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Home Page Conversion Optimisation

The home page is often the most “loved” page on most websites. Looking at your analytics you will notice that most people will enter the site via this page and it usually has the highest bounce numbers. These initial numbers are usually relative to how comfortable the user is with how the site looks and what is being offered in their first scan of the content. Recent studies have given a little bit more clarity to this by explaining that in the first 10 seconds of a visit a user is generally hyper judgmental and if your website can survive this time then the likelihood of them staying is increased. It's not until around 30 seconds that you start to see a much slower rate of exit and a stronger engagement in the content.

So how do we survive the first 10 seconds?

The human brain is an amazingly strong processor but it is inherently lazy.

Our brains process new information very quickly, in fact around 400 billion bits of information a second. Of this huge about of information, however, we are consciously aware of only 2000 bits of information. All of the other information is processed in our subconscious and contributes to keeping us safe and getting what we want and need. The reason most of the information is processed by the subconscious is due to the speed and efficiency with which it can process the information.

In comparison, the conscious or cognitive parts of our brain is slooooooooow.

It’s ok though, don’t panic, our brains know how to deal with this. As we process new information our minds look for ways to allow us to move information from the conscious to the unconscious brain to allow us to process the task or information in a much faster and more energy efficient way in the future – think about how you drive a car or brush your teeth in the morning now – tasks that required a lot of conscious thought as we learned them, now require not much at all.

Without being aware of it our brain seeks to create patterns out of everything we process so that it can be completed without actually “thinking” about it. This allows us to make quick judgements on information and use intuition effectively.

Does this affect the way we design your website?

It certainly does. A lot of our web usage is motivated by the need to be time efficient and if you can assist this predisposition by designing your site to improve the speed in which your customer can answer the question “Am I in the right place?” you are one step closer to converting the visitor through your website. To quote the legendary Steve Krug – “Don’t make me think”.

When your brand is being assessed for the first time, the success of your home page and landing pages relies greatly on immediately creating a comfortable and familiar environment for the user. Giving them what they expect to see will reduce the cognitive and analytical assessment (and strain) in those first few seconds thus improving the chances of getting through that initial judgement period.

Some of the things to consider to keep your visitors calm :

  1. Keep the logo where most sites have it – top left.
  2. Make it very clear who you are and your unique selling point very quickly.
  3. Steer away from fancy navigation (no matter how cool it looks)
  4. Make you buttons look like buttons
  5. Be clear with where buttons will lead “Click here for books” not “View our Library” (could be library of documents, Local library)

It is also worth noting that although we are prescribing keeping somewhat of a structure about design there is obviously many ways that this can be designed. A good web designer will know how to make your brand and messaging unique while creating the comfortable browsing experience we are talking about.

A website always serves a purpose. Give the user a well-designed, comfortable environment that fills them with confidence and you will notice that your bounce rate will reduce, the number of pages they visit will increase and, if everything else is in place, your website will well and truly serve its purpose.

Have a great week!

Conduit Creative
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