Day 15: It’s like speed dating, with money on the table

First impressions matter, in business, dating, life in general. The same is true for your website. In a recent study, researchers have found that “visual appeal can be assessed within 50 ms, suggesting that web designers have about 50 ms to make a good first impression.”

It gets even worse when your website is slow. Just think that the average users’ attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8 seconds nowadays (and it’s decreasing by 88% every year).

If you want to make your visitors trust you fast, there are two very important elements of persuasion you should consider. Social proof and authority.

Users are naturally wired to look for the most credible source of information and your website should include subtle, yet powerful signals to entice them from the beginning.

Some good tools of the trade are elements like:

  • “Featured in/As seen on” logos if you appeared on prominent publications (especially if they are known to your audience)
  • Customers written testimonials (including pictures and role/name of company if you’re selling to B2B)
  • Customer logos (if they’re well established and recognized)
  • Video testimonials (make ‘em short, 1 minute max)
  • Case studies (great to create interest especially if visual)
  • Awards and trust badges/seals

All of these when strategically and thoughtfully placed – and in addition to good design (more in later emails) – contribute in creating trust and authority for your brand.

This is a great, indirect way of saying “We kick ass”.

Here’s some very clean examples (as you can see, you don’t need to go overboard with this):

When it comes to speed, a really simple way to find out where your website stands and what you’ll need to do to optimize it, is using Google’s own PageSpeed Insights. Once you’ve analyzed your page, simply hand the report to a developer to implement the findings.

Pro tip: If you truly want to make your website foul proof, make sure you check its compatibility with all devices and browsers.

Ok, your page loads faster than a speeding bullet and looks pretty trustworthy. But still, a ton of visitors land, maybe look at a couple of pages and then leave. Why are you not converting like crazy by now?!

You see, we’ve been testing this on a ton of websites and the main problem online businesses face in the early stages of a conversion funnel, has to do with their value proposition.

It’s becoming a buzzword, but what really is a value proposition?

Wikipedia defines it as:

“…a promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged.” Now, this is pretty useless ain’t it?

Let’s defuse the myth that this is some esoteric, philosophical concept. Your value proposition is nothing more than:

  • What you do
  • Who you do it for
  • What’s unique about it

So simple, right? These are the same questions you’d get on a first date (well, maybe if he/she is a nerd, but you get the point). Yet, so many get it wrong.

For example, let’s take a look at this design from Dribbble.com a site for designers:

Obviously this is 100% design-focused, but for the sake of demonstration notice how, if you landed on this page without knowing the company already, you’d be completely lost. Let’s test it against our 3 points…

  • What do you do? No freakin’ idea.
  • Who do you do it for? Uhm, don’t ask ME.
  • What’s unique about it? I don’t even know what this is!?

And then you’d just leave!

Obviously there are exceptions. Here’s a few good examples we’ve found online:

Notice how all of them use plain, descriptive and clear language. You know why? Because it’s the language their customers use. Forget guessing and fancy jargon. If you want to sell, this is the best way to go about it, and we’ll learn how in the next few emails.

Today you’ve learned what goes into creating a great first impression for your visitors. It’s all about credibility, trust and the right message for the right people. But you need to be able to step into your visitors’ shoes to understand what they see and think, which leads us to…

Your homework:

One of the best methods for finding out what visitors think about your website at a glance, is user testing. By running a “First impression” user test, you basically let users look at your site for 30 seconds and then provide you with their unbiased thoughts. All recorded on video.

There are two ways you could go about it for your homework:

  • Run a first impression (1 task, 1 minute) test on our own, trusted user testing platform, Conversion Crimes. Sign up for free to create your account, prepare your test and top up credit to run it (from $15 to $45 depending on how many testers you need. We recommend 5.)

Or

  • Run your own Guerrilla testing. This is a very quick and dirty method to gather insights into your visitors’ first impression. You approach strangers and ask them 2 minutes of their time to give you feedback on your site.

Whatever you opt for, go ahead and do it. You’ll be amazed by the results!