In less than half a second, a website can form a lasting first impression on its visitor. In that short amount time, they’ll either decide to stick around or will click away just as fast as they clicked their way there.
So how can you determine what your website’s first impression is? Ask for an outside opinion.
It may be hard to determine for yourself- since you’ve already seen your own site several times and your opinion may be a bit biased, so ask others for help (neighbors, friends, family, etc). Simply tell them to take a quick look at your site and to give their first impression. Make sure to ask for an honest opinion and be completely open to constructive criticism. Any outside opinion will help, even if it’s your 10 year old neighbor with the word “boring”.
For example. if you’re selling iPods that word may be a deal breaker, while selling office supplies on a boring site may not be all that bad. For a completely unbiased first impression, you could also try a few chat rooms. A quick, “you mind telling me if this site looks okay?” will do. Find one that applies to what you’re selling to get a first impression from a potential customer (a sports fan chat room for sporting goods, nutrition site for vitamins, etc).
Once you’re done gathering opinions, take a hard look at the information you’ve found. Use the results to determine whether or not that first impression is indeed “impressive” or if your site is in need of a desperate make-over. Your site provides customers with specific products, so it should have a specific look and feel to help users relate to what you’re selling. Put them in the mood for what you offer and chances are they will be more willing to trust that you are worthy of their purchase!
For Volusion Customers, see the “Review My Site” section in the Forum for an outside opinion.
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-Stacie Leonard, Ecommerce Marketing/Copywriting