Almost every brand has a website these days. But not every website is able to make a good, lasting impression. In fact, research has determined that over half of web visitors spend 15 seconds or less on a site before clicking away. And a lot of that has to do with conversion design.
Whether you have a cluttered layout or your images are just plain ugly, an inferior web design makes it that much more tempting for your visitors to click away to find something better.
So what can you do to lower your bounce rate and ensure that visitors actually stick around to consume your content–and better yet–actually purchase your product or service?
The answer lies in a few simple conversion design tactics.
By implementing these key design strategies, your website will look better than ever, and your visitors will be far more likely to give you a few minutes (not just seconds) of their time.
One of the greatest turnoffs to any site visitor is encountering a website that looks like a jumbled mess. When every square inch of your page is filled with text or images, the result can be overwhelming and make it hard for consumers to know where to focus.
On the other hand, using white space can draw a visitor’s focus exactly where you want it to go. When you use one consistent background color (white or otherwise) to separate key conversion design elements, the eyes are naturally drawn to any splash of a different color—something Google uses quite effectively to draw eyes to the middle of its homepage.
Landing pages are particularly effective at using white space to highlight the most important elements of their content. A brightly colored information submission form becomes much more eye-catching when it visually pops out from the white space surrounding it.
Navigation menus are another area where many websites stumble. Whether it’s placing the menu in a non-standard location, inserting drop-down menus, or adding an expansive sidebar, complicating the navigation process can have a disastrous effect on your website.
You need to make the process of navigating your site as streamlined as possible if you want your visitors to get where you want them to go.
Start by eliminating sidebar navigation to reduce clutter, and take a close look at how your header navigation is presented. Kissmetrics recommends limiting yourself to only five navigation items to avoid overwhelming your visitors, and using relevant keywords in your menu (when applicable).
There’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel, however. For example, keep your contact page listed as “Contact” or “Contact Us” in the menu—it’s what people expect to find, and it will make it that much easier to navigate your site.
High quality images
Incorporating high-quality images in your conversion design always seems to be a tricky process, especially for small businesses. Cheesy stock photos aren’t going to do your business any good, but neither are low-quality photos that look like they were taken with an early 2000s cell phone.
Large, beautiful (and above all, unique) images that showcase your product in action send a much more effective message than a generic stock photo ever could.
This isn’t to say that stock photos are an absolute no-no. In fact, many free-use image sites, such as Pexels and Pixabay, feature gorgeous photos that could perfectly complement the ideals your company is trying to present.
Whether you choose one of these images or hire a professional photographer to take photos of your product, just be sure that the images don’t slow down your site’s load time.
Short and sweet
Simplicity is key, and nowhere is this more apparent than with your website copy. The rising trend of big typography has made this concept even more important than in the past, because marketers need to discover ways to grab visitors’ attention using fewer words than ever before.
Similar to a high-quality image, a large headline can immediately grab the attention of someone visiting your site. Get too wordy, however, and that headline (and any supporting text that goes along with it) quickly becomes a cluttered mess that eliminates any white space you may have had.
Other key text is also best kept short and sweet to avoid clutter and deliver your information as quickly as possible. Lists, bullet points, or even 1-2 sentence paragraphs that accompany a small graphic can maximize your white space while also sharpening your copy for greater effectiveness.
Responsive web design
It’s been almost two years since Google announced that the majority of its web searches came from mobile, rather than desktop traffic. Yet an agonizing number of small businesses still have not optimized their web design for mobile users.
This is simply inexcusable at this point. Responsive web design templates provide a relatively straightforward method to make your website mobile-friendly, and Google’s search algorithms are continuing to place a greater emphasis on mobile optimization.
Taking the time to invest in responsive web design won’t just help your website look nice when smartphone users stumble upon it, it could soon be essential to ensure they discover your content at all.
These design elements certainly aren’t the only factors that influence whether or not your website will be successful. After all, the quality of your content needs to receive just as much attention if you wish to accomplish your online marketing goals.
But if you make the effort to implement these and other vital conversion design tactics, you can at least ensure that your site visitors will stick around long enough to see what you have to offer.
Nicholas is a growth marketing consultant and the founder of Earnworthy and Landing Page School. He specializes in landing page design, testing, and optimization.