Don’t blink. Don’t even blink. Blink and you’re dead. At least, your content is. When someone lands on your site for the first time, you have only the blink of an eye—or really, about three to five seconds, statistically—to capture the attention of someone looking at your website and convince them that your content is worth their time. If it is, they’ll stick around and peruse it further. If it’s not, they’ll leave the page and move on to the next site. In other words, first impressions are everything. But how do you make your content compelling enough to appeal to someone in the blink of an eye? Here are some tips for helping your content to pass the Blink Test.
- Make sure your content loads quickly. Obviously, your content will include things like images, as well as sometimes videos and other dynamic content that takes more file space than simple text. Just make sure that the file sizes aren’t too big and they don’t bog down the page. That three to five seconds includes load time, and the longer a user has to wait to view your site, the more likely they are to decide it isn’t worth it.
- Have a gripping headline. Make it something that grabs their attention and lays out, clearly and simply, exactly what you have to offer them. Numbered lists work wonders in this regard. Whether it’s “5 Top Business Innovations of 2013” or “8 Tips for Planning the Perfect Bar Mitzvah,” it promises to convey valuable information in a simple, step-by-step format that’s easy to digest. Which leads into the next point…
- Make your layout clear. This means short paragraphs. The longer and denser your content is, the less likely it is that people will stop to look at it. If you do go with a numbered list, give each point on the list a summary title and put each one in bold (much like the points on this very list) so that they stand out from the rest and are easy to skim. If you’re not using a numbered list, try breaking up your content with sub-headers every couple of paragraphs.
- Put your best stuff on top. If you’re posting a blog, put the most important or compelling information first, preferably as a bold or italicized summary of the content below. If you have a video, put it at the top of the page, with any description or commentary beneath it. Many sites do the opposite and make their viewers scroll through several paragraphs of text before they can get to the video. This is the quickest way to fail the Blink Test, as most people would rather watch a video than read words. Of course, if your content isn’t a video, then you need to…
- Have a compelling image. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is especially true on a webpage. The picture is going to be the first thing people see, and it will tell them at a glance everything they need to know about your content. Does the image make them want to know more about what you have to say? Or does it stir feelings of indifference and make them click away?
Three to five seconds isn’t much time. But if you play your cards right, it’s enough. In just those brief moments, you can reel someone in and sell them on what you have to say, before they even start reading it. But your window of opportunity is small. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it.