Designing for Conversion – 8 Essential Characteristics of a Business Website

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Jun 2014
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Author : Pete Peranzo

A website is more than a great design and information hub for your business; it’s also one of your most important sales tools. For generating sales leads, you need to attract more people to your website. It is difficult and expensive to get potential customers to your website. So, when they land on your website, your site should clearly show them what they are looking for. Visitors should be able to:

• Find what they want quickly and easily.
• Have all the information they need to take action.
• Know exactly how to take action.

Making it easy for your visitors to take these steps will ensure they turn into customers (or subscribers, or followers).

What is a Conversion?
A conversion is an action a user takes on your site that has value to your business.

Here are 8 essential characteristics that can make your website more appealing for consumers and boost your site’s conversion rate:

1. Good Visual Design
The very first thing your website visitors are going to see is the aesthetics of your web design. Good Web design will get people to look at your site for more than a split second. It will work effectively to increase your conversion rate, turning visitors into customers. Web design is an all-encompassing word for all the visual elements of your website such as logo, fonts, white space, layout, colors and template.

For a good web design, create a consistent look for all the pages in the site. Choose a color that suits what you want to project and that matches with your images. Leave appropriate white space between header, footer, menus, images, captions, words and letters to increase readability and thus improve user experience. Ensure fonts for headings, body and sub-headings are consistent throughout all webpages. Creating an appealing design will ensure the success of your business website.

2. High Quality Content
If your site is aesthetically appealing but lacks good quality content, your visitors will leave your website and chances are they may never return back. It is therefore important that designers pay equal attention to content as to the design of the website. In order to get found by the right prospective customers, you must create educational and informative content that answers their questions.

Quality content can also lead your website to rank high on search engines. Ranking high on search engine result pages will help you attract numerous, highly targeted visitors that may turn into customers. Content, therefore, plays a major role in boosting conversions.

3. Simple Navigation
When visitors land on your website, they should be able to find what they are looking for in as few clicks as possible. To improve your website conversion, provide your visitors with simple and consistent navigation.

Make sure your site’s navigation is easy to understand. Structure your navigation into categories and sub-categories by grouping the same pages under the same topic. Each page or section should be labeled clearly so that a visitor knows exactly what to expect when they click on a link.

4. Effective Call to Action
Call-to-action buttons act as a tipping point between bounce and conversion. These buttons are used on website to encourage visitors to take some action. That action could be anything – downloading a PDF, filling out a form, buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, or just clicking to another page.

Create effective call-to-action buttons that grab users’ attention and entice them to click. Buttons come in all sizes, shapes and colors, and there really is no-one size-fits-all solution that works every time. So, test the placement, size and color to find what works best for your website and your audience. Make sure you use actionable words for your buttons.

5. Quick Loading Time
Another proven conversion killer is slow page load times. How fast or slow your website loads is important for your visitor’s experience. If visitors have to wait for your website to load for more than 3 seconds, they are much more likely to go to your competitor’s website. Wal-Mart reported in a recent study that every second of improvement in the website loading time would increase conversion by 2%.

Make sure you build a clean, simple and well-designed site rather than including elements such as flashy graphics, images, banner, scroll bar, drop-down menu, etc. as such elements tend to decrease your site’s speed.

6. Credibility
In this anonymous world of Internet, credibility is an essential part of any website. Good website design takes this into consideration and incorporates design elements such as ‘Contact Us’ and ‘Testimonial’ Pages.

Your Testimonials page should include recommendations from either your satisfied customers or influencers. Adding customer testimonials tells your site visitors that you can be trusted because others have been happy with your product.

On the ‘Contact Us’ page, if your visitors only see a form, they may start to question how legitimate you are. This page, therefore, should include all information such as physical address, email, fax and telephone.

Including these pages in your website will make it easy for potential customers to trust you and thus will boost their confidence in the sale.

7. Mobile Compatibility
Great website is not just about colors and content; it’s also about how easily people can use your site. And that’s got to include the mobile user experience (UX). According to Google’s Mobile Path to Purchase, 59% of consumers visit mobile business websites and many spend as much as 15 hours a week searching for information.

By designing your site to be mobile-friendly, visitors are encouraged to stay and actually look through your site from their smartphones. They may even be convinced to buy something. That means if you want to boost conversions, make sure your website features responsive design that adjusts to fit any screen size.

8. Social Media Integration
One of the most reliable options to increase conversions is to enable your website visitors to connect with you on different social channels. Integrating social media into your website can provide a funnel for first-time website visitors to follow and engage with your business. Every visitor that connects with you on social media platforms has the potential to automatically bring along all of their friends, fans and followers.

Social channels not only help you to generate new leads but also allow you to build deeper relationships with existing customers. Building a good relationship with potential customers can help with conversions. So, when designing your website, make sure that you include social media icons for all major networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

The website plays a vital role in the success of a business. An effective site must incorporate the above mentioned key characteristics to provide a seamless experience for visitors and consequently improve conversion rates.

 

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