When a visitor first views your website, their immediate reaction to its design will be a subconscious one.
That visitor will then make a conscious decision, based on this subconscious reaction, as to whether they want to remain for longer on the site.
This all happens in a matter of seconds. It’s rather like walking into a property for the first time as a potential buyer. Your subconscious reaction is immediate, yet it will often inform the conscious decision you make later about whether the property is right for you.
You need to engage with your audience, as this will increase your conversion rate. But in order to engage with your audience, good website design is key.
Here are six design elements you need to get right if you want to increase conversions:
1. Opt for authentic images
You’ve no doubt heard the old idiom, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. It still rings true. The use of authentic, realistic, high resolution images will make your website sing – and sing to your visitors. Only use good quality images - grainy or pixelated images will reflect negatively on your brand.
Images create an atmosphere, and communicate so much, but it’s important to choose each image wisely.
For example, if a piece of content is people-focused, reinforce this by including an image of real people in real life situations. The image should advance the story being told. Likewise, if you’re writing about a product, choose an image that conveys the quality of that product, or shows someone using that product.
Then ask yourself: is the product image appropriate and useful? For an e-commerce site, high value product images will help sell products.
Try and choose a positive image. A positive image will evoke a positive emotional reaction, which can encourage your audience to follow a call to action, boosting your conversion rate.
According to studies, larger images also help increase conversions, as does effective image placement. Think carefully about where you place each image. For example, if you break up the left-hand margin with an image, this will distract the reader. Make sure ample white space surrounds each image so that the website doesn’t appear cluttered.
Remember that a call to action button is also an image. To attract your audience’s attention to it, use standout colours, and keep it simple.
2. Be freer with typography
Previously it was important to choose website fonts with care. Verdana and Arial were advertised as safe options, while the use of multiple fonts across one website was discouraged. Fast forward to 2017, and the stylish mix of complementary modern fonts is being celebrated. However, the font should still suit the company, theme or product.
Having said this, a certain type of font may work well in one instance, but not another. For example, a simple font is more appropriate for a call to action. For a call to action the font should be clear and readable. By contrast, if you want to convey quality or show off a luxury product, a ‘fancier’ or more decorative font might be appropriate.
Legibility remains, quite obviously, the most important thing.
3. Simplify the navigation tab
More and more websites are in fact removing tabs and menu bars, choosing to display everything on just one page. The visitor then scrolls down the page in search of information relevant to them. However, a streamlined navigation tab is still useful. Make sure the links are direct, and on each page there should be a single goal so as not to confuse the visitor. Make sure to include a call to action at either the beginning or end of each page or article.
4. Take a mobile-first approach
In 2017, more people than ever before are browsing websites on a mobile or tablet. If you want to increase the number of conversions from people viewing your site via a mobile or tablet, it must be mobile-friendly.
Google estimates that approximately 61% of mobile visitors make a call after searching for a local business. With this in mind, why not display your phone number as a ‘click to call’ call to action? It’s important to design with a mobile user’s needs in mind. Mobile users tend to be more goal-focused than desktop users, so make it easy for them. If you make sure call to actions are visible, you can expect more conversions.
5. Embrace animation
The use of animation and graphics is on the rise. Mobile devices have more capacity these days to display motion graphics and animated images. If you do use animation, however, make sure it serves a purpose. For example, a simple animation can be used to subtly draw attention to a particular part of a page, such as a call to action. A little animation can make your website more engaging, encouraging visitors to remain on the site, which in turn should lead to more conversions.
6. Take a landing page-first approach
Consider emphasising your website’s landing pages, drawing attention away from the homepage. The homepage should still be a draw, and encourage your audience to remain on your site, but the rise of content marketing has made landing pages more important.
One aim of content marketing is to increase conversions. It makes sense to have visitors land on the page most relevant to them. If you target your audience correctly, and direct a specific audience to the relevant page on your site, you’ll boost conversion rates. A well-designed landing page with a clear call to action will help drive results.
Our concluding piece of website design advice? Keep it simple, keep it uncluttered, and make it original.