Infographic: 10 Tips to Keep Visitors 20 Seconds

This infographic is a companion to a blog post we published that gives some easy-to-understand tips that anyone can put into practice to make sure their web content has the best chance of engaging site visitors quickly.

 Info graphic, tips for writing engaging web content


Here’s a snippet of the infographic:


Feel free to embed this infographic on your site.  Here’s the code:

In Internet Marketing, 10 Will Get You 20

woman with clock to illustrate point for web copywriting article

How to Keep a Visitor on Your Site Long Enough to Make Them a Customer

According to Internet usability guru Jakob Nielsen, the first 10 seconds are crucial to your online success.  Here’s what he says:

If the Web page survives this first — extremely harsh — 10-second judgment, users will look around a bit. However, they’re still highly likely to leave during the subsequent 20 seconds of their visit. Only after people have stayed on a page for about 30 seconds does the curve become relatively flat.  Source:

When he talks about “the curve,” he means the rate at which users leave your web page.  The drop-off is highest in those first 10-30 seconds.  If you can engage your visitor for a scant half a minute, your chances of being able to communicate your full marketing message improve dramatically.

If you’re a business owner who can’t afford to hire a “guru” to write your web copy, simply keep a link to these tips handy and you’ll be on your way to that magic “conversion” moment when a visitor becomes your customer.

10 Tips for Writing Effectively for the Web

  1. Info graphic, tips for writing engaging web contentYour headline is the key.  Make your headline powerful.  Your headline is the key not just to the first 10 seconds, but the first 3.  Spend time with it.
  2. Understand your visitor.  Before you even get started with point number 1, do some research on who your target audience is.  Research doesn’t have to be hard.  Try asking some of your existing customers or website visitors (for example with an easy online survey) why they came to your site.
  3. Focus on visitor intent.  Once you understand your ideal visitor, and why they came, you’re ready to craft a message that addresses their specific wants and needs.  If you match that “why” you stand a better chance of getting them to ask “how do I buy?”
  4. Engage them.  No one wants to hear your elevator pitch.  People don’t like to be preached at, and make no mistake, a lot of sales talk comes off as preaching.  Instead, involve your visitors with a hook or a question.  Sort of like we did with this blog post, right?
  5. Make it clear.  If you confuse your visitor you might as well give up on them.  And you’re not a good judge of what will confuse them.  Why?  I guarantee that you’re too close to your product or service.  This doesn’t mean you should stop writing your own copy.  Just make sure you share it with at least 5 people outside your organization and see if your written content is immediately clear.  Remember, it has to be clear in seconds.
  6. Don’t fight their eyes.  People have predictable ways of visually taking in your content.  Don’t get so creative in your layout that you ignore typical user behavior.
  7. Use the golden “F.”  Eye tracking studies have shown that people scan a page in an “F” pattern.  They start at the top left, move across then down.  Their eyes stop going across the page as they go down looking for something interesting.  Make sure your important points are top and left.  This is also known as the “golden triangle.”
  8. Go lean.  Too much text puts eyeballs to sleep.  Even if you have a lot you need to say, break it up into short paragraphs and lots of headings.  Better: try always to say what you need to with fewer words.  The Gettysburg Address is not the most famous speech in American oratory because it’s long.
  9. Use bullet points.  Remember those eye tracking studies (see tip 7)?  Well they also show that people invariably will scan bullet points.  Make sure you use bullet points to present the things that are most important to your visitor.  (Use these bullets to match their intent, as indicated in tip #3)
  10. Neuroscience is your friend.  Use it when selecting images.  Part of “writing” for the web is making sure that you include some visuals.  (If people wanted nothing but text they would all have the 1995 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica on their shelf.)  But more than a pleasing image, use a shot with some persons face looking at the visitor.  Reason?  From the time we are babies we are wired to look at faces and eyes.  Naturally you want to make the face relevant to your content.  Example: If you’re marketing a car show the face of someone driving it, or standing by it, or sitting in it.

Get the Infographic

As a visual reminder of these 10 tips, we’ve created an infographic, 10 Tips to Keep Visitors 20 Seconds, that will help you to quickly remember them and apply them whenever you write for the web.  Follow these tips and you’re well on your way to breaking that 10-second barrier and connecting with your next customer.

Website and SEO Services: Like Peas and Carrots

Peas and Carrots photo shows how SEO and Website services Often when companies go in search of SEO services on the web they are thinking of “SEO” as a service separate from website design.  I can understand that, for a couple of good reasons.

First Reason SEO Services are often Divorced from Website Services: Lack of Training

Let’s face it, it’s not hard to find someone who is willing to build a website.  I’ve been in Web development since 1995, professionally since 2000, and if I had the proverbial nickel for every time that I encountered a website built by someone’s nephew or brother-in-law I would be able to retire in Fiji (and that’s only a slight exaggeration).  The nephew or brother-in-law won’t be combining search engine optimization talent with web development talent, since in all likelihood they haven’t even got the web development side down yet.

On the other extreme are websites that are extremely sophisticated and polished.  But in order for a web tech to achieve that level of skill in this day and age they need to spend every spare moment honing their web development skills.  Real web development is a demanding profession as Google approaches its sweet sixteen birthday, and it does not favor part-timers.

Second Reason SEO Services are often Divorced from Website Services: Differing Mindsets and Skillsets

In my experience the types of techs who have an inclination toward web programming and design tend to have a disinclination to the fuzzier, more abstract world of selecting keywords, creating content, and cultivating the types of partnerships that lead to quality links.  So even though some web development professionals will engage in SEO, in most cases their heart, and their time and training, are not into it.

But Divorce can be Messy

Certainly there are SEO companies that work on just Search Engine Optimization, in a world totally divorced from website development technology.  Such companies rely on another company to deal with the website technical issues, but that creates a powerful disadvantage.   The disadvantage lies in the fact that search engine optimization, which is part of search engine marketing, has a technical site that relies on a keen understanding of what can and cannot be accomplished in website programming.  A failure to have a good grasp of that can lead the SEO services firm to expect the unrealistic, or to spend time and money making inappropriate demands of the web development people.

The other disadvantage arises when one of the two organizations isn’t up to standard.  If a highly skilled SEO firm has to rely on a lax and incompetent web developer to get things done, they end up looking just as bad as, if not worse than, the developer.

Best SEO and Website Services Solution: Different People, One Team

At Horizon we realized long ago that we would need a team approach to serve out customers in the best way possible.  For that reason we have assembled a multi-disciplinary team that can deal with your companies online marketing needs from development to search to social media.    Within our team we can address Website needs as well as the broad range SEO and SEM services necessary to succeed online.

So, if you’re tired of eating your peas and carrots separately, give us a call and we’ll discuss how we can put our Website and SEO services team to work for you.