Much of the Internet is interactive. You can press “like” buttons, you can add comments to blog posts and you can take part in polls or surveys. You can even interact directly with someone at a company using “live chat” or you can contribute to forums and engage on social networks. You are not short of options to be interactive.
However, most interactivity appears to be in social networks or on forums. Business websites are mainly static, with little opportunity for interaction, other than sending an email, for instance, or filling in a form.
That’s a problem. Interactivity appears to be linked to credibility. If you want people to believe your website, new research implies you need to increase the amount of interactivity.
The study which implies this was completed at the University of Oklahoma and was looking at how people are persuaded online. The research tested two websites – one was promoting liberal views, the other was focused on conservative viewpoints. The study looked at several ways in which people were likely to take action. For instance, the researchers manipulated the amount of violent information on these sites and found – not surprisingly – that violence was a negative factor, inhibiting action on the part of the visitors.
Interestingly, though, the researchers discovered that the amount of interactivity was related to the strength of credibility manipulations being made. In other words, when there was more interaction, the website was more believable.
This suggests that web visitors are more likely to believe your website if they can interact with it in several ways.
So, what can you do to increase the amount of interaction on your website?
You can, for instance, ensure that you do have the ability for people to comment on your blog posts and other web content. Many sites switch this off because they do not want to have to deal with the potential for spam or for dealing with hundreds of comments. But that is a management issue; the web issue is that such a policy could be cutting down credibility of the site.
Another way to increase interactivity is to ensure that your visitors have social interaction with the option to refer your pages to Twitter, for instance. Social buttons are a much-looked-for method of interaction, but many sites miss these out.
- Can people fill in forms on many of your pages?
- Do you run polls and surveys?
- Does your website have a “live chat” facility?
- Can people contribute to your site through guest posting?
The more you can do to increase the amount of interaction on your website, the more you will raise the credibility of your business.
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+