Every business owner knows this phrase: conversion is key. Your conversion rate is the percentage of people who visit your website and then actually end up buying the product or service you’re selling, which means that the more conversions you get, the better. And there are lots of steps that you need to get there, from creating an effective social media campaign to ensuring that your online posts have SEO keywords to help your site appear higher up in search results. Certain web design tricks can also help to instantly improve conversion rates.
But one commonly overlooked tactic for increasing conversion rates is to take a good, long look at the visual aspects of your website. Many business owners seem to think that their websites are simply a convenient place for customers to make purchases or get information about the product, without realizing that the way those purchases or that information is presented makes a huge difference in whether or not a casual click will turn into a full-fledged purchase.
Research backs up the idea that the way your site looks has a huge impact on what people think about it, and ultimately what they choose to do with it. A study from Stanford University found that when deciding whether a company is credible or not, 46.1% of people will look at the site’s design to make their decision. In their eyes, a more professional-looking and visually appealing site will make the company seem more legitimate and trustworthy, which you want customers to think if they’re going to buy your products.
People also retain information based on what they see and not just what they read — and some people will opt not to read something that’s not aesthetically pleasing in the first place. When Adobe gave people 15 minutes to read a piece of content online, two-thirds said they would rather it be well designed instead of plain. And others won’t read content that’s not visually appealing at all — 38% of people in the study said they would leave a website that they thought did not look good. All of those people could potentially have been buyers if they’d only been presented with information in a more enticing package.
So what’s the solution? First, look to your design. Evaluate your conversion rate, and if it’s too low for your liking, identify what about your site could make people turn away. Have focus groups and ask potential customers directly; or consult professionals about what your website should do to improve. If you’re looking for somewhere to get started, here are a few web design tricks that can instantly make your website more pleasing to the eye, which can ideally help you to improve conversion rates sooner rather than later.
One of the easiest mistakes for business owners and marketers to make is thinking that they need to include all of the information about their mission, products, and company that they can cram into a website. Well-documented psychological studies show that when it comes to making decisions, customers would prefer having fewer choices rather than more. Having too many choices overwhelms the decision-making centers of the brain, and eventually, some customers will just give up rather than keep struggling to choose between multiple things they want.
This is partially based on Hick’s Law, a principle that states that the more options there are, the longer it takes someone to respond to them. This is not what you want your customers to feel — because the longer they spend trying to make a decision, the more likely it is that they’ll just back out altogether. This principle applies to products; after all, you don’t necessarily want to have too few (people like to have options), but having too many is just confusing for many customers.
It also applies to design, and that’s where you want to keep in mind that browsing a website can involve making numerous choices one after the other. Customers have to decide if they want to click on a new tab, scroll down to read the text, select an item to go to its webpage, click on a link or do something else entirely. By adding in dozens of menu options or having numerous elements on your homepage, you’re just distracting your users and making them more likely to leave your site. So instead, simplify; eliminate distractions by limiting your menu options to just a few choices, keeping your images to one main picture per page and using a continuous scroll when you can.
Much like photography, a design is a visual art. It’s about how the eye perceives an element on a page and whether this is considered “beautiful” by the viewer. As such, there’s a lot to be learned by considering photographic principles like simplicity, “rule of thirds,” and eyelines when you’re designing your website to be more aesthetically pleasing.
Simplicity is a particularly strong element visually because it relates to the first tip described above. Decreasing the number of elements in your design just makes it look better. The “rule of thirds,” meanwhile, is about how elements are positioned on your front page, from text to images. To adhere to this rule, imagine (or actually overlay) a 3×3 grid on top of your homepage, and place elements at the points where the lines intersect. This asymmetry (not placing things right in the center of the frame) helps to draw viewers in and gives your site a more balanced look.
You know that your website viewers have limited patience, so it’s important to make sure that you grab them from the start and pull them in before they have a chance to get bored and leave. This is critical for conversions; if you can keep them on the site for longer, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
To start, look at your headline: make sure it’s large, simple, gets to the point quickly, and is benefit-driven. A headline should tell the user what they will gain by buying your product. Make sure that you have a large, well-composed image on your front page to draw viewers’ eyes in and encourage them to take action. Also check that the steps they do need to take action — like pressing a signup button or putting items into their shopping cart — are large, easy to find and understand.
It’s hard to understate the effects of multimedia on users’ satisfaction with your site. It’s proven in numerous cases that visuals such as video or photos, as well as audio and interactive content like polls, lead to user engagement with your brand, which overall boosts the strength of your following and can lead to more conversions. Make sure that you do not neglect these elements in favor of text because readers would always rather look at visuals of your product and services than reading a bunch of text about it. Also, check that the content you are displaying is up to par with your standards and your brand; if your text content is good, but your photos are terribly shot, you won’t get a lot of conversions from them.
Color is important because it can be beneficial if it’s used right, and detrimental if it’s used wrong. You want to make sure that the color palette you choose for your site meets several criteria — first and foremost, that the colors don’t clash with each other. Instead, either go for complementary colors or one main primary color and several neutrals. If you’re unsure whether you have too many colors going on, err on the side of caution — simplify, simplify, simplify.
You should also pick a color palette that matches your brand and leaves your website’s users with the impression that you want them to have of your business. Is your brand more bright and upbeat, or dark and serious? Do you want colors that are more muted and professional, or more vibrant and youthful? There is no right or wrong answer on a large scale. It depends on your brand, how the colors match with the product you’re selling and what you want your customers to envision as your general attitude and “personality,” so to speak.
Ultimately, you may want your users to come away with a particular feeling. Cool colors like blue and green tend to relax people, while warm colors like red and yellow pump them up and get them excited. Neutral colors are seen as more professional, while primary colors are more creative and risky. Think about what you are trying to say and pick the colors that work best for you.
Consult with a professional to ensure your website design reflects the essence of your brand and its message. WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms because it is easy to customize and update as needed.
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