Web Design

11 Questions Your Website Must Answer Within 15 Seconds

Learn the 11 questions your website must answer within 15 seconds. 55% of website visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a page. This data indicates that more than half of those visitors aren't satisfied. They expect answers to their questions.

50 milliseconds. That’s all the time you get before visitors to your website reach their first impression.

A well-designed logo, along with great fonts, colors and photography will surely make a positive first impression, but that might only increase time on site by a few seconds. Aesthetics aren't enough to convert visitors into customers.

According to data from Tony Haile, the CEO of Chartbeat, 55% of website visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a page. This data indicates that more than half of those visitors aren't satisfied. They expect expect answers to their questions — immediately!

In this post, I’m going to share 11 questions your website must answer within 15 seconds.

1. What are You Selling?

Allbirds' homepage

Without reading or scanning a word, visitors should be able to immediately identify what a business is selling. For example, it's obvious that Allbirds sells shoes (see image) because the hero image of the woman swinging forward emphasizes the shoes, not her.

If visitors can't instantly identify what a business is selling, they'll click away.

Action Step
Use a hero image of your product or service at the top of your homepage and sales pages, so it's immediately obvious to visitors what you're selling.

2. Why Should Anyone Care?

Along with the hero image, businesses need to make their offer attractive to visitors with a clear, compelling and short description. This is called a value proposition and can include a headline, sub-headline and bullet points. In the Allbirds example, the value proposition is "Natural Comfort. Now There's an Idea."

A value proposition isn't a tag line or slogan, but a promise of value to be delivered that illustrates why potential customers should buy from you and not the competition.

Action Step
Invest time in crafting a well-written value proposition for your homepage and sales pages. Use A/B tests or pay per click advertising to test different value propositions.

3. What’s Unique?

Visitors want to know what makes the products or services better than the competition. How does the business differentiate itself? Again, in the Allbirds example, their unique selling proposition (USP) is making shoes from all natural materials like merino wool, tree fiber and sugarcane. No other shoe company is currently doing that.

Action Step
Differentiate your business with a unique selling proposition. Whether you’re a shoe company, a restaurant or a professional service business, focus on what distinguishes your product or service from the competition and appeals to your audience.

4. How Much?

If the price isn't listed in an obvious location on the sales page or as a "Pricing" link in the navigation bar, visitors will assume the product or service is too expensive or they'll given up clicking, scrolling and searching for the price and leave the website.

Action Step
Be transparent about pricing and post the cost in clear and obvious locations. For professional service businesses, offer fixed prices because they’re easy to understand and don’t require waiting for a quote.

5. Who's the Ideal Customer?

Visitors should immediately be able to identify if a product or service is right for them. For example, CarMax knows that its customers don't like to haggle when buying or selling a car, so they created a stress-free car-buying and car-selling experience that solves customer pain points. What solutions can you create that solve your customers' pain points?

Action Step
Create a customer persona. Brainstorm a list of questions and answers that define your target audience. Where's the ideal customer from? What’s their background? What are their pain points?

6. What's Included?

A list of features describes the usefulness of products or services and differentiates them from the competition. For example, two of the features that distinguish an iPhone X from all other iPhones is the 5.8-inch screen and Face ID.

Promoting features help to sell products and services. How do you come up with features? Think like a customer. Highlight the ways you're solving their pain points.

Action Step
Use text and images/graphics to visually describe the features of your products or services.

7. Is there a Guarantee?

Lulu Lemon's homepage

A guarantee communicates faith in a company's products or services and a commitment to their customers.

Lululemon's Quality Promise (see image) is a guarantee that if a product doesn't perform optimally, they'll take it back. This removes objections potential customers might have and reduces the risk of losing their investment.

Action Step
Include a guarantee like "100% money-back" that reduces or completely removes any risk. To increase the perceived value of the guarantee, give it a name like Lululemon did with its Quality Promise.

8. Why Should Anyone Trust You?

Visitors want to see proof that a business can be trusted. They want to see awards, certificates, statistics, real photos (not stock photography) and they want to see logos from influential companies that have used a business's products/services or featured its products/services in an article.

Action Step
Don't say your business is trustworthy, show your business is trustworthy. To learn how to achieve this, read my post 20 Proven Ways to Build Trust with Your Website.

9. Do Others Trust You?

Casper's homepage

Positive reviews and ratings from satisfied customers can immediately validate a business as legitimate in the visitor's mind.

Casper, the mattress company, earns trust by listing several well-respected publications on their homepage that have rated its products highly (see image). Casper also links to "Reviews" in the navigation bar that includes additional awards from more publications as well as customer reviews and brand mentions on Twitter.

The more social proof you can display, the more trust and credibility you'll earn. After all, Casper has successfully been able to convince customers to buy a mattress online — sight unseen.

Action Step
Ask customers to rate and review your business on relevant and authoritative sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Then, use that social proof from your target audience to market on your website.

10. Is there a Better Alternative?

Visitors are going to search alternative options and compare the price, features, quality and design of products or services. They do it at grocery stores and retail stores with Google and Amazon searches. They'll do it with your business too.

So, how can you inform visitors there isn't a better alternative? By creating your own comparison chart that lists the features that differ between you and the competition. This also helps to differentiate your offer.

Action Step
Reduce bounce rates and increase conversions by creating your own comparison chart.

11. What Should Visitors do?

Visitors shouldn’t have to guess how to become a customer. It should be obvious and include simple steps and several calls to action to convert visitors into leads or visitors into customers.

For example, I recently listened to a podcast interview with an internet lawyer and was impressed by his knowledge and experience, but my interest fizzled when I visited his website. He didn’t have any calls to action throughout most of his site, including the "Hire Us" page. Were visitors supposed to call, email, fill out a form or get a free quote? I don't know.

He could've eliminated the fear of getting started by listing 3 easy steps to get a free quote, followed by a call to action button like "Book Now."

Action Step
Use calls to action that informs visitors what to do. If necessary, also include a 3-step process that instructs visitors how to complete a task like getting a quote, booking a reservation, scheduling an appointment, buying a product, etc.

Wrap Up

You just learned 11 questions your website must answer within 15 seconds. As attention spans dwindle and the number of direct and indirect competitors increases every day — getting your website right is paramount. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Ensure your website addresses the questions outlined in this post.

11 Questions Your Website Must Answer Within 15 seconds first appeared on the Bento Sites Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.

Close-up of Jeff Shibasaki wearing a black hat

Jeff Shibasaki

Jeff's the founder of Bento Sites. He's a strategic web designer that specializes in visual design, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) on Webflow and Squarespace.