1 billion, 312 million, 9 thousand, 855 or 1,312,009,855. No, staggering as it may be, this number is not a random one. It represents the total number of websites available on the web as of right now. This second.
Now listen to the clock ticking… click, clock, one second and then another and now look at this number: 1,312,010,480. That’s the number of websites a few short seconds later.
With an average of several new websites added every single second, evaluating the number of websites in the online world can quickly become an exercise in futility. It’s like watching a pendulum of time. New websites are being published in numbers that the human brain finds difficult to compute.
How these websites are doing in terms of success is another thing altogether and it is fair to say that only a tiny fraction of the 1 plus billion sites available today lasts the test of time.
The success of a website, say an e-commerce site, whatever its niche, can be measured in the number of visitors the website receives on a daily basis. That number depends on a variety of factors, like internet marketing or SEO for e-commerce website, but none is more basic, more important, more crucial to a website chance of making it past the oblivion of time itself is… a good and attractive website design.
A good website design will determine if a site has even the chance to compete with others and this chance is directly tied to a number of parameters such as:
1) First, make sure your website makes a good impression on your visitors. Statistics show that it takes less than 50 milliseconds for users to decide whether they’ll stay on a given website or simply move on.
Fifty milliseconds! That’s 0.05 seconds, a segment of time so tiny that we cannot even count it using our 5 senses… And yet that’s all it takes for the average user to “know” whether a site is worth staying on or not.
Why? Because first impressions count and recent studies have shown that first impressions are 94% design related. An even more impressive statistic indicates that 75% of websites visitors make a determination on the site’s credibility from one unique factor: how the website looks like, or in other words, its design.
Making a good impression relies on a sound design that is both visually appealing and well-constructed in terms of its presentation and organization.
In the era of information overload, we have trained our brain to become more visual and to react to triggers that stimulate, or not, the visual cortex of our brain, that specific area that processes visual information. As a result, we are witnessing a pattern which is shortening our attention lifespan, a pattern more and more visible in the younger generation.
As such, when we first look at a webpage, the information we get from it is then processed by our visual cortex and its interest will rely exclusively on how pleasing that page looks to us, in terms of overall design. That internal determination is lightning fast.
Read that again: 50 milliseconds is all it takes for our brain to decide whether to continue exploring a new site, and that determination is made on the basis of… what the website looks like!
Savvy web developers know all too well about the need to constructs sites that are visually appealing. Some may not realize the complexities of how the brain works, but analytics don’t lie and it is one of the very good reasons why web designers spend time worrying about design elements such as symmetry, font colour and size, spacing and more.
If you are serious about turning your website into a hub that actually brings something to your bottom dollars, hiring a competent web designer could be the best decision you’ll ever make.
In an age where we are challenged by more and more offers of free web designs, it is important to understand that like everything else, nothing is truly free in this world, and that concept applies particularly to web design.
In other words, it actually pays to get a competent web designer to design your site.
2) Pay attention to where the eyes go. Keep in mind that while first impressions can be determined in a fraction of a second, and assuming that a user has decided to stay on the site passed that threshold, it takes a further 2.6 seconds for his or her eyes to locate the area of the website that has most influenced the first impression. The mind works in mysterious ways and the assumption here is that the better the first impression, the longer the visitor is likely to stay on a given page.
3) Speed is the key. The longer it takes for a webpage to draw itself on your browser, the more likely you are to lose your visitors. Here’s another number that you should keep in mind: 10 seconds. Beyond the first impression and the decision a user has taken to stay on your site, 10 seconds is the time the average user is willing to wait for a website to load. In fact, these numbers are in fact overly generous. A kiss metrics study indicates that 47 percent of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds and 40 percent of them will leave the site it that process takes longer!
4) Most users skim your content before deciding on an article they might want to read in its entirety. To that end, it is highly recommended that your site navigational system is optimized for ease of use. And that you use titles for your pages that are highly relevant to the message you are trying to put across. Given that you are competing with thousands of other websites, and taking into consideration how difficult it was to get that visitor into your site in the first place, make sure he or she knows quickly what your site is all about and where the important pages are.
5) The bounce factor. This increasingly important ranking algorithm determines the time a visitor spends on your site. It is one of the metric search engines use to assess the worth of a website and if visitors bounce off your site soon after they came into it, the search engine will take this action as a literal vote of no confidence. Why would a visitor leave your site? Here are some reasons:
- Because it is poorly designed.
- Not visually attractive.
- Because your targeted audience doesn’t understand what your site is all about.
- Has a poorly constructed website structure.
- Makes poor use of titles and tags.
6) Distraction will kill the deal… We’ve all been there. We’ve just landed on a page, and lo and behold, a pop up takes over! You know what I am talking about don’t you? Those popups that are so obtrusive, they actually hide the content of the whole page.
A poorly designed website may not take into consideration the different ways the devices we use handle these popups. On a desktop for example, a popup may be acceptable while on a smartphone it might take over the whole screen.
In the final analysis, ask yourself the following question: Would you stay on your site, let alone buy anything from it if you were a first-time visitor? Answer this question honestly. If you answer is yes, then your website designer will have done her job well. On the other hand, If there is the slightest doubt in your mind, then now is the time to start fine-tuning your site.
ABOUT Erica Silva
Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology, science and brain health. She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place. Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1
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