Business owners have less than three seconds to make a first impression on their website visitors.

Less than three seconds is exactly how long it takes for the most captivating elements of a website to hit home, according to a recently released study conducted by Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Researchers used eye-tracking software to determine how website designs influence users.

Really, the study’s findings are nothing new or Earth-shattering. It has been widely accepted that a user’s first impression of a website will determine that user’s opinion of the business it represents.

Researchers monitored the eye movements of study participants as they scanned Web pages. Next, researchers analyzed the data to determine how long each individual focused on specific sections of a particular page, including the website menu, company logo, images and social media icons.

For the purpose of the study, researchers used law school websites to measure what elements drew the most interest from participants. The results are as follows:

Logos. The study found that participants spent approximately 6.48 seconds focused on this area before moving on.
• Main navigation menus. Participants spent an average of 6.44 seconds viewing a website’s main navigation menu.
• Search boxes. Participants focused there attention on website search boxes for just over 6 seconds.
• Social networking links. Links to sites like Facebook and Twitter garnered just shy of 6 seconds from participants.
• Dominant website images. A website’s main image was fixated upon by participants for an average of 5.94 seconds.
• Written content. Participants seemed to spend just 5.59 seconds focused on a website’s written content.

What does this mean for website owners? Particular attention should be paid to a website’s overall navigation and design for maximum results. A poorly designed website or logo and a difficult navigational structure will surly send visitors off to another website.

Copyright 2012 dzine it, Inc. web design company All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Building a website and keeping it running is one thing, but maintaining it is another thing.

For business website owners, it is crucial to regularly change website designs. As time passes, tastes and preferences change and the integration of the latest trends is the key to continued success.

One of the main reasons why business website designs need to consistently change is so that they can remain fresh and entertaining.

If your website has been up for quite a while and there has been little change to its interface, navigation and design, users will stop coming back. Change is the perfect way to drive new visitors to your site and keep current clients interested.

Expansion is another significant reason why a website's design may need to be refreshed. When a business decides to add new features to its website, the need for expansion and a redesign becomes an obvious requirement.

This is particularly true with relatively young websites. In many cases, a start-up website is produced to be cheap, simple and effective. In time, however, the site will need to expand.

This is why it is essential that start-up sites continually change their website design as they grow. As a website grows, its visitor base will grow as well and he notes that it is important to analyze exactly what visitors are looking for, using a website analytics tool.

If you start noticing that users are becoming more focused on your blogs, redesign your website to focus on your blogs. If you see that most users love your video tutorials, try incorporating multiple video links on your site, rather than promoting your YouTube channel.

When features are added to or removed from a website, modifications will have to be made to its design in order to ensure that it is running properly.

Regardless of the nature of your business, it is essential that a website is kept as up-to-date and as fresh as possible.

Copyright 2012 dzine it, Inc. web design company All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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A website's bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors that come to a page and don't go to any other pages within the same site. In other words they bounce away to another website.

A high bounce rate can be frustrating and costly, especially when you have invested time and money into an SEO campaign and paid advertisements. Nobody wants their hard work to go to waste.

Businesses need to ensure that first impressions reel in the visitor in order to reduce bounce rates and to keep visitors engaged.

To help combat high bounce rates, consider the following list of usability considerations that can lower a website's bounce rate and improve visitor retention:

1. Carefully consider ad placement. Advertisements are often necessary to the survival of a website, but too many advertisements can be a big turn-off to readers. Remember that advertising placed too close to a site's navigation can cause accidental clicks, which force visitors to leave your page. Also, placing too many ads above the fold means your readers aren't getting to the heart of your site quickly enough. Keep advertising prominently placed but out of the way enough so that visitors can use the site properly.

2. Avoid third-party content. The more third-party services, widgets and content your site contains, the slower your pages will load and users hate slow-loading pages.

3. Consider some contrast. If visitors cannot read a website's content, they will leave. That's why every website needs contrast. Not only does it make a site more accessible to visitors who may have difficulty seeing, but it also has the overall effect of making important content easier to find.

4. Ensure good navigation. If a user cannot easily navigate a website, they will leave. A website's navigation should be prominent, clear and easily accessible. Consider repeating sidebar or top links in the footer and make sure that click targets are large enough for small resolution use.

5. Have a clear message and/or call to action: If a new visitor has to search for the information they need, they're going to leave. A website's purpose should be immediately evident and expressed clearly in both design and content.

Copyright 2012 dzine it, Inc. website design All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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