

If ‘offfer’ is a word, do inform the people working for the Oxford Dictionary and ask them to incorporate it in the next edition. Jokes apart, do keep a check on the typos. Your visitors are out of time, yes, but they are going to turn a blind eye to such errors, no! While you are at it, make sure you don’t use funny fonts unless you wish to humour the visitors.

Do Think Of the Alignment

Ever visited a site that seemed to be going left for no apparent reason? What were they trying to do? Make you read an essay or something? Well, you are smart; don’t do what they did. Place or align the text centrally. See, it’s simple – you have 10 seconds – you can either make the visitors wonder what’s wrong with your site or encourage them to read what’s written. The ball is in your court.

Do Use Simple Language

You are telling your story to laymen. For them, technical jargon would mean that you are making fun of them. Should they really need to use Google or a dictionary for that matter for every other word mentioned on your site? You know the answer.

Do Respect the Visitors

They have come to your website and wish to know what you have in store for them. You want to take them to a page that has a big ad on it? Forget about the 10-second rule, they won’t be there even for a single moment. Be careful. Interstitials are not a great way of showing disrespect to your visitors. Popups, even one, can be a big turn-off.

Do Leave Some Scent Trails

If you do manage to catch the visitors’ fancy, they may be interested in obtaining more information. But how would they come to know where to find it? You need to tell them. It goes without saying that they should be able to access the information with ease.

Do Stick To Originality

Imagine, if the visitors spend 5 out of 10 seconds thinking that they have seen a similar website elsewhere, what kind of an impression that would create? Create a design that’s unique and only then the visitors would be interested in your story. Else, they would simply compare, even if they don’t want to – that’s what all humans do.

Do Update the Blog

Yes, a mention of your blog posts is a must, but only when you actually update the section. Say, if someone visits the section and finds a blog that dates back to January 2010, chances are that they would rather visit another website.

Do Take the Browser Issues into Account

The visitors are likely to use diverse range of browsers (and their versions) as most of them are available for free. But then, is your website fit for all the options available? Can you handle the issues, if any? Do stringent testing to ensure that the visitors are able to open your site first, leave alone reading your story.

Don’ts

Don’t Be Biased

If the homepage is your blue-eyed boy, you are yet to get a hang of what an effective web design is. That said, every page of your website is equally important – treat all of them at par. Design every page with the 10-second window in mind. Put a tagline on every page, if possible. Other things of importance:

  • Call to action
  • Downloads, wherever complex content is involved

Don’t Act Cheap

Just because you don’t have enough time to tell the visitors who you are, doesn’t mean you should resort to something as cheap as pagination. Don’t. Yes, it may increase the page impressions, but then, the visitors won’t think highly of you if they need to load 10 different pages.

Don’t Restrict Yourself

It’s all about telling your story, remember? Well, you can’t assume that only desktop users may be interested in knowing who you are and what you do. There may be some smartphone & tablet users who are all ears. Speak to them. But does that mean you need a mobile version of your website? Not really. You can benefit from what they call a responsive web design.

Don’t Be Desperate

Yes, in the end, you want just one thing – conversion. However, if you are introducing yourself, you can’t really tell the visitors that you don’t give two hoots about who they are and what they are looking for. If you are desperate, only you should know it, don’t make it obvious.

Do Not Annoy the Visitors

Flashy banners are big no-no. So is auto-sound. The visitors aren’t attending some rock concert. They don’t want to be bombarded with unwanted, unpleasant graphics and sound. They can read. Let them. Even if you incorporate some of the videos in the design, make sure they do not play on their own. Give the visitors the choice to decide whether they want to watch the videos or not.

A Website Designer is a blog by Dan Norris a passionate small business Web design expert from the Gold Coast, Australia. Read this full post here Website Design – How to Tell Your Story in 10 Seconds (and how not to!)

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