For any online business, the one single metric that overrides all others in significance is conversion rate. Conversion rates mean business. To convert, you need to get a few things right, including content, SEO, social media, advertising and website design.
Let’s start by understanding the role that website design plays in boosting conversion rates.
The principles of good website design remain the same, whether it is a large website or a landing page. For website design to improve conversions, consider and optimize the following:
Foster usability. Is your site intuitive and user friendly? Those are a key design factors influencing conversion. Usability is measured in terms of the ease with which users can perform tasks on the site and the speed with which they can complete them.
Usability features will differ with the intended utility of a website. Elaborate drop down menus are not required on a landing page but are essential for easy navigation on an ecommerce website.
A visitor’s opinion about a website’s usability is formed in their first few seconds on a page. When designing a website, you can pick up usability ideas from your competitor’s websites, from your own existing websites and by running tests with user groups on one or more design templates.
Have conversion-centric design features. Certain design features have a direct influence on conversion. When you get these right, visitors will be nudged to take the action you desire.
Put large headings on the most important elements and vital pieces of information on the page. Maintain font hierarchy. Readers derive important cues from it about the nature and importance of the content.
Place the important elements above the fold but do not clutter the page. Social proof, navigation buttons, a search bar, sign-up forms, call to action and social media links are website elements that belong above the fold.
Make sure your website loads fast. The best and most insightful content in the world won't entice visitors to stay on a slow-loading website. To speed up web load times, combine multiple scripts and stylesheets into one. Use CSS instead of images, background colors, buttons, etc. and avoid Flash. Test your website speed and get insights directly from Google here.
Adhere to web design aesthetics. You communicate through your website. Pleasant communication makes visitors feel welcome to your website and more inclined to extend their stay.
Colors and visuals influence purchase decisions, affect emotions and boost brand recognition. Images, text, arrows, lines, buttons and white spaces can all be used in an aesthetic manner to direct the visitor’s attention to the call to action.
Delight your customers. When dissatisfied customers complain, news travels fast.
Poor design, too many clicks to get things done, inability to easily locate content or to smoothly execute a transaction on an ecommerce site will keep your business from from fulfilling its income-generating potential. The cost of correcting these issues is always higher than getting them right in the first place.
You’ll always be testing and tweaking, but don’t leave money on the table from the start. Understand your customers, know what they’re coming to your site for, make it quick and easy for them to accomplish it and they will love you for it.