First Impressions of Your Website

5 Sep

Above the Fold

Less than two seconds.. that’s how long you have to convince someone to remain on your site.

When it comes to the average visitor that arrives for the first time from Google, most blogs will lose this battle. New visitors are goal focused and arrive at your site with a specific agenda. They don’t want to look around your site to figure out what’s it’s all about. They shouldn’t have to.  You have to provide them with what they are looking for or make them want to find something else… in 1.8 seconds.

Your job is to engage your visitors and make them click anything but the back button.  Make it interesting and especially appealing above the fold.

Above the Fold
The area of a website you see before scrolling.

Here’s what you need to have “above the fold”:

  • Your logo – If it doesn’t do a good job of describing what your site is all about, consider adding a tagline to it or underneath it. If I can’t figure out your site’s contents in 1.5 seconds, chances are that I’m not staying.  Your logo doesn’t need to be huge and take up a lot of space.  It does need to look professional though.  If you just have the default WordPress text there, your site needs work.
  • About Me – Statistics show that the ‘About Me’ page is usually the second place people look on your website.  Make sure that your ‘About Me’ page has engaging content and despite the link title don’t focus on “me”.  Keep reminding your visitors what you can do for them and make sure it’s an ‘About Them’ page.
  • Your Picture – Having a picture of yourself is an important part of getting visitors to stay as well as branding your site.  Choose carefully.  The image is a part of the first reactions that your visitors will have to your blog.   Not a picture person?  Consider having a professional avatar/comic designed and use that instead.  Get several poses created by using fiverr.
  • Subscription Opt-In – If you ever want to be a successful blogger, start with your list sooner than later.  Don’t be shy about asking people to join your list.  Do it often and everywhere.  Make sure your opt-in form (aka: “Call to Action” ) is above the fold.
  • Proper Spacing – It’s an important design element and one that is almost always overlooked.  Your logo, your font, your line-height.. everything has to be properly spaced to create a positive user experience.  Spacing is a skill that you will get better at.  Unfortunately, spacing is a problem on at least 80% of all blogs I visit and it’s probably closer to 90%.  Nice looking blogs aren’t defined by the lack of spacing but by the distribution of it.
  • Proper Navigation – Navigation needs to be kept to a minimum.  Don’t muddy up the top of your webpage with links to your privacy policy, terms of service, all your categories or other links that take up valuable space.  Less is more.  Make sure that the links presented are gateways to your best stuff and your offers to opt-in.
  • Showcase Your Best Stuff – Your visitors are looking for a quick reason to like your blog.  Make sure your top posts are easily seen so they can quickly find what you have to offer without scrolling down.

Simplicity Sells

For some odd reason, most bloggers have a perception that a “simple” website looks too barren and won’t produce results. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  There’s a vast difference in a minimalist theme and a professional looking theme that utilizes the “less is more” approach.

Most blogs are far too cluttered up on top to ever entice a new visitor into staying.  More content confuses and that’s a fact.

Imagine meeting with a new piano teacher and having music theory thrown at you from all angles in the first hour.  Compare that to an experienced teacher that sits down, explains the basics and walks you through some basic chords.  Which teacher makes you  want to come back and learn more?

Content is king.  Just don’t try and display it all on one page.. and don’t get me started on page fonts and colors.  Smile

There’s a lot to be told above the fold.

Amy

Amy

Amy Kastner is a Web-Designer who is passionate about design and helping others.
You can usually find her on twitter.

Amy

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  1. Darlene Shelton September 5, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    You definitely have a knack for this, Amy. I’m trying to get better at it. I may have to p.m. you and have you take a look at my site.
    Great article. I hadn’t really considered it before. I guess I do have a lot of stuff up top!

  2. Kim Kinder September 5, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    Great tips.
    Now if I only knew how to build a blog first!
    I’ve been thinking about it a lot more lately though. Trying to decide what you want to blog about the rest of your life can be a bit daunting at times. lol.

  3. 34 Interactive September 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    Really nice post,good tips about website

  4. Marcy Stephens September 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    I agree with your post but I think a lot of people face the problem I do, in that we’re not quite skilled enough to make the necessary changes to a site and make it look like we want.
    I know the alternative is to pay someone but some of us don’t make money online and the mortgage payments just keep on coming!

    • George Stephens September 7, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

      Just find a theme you like and then hit some forums up!
      Between forums and fiverr, you should be able to have the look you want for less than $20 easily.