If you want the visitors on your website to perform a specific action, they must be cajoled into it. You can’t order them to take a call-to-action; they must be persuaded to do so. They must think that they are taking the right decision and more importantly, a well-informed decision.
Web design is all about specifics, and if you want to it to be persuasive, you need to follow certain ways and means that specifically bring out the ‘persuasive element’ in the design of the website. And let’s face it, each and every website has to be credible, because if it isn’t there is no way in the world that the website’s target audience will be convinced enough, to take a positive decision with respect to the information given on the website.
There are some principles that stand out when it comes to designing a website that has the power to sway a website visitors thinking in your favor. Here, ‘your’ refers to the business or any personal or professional activity that you are using the website for.
So, let’s get started.
The Principle of Give and Take
Isn’t life all about reciprocation, you give something and you get something in return. The same thinking needs to be applied to website design as well. So, if you want users to take a favorable decision with respect to your website, then you must give something in return.
Say you have a website that offers information about website design services offered by your business. Now, with the amount of competition on the market and so many companies offering such services, you have your work cut out for you. So ‘persuasion’ in this case become very difficult, but can be accomplished if you begin by offering the visitors on your website, free gifts. This could be in the form of newsletters, free tips, information about software updates, free themes, free icons etc. If they do accept your ‘gift’ the seeds of reciprocation are sown in their minds – They have taken a freebie from your site and for all intents and purposes are under an obligation to do your website a good turn.
As can be imagined, this is a slow process, but this principle must be implemented in the interests of persuasion.
The Principle of Justifying a Commitment
People like to stand up for something. So, your website should encourage people to stand up for what they believe in. Your website’s design should implement certain elements and features that coax the website user’s to take a particular stance.
So how does this persuade website visitors? Well, it’s pretty simple, yet “devious". All you need to do is ask the website visitor to perform certain action that at first glance looks inconsequential. For e.g. ask them to click on the ‘Like’ button that is right next to a particular product that you are selling. Or, you could ask them to go through a video tutorial of how to use that particular product. What you are essentially asking them to do is take a positive position regarding your product, but they might not realize this at that point of time.
Once, they have taken this stance, they will be committed to it and will need to justify it at some point of time; this they can only do by buying that particular product.
The principles of persuasion need to be understood for what they are. You are actually using them to create a website environment, wherein the website visitor has no other choice, but to look at the information on your website favorably. So, all your designing decisions need to be taken with a view to encourage such an environment. At the end of the day, it is only such websites that work; all others fall by the wayside.