Does your website survive the 5 second test?

5 seconds is as fast as thiiiissss…. 5 second website test

If you want to get more sales and more leads on your website, it is easier than you may think.

No matter what you hope to achieve, the most important thing you want is the stranger’s attention.

And it needs to occur within 5 seconds.

This is easier said than done.

Here is a simple 5 second test.

Let someone look at your site for 5 seconds, close it down, and then ask them what they remember about it.

What was the key message they received?

Did they get your main message? Or were they confused?

Surviving the 5 second test, and increasing clarity on your site will reduce the bounce rate (how quickly someone exits), and also earns you a pat on the back from Google (aka good SEO).

What is the easiest and most effective tweak you can make that will help you pass the 5 second test? And increase leads and sales.

Do you tell the stranger what you do in a clear and obvious place? Where they don’t have to hunt?

By putting an obvious headline above the fold (at the top of your screen) you’ll grab their attention.  Make sure the font you use is easy to read, the stranger is lazy and doesn’t want to work too hard. Use a clear font and keep it large and quick to scan and understand.

I’ve collected some before and afters for you.

Before the Redesign. Can you tell me what they do?

Old Website

Smart Achievers Old Home Page


After the redesign.


Redesigned Home Page to pass the 5 second test

Redesigned Home Page for Smart Achievers


To design the new home page, we went back to the stranger, and thought about what they were trying to achieve. In this case, they were looking for spelling books for their classroom students. And they also wanted good NAPLAN tests (Australian government testing).

We redesigned the Home Page based on the main task that the stranger needed to achieve. To find good spelling books for her classroom. 


how to design a home page

When Linda asked me about her lovely site – Inbloom  – I did the 5 second test, and it failed. The headline was below the images, and I had to scroll to find it. I wasn’t sure what the site was about.

A quick and easy fix was to bring the headline above the images, and now it passes with flying colours.


how to design a web page -- not

Mitey Fresh is an example of a Home Page that just needs a few tweaks to decrease bounce rates.

The headline is definitely there, but so is an abundance of other information.

To pass the 5 second test, Mitey Fresh might want to move the social icons to the bottom of the site, and reduce the multiple colours. Let the headline stand out, and I’d even add a ‘shop now’ on that image to give the stranger a direction to go.

How about you? Does your Home Page pass the 5 second test?

If you post up your home page link in the comments below, I’ll run it through the 5 second test for you.

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  1. Hi Jenny,

    Great insightful blog post. We were surprised and excited to see a screenshot of our website on here!

    Thanks for doing the 5 second test on Mitey Fresh. We were in the middle of tweaking our slider, which has now been completed. What do you think?

    By the way, we were encouraged by different people to keep the social icon buttons as a constantly moving object as the visitor scrolls down the page, instead of hiding them at the bottom. Do you disagree with this?

    Thanks again!

    • Hello Carol

      Thanks for asking about your social media icons.

      Think about it this way.

      You’ve finally got someone to visit the #1 most important piece of real estate you own — your website. And now you want to send them over to your Facebook page? Is that really want you want to achieve?

      In 5 seconds, we need to resonate with the stranger. Remove all extra stuff, and sound out your message loud and clear.

      Unfortunately, studies are showing that sliders don’t increase conversions, so I’d suggest your main image that you originally had was great which included your headline.

      I hope this helps.

  2. Hi Jenny, I found this post really fascinating! I’ve just been doing some changes to my site and would be interested to hear if it passes your test. I should say the opt-in is about to change, the final tweaks are being doing now. Looking forward to hearing what you think though!

    • Hello Louisa

      I tried to spend just 5 seconds on your site, but I ended up spending a whole lot longer! So the short answer is — you passed with flying colours. And No.

      Your business is challenging, because what you offer is unusual, and this also makes it a little confusing. I had to go further on your site to figure out what you truly do. Unfortunately most of us a terribly lazy, and if we don’t find what we are looking for quickly, we’ll move onto the next site that may hold that solution.

      I really liked the layout, simple use of colours, easy menu structure. What I think could be improved upon is your value statement. The ‘Brand Meets Blog’ isn’t really clear to me what problem you might solve for me, and that takes up a significant real estate above the fold. Your value statement is underneath it, but much smaller. And I didn’t quite ‘get it’.

      I’m not sure who your target audience is — bloggers or businesses. If you are after more of the Colgates, you may want to tweak your statement; make it a full sentence, address the problem that you solve for them and make it more prominent on the site.

      In the end, loading on Website Optimizer and doing a split-test on these changes would be my recommendation.

  3. Hi Jenny,
    Would you mind giving my website the 5 second test please. Your article makes me think I could do better getting my message across.
    Thank you for your time and I look forward to your thoughts.

  4. Hello Louise

    2/3rds of your home page is taken up with a revolving image (a slider). One of those images is clouds. How are clouds related to fundraising?

    You’ve used a huge space on your site for 4 revolving images that don’t communicate directly with the visitor about what you do and why they would care enough to stay longer.

    Your website breaks rule #1 that we cover in and by making 1 small change, you could increase your business 100%.

    You can also read a blog post about rotating images here:

    Louise — small changes can make huge differences. Don’t underestimate the importance of understanding how some tweaks can turn a browser into a buyer.

    Hope this helps.


  5. Hi Jenny
    I have just discovered your site, and am finding it very useful.
    Could you please give me your thoughts on my site?
    This is a brand new product, I am about to launch.
    Dave Johnson.

    • Hello Dave

      I like the layout of the ‘above the fold’ part of your site. However, I’d like to see a single statement of exactly what you do. If you are aiming your service to ecommerce retailers, then state that. 2 clarifying sentences (or 1) at the very top in bold that say exactly what service you provide and who you provide it to.

      This is like your elevator pitch, if you are familiar with that.

      If you want a little help with this, you might find this exercise useful:

      Good luck!

  6. Hi Jenny

    Could you please test our website?

    Thanks very much
    Kind regards

  7. Hi Jenny,
    Any advise would be welcomed. Just learning all I can about websites and I’m applying it to my site. Here it is


    • Hi Jessi

      Congrats on your business!

      I guess my initial thought is that ‘helping you on your fitness journey’ is a pretty broad statement. I’m not sure just what you do? Are you a personal trainer? Sell fitness gear? Run a gym? Sell videos?

      Being vague will cause people to click off your site.

      I’d recommend being a lot more specific right at the top of your website.

      You’ve got a great eye-catching image, but maybe you teach fitball? Can you see that the image needs to have the right words with it.

      Good luck! I hope this helps.


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