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What A Billboard Can Teach You About Your Website

Written by David Harry   
Thursday, 16 July 2009 08:48

(The following is a guest post from Te-ge Bramhall)

When I was in college, I took a class called the Psychology of Advertising. Of all the ideas shared in that class, one in particular struck me when I first heard it. The professor was talking about billboards and commented that a good billboard only tries to convey one thing to the people reading it because people only have seconds to read and process what the billboard is advertising.

Be memorable

On our way down the east coast this weekend, I thought about that class again while I watched the billboards flash by. Since I was in the passenger seat while my husband drove, I had time to read the longer boards too. Again, I was struck by how accurate my professor had been. As a passenger, I had more time to read...but even so, the ones that stuck with me were the boards that only tried to convey one idea.


As a passenger, I had maybe 5 - 10 seconds while we were traveling down the highway, to read a billboard and focus on what it said. How long do you have to read a billboard when you're driving? Surely no more than 1-2 seconds. What does this have to do with your website?

Did you know that the average reader stays on a web page for around 2 seconds? If you have 2 seconds to make a good impression how do you do it? Do you put everything you've got on the front page, hoping that it attracts someone's attention? Or, do you take one idea. . . one thought. . . one picture, and create an impression on the reader that will call to them to explore your site more in depth?

Are YOU memorable?

Teeg is a social media enthusiast that originally started her journey with a Stumble Upon fascination on her blog; SU Comments. More recently she's been writing for a variety of blogs including Social Media Mom and my other haunt, Collective Thoughts. You can find her on Twitter chatting up all things social media and yes, she is memorable...hehe.



0 # Kauai Realtor Brian 2009-07-16 10:22
I recently updated my stats, and it allowed me to visualize a heat map of my site. I realized that all of my interesting stuff was not even visible unless you scrolled down. I switched things up and made it more interesting for first time visitors, and I've gotten many more people to stay longer, and even a few more conversions.

I agree that in some aspects you need your site to have a main theme, to stick out, like a billboard. Of course, unlike a billboard you need to put more content out there to keep people engaged... but GREAT point!
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0 # fashionista 2009-07-17 04:32
what a great post, many thanks for this
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0 # Phyllis Zimbler Miller 2009-07-17 10:29
Teeg --

Everything you said is so very true. I try to explain to people that the main thing on a website's home page is the Unique Selling Proposition. And don't crowd out that info with all kinds of detracting info.

Move the secondary info to other pages and hook the reader with a clear message of what's on offer for them.

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0 # Jack Lindsey 2009-07-17 14:22
Based on my exerience for bill boards: (1) use only for reminder copy; (2) not more than seven syllables; (3) assume 70 mph and 5-7 seconds to see - read - and ratain the message.
These three rules directly applicable to the Website.
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This billboard about schizophremia is awful! The man who designed never thought about who will be able to read all of this information? It looks like an advertisement in newspaper! The billboard about the ring is great. It makes You think and also the first impression is huge.
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