How to Make a Great First Impression with Your Online Presence

When trying to win over a potential client, it’s all about the first impressions. The amount of time it takes for your website or blog to load is just as important as the design and content within. Try out this little test to see what kind of first impression you are making with your online presence.

First, delete your browser history and/or cookies for your website, and then, using a timer, see how long it takes for your website or blog to completely load from scratch. If it takes longer than 10 seconds for things to start appearing on the screen, consider limiting the number of posts on the first page or seeing how you can cut down on the overall loading time.

If implementing a flash based site, see if you can do a progressive load, where the basic structure (i.e. the logo, menu, and welcome message) automatically loads while waiting on the slideshow. If using a non-flash site, then make sure the all-important first page is not bogged down with heavy graphics and large image files. With a blog, it’s best to show no more than three-five posts on the main page. One of the big mistakes that I see bloggers making is including full-quality images in their posts, instead of making sure the images are appropriately sized for the web. Not only will this protect against unlawful usage by using a lower resolution image, the overall quality of the image will actually be better as you will be able to size and sharpen perfectly for your website.

Be careful about including multiple long posts, especially those including dozens of sessions images all on the same page. Readers don’t mind clicking “next” but they do mind looking at a blank screen and that annoying rotating timer. I find myself growing frustrated when reading blogs when I’m done reading the body of text and am waiting for minutes at a time to see the image that they were describing. If I, as a fellow photographer, am getting frustrated, just imagine what it is like for that potential client.

It all comes down to this:

improving web presence, first impression, photography website advice