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How does your website capture people’s attention?

Many years ago I played guitar in a band. No you won’t have heard of us so I won’t even tell you what we were called. We played very local gigs around our hometown in Yorkshire, England.

I specifically remember one gig we played, in a small mining town near Doncaster. I remember it because it was the gig where we learned how to connect with an audience.

The gig was in a local village hall with an audience of local teenagers. We played the first set of about 40 minutes and after each number, got no reaction at all. It was as if those teenagers were either brain dead or deaf. Some of them probably were. It was that bad.

Now anyone who has ever performed on a stage, whether it’s music, comedy or even giving a speech, will tell you that there is nothing worse than getting no reaction at all from the audience. Heck, it’s better to be booed then be greeted with silence.

So by the break, we were all feeling pretty low. We agreed that we had to do something to wake up that audience. Music wasn’t going to be the answer. As a band we were fairly competent but whatever we played had no reaction with this zombie-like audience. So we finally decided what to do.

Before we started playing the opening number of the second set, two band members went on stage and started screaming and shouting, stamping feet, and making a huge commotion. That woke  up those kids and got their attention. Hey, there was enough noise and craziness going on, onstage, to wake the dead!

We immediately followed up by playing the next number and, you know what, the audience stayed awake, paid attention, and even applauded. Through the rest of the gig we remained connected with that audience and both band and audience had a great time. But it was that initial hook, the craziness, that had been the trigger point that captured the audiences’ attention.

From then on, in every gig we played we injected a hook to capture the audiences’ attention and make that connection. Not necessarily screaming and shouting but something out of the ordinary that would resonate with the specific audience, capture their attention, and make the connection.

And so it is with websites. You need a hook to capture your visitors’ attention within the first few seconds and make that critical connection. It is that connection that will cause your visitors to explore the rest of the site and keep revisiting it.

What should your hook be? It depends on the type of audience which, in turn, depends on your business. It could be a headline, and stunning image, a video or music. It’s up to you, together with your web developer, to decide. It’s not easy. But whatever it is, it must make your visitors sit up and think..

Now, over to you. What are you going to do to make your website’s visitors sit up and think? What’s your website’s hook? I’d welcome your comments.  

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