Expectations. First Impressions. Resulting Reactions

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Every visitor to your website arrives with expectations. Does your website’s first impression meet your visitor’s expectations?

The less your website matches the expectations of your visitors, the quicker they will hit the back button. You only have 0.05 seconds before people decide to leave or stay a little longer. The tighter the match between your website and your visitor’s expectations, the more likely they will stay.


In order to illustrate this point, let me show you two examples. There will be one example of a website not matching the expectations of visitors followed by a website that does.

Executive Recruiting & Training

This website belongs to a company that helps corporations recruit and train executive staff. The context of a user’s search might begin with a need to find an executive recruiting company. They may enter a search “executive recruiter” and then begin examining the first few search engine results. The expectation is to find a company that recruits executives.< Here is a picture of the front page of an executive recruiting and training company called Korn Ferry. This first graphic is a historical version of their website. I’ll show you the current website next.

Keep the context of your search in mind as you then see this website.

Old Korn Ferry Website

What is your first impression? Does the site match your expectations of your “executive recruiter” search? My first impression is that this is a martial arts related site. Of course, if I didn’t hit the back button and looked around more I’d learn that it was, in fact, an executive recruiting and training company. The problem is I likely wouldn’t have stayed long enough to discover that fact.

One graphic that doesn’t properly represent your company can make a huge difference. It can mean the difference in a visitor’s reaction––to stay or leave.

If your website isn’t matching the expectations of your visitors than it’s a weak link in your marketing efforts. You need to get with a web designer that will help your website meet your visitor’s expectations. Otherwise, visitor traffic is not being optimized.

Korn Ferry has since updated their website, here is how it currently appears.

New Korn Ferry Website

Well, that’s better, but can you quickly figure out what they do? I still can’t. If you make your visitor work to figure out what and who you are; they’re not very likely to do it. Make it easy for your website visitors to know what and who you are.

Plumbing & HVAC

Our next website is Einstein Plumbing & Heating which provides Plumbing and HVAC services. The context of a user’s search might begin with a need to find a plumber. They may enter a search “plumbing contractor portland oregon” and then begin examining the first few search engine results. The expectation is to find a company that does plumbing.

Here is the front page of a plumbing company that does business in Portland, Oregon called Einstein Plumbing & Heating.

Einstein Plumbing Website

After entering the search phrase, “plumbing contractor portland oregon” does this website match your expectations? I can quickly see that this is a plumbing company, no question there. Now my next question is if they operate in Portland. The menu provides the clue and if I hover over “OREGON” I’ll see Portland is listed.

That is a good example of a website that meets the expectations of the searcher. They then become a visitor and begin browsing the website. Soon they will be making a phone call to get an estimate. That is the reaction you want when people visit your website.

Does your website meet your visitor’s expectations and cause the reaction your hoping for?

Trevor Wilson

Trevor Wilson

Trevor is a love-focused branding specialist helping our team constantly fine-tune our obsessions. He’s a passionate learner and teacher, distilling over 100 industry-related books a year into digestible bits that make Smitten’s client projects more powerful every day.

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