When you’re busy achieving deadlines and gaining new business, it’s easy to let your content slip.
When was the last time you read your website content? I don’t mean glanced at the homepage to check the advertising banners were up to date. I mean really took the time to read it, from a customer’s point of view, to see what other people see when they find you. It’s often an illuminating experience.
In industry, we know that our website is our shopfront, where customers and clients pass by to check out our wares (and judge us by their exacting standards.) We know that the icons need to be aligned, events need to be current, that the logos need to be visible and that the imagery needs to be relevant and non-stocky. But what about the words?
According to the Telegraph, Time Magazine and the New York Times, attention spans are getting shorter. Our goldfish-like brains are being rewired by social media, demanding shorter, zippier gulps of content that give us the information we need before we float off in search of the next nibble that comes our way. Our eyes are wide and ready to absorb information on the go, and we have neither the time or the inclination to dig deeper into the detail.
Except, that’s not strictly true. As with most surveys and studies carried out with the general public, it’s extremely simplistic and glosses over a number of factors. Generalising a phenomenon, especially involving real people misses out the importance of the individual. In an article for the BBC, Psychology lecturer at the Open University Dr Gemma Briggs had this to say:
“The idea of an average attention-span is pretty meaningless. How we apply our attention to different tasks depends very much about what the individual brings to that situation.”
Essentially – attention-span is a unique asset to each and every person visiting your website. For some, a quick blast of information is all they want and expect. For others, a deeper dive is something they need to begin to build trust with your company. This is where interesting, relevant, appropriately-pitched content is essential. That one person who wants to read more, see more, watch more could be the most engaged visitor you had that day. If your analytics are showing high bounce rates and low click-throughs, it might not be about your customers’ attention-span issues. It might also be about yours.
What Dr Briggs is not suggesting here is that every page on your website needs to be thousands of words worth of analysis and longread opinion. She’s gently pointing out that variety is the spice of life. By taking more care over your pages, your website can become an environment packed with diverse levels of content and interest to attract and retain all manner of visitors. To labour the metaphor – a reef, rather than a glass bowl.
You might not have the time to do this – but this is my job and I love doing it. Let’s have a chat about how we can create more valuable content for your visitors together. Let me care about your words!