Web Design Psychology Part 2: The Power of Words!

Alex, PR manager - June 9, 2015
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Power of words

It’s never the story you tell that matters, but how you tell it!

Nicolas Sparks once said – Every great love starts with a great story. You may transform your very own story into something greater – true love of your customers and site visitors.

Your brand may easily stand out from the crowd simply because you have just the right words written down on your site. Imagine all the power such love will give you, imagine how your branding will be empowered, and imagine the possible reach, when people eagerly share your website with each other! All that can be achieved with mere words, if they are appropriately placed and chosen, that is.

Size does matter!

MountainDo you remember what the internet was several years ago? It was not at all a friendly place. It was useful, overfilled with deep wells of knowledge, vibrant information and bright possibilities, but it was mean to users. Just imagine the pain and frustration people had to deal with while they were going through a text with over 20K words that was just plain text with no emotional highlighters whatsoever. All those pointless sentences were, fortunately, a temporary fix to meet needs and expectations of people.

Nowadays internet is fool of glorious content, but it is short, and that is how people love it. Frustration days are now long gone and you shouldn’t join the loser’s team with tons of useless words, unless you have something really important to say.

People can browse through your site with a mobile device, and you can imagine how frustrating large chunks of text may become in such scenarios. Although, there are times lots of words are unavoidable. You should prefer specialized places for such content as a white paper section, for example. Also you must not forged numerous pointers and highlighters like:

  • titles,
  • sub-titles,
  • bullet lists,
  • and, of course, bolds.

This is the way you will make larger chunks of text friendlier and readable to people. But this is common sense, not psychology, you might say? Well, considering people will constantly experience frustration after visiting your site you and your entire brand will cause negative impacts and deep frustration on a subconscious level, thus not only the website, but every single product with your logo on it will illuminate the very essence of frustration in people after a while.

A proper word is sharper than blades!

Urban lionHad enough of those darn bounce rates skyrocketing? Everything you do seems pointless? The only fixes you usually come up with are not much more than temporary plugs?

There are many words that resonate with people’s minds. Strong, emotional words of power that transform simple copy into addictive, hypnotic pieces of art. However, not any word will work astonishingly when expressions of emotions are concerned. Many words will deliver your message but not your motives, they will not encourage, inspire, motivate. They will be just words, not more nor less.

So, I have decided to bring several astonishing examples of emotionally-linked words which will definitely resonate with your reader’s minds and feelings:

  • Anger – many people get angry, frustrated and even pissed because any events taking place and that emotion can be put to great use. There may be an old coffee maker lots of people own, and it has one single defect that happens every time, like the container constantly spills coffee. That is some evil machinery out there, as an example, but your business may have a fix, or a better coffee machine model. And you now have a perfect chance to use anger words! You must never provoke frustration, nor anger however you may note you feel your reader’s struggle or you may bring them to a decent solution of their issues with strong words like:
    • Hate
    • Arrogance
    • Cruel/cruelty
    • Greed
    • Hatred/hate
    • Unscrupulous
    • Tired
    • Pointless
    • Never again
    • Had enough?
  • Curiosity – people are always attracted to all that is forbidden. Expose a mystery or two, because why not? Adam did take the apple, right? The ‘what if?’ dilemma is strong with our minds and souls, we are explorers, nothing can stay banned for long. Exploit this thirst of knowledge with words like:
    • Controversial
    • Taboo
    • Insider
    • Exposure
    • Banned
  • Passion – what may serve a stronger emotional connection that expressions of passion? Thrilled site visitors are a great crowd to have. You can have passionate fans if you are passionate about what you do and what you write off! Feel free to express your own feels with:
    • Delight
    • Blissful
    • Rave
    • Jubilant
    • Rave
  • Value – there are times you need to really push some idea forward and all that is extremely urgent: you may require likes on Facebook or your new e-mail campaign lacks responses due people neglect your messages. Whatever the case you may easily trigger the feel of importance and urgency in them with:
    • Limited
    • Seize
    • Deadline
    • While everything is fresh up your mind…
    • Before you forget…

Words of true power

you-are-hereThere are emotions, but there are words that possess even greater potential and might. Those words work like actual hypnosis you could only imagine a gipsy pulling off with poor simpletons in the very middle of a crowded marketplace. And you can harvest that might as well:

  • You: This is a placeholder for a person’s actual name. Using this word in copy makes everything you really have to say properly addressed to the reader and not some shapeless being from a different plane of existence. The word ‘You’ is hypnotic, yet is common in conversations, hence you will not be abusing boring old sales catchwords like ‘free’. Usage of ‘you’ will not randomly transform you into a sneaky sales guy, but, on the contrary, will place you closer to your readers.
    Words that directly refer to people heavily use the psychological phenomena known as the Fundamental Attribution Error. People are always critical of others, we are born with this feat, but things go by the different angle when we evaluate ourselves because we are the primary focus of the analysis. Analytical part of your mind will not kick in when you are the subject matter, your ego will instead. People will start finding their own interests, likings and preferences, after addressed directly. And you shall tremendously gain from this fact.
  • Because: this seemingly simple word does magic by bypassing the critical thinking factor and stimulating the unconscious mind. People wish to get to the bottom of everything, we require a reason, unless are given one. Cause – effect relationships are exquisitely highlighted by the simple ‘because’. Here is an example, that brilliantly illustrates full power of this word in Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”: imagine you need to use the Xerox and there is a line. You can say something like “I’m sorry but I have 5 whole pages to copy, may I use the machine?” and the amount of people who will agree should be around 60%. Nice, more than a half! But then, you can simply say “I’m sorry, I have 5 pages to copy and may I use the machine, because I’m in a hurry?” and the amount of people who will agree will grow to 94%. Quite better than sixty, considering you simply gave a reason!
    In fact, even a reason is not necessary, a phrase “because I must make several copies” works in 93% of cases. Astonishing, considering everyone is at the machine to make copies. This comes from early childhood. Just remember what happened after your parents used the word ‘because’? You were either explained what needed to be done, or you were told about things you should not do. And you, as a child, obeyed every time. Ever since, ‘because’ triggers this factor in people’s minds.
  • A Name: if you can address somebody by his name, especially a stranger, you will definitely get his/hers attention towards what you must or simply are willing to say.

Stay tuned for part 3 and while everything is fresh on your mind – don’t forget to comment =)

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