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What Matters Most on Your Business Website?

March 5th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you redesigning your small business’s website, or launching a new website for your company? Then you should know some crucial information about what elements of your website are most important to customers.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and reported by Business News Daily found that overall, your website has a mere 2.6 seconds to make a good impression on users. The study used eye-tracking software to see how long it took users to hone in on one part of the site, which parts attracted their attention first and how long they spent scanning each element.

Researchers Hong Sheng, an assistant professor of business and information technology at Missouri S&T, and and Sirjana Dahal, a graduate degree holder at the school, monitored how participants’ eyes moved as they looked at websites. They then analyzed how long participants spent looking at on particular elements of web pages, including the logo, menu, images and icons related to social media tools.

Here’s what areas of the website got the most attention and were deemed most important to users:

• The logo. Users spent an average of 6.48 seconds looking at this area before looking elsewhere.

• The main navigation menu. This was a close second to the logo; users spent an average of 6.44 seconds looking at the menu.

• The search box. Users spent slightly more than 6 seconds here.

• Social networking icons. Links to sites such as Facebook and Twitter attracted users’ attention for an average of 5.95 seconds.

• The site’s main image. Users spent an average of 5.94 seconds looking at the dominant image on the page.

• Written content. Users spent about 5.59 seconds scanning this.

• The bottom of the website: Users spent an average of 5.25 seconds here.

Researchers also found that “pleasant colors” on a Web page created a good impression with users, although they didn’t specify which colors were considered pleasant.

What’s the takeaway for your business? “As more people use the Internet to search for information, a user’s first impressions of a website can determine whether that user forms a favorable or unfavorable view of that organization,” Sheng told Business News Daily. Make sure that your logo, menu, images and content all work together to create a favorable impression and keep users on your website.

Image by Flickr user Miranda Granche (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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Posted in Marketing, Small Business, small business, Web Design | 3 Comments »

  • Anonymous

    If a website has only 2.6 seconds to make a good impression on users then how did they determine that they spent 6.48 seconds looking at the logo before looking elsewhere?  Do you really think that how long someone looks at a logo is an important metric in the success of the site?

  • http://learnit2earnitwithlynn.com Lynn Brown

    Last year I wrote a post about this same thing and at that time it was 3.5 seconds.  So it appears that consumers or potential customers are taking less time to make a decision to stay or leave your site.  Although I do not agree about the logo, at least not for small business owners.  The ‘logo’ should be your image with your name and transparency about you and your company.  Your site should quickly let a visitors know the purpose of your site and the benefits they can expect which will determine if they stay on your site or possibly bookmark for later. 

  • http://www.clickandinc.com/blog Sarah Kolb

    Really, on average people spend more time looking at the logo than at the content? That seems a little strange. But I’ve been considering adding a search box to our website, and it seems like that’s definitely the way to go — thanks for the info!