On the outside looking in, web design is all about creating a website that is appealing to the eye. If it was only that simple. Beneath the surface, web design is about creating a search engine optimized, user-friendly experience made to turn traffic into conversions. Or at least it should be. Whether it’s generating new subscriptions for your newsletter or driving sales, the design of your website should play an integral role in helping you convert.
By applying these tips, you can create web designs that enable you to meet some of those important end goals you have defined.
1. Make Navigation Simple
Though it is often overlooked, the navigation experience can make or break your website. Elements such as multiple pages and categories could create a frustrating experience for the visitor, which might prevent them from taking the actions you want them to take. In order to avoid this common problem, you should aim to keep your navigation schemes as simple as possible.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to clean up your navigation problems. For example, if your website is littered with pages, categories, or other menu items, you can use pop-out menus that hence the name, pop-out when a visitor hovers their mouse over them. Your audience will appreciate the convenience. Features such as this can be implemented with a little creative use of CSS.
2. Eliminate All Distractions
Once a visitor gets to your sign-up or checkout page, all you want them focusing on is one specific task. Advertisements, widgets, and other shiny items you may have in your sidebar could be competing for their attention, so in order to get that action, you need to cut down on this stuff as much as possible. Just as with navigation, the path to conversions should be as simple as can be.
Also avoid asking visitors for too much information. If they are buying something, anything outside of billing and shipping information might be going overboard. Make sure you get the essentials needed to close the sale and obtain extras later down the road. The ghastly rate of shopping cart abandonment is an indication of how much money marketers are literally leaving on the table by blowing it in the checkout process.
3. Emphasize Calls to Action
Calls to action are vital to website conversions. Without them, the average visitor will have no clue of what you want them to do next. But just adding a call to action isn’t enough. You need to go that extra mile to make sure they do their job of getting visitors to take action. Here are some pointers.
Color-ize it. Painting your calls to action in a different color than your text and background is a simple, yet effective way to get people to take notice.
Maximize white space. The appropriate use of blank space, better known in design circles as white space, can help your calls to action stand out by allowing them to breathe and directing the visitor’s attention to where it needs to be.
Improve readability. If you have a lot of text on your landing page or product pages, use formatting cues like short paragraphs, bullet points, and arrows to make your copy more pleasant to consume.
4. Think Beyond Mobile
Everyone knows that mobile devices are all the rage. People are using iPhones, BlackBerrys, and various types of Android gadgets to not only visit websites, but actually interact with them. For many consumers, that includes downloading content and even making purchases. You can benefit from this traffic, but is your website ready to support it? Hopefully so, because the web experience is far different on a mobile device than it is on a desktop computer.
It would be nice if you only had conventional mobile devices to think about, but with unconventional gadgets like tablet computers in the mix, web design has become pretty complex. This is why web experts and pioneers such as Google are singing the praises of responsive design, which aims to create a single site that looks and performs good across all devices.
The design of your website is not the only thing that’s going to drive conversions, but it should certainly play its part, and what an important one it is. For beauty to only be skin deep, it sure carries a lot of weight when it comes to the presentation of your marketing materials. Next to your content itself, it may be the most vital aspect of all.