Too many people are overly concerned about the amount of traffic that comes to their website. They design their site to attract the maximum number of people to their site, with little or no thought of what to do with them once they get there. Even though their pages get a large number of hits, they don’t see a corresponding increase in sales. Why? It’s because their sites aren’t designed to convert visitors into customers.

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How important is Traffic?

Many SEO services will promise increases in traffic, which isn’t sufficient in and of itself. Instead of focusing on the number of visitors to your site, it is more important to measure the number of qualified prospects who are visiting your pages. Qualified prospects have the potential of becoming customers, whereas unqualified visitors will get to your site and quickly leave, bringing you no real benefit.

If a careful examination of visitor statistics reveals that most of the people who visit your site have no real interest in your business, then it is definitely time to look at your SEO efforts. You will need to refine your message and tactics to draw more truly interested people to your website.

But what if you find that there are plenty of people who are truly interested visiting your site, they just aren’t buying? Then you need to look at the design of your site to see why you aren’t getting the conversions that you would like. It may be that the design actually prevents people from converting. In that case, all the traffic in the world isn’t going to do you any good, and throwing more money at SEO is going to be throwing it away.

The Design Will Affect Site Conversion Rates

Imagine yourself selling lemon juice in an amusement park filled with playing kids on a hot summer day. Kids see your lemon juice stand, walk by it, and…buy their lemon juice from the more colorful and attractive stand next to yours. You might have had the better tasting lemon juice, but kids have no time for second or third impressions. They react and judge on what they see, right there and then.

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Some internet users share the same kids’ mentality.  You might get the ideal web traffic you want from doing great SEO stuffs; you might have an exceptional content laid out; but without an effective and captivating web design, all of these could still go to naught. One has to remember that internet marketing might entail a lot of processes and steps, but at the end of the day, all that matters is getting conversions. It’s about selling. It’s about business.

The design of your website dictates how viewers react to it. But it is often harder to design for a website than the typical graphic design that we know. Graphic design usually has a high degree of tolerance for imagination and creativity. Meanwhile, web design has another factor to consider: usability.

Web Design?

Web design is more than just cool graphics and interactive menus. It is largely about placing the right things at the right place. For example, one of the biggest mistakes of some web designers is putting the call-to-action components of the site below the page-fold or the area of the web-browser that the user readily sees without scrolling. Many usability studies have concluded that first-time visitors of a certain website only have little time to spare in sizing up a site, which means they might have no time for much scrolling.

The immediate and the most basic solution to this, is of course doing the opposite. Put your call-to-action on the upper part of the page-fold and you’ll be on your way to cashing up on tons of conversions, right? Not really, you still have to take care of one thing: distraction.

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You need not to fall into the trap of desperately trying to make your site look cool to the extent that you forget what you are really after – conversions. Make no mistake about it, there is nothing wrong with making your site look sleek and cool, but make sure it doesn’t get in the way of your call-to-action components and usability. You must steer your visitor’s eyes to those call-to-actions before anything else.

BBCC – Big, Bold, Color, Contrast

This is how you control visitors’ attention. Good web-designer knows that visitors are attracted to certain page elements and there are very specific techniques on how to do that. Believe it or not but visitors don’t have the control where their eye will point when they first land on your website (different with returning visitors). The fact is that they’re not looking for anything specific, they stage is yours leading this dance. Know this powerful fact, you might ask yourself how I can lead my new visitors to where I want them to be – here is how:

Big – Large objects are most likely to grab attention. When designing a website you want to make sure that your important page elements are bigger than all the rest. There is no size restrictions, just remember to keep everything in proportion to other elements on the page.

Bold – people skim through websites they don’t read everything unless something (title / blog text) grabbed their attention. A good why to do this is to break the text into paragraphs, use titles, and styled text. This is how you bold important parts on your page and guide your users to the most important elements.

Color – General rule of thumb, the stronger the colors the better for CTA. Of course you need to keep everything in proportion to the rest of the scheme but that’s a good start in understanding the powerful effect of colors on your web page.

Contrast – This is one of the strongest techniques to control visitors’ attention. Strong and vivid will grab more attention than light and faded. Contrast always needs to be scaled to that level that you still see the entire element on the page but some are stronger in contrast than others to help users focus on the right areas on your page.

Takeaway

Web design is one aspect of internet marketing that should never be overlooked. It holds the ultimate key towards conversion. All your SEO work could all be gone to waste without an effective and efficient web page design. A good web design must follow this hierarchy of importance: call-to-action, usability, content, and style. While there are still more techniques to optimizing your website’s design for better conversion ratio, following this basic structure should be a great way to start.

Let’s Back Up for a Sec…

If you are planning on designing a new website or simply improving an existing one, now, you know what to look at to achieve better conversion rates. Later, when you’re done with all the changes, you can optimize even more buy using Google Analytics and/or heat-map service to monitor and learn about your users’ behavior.

There are other page factors that affect conversion rates and they shouldn’t be overlooked, such, trust and authority signals, branding and added value. Put everything together and you have a perfect landing page.

So next time you plan on selling lemon juice at the park be sure to invest on time, money, and effort on your lemon juice stand as much as you do with your lemon juice preparation.

BBCC with increase Conversion Rate

If a business wants to double its sales, it will often be much more cost effective to increase the number of conversions than the number of visitors. If your site already gets plenty of traffic, look at ways to turn that existing traffic into buyers. What are the roadblocks? Why do people visit your site but fail to purchase? A careful examination might reveal that the design of your site is an impediment to sales, and that a few minor adjustments may have a major impact on your sales. Here are a few suggestions to start you off. BBCC will help focus your site around the important design elements, however, it will require more than that for people to actually convert.

Conversion means that you successfully convince your visitor to take action on your CTA (call to action). It involves the complete pre purchasing process of the buying funnel but also other factors like authority, trust, good accessibility, and good user experience.

Make it Easy

As obvious as this seems, it is still a major problem with many sites. A well designed site would make sure that no one is prevented from buying. But many sites make the user hunt around for information or require too many steps to complete purchase. Making it as simple as possible will increase conversions.

As an example, think about a site like Amazon. The first time that you shop there, you need to build a profile so that they will know how you want to pay and where they need to ship the product. But they also offer returning users the option to make purchases with a single click, using a stored profile. For many people, having to refill a form with all of that information each time will make them give up and go somewhere else.

Make it Accessible

Have clear and concise descriptions that are easy to read. Many people have visual or other difficulties, and pages of fine print will deter them. Also, use big, bold buttons and contrasting colors to indicate how to buy. If a potential customer can’t figure out how to add a product to a shopping cart, or how to pay, they will leave. If you offer product specs or more information, indicate that clearly.

Another impediment to accessibility is to design for a single browser. Even if 80% of your visitors use Internet Explorer, have a site that only functions correctly with IE excludes 20% of your customers. What could you do with a 20% increase in sales?

Develop Authority

Being the authority in the industry help develop trust, but how do you become authority in your niche?

For people to know you as an authority figure/brand you need to prove knowledge. Think about the authority figures you know today, aren’t they very knowledgeable in what they do? Of course they are, as a matter of fact they are so knowledgeable that their opinion is very important, they are so important that you trust them with no doubt. Well, all that is going to help you in sells – bout how?

  • Know your field – knowledge is power, be best at what you do

  • Experience – give it a year or two, establishing authority takes time, no shortcuts here

  • Speak about it – pour the knowledge and give people the answers they needs

  • Write about it – write research papers, case studies, answer questions

  • Be involved – be part of the community and attended important and publicized events

  • Success stories – publish success stories and make sure you have good ones

Develop Trust

Many people are still wary of online shopping, and with good reason. But since you are running a legitimate business, you should be able to demonstrate that you respect their privacy and are working to secure sensitive data. Display an address, not a P.O. Box. Have a prominent phone number so that they can call you if they want. Give them access to your policies, especially your privacy policy. Make your return policy very clear. Secure any areas of your site that need security. All of steps will help build trust and confidence, and increase conversions.

Look for Other Ways to Enhance User Experience

These are just a few ways that a site redesign could increase conversion rate. There are many more. An audit of your website might help you determine where you need to make changes that will add to your bottom line.

Author BioAsher Elran is a practical software engineer and a marketing specialist. CEO at Dynamic Search and founder of Web Ethics. Asher is enthusiastic about all things concern killer content, creative marketing, and CRO.

Feature image curtsey of James Cipriano