As we discussed last time, emotion is a powerful tool in web design. Different elements of design, from colour schemes and photography, can be used to influence a user’s interaction with your site in a certain way. An emotionally engaging site is a powerful site.
Emotion-oriented design isn’t just about crafting a particular response from a user though. It’s also about giving your site a personality and a voice of its own. Developing a consistent identity for your site can take engagement to the next level, so let’s look at some of the ways you can cultivate this and use it to your advantage.
Lay out the welcome mat
First impressions are everything—especially when it comes to making a personal impact upon someone. Many people spend years trying to learn the art of a good first impression, and if that wasn’t hard enough, getting it right on the web is even harder.
Arguably the most important pages on your site, particularly for visitors arriving via ads (so, most of them), are its landing pages. There are a lot of great resources out there for developing effective landing pages that can get you a lot of conversions, but landing pages are also a great opportunity to crack that first impression and establish a firm personality for your site.
Consider the ways your visuals and language work together. Do they project a coherent image of your site, or are they disparate? There needs to not only be visual / aesthetic cohesion, but also cohesion between the images users are seeing and the tone used? More importantly for small business owners in particular, does the tone of the language of the site match the tone you are going to be using when actually speaking to potential clients? Does it sound like you?
Your site’s personality needs to be thoroughly representative of your brand—are you doing enough to ensure users get a good first impression of your work? Conversions simply aren’t going to happen if visitors don’t feel like they want to interact with the kind of person this site represents. Nailing that first impression is thus, vital.
Tell your story
Every site tends to have an ‘About Us’ page, geared towards explaining the company’s products or services, or just what the site is about.
This is partly a relic of the early web, when personal websites would include an ‘About Me’ to explain what sort of things the admin was interested in, what they did, and why they ran the site.
Unfortunately, the ‘About’ page came to be associated too heavily with sales tactics—hence why some designers view it as superfluous.
Despite this, you still need to tell visitors your story when they arrive on your site. Regardless of what you want to name the page itself, it’s important that you explain your reasons for doing what you do. Consider:
- The background of the company—what were the events that led you to getting started in the first place?
- Your personal motivations—what is your work and personal history? What motivated you as a person? What experiences did you have before this that led you to deciding this is what you wanted to do?
- What gap did you want to fill with your product, service, or project?
Essentially, you need to introduce yourself personally to the people visiting your site. For anyone coming to your site, it means they know exactly what you’re about before they’ve even met you. This isn’t about using sales tactics, but showing off the personality of your brand.
Giving your site a human story that people can relate to will do a much better job of bringing in conversions than any hard sell ever could. If people can see what kind of person you are, they can decide whether they like you or would like working with you. This can really tip the balance away from your competitors and towards you!