Visiting a website these days is as common as blinking and breathing. The amount of websites and time spent searching online is unparalleled to any other time, ever. And you know what? It’s going to keep increasing. Surfing the web is akin to going into a party full of people. And in a setting like that, you want to make a good first impression.

Websites are no different. If you have a website, you’re going to want to be able to bring in the right people, have them establish a positive outlook on the next few minutes, and keep them engaged long enough to establish a good rapport. From there, you have the option to present what it is you really want to present. Your website making a good first impression isn’t necessarily a matter of doing and adding more. It might not be easy at first, but there are ways and means to get that engagement you need to boost your numbers, sales, traffic, or all of the above.

Banners Over Video

When it comes to impressions, it’s all about the user experience. You have to take into account where you are, the demographic you’re targeting, and what you’re pitching to the audience. This needs to come clear across in less than 10 seconds from the time the person clicks on your link. If you follow UX (short for user experience) advice from other websites, you’ll find that they tend to always say to lead with a video. This is wrong. Some people aren’t connected to a fast internet source for your indie inspired inspirational video to load. And by the time it does, the individual has moved on to the next site. The next generation of web designers out of Austin, Texas realized this. Instead of assuming everyone has Silicon Valley Internet speeds, why not create an eye-catching banner can get the job done faster? If you look at Austin web designers, Big Gorilla Design, they understand the importance of timing and layering content in a user experience. Their own website has informative videos as well. But what grabs your attention is the giant gorilla you’re staring at 0.25 seconds in. Be selective of the video-heavy content you put out as a first impression and make sure that the banner is creative, eye-catching, and in line with your company statements.

“Subscribe Now!”—Later

How many times have you gone to a website, saw exactly what you’re looking for, and had a “Sign up now!” Pop up intrudes on the experience? Or even worse, you’re scrolling down to find the info you need, and it pops up in the middle of a read? Chances are, you’ve had multiple encounters, just today. This is a common tactic with blogs and service companies all around the world. It’s also refreshing to just not see it anymore. There’s a concept in user interface that states that, as much as possible, the consumer doesn’t want to think. If you flash a sign-up and a subscribe option in their face in the first two seconds, they have to actively reject your offer in order to get to the information they need. The option to join and sign up should definitely be present, just not immediately in the way of the user’s objective.

Don’t Let Them Think

If you want to build a website that captures people’s attention, you’ve got to direct their eyes. This harkens back to the concept of “not thinking.” Through visual cues and the right balance of imagery, you can get a user to look where you want them to look, and at the right time. These concepts of design have been perfected and practiced over decades in various industries. Planting them the right way in your website ensures that your users will get out of your website exactly what you want them to get. And if that happens to be what they want? You’re in.

Get Your Users To Scroll

Once you’ve got the user’s attention, give them a chance to scroll down and check out what you have to offer. If you focus more on style and clear, concise language, you will be rewarded with more time on your website. You just have to keep the content engaging and to the point. This is where you can place your videos, graphs, product action shots, etc. In the end, what a user wants from a website is more cool stuff. They want more stimulating stuff. And if you can deliver that immediately after you’ve caught their attention, you’re in the running for a successful visit. Those are the users that convert to customers. Those are the repeat visitors that beef up your analytics.

Creating an engaging first impression is the cornerstone of all good user interfaces. It’s those first 10 seconds that someone makes up their mind about what you have to offer. If you’ve got your SEO down and your design to a T, there is nothing that can stop you from being a heavyweight contender in the online world.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.