One of the biggest challenges website owners have today is getting visitors to stay on their website for more than 3 seconds. If you don’t think you have an issue with visitors leaving your website after less than 10 seconds, take a look at your Google Analytics data. More specifically, open up the Google Analytics Behavior Engagement Report (Visit Duration and Page Depth) for your website. If yours is like most websites, a very large portion of your website traffic leaves after less than 10 seconds and after visiting less than 1 page.
So how do you fix this? Answer: With a blink test.
What’s a blink test? A blink test is a test of what visitors see on your website in the first 3 seconds. This is an easy-to-construct and valuable heuristic method for testing both the branding and positioning of the website and its usability simultaneously.
Ok, so this sounds complicated. Actually it’s not. To conduct a simple blink test all you need are three test subjects and a computer. The test goes like this. You set up your website’s home page in a web browser and cover the monitor with a piece of cardboard. You show each test subject (preferably people who don’t work for your company to avoid bias) the website for 3 seconds and then ask them to write down what they saw. Specifically, ask them: What was your first impression? What message(s) clearly stood out? What is the purpose of this website? What business are they in? What do they sell? Are they trustworthy?
So, what if the test subjects have a hard time describing what they saw in 3 seconds? Is there an easy fix for this?
The answer is: It depends.
If you can easily edit the graphics and copy on the home page of your site, you can begin to address the problem by creating visual hierarchy on your home page. The goal is to clearly communicate your branding and positioning in less than 3 seconds. Today, one of the most popular techniques companies use to clearly articulate their brand and positioning is a large animated banner that is positioned front and center on the home page.
So that’s it? All you need to do is put up a sexy animate banner on the home page, and the Visit Duration and number of page views will shoot through the roof?
Not exactly; creating a strong visual hierarchy and having clear branding and positioning will definitely improve visitor engagement. However, the branding and messaging must match a visitor’s expectations.
How do you align visitor expectations with branding and messaging?
Check out our blog post: Avoid SEO Bait and Switch and Cut Your Google Analytics Bounce Rate