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Does Your Website Pass the 5 Second Test?

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The five second test.

What is it you ask? It’s a test where a visitor takes a really quick look at your site for only five seconds, and then answers an important question: “Are you able to tell what the site is about and what it has to offer?”

In a real-world scenario, visitors will attempt to figure what your site is about and what you have to offer before they decide whether or not they’ll stick or bounce. They want to know immediately if you have what they need.

Studies have shown that a majority of website visitors typically bounce within the first five seconds that they arrive at your site. This shows it’s vital that your websites passes the five second test.

So why do people bounce so quickly? It’s because they have a lot of things to do. Nobody has extra time to figure out what your site is about if it’s not obvious right away. And guess what? There are hundreds of thousands of websites for them to choose from. If you haven’t nailed it and made it incredibly obvious within the first five seconds of their visit that you have what they want, you might as well just give them the direct address to your competitor’s site now.

The five second test is that important.

In order for visitors to determine if they’ll engage with your website, they must first orient themselves to determine if they’re where they want to be. Eye tracking studies show that when visitors arrive on a website their eyes typically first land in the upper left-hand corner. It’s here where they try to determine who you are and what you have to offer.

Keep in mind they aren’t reading at this point. They’re simply trying to figure out where they are.

Most websites place their company name, logo, and tagline here, which is good, because that’s what visitors are used to seeing. It may very well be why they start here. So if you’re doing something different, you may want to rethink that approach.

To pass the five second test you want to make it crystal clear to your visitors upon arrival where they are and what you have to offer. If they bounce within the first five seconds of arriving, nothing else on your website will matter. Not the incredible copywriting. Not the irresistible free offers. Not the one page shopping cart. And not your amazing case studies.

That’s why the five-second test is so important.

So how do you pass the five-second test with flying colors? By focusing on these four things…

#1: Your Logo and Business Name

This is the area where most eyes land first. Of course, I’m not going to ask you to change your business name, but it is important to have a logo that is memorable. And it’s great if it in some way communicates your service offering.

The KISSmetrics logo, for example, communicates analytics with the colored bars that look like they came from a graph. That’s a great way to tie a logo in with your service or product offering.

KISSmetricsLogo

If you don’t have a logo at all, that can leave a very unprofessional impression. Have you seen those sites before? Where they only display the business name? Admit it. Doesn’t it feel like they didn’t have the money to invest in a logo? Like they just quickly threw up a website? Is that usually the kind of business that you want to do business with?

If you don’t have a logo or one that’s doing it’s job, it typically only costs a few hundred dollars to create a logo that does and is well worth the investment.

In fact, at www.99designs.com you can put in a request where 30-90 designers will create a design for you to choose from with logos starting at $299. You can also work with a talented local designer to get a good logo at a great price, or you can use a site like Upwork to find reasonably priced freelancers.

The point is that with so many design resources available, there’s really no excuse to not have a professional logo for your business.

Cheap Logos from 99 Designs

#2: Your Tagline

Your tagline is one of the most important ad pieces you’ll ever create and should always be succinct, meaning it should say as much as possible in as few words as possible.

To capitalize on this one line opportunity, you should clearly spell out exactly what it is you have to offer your visitors.

Ideally, it should also convey how you and your offering are unique compared to your competitors. In other words, it should include your unique value proposition.

Your tagline should also be memorable and convey good feelings about your brand.

Here’s a few examples of some pretty good taglines…

  • Disneyland: “The happiest place on earth.”
  • California Milk Processor Board: “Got milk?”
  • Dunkin Donuts: “Time to make the donuts.”

Don’t miss out on adding this important piece to your site, especially since it seems more and more common to leave it off. Visitor’s eyes tend to fall in the upper left-hand corner first, making it super important that you nail it with a great tagline.

The example below shows the tagline from here on the iSpionage blog. It’s short, sweet, and to the point and let’s people know immediately where they’ve landed—a PPC marketing blog.

iSpionageBlogLogo

#3: Your Homepage Headline

Your headline is the next important piece of the puzzle. Once your visitors orient themselves with your tagline, their eyes typically drift down to the headline. Especially if it’s big and bold. With the headline, you can elaborate further than you can with the tagline and give people an even better idea of the value your company has to offer.

And just so you know, headlines are really important.

In fact, they’re so important, legendary advertiser David Ogilvy states that, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. It follows that, if you don’t sell the product in your headline, you have wasted 80% of your money.”

You may have read about some really interesting and unique split tests with some unexpected results when it comes to headlines. However, most people that I talk to in the CRO industry still say that they see some of their biggest wins by testing the tried and true headline which is why you shouldn’t overlook this important piece of copy.

In fact, the screenshot below provides an example where just providing clarity with one word helped to increase conversions. Movexa’s original page used a headline that just said “Natural Joint Relief.”

Movexa CRO Control

 

In their test page, they added the word “Supplement” to give better clarity as to what they were actually offering. Supplements.

Movexa CRO Challenger

By clearly conveying their offering, Movexa increased their sales by 89.97%.

Another great example is the homepage headline for Disruptive Advertising. The main headline speaks of a great benefit, taking your PPC to new heights, and the sub-headline also speaks to something advertisers really want—spending less to get more. It’s a great headline and shows how much difference a really good headline can make.

Disruptive PPC Advertising Headline

Make sure that you put a lot of thought into your headline. Not only to show what you offer, but to also really sell your service or product offering.

#4: Your Home Page Content

Naturally, here’s where you’d elaborate in depth on all of the above, yet I’ve seen many sites that waste this space and place abstract pictures and copy. The content may look and sound cool, but it’s really only going to leave your visitors saying “What is this site really about?” where “What is this site really about?” is the kiss of death in the online world. Because don’t forget, your visitors have hundreds of thousands of websites to choose from.

Clearly defining what you have to offer here is important.

Take a look at Unbounce, for example.

Unbounce includes an easy-to-understand diagram above the fold that explains how their service works. They also list some of the most respected companies that use Unbounce, a video case study, and more content that emphasizes building landing pages in hours instead of weeks. It’s a great example of using the homepage space wisely to get the main point across to visitors.

Unbounce Homepage

So remember to be smart with this space. And make sure that within your well crafted copy, you’ve made it clear that you have what they want.

So there you have it…

A few good reasons why your website must pass the 5 Second Test and a few ways to nail it.

It’s a good idea to keep your company name and logo in the upper left-hand corner where eyes typically first land. And it’s important to really utilize your tagline and headlines to help orient visitors as to where they are and what you have to offer.

And face it: if you fail here, you risk wasting all of the money you spent to bring traffic in and the money you spent to create a dynamic website that sells.

As I’ve said, it only takes about five seconds for your visitors to ascertain whether or not you have what they need. If they’re not sure, they’re gone and off to check out your competition. That’s why it’s imperative that you make what you do crystal clear for your visitors upon the moment they arrive on your site.

If you don’t, you risk losing them at the most vital moment—those first five seconds.

Author

Marie Marie Dean is the Innovation Director at ConversionLifters and has worked in the field of conversion optimization for over 10 years. She helps clients lift their website conversion rates and revenue with in-depth audits, heat mapping, user tests, and split testing. Interested in free conversion optimization recommendations that pertain to your website? Sign up for a Free Conversion Lift Strategy Session at www.conversionlifters.com.

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  • Thanks for the article Marie. It’s amazing that most companies don’t spend more time on the critical basics like headlines. The simple things matter. Cheers.