First impressions count. Does my website look good?

It takes only a few seconds to form a first impression about a person (or a house), and websites are no different. According to Google’s research, it takes about 1/2 a second for users to form an opinion about your website.

A website’s design often provides the first impression customers have of a company. If the design is outdated, disorganized, cluttered, or uses unappealing colors, it creates a poor first impression.

Google’s research has determined to get great first impressions from your website, there are two main factors to consider:

  • The Visual Complexity of the website design:
    Your website should have clear and simple goals: Are you selling products? Are you informing about your services? Are you giving something away? Whatever the case, make your message clear and simple.
  • Prototypicality – How representative a design looks for a certain category of websites:
    Having your website look and behave like a conventional website in your industry is proven to be effective. That’s not to say you can’t be visually creative and stand out. It’s the job of the web designer to find this balance for you.

Now… click over to your website or blog, and try to assess the design.

  • Does the design look like it was created by a design professional, or an enthusiastic (but maybe not too talented) amateur?
  • Is it instantly apparent where the reader’s eye should go first?
  • Is the text easy to read, or does the reader need to squint?
  • Does the site give the confidence that you can solve your customer’s problems?
  • If you were a stranger here, would you trust this business to be competent, capable, and trustworthy?

It may be difficult for you to be objective — we tend to get sentimental about our sites and quit seeing their design imperfections.

But your website’s design says a lot. A professional design immediately gives the reader confidence that equal care has been put into the content. An ugly or amateurish design, on the other hand, triggers the reader to look for flaws and sloppiness in the business as well.

It’s not fair, but that’s how it works. Your site is judged instantly based on how it looks.

If you designed your site yourself and you aren’t a design professional — it probably looks bad.

I know that’s hard to hear! But someone’s got to be straight with you.

Design professionals spend years developing their ability to create polished, professional-looking design that serves a business purpose.

Web design is similar to packaging design for consumer goods. In both cases, people pay for the product or service, but they’re also influenced by the “packaging”. The look and feel of your site will communicate your professionalism and expertise.

Design has a significant impact on website visitors. Not only does it affect them, but it is the most influential factor in whether people trust or mistrust a site.


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