5.59 seconds for your content to make an impression

Did you know the average user spends just 5.59 seconds skimming your web content? That’s not long when you consider the hours you or your copywriter spent making sure every turn of phrase was perfect.

The figure, which is from a new infographic by Webs, is thought-provoking. How can you inspire your readers to take action within a mere 5.59 seconds? Based on our experience of writing web content, this is what you need to do:

• Structure for skim-reading
Reading from a screen is difficult. Consequently, there are few things more off-putting for users of websites than huge blocks of text. Think bite size, and break up your web content with sub-headings, bullet-points etc to make it easy for the user to skim-read. If they’re interested, they’ll read more later on (see next point!)

• Make it easy to get around
Few websites can communicate everything a user needs to know within a single page. You need to approach your web content like a road map and make it easy for the user to navigate their way around the information they need. That means providing a clear navigation menu at the top/side of your site, and including helpful links within the content of each page which take the user to other parts of the site that may be of interest.

• Consider your audience
Before you start writing, think about your target demographic, and more importantly, their level of knowledge in your subject area. People will switch off if your content is too complex, but equally, if it’s too basic, they may assume that your site is not what they’re looking for, and you’ll lose their interest pretty quickly too! Make sure you know who you’re talking to before you start writing content for them.

• Use every word
When constructing your content, you need to make sure that every word counts. Make sure each word is truly relevant to the content, and if it’s unnecessary, cut it out – your readers don’t have the patience for waffle! This is particularly important when it comes to e-commerce content, where you’re trying to make a sale, but is still applicable to other pieces like blogs and articles where you need to encourage the user to keep reading and take action in the form of adding a comment or sharing your piece through their social networks.

• Facts and figures
Can you find a particularly powerful or meaningful statistic that you can use to your advantage? Use it as your first sentence or heading – it makes a great talking point that you can expand upon once you’ve grabbed your reader’s attention.

• Tell the user what to do
People respond to clear direction. Don’t infer, imply or hint at what you’d ideally, maybe, preferably like your user to do when they’ve read your content: spell it out in plain English. Do you want them to call you, fill in a form, or buy something on the spot? Make sure your call to action is unambiguous.

With the last point in mind, get in touch with Write My Site for help with website copywriting! Email us on [email protected] or call us on 020 8819 9535.