by Michael Penner, Owner, FlexTech Media

What is the average time we have to capture someone’s attention on a website? A quick internet search shows you have between 7 and 20 seconds to get someone interested once they arrive. Regardless of a few seconds, it’s simply not that long. If the website hasn’t been optimized for mobile, that alone could cause a mobile visitor to leave. But, if you can achieve engagement, your visitors will settle in for several minutes, depending on why they came to your website.

Most of the marketers I know focus on the first 8-seconds. Unlike printed marcomm, a web page isn’t always easy to scan in a single pass. One often has to scroll down to see more information, depending on the design and the amount of content presented. This almost seems like an impossible task: within 8-seconds convince someone of your value to the point where they stay on your site and take some desired action, otherwise known as a conversion.

The good news is that if someone’s visiting your site because you are the right fit for them, then they are already interested in what you offer. You don’t have to spend a lot of that precious 8-seconds on anything except how great you are at meeting their particular need. Your company’s history, who you’ve worked with, your mission, none of these are as relevant in those first moments as a compelling message about the problem you solve. How you solve it, why you got interested in solving it, and others who have benefited are all excellent supporting material. But in that first few seconds, people want at least the impression that you can help them. They may not understand exactly how you do it, but they should be convinced your website is worth a bit more investigation to confirm you have what they need.

Wanting information “above the fold” is a side-effect some marketers suffer from due to the 8-second window. The request usually goes like this, “We want all the important information to be at the top so that the visitor doesn’t have to scroll.” It’s a reasonable request with data to back it up, such as is found here:

The unintended benefit of this edict is that the marketing team then has to create the content with the required focus and prioritization of value concepts. I’ve seen a single paragraph consume an entire week of revisions as the marketing team wrestled with this problem. This isn’t something you run into with a printed brochure, so don’t get discouraged if that brochure isn’t helping much in this regard. That’s a common realization. The other benefit is that with the website providing newfound focus for the content, other marcomm can be improved.

Regardless of the content and the time required to create it, nothing matters if nobody is monitoring the web analytics. Without analyzing your web traffic you cannot tell if your efforts are paying off. Is your bounce rate decreasing or increasing? Are visitors going to the pages you want them to go to? These are questions web analytics can answer to justify your efforts on the website.