Website copy needs to capture the attention of a visitor in the first few seconds of being read.
Dr Jakob Nielsen, an expert in web usability, noted that internet users judge web copy within the first ten seconds of reading it – and base their decision as to whether to carry on reading on that initial impression.
"The probability of leaving is very high during these first few seconds because users are extremely sceptical," he noted, adding that many people believe webpages are useless as there are so many poor ones on the internet.
But capturing a visitor's interest in the initial ten seconds is still not enough, according to Dr Nielsen, as readers remain "highly likely" to leave during the next 20 seconds.
It is only once people have stayed on a page for 30 seconds that they can be regarded as a captive audience.
"If you can convince users to stay on your page for half a minute, there's a fair chance that they'll say much longer – often two minutes or more, which is an eternity on the web," Dr Nielsen added.
So what can small businesses do to ensure their website copy captures and keeps the attention of visitors?
First of all, content needs to be well-written. If a reader encounters typos, poor grammar or factual inaccuracies, they will be inclined to go elsewhere for information that appears more reliable.
Website copy also needs to be relevant. It is no good attracting high numbers of traffic, perhaps by means of ambiguous tweets with a link to a particular page, only for them to get to the information and leave after seeing it is not what they expected.
Information should also be valuable to the reader. This concept will be different for each small business, but on a basic level this is unique and authoritative content tailored to the particular audience.
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ContentPlus is an expert at providing quality content tailored to small businesses – call Jacey on 02075172240 for more information.