Making a good first impression with your Social Media outposts
They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, we all do. And on the Internet, where a new blog, Twitter feed or YouTube page is just a click away, first impressions really count. If you haven’t grabbed that person’s attention in the first 5 seconds, unless they are there for a reason, they’ll probably navigate away. Now this isn’t to say that great content won’t attract people to your outpost, but why put unnecessary hurdles in the way? This post isn’t going to go into the details of writing good content, but instead is focused purely on the aesthetics of your outposts.
First impressions can make or break a branded outpost. We all remember those times where you’ve visited a site your first impressions were “Yuck” or “Woah that’s a lot of orange, my eyes, they burn.”
Bright colours are, in general, a bad idea. There are a few designers who can pull it off by teaming it with well placed balancing tones, but for the majority of us, neon green probably is an unwise choice for a background.
Ensure people know what your outpost is about. No for certain outposts this will be a given, for example Twitter pages, it’s fairly obviously when a person is looking at a Twitter or YouTube page. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use a well designed background to improve the user experience. You should design your site so that it is not only comfortable for regular users, but also so that it’s not confusing for new comers.
There’s a lot to be said for a clean layout on your outposts. For sites where you have control over core functionality, such as your own blog, a simple, non-confusing navigation system is a must. Readable fonts are essential. Whilst mind blowing graphics may look great, it’s easy to go overboard, and actually distract people from the content. Good design should act like a frame to a picture, it should complement the piece, not distract from it.
Try to get an objective view, what would you HONESTLY think about your site if you had come across it for the first time. Would you stick around to check it out? Or would those flashing gifs probably put you off?
But of course, you designed the site, so you can’t exactly be objective. Try asking someone else, preferably not someone who will lie in order to not hurt your feelings. The first key success is a successful first impression.