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Grab the web user's attention!

People seem to be in more of a hurry these days than in days gone by. Some seem totally into instant gratification. But still on the whole people are courteous and give a friendly tolerant response. What happens to all these good people when they become web surfers? What turns ordinary people into maniacs when they hit the on-button and grab a mouse?

Many become erratic, often demonic creatures, lacking any semblance of courtesy, grace or style. Since they have the benefit of total anonymity, they are free to do anything they please without ever deferring to any higher authority.

Ordinary thoughtful people become irrational opinionated experts instantly. With a click they not only say, “Forget you!” or worse, they literally do. They’re gone.

As web owners, we ignore surfer’s behaviour on our sites at our peril. Such questions as right and wrong simply have no meaning. What we feel is best for our site is totally irrelevant if our visitors do not agree. Sure, there is exaggeration in the above. Not all visit in this manner. But your site will be more successful if you assume the above is an accurate picture of every visitor.

The secret is to grab their interest, slow them down a bit, let them catch their breath so they are once again the sort of folks who drop into your shop or office.

A poorly designed page is rejected in milliseconds. A break in the HTML code will drive them away instantly. Many will exit on the first misspelled word or grammatical error encountered. A new page must appear in seconds, else they’re gone. And as in a sales letter, each word following the headline needs to draw them deeper into the page, and ultimately into the site. Since many people scan; use headlines that give an accurate description of the page and hook the reader in.

Take a fresh look at your site. Try to see it with a fresh set of eyes, preferably as new surfer to your site might perceive it. Move quickly down your pages. Are there compelling reasons to read on or to click to another page? If it’s so, you have a better chance of slowing your visitors down to the point where they are willing to click to another page, and at some point listen to your offer. If not, there is work to be done.