3 Steps to Ensuring Your Website Makes a Great First Impression

by David Lawrence on 
August 19, 2019 | 
Design, Writing and Video, Digital Marketing Strategy
David Lawrence

Ever been told you only get once chance to make a first impression?

In our online world of endless choice, short attention spans and jumping from one screen (or device) to the next, this has never been truer.

For these reasons, a visitor to your site needs to understand exactly what you can do for them within seconds.

Confuse them or delay them, and you can forget about winning them over further down the line. They’ll be on your competitors' site by then. And they’ll be loving what they see.

Here’s what you need to check

There are three easy-to-fix ways I see websites messing up the first impression:

  • Assuming visitors are experts: Never forget you know way more than your average prospect. Does your landing page include jargon or technical language?
  • Thinking prospects want to see how smart you are: There is a word to describe clever words arranged in an impressive way - poetry. There is no place on your website for poetry unless you’re, well, a poet. Words have a single job on your website, to clearly explain to people exactly what you can do for them.
  • You think more, is well, more: “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter” said Cicero (maybe). And he wasn’t wrong. Getting to the point quickly and concisely is hard. But it’s worth it.

Here are some examples

I thought I’d include some examples of websites getting it right, and those who fail in one or more of the above problem areas.

I’ve cropped out logos and names to protect the innocent (and the guilty).

Great first impressions

Words we all understand, stated clearly and briefly, with a clear call-to-action. And as a bonus, they show exactly who they can help.

Not only is this easy to understand and to the point, but it speaks to a clear pain point for a specific target market. Throw in a clear CTA and some awesome proof and you’re feeling good about being in the right place if you’re a potential customer.

You’re a student in Australia wanting accommodation? Oh yeah, you're in the right place.

Poor first impressions

These guys are probably amazing at what they do. But honestly, I’m just not sure what that is. Or if it’s something that can make my life easier? Or solve a problem that’s killing me right now?

Awesome, this one is so clear. They’re accountants. Or marketers. Or finance brokers? Scratch that, I scrolled down and it turns out they are lawyers. I guess that’s why they have the ‘Find out more’ button there.

This page has everything I need to know. But without spending a few seconds, and filtering out various dominant elements, I may not figure it out. And the main page elements don’t speak to the problems I have that led me here and how they can uniquely solve them for me.

Got another 3 minutes?

Great! Open a new tab and go straight to the most popular landing page on your website. Then come straight back and keep on reading.

Giving yourself a mark out of 10 in each category, answer these three questions:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how much does someone need to know about your field of expertise to understand exactly what you can do for them? Think of your best, but least ‘expert’ customer, as you score yourself.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 score yourself on how much your headline is style over real substance. Does it exist to intrigue, inspire and impress prospects? Or simply tell them exactly what you can do for them?
  • Finally, out of 10, rate yourself on how brutally you have edited down your message so it’s absolutely to the point.

Next Level Value

You’re almost certainly too close to this to be really accurate. So, let’s take it a few steps further:

  1. Get your perfect customer to do the same for you.
  2. If you can, also get your perfect prospect to review your site this way.
  3. Now, go through the above three questions for the three most effective firms in your space. Learn anything?

Chances are that you are a lot closer to seeing how much money you’re leaving on the table by not taking maximum advantage of the first impression you make on people landing on your website.

Get cracking on making the most valuable changes, and let me know how it goes.

If you’re interested in speaking to a team who can help scale your marketing investment as needed to reach your business goals then get in touch. We always love to have a chat and can be reached on 1300 059 620 or by contacting us here.

David Lawrence Featured Image
David Lawrence
Co-Founder & Managing Director | Rocket Agency

David Lawrence is the MD and Co-Founder of Rocket, an award-winning Australian digital marketing agency. He is also the co-author of the Amazon #1 best-selling marketing book 'Smarter Marketer'. David has presented at several events including Inbound, Search Marketing Summit, Mumbrella360, CEO Institute and a variety of seminars and in-house sessions.

David has built his expertise from a diverse career, starting with an economics degree before jumping into all things web in the late 90s.

Today, David is Rocket's Managing Director and is known for his ability to find clarity in the bigger picture. He is highly respected as a digital marketing authority, sharing his expertise with an extensive network here in Australia and around the world.

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