When you created your web design, no doubt you would have read a few books, looked at some of the competition and generally - hopefully - applied a little science and caution to the process. But the question that remains is; did you also think about the psychology of your website? Did you think about how it makes your visitors feel?
This might sound somewhat trivial, but in fact, a website design can have a large impact on the way visitors feel. Your choices on areas like the Color Scheme and the layout can greatly affect someone's mood and the way they interpret what they read.
ColorsOk, let's start thinking about your color scheme. If you are currently just using white then this might not have much impact on their mood at all. In fact, designers will often choose white websites because they are inoffensive, and because most people like them. They won't stress anyone out and they're easy to read… BUT will they make much of a statement or a lasting impression? Will people remember your site after they've left? Perhaps not.
Instead then, think about a website design and color scheme that says something. Using cool colors like blues, and silvers etc. can help to make a website feel modern and at the same time be Relaxing and soothing in the same way that a nice cold glass of water can be soothing. That's a great thing for someone to associate with your site.
Meanwhile, a black website can feel 'professional', and by the same token "hardcore".
Don't believe that the color can affect mood? Well a perfect example of this in effect is in fast food stores; notice how they all are orange and red in their design. That's because these colors make people feel more anxious and want to leave - which is perfect for an industry that relies on serving lots of customers in a short amount of time (not so perfect for you if you want to keep people on your site, so relaxing blues etc. are definitely preferable here).
Music is something that many web designers and gurus advise against, as it can be divisive and can get in the way. However, I would argue that it can have a place - for instance; on a website for a hotel trying to create a feeling of relaxing in the sun.
Sound effects too can be useful for setting a mood and a feeling on a website, such as a sound effects on a Mouse-Over.
Don't think too much about your imagery. Of course it needs to say what you need it to, but note that it will also be affecting your visitors’ unconscious to a degree.
Lots of angry images of people fighting will get their blood pumping, where lots of relaxing images of waterfalls and people relaxing will make them feel calm. Again, try to have a calming influence if you want people to spend more time on your website.
Note as well that your content and your writing will have an emotional resonance too - and it's important that your text makes people feel good if you want them to come to your website again and have good things to say about it to others.
To your success,