The 6 Elements of an Influential Web Experience

What makes one website highly persuasive and engaging, while others are ignored or quickly abandoned?

If you took a poll asking your site visitors what’s missing from your site, they might not even be able to articulate it. And that’s exactly the point. What influences us isn’t necessarily at our conscious level of experience.

Today, we’ll discuss the 6 elements of a web experience that make a difference at a deep psychological level. My guest is Dr. Susan Weinschenk, a Ph.D. in psychology and an expert in the field of influential digital design. She’s the author of Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click and the excellent companion blog.

In this episode Dr. Weinschenk and I discuss:

  • The subtle cues site visitors are looking for when they arrive
  • How most online decisions are made (it’s not what you think)
  • The out-sized power of generosity and asking for small things in return
  • The fundamental truths of human nature that prompt immediate action
  • The 3 psychological factors that cause people to “click” with you
  • Why the way your content is displayed affects your perceived authority

Hit the flash player below to listen now…


Click here to download the mp3 | 39.4 MB | 34:10


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Links from the Show:

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter.


  1. says

    I’m glad that Susan M. Weinschenk is on today. The radio show says she has a PhD in psychology and is using her background in the psychology of web interaction. Since I have an MA in psychology myself, I find this program interesting.

    I went to Amazon and looked up Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click? by Susan M. Weinschenk. What I first pay attention to is the overall amazon user rating, along with the reviews. I have good news. Out of 27 book reviews, she gets 4 out of 5 stars – not bad.

    Then I did a Google search and found here on peach-pit (i.e. inform IT network). Which tells me she got her PhD at Penn State, which is a well recognized university. It mentions she’s done consulting for fortune 1000 companies and is currently Chief of Technical Services at Human Factors International (HFI) . Good background.

    I liked the interview today, with Brian being the interviewer. Good question – do you release information first and get the lead? I like to see more marketing and psychological research into such topics, down the road.

    Glad you brought up scarcity. It’s a key technique in direct response marketing and copywriting. I’m happy there is psychology behind this – along with reasons why. I like the point of creating a top level choice and most people will pick out the level below.

    Women in bikinis – with a dangling crane falling – advertising industrial cranes? I loved that example of what not to do (i.e. from real life).

    Persona? Yes. It’s also an important element in copywriting. And keep asking for that sale – good point.

    And you bring up the story again with the protagonist. Besides David Ogilby, reporter Mike Royko was a master of story (i.e. with his fictitious characters).

    Susan – whom do you feel will win the electronic book war and why? Apple, Amazon or Google?

    Please have more future guest stars.


  2. says

    I’m a huge fan of Susan. Her blog is great, and so was her book, Neuro Web Design. (Oh, and Brian, thanks for telling me about Neuro Web Design a few months back).

  3. says

    Great interview, I haven’t heard of Dr. Susan Weinschenk until now but she definitely sounds like she has a lot of experience under her belt. I love what she had to say about what she felt is important when it comes to social proof. I am going to check out her book “Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click” and hopefully pick up some more tips.

  4. says

    Great radio! Thanks for confirming to me that my story-telling style is the most effective. Before I started to write my blog, I studied what worked or appealed to me when reading blogs that I thought were interesting and then followed that path.

    Robert Cialdini’s book is an excellent resource… read it 12+ years ago and should probably pull it out again.

  5. says

    You guys really do think of the best ways to get every angle of the blogging niche. Psychology is kind of revolutionary for this medium. Very cool.

  6. says

    I LOVE your podcast! It rocks. I really appreciate you guys rolling it out. I am definitely going to get her book. It would be interesting to see if there has been any studies on video sales copywriting, I recently did a launch using the Kajabi platform and searching for “video sales copywriting” there’s not much out there. I guess that a high converting sales page crafted into a video would work. I have a very popular real estate investing podcast in iTunes and I know the work that it takes to produce a show, so thanks again, I look forward to your new episodes.



  7. Bill Davis says

    Hey Brian,

    I don’t know if this is a helpful post or not… because I moved on.

    Sorry to say, but I almost always groan, click that little x, and move on when I find a video clip (news, interviews such as this etc.) rather than text when I have followed a link.

    I can read much faster than a conversation (audio or video) unfolds. Plus I can scan for parts I want to see, go back and easily find the words, phrases or sections that I want to reread or show someone, etc. This is true even if I was not in a Third World location with boggy internet, although the bandwidth exacerbates the problem.

    For me it’s a case of “new (technology) is not always better.”

  8. says

    This was brilliant, thanks! I hadn’t heard of Dr. Weinschenk before, nor had I heardof neuro web design, but it all makes perfect sense. I have just checked out Dr. Weinschenk’s blog ( and it looks really interesting.

    I have o say that a part of me sometimes wonders if we can be a little TOO manipulative, but I guess that s long as you’re providing something of value and not setting out to rip people off in any way it’s totally OK.

    Thanks again for agreat podcast.

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