It’s gonna take me more than 10 seconds? Forget it.

Impatience on the InternetHow to tell if your website is frustrating the average internet user

Ever not done something online because you were asked to create an account or jump through some other annoying hoop?

Ever given up on trying to find something on a website after 30 seconds of searching?

Ever not bothered with a one-minute YouTube video because no one specified the exact second within that minute where the guy gets hit in the groin with the golf ball, and you don’t feel like waiting for it to happen so you move on, holding out hope that someone will make a gif of the moment of impact?

Me too.

And it’s people like me (and people much worse than me when it comes to this, I’m sure) who you’re up against when you’re trying to engage potential fans on your site. (Sorry! I swear I wasn’t always like this.)

I don’t want to wait

Yes, the internet has ruined our attention spans and created a world of scatterbrained, content-hungry pillagers who are always ready to move on to the next shiny thing that catches our eye. And if that shiny thing proves to be even a little bit of work, we’ll find a different shiny thing that seems just as good but doesn’t test our patience.

I don’t want to work

Keep this in mind when you’re trying to get visitors to take action on your website, and recognize that it pertains to the overall experience of your site as well. Don’t make people work to get something you want them to have, and don’t make them search for something you want them to find. People are used to quick fixes, and if you give them one, they’ll take it. But if you throw up even the slightest roadblock, they’re bound to bail.

* Want people to join your email list? Make it a single-field form (just like the ones standard with any HostBaby site!) with a single “submit” button and an instant confirmation message. Boom. Takes two seconds. People won’t even think about it.

* Want people to hear your music? Don’t hide it on your site. People should be able to find, play, and hear your music within ten seconds of landing on your front page. Make your “Music” link prominent or make sure your player is front and center – if this isn’t the most important part of your music website, then what is?

Does your website make people have to work or wait?

Think about the way you consume content online. Think about the flow you get into and the excitement you feel when you discover something new that you can connect with – even in the most minor way – in a matter of seconds. Think about how the content you connect to is presented and how it leads you to take action.

Now look at your own site and ask yourself how you’d feel if you were on the opposite side of the interaction. If you have to work or wait, it might be time to rethink your approach to how you’re engaging potential fans.

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Have you made any changes to your site that have resulted in increased activity? Let us know what has – or hasn’t – worked for you in the comments!

[Stopwatch image from Shutterstock.]