September 24th, 2007 - by Golgotha

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted — One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
Eminem

I can’t believe I’m quoting Eminem either, but the song delivers a powerful message: “What if you only have one shot, or one opportunity to seize the moment?”

Guess what?
That’s usually how it works…

— In a television commercial, we’re told, the sale is made or lost in the first three of four seconds.

— In a print ad, tests have shown that 75 percent of the buying decision is made based on the headline alone.

— In a sales presentation, data has shown that, the sale is made or lost in the first three minutes.

So what about blogging?

Let’s take a moment to think about your websites viewers.

Try to visualize your end-user.
He’s sitting at the computer before you.
He’s not frowning, nor is he smiling. He is perfectly neutral.

He types in your domain name and then presses Ctrl + Enter.
This user is efficient.
The added Ctrl key to the Enter shaves off seconds as the browser adds the “http://www.” to the front of the domain and the “.com” to the end.

As your website loads he starts taking in all data and he’s doing it at amazing speeds — colors, shapes and images are processed in seconds.

He steals a peak at your logo as he tries to locate your navigation. He looks up — not there — he looks left, got it.

Next he rotates his eyes to the right and spots your search box. This provides him a little comfort.

Now he looks for the standard RSS icon. He wants to know that should he like what he’s about to read that he can get it delivered to him. He spots it and decides to settle in for a read.

At this point your website has passed the first test, this user has decided to stick around and read what you have to say. So what is it you have to say?

This is a first time viewer to your website and this is your chance to impress him — it might be your only chance! What will he be reading? Will he be reading your best work? Or some post you just threw up? Look, we all have some posts that are better than others. Not every post can be a home run, I realize that. But, hopefully it’s at least a base hit? For whatever reason I’ve come to rate my post like baseball hits: singles, doubles, triples and the illustrious home run.

Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression I always recommend you only post when you have something to say and not just because it’s a day on the schedule. This may be your only chance to make a good impression and possibly convert the viewer into a longtime member.

Keep in mind that not all of us can have batting averages like Brian Clark; some of us hit more singles than home runs. That’s ok. But, what we can do is prominently display our past home run hits — that is our best articles!

Are you showcasing your best stuff? Go Carpe diem baby!!

Please share with us your methods for showcasing your goods in the comments below.

7 Responses to “If You Had One Shot, or One Opportunity…”

1 Patrick Burt

Oh my, I wish my users would come to my website and head right for the RSS feed button. heheh. 🙂

Good article, details the importance of first impressions.

2 Golgotha

Thanks Patrick, it’s interesting to think about the first time viewer and what they see. I’d hate to think that someone could come to Search-This and never see one of Paul’s excellent CSS articles or Sara’s Podcast. So you have to put your goods right up front — just like the supermarkets do.

3 John Faulds

This user is efficient.
The added Ctrl key to the Enter shaves off seconds as the browser adds the “http://www.” to the front of the domain and the “.com” to the end.

I guess I’m not so efficient cos I didn’t know that. Although it is a less useful shortcut if you’re after non .com URLs.

Funnily enough, baseball wouldn’t be the first sport I’d think of if I were rating posts either. 😉

4 Golgotha

Yeah, Ctrl + Enter can be handy for .com
I feel better at least I just taught John something 🙂

5 Jelena

Ah, I didn’t know about CTRL + Enter either. And I just had to try it. Handy. 🙂

And I do agree that first impression is the most important. Most likely first minute is when the visitor decides to stay a while or leave. I know I leave sites/blogs if I don’t find anything interesting within 30 seconds to 1 minute.

6 rAm

I just came to a similar conclusion a few days ago. It is very essential the blog is designed with the new user in mind. Also the regular users should not feel being neglected.

7 Golgotha

@Jelena – Yeah, I think that’s a pretty fair assessment – that a viewers mind is made up whether to stay and read or go elsewhere within the first minute.

@rAm – Hopefully your ‘regular’ viewers have read enough of your good stuff to know that you indeed do have good stuff. It’s trying to let those first time viewers know that you have some goods at your site, even if it’s not the latest post.

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