Thetrue purpose of your website probably isn’t what you think the purpose of yourwebsite is. You imagine that it’s there to show off your products or servicesto potential customers. Whether it’s a humble poetry blog or a real-estatewebsite, in your mind you probably believe that it’s a place where people cancome and take a look at what you do and get in touch to buy from you if theylike what they see. That’s part of what a good website is for, but it’s farfrom the only reason it exists.
Thereal reason you have a website is to persuade people that they’re better offbuying from or interacting with you than they would be if they went to anyoneelse who does what you do. A good website doesn’t just show people what youhave, it also tells them why they don’t need to look elsewhere, and why theyshould take action now to contact you or make a purchase. Best of all, a goodwebsite does all of this without directlysaying that’s what it’s doing. That’s all down to psychology – and that’swhat this article is all about!
Webdesigners tend not to be psychologists, but the best web designers have soughtinput from psychologists in terms of finding out what makes people tick, andhow to optimize a page to provide the intended response in someone looking atit. Here are a few of the best tips they’ve picked up.
The Z Shape Principle
When a potential customer first lands on your website,their level of interest in buying from you is probably low. They’re moreinterested in finding the information they’re looking for than they are inreading what you want to communicate to them. They therefore skim-read yourhomepage, and scientists tell us that they do so in a Z-shaped pattern. They read across the topparagraph of the top few lines of text, then their eyes track diagonally downto the bottom left-hand corner, and they finish reading to the end of the textthey find there. From this, we know that your essential information – thethings you really want your customer to know – should be contained right at thestart of your article, re-iterated dead-center, and confirmed again during thelast line. Consider these spaces your ‘headline news’ spots.
Less is More
Nobodyhas logged onto your site to read an essay. In fact, they’ve barely logged onto do any reading at all. The average attention span of a human being in 2020is considerably shorter than it was at the turn of the century. We’ve become soaccustomed to flicking or swiping away from things that we’re not interested inthat we barely even digest the basics before we decide whether we want to seemore. Some scientists have concluded that the average attention span is now less than eightseconds, although those findings have been disputed. We hope the scientists arewrong. If they’re not, it means we now pay attention to what’s in front of usfor less time than a goldfish. In web design terms, this means that atext-heavy page is a huge turn-off. If people see a wall of text, they’ll begone before they’ve read the first line. Use your words sparingly, and makethem count.
Visual Cues Work
Peopleare motivated by the images that they see more than they are by the words thatthey read. If you have any doubt in your mind that this is the case, go to anonline slots website and study its layout. Don’t just look at one; check out afew Online Slots UK and see if you can spot atrend. Unless you’ve picked some very unusual sites, what you should havenoticed is that there are lots of pictures of online slots (and maybe somevideos), but almost no description on the homepage of what those slots are, orhow they work. The information will be there if the customer goes looking forit, but the companies that run those online slots websites have concluded thatthe picture alone tells the customer almost everything they need to know. Basedon the staggeringly huge global earnings of online slots websites, they mighthave a point. Don’t use a paragraph when a picture will do. Illustrate your keypoints. In fact, illustrate everything if you can. Just be conscious of filesize and loading times.
There Are Shortcuts To Gaining Trust
Whateveryour website does, there will be a desired action you’d like a visitor to takebefore they log off it. That might be the full process of making a purchase andhanding over their debit or credit card details to you in the process. It mightbe something less intrusive, like giving you their contact details. Either way,they need to trust you enough to go through that process, and so your websiteneeds to create the right conditions for that trust to exist. Fortunately,there are shortcuts to gaining people’s trust.
Thefirst thing to bear in mind is that an ‘action’ page should be honest andtransparent about its purpose. If people feel like they’re being pushed intosomething or misled, they’ll back away. If you want someone to get in touchwith you, they should do it on a clearly-identified contact page. All purchasesshould be heavily signposted. If you have security software to protect thecustomer’s contact and bank details, advertise that fact ahead of them enteringtheir details. Small things like that will help the customer feel more secure.As a kicker, make sure your contact details are clearly visible at all times onany page where your customer is required to give you anything, whether that’stheir email address or their credit card number. Having your contactinformation in view is the equivalent of saying, “you can contact medirectly if anything goes wrong, and this is how.” People take thatinformation on board even if they’re not conscious of it.
Fonts Communicate More Than Words
Thewords you use mean something, but do the fonts you type those words in. As it’s2020, we hope you don’t need us to tell you that Comic Sans isn’t the font ofthe workplace. It’s a fine choice if you’re making a friendly, conversationalblog site, but nobody buys anything from a website written in comic sans. Ifyou’re involved in high-authority business (or you want to come across as ifyou were a high authority), serif fonts work best for this purpose. They’re a commonchoice for law firms, and for news websites. Sans serif fonts are a little moreconversational, which is why you often see them used as standard on socialmedia websites. They’re also becoming a common choice for technology websites.Work out your desired tone and then choose a font that fits it.
Noneof these tips guarantee you as much as one single sale, but if followedcorrectly, they’ll get you closer to that sale than you are right now. Webdesign isn’t just about making a page that looks good – it’s about making apage that persuades a customer to engage with you. We hope you have a clearerpicture of how to do that now you’ve read our advice!