You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

A New Study Reveals the Power of First Impressions Online Get a handle on your website. Here's how to identify what the majority of your visitors focus on first.

By Mikal E. Belicove

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A New Study Reveals the Power of First Impressions OnlineIf you think any old website will do for your business, read this.

It takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they've perused your company's website, according to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. And it takes just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer's eyes to concentrate in a way that reinforces that first impression.

Given that tight timeframe, making a good first impression should be among your first orders of business. To that end, the Missouri S&T study results might help you and your web designer determine which elements of your website are most important to those viewing the pages. The researchers employed eye-tracking software and an infrared camera to monitor study participant's eye movements as they perused the test website pages.

The analysis of eye movement garnered from the data helped these researchers determine how long people focus on specific portions of a web page before moving on to another part of the page. These sections included the navigation menu, logo, photos, images and social-media icons. Also important, according to the research team, is the selection of color and images to a web page's design.

Study participants were asked to rate sites on the basis of visual appeal and design factors during an average of 20 seconds spent on each of 25 websites. The sections sparking the most interest included:

  • Logos: Visitors spent about 6.48 seconds focused on this most identifiable portion of a site.
  • Navigation menus: Users spend almost as long (6.44 seconds) studying the menu on a webpage.
  • Search box: This area kept visitors' attention for more than 6 seconds.
  • Links to social utilities: The fact that participants in the study focused on social-media icons for 5.95 seconds reveals just how important it is for your business to offer opportunities for customers to engage with your brand and other customers.
  • Primary image: Visitors perused the main photo or graphic on the page for 5.94 seconds.
  • Written content: This element took up 5.59 seconds of their time.
  • Bottom of the page: That's where users ended up, engaged for about 5.25 seconds in that location.

If it's been a while since you last looked at your own website, take the time now to identify the top three things you want visitors to do as a result of visiting your site. Write these items down, followed by scheduling a meeting with your web team to review the current site. You may be surprised by what you see.

How have you revamped your website to attract more eyeballs? Leave a comment and let us know.

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Branding

94% of Customers Say a Bad Review Made Them Avoid Buying From a Brand. Try These 4 Techniques to Protect Your Brand Reputation.

Maintaining a good reputation is key for any business today. With so many people's lives and shopping happening online, what is said about a company on the internet can greatly influence its success.

Personal Finance

How to Get a Lifetime of Investing Experience in Only One Year

Plus, how day traders can learn a lesson from pilots.

Productivity

6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.

Growing a Business

Looking to Achieve Your Goals But Don't Know Where to Start? Try These Proven Goal-Setting Strategies.

Find a more effective way of creating – and achieving – your goals. Get clear on your vision, make your plan, take action, reassess and then revise.