The Critical 8 Seconds!

It’s widely accepted that the average visitor spends just 8 seconds evaluating your home page before they decide to read on or move on! Here are 8 basic ideas on what to do (and what not to do) to gain maximum impact in that critical 8 seconds.

1. Make sure your pages are quick to download
Given you only have 8 seconds to grab their attention – if your home page takes 9 seconds to download – you are beaten before you start! Make sure your pages are quick to download. Also note, Google these days gives preference to pages that download quickly.

2. Use graphics where possible
Given such a small amount of time, it goes without saying you don’t have time to SAY much at all — in the first instance. So, one of the most effective ways to make a quick impact, is to add high quality graphics (a photo or pictures) that visually sum up what your business offers. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “”A picture is worth a thousand words!”

This is not to say that the text on your page is not important or that you should over-use graphics but if a picture can tell the story, it can be a very effective and almost instant way to communicate. By the way, you might want to also consider using a short, simple video to get your message across. Especially if your message is complicated or hard to explain in a dew short sentences.

3. How’s the look and feel of your site?
Of course, it’s not always easy to sum up your business proposition with a picture or pictures however, the analogy above also applies to the overall look and feel of your website. Does it look professional and business-like? Is it user-friendly and inviting? Is it easy to navigate? Or do people arrive at your front door with 47 options of where to go next and leave confused?

4. Use a great headline
Surveys of people’s eye movements, show they read webpages in a similar fashion to flipping through a magazine or newspaper. They scan the headlines and pictures, then, if something captures their attention and interest, they read on. A short, concise, easy to understand headline can be critical to your success or failure.

5. Stress the benefits
Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor. Remember that radio station everyone listens to? WIIFM — What’s In It For Me? They don’t care about your Mission Statement or your philosophy or the fact that your company has been serving the community for umpty umpt years — they simply want to know what you can do for them! Now! Can you solve their problems, ease their pain, save them money or make their life more comfortable?

Lead with your most important benefits then reinforce them with features — facts and examples.

6. Don’t waffle
Get straight to the point. Remember the 8 second rule. Be economical with words and write in a language and tone people can easily understand and relate to.

7. Call for action
It always amazes me how many websites out there, don’t have a call to action! You don’t just want people to visit your website and come back again and again and do nothing. You want them to BUY something from you — so give them a call to action!

This might be as simple as asking them to fill in a form for more information or send for a free report or ebook. Anything that gets them to take the next step and at least put up their hand and say, “Yes, I might be interested in what you have to offer. Here’s my contact details.”

8. Promote your site — off and online
Build it and they will come — might have worked for the early Christian churches and even in the early days of the web but not anymore. You need to promote your website at every opportunity, both on and offline. It’s not much use having the best website in the world if nobody ever visits it! This means making sure your site is search engine friendly using what is known as SEO (search engine optimisation). Also one of the most effective ways of getting your site out there these days, is by advertising in the search engines with services like Google Adwords.

If you would like help with your online marketing or a Google Adwords campaign, please contact me. I’d be happy to give you  a free quote.

Peter Thorpe

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Peter Thorpe

About Peter Thorpe

Peter created his first website back in 1996, near the start of the internet boom. Since then, he has helped hundreds of businesses, both large and small, with their online marketing. His company now has an impressive list of over 300 clients. These range from small businesses to large blue chip companies. visit: www.thenet.com.au