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I recently ran across an article by Adrian Blake at AlleyWatch that talked about the importance of first impressions online. With all of the things that are competing for our attention daily, he cites studies that indicate you have about a 10-second window to grab visitors’ attention.

10 seconds to decide whether they stay or go.

You may have great content and a great story to tell, but in most cases if you can’t entice them to stay within about 10 seconds, they’ll probably leave. It sounds daunting, but there are steps you can take to ensure your web presence is your “best foot forward”. Some of the things he mentions are:

  • Make your site load fast.
  • Give your site an attractive design.
  • Include interesting visuals.
  • Use good headlines.
  • Use useful visual cues.

(Read the full article for a more thorough explanation of each.)

In many ways, these are the basic web design principles and best practices on which we focus when we build new websites for our clients. But there are many organizations that simply don’t have the time or money to implement these best practices, even if they know they should. Non-profit organizations, for example, are often working with limited resources, and simply having an online presence of any kind is the best they can manage.

That’s where Checkerboard is hoping to make a difference. We’re running our first-ever Nonprofit Web Rescue contest to give back to a deserving nonprofit in the form of a new website. Through July 28, 2014 you can nominate any nonprofit and you can vote once per day for all nominees. The winner will receive a beautiful, brand-new website built to the latest web standards and best practices, putting them in the best position to make the most of that short window to grab visitors attention and get their message out.

So if you are a nonprofit, or know of one that could benefit from a web rescue, visit the contest page to nominate, vote and share!