May 4th, 2017

How can design increase website conversions?

You want your visitors to convert. How can your web design help you land a sale?

Your website is your most powerful sales tool. It’s more than an online repository of information about your company and products—it’s a medium by which you can convert the curious, the considering, and the committed.

However, many websites underperform because they break some basic principles of web design. Visitors bounce instead of sticking around to learn more; they go down the wrong path and leave unsatisfied; they spend a long time reading, but don’t act on their newfound knowledge. How can you optimize your web design to increase website conversions? Let’s examine a few top web design conversion failures to find out.

Is the purpose of your sight immediately visible?

You have about 6 seconds to convince visitors to stay on your site. If someone comes to your home page and is overwhelmed and confused by the density of information on your site, they are more likely to bounce. Elements that could cause this confusion include:

  • Too much information in the top visible section of your home page (above the fold). Pay attention to the websites you visit: which are the ones most likely to impress you with their design? Ones that cram their home page like the front page of a newspaper (where space is limited)? Or those that recognize they have plenty of room to work with, and give their content room to breathe?
  • A headline which doesn’t immediately convey your business’s top benefit. What do your visitors need the most when they come to you? Does your headline tell them, right away, with as little jargon possible, that you have that thing and can give it to them? Or have you complicated matters by leading with something obscure or couched in industry language no one understands? Keep it simple: tell your visitors what they want to hear.
  • Imagery that doesn’t match the headline or your business’s brand. A clear mismatch between your brand headline and the hero image is a non-starter for most visitors. Design elements such as bad stock photography, low-resolution images, or banners that look like they’ve been designed in MS Paint are top culprits.

Use your prime, above-the-fold real-estate to convey that your visitors are in the right place. It may be your last chance to make a first impression.

Have you shown your visitors what to do?

Write a compelling call-to-action (CTA) and place it above the fold, right where it’s easiest for your visitors to spot. Many businesses try to be more discreet by hiding their CTA, as a link or an unobtrusive button. They want it to blend in instead of stand out. But this isn’t doing visitors any favors. No, a CTA button that literally shines and sends out a fountain of sparks when you hover over it isn’t going to help you. But a bold red color in large print will!

Beyond the CTA, your design should have a clear and logical path for your users to follow. You don’t want to hem your visitors in to such an extent that they literally cannot explore any more of your site. But you do want an ordered layout that guides your visitors to the products and information most relevant to them.

Are you distracting the customer?

Layout can be distracting. So can things like links, obtrusive advertising, and pop-up windows. Your visitor’s attention is limited, and with the number of things competing for their attention from all sides (in their physical environment but also across the rest of the Internet), you want to make sure your website holds their focus.

Don’t forget the text on your page as well. Compelling copy can help, but think about every design aspect from a readability perspective, too. Is there enough contrast between the text and background to make it easy to read? What about your font choice? Space between lines? The more fatigued a visitor feels reading your website, the more their attention will lag and they’ll be tempted to leave.

Reduce hesitations.

Most visitors aren’t ready to buy when they first come to your site. Many of them need to be convinced, and all the information in the world will only go so far. You can reduce buyer hesitation in a few ways:

  • Include testimonials. Customer testimonials are what’s known as “social proof:” they show your visitors that real people like your product. If you have your reviews populated from a social media channel, don’t be afraid to show negative reviews as well. I went on a site the other day then had nothing but 5-star reviews, and it made me distrust their product, because it didn’t feel transparent.
  • Make a guarantee. Offer a 30-day trial, or a 3-year warrantee. Give a clear guide to your returns process. Maybe even offer to pay for shipping if they need to return an item, no questions asked.
  • Create a product video. I love seeing a product used, even if it’s an app or a journal and the video is animated, or a simple message from the founders of the company showing a walkthrough of their service. It ads legitimacy and attaches a real person behind the business.

Stop complicating the buying process.

I’m amazed by how often I will leave a website because I’ve grown frustrated trying to buy the thing I came to them for. Reasons include things like:

  • I can’t find my shopping cart.
  • I feel assaulted by a barrage of additional services or add-ons.
  • There is a long and complex form for no discernable reason.
  • They want me to sign-in or register, and I just want to complete my purchase and go.

The purpose of bringing visitors to your site is so that they can complete a purchase or fill out a contact form. Stop asking them to jump through hurdles for the privilege of giving you their money.

Conduct some A/B split testing.

One of the best ways to improve the performance of your website is to take opinion out of it equation. You don’t need to guess which version of your site will draw in more traffic—you can know. A/B testing will give you the answer!

Hire some design experts.

At build/create, we focus our web design on creating the most effective product for your business. A website which looks generic, cluttered, and unprofessional does a disservice to your business and your customers. You’re not giving your brand the attention it deserves, and your visitors leave dissatisfied and still in need of service. Similarly, there are many beautiful websites in the world that fail to convert, because visitors become confused and disoriented by the artistic design.

Our goal is to give you a design with purpose: a website which attracts the right leads and converts them into paying customers. If this is the website your business needs, contact us.

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