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Tuesday 8 January 2008

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Dr Bill Haig, writing on Brandchannel, says that poor design results in most websites losing 80 per cent of all visitors within a few seconds.

These visitors decide to leave your site before they have really read anything.

They assess the credibility of your site on how it looks.

Dr Haig concludes his article with the claim that four times as many visitors convert to customers with what he calls a credibility-based website.

He cites Google AdWords research as saying “users decide to stay or leave your site in 8 seconds or less.”

“Like most perception at an early stage, this is a visual thing,” Dr Haig says.

“Research on website trust shows that people want to know about the company behind the website in an instant.

“In a nutshell, the problem is website credibility, or rather, lack of credibility.

“When visitors land on a website, the first thing they do is mentally evaluate in an instant whether they can trust the information on the site enough to continue.

“Like all information, this is a matter of whether or not the source of the information can be trusted to overcome perceptions of risk, uncertainty and even possible identity theft.

“Trust or no trust happens during the visitor's initial impressions or ‘first glance’ at a website when visitor is still unfamiliar with the vendor.

“In people to people interaction, we evaluate the person doing the talking before we accept the person's message.

“On a website, we evaluate the company behind the information. The company is evaluated at ‘first glance’ during the first three seconds of a website encounter.

“But on a website, the initial period of trust is not based on personal experience with the vendor.

“The visitor and vendor do not have a personal relationship history. The visitor makes a trust evaluation on what information, verbal and visual, is available. Otherwise, the vendor is faceless.

“Trust is one part of credibility. Expertise is the other. A website cannot have credibility unless both parts are there,” Dr Haig says.

He goes on to give seven tips on how to better design websites to increase customer conversion.

Dr Haig has completed a PhD at Southern Cross University on “How and Why Credibility-Based Company Logos are Effective in Marketing Communication in Persuading Customers to Take Action: A Multiple Case Study Toward a Better Understanding of Creativity in Branding”.

His article can be viewed at http://www.brandchannel.com/papers_review.asp?sp_id=1359

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