Website First Impressions Really DO Count

Lori Halley 12 August 2013 2 comments

We only get one chance to make a first impression. And research suggests that you have only one 20th of a second to make a good first impression on your website! 

A study conducted a few years back by Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University, found that  the research participants formed impressions of websites after viewing a page for a mere 500 milliseconds – literally in the blink of an eye. In addition, the researchers found that our quickly formed first impressions really do impact our long-term opinion of the site and its content. Apparently, due to what is termed “the "halo effect", the emotional first impression influences a web visitor’s judgments about other characteristics of the site, such as usability and credibility. 

Keep it fresh - out-of-date websites are a turnoff 

In addition, the recently released 2013 Millennial Impact Report (which we outlined in a post last week) suggests that website first impressions certainly have an impact on Millennials.  The survey report noted that out-of-date non-profit websites were a “turnoff for close to 75% of respondents”.  As Cody Switzer suggests in a post in the Chronicle of Philanthropy,

"Organizations that want to persuade people in their 20s and early 30s to give and volunteer don’t have much of a chance if they’re not updating their Web sites frequently and including compelling details about their causes and the people they serve”.

But let’s face it, while you certainly want to gain the support of the Millennial generation, keeping your website updated is crucial for all of your visitors, donors and members – regardless of their age!  

The 2013 Millennial Impact Report – which you can download here – offers some great advice and tips on how you can better “Connect” via websites (on page 18):

What does it mean?

Websites are portals to action, giving signposts for an organization’s top information. It’s imperative that organizations’ websites clearly show their work, demonstrate how potential constituents can help with current projects and events, and offer ways people can get involved in the near future. ... 

What you can do now

MAKE THE BASICS OF YOUR WEBSITE STANDOUT

Given that Millennials’ primary interest when visiting a website is to get information about an  organization and its current projects, websites essentially becomes portals to action. Construct  your website to offer the core information upfront; feature immediate opportunities to get involved (whether on social media or in person); and provide plenty of shareable, actionable  content—images of the people you’re helping, educational infographics, videos, timely advocacy alerts, etc.—that will inspire Millennials to engage their peers via social media in addressing the issue.

It is very important the information on your website looks professional and is up-to-date, otherwise you will quickly lose the trust of Millennials visiting the website.

MAKE IT EASY TO DONATE!

If a Millennial has to click through too many pages before figuring out how to donate to your  organization, they will quickly lose interest.

Time for a website update?

If it’s been a while since you updated your website, perhaps it’s time to do a little refresh.  Have a look at the 2013 Millennial Impact Report for tips and links to usability tests.  In addition, here are a few resources that might help:

Image source:  website building, courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 12 August 2013 at 8:30 AM

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Comments

  • Leah Neaderthal said:

    Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 2:54 PM
    Great post. We published a Slideshare called "You Know It's Time to Redesign Your Nonprofit Website When...". Especially when thinking about Millenials, it's important to make sure your website works hard for your organization. http://www.slideshare.net/leah_n/you-know-its-time-to-redesign-your-nonprofit-website-when
  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 3:10 PM
    Leah: Thanks for sharing your presentation.
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