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We were talking in the office recently about ‘burying the lead,’ which essentially means hiding the most important, interesting or attention-grabbing information somewhere down the page rather than putting it up front and centre where it belongs.
The phrase has its origins in the newspaper industry. People who read newspapers tend to skim for the most interesting bits. If you want someone to read your whole article, you have to catch their attention and give them a reason to keep reading.
It’s the same thing with websites. When people are surfing the Internet, they tend to skim around until they find something that grabs their attention. The key is to hook them fast. Statistics suggest you have less than three seconds before they move on.
Why is it so important to keep visitors on your site?
There are several reasons, actually, the simplest one being the longer a visitor stays on your website, the more likely he or she is to become a paying customer, which is the whole point of having a website in the first place – to sell your products and services.
Another reason is to keep your bounce rate low. When someone visits your website and immediately clicks away, that’s called a bounce. The visitor didn’t find a compelling reason to stick around so they left.
Search engines obviously don’t like to see a high bounce rate, as that implies there is something about your website that turns people off. Once the search engines notice a high bounce rate, they will reduce the ranking of your website.
What can you do in three seconds?
In short, tell your visitor what's in it for him if he hangs around a little longer. Keep your main message simple and strong. Use bold phrases and short paragraphs. Make good use of graphics, pictures and colours.
Be creative! Remember that people love discounts and specials. They love to feel they are getting in on some deal that no one else knows about. Make them an offer, such as call and mention our website for 10% off your next purchase.
Be careful not to promise something you aren't willing to deliver on, however. When people get great service they will tell people. If they get bad service they will tell EVERYONE!