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Building a business typically means catering to a specific demographic segment and creating new products and marketing angles to appeal to them directly. But there’s one audience segment that all modern business owners need to think about when creating a website: users with low attention spans.
Evidence is mixed on whether attention spans are getting shorter over time due to technological interactions or not. But human attention spans were never that long or impressive to begin with.
If you want your messaging to be more effective, or if you want users to engage with your website, you need to think about ways to make your content low-attention-span-friendly.
How do you do it?
Create an awesome homepage
If someone with a low attention span visits your website, there’s no guarantee they’re going to spend much time exploring your internal pages. They’ll probably never get past the homepage. The homepage is the only page that some of your users are going to see, so it needs to be your highest priority. Proactively load your homepage with all the most important content you want new users to see; you can still direct users to internal pages, but you won’t be exclusively reliant on this progression.
If your business is well-suited for it, you can even create a dedicated, one-page design for your site. Creating and managing a single page can save you time and money while making sure that all your users get only the content that is most relevant to them. However, this approach isn’t suitable for all websites, especially if you plan on fleshing out a blog or offering many different products or services.
Put your best content above the fold
Similarly, it’s a good idea to put your best content above the fold. In the context of newspaper printing, “above the fold” was a literal term, prompting editors to put some of their best content front and center. With users who have low attention spans, there’s no guarantee that users are going to consistently scroll or explore different pages. Accordingly, you should keep your best content and most compelling offers at the top of each page.
Keep everything concise
Don’t waste time. Keep all your website content as concise as possible:
- Headlines. Your headlines should have as few words as possible, conveying as much meaning as you can in the smallest possible space. If your headlines are too long or convoluted, you’re going to lose your audience.
- Body content. Your body content, too, should be concise and adequately spaced out. Consider writing in short sentences, forming short paragraphs, with line breaks between each line. It will make your content much more appealing to low-attention-span users and make your content more readable at the same time.
- Videos. Any videos you have should be kept to no longer than a few minutes — 10 minutes at the absolute most.
Use frequent, yet short calls to action
Calls to action (CTAs) generate revenue for your site, so they happen to be one of the most important elements of your long-term success. If you want these prompts to be effective for people with low attention spans, you should include them as frequently as possible without resorting to spam. Compensate for this by making your prompts short and to the point. For example, a single sentence callout could be effective if you include a sentence at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end of your core content.
Never demand too much from your users
There are many subtle ways to increase your conversion rate, but one of the most important tactics for people with low attention spans is to avoid demanding too much. People are easily willing to abandon their shopping carts or bail out of a form if the interaction is going to ask them for too much information. Keep your forms, carts and other processes short and simple.
Measure user behavior (and learn from it)
Finally, take the time to measure user behavior on your site and try to learn from it. Is there a page on your website that has a particularly high bounce rate? It probably doesn’t capture immediate attention. Is there a low dwell time for one of your internal pages? It could be a problem with your presentation of content. Which pages of your site are successful, and what can you learn from those pages? It’s important to keep making small improvements to your site as you gather more data.
Having users with minimal attention spans isn’t a bad thing. It can work in your favor if you know how to cater to those users properly. Think carefully about your design, your writing and your engagement rates to maximize the value you derive from this strategy.