Websites & Forums: Good First Impressions
First impressions are one of the most underestimated parts of starting a successful forum or website. A first impression is what a viewer immediately thinks about your site at first glace. If a viewer receives a negative first impression, they unfortunately will probably leave your forum or website and it will be difficult to bring them back. There are three very important key points for making a positive first impression. Positive theme impression, clarity and name. Positive Theme Impressions Themes are a very tricky part of running a forum, blog or website. There are hundreds of themes for almost every software. They come in almost every color, and if you have design skills, they aren't incredibly hard to customize to your exact liking. Before selecting a theme, you need to have an idea of what you want your forum's image to be. A company needs to have a professional theme, while a forum has a bit more room for creativity due to the age appeal difference. Almost any forum can get away with a colorful theme. Though, most websites, especially those for a company can't do this, because their user base will be of a different group. It's important to acknowledge that deciding if your forum, website or blog will follow a neat, professional look, or a more "fun" looking theme. Both of these options will have different pros and cons. Colorful themes and flat themes will appeal to completely different people. For instance; a more colorful, "fun" theme will appeal to the under 25 crowd better than a two color, flat theme. Before your forum starts, you will need to decide which of these groups you'd like to appeal to, and adjust accordingly by choosing a theme that will suit your targeted people group. Name A name is your site's image in a nutshell. The name will be what people will remember your site as, forever. If someone likes your site they'll tell their friends, "I really like Forum Promotion." This is why naming is so important. If the friend doesn't understand what the site is about by the name, they're less likely to join or even look at the site. This is why you must have a name that is representative of your site. You need to get something that people will remember, that sticks in your head for a while. Naming a promotion forum "Space Age" doesn't make much sense, now does it? Naming a promotion forum "Space Promotion" makes a lot more sense, doesn't it? A forum's name will be its forever legacy, so you should make it a positive legacy. You should always name your forum something related to your forum. A name is the utmost picture of a first impression. A name is what someone sees before they enter your forum. A name will be remembered if you make a positive first impression. You should ensure that your name is something incredibly easy to remember. If your name isn't easy to remember, you'll lose a significant amount of viewers that you made a positive first impression upon on because people are less likely to remember your name. Clarity Clarity is something else that is widely overlooked in the webmaster world. A first impression should give a viewer a clear picture of exactly what your site's purpose is, as well as how to use it. You should have your site's name in the logo. The logo is the first thing a viewer will normally see upon viewing your site. It should have your site's name in it because it sets a good, clear picture that shows what your site is about, immediately. As I covered in the second point, the name on your site is incredibly important. Adding your name to the logo is the most efficient way of showing your members what your site name is, thereby increasing the likelihood that your name will be remembered. Navigation is another part of this. New Forums with more than ten boards are incredibly hard to navigate. You should only put as many boards as your forum currently has the activity to warrant. If you don't have the activity to warrant all of your boards, it sets an incredibly unclear picture to a viewers as why you have the boards in the first place. To conclude: there are many different way to help make a positive first impression. Doing things like showing your members your name, creating a clear picture at first glance and having a good design can go a long way to making a positive first impression.