8 Seconds to Failure: Attracting Visitors in the Digital Age
In the age of digital media, the average user of any website, app, etc. has an attention span of between 6 and 8 seconds. With only a fraction of a minute to convince a visitor to use your website for whatever purpose they may have in mind (information, product, services, etc.), it's important that your website loads, is engaging, and that the content the user first sees is engaging enough to convince them that your website is the choice for them.
Using Those 8 Seconds Effectively
You may be asking, "Okay, so we have 8 seconds... How do we capitalize on that?" Well, there are several general parameters to use when trying to capture your audience to continue using your website:
- Does my website load quickly enough?
- Is the above-the-fold content engaging?
- Is the rest of my content relevant to the visitor?
- Does my website create a beneficial/enjoyable experience?
Simply, you need to make sure your website is fast, informative, and easy to navigate. It's also important that the design creates an enjoyable user experience, having clearly displayed what is interactive and what isn't, making it easy for the visitor to find what they're looking for, and overall, having an appealing design. The internet has reduced the time between closing a sale and losing revenue to a razor’s edge. Your website is no longer just a way to tell your clients that you have goods or services available—it’s your chance to show that your business is the right one for their needs. Smooth functionality and ease of use are the primary site requirements for clients to decide to give their business.
Pagespeeds (Still) Matter
Do you know how fast your website is? I'm sure we've all been there: trying to load a webpage and it takes ages, as you impatiently stare at the loading bar for your browser. If this has ever been you (especially if it's been recent), you probably need to make some page speed improvements. Google's PageSpeed Insights Tool will give you accurate, up-to-the-minute statistics on your pagespeeds, and it will tell you what are the best ways to improve them are. Optimization is key on the internet, from images to libraries and scripts, everything should be optimized to provide the best user experience.
Above-The-Fold Content Should Engage
Is the first thing a visitor to your site sees engaging enough? This is a question that has very subjective tendencies, but there are a few tried-and-true facts that you can follow, to at least set a benchmark. Statistics show that the first piece of content should be visually engaging; we recommend a banner slider or static hero image. Understand, however, that if you use a complex banner slider—chances are the content will go unnoticed—so use it as a visually engaging piece but not necessarily a place to house important content. Also, 51% of web users believe that not having "thorough contact information" is a huge issue with websites, so making sure your contact phone number and email are prevalent in your header can also increase engagement with a visitor. It's all about serving your website visitors with the exact content they want, as soon as possible—keeping these two pieces of information in mind will help to increase engagement, overall clickthrough rates, lead generation, and conversion through your website.
Content Is Only As Good As The Questions It Answers
Is your website content succinct, and does it capture your business's purpose? A "yes" is a must to these questions. The main point to take away from this is that your website content should be relevant, descriptive, and should add some sort of value for the visitor to experience. They found your website (probably through a search engine) for a product or service. You're lucky enough that your website ended up being the landing point for their research, so is your content good enough to answer their question, provide them information, or sell them a product/service? Visually appealing and engaging content are a must to use your website to convert leads into customers.
Users Experience Is Key
Does your website create a beneficial and enjoyable user experience? This question is really a wrap up of the three previous ones. If you've got a quick-loading website, with good engaging content throughout, then you're probably creating a beneficial and enjoyable user experience. The ways to further illustrate this idea include clearly defining aspects of your website that are interactive, and making sure that the key information (usually contact information, so visitors can call to ask additional questions) is available.
So, now you know how to engage and drive the visitor to your website, but how do you effectively use it to generate a Return on Investment (ROI)?
Gotta Spend Money To Make Money
To maximize your ROI, four key approaches, recommended by Google, should be taken:
- Drive traffic through activities: such as search-based advertising and web-based promotions
- Analysis of traffic: your site should be telling you who is visiting and how they interact with your site once they are there.
- Optimization: determining which combinations of site content and design drive the most conversations.
- Increase conversations: using the intelligence gathered in the other steps to decrease a site’s bounce rate, employ the Google Search Appliance (GSA), or host search with Google site search, to guide your visitors to find the information they need to become active customers.
Using the Google approach means adopting a continual evolution of the marketing approach of your business, but it also means a larger ROI for your company. Your business must be marketed to the customers you need; the data of this traffic will then be analyzed, your site tested with this data to ensure that you are getting the most benefits from your online presence, and then optimized using this data to ensure that your business stays at the head of the pack.
Visitors not finding what they need from a site are likely to abandon it within seconds: 71% of shoppers will turn to keyword searches to find their products, and of that number, 90% reported using site-search to access self-service content. Businesses that have implemented a high-quality website search report indicate an upswing in sales of up to 20%, with customer refund requests dropping by 85%. Even with sites that reported increases of only 5%, meant the difference in thousands of customers, and millions of dollars per year. On top of that, customer service automation with an intuitive, smoothly operating site saves a business almost 4% each year. With the evolution of the internet in the digital age, capturing your audiences' attention is a must, and providing them with a memorable and enjoyable experience, while serving them exactly what they're looking for, should always be your goal.
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