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First Impressions

by | Oct 6, 2014 | Marketing, Wordpress

I read somewhere that buying decisions are emotional first, then backed by logic and rationalization.

In other words, you unconsciously decide you love it first, then your brain scrambles to find good reasons why you do.

First impressions are important, and never more so than what your website says at first blush.

Of course, your content is very important. But what’s even more powerful and immediate is your website’s overall look.

When a casual browser arrives at your website, those first few seconds will decide whether he will take the time to read what’s on the page he landed.

In fact, according to a study conducted by Stanford University And Consumer Web Watch, a website’s design was more important in terms of establishing credibility than other factors, such as having a privacy policy or certifications.

Here are factors that contribute to your website making a great first impression.

Clear Navigation

Menu and other navigation artifacts need to be visible, clear and unambiguous. When I land on your website, I need to find what I’m looking for – fast.

If I need to dig around through multiple levels of menu structures, I’m heading for the back button faster than you can say click.

Easy To Read Fonts

Do yourself a favour and avoid cutsy, script-y, decorative fonts that would be more at home gracing the cover of vampire romance novel.

People don’t read – they sweep and scan the page. Fonts need to be big enough to legible, and the typeface needs to lend itself to speed reading.

With a large portion of website surfing now done on mobile devices, do yourself a favour, and make sure your theme is responsive.

This way I can pinch and zoom the text to a size that’s comfortable for me, and the page will automagically re-arrange itself to fill my handheld screen – all without me having to scroll back and forth.


Try to use no more than 2-3 colours predominantly in your design. Emphasizing the entire rainbow equally means everything gets drowned out.

Busy, too-colourful websites are not a work of art – they’re hard on the eyes, difficult to consume and a sure recipe to a high bounce rate.

Pick out one or two key complementary and/or coordinated colours, and use them wisely to showcase your content.

Meaningful Images

You must have read that images increase click-through rate, improve time on site and do all sorts of great things.

The key thing to remember about images is that you want them to be high quality, and evoke emotion.

Keep in mind that a large part of your audience may be consuming your content via an RSS reader like Feedly or Flipboard – both of which favour gorgeous images.

Choose images that evoke emotion and represent your content. After all, it is what will get shared.


Go easy on moving parts. If you have slider, don’t have a video on autoplay next to it.

There’s only so much a visitor can pay attention to, and having too many things competing, moving, and flashing come across as cheap and amateurish.

And oh, using Flash? Just don’t do it. It’s so 2010.


Like meeting someone in person, you don’t get to make a first impression more than once.

Your website is your platform, your business card, your home on the net.

Make that first impression visually yummy, so your visitors dig through your content, looking for more evidence of awesomeness.