Over the next few weeks I’m going to write an article or two about what is important on your home page.

Firstly, a little known fact. The average attention span is now 8 seconds – down from 12 seconds about five years ago.

If we assume that the home page is the first page a visitor encounters, you need to make a good first impression. And the first impression is the headline, so it’s quite clearly one of the most important thing you can have on your website.

You probably already have seen the power of the headline these days, because of the prevalence of “clickbait”. You know those posts on Facebook or down the side of a page you visit with a, “You won’t believe what she did” type of headline? You know you shouldn’t click, because you know that is what they want, but you do anyway, because you want to find out what she did. And after you have clicked you are left going, “meh”. But you still click the next one.

It’s the same with news website headlines. They need you to click. Their readership numbers are their lifeblood. So they craft headlines that make what is on the other side of the click look very interesting.

So that, in a general sense, gives you an idea of the importance of the headline. When it comes to your home page the numbers touted are that on average only 2 out of 10 go beyond the headline when they land on a website.

I find that figure unusual. Why, if you’re looking for something would you not quickly skim the page? Well I guess that is the nature of modern life. If it doesn’t look like this site can fulfil your needs, you want to be out of there and looking at the next website ASAP.

Your headline needs to say to anyone visiting your site, “Yes I can fulfil your needs”. If it doesn’t there are out of there.

I read a story about an advertising exec who rewrote the headline for a an advert over 100 times. That is the importance of the headline.  Without a good headline, no one reads your copy. And if no one reads your copy, no one clicks your call to action

What does your headline need?  It needs to be specific. It needs to be able to be read at a single glance. It needs to solves the user’s problem. Think of it like this. Every user that is coming to your website is coming for a reason. They want your business to be the end of their searches. Think about it. If you are looking for something specific, do you want to go back to the search results and continue looking, or do you want the next website you go on to be the one that gives you what you want?

That is the importance of the headline. To be able to tell someone in one second, “Yes I can give you what you want”.

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A computer specialist who has had a long and varied career in IT, starting with the days of Novell, progressing through Microsoft on the way to Cisco and network security. Now running Revolution Web Design, to provide customers with great Web Design, SEO and digital strategy advice.

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