Do’s and Don’t of Grabbing an Audience’s Attention

Trying to keep your audience’s attention can feel like trying to herd cats. There are a lot of distractions to compete with, and they can keep your visitors from doing what you’ve set out to accomplish on your landing page. Fortunately, there are a few tried and true ways to not only keep all eyes on you, but also convey the message you’re looking to share.

Do Give Your Audience Something For Free

Image via Flickr by randomduck

This may be a difficult pill to swallow, but it’s a powerful tactic. What and how much you give away is your decision, but if your audience doesn’t know what they’re getting in to, they probably won’t be willing to stick around and gather more information, or more importantly, they probably won’t be willing to purchase anything.

Building a buzz around you and your product is important in the digital age. Virality is key, and in order to harness that attention consider offering your audience something they can share, like:

  • Interesting images
  • An e-book with useful information
  • Engaging videos

Make sure what you’re putting out there is new and exciting so people will want to come back for more.

Don’t Bombard People With Annoying Pop-Ups

So you’ve decided to offer your audience a free e-book, great idea! But you’ve also decided to have it pop-up on the screen every two minutes, obscuring your audience’s view of everything else. That is a bad idea. No one likes being told what to do, so filling their screen with commands like “DOWNLOAD NOW! is a quick way to scare off your potential audience.

Give your audience some credit, and let them naturally come to the decision to download your e-book or share your viral video. Instead of throwing it in their faces as soon as they land on your page, save it for a few pages in. This will give your visitors time to get comfortable with the site.

Do Take the Time to Plan Your Layout Thoughtfully

Image via Flickr by Gavin Llewellyn

Nothing sends visitors running for the hills faster than a poorly designed site. Staying away from flashing gifs and blindingly bright colors is obvious, but there are subtle things to keep in mind like font, sequential ordering, flow, and large blocks of text.

The brain responds quickly to things that don’t look appealing. If a new visitor is presented with just a large block of text in a hard-to-read font, and headlines that don’t make sense, they will leave in a matter of seconds. Some simple things to include on your page are:

  • An obvious value proposition
  • A demonstration of contrast
  • Visual stimuli

These will quickly deliver the information necessary to keep your audience around long enough to understand your message or product.

Don’t Prioritize Ads Over Content

Image via Flickr by Pascale Piratechickan

Ads are an important part of revenue for many sites and a must-have in many cases. There is a way to balance your ad space with you content so that one doesn’t outshine the other. You want visitors to remember your site for its quality content and design, and not as the place with that creepy ad at the top.

Ad placement needs to be thought about during the website design process. Making sure ads don’t hinder the flow of information, or take up too much space on the screen is very important for keeping your audience’s attention and trust.

By offering quality content, products, or services, attracting an audience is simple. Keeping your audience’s attention is the tricky part. By following these simple rules, you’ll be well on your way to making sure you’ve got a captive audience.

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By Jon Correll

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2 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’t of Grabbing an Audience’s Attention

  1. Hi,

    Does Popup distract/annoy visitors? We have online store and many of our competitors are using them but we are now planning to use the same to grab more attention. Will it help?


    1. Hi Manthan – Popups do have a tendency to annoy visitors. We suggest testing them and seeing if they’re worthwhile in your case. If you get a little engagement, it’s probably causing more harm than good. But lots of signups show you people aren’t annoyed.

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