Choice is important to your website visitorsMuslim men in the UK are increasingly deciding to have more than one wife, according to a study performed by the BBC Asian Network. Religious rules allow Muslim men to have up to four wives, though under British law, they are only legally allowed one; the other wives are arranged under a religious ceremony called a Nikka. At the same time, infidelity in other marriages appears to be increasing. Back in the 1970s, the rate of extra-marital affairs was around 22%. The most recent infidelity statistics suggest this has more than doubled since then. If there is one thing all this marriage mayhem tells us, it is that millions of people like variety…!

Actually, deep down in their brain, part of the problem is called “disinhibition”. When people are presented with a choice of things that they like, they tend to remove any inhibitions they had in the first place preventing such a choice. Choosing becomes easier as a result. And being able to choose is a fundamental part of our psyche. Choice gives us apparent control over the world we live in – and that helps us to survive and adapt. Whether we are choosing a sexual partner or we are choosing a supplier for our web hosting, choice is essential to us – even if there is actually no real difference between the selections.

New research shows the importance of choice and it has a significant implication for your website. According to the study, we become more positive about things if we sense a likelihood of choice, even if at that moment in time we have no opportunity to make a selection. In other words, if you hint at choices to come later on, you are more attractive to people.

For websites this means having, perhaps, visual clues as to choices that can be made. Rather than “shopping basket”, perhaps “your selections” might be appropriate as it signals choice. Equally, rather than showing you have one product for sale, give people related products so they can make a choice themselves. If you use WordPress, then ShopperPress from PremiumPress can do this for you automatically.

Your website could also use the right words in the text – “choose”, “select”, “preference” – and so on, all signalling to your website visitors that they get the option to decide. Indeed, rather than have a menu called “Solutions” call it “Options” – it amounts to the same thing, but hints at the ability for people to make a decision about what they will buy from you. As a result, according to this new study, they will already feel more positive towards you before even being able to make any kind of choice.

Ultimately, when it comes down to infidelity, the same kind of thing is happening – the potential partner is already signalling that they are a potential choice, with body language and the words they use in conversation. That makes the other individual feel more positive and thereby disinhibited and more able to make the selection. So, your website and the state of marriages up and down the land….you never knew they were so similar did you?

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