The attention span of the average web surfer is fairly limited, so short sharp segments are the order of the day. It’s important to realise that you only get a matter of seconds to ensnare the reader, after that it’s game over!
Imagine you are reading a book which you have probably paid good money for .You are not going to toss it away after the first five seconds are you ? You are going to stick with it until some pattern emerges. It either interests you or it doesn’t.
The chances are that you will give it time to develop. It’s either a subject you are passionate about, a hobby for example, or one that is going to teach you something you absolutely need to know. Either way you are not going to throw a tantrum and start throwing toys out of the pram!
A web site is different! If it doesn’t grab your attention immediately or if there is just too much clutter, then you are out of there aren’t you? You can throw as many toys as you want in your search to find the perfect byte that is eluding you! Clicking the back button with gay abandon is something you learn quite quickly isn’t it?
I suppose when starting off writing for the web or even your own web site, there is a feeling that you should be providing as much content on the page as you can cram in. You are so afraid that if you miss something out then the visitor will be gone.
Well they will be gone soon enough so at least make their stay a pleasant one and ditch the flashing widgets and in your face ads and replace these with some well thought out headlines and a few morsels that will whet their appetite.
That first impression is the all important one. Ignore it at your peril