7 seconds - to make a great first impression

You’ve heard it many times before from many different sources; however the phrase

“You only get one chance to make a great first impression” isn’t going anywhere!

The worst thing is that this phrase is actually, very true. Whether you like it or not first impressions really do matter. Sometimes businesses seem to forget that first impressions are not only for people — it applies to a website as well.

While creating a modern, clean looking design is an important start, this shouldn’t be the be all and end all if you really want to make the very best impression on your visitors in seconds or less. Unfortunately, this is usually where some businesses stop.

Before you move on to other projects, finish what you started and spend some time creating that perfect first impression on all your pages.


How to maximise the First Impression of Your Website

According to several studies, you only have about 7 seconds before your visitor decides whether or not they want to click off your page or to read further. As discussed above a modern and clever design is going to be your first step, but below lists a few other ways to help maintain interest in your website:

  • Website speed first and foremost

How fast your website loads is the absolute first impression you make. It sounds obvious, but as you add more graphics and get more creative with your designs, site speed can often slow down without you even knowing. Keep in mind that the short ‘captive’ window you have starts the moment that someone clicks, so if you have a site that takes three seconds to load you only have four seconds to make your impression.

Fortunately, Google has made it very easy to check the speed of your site and different plugins and tools have been introduced to help keep you moving fast. You can check your website speed, for example, by using the Mobile Usability Report or the Google Page Speed Insights tool.

  • Expect that people are going to scroll

This is a new idea that we took from an Impact Brand and Design article that is completely different from past advice. With the dramatic increase in mobile use and social media websites that require infinite scrolling, searchers are used to having to scroll. In other words, when they visit a website they very often scroll down immediately, whereas before it was all about what you did above the fold to capture visitor’s interest. This is no longer the case. Keep images, testimonials, case studies, special offers, and great content flowing even below the fold so that people will want to dig deeper into your site.

  • Introductory videos catch your attention

Some websites will have an introductory video play as soon as someone visits the site. Video is one of the fastest ways to understand information, and when you only have seven seconds to make a first impression faster is always better.

As far as the subject matter goes, if you’re working with your homepage it makes sense to have a video about what your company does and what it can do for a potential customer. Again, though, make sure that the first 7 seconds of that video are entertaining and engaging!

  • Don’t forget to use that white space

The worst thing that you can do for your first impression is overload the visitor with too many graphics and too much content. The more selective you are with your design, the better chance you have that the important information will jump from the page, directing a visitors' eyes to where you want them to go. Any designer will tell you that clean, white space is crucial to achieving this.

  • Highlight engaging content

In other words, make sure that the content on your landing pages has some sort of catch to keep people on the page. Promotions and special deals can work well for some companies, but try not to sound too ‘salesy’.

The best type of content is content that encourages visitors on to click further into your website and often it’s the ‘buzzy’ content, that intrigues people, that gets you to that point, not a sales pitch. It sounds simple enough, but a lot of companies struggle with what content to feature, especially if they want to make a huge impression and hook the visitor in within seven seconds!

  • Optimise for mobile specifically

Remember that first impressions online work the same way as they do when surfing the web on a mobile device.

In 2015 Google rolled out ‘Mobilegeddon’, which is an algorithm change designed to penalise those who did not have a solid mobile website. In terms of making a good first impression on mobile, you should follow all of the tips above and make sure you have mobile responsive web design.


Here at after.marketing we can design and develop websites from small 1 - 2 pages right up to large e-commerce sites. We have worked with a range of customers in creating a visual personality on the web for their business services and products, from web design, e-commerce and social media content. Our aim is to keep your digital presence up to date and fresh!

For more information contact us:

call: 01952 288359 email: info@after.marketing