If you don’t capture your audience’s attention they’ll navigate away from your page, or worse still, move to another site. All you’re left with is a high bounce rate, and unread content.
Part of your challenge as an author is making sure your content is easy to evaluate at a glance. If your audience can’t quickly assess whether it’s relevant to them, they’ll disgard it.
When was the last time you read a web page word for word? Your audience probably doesn’t read web pages this way either.
Instead, they’ll scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences that interest them.
- Read Jakob Nielsen’s article about “Why Web Users Scan Instead of Reading” and read this article by Jakob Nielsen
Techniques to Capture your Audience’s Attention
Your job is to make this easy for your audience. They need to see what you’re telling them without having to read your entire page. Think of yourself as a fisherman, you need to dangle your bait in the water and try and hook them with a tasty morsel … or else they’ll swim on by!
Here’s a few techniques to bait your hook:
Highlighting Key Words:
- Relevant Hypertext links are one way of bringing attention to specific text. These back-links also provide additional value to your reader and are good for SEO.
- Changing the font style (bold or italic); colour; size; or typeface to bring attention to key words. Don’t over do this technique or else your text looks like it has a case of ADD.
The key here is to chunk up your information into bite size pieces for easy consumption:
- Your keyword should appear in your H1 heading, so the focus of your article is obvious from the outset.
- Use clear and concise sub-headings.
- Cover One idea per paragraph.
- Use Bulleted or Numbered Lists
- Use the inverted pyramid style.
- Try to make shorter sentences, using less difficult words to improve readability.
- Use concise content, Less is more.
- Decide on the intent of your article, and use a relevant Content Style (Objective, Persuasive, Active, Passive) to support your goal.
Simplification and Clarity
So how do you capture your audience’s attention? Be mindful of what they’re looking for, and bring it to their attention. Incorporate one or more of the these techniques into your content creation, and you’ve just increased your chances of getting read.
© Illustration “Speed Reading” by Mark Matcho