The saying “never judge a book by it’s cover” may be useful in many areas of life – but definitely not online.

The attention span of website users is incredibly short. A study has shown that a website’s visual appeal can be can be assessed within 50ms (that’s 0.05 seconds!). That’s all the time your website has to encourage visitors to stay or leave.

These days 85% of B2B customers search the web before making a purchase decision. And a further study has shown that 94% of a web user’s first impressions are design related.

So those are the stats but how do you make sure that your business website is as good as it can be? Here are some top tips for grabbing people’s attention.

Have an inviting homepage

It’s important to make sure that the time has been taken to craft your homepage to perfection. If this is done well, visitors will have obvious ways to enter into the section of your website that is relevant to them. Gone are the days of cramming every bit of information possible into the smallest screen area. With the correct use of hierarchy, contrast and spacing between elements, modern websites should be a joy to use (on any device).

Use video content

Due to faster internet speeds around the world, videos are more widespread across the web than ever before. As well as engaging attention with movement, videos help users to process information about your business 60,000 times faster than text (according to the 3M Corporation). It should go without saying that the video should be professionally shot and edited for maximum effect.

Make your website fast

The latest stats show that 40% of consumers abandon a website that takes 3 or more seconds to load. This means that every aspect of your website (from the hosting to the content) needs to be optimised professionally. As well as benefiting users, Google also uses page load time as an important ranking factor.

Easy navigation

Users leave your website when they don’t know what to do next. The way to solve this is to make the navigation as clear and easy to use as possible. While it’s tempting for a web designer to push the boundaries of what navigation can do, it’s always important to give users something similar to what they are used to. Otherwise they probably won’t stick around long enough to to work out how to use it.

Consistency is key

Keeping the website visually consistent is hugely important. It is usually an obvious indicator that a website has been built by an amateur if different fonts and layouts are used across different areas of the site. As important is a consistent tone of voice within the text copy. A small spelling or grammar mistake could be enough to lose the trust of a potential client/customer.

A negative experience in any of the areas above can be a blocker in the sales process. Good design removes these hurdles and creates a positive experience for every user of your website. What could be more important to the growth of your business?

Shaun McElvaine

With an eye for detail and a passion for modern, minimalist and functional design, Shaun McElvaine has worked for a range of clients from startups to large corporates.