Every Web site — including meeting sites — must hit five “emotional points” to ensure that it makes an emotional connection that will engage users and make them more likely to buy what you are selling. So says Philippa Gamse, a Web expert and speaker on all things techie, who teamed up with Annie Jennings of Annie Jennings P.R. to put on a free teleconference titled “Emotionally Connected Web sites.”

The five points are:

  • Recognize

    The site needs to make the user feel as if he is in the right place for what he needs, that you recognize his needs, and that you can help. Appeal to the varied needs of your likely users, but don't flood your home page with too much information, Gamse warned.

  • Engage

    Make the user want to know more about how you connect with what she is looking for. For example, supply subpages with more information for each of the types of users you have identified in the first point. Give the user a way to participate in the site by adding a contest related to your product/service, or a quiz. Think about what your site offers, and give users a reason to want to explore more of it.

  • Convince

    Give users a reason to trust that you're the real deal. (Yours is, after all, just one more anonymous Web site on the Internet.) Post bios, including a little personal information and maybe a photo. Use humor, if appropriate, to humanize who you are to your users. Testimonials also are good, but don't lump them together on a sub-page, because few will go there. Scatter the comments around the content they want, and they will read it, she says. And it will help them to understand how you feel about your users (and how they feel about you, of course).

  • Motivate

    Every page on the site should have a strategy to get people where you want them to go next. “Drive them around,” she says. “Give them calls to action.”

  • Support

    Let them know that you'll be attentive to their needs by providing privacy policies and other ways to make working with you easy — and transparent. Let them know you want to hear about the problems they have — as well as the positive feedback.

Engage your site visitors in these five ways, Gamse said, and your site will be much more productive for both your organization and your users.