People have perfect memories – or at least many psychologists reckon so. It seems we store everything that we sense, at least for a short while. The problem many of us have is getting that information back out of our brains.
What you want for your web site is an experience that is memorable – something that people will be able to talk about even if your web site is not in front of them. You need to “make it stick“.
There are several reasons why people may forget your web site. These include:
Failure to encode – it never gets stored in the reader’s brain properly in the first place. We don’t need to store all the information about two cars, for instance, to distinguish between them. We only encode the differences, not the details. So, if your web site is “samey” people won’t encode it effectively.
Motivated forgetting – sometimes we dislike things so much we actively stop them being recalled. People may dislike your web site enough to actively stop themselves trying to remember it.
Interference – this is where new memories interact and interfere with existing memories. So if your web site is modelled on someone else’s web site, or you say the same as everyone else, there’s a danger of memory interference.
So, how can you make your web site stand out and be remembered? Do something that makes encoding easy and which makes your web site not interfere with existing memories. To do that, take a different stance on your subject; don’t always agree with everyone or everything – have a point of view. Don’t “sit on the fence” on your subject – take up a position.
It’s not what your web site looks like that makes the main difference – it’s what your web site says that really helps ensure people remember you. So concentrate on stories and viewpoints that make it easy for people to recall you.