In the world of e-commerce, the main goal of business owners is to sell their products by expanding their online reach and attracting the attention of new customers. This objective can be accomplished by establishing a website.
When it comes to operating a website, there are various things that business owners can do to convert visitors into subscribers or paying customers. Some of these involve offering deals and promotions and running targeted email and social media marketing campaigns.
However, aside from these tried-and-tested techniques, there’s also one particular method that has been proven to improve sales conversions. Unfortunately, this method is often overlooked as it’s considered one of the most common elements of website development.
This technique that we’re referring to is web design. This factor is the first thing that potential customers will see and experience as soon as they visit an e-commerce site. When done correctly, a website’s overall design will make any site visually appealing to visitors. More importantly, web design can also optimise the experience of users and influence them to finalise a purchase.
In this article, we’ll provide a detailed guide on how web design can improve your website’s conversions. We’ll also discuss the various web design techniques that you can follow and implement in order to boost your online business’ conversion rates and sales. Below are the topics we have covered in this post:
Before we get started, it’s important to know what exactly conversions are in e-commerce. A conversion on a website occurs when a site visitor performs a particular action or task in response to a specific call to action. A call to action or CTA is a piece of content that’s crafted to elicit a certain response from a viewer. Aside from purchasing a product or adding something to a cart, a CTA can also ask site visitors to click on a link or sign up for a program or subscription service.
The example below shows a CTA button presented by Amazon asking site customers to sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial account.
CTAs are usually aimed at influencing site visitors to complete a purchase or provide their contact information by signing up. In the latter action, the owners of online stores can use the information provided by customers, such as their email addresses, to re-target them during an email marketing campaign.
In addition to the message, offer, or content associated with your CTA, web design also plays a major role in convincing visitors to sign up or buy something. By utilising a conversion-based design approach, you can use the various design elements of your site, such as the layout, images, colours, and text, to capture the attention of visitors and direct it toward your CTA content.
Humans are visual creatures, which means we are prone to reacting physically, emotionally, and psychologically after being exposed to certain images. This concept is one of the main reasons why web design is important when it comes to the success of an e-commerce store.
According to a web credibility study carried out by Stanford, 75% of consumers analyse and judge the credibility of a company based on the design of their website. This means that the appearance of a site can influence an online store or business’ trustworthiness. Similarly, a 2011 study revealed that it takes 50 milliseconds or 0.05 seconds for visitors to develop an opinion on a site based on its overall appearance.
The concept of web design mainly focuses on two factors: form and function. By keeping these two elements in mind, web designers can create sites that are both visually appealing and functional. Ensuring that your website looks good and has smooth navigability can prevent users from leaving your site. As reported by Adobe, 38% of users will stop interacting with a site if it has an unattractive layout.
A site’s layout and navigability can be improved by keeping the design simple. Ideally, this involves limiting the number of menu options to seven or less, as shown in the example below:
Keeping the number of menu options at a minimum prevents overwhelming site visitors. It also allows them to find the pages that they’re looking for much quicker. However, if you still prefer to showcase the numerous options for your site’s various pages, you can still do so in an organised and effective manner by categorising them, similar to what MailChimp did with its website.
As mentioned earlier, a well-executed web design can elicit a positive response from visitors. Through years of research, experts in this field have come up with ways on how to ensure that a website’s design can improve conversions. Many of these techniques are utilised in websites, which is why most of them follow the same format.
For instance, most websites have the same layout, which is composed of a top navigational menu bar, a brief piece of content explaining what the company or product is all about, and a CTA button that asks for a particular action from the site visitors. Several sites have also started showcasing trust badges on their homepage or landing page to boost their credibility.
The main reason why websites use a similar format is that most online users are already quite familiar with this type of layout. This means they won’t have a hard time navigating through the site. Keeping a website uncluttered and easy to use and showcasing a clear CTA can drive a website conversion rate by making it easier for users to complete a purchase or sign up for a service or subscription.
Better Brand Recognition
Web design can also help businesses appear professional and trustworthy by using various elements such as colours, font styles, and logos to reinforce the image of a company. One particular company that uses this method is FedEx.
The overall design of its website reflects the images associated with the company and its name. It helps boost brand consistency and recognition, which can also improve the company’s credibility and trustworthiness. The more customers trust a brand, the more likely they will interact with its website.
SEO and Web Design
Being optimised for search engines, also known as SEO, is also an important aspect of web design. The various aspects of SEO are designed to make websites perform better. For instance, the use of meta titles and descriptions that contain targeted keywords can significantly improve a site’s ranking in search engines such as Google.
Proper SEO practices can also ensure that each page of a website can be easily accessed by users. Improving the visibility and functionality of a website through SEO provides a better user experience for visitors and leads to higher conversions.
Achieving a conversion-focused web design is not complicated nor challenging as long as you follow a couple of basic design techniques. These methods can help prompt visitors to interact with your site and respond to your message and call to action.
One of the techniques that you can utilise involves prioritising the content that you present by keeping the most important elements above the fold. These elements are the pieces of content that appear as soon as the page loads. On the other hand, those below the fold are the elements site visitors can see as soon as they scroll down.
Oberlo, an online platform and tool used by dropshippers, uses this method in its website. As shown in the image above, the company’s main message and images associated with its service immediately appear as soon as the page loads. Aside from these elements, the site also showcases a clear CTA that provides an enticing free offer.
Scrolling down the page reveals videos and articles aimed at informing visitors about Oberlo’s offers and operations.
Deliver A Consistent Message
Another way that can help improve your site’s conversions is by being consistent with your message, since doing so can help improve your brand’s recognition. This step involves using and repeating certain keywords in your site’s content, such as the web copy and the CTA.
This method helps boost conversions by improving a site’s ranking in search engines. The repeated use of certain keywords makes the website more visible to people who are performing online searches using the same terms.
For instance, HubSpot, a company that provides inbound marketing software products and services, consistently uses keywords related to its offers and operations in its website content and CTA messages.
Take Advantage Of White Space
In web design, white space, also known as negative space, refers to the blank areas between the various design elements featured on a web page. Although it might be tempting to fill these spaces with various images, text, and other content that are designed to reinforce your business’ message, doing the opposite is actually more effective in increasing conversions.
That’s because keeping a page distraction-free allows users to focus on your most important message or piece of content. Also, maximising the use of white space makes websites more visually appealing to visitors since they look more organised.
Probably the best example of a company that perfectly takes advantage of white space is Google. Its site, which usually just displays the company’s name and a search bar, immediately focuses the attention of users onto its main function.
Highlight Your CTA
Making CTA buttons stand out is also an effective way to boost conversions. This is the main reason why most websites and landing pages use bright-coloured CTA buttons. In addition, these elements should also be bigger than the other characters featured in the content.
Aside from the overall appearance, CTAs should also display a clear message that informs visitors what the website is asking from them. Probably the most common CTAs used by companies include “Get Started” and “Sign-up Now.” Of course, the message will depend on what you’re offering and the type of action that you want to elicit from visitors.
Optimising User Experience
In addition to the overall design of a website, another factor that can increase its conversion rates is its performance. As a general rule, websites should be easy to use and navigate in order to maximise the user’s experience. Aside from keeping pages clutter-free and presenting an organised navigational menu, improving a site’s loading speed can also have a direct effect on its performance.
Ideally, the load time of a web page should not go beyond three seconds. According to a study by Google, around 53% of mobile users tend to leave a site if it doesn’t load quickly. A similar finding also indicated a one-second delay in load time could lead to a 7% reduction in conversions.
Aside from the techniques discussed above, there are other strategies that you can utilise to improve your website’s conversion rates. Although these strategies aren’t as popular as other web design techniques, they can still help your site achieve better results in the long run.
Provide Better Accessibility For Everyone
One of these is ensuring that your site can be easily accessed and used by everyone. In addition to designing your site to be mobile-friendly, you should also consider installing WordPress’ WP Accessibility plugin. This program has various features that visitors can use to adjust and customise the appearance of your site, such as its font size and the colour contrast. It also allows users to view your site’s content quickly by skipping internal page links.
Another method you can use to improve your site’s accessibility is including subtitles or a transcript to your website’s audio and video content. Doing so allows deaf or mute users to enjoy and understand the multi-media content on your site.
Improve Your Website’s Security
Another aspect of web design that you should focus on is improving your website’s security. This includes picking a secure web host. Ideally, choose a provider that offers multiple security features such as encryption, server-side firewalls, anti-malware and virus software, and SSL certificates.
It would also help to use plugins that are designed to keep track of the IP addresses of the users that try to access your site. One particular plugin, known as the Login LockDown, automatically prevents access to a site once the number of failed login attempts coming from the same IP range reaches a certain limit.
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