Man or Machine? Tactics to Humanize Your Website

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humanize your website

It’s no secret that people are going to like things that seem more human and less robotic. However, making a blog seem more “human” can be a difficult task (especially if you’re an eCommerce company). It sounds funny that making something “human” would be hard for, well you know – humans. But the truth is that transferring feeling onto a blog or website takes a lot of work.

First, you have to define what “humanizing” even means. Second, you have to figure out a strategy to get your content to have that type of feel for your readers. If you’ve tried everything—researched a great topic, shared your website to the right audiences, tried different types of content, etc.—it might be time to focus on the tone of your website and giving it that connectable or “human” touch.

What Exactly Does It Mean to Humanize Your Website?

Humanizing your website means making readers aware that there are actual people behind it. The same can go for humanizing your brand in general. It can be incredibly tough for someone to trust a company, particularly if the company comes off as just that—a company. Or a place where they just go to get something that they need.

To humanize your website means making it remind readers that there are people working behind the scenes that he/she can trust. It’s about creating those relationships through your content.

Tips and Tricks to Humanizing Your Website for Better Engagement

Appeal to Emotions

This is probably the most obvious point and the one that people think of when they think “human.” Of course, the real trick is making it happen through a website. If you have a site that naturally appeals to emotions, such as one about life or that talks in the first person, you may already have this one down pat. It’s the eCommerce and small company sites that really have their work cut out for them. If you sell fishing equipment or you offer SEO services, how are you going to appeal to people’s emotions through a website?

There are a few different ways. First, understand that appealing to emotions doesn’t mean you have to make someone laugh or cry. Showing passion for your product or service and coming across as genuine is a way to appeal to the emotions of a reader.

A few options:

Create a video: Being able to see something can sometimes evoke more emotion than simply writing. You should be able to get across your passion in a video much easier. Consider creating a video of people in your office or a recent initiative you’ve worked for.

Write using personal stories: This can be a personal story about a business accomplishment or what your company is thinking about next. It shows excitement and transparency.

Focus on common interests: If someone is reading your site chances are they are interested in your company already. But take that one step further by considering what else that reader may like (look at demographics, location, etc.). If you can make a connection, create a piece of content around that idea.

Once again, appealing to the emotions of your readers means being transparent. Don’t worry about spending a lot of money on a campaign that will pull someone’s heartstrings. Your site can do the work for you if you have creative writers.

Do Something Surprising

One of the most boring things you can do for your site is keep it the same day in and day out. This isn’t how people operate. Readers like to see something creative, and the element of surprise is a great way to get there. You can do this by keeping your types of content changing, offering more engaging posts such as polls or surveys, or even holding contests.

One of my favorites, however, is actually taking the time to directly speak with readers. For example, let’s say someone purchased something and then you sent them an email asking them how they liked the product. That is a nice gesture, but it’s not surprising. Now, if you were to send a similar email say, two months later, that would come as a surprise and would stick out in someone’s mind.

Put a Lot of Time Into Your “About Us” Page

So this isn’t exactly your site, but it’s content on your website that is very important, so close enough. Too many About pages simply have information about the company. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your team members and founder. However, don’t be vague with nothing more than one sentence. Use graphics, talk about their accomplishments, and get information from that person specifically. In other words, have everyone on your team be a part of creating a great About Us page.

Search Engine Journal actually has an entire article with About Us page examples, which you can find here. Below is an example of my favorite from graphic designer Andrew Reifman because it’s simple. It breaks up the copy so it’s easy to read, and it’s an actual picture of him and not a cartoon:

humanize your website

Have a Consistent Brand Voice

Believe it or not, having a brand voice is a great way to humanize your website. Even if your voice isn’t necessarily talking as if it were a conversation (maybe that doesn’t work for your company), it’s really the consistency that brings about that feeling of trust. Learn more about creating and maintaining a brand voice here.

Take Action When Your Readers Respond

This not only means responding to comments, but actually taking the time to see what is being said on social media, which articles are getting the most page views, or what your audience might be saying to you directly. If someone asks a question, go out of your way to reach out to that individual person and talk with them. Going the extra mile shows that your company is human.

Of course, if you haven’t established any type of humanization for your site then people probably won’t respond this way, so this is probably going to be your last step. In other words, this is the way to keep your website human and further establish that type of tone as it continues to grow.

Of course, there are many other ways to humanize your website and brand to create those relationships (or at least the feeling that you want a relationship). But it all depends on your business and your audience. Let us know what has worked for you.

Machine Concept Photo via Shutterstock

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HigherVisibility HigherVisibility is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, offering a full range of professional interactive marketing services. The mission of HigherVisibility is to provide clients “Valuable Solutions with Visible Results.” HigherVisibility works with companies of all sizes, offering advice on topics ranging from keyword research to algorithm updates.

6 Reactions
  1. I love the About Us page example!

    I’ve noticed a real trend of late for financial services companies attempting to get more personal. Out go the straight lines and impersonal graphics and all of a sudden there are people’s faces everywhere!

    • Heheee! I love it too! From the look on his face to his skill set measured in awesome!

      I don’t know, with financial services companies, though there are obviously some good everyday people working there, I’m reserved about the switch to showing people’s faces.

  2. The thing to remember is that purchases are not made with head alone. They are made with heart and head and sometimes the heart is the one making the decisions. So appealing to head and heart is always the best combination.

  3. Great post! I completely agree – since online businesses lack the face-to-face interactions that storefronts have, it’s dire that they show their personality and humanism to boost their credibility. After all, who is going to buy from you if they don’t find you to be trustworthy?

    That being said, I believe maintaining a business blog is easier than one may think. Check out this eBook on business blogging and keeping your audience interested:

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