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5 Ways to Use Psychology-Based Web Design to Build Traffic to Your Site

5 Ways to Use Psychology-Based Web Design to Build Traffic to Your Site

Psychological research isn’t something you would expect web designers to use, yet it’s probably the most important tool in their toolbox for creating websites that get results. Since the early days of the Internet, psychologists have been conducting research to determine how the human mind interacts with websites. Results from these studies provide valuable information on how website owners can tap into psychology to enhance traffic to their sites.

Culled from this body of research are five psychology-based web design principles that have been proven to attract and build traffic to a website when they are incorporated into the site’s web design.

1.Go Bigger With Heading

Drawing visitors to your website is the first step towards building traffic throughout your site. The Eyetrack III psychology study finds that big headings capture the eye’s attention more so than images. What’s more, site visitors mostly look at the headline first when deciding whether to stay and browse the web page.

That behavior is the reason why web designers are using bigger and bolder typography to highlight products, calls to action and other elements website owners want as the main focus of their site. By creating a site heading that clearly describes the focus of the website and making that headline the main attraction of the web design will boost traffic to your web pages. Equally important, big headings give visitors a clearer view about your e-commerce business or service, which establishes trust between you and your online visitors.

2. Use Image Captions To Make Key Points

In another analysis that looks at the psychology of ads, it was determined that captions under images are consistently read by online visitors. That’s because when people see an image, their eyes naturally scroll down to the caption. But most websites are losing a valuable opportunity to retain traffic by not including captions with images. Image captions are also appealing to visitors because information is encapsulated, making it quick and easy to read and remember.

Psychologically, people feel they are not exerting any effort in reading captions, so they’re more likely to do so. Because people browse instead of fully reading content in a web design, incorporating pertinent information in an image caption is a sure guarantee that your message will get read. Web designers are using creative ways to incorporate text under images so visitors will read calls to action or home page features to increase clicks to other web pages within the site.

3. Less Is More

5 Ways to Use Psychology-Based Web Design to Build Traffic to Your Site

Psychological research isn’t something you would expect web designers to use, yet it’s probably the most important tool in their toolbox for creating websites that get results. Since the early days of the Internet, psychologists have been conducting research to determine how the human mind interacts with websites. Results from these studies provide valuable information on how website owners can tap into psychology to enhance traffic to their sites.

Culled from this body of research are five psychology-based web design principles that have been proven to attract and build traffic to a website when they are incorporated into the site’s web design.

1. Go Bigger With Headings

Drawing visitors to your website is the first step towards building traffic throughout your site. The Eyetrack III psychology study finds that big headings capture the eye’s attention more so than images. What’s more, site visitors mostly look at the headline first when deciding whether to stay and browse the web page.

That behavior is the reason why web designers are using bigger and bolder typography to highlight products, calls to action and other elements website owners want as the main focus of their site. By creating a site heading that clearly describes the focus of the website and making that headline the main attraction of the web design will boost traffic to your web pages. Equally important, big headings give visitors a clearer view about your e-commerce business or service, which establishes trust between you and your online visitors.

2. Use Image Captions To Make Key Points

In another analysis that looks at the psychology of ads, it was determined that captions under images are consistently read by online visitors. That’s because when people see an image, their eyes naturally scroll down to the caption. But most websites are losing a valuable opportunity to retain traffic by not including captions with images. Image captions are also appealing to visitors because information is encapsulated, making it quick and easy to read and remember.

Psychologically, people feel they are not exerting any effort in reading captions, so they’re more likely to do so. Because people browse instead of fully reading content in a web design, incorporating pertinent information in an image caption is a sure guarantee that your message will get read. Web designers are using creative ways to incorporate text under images so visitors will read calls to action or home page features to increase clicks to other web pages within the site.

3. Less Is More

That age-old adage, “less is more,” couldn’t be more applicable when it comes to building traffic to your website. The less is more rule applies to options, products, services, or calls to action on a website. A National Institutes of Health study by a Columbia University psychologist finds that the more choices given to website visitors, the less likely they are to choose any of them.

Online visitors are more likely to stay on a site, refer it to others, make a purchase, or participate in a call to action if there are only a couple of options. In the study using jam flavors, more people were motivated to buy when jam offerings where reduced from 24 flavors to six. Social psychologists determined that too many choices are demotivating, so people will choose to do nothing. In psychology terms, this reaction is referred to as the human brain’s “safety choice.” From a web design perspective, a minimalist design with only a few places to click, a couple of calls to action, or limited product choices will improve traffic behavior on a website.

4. Engage Visitors With Short Width Text

If visitors to your website are clicking off the site seconds after they arrive, the reason might have to do with the column width of the text. A behavioral study conducted at the University of Reading concludes that online visitors find narrower column widths of text more inviting and approachable than wider columns. Although the study also found that people read wider columns faster, there is a better comprehension of information when the text is presented in shorter columns.

Web designers are challenged with making line breaks on a website just right for visitors. Too short line breaks are distracting and too long line breaks are tiring. One way designers are accomplishing a successful mix of short and long line breaks is by starting out with short columns of text where comprehension of the message is most important and gradually going longer for secondary text. Images, media, or other elements are strategically placed to create a natural flow of column widths.

5. Use Human Face Prompts

Subconsciously, online visitors are following line of sight to navigate through a website. But you can increase traffic to your site prompts with certain web design techniques. An eye gaze study by a team of psychologists at the University of Padua in Italy finds that images with human faces that either look at or point to prompts or a call to action are more successful in driving traffic. People tend to be more comfortable following the line of sight of other people, even if it’s a stranger in a photo. Similar results were found when arrows were used.

The Psychology of Web Design

The web design and development team at Advia Internet is well versed in what drives traffic to a website, including basic psychological principles. We like to say they touch upon the study of psychology themselves as they regularly study website analytics to determine human behavior during website visits. From these site analytics, they can tell which elements visitors are interacting with on your site, which design features grab attention and increase traffic, and which site colors and images evoke certain emotions and behaviors. All of these factors, when used correctly, can influence traffic to your site in a positive way.

If you would like a psychological checkup for your website, get in touch with Advia Internet and we’ll put the psychology of web design to work on your

By Brandon Hill, Director of Client Services