When you land on a web page you instantly see what type of website is being presented. You will notice, within fractions of a second, whether it is serious, or fun. You can see whether it is simple or complex. You might also spot that the website is exciting.
These are all elements of personality and every one of us has a combination of various characteristics that make us unique as individuals. The same happens with websites. The “personality” of Twitter is entirely different to the “personality” of Google or the “personality” of Amazon. They each are built with the same website coding, they each have the same basic structures, yet they are all different.
In the human world, there are some personality characteristics we prefer. The same is true with websites. There are some key personality indicators which jump out at us from a web page which makes visitors like the site. Remarkably, or perhaps not, what we like as the “personality” of a web page, appears to match what we prefer with people.
Attractive personality features we love
There are several different personality traits, of course, however, research conducted a couple of years ago provided some insight into which characteristics feature highly in what we like about other people.
It turns out that there are several personality traits which make other people attractive to us. Across four different psychological studies, the clear winner as the “number one” feature is kindness and understanding. Next on the list is intelligence, followed by a sense of humour. In other words, we are attracted to bright, happy people who have our interests at heart.
The personality of top websites
When you consider what we are attracted to, it is easy to see why the world’s most popular websites get our attention. The websites that we are most keen on using are the ones that are kind to us and understand us. They provide what we want, in the way we want it when we want it. They understand our every need and cater to our whims.
Those top websites are also clever. They do things in such a way that the complex functions are hidden from us, but they clearly know what they are talking about. The websites that are hugely attractive to us demonstrate knowledge and intelligence to us, without bragging about it.
Furthermore, these websites have a sense of humour with a bit of fun. They don’t take themselves or us too seriously.
Translating personality to your website
If you want your website to attract more visitors, then it needs to demonstrate a personality that people tend to like. You need to show that you are caring, intelligent and fun. But how can you do that?
- The first step is to make sure that you truly understand your audience. Provide precisely what they want and deliver that, focused entirely on their needs. This will demonstrate that you have the first element of a preferred personality which is kindness and understanding. If you don’t provide exactly what your audience wants, how kind do they think you are?
- The second thing to do is to show off your intelligence. You don’t need clever software to do this. Instead, you need great content. The more knowledge of your subject you demonstrate, the more attractive your site will become because people like intelligence. Furthermore, content that demonstrates your knowledge of your sector improves the trust that people have in your website.
- Finally, have a bit of fun. Use cartoons or snazzy images, add infographics and contests or write with a bit of pizzazz. One of the main issues with most business websites is that they are just dull. We are not attracted by the boring personality on show from many websites.
There is one other feature shown by the research on personality and what makes people attractive. It turns out that physical features are not very important. They appear 11th on the researchers’ list of 16 factors. To human beings, physical attractiveness is less important than what’s inside.
The same is true for websites. The design is less important than the features and what the site does for visitors. Yet, when companies come to think about updating their website they focus on design, rather than what it can do for their visitors. That’s like going on a date and focusing solely on your clothes, hair and make-up, and not having anything to talk about.
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+