When you visit a website what do you want to see? Do you want to be forced to read some boring, “business-speak” page? Do you want to have to watch a tedious video which has no people in it, but loads of words that are relatively meaningless? Or do you want something that treats you like a person, which has personality of its own and sounds as though you are having a conversation?
Well, I’d be surprised if you said you wanted websites to be boring and laden with jargon.
Good writers, for instance, know that if they aim their words at an individual, rather than a group or a “target market”, they are much more likely to get readership. You know when you read a good non-fiction, business book that the author seems to be writing for you – just you, no-one else.
Such writing appears to be human; it is as though someone were talking directly to you. We respond much more positively when we think a human being is connecting with us, than if the writing is simply perceived as words on a page or screen. On their own, words do not really connect with us very much – but add in the human touch and the words can be powerful.
This is backed up by recent research which has looked at computerised decision making aids for people with diabetes. When the computer app was seen as just that, people tended to engage with it less and trust it less. But when the computer aid was humanised, making it seem more personal, then the people in the study trusted it much more.
People respond positively to other people. If you cannot be present, then you need to make the other individual – the reader of your website for instance – think that you are. By humanising what you do online, you make it much more likely that people will engage and connect. And as this new research shows, you also increase the level of trust.
So, rather than think your website is about “a business”, make it human; personalise it, put people in it, make it conversational and you will raise the engagement you get as well as the trust people have in your online business.
And if you don’t know how to humanise your website – simply dictate your web content, rather than type it. Speak it out loud as though you were talking to someone – that way you’ll be doing the right things.
- Humanizing a Computer App Affects How Much It’s Trusted (socialpsychology.org)
- 7 Article Marketing Tips (hodgesnet.co.uk)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+