Why no one reads your website

5 Minutes

If you can't attract my attention, you can't win my business.

You can’t have a relationship with a client without first getting their attention. Think about the time and money you’ve invested in your website and content. Now think about the effort that’s gone into your headline.

It’s usually the last, rushed consideration. Yet if your headline doesn’t capture attention, it’s all been for nothing.

The father of modern advertising David Ogilvy, estimated you lose 80% of the readership from the headline to the first paragraph. So give it the time and focus it deserves.

Your headline is your best opportunity to grab your readers’ focus.

And in 2023 that’s one hell of a challenge.

There’s a consensus on the internet that your attention span lasts about 8 seconds.
I couldn’t find the original source, got bored and decided to give up looking. So, there’s your proof.

But then I stumbled across Brendan Kane’s excellent book, HOOK POINT How to Stand Out in a 3 Second World *2. (if you want to improve your headlines, this is a must-read).

It’s worse than 8 seconds. Not a surprise when there are an estimated 60 billion online messages are put out daily! Brendan explains that on YouTube, you’ll even find movie trailers start with their own 5-second teasers.

Remember who you are writing for

The most dangerous assumption you can make is that people click on your website to find out about you.

Their interested only in what you can do for them.

Most of your website visitors have their cursor hovering over the back button.

Fail to engage them and you’re swiped away to oblivion.

Get it right and you’ve earnt their attention for a few seconds and sentences longer.

Your window to grab attention is very small, so don’t waste it with the usual unsubstantiated boasts of expertise and excellence. It’s just more noise.

So how can you attract attention?

Take the spotlight off your firm and onto the issues facing your perfect clients.

What are they interested in?
What problems do your perfect clients face?
How do these problems make them feel?

As the brilliant copywriter Drayton Bird says, you’re writing to evoke a reaction. You want them nodding their head, thinking that’s me!

Another reason content fails to connect is the approval process. Pity the poor marketing manager or copywriter whose work is passed to the partners for sign-off. It’s usually returned, re-focused on the virtues of the practice.

They need reminding that It’s not written to connect with partners of accountancy firms, but with their ideal clients. So instead, get it over to your best clients and ask them if it resonates.

Learning from the big boys and girls

Hoping to pick up some tips for you, we researched the website headlines of some of the UK’s top 100 accountancy firms.

The results might surprise you.

About 1 in 4 lead with a variation on: Welcome to {insert firm name} Chartered Accountants.

A similar number focused on brag and boast claims of quality service, client-focus, technical expertise etc.

If you struggle to write the perfect headline, don’t beat yourself up. It’s the toughest part of writing content but absolutely worth the hair-pulling and anguish.

Don’t rush it. Sleep on it and see how it looks in the morning. Remember to put your perfect client at the centre of everything you do.

Look at the chart above. Only 16% of the websites we looked at focused their message on the clients they’re trying to attract! Start there and you’re already ahead of the field.


1. Ogilvy, D. (1983). On Advertising.
2. Kane, B. (2020). Hook Point: How to stand out in a 3-second world. Cardiff-By-The-Sea, California: Waterside Productions.
2. McLoughlin, P. (2022). Positioning in Practice – How UK Accountancy Firms Position and Differentiate Their Practice. Available at: https://perfectclient.co.uk/