Even if you’re writing about something people are genuinely interested in, such as the Champions League Final, or Star Trek, or cute pets, you’ve only got a few lines to grab their attention and persuade them to keep reading. If you’re writing about pressure transducers, or LEDs, or spectrophotometers, they’re probably bored before they start, only reading about this stuff because they have to. You’re going to have to work even harder to get them enthusiastic about what you have to say.
And yet nine out of ten* product pages don’t consider the half-hearted readers whose attention is going to wander all over the page as soon as they arrive. They assume that visitors are going to read in a committed, linear way, from top to bottom. Even though most won’t.
This idea is reinforced in How to Write Copy for Short Attention Spans on Copyblogger. Even if you only revisit your most important product pages, take a look at them and ask yourself what the first thing people are likely to read might be, and if that gets over the main message. If they read that highlight, and the text immediately underneath it, then get bored and jumped to somewhere else on the page, are you leading them to a second point which puts over the next message you need them to read?
Or do they have to wade through treacle to get to the eventual call to action?
*OK, it’s a turn of phrase, I have no data to back that up.