Does Your Website Meet The 5 Second Rule?

Let’s say that whatever you did to attract a prospect to your business website worked. Whether it was that email, Facebook ad, Instagram post – they responded with a *click*. Of course, you sweated over getting the content right, but…

How much can you get across – in just 5 seconds?

That’s why we want to talk about – and can’t stress enough - the importance of effective design and messaging.

So, what even is the 5 Second Rule?

The first thing that springs to most minds could well be the fuzzy notion that food dropped on the floor is OK to eat if you can snaffle it up within 5 seconds.

BTW: it turns out that is actually true – to an extent – in the right circumstances…
But, applied to web design, it’s all about that golden measure: speed.

Your first hurdle is Load Speed.

According to Google’s research, 70% of pages take 7 seconds to load for the visual content ‘above the fold.’ That’s not good because, as page load time increases from 1 second to 7 seconds, the likelihood of a visitor abandoning the page increases 113%. Plus, load speed is a contributing factor to Google search result rankings.

Ideally, your website should load in two seconds or less. Users have come to expect a fast load time, and 53% of users will abandon your page if it takes longer than three seconds.

You can use online tools like this one from Pingdom to measure your site’s speed.

How do you avoid poor load times?

First, review the specs of your hosting plan – if their server is based halfway across the world, that could present issues. Then check your site is adapted to modern standards - complex animations or an excessive number of images will slow it down. Also, ensure your Content Management System (CMS) has the latest updates installed.

Once Your Page Has Loaded, The Clock Is Ticking

As if load speed wasn’t tough enough, once your page is up, then it’s about the visual impact – and we don’t just mean how pretty it is…

If a visitor doesn’t figure out your content, your product, or what your website is about in 5 seconds, you’ve probably lost them.

This is your golden window to explain what your business is and does, your values, and what you can offer. The pace of everyone’s online experience is fast and getting faster; people are continuously bombarded with new websites, flashier designs, amazing content, etc.

In addition, with Internet users increasingly having many tabs open at once, your homepage has to not only seize attention but compete with multiple websites simultaneously.

For your website to hold its own in this environment, it must be on top of fierce competition. To help you, we’ve made a simple list of the most important aspects of a successful website.

Running audit of your home page - check that it rises to all these challenges:

What business/organisation is the website for? Is the brand obvious? Your niche? Product or service?

What can I actually do on this site? Is it relevant for me? Is it interesting? Does it solve my problems? Can I find what I need?

Can I trust this website? Does it look professional? Is the design welcoming and comfortable?

Why should I choose what’s on offer? What do I have to do? Is the primary call to action presented clearly?

Is this something I would share? Does it look like something I would tell my friends or family on social media?

All that in only 5 seconds! And that’s just a few of the main ideas your website has to cover. Some visitors will focus on content, others on design and user experience. Generally speaking, your website has to have all bases covered to keep your visitors interested and pass the 5-second test.

How can I achieve 5 Second Success?

1. Don’t make people guess what your website is about

Clarity is key. Your readers have to know what the website is about from the first headline.
A large, strong, unmistakable proposition is best. And a powerful, eye-catching, relevant image. It’s astonishing how often this is overlooked. 

It’s about instant comprehension. If your business sells pet supplies, better be sure to include ‘pets’ somewhere in the headline. Don’t fall into the trap of meaningless, generic industry catchphrases and buzzwords. “Your Ultimate Solutions Resource” is just wasted space and opportunity.

2. The KISS Principle – Keep your site design clear, clean and simple

Like so many things, this rule applies to web design: Simple works best.

You’ll always have some web designers keen to try something different and experiment with new tools, animations, and gimmicks… But it just can end up cluttering your website and overwhelming visitors.

Too many colours, buttons, animation, images can all distract away from the one fundamental objective. The moment a visitor sees any component as ‘too many, they’re lost. Use this checklist to make sure you always cover everything.

Well, that’s pretty much it – your audience has a storm of competing messages, and you have one primary mission: Get their attention.

Do what you can to minimise load speed – Google has found that each second beyond 2 seconds results in greater bounce rates.

And then you have just 5 seconds to tell them exactly why they should stick around a little longer – and maybe transact. No pressure, right?

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