I’m sure you’ve read posts like this before. Maybe you’ve even written a post or two on conversions yourself. The answer’s always the same old story, to “build quality content, and visitors will convert”.
While it’s true that long-form content performs better, this idea alone doesn’t give you the full picture.
Quality content can’t be understated, but you also need to focus on the design aspects of your website that contribute to the user experience.
If you don’t, you could end up wasting a ton of time building top-tier content and get next-to-nothing conversions for your efforts.
In this article, I’ll break down 7 of the best design tweaks to seriously maximize your website’s conversions, once and for all.
Psychology proves that certain colors stimulate different emotions. They can inspire aggressiveness, confidence, excitement – even confusion and sadness. But with over 16 million colors to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?
Numerous studies have identified how certain color palettes appeal to different audience types, and traditional marketers and veteran web designers use color psychology all the time. For example, a cosmetics e-commerce site may use shades of pink that's associated with playfulness along with purple and blue – some of the favorite colors of women.
For individual site elements that you’d like to stand out, such as a CTA button, it’s advisable to use a complementary color, which is on the opposite side of the color wheel. For example, if the background color is blue, then you should create your website using an orange or yellow CTA button for emphasis.
Ever since learning how to read, people grew accustomed to scanning materials from top to bottom and left to right – be it books, newspapers, or blog. This behavior is the main reason why experienced web designers utilize the “F-pattern” when planning the layout.
Following the F-pattern is the philosophy behind some design practices, such as using a full-screen image above the fold. Simply put, you need to put your best content near the upper-left corner of your site so your audience won’t miss it.
Aside from using minimalistic design, a lot of web designers like to use full-screen background images above the fold. Image sliders are great, but using a single high-resolution image is proven time and time again to work in boosting conversion rate.
By using large images as background, you can immediately capture the attention of your audience. Its visual impact also heightens the sense of authority and legitimacy as long as you don’t use a generic stock photo that everyone else uses.
For example, when designing the website for my publication Metapress, we made it a priority to use high-quality and striking background images in its pages. Of course, aside from quality, you should also pay attention to the relevance of the image. Not only should it make sense for your content, but it should also align with the design and color scheme of your website.
It’s been established that more search users are now coming from mobile devices than desktops. Furthermore, Google reports that 90% of people switch between devices when browsing or doing something online.
To keep the user experience consistent, a popular strategy is to implement responsive design wherein design elements such as content containers, buttons, and menus adapt to various screen sizes.
Fortunately, it’s easy to use responsive design if you’re starting a blog or website from scratch. Content management systems like WordPress see to it that there’s an abundance of responsive themes that users can choose from. But if you already have an existing site with a design and layout you’d like to keep, your best bet might be to hire a professional web design agency.
When using responsive design, a lot of websites use a card layout to organize tidbits of content in an accessible and stylish fashion. Simply put, the “cards” are content containers that automatically scale and reposition according to the screen’s size and orientation. Not only is it neat to look at, but research shows that the card layout also improves the user-friendliness of any site that features several posts or pages.
Content-sharing networks, such as LinkedIn, benefit from this approach by maximizing the number of visible posts in a single screen.
Just remember that cards must give the audience an idea of what to expect. Aside from using relevant visual content, you may also consider adding brief descriptions, CTA buttons, and even forms. As long as you give cards some context, your audience will probably thank you for using this layout.
While we’re covering some of the web design practices you should adopt, it’s also important to recognize the trends you need to avoid. In an ongoing trend known as confirm shaming, websites insult the audience for opting out of your offer. You often see this practice at work in full-screen popup forms or "welcome mats."
It’s true that focusing on the negative can communicate the sense of urgency, and actually motivate your audience to convert. Howeber, if you want to build a positive image for your brand that keeps up with the trends, you shouldn’t assume that everyone will get your shame-filled humor.
Today, you may notice certain trends and patterns that most web designers use. An example is the prevalence of flat design in B2B and B2C websites.
Remember that one of the core purposes of web design is to put your content in the spotlight. It should do a great job of capturing the audience’s attention and keeping them engaged as they absorb your message – not distract them with unnecessary, over-the-top visuals.
With flat or minimalistic design, you can provide your audience with a distraction-free environment that lets them focus on your content. Less visual elements also mean faster loading speeds and happier customers.
Just remember that it’s a lot harder to nail an elegant flat design than you might think. Apart from focusing on fundamental visual elements such as menus and CTAs, you also need to play with colors, shadow effects, animations, and other discrete visual details. Otherwise, you might end up with a website that’s bland and uninspiring.
Much like web design, optimizing for conversions is an art that evolves over time. You need to be aware of the ongoing design trends and practices to remain competitive.
Combining these design tweaks with other ways to increase your conversion rate, and remember that any actions you take will help you along your conversion-hunting journey. With the tips outlined above, you should be well on your way to increasing your website’s traffic, and the conversions you receive from that traffic.
Now get out there and start growing those conversions!
Read more of Alex’s writing on Entrepreneur.com, Success.com and Business.com. Looking for more help developing your business? Learn more about design and building your online strategy by reading guides at Metapress and X3 Digital, or by connecting with Alex Jasin directly on Twitter and LinkedIn.