When boosting the conversion rate of your business, some digital marketers tout the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC). Yet many overlook the importance of conceptualising, building and launching a user-friendly and engaging website.
The design of your business website is more than just an eye-catching, virtual storefront. It could spell the difference between a high and low conversion rate.
According to research published in HubSpot, websites are a powerful marketing tool because they influence 97 per cent of a customer’s buying decision. A professional-looking site, therefore, plays an important role in the growth and success of your business. A good web design impacts your conversion rate.
If your website is unattractive or unappealing to your prospective customers, you’ll need a web design and development company that can transform your site into a lean, mean, sales-generating machine. The company you should hire must be well-versed with design principles that push visitors closer to your conversion goals.
If you’re having your website re-designed, consider these six design principles to help increase your conversions:
- The Rule of Thirds
This principle isn’t just applicable to photography. Web development companies use this to create your website. The Rule of Thirds requires you to divide an image (in this case, your website) vertically and horizontally into thirds. The result is nine squares of equal length and width.
From these squares, you place your graphics, text and other elements on the four middle intersections to create impact with your image or design. A few site elements you could place in these intersections are call-to-action (CTA) buttons, hero image and a short, enlarged client testimonial.
- Directional Cues
The arrows you see on websites aren’t there just for show. They encourage users to follow the direction they’re pointing. You could increase your conversions by strategically placing directional cues towards lead generation forms and sign-up buttons.
- The Use of Faces
Emotions play an important part in influencing the products or services that people buy. Adding faces on your company’s home page attracts the attention of your visitors because these images convey emotions. Potential customers are more likely to connect with your business if these faces depict a type of emotion.
Take happiness as an example. If the smiling images on your site mirror the feelings of the visitor, they create an emotional connection between the user and the brand.
If you’re planning to put faces on your website, choose images that accurately represent your brand. This means steering clear of free stock pictures that do nothing to make your business stand out from the rest of the pack. Instead, feature friendly, professional portraits of your customer service team (or your satisfied clients if you have their permission).
- A Website with an F-Layout
A Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) report found that people scan websites in the shape of the letter F. Here’s how this particular scanning pattern works:
- The visitor first glances through the text or image horizontally, specifically in the upper portion of the content area. This forms the pattern’s top bar.
- Then, the user moves slightly down the page and goes through image or text horizontally. The length, however, is shorter than the preceding movement. This forms the pattern’s lower bar.
- Lastly, the visitor scans the left side of the content vertically. This final element represents the ‘stem’ of the F pattern.
How exactly does this translate to higher conversions for your business? You could use this reading behaviour to strategically design your website.
First, you could position your primary call-to-action on the upper left-hand side of the page. If you refer back to the ‘F’ reading pattern, you’ll realise that this is the spot where visitors tend to look first.
When you’re looking to decrease bounce rate and encourage users to stick around your site, place compelling headlines of your featured blog posts on the lower left-hand side of the page.
- Use Your Whitespace Wisely
Whitespace is an undervalued by highly important commodity in your website’s real estate. The lack of whitespace in a site may annoy visitors. If users have to scour every inch of your web page to find the relevant CTA button, they are likely to leave.
Then, there’s the problem of having too much whitespace. Overdoing this web design could negatively affect user experience. Excess content between the CTA area and the supporting or relevant content, for instance, produces a sense of disconnect with the reader.
Experienced designers from an established web development agency give the appropriate amount of breathing room for your text, images and videos. A couple of examples include putting your sign-up form on whitespace and positioning the primary CTA button over other design elements. This makes your conversion forms and buttons noticeable by visitors easily.
- Hick’s Law
The popular theory, named after psychologists William Hick and Ray Hyman, states that the effort and time it takes to reach a decision go up with the number of choices. When integrating this theory into your web design, limit the choices you’re presenting to visitors.
Otherwise, you’ll lose the opportunity to convert these users into sales.
Take the navigation bar of your home page as an example. If you have much too many links in this part of your website, your visitors will likely lose interest in your site and go somewhere else.
Less is more — especially when you’re talking about choices.
Apart from the navigation bar, you could apply Hick’s law on other design elements, such as:
- Blog Posts – You don’t have to feature every single article you’ve written for your website. Just show the ones with compelling titles or high page visits.
- CTAs – There’s such a thing as having too many call-to-action elements. If you have five or more CTAs on your home page, consider eliminating non-essential calls to action and stick with the ones that result in a conversion.
- Discounted Products – Featuring too many products on a single page can confuse your visitors. Stick with a few primary products on one page, and then dedicate special pages for other products.
When transforming your website, keep these six design principles in mind. Also, no matter what website builder you choose -- whether you're planning to build a Wix, Wordpress or Shopify Website -- make sure that you have a responsive web design. This will make your site easier to view in all devices and help boost your website's search rankings. At the end of the day, an effective web design will help engage your visitors and compel them to purchase your products or services.