Planning a website? Think AristotleMarch 18th, 2013

Aristotle Strange title eh? I agree. Typically we don’t look to philosophers who died in 322 BC for advice. But I happened upon an article in the Harvard Business Review talking about the 3 elements of great communication. The elements Aristotle identified are ethos, pathos, and logos.

We will examine all 3 elements and how they relate to website development.

  1. Ethos :: Ethos is your credibility.  Why should anyone believe what you are saying on your website?  One of the most important things you can get across on your website is to show you are a subject matter expert in your field. So if someone wants to hire you, (or buy from you) they need to feel confident that you are a proven leader in your field with the skills & technical expertise they are looking for. If your credibility is in question, it is pretty clear a visitor to your website will not end up a customer/client. This is also why the “do it yourself websites” don’t work.  Can anyone take you seriously when you have an amateurish website?
  2. Pathos :: Pathos is the emotional connection.  This is very important in a website. People that have an emotional bond with your company, typically will be repeat customers.  Now for e-commerce, this may be a love for your brand.  People who like a specific clothing brand typically will buy that brand year after year. But this also goes for service providers. Say you are a plumber who saved a homeowner from a leak on a Sunday night.  That consumer won’t forget that plumber. This is where things like testimonials come in handy. When visitors to your website see the love your customers/clients have, they too are likely to hire you.
  3. Logos :: Logos is your way of appealing to people’s sense of reason. They mention in the blog I referenced that this is where the term logic comes from. True, this sounds a bit Vulcan, but things needs to make sense to us for us to wrap our mind around something.  This is why websites, or commercials fail when they make crazy claims. Even though we may want to believe a pill will grow our hair back and clear our face of wrinkles, we know in our mind that this can’t be true. We all know if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So keep that in mind developing your website. A little bragging is fine, as long as you don’t promise what can’t possibly be delivered.

Planning your website can be a difficult process with a lot of variables. But when you consider Aristotle’s 3 elements of communication, you are off to a good start. Feel free to contact us with any questions.