Count to ten!
That is how long you have to spark interest in your web page! A visitor will decide within approximately 10 seconds whether he or she stays on your page or bounces off elsewhere.
When we create sites, we act as though people are going to pore over each page, reading our finely crafted text, figuring out how we’ve organised things, and weighing their options before deciding which link to click.
What they actually do most of the time (if we’re lucky) is glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their eye. There are usually large parts of the page that they don’t even look at. In fact they act like Ginger!
So how do you capture their interest
Analyse your audience
Firstly find out anything you can about your audience. An understanding of your visitors’ mindset is a critical factor in capturing their interest and attention. A postgraduate and undergraduate student will be looking for very different information. An academic may be looking for something else completely.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are my users? Make up a persona for each category of visitor and put yourself in their shoes.
- What do they come to my website to do and in what sequence?
- What are their frustrations?
- What is their level of English?
- What is their level of understanding of my subject?
And don’t try and guess what your users are thinking. Ask a student or organise a user-testing session. We can help with this.
Identify your target audience
After a thorough analysis you should be able to determine the specific audience that you are reaching and what makes them tick. This is your target audience. Gear all of your website content to these people and provide them with the information they are seeking in a way that they will appreciate.
Focus your website content
- Get to the point straight away. Put your key messages at the top of the page with your key words and phrases in the first two paragraphs;
- Use their language. Think about the words they will be looking for and will understand. If you have to use technical jargon, make sure you pad it with lots of everyday language so that it is easy to read and understand.
- Anchor your reader. Use eye catching ‘call to actions’ to lead your user to the information you want them to read. This could be apply for a course, book an open day, watch a video or download a brochure.
More about writing for the web can be found on the web support site.
If you need help with anything you can always ask your Web Marketing Officer for assistance.
Web Marketing Officer for the College of Social Sciences and International Studies