When someone visits your website, you have to grab their attention right away if you want them to stick around and consume the content you are offering. In the past, we have always told our clients they have between thirty and sixty seconds to get a site visitor’s attention. If you don’t give visitors a reason to stay before that first minute is up, they’re gone (and they probably aren’t coming back).
That’s a short period of time in which to win someone over. Recent studies indicate that the average consumer only has about an eight-second attention span. You might be thinking… “Eight seconds? Really? How does one go through life with only an eight-second attention span?”
How do you capture someone's attention in such a brief amount of time? For that matter, how do you keep their attention long enough to get them to consume your content?
Data is key, and when it comes to your website, analytics are a great place to start. What content is garnering the most attention on your website? What pages do visitors tend to spend the most time on? What is the last page a visitor views before leaving? Studying this information will help you make strategic decisions. Each consumer group is unique, so it’s important to study your customers and understand their habits and preferences. Research will help you take the guesswork out of your decisions. You also have to be willing to adjust your strategy.
After looking at what’s working for you and what’s not, start making adjustments. There are plenty of examples of businesses that alienate people by trying to change things, and that’s why doing your homework is so important. When you have data to analyze, your decisions will be more informed and the change you make will be more likely to be successful.
Think about your website. Is there a different type of article you have been considering, but never published? Is there more information you can provide so you are positioned as a trusted resource for your visitors? What content do you have access to that no one else does? Those are the items that get people to come back. Your goal should be to become a part of your visitor’s daily habit. What content will do that for you?
Making large-scale changes to your website comes with risk, so it’s even more crucial to have a solid understanding of what’s going to resonate best with your visitors.
Finally, you have to plan. Do not just make changes for the sake of change. You have collected data, you have explored possible changes, and you need to have a long-term plan that will help you reach your strategic goals.
If attention spans are down to eight seconds now, where will they be in five or ten years? The data you gather today not only allows you to make informed decisions for the near-term, it should also help you recognize trends that you can incorporate into your long-term plans. If you spend a month working to engage visitors and become a part of their habit, but run out of content, you will drop out of their daily habits in less than eight seconds. Think about your goals for the year. Think about what has been successful in the past. Analyze your data and come up with a plan for how you can deliver engaging content throughout the season, the year, and the life of your website. Then continue to gather data so you can refine and improve your plan over time.