How Good Website Design Increases Your Conversions
When it comes to converting leads, it’s not just your marketing strategies that matter. In fact, your strategies will amount to nothing without good website design.
According to one study on health websites, 94 per cent of comments revealed design elements of a page heavily influenced the trust of its visitors. The following are a few elements of good website design that are needed to convert your visitors.
Against our better nature, when it comes to website design, people do judge a book by its cover. The look of your website reflects the professionalism of your brand.
If it’s not pleasing to the eye, visitors won’t think much of your company’s professionalism, hurting the trust they have in you and making them less likely to convert.
Make Your Website User-Friendly
I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone to a website in search of a specific product only to give up after a few minutes because couldn’t find it through the website’s navigation. I had no idea how to look for it; therefore, I gave up.
A user-friendly website should be easy to navigate. Just look at the Back N Bianco site. It provides clear links to the main products they offer at the top center of their homepage.
Also, clearly positioned are links to their blog, gallery, and shopping bag as well as the search tool to make navigation even easier. Additional links, including links to contact and about us pages, are located at the bottom of the page.
These are a couple of reasons why I always emphasize how important website design is. No matter how strong your marketing efforts are, everything will fall apart if you don’t have good website design.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
Most of the time I perform a search online using my smartphone. This is not unique. Today, the majority of searches are done on mobile devices rather than on desktops.
If your web design has not been optimized for mobile use, then you are going to have serious problems. If it is not optimized for mobile use, your site is likely going to have trouble loading for mobile users, and even if it does load, it may not be displayed properly.
Not only will mobile users abandon your website within seconds, but you will also be penalized on Google’s mobile search rankings, making your website difficult for mobile users to find in the first place.
Improve Readability of Your Content
If I have trouble scanning the content because it’s not readable, there is a good chance I’ll move on. This is how most visitors will approach your website.
There are a number of things to keep in mind in order to ensure your website is readable. They include the following:
Typography – I know that some types of fonts such as cursive-style fonts are very aesthetically pleasing. However, these fonts can be difficult to read quickly and they can make your page look cluttered.
Stick to simple and clean fonts that are easy to read. Additionally, do not use more than two different fonts: one for your headers and one for your body text.
Too many different fonts will make your website look messy and inconsistent.
Contrast – Make sure the colour of your text is in contrast to the background colors of your website. Choosing a dark text colour against a dark coloured background is not a good idea. The background color should be lighter than the color of the text you use.
Blank space – If your text is not broken up, it means it’s going to be difficult for visitors to scan. I recommend breaking up large blocks of text by using different headers, bullet points, numbers and more. Nobody wants to scroll through a giant block of text.
How to Increase Website Performance
Web design does not just refer to what you can see on the page; it also refers to how the website runs. For example, if your links do not lead anywhere, they are broken. Broken links severely damage user experience and Google’s crawlers to navigate and rank your website accurately.
If you possess a broken link, Google won’t penalize you; however, it will see visitors immediately leaving your page and believe this is because their search intent was not fulfilled. The less time a user spends on your page, the lower the page’s rank in search. If you have content that is fulfilling search intent, but the link is broken, visitors can’t access the content and immediately leave, your effort for that page will be wasted. It’s for this unforgiving reason, you should always check and fix broken links.
If my user experience on your website is poor, I’m not going to waste much more time browsing it.
Additionally, it’s important your pages load quickly. If I’m browsing a new website, I do not want to wait more than a few seconds for it to load, and neither will anyone else. A web page should take no longer than three seconds to load.
Use Calls-to-action for Better Conversions
For example, if I’m visiting your website, and I’m in the beginning stages of the sales funnel, you need to make it easy for me to find information about your services or products, so I can become more informed.
As for visitors who are at the end of the sales funnel, you need to make sure you use relevant calls-to-action to tell them what to do. Whether your CTAs encourage visitors to sign up for newsletters or take advantage of product promotions, CTAs need to be specific.
Without calls-to-action, you will have trouble converting visitors even if they are interested in your product.
Negative Space Helps Conversions
Negative space, also known as background space, is what you contrast your images and text with.
No one likes to visit a cluttered website. When I see a wall of text, I immediately leave. It’s intimidating to mentally prepare oneself to read a long, continuous post.
I’d rather save my mental energy for more important activities and easily read site content in small paragraphs, broken up by headings and images.
By incorporating negative space into your web pages, you give visitors room to breath visually. Instead of grouping items too close together, widen these elements by including extra padding and margins.
It’s not just about increasing readability. By using negative space correctly, you can incentivize visitors to visually go to places of interest on your website. By including negative space surrounding key messages, product images, services, and call-to-action buttons, you can increase their emphasis.
Keep in mind when using negative space, you’re adding by subtracting. By reducing the amount of website assets on each page, you’re drawing more attention to each item. This process limits visitors from being inundated by too much information.
Less Choice Equals More Conversions
Speaking of limiting website assets, apply the same mentality to your offerings. I say this because limiting the choices a visitor can make, accelerates their decision making process.
It has been studied when a person is exposed to an influx of choices, the time it takes to make a decision increases as well. The correlation between an increased number of options and the time it takes to make a decision is known as choice paralysis, according to Hick’s law.
Just like inundating your visitors with too much content, too many choices can deter visitors from converting on your website. Don’t over complicate your offering and provide users with a manageable amount of choices.
One additional feature you can employ on your website is a featured products menu. By taking your most successful offerings and promoting them in headings, on your homepage, and at the top of your product pages, you save potential customers more time and lead them more effectively towards a sale. For the rest of your catalogue, you can make them exclusively searchable from your navigation.
Use the Rule of Thirds
Taking from photography, your landing pages can vastly improve from incorporating a simple concept called “rule of thirds.” The rule of thirds dictates an image must be sectioned into 3 parts, both vertically and horizontally. It also specifies an image should place its focal point within one third of the image.
By using images whose focal points are not centered, onlookers’ eyes are automatically lead to the focal point, creating motion. Motion is good because it creates interest.
How to Apply Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is one of the easiest and most impactful rules of photography you can appropriate to your website design.
Instead of uploading an image without any forethought, divide your main image into 3 equal horizontal and vertical sections for a total of 9 individual squares, as lines intersect.
The important thing to keep in mind is the focal points of the images are where the lines intersect. Focus placing your content and CTAs around these areas, as viewers eyes will naturally drift here. In the example below, I placed a CTA along one of the intersections for illustration; however, remember the rule of thirds is a suggestion and not an end-all-be-all rule. The CTA below could have easily been placed on dividing lines as well.
With that said, the whole process should look something like this:
Group Similar Elements
Earlier in the post, you were told not to group similar elements. That’s primarily true; however, there’s an exception to the rule: grouping cohesive website elements together can improve your conversions, if done correctly.
As opposed to grouping large amounts of text and images together, grouping similar elements like testimonials and CTAs can be highly effective. By combining the two, you can enhance the effect of this kind of social proof by encouraging visitors to act immediately after they have been persuaded.
By using colour, shape, size, orientation, and proximity, you can assign a relationship between your testimonials and CTAs influencing visitors on a visceral level.
This effect can be used to up-sell similar products as well. If you group visual products in your display containers, you can make implicit similarities between synergistic products using the same principles.
Compress Images for Faster Loading
Speed is an important factor for any website. If your website loads fast, you are more likely to have engagement. It’s as simple as that.
An easy way you can increase page loading speed is by reducing image file sizes.
Follow best practices when uploading images such as uploading images no larger than container dimensions and compressing images after uploading.
Navigation Breadcrumb Trail
Navigation is hard. Have you ever been to another country? If so, you understand. With the help of GPS it has become a lot easier. Although, real world navigation has improved, website navigation is still lacking.
This is why your website can improve its user experience by providing, what is know as, “breadcrumb navigation.” Just as dropping breadcrumbs has helped those who became lost find their way back home, you can help your visitors find their way back to previous, important pages.
Imagine experiencing your website from the perspective of a visitor. You land on a page from a Google search. You explore the site, move to new pages, and want to get back to the page you originally searched for. If you can’t find your way back, you’re likely to leave the site and try again or find another page offering the same value or solution.
You could argue visitors could hit the back button numerous times in order to get back to the page they were previously on. They could, but if you’re an eCommerce website with dozens of category pages, they may not be patient enough to endure it.
Therefore, you could have a bar that tracks which pages your visitors have previously and are currently interacting with. This will help them find the right pages on your site. Here’s how you can do it.
Reduce User Clicks When Purchasing
Unfortunately, attention spans are declining. This means you have less time to turn visitors into customers. In order to do so, you need to reduce the amount of clicks and input visitors need to go through.
If you’re selling products or services, especially for online eCommerce stores, create a path to your product or service in the least steps possible.
Ask yourself if there are any steps you can do without. Ideally, you’re looking to remove as many steps as you can to get a visitor from browsing your catalogue to buying product.
You are looking to get your shopper to your product in two clicks. Instead of having them search through multiple categories and sub-categories, expedite the process and have products purchasable from the second level of your catalogue search infrastructure.
For larger and more popular items, present them up-front and make them accessible at all times through your website header, so users can access them in one click. This allows you to get direct clicks to shopping carts.
Segment Traffic to Landing Pages
Landing pages are great ways to incentivize purchases or engagement from visitors belonging to different segments. If you find you have a sizable amount of visitors within certain niches, you can create landing pages by creating designs and copy that appeal to each demographic respectively.
The more personalized you can craft your messages, the higher the chance visitors will engage and convert.
Landing pages help boost conversions as they become more granular and segmented for each section of your target audiences.
Use People and Faces in Images
Using images with people will resonate more deeply with your customers than using images without. This is due to a psychological reliance we, as people, have among our own kind. We’re empathetic to each other and take after one another.
Images containing people can affect us emotionally as well. Powerful and moving images can be used subtly to establish trust with your audience or to evoke an emotional response creating positive brand feelings.
Emotional feelings are more powerful than our ability to use logic. Think of any serious fight you’ve been in with a friend or loved one. During these fights, it’s rare you took a step back and said to yourself, “I should look at this more logically.”
Using images conveying powerful sentiments in your website have the same effect on us. Images hinder our ability to think rationally.
Understanding this, you can use people and their faces to convey emotions you want elicit. By doing so, your audiences are more likely to connect and relate to your brand, driving their future decisions.
A typical example of using people in images is happy customers using your product.
One bonus tip is to use the sight-line of the person in the image to drive attention to a call-to-action button. People often mimic what they see. If someone in your image is looking at the CTA, so will audiences.
I cannot stress enough how important your website design is. Good website design will not only help attract visitors, but it will keep visitors on your website and encourage them to explore your content further. If you can do this effectively, you have a good chance of improving your conversion rate.