Keeping a Reader’s Attention

A quick comment on website text, whether it’s homepage copy, lengthy product descriptions or blogs: break it up!

The average web user doesn’t read all of the words on a page. In fact, the average web user doesn’t even read most of them – they just skip through for parts that are interesting or relevant to their searches. The parts in-between – the filler or the unnecessary details – don’t really matter as much. The internet has so much content, if we tried to read it all we’d have no time for anything else.

You’re skipping bits, aren’t you?

See what I mean? People really don’t read everything on a page. In fact, your attention is probably starting to skip again, right now.

Are you even listening?

The truth is, most of your readers won’t be. So how do you keep their attention?

I’m a big advocate of bolding important phrases within the text. It’s the equivalent of throwing a glass of water into a bored reader’s face.

CAPS LOCK is another attention-grabbing option… but it’s synonymous with shouting, so use with caution.

How about italics? Not a terrible option, but depending on the typeface, it could be overlooked.

The trusty underline can work, but then again, it can be interpreted as a hyperlink and confuse a reader when it’s not clickable.

Different font sizes or styles? This can definitely work for headings, but be careful that it doesn’t look too odd if you use it mid-text.

Use what works best for your online copy, but remember to adapt for the tone of your website! I doubt someone looking for pet gravestones would be too appreciative of reading, ‘So, your cat is dead?’

Keeping a potential customer’s attention for long enough to convey your message can mean the difference between a sale and a swift click of the ‘back’ button. Give these tips a try and see what you can accomplish!