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12….That’s how many seconds you typically have to impress your site’s visitors. So what do you do?

Looking at your watch hearing 12 ticks may seem like a long time, but when you search for something on Google and click on a site, you probably will use up that amount before you know it. This is what people do when they come to your site. They look at the top to see if they are on a reputable site. If they like what they see, they immediately start to search for what they are seeking. They will usually look at the main image, and if that doesn’t give it them, they scroll down to see if what they need captures their eyes. If not, they quickly look at the sidebar and then the navigation. If they do not see what they need, they hit the back button. You lost them.

What can you do to engage your audience more? The following will help.


#1: Content Should Be Newsworthy!
People are more interested in newsworthy content vs. evergreen. Does this mean you should not publish evergreen content at all? No. You need those articles because they give you information that is valuable to your visitors. Newsworthy content is important to keep your audience happy because it gives them the latest updates in the industry. You need to have a nice mixture of both types of content, but more newsworthy content will keep people coming back for more. How does this go along with capturing visitors’ interest within 12 seconds? Well, if you have content that directly relates to what they´re looking for, you will keep them on your page for longer.
(By the way it takes 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on that area of a website that most influences their first impression.)


#2: Don’t Get Stuck on Social Media
Sure, if someone finds something interesting on a social network and clicks on the link to your site, it takes the person to what they wanted. However, usually people just go right back to the social network rather than browse the site they went to.


#3: End the Fantasy with Banner Ads
People have banner blindness. Seriously they do. The effectiveness of these ads has been declining for a while now, and the percentage of click-through rates now is 0.1%. Basically, nothing. Why are they ineffective? Nielson Norman Group said it best when they said: “If users are looking for a quick fact, they want to get done and aren’t diverted by banners; and if users are engrossed in a story, they’re not going to look away from the content.” What Is the Answer? The answer to engaging your site visitors is delivering content that is easily found on your website. People are looking for answers when they come to your site. You need to set up your website to offer those answers within seconds. This means having the topics on your website’s homepage, or at least an icon or link that will take them to a page that will have those topics. It’s important the content is high quality. This quality means that you have identified the problems or questions, and you have addressed it in the content. It’s even better if you can lead people to something they didn’t think of when they were looking for the answer you gave them. This is how you bring people from one article to the next, and get them to spend more time on your website to get the full experience.


#4  Design to tell a story
The days of making home pages look like jet plane dashboards are way gone. So avoid overusing buttons, calls to action, and all the other distractions. The new role of website design is to tell a story. Your company DNA this is.

You may want to start with a good eye-catching headline and a simple description next to a REAL picture of the company. Tell visitors about your best features, show your clients’ stories, list people and companines who are using your services or products, and finally lead to one strong action call.  The content should be told like a real story, with no pause or break. Also remember to have a good visual balance, both horizontally and vertically. Let your readers’ eyes smoothly move from left to right, or up and down. If one section is left-hand heavy, make the the other one right-hand focused, and vice versa.

Make sure the content on your site is about THEM. How it affects their life or their business. How you can make it better.

12 seconds may not be very long, thats a fact. However, it’s all you have to work with, so make sure you know your audience and what they are looking for when they come to your site. Then all you have to do is have that available to them as soon as they land on your site.

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