Your first-time visitors are judging your website like a first date. Here's a simple and fun way to find out if your site passes the First Date Test.

A first date is when you first get to know someone. This is when your date gets a chance to observe you and decide if you are a good match. When someone lands on your website, they are judging you in very much the same way, even if they are not consciously doing so.

Here are a few pointers on what and what not to do.

#1: Show up on time

People have short attention span in this digital age. If your website is slow, your date is going to click the back button pretty quickly. The images on your site need to be optimised first, so don't upload mega huge files straight from your camera. If your site is sluggish, ask your web developer to check what could be causing the problem. Do a spring clean to see what is slowing your site down.

#2: Look your best

First impression is important. In fact, you have about 8 seconds to convince your date to stay. Does your site look attractive? If your site is visually unappealing or is a total mismatch for your date, you risk losing the opportunity to impress her with your great personality.

#3: Don't be annoying

OK. So your appearance hasn't scared your date away. So far, so good. Next thing you need to do is not be annoying. Don't play music on your website automatically. (There are exceptions to this of course. For example, if you are a musician or singer.) Make your site easy to navigate. Make it clear what you do. Don't make it difficult for people to find the information they need. In short, don't make it hard work for your date.

#4: Looking good isn't enough

It doesn't matter if you look like Brad Pitt. If you are devoid of personality, your date is going to run. Looks will only get you so far. Likewise, having an attractive website isn't enough. It needs substance. You need to not sound like everyone else. Use your website content to convey effectively what you do and how you can help your clients in your unique way.

Typos and poor grammar send out the wrong signals too. A recent study revealed that over half of the participants would not use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on its website. Don't rely entirely on spell-checking tools. Ask a few friends to proofread your site for you. If you want to check your own writing, let it sit for a few hours before returning to it with a fresh eye.

#5: Look trustworthy

When you're out shopping with a friend, you're far more likely to trust the shop that 'looks right'; that gives off a good level of professionalism, permanency and pizzazz. By contrast, you're probably not going to enter the shop that looks shady and a little like it only moved in yesterday with the shelves half empty! It's the same with your website. If it looks spammy or unprofessional, it's time to think about a re-design. In a separate post I talked more about how you can create trust with your web design.

#6: Don't talk about yourself all the time

If you spend most of the time talking about yourself and ignoring your date, it will give the impression that you are not interested in the other person at all. Likewise, your website shouldn't be all about you. It should be more about your clients and how you can help them. Your potential clients are asking themselves: "Why should I choose you? What's in it for me?"

So, go through your website copy and change the focus from you to them. One way to do this is to talk less about "me, me, me" and talk more about "you, you, you". By all means tell your visitors some fun facts about yourself, but don't forget that the focus needs to be on addressing the needs and desires of your audience.

When you talk about your products and services, always mention how they relate to their problems and how they can improve their lives.

#7: Don't be pushy

You have to sell your products and services to stay in business. There's nothing wrong with that. But make sure your site sells without being pushy. Make it easy for your visitors to connect with you on their terms. Provide them with different ways to get in touch with you. Don't force anything on anyone without their permission. Use pop-ups wisely.

#8: Don't reveal too much too fast

As much as you want to tell your date about yourself, don't reveal too much on day one. You want to make use of a very powerful emotional state: curiosity. Provide enough information on your site to keep your visitors engaged and compel them to find out more about your products and services. Done right, it will help draw your prospects deeper into your sales funnel. Be careful though. Don't over-do it. If you delay filling in the gap and keep your prospect hanging on for too long, you will become annoying! And remember, you don't want to be annoying!

#9: Be yourself

Don't fall into the trap of copying a competitor or someone famous in your field. It's a good thing to take inspirations from those who are successful. However, pretending to be someone you're not will only lead to frustrations and a sense of misalignment. You will attract clients who are not a good fit for your business. And that's not surprising, considering that you did attract these clients by imitating someone else in the first place.

#10: Initiate a second date

So you've had a nice dinner. You've had interesting conversations. You'd like to see your date again. Don't leave it to chance. Ask for a second date. In website parlance, this is called a call to action (CTA).

A CTA is an image, a line of text or a button on your website that tells your visitors what to do next. The action you want your visitors to take can be anything from downloading an ebook, signing up for a webinar, to finding out more about your services.


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Does your website pass the "First Date Test"?

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10 reasons your website is like a first date.
Your first-time visitors are judging your website like a first date. Here's a simple and fun way to find out if your site passes the First Date Test.

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