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We live in an era of goldfish, where the average attention span of an adult is 8.25 seconds, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute. That’s technically less than the average goldfish (they can pay attention for a solid 9 seconds).

Aaaand I have probably lost you already.

But just in case you’re not the average goldfish human, I’ll keep going.

Some say this decrease in attention spans is due to us getting smarter and craving more information. Others suggest that because our attention is split between multiple screens at a time, our ability to flag irrelevant stimuli decreases – ergo we get distracted easily.

Everyone agrees, however, that our ability to multitask has greatly improved. Whether or not this is a good thing is debatable.

In any case, this lone statistic has a myriad of consequences for people and businesses alike. Today’s consumers tend to scan copy rather than read paragraphs. They are quick to judge and make decisions, with 55% leaving your website within 15 seconds. When we write for web now, we need to be brutal about editing and extremely picky about choices we make when it comes to copy.

So what can you do to capture attention in 15 seconds or less when you write for web?

It’s all about your audience.

Use the right words

Speak their language

Make sure you’re speaking your audience’s language. Don’t get too creative, you’re not writing a novel (unless you are, in which case, go nuts!). Visitors want quick answers and solutions, so keep it simple and easy to understand.

Arouse their senses

Use words that will have your readers drooling over your copy. Words that evoke the senses will have a much better impact than non-sensory words. Think glistening, luscious, balmy etc.

Get to the point

It’s not an essay

Remember, you have less than 15 seconds to grab people, so vital info has to come first! Your visitors want to see the big picture as soon as they land on your page. This means they need to know what your business does and how you can help them. Then, if they like what they see (and have the time), they will dig a little deeper.


Be relevant and ensure easy navigation

Use key words

Make sure your website reflects what your business is about. Think about the key words your customers use to find you and use them. Make sure you let people know they’ve come to the right place when they land.


Easy navigation

Make sure relevant information is easy to find and navigating of your site is simple and uncluttered. Visitors will get frustrated quickly if what they’re looking for is not a simple click away.


Write for scanners

No reading here

Your visitors scan webpages, they don’t read them. To allow for quick and easy scanning make sure you have:

  • Headlines that communicate what the section is about;
  • Bullet points to summarise points and reduce wordiness;
  • Short paragraphs – aim for around 4 sentences;
  • Short sentences – no more than 12 words; and
  • Visuals that support your copy.

Don’t be scared of using a different colour, bold or italics to highlight important words or a sentence. Just make sure that there is a consistent hierarchy of styling and don’t over use it. Your page will look cluttered, confusing and too busy otherwise.


Cover all your entry points

Your home page is not enough

Think about all potential arrival points to your website. Not everyone lands on your home page, so make sure that you have relevant information on all your potential entry pages. Include a call to action on each page and ensure pages are easy to scan.

If you’d rather leave content to the professionals, contact The Delicatessen team and we’ll entertain your goldfish for you.



RELEVANT ARTICLE: Grammar mistakes that need to stop