Remove your web copy, killer product promotion, and authority and what you’re left with is your website design. Your design, at its core, has a lot more to do with conversions than you could have ever imagined; it’s one of the biggest, overlooked elements of marketing.
This article will explore the relationship between your website design and conversions along with giving you helpful suggestions and best practices to get the most from your online work.
What’s Missing? You NEED These to Succeed
To say that your website needs to be a cookie cutter template isn’t the best way to describe the basic design elements that should be ever present on your site. However, there are many design elements that are replicated, across the board, because of time-tested design and user experience that you should be using in order to succeed with increasing your conversions.
Some of the basic elements of site design go beyond the visual elements; these items such as understanding your user base and marketing message go hand-in-hand with the overall look and feel of your website.
Here are a few things to keep in mind for your site design (before the visual elements):
- Who are your visitors? Do you know them? Do you understand what they’re looking for, how much they make each year, their education level, and their personal history? You won’t know all of these elements but you can take an educated guess and use online tools to get the finer details. Knowing your visitors will ultimately determine the look and feel of your website; it will give you a direction on what copy you need to create that your visitors will read, it sets the stage for your visual design to appeal to your visitor, and allow you to set call-to-actions that specifically speak to your visitors.
- Does your message match? Ask yourself whether the message you’re trying to convey is aligned to what you’re presenting. Does your web copy convey the right message to your visitor or is it scaring them away from making a purchase? Do your web design elements match the look that an average visitor would expect from the type of products and services you have to offer? These are questions you should be asking prior to the getting down to the design and coding.
- Is it simple? Simplicity may not be at the top of your vocabulary when it comes to marketing but it truly is one of the most productive mindsets to keep when designing your website. Your website should remove all distractions that get in the way; there should be no additional design features that merely distract your visitor from completing an action. Your website, before it ever goes up, needs to have an easy-to-use navigation that gets the visitor in and out – in as few clicks as possible. Information needs to be clearly conveyed without any hang ups.
- What kind of trust are you conveying? Does your website reassure that the visitor is in safe hands when they land on your page? People do look for elements of a website such as the security badges, privacy information, and the “face behind the machine” when it comes to deciding whether they’ll do business with you. Don’t miss out on a conversion just because you don’t want to show who you are; give people a real, trusted connection and they will have no trouble with further exploring your offer.
Each of these elements of a website goes before you ever start laying down code and design features.
Why mention these before the actual core message in this article? Well, without addressing these questions – you’ll never accurately develop a website within its full potential.
You can certainly give it a shot in the dark when it comes to design but the best websites, which convert, are based around a general concept of these questions and best practices.
Conversions: The Visual Way
When it comes down to it: conversions are what we’re all about.
After all, the entire point of your business is to ultimately earn revenue or at least have some kind of impact on your niche (which is still a form of conversion).
Web copy and product aside, the design elements of your website have a great impact on the overall conversions because people use visual cues as part of their daily lives: red stop signs, arrows for directions, buttons to start cooking, and so on. We rely, heavily, on visuals.
Design accounts for the visual appealing aspects of your website but also play their own roles in increasing conversions.
Let’s take a further look into each of the basic elements of website design that will ultimately have the greatest impact on your conversions …
A good rule of thumb is to allow your visitors access to your product or service within three steps. For example: Home -> Product Page -> Checkout
IncomeDiary does an amazing job at keeping navigation simple; all of the major elements of a clean design are present. It may not look flashy but it allows visitors to easily understand what the website is about, who’s behind it, and where to find the information they’re seeking.
Trust and Association
You’d be surprised to see how often new visitors take the time to view your “About Me/Us” page.
The About Me page holds one of the most important elements of conversions: trust. On this page, you’re able to share how you, and the visitor, connect. It shares your story that people use as little “checkmarks” whether they wish to associate. Glen of ViperChill does a great job at telling people why they should listen through video, copy, and image-based design elements.
Simplicity & Message
What’s the first impression someone makes when they land on your website? Have you ever asked this question without coming up with your own conclusion?
KissMetrics does an amazing job at telling people exactly what they’ve landed. The page is extremely simple yet effective. Most notably, they use their message to share the clients they work with (which adds a layer of trust), skips over the flash for a heavy headline, and a basic run down of their service before whisking people away to start a trial.
Accurate Offerings without Jargon
Having your affiliate offers and products in order is as good start to increase conversions since you know what you’re working with but there also needs to be design elements that clearly convey what people are about to get themselves into.
CrazyEgg cuts through the jargon and gets to the point about the product they have to offer; they understand there are different needs by different individuals that seek their tool. You too can create a visually appealing representation of your offer so your visitors aren’t conflicted by multiple messages.
Hit ‘Em where they look
Finally, be aware that certain areas of your website will always pull attention more than others such as the top of your sidebar, below your posts and within your website header; these are all areas you need to place your message to have the greatest impact on your conversions.
Pat of SmartPassiveIncome does a wonderful job at getting his users to share each of his posts and also tempts them to sign up to his list at the end of every page; the visual design is striking in comparison to the remaining elements of his blog. Replicating this focus in your own site will help your list and customer base grow, naturally, because of repetitive, design elements.
Remember that the web is extremely flexible; your design today doesn’t have to be what you use tomorrow. There is always an option to change your design, on the fly, if you feel your message needs to be tweaked.
Tracking and optimization, along with understanding best practices from the get-go, will greatly impact your overall conversions in the long run. Take the information you’ve learned in this article and begin applying it to your website, today.