In today’s world of instant everything, attention spans have diminished to minute proportions … a principle not least applicable to websites. Here we’ll look at a couple of elements that must be addressed to hold the interest of readers when they arrive at your website.
Research has shown that web users have between a 3 and 3.5 second attention span … yes really! Therefore, when they have typed a search term into a search engine and clicked on a link to arrive at your site you have 3.5 seconds to impress and serve the content they want or they’re scurrying back off to Google.
So, what to do? Well, the first part we’ll take a brief look at is related to what is known as the bounce rate which is, briefly, how many people arrive at your site and ‘bounce’ back to a search engine (or other website) without going anywhere else on your website and therefore is a good indication that your website isn’t selling them your products and/or services within the 3.5 second window discussed.
Only a fool breaks the 3.5 second rule ... and 3 click rule too when it comes to website design and navigation!
This is obviously a problem as it’s no good having a great business, and possibly great website content, if no-one stays on your website long enough to find out! Modern web practices now work along the lines of making your home page a mini website in itself – breaking your range of products and/or services into little bite-sized chunks and displaying them in what are known as ‘teaser boxes’ so that someone arriving at your site can instantly see what you provide and can follow a link through to the relevant section of your website for more details. Of course, general website aesthetics are important here too – high quality images and good use of layout and colour schemes can also be used to funnel visitors to the salient parts of your website and, hopefully, on to contacting you for business.
The other big, common point of failure with websites is completely illogical/poor navigational structure. Here we consider the three-click rule … if a viewer of your site can’t navigate from where they are on your website to where they want to go within 3 clicks or less they will leave. How many websites have you been on where you are certain a business provides what you are looking for but can’t find information about it on their website? Chances are that it’s on there but if there are random links and sub-menus on some pages and not others, unless by chance you hit on one of those pages you’re never going to see the content … and the company won’t be getting your business. So, again the principle here is to provide a single, coherent navigation menu from where all pages and /or sections of a website can be accessed from anywhere else on the website … a face that’s lost on quite a few websites we come across.
We’d also always recommend a sitemap and possibly a search function too, especially if it is a large website, to enable a viewer to identify and visit the parts they want to within 2 clicks at the most.