Love at first web sight

Recent studies on user habits have shown that the average Internet user spends no more than 15-20 seconds evaluating a website. For a business website, those 15 seconds are critical.

If hundreds of customers in a conventional business environment were seen walking in, scanning the room, and leaving within 20 seconds, the owner would be understandably distressed. Why do they leave so quickly? What’s the reason for their instant dissatisfaction?

The Internet is certainly a very different environment, nevertheless the same question applies. Why do so many websites suffer from 20 second patronage? Why do so many website visitors never progress beyond the home page?

One reason is that search engines are imperfect, and often misdirected users to websites unrelated to their search query. But there are other reasons…

Judging a book by it’s cover

According to a study conducted by WebWatch on 2600 Internet users, most participants “relied heavily on the surface qualities of a Web site to make credibility judgments”. The reason users rely heavily on “surface qualities” is that they don’t invest enough time for a rigorous evaluation.

Judging a website by it’s…

You will notice that 46.1% of users evaluated a website based on it’s visual appearance, while only 14.1% evaluated it based on reputation!

The bottom line

If a website is not visually compelling, it doesn’t stand a chance with first time visitors.

About the author

I have been in the Internet industry since 1994, when I was one of the directors and owners of Cyberloom Pty Ltd - an early ISP based in Sydney, NSW. Cyberloom was sold in 2001. That's when I started X Pty Ltd as a website development company. is now my primary focus. builds small business sites on two platforms - Magento & Wordpress. One day I would like to operate the business from the Greek Island of Meganisi - and why not? The Internet is everywhere! ;)

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