When someone comes to a website – yours, mine, or anyone else’s, there’s a shockingly short window in which that visitor makes a decision to stick around or leave. Some sources put the range at three to five seconds, maximum. Some put it at even less – 1 to 2 seconds, tops.
Attention spans have never been shorter than they are now
In this crazy war for attention, does your website even stand a chance of emerging victorious? Does it make visitors pause in their tracks, poke around for a while, and stay to learn more about you?
It can… if you’re able to answer “yes” to 3 critical questions. Use this website test on your home base, and see how you score.
Is It Instantly Clear What You Do?
Visitors often have a challenging time figuring out what a website is all about. Far too many business owners set up their sites hoping to capture the widest audience possible, so they never develop the kind of clear branding that helps make an instant, lasting impression.
As a result, their site becomes the equivalent of a building with a sign that says, “Italian Food.” Is it a pizza place or a restaurant? Is upscale or downmarket? Does it have fast food or sit-down meals? These questions aren’t hard to answer, but the average person won’t bother to cross the street, walk inside, and ask someone.
They’ll just go somewhere else.
If what you do and for whom isn’t obvious within 3 seconds, you’ll have a much harder time keeping visitors on your site. You may think you’re being clear, but take a second look to make sure you’re being crystal clear.
Is It Instantly Clear What You Offer?
To extend the restaurant metaphor, you have to make it drop-dead easy for people to find the menu of what you have on offer. You can’t count on them being willing to dig around to find out the specifics on their own.
Ideally, add unmissable elements to your website, in the same way that many restaurants put splashy ads in their windows. If you can help visitors see what you sell without having to navigate anywhere, your chances of holding their interest goes up.
That won’t cover everything, though – they’ll have to go somewhere on your site to get the full details on what you have on offer. The key is to make that “somewhere” so easy to find that no one has to wonder where it is.
Is It Instantly Clear Why You’re Interesting?
Different target customers want different things out of the places they spend money. Some want their restaurants to be high-energy, while others want a quiet place to enjoy a meal, while some want novelty to be the number-one draw.
Successful restaurants take this into account. They use both décor and the “content” of their advertising to communicate what makes their place a good time for their kind of people. They know that it’s about so much more than just having food on offer.
You know your market, and you know what they find particularly compelling. Take a look at your website and ask yourself if you’re communicating any of that in a way they can’t help but notice.
This is your brand – is it one they can really connect with? Or is it so generic that it can’t capture anyone’s interest?
You Can Win the Customer-Attention War
You don’t need to be a marketing expert to make a website that captures attention. Visitors don’t need to be dazzled by visual spectacles or impressed by feats of content-marketing superiority.
But they do need is to know, within seconds, whether your website is right for them, offers what they want, and is the kind of place they’d enjoy spending time.
Nail those, and the battle is yours.
Post by James Chartrand
James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.