Not many business owners waste time on thinking about the psychology of their website design. Typically, they’ll ask that a website is designed to match the color palette of their logo and marketing material, and wind up with a template-like website which if functional and forgettable.

But many basic psychological principles, when applied to design, can positively affect the performance of a website- and therefore, positively influence things like subscriptions, purchases, and calls. For example, understanding the flow of visitor’s eye-tracking can help designers determine the optimal positioning of important CTAs, and knowing what colors to employ for certain actions can help increase attention spans. In short: applying a few psychologically-confirmed design metrics can increase engagement and actions.

The Most Important Element: Trust

Most visitors won’t take an action (or even linger long) on a website which they don’t feel is trustworthy. So one of the most significant things a company should focus on is building elements which convey trust to a visitor. Most modern internet browsers are wary of phishing scams and hacking, and look for specific ‘trust signals’ before taking actions on a website.

These are often familiar design elements, such as a logo and menu up at the top, and a thorough detailing of contact information at the bottom of the website. Prominent page headings or titles will immediately convey the purpose of each and every single page, and easy-to-access contact options and ‘about’ information will help to convey the sense of trustworthiness. Even most out-of-the-box website templates will encourage designers to provide at-a-glance information about employees or company leadership, to further personalize the website and encourage user trust. A web design company worth their salt will always be pro-active about adding trust elements, and encourage you to add as much identifying information as possible to consumers.

Familiar patterns can also help establish trust in subtle ways. For example, most people expect that an ecommerce website or online shop will list products prominently on the home page. Putting blogs or testimonials on the front page is another sure bet. Fulfilling expectations like these can help visitors feel more at ease with using and purchasing the website in subtle but meaningful ways.

Leveraging Your Branding

Consistency in design is another significant element which is often ignored, especially in small businesses. The colors of brand logos do matter, and should always be used throughout the website… even in such a small way as simple accent colors for icons and links. And these colors should contrast easily and significantly with background colors for easy reading.

But your logo should be in more places than just the header of the website! A smaller version should always be found preceding footer contact information, and be consistently displayed on contact and ‘about’ pages. But the choice to do so is influenced by more than the need to influence visitor psychology to trust your website: it’s about building memory and recall. It’s a well-accepted fact in most marketing circles that the more times a viewer sees a brand or logo, the more likely they are to recall it when they’re wanting to make a purchase or action relating to that brand’s niche. Prominently displaying your logo encourages this visitor recall.

Reinforcing Concepts with Imagery

Most business owners and web designers, when selecting images and video for a website, will use beautiful stock photos simply related to the subject being discussed in the accompanying text. But a far better idea to reinforce concepts, ideas, and legitimacy is to find even better-matched imagery which clearly communicates some of the subject matter actively being discussed.

For example, in an article about home security tips, a designer might opt simply to put in an image of a home, or a close-up of a lock. Instead, an image displaying a concrete example of what’s being discussed (such as a homeowner putting a home security system brand sign in their yard) is a more psychologically powerful way to reinforce concepts and build trust. With a little creativity, doing this can also be an optimal way to show off the website’s logo, putting it into the image where appropriate to demonstrate the brand’s value.

The Psychology of Colors

Did you know that many fast-food restaurant chains use red prominently in their design because it helps to encourage visitors to hurry in and out of their restaurants? Color psychology is used to great effect in many industries, and can be used in your website design to help encourage users to internalize important information or to take actions.

The Copy Written Matters

Many companies believe that if they have a well-designed website that is easy to navigate that it will convert on sales immediately. This couldn’t be further from the truth as the copy on your website can have just as large of an impact as the design of the site. Informing as well as selling on page is important as nobody will want to purchase your service or product if they aren’t quite sure what it does and how it can benefit them. Explaining something like how a CMS can benefit a company can help sell this as the reader can be better informed. Simply selling on every single page reads like one big commercial and instead of changing the channel your potential customer will simply be clicking off of your site.

Conclusion

Whether you already have a website, or are considering having one built to represent you, your business, or your product, you should consider how using psychology can help your website achieve its objective. Specific design elements and considerations can help encourage the visitors to your website to trust it, remember it (and your brand), and even to take specific actions.