Halo effect

Theory explained by Sander Volbeda and written by Edward Thorndike

The Halo effect is a phenomenon in social psychology which discusses how people make judgments based on a single trait of a person or a thing. For example, what do you feel when you see a tall, handsome person? When we see such a person, we tend to believe that he is smart and intelligent without having any logical reason for our assumptions. This is how the Halo effect functions in social psychology.

Why is the Halo effect important? 

The Halo effect has a direct bearing on the decision making of people. Our brain attracts positive feelings accompanied by trust, regardless of that trust was rightfully earned or not. There are instances that people experience shocking disillusionment due to this quality of human psychology. Nevertheless, the rapid influence of Halo on decision making can be seen everywhere. There are both positive and negative impacts of the Halo effect. 

When we really like even just one trait or aspect of someone or something, we unintentionally accept every other aspect of such a person or thing as positive. This works the other way around too. If we don’t like just one trait that we notice first about something or someone, we tend to think negatively about every other trait of such a person or a thing without a logical reason. This theory in psychology explains why sometimes we don’t like certain things or people without any logical reason. 

Marketers and businesses take advantage of the Halo effect to boost their sales. Also, when applied correctly, it can be used to drive more traffic towards your website and for Conversion Rate Optimization. (CRO) 

How to use Halo effects for a successful website design? 

A good website not only has the visual appeal but also gives a positive user experience with clean content, easy navigation and by enabling effective user engagement. But, we cannot overlook the importance of first impressions as it’s the ultimate cause for a visitor to spend more time on your website or to leave right away. 

Your website stands for your company. The good looking site can make your company appear good and it’s the opposite with poor visual appeal. No matter how great your company is, if your website appears bad, it can create an adverse feeling in the minds of the visitors about your company due to the Halo effect. You hold the power to make a change in what your target customers feel about you. Having a nicely designed website can attract more leads towards your business for Conversion Rate Optimization. (CRO) Optimize the first impression created by your website, by adhering to the following key points to get the maximum use of Halo effect. 

Make your website easy to read 

  • Choose one font type and stick to it.

This will give a clean finish to your content. Having to see multiple font types can create confusions and most importantly it creates an unhealthy look. Don’t make your visitors feel that you don’t bother much to keep things in line. It will definitely create a bad first impression not only about your website but also about your business as a whole.
  • Plenty of spacing is important

Do not overflow your website with content as it will make the content less readable. The ideal strategy is to allow plenty of white space as it can grab the visitors’ focus on important details.
  • Be smart with font sizes

Excessively big or small font sizes add an unprofessional finish to your website. Use font sizes wisely to separate headings, subheadings with the other content etc. For example, 16px is the ideal font size for main body texts. Most importantly, pay attention to the sizes in the cases of cross-device compatibility.

Use a complementary colour theme throughout the site

  • Use a monochromatic colour theme

A monochromatic colour theme consists of various shades of the same colour. Combination of completely different colours can overwhelm the visitors and create a bad impression on your site.
  • Leave a simple background

Having a clean background has a direct impact on highlighting the call-to-action on the page. Use light colours for the background.

Use celebrity endorsement if suitable

The influence the celebrities can make on people cannot be overlooked. This is a straightforward way to get the advantage of the Halo effect. People trust the celebrities they like.  Seeing their favourite celebrity endorsing your product or services makes the people trust your brand. Just a few pictures of a celebrity on your website can bring great benefits and will help to boost Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
The appearance of your website definitely shapes up the first impression it creates. Assume that you landed on a beautifully designed website and it creates a bad user experience in functioning? Would you still consider the website as useful as you thought it would be? Of course not! This is why stepping forward further to ensure a hassle-free user experience is very important to get the maximum benefit of the Halo effect. After all, no visitor would turn into a potential lead just because they loved how your website looks. Here are the tips.

How to improve user experience?

Make navigation effective
Make your navigation menu as short as possible. Keeping the menu short can eliminate confusions and the options are easy to remember. This way, users can find information easily and effectively. Keep a prominent place to the navigation menu as it should be the most element of the website to direct visitors towards information.

Use a clean layout
The layout of a webpage can instantly show whether contents are organized effectively or not. A messy layout can create a bad impression on you at the first glance. According to how the Halo effect works, nobody would bother to explore your site any further. Therefore keeping a clean and easy to read layout is vital for CRO.

Reduce the loading time
Would you ever bother to wait for a website that takes more time to load than your tolerance level? Even if you do, would you wait any longer to navigate through pages that take plenty of time to load? The truth is at the instance we experience greater loading time, we just give up! There are plenty of service providers on the internet. So why should a person bother themselves waiting for you? And they will never think of getting back again. This would directly affect conversion rate optimization adversely.

Use quality content
Quality content has the characteristics of accuracy, relevance, consistency, completeness and timely updates.

Enhance responsiveness
People across the world use different devices to access websites. When they do, they expect everything to work perfectly. If your website is poor in responsiveness it only would be enough cause for the people to create a dull impression on your website.


It’s important to take the Halo effect seriously in website designing. Persuading a person and psychology go hand in hand. Beautifully designed site with poor user experience would create a null result in the Halo effect. Therefore creating a great user experience is as important as building your website in a compelling way to get the true advantage of the Halo effect for Conversion Rate Optimization. (CRO)

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Would you like to go more in-depth? Here are our recommendations:

The Halo Effect: . . . and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers by Phil Rosenzweig Buy this book
Neuro Design: Neuromarketing Insights to Boost Engagement and Profitability by Darren Bridger Buy this book


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