What is this 30 second rule all about?
When someone comes to your website you have a VERY limited time to try to reach them with your message before they click the back button and never come back again. We call this the 30 second rule, and often that window of opportunity can be even shorter than that.
There can be any number of reasons for wanting to have an online presence, either as a website or a blog. For some, they want to expand their business and hope to draw in new customers or clients through an online presence. Other people may want to have a website or blog for personal reasons. In either case, your online site or blog won’t mean much if people who visit don’t stay long enough to read what you have available for them.
This is where the 30 second rule comes into play, and it’s an important rule to remember.
Studies have shown that you have about 30 seconds to grab a reader’s attention before he or she moves on to something else. This is true for all print media, and it is especially true for websites and blogs. In this fast-pace world we live in, it is crucial that you snag your visitor’s attention fast. People are busy these days and have very little patience when it comes to viewing printed material. The good news is there are several things you can do to get their attention and urge them to continuing reading. Let’s look at some of those now.
Much of the following will apply on the design side of your website or blog, while other tips will apply to the actual content. It is important to remember that both of these issues must be addressed. Resolving one side, while ignoring the other, will end up in failure. So, with that in mind, here a few things you should NOT do if you want to grab someone’s attention and keep them on your site.
Your Site is Not a Carnival
On the design side, avoid using blinking fonts, animations and sounds on the first page that your visitors land on. It may seem like a great way to get someone’s attention, but, in reality, all that “business” just annoys most people. Some studies have shown that visitors who are immediately presented with bright, blinking ads or fonts will often click away immediately.
It is also important to have fonts that are large enough for most people to read easily. They do not have to be huge, but avoid using tiny fonts on any page that you are presenting. Likewise, avoid using font styles that are too weird or gothic to be easily read. The idea is to make it easy for anyone visiting your site to read the content.
Put Down Annoying Pop-Up’s
Whenever possible avoid pop-up’s on your pages. This is not always possible, depending on where you host your site or blog, but if you have control over this, avoid it. No one wants to be presented with pop-up’s, most people hate them, in fact, and will click away as soon as one is presented.
All of the above should be considered design flaws and avoided or corrected if they are already on a website or blog. Now, let’s look at some things that you SHOULD do in order to keep visitors on your site.
As mentioned above, you have about 30 seconds to engage the reader or visitor. That isn’t much time, but if you follow these tips you can increase your success rate significantly.
Use Powerful and Effective Headlines
You should spend as much time developing your headline as you do your content. The headline should be short, sweet and to the point but it should also interject some curiosity with the reader. In other words, once they read your headline, they simply have to keep reader the body because you have piqued their interest.
One way to accomplish this goal is to use open-ended statements or questions. This might include words such as “Did you know (fill in the blank)” or “How To (fill in the blank)”. Another effective headline method is to use something like: The Top 10 Ways to (fill in the blank). The number 10 is just an example, you can use whatever number you wish.
Make Headlines Easy to Read
Ensure that your headlines are large enough to read easily and that they are in a font that is easily recognizable. It is fine to BOLD them and in many cases that is a good idea.
Content: First Paragraph is Crucial
Now that you have them moving their eyes to the content, make that first paragraph work for you. Draft your first paragraph in such a way that it asks a few questions that will be answered later on in the content (this is to keep them reading). Use active voice rather than passive when possible. And keep it interesting but short, no more than six sentences tops.
By applying these tips, you can engage your readers more effectively, with the result that they will stay on your site longer. That is the ultimate goal of the 30 second rule.