During my internet marketing workshops and talks, I used to say that you had 4 seconds to convince a website visitor to stay on your website. Today, that number has reduced to 1 second.
Internet users typically visit dozens and sometimes hundreds of websites in a single day. If they haven’t visited your site before, they will be looking for something. If they can’t find it quickly, they will simply visit a different website.
Two types of people visit your site: strangers and friends. The latter includes customers, staff, suppliers, investors and other people who know your business. They tend to be more forgiving and will they will take their time to find what they want. On the other hand, strangers are first time visitors who have found you, for example, via search or a hyperlink. They are busy. They are on a mission. They want an answer to their question and they want it right now.
Imagine for a moment that you are one of these people and that you are looking for a product or service that you provide. Now take a look at your website. Can you find this product or service quickly? Is it contained within the main navigation bar? Is it mentioned within your homepage? Is there a search bar towards the top of the screen?
The first second on your site is all about first impressions. Does the page look professional? Is there anything that could put the visitor off? Does the page work properly on a smartphone? Assuming that you pass this test, the visitor will spend a few seconds looking for what they are after. If it is buried or difficult to find, you are making them work too hard and they are very likely to go elsewhere.
How many customers are you losing, by not passing the ‘1 second homepage’ test?