7 Ways to Wrangle Web Users With Short Attention Spans

As the Internet expands, audience attention spans shrink. It’s challenging enough to get your customers and prospects to visit your website, but once you get them there, a Facebook notification, text chime, email popup, calendar reminder, etc., etc. can pull them away. And they may never return. Whether they land on your home page, product promotion or blog post, you’ve worked hard to get those visitors, make sure you’re doing everything you can to hold their fickle attention and, ultimately, turn them into leads.

1. Don’t Bury The Lede

This first tip has long been practiced by journalists. Every J-School student graduates with a firm handle on the inverse pyramid. They know the only way to capture their reader is to put the most compelling, relevant information above the fold and in the first line. As you create your web content, employ this method to draw your visitors in. Spell out their benefit within your first sentence. Depending on the web page, that benefit may be company capabilities, industry insights or a product feature.

2. Leverage Good Design

Great design is compelling. It does its part to draw the user in, but it also balances visual elements with copy. One look at the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota website and it’s easy to see how design can pique a reader’s interest and point them to content that maintains that interest as they navigate further into the site.

3. Guide Readers Deeper with Relevant Links

In addition to drawing visitors down a path with your web design, including links within your content is an effective way to guide users into your site and further down the customer decision journey. The key is these links must take them to highly relevant pages within your own site. This may be anything from a pertinent blog post to related product descriptions.

4. Make it Easy To Scan

One of the best ways to cater to today’s gnat-like attention spans is creating content that can quickly be scanned. This means employing bullets, numbered lists, short paragraphs, descriptive headers and bolded key points. Determining how best to beak down your information can be tricky. It may be helpful to scan your own completed content with fresh eyes to see if you come away with the same message you want to communicate to your audience.

5. Minimize Distractions

As noted before, you have enough distractions to contend with without introducing your own. Try to keep your pages as clean as possible, making sure the design and content play off of each other. Stay away from unnecessary animations, ads that detract from your message, hidden audio and busy backgrounds.

6. Make the Most of Captions

Images that are germane to your message can augment content and even direct the reader to key points you wish to highlight. What’s important here is writing captions that outline these key points. You’ve already captured the user’s attention with an image; make sure you don’t waste the opportunity with empty descriptions of the picture or no copy at all.

7. Tell Them What to Do Next

So, you got your audience to your site, you outlined important benefits, they were able to quickly find additional details and they are ready to reach out and talk to a rep, make a direct purchase or request more information. However, if the path to that next step isn’t clear, you still risk losing them. You can avoid this by including a clear call to action your readers can easily find and follow.

Of course the best way to make sure you keep users engaged is to create captivating content. These tips will merely help you showcase that content, giving it a fighting chance to shine in a world full of distractions.

Eliza Green

Eliza Green

Passionate about all aspects of content, Eliza has spent much of her career building an understanding of the nuanced needs of various audiences across nearly every vertical imaginable. She leverages this understanding to bring compelling, engaging content to pages of both the digital and print persuasion.