You took the leap. You set up a website to display your important message. Congratulations! As in life, first impressions are important on the web. Web researchers found that you have about 2 minutes to make that first impression a good one.

Visitors will judge your site in those few seconds on its professionalism and appropriateness to what they are looking for.

In fact, a website can lose about one-third of its potential customers due to poor design, according to a recent user study conducted by Jakob Nielson, Ph.D., a principal of the Fremont Calif.-based Nielson Norman Group.

Take a long hard look at your site. Or ask a friend to give you a brutally honest review of your site. Does it pass the test of professionalism? Are the graphics of good quality and clear? Is the formatting, font size and font colors consistent throughout the site? Or does your site commit design mistakes that speak AMATEUR as soon as it loads?

There are some common mistakes website owners make that may cause visitors to leave early. Correct these 5 mistakes to make sure your visitors stay long enough to read your important message:


Mistake#1 They post "Under Construction" signs all over the site.

Under Construction signs posted all over the website spell UNPROFESSIONAL in a big way. Seasoned site owners understand the power of patience. They know that timing the launch of your completed website is much more effective than doing it prematurely.

Solution: Be patient. Wait until the website is complete before publicizing your site. Doing it this way, your visitors will be impressed and gain trust faster. They won't feel uneasy and run away because they see UNPROFESSIONAL stamped all over your site with each Under Construction sign.


Mistake #2 They place brightly colored counters on every page as a badge of honor.

The truth is most everyone knows counters can be set to whatever number you like. If you don't want to start your counter at zero, you can easily start it at 10,000. It raises a red flag of questions. Therefore, it may repel your visitors faster than it attracts them. Why raise the red flag of questions, if you don't have to.

Solution: Need to analyze your traffic? Look at your in-depth statistics instead.


Mistake #3 They don't use copyright statements.

Some uninformed site owners don't know that their copyright is effective the moment their creative work is set in a fixed form. So they fail to put their stamp of ownership on their work.

Solution: If you truly own your work, claim it. Post your copyright information at the bottom of every page.


Mistake #4 They write boring, long and sometimes complicated copy.

It slows your visitor's reading to a standstill if they can't quickly understand your copy (the words on your website.) Trust me; your visitor will not stop and get a dictionary if they can't understand something. They will leave quickly.

Solution: Invest time into getting your copy right. Keep it simple. Get rid of passive verbs and too many adverbs that rob your copy of power. Use compelling words in short sentences full of action.


Mistake #5 They fail to identify the benefits of their products and services.

Most visitors don't automatically know what your product or service can do for them. The 'What's in it for me' is what drives most of us. If that question is not answered quickly, we may leave before we discover you have exactly what we've been looking for.

Solution: Make it easy for your visitor. Place your best benefits in your headlines, links and even picture tags.


Mistake #6 They forget to ask the visitor to do something.

Beginner site owners leave money on the table by not asking their visitor to take specific action. They don't consider their visitor may be distracted, busy or dormant to any desire for their product.

Solution: Write marketing with the idea of what you want to happen after they have read your copy. What do you want your visitor to do? Write with the conviction that your prospect will do something after reading-click through to the sales page, contact you for more information, pick up the phone and order.

Don't forget the power of direct commands. Be specific in your directives. Stop right now and fill in this coupon. Send for this ezine before you forget. People love easy steps. They don't have to decide. The work of deciding what to do is already done.


First impressions are important on the web. Follow the simple design techniques above and stop turning your visitors away at the door. Use your first few seconds to impress your visitors with simple design that delivers your powerful message effectively.


©Earma Brown, 11 yr. Web Developer, Author, Service Business Owner Helps service business owners, and writers with full featured hosting, domain names, websites and a host of other web solutions. Send any email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for free ezine Web Wit and mini-course 'Jumpstart Your Website to Success