How to grab attention (and keep it) on your website
You’re sitting on the couch, watching your new favourite show on Netflix, while you also mindlessly scroll through your Facebook feed on your phone.
Then you jump over to Instagram, then do some pinning, check your emails, respond to some texts, check tomorrow’s weather, go back to Facebook… and oh yeah, you’re still watching that show.
When was the last time you gave something your full attention?
It was probably something pretty special, right? Something that really interested you. Something that hooked you enough to stop you jumping around between apps on your phone or tabs on your web browser.
With so much content at our fingertips, how can you grab attention and keep eyeballs on your content?
Here are 6 ways you can grab attention – and keep it
Your content has a pretty tall order to fill these days. You have to do something to not only stand out in a tsunami of words but then keep attention focussed on your content.
Now, your content has to be good quality. Otherwise, you may well grab attention, but you certainly won’t keep it.
So assuming that what you’re saying on your web pages is useful and valuable, here’s how you can grab and hold that hard-won attention.
1. Make it personal
Write reader-centric content. Which means using the YOU-word!
Speak directly to your reader. Call to them. Lure them in… with the all-powerful YOU-word!
When you use second person pronouns (you, your, you’re, you’ll, you’ve), you’re speaking directly to your reader. It creates a connection.
And you definitely want connection. When someone feels connected to what you’ve written, they’ll keep reading.
2. Get straight to the point
Don’t waffle. You’re not writing an academic essay. Get to your point and get to it quickly.Your website visitors don’t have the patience to read through your ramblings to pick out the good stuff. If you believe this, it’s time to stop kidding yourself.
And while you’re at it, keep your writing simple, clear, and concise. Go over your content with an editor’s eye.
Look for jargon and meaningless marketing-speak. Ditch anything that doesn’t actually mean anything (you know, the phrases that make you scratch your head in confusion when you’re asked to explain what it really means).
Use simpler phrases. For example, “from now on” instead of the corporate love-child “moving forward”.
You see my point, I hope! Question every word.
Is it necessary?
Is it the best word?
(And ‘best’ does not mean ‘fanciest’ or ‘biggest’)
3. Let images do the talking
You know the old saying: a picture speaks a thousand words.
And if you’re anything like me, you’re a big fan of GIFs (and memes). You can convey so much more with a GIF. Don’t be afraid to use them! As a bonus, it can be an excellent way to showcase some more of your sparkling personality.
Mix up your website pages with photos, GIFs, memes, graphics, quotes, infographics, and even videos.
Create a rich reading and viewing experience.
4. Create emotion
Surprise! Make a surprising claim, or argue from the opposite side of something.
For example, 6 ways to lose your web visitors’ attention (and never get it back)
If you come at something from an angle nobody else is, then you spark curiosity (or maybe even disbelief). Ignite your website visitors’ interest.
Try to make your readers feel something when they read your content. Make them NEED to read your content.
5. Tell a story
Transport your reader into your ideas or world.
Use stories to illustrate your point.
Make it real for your reader by painting a picture with your words.
See how I opened this post? While not a story per se, I described what is a typical situation for most people these days. If you’re not addicted to your phone (you deserve a medal), you probably live with or know someone who is.
That scene I described is not a foreign concept to you. You likely imagined yourself sitting on YOUR couch, in YOUR living room, following YOUR nightly ritual of screen (TV + phone) time.
And as a result, I drew you into this post. Think about how you can use stories or real-world situations to spice up your content. It’s a great way to start a blog post if you’re struggling to come up with a strong introduction.
6. Use clever formatting
Newsflash! People read differently when reading on the web (skimming and scanning – quickly searching for the answers we seek). So we have to write differently for the internet, too.
Which means breaking some grammatical rules, not writing and formatting as if we’re writing a college essay, and using some nifty formatting.
Headings and subheads
Help the scanners determine if you have the answers they seek.
Short sentences and paragraphs
Make your content look visually appealing (and easy to read) And also create a faster pace and rhythm – so your content is entertaining, and people feel as though it’s a fast read.
Bold, italics, colours, CAPS
Helps skimmers and scanners, AND draws attention to keywords or phrases.
Dot points and lists
Makes it look easy to read (with digestible chunks of info).
To rest the eye
Now it’s your turn to hook some attention
Use the above tips to refresh content on your website. And of course, in all future content you write for the web.
You’ll be awash in attention!