The fact that our attention span is shrinking due to social media has been reported in the news quite often over the last few years and it’s probably true. It’s apparently caused by our constant use of social media and our habit of absorbing information in sound bites. It means less of us have the patience to read longer text and as well as book sales suffering, we also suffer the loss of the pleasure of reading great works of literature. But from a website point of view it means that short attention span has to be taken into consideration: website copy, especially the first thing a visitor sees, needs to be short, direct and interesting from the start.

“There is but one art—to omit!” Robert Louis Stevenson.

Because most of your website visitors are not looking to read, but looking for products, services or information, they scan your copy without really tuning into it unless there is something that grabs them by the throat. So you have to grab them.

Here are 5 tips for writing a website intro that will get a reader’s attention .

  1. Make a bullet point list of everything your business does, who it’s for and how they can get it easily.
  2. Make a bullet point list of every benefit your website visitor gets from your product or service.
  3. Cut the list down to the top five most important points (save the rest for non-intro copy).
  4. Write the list out in order of importance to your website visitor.
  5. Write a very short, to-the-point paragraph under each heading elaborating on its theme.
  6. When you’ve finished, remove the bullet points and cut what’s left by 50 words. When you’ve finished cut it by another 50 words. Keep going through this process until no more words can be cut without losing meaning.

You should now have your website’s intro copy, specially designed to grab the visitor with a short attention span.

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