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The Halo Effect: How Fantastic Web Design Boosts Your Image

Written by Published in Websites
Article Cliff Notes

Excellent web design makes your entire company look good, not just your site.

Positive first impressions allow customers to overlook minor annoyances down the road.

Visitors will find any minor reason to leave your site. Make it easy for them to stay.

Is it possible for your website to look and feel so damn good that prospects landing on your home page instantly form a positive opinion about your entire company?

Of course it is. Did you think I was going to waste your time with clickbait?

Introducing…

The Halo Effect

I promise there won’t be too much theoretical BS.

In a nutshell, the halo effect is a psychological principle that affects our perception of everything from people, to works of art, to brands.

The name refers to the halos often portrayed above saints and angels in religious art—viewers recognize the halo as a marker of a “good” person, therefore that person’s other qualities must be good, otherwise how did they get the halo?

It’s sort of backwards logic, but our brains don’t care. The halo effect takes that one overwhelmingly positive feature and projects that quality onto the rest of the person/company/object. In that light, the object’s neutral or negative qualities are dulled to the point where even bad personality quirks are seen positively.

The halo effect is also why more attractive people receive lighter sentences in court and earn promotions faster.

Maybe it’s not fair, but it sure is useful. Here’s why…

The Halo in Practice

If Brad Pitt eats canned tuna, canned tuna must be good enough for me.

Like I said, the halo effect isn’t some psychological theory with no real world application. Take this study, for example.

The research found websites that were insanely difficult to use were still perceived favorably by users IF they were visually appealing or interesting.

The halo effect is also why companies use celebrity endorsements. If Brad Pitt eats canned tuna, canned tuna must be good enough for me. Right?

Multiple companies and organizations use the halo effect to their advantage. Apple created hype for its other products because the iPod was such a success. All of Subway’s menu options are viewed as low-calorie because of their handful of “healthy” options. People sometimes donate blindly to charities, even without knowing where that money is going.

How to Build a Halo

Halos don’t happen by accident. In fact, we can build our own.

The fastest way to create a positive image for your company is through killer web design. A sleek website translates to a sleek company. An easy-to-navigate site tells customers your company is easy to work with. And a site packed with useful content—everything a prospect wants and needs to know—establishes your brand as the pack leader in your industry.

Using the power of great design, Dr. Jones started getting a lot more business.

The net result is goodwill for your company. If that doesn’t sound like it’s worth much, let me explain.

If a prospect’s first interaction with your company is by landing on your home page after a quick Google search, your first and only chance to make an impression is with your website. You don’t have the luxury of taking the customer aside and explaining:

“Sorry about the mess. We’re remodeling. Is there anything I can help you with?”

If a prospect’s first interaction with your company is by landing on your home page after a quick Google search, your first and only chance to make an impression is with your website.

If your visitors can find any excuse at all to leave your site, they will.

Make it easy for them to stay. A single dead link, junky blog post or cluttered navigation bar can mean the difference between booming business and hearing digital crickets.

With the right tools in place, your site can be poised to generate a saintly image for your company within seconds of visitors arriving.

Look at our site. Can you figure out how to contact us in less than few seconds? Locate our blog (obviously)? Find our case studies of blown-away clients?

How about the color scheme? Does anything clash or turn you off? You’d be surprised how powerful colors can be when designing a site. Palette swaps can communicate expertise, wealth, power…or they can communicate that a company isn’t serious about their online presence.

With the right tools in place, your site can be poised to generate a saintly image for your company within seconds of visitors arriving.

Do our pages load quickly? Do they look great on tablets and phones? How many annoying pop-ups have you seen so far? It’s all about the user experience. And, websites that aren’t usable by people get curb-stomped by Google’s search algorithms.

Sites that nail everything I’ve talked about come across as being knowledgeable and professional. Your site can be your halo, too—and that goodwill can in turn sell more products, get more blog shares and grow your business.

Because here’s the biggest reason why the halo effect exists in the first place:

It allows people to make lightning-fast decisions with little thought. And a chain of quick decisions can be huge.

Imagine this scenario:

Bill has clicked 3 different links to contact your company via email. None of them worked. Here’s his thought process:

  1. I really want to contact X Company;
  2. Wow, none of these links work;
  3. I could call them, I guess;
  4. But they’ve put such little effort into their site. If they wanted my business, shouldn’t one of these contact forms work?;
  5. I don’t have time to call them. If it’s this hard just to contact them, imagine how difficult they’ll be down the road.

Potential customers that land on your bad website be like…

From the outside, that thought process might make little sense. Surely a website error has no bearing on your company’s product or customer service, right?

But it does. Each step in that chain of thought is based on a very real experience—an experience that’s completely in your power to make amazing…or terrible.

Halos and Horns

You control first impressions of your company. Be proactive, and make sure customers associate your brand with a halo instead of horns.

Make your site easy and make it attractive, and watch your business grow along with your digital halo.

You’ll find customers with a positive first impression will overlook minor negative experiences later.

About Sam Lloyd

I'm Sam. I always wanted to build a "dream team" of marketing talent. You know, a group of truly elite individuals correctly incentivized, synergistically working together to create unheard of results. Nailed it! Welcome to Klicker. Subscribe below! You won't regret it.

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