When it comes to selling products or services online, getting potential customers to click through to your company website is half the battle. The other half is converting those visits into sales by getting your visitors to stick around long enough to buy something. You may not realize it, but your website’s design can go a long way toward maximizing conversion rates.
A well-designed, easy-to-navigate website encourages visitors to explore, shop, and make purchases. Make the right choices when it comes to graphics, fonts, content, layout, and advertising. Make sure the checkout process is easy and that users can access the page from a range of devices.
Take It Easy on the Graphics
Many Web designers succumb to the temptation to go all out when it comes to graphics, and use the flashiest, fanciest graphic elements they can find. That’s a mistake. Keep your graphics small and simple — not everyone has a high-speed broadband connection and you don’t want to make your users wait around for your page to load. Research shows that people want their webpages to load fast — many users now expect a webpage to load in as little as 250 milliseconds and if it doesn’t, they’ll click away.
Your graphics should be no larger than about 10 or 12 kilobytes. They should make sense in the context of your page — and for landing pages, stock photos won’t do. Use unique images that help develop your brand. Avoid blinking, flashing, rotating, or otherwise moving graphics — these annoy people. On a related note, you should seriously reconsider programming your website to play music or automatically play a video as soon as it loads up.
Make Your Website Easy to Read and Use
The easier it is to read, navigate through, and generally use your website, the more likely users are to hang around and make purchases. Improve or maintain your website’s usability by:
- Using common layouts. Getting creative with cute, unique layouts might seem like a good idea that could make your website stand out from the crowd. Instead, it’s just going to annoy most users. Stick with the standard, three-column, up-and-down layout.
- Using fonts wisely. On the Web, you should use a serif font for your headlines and a sans-serif font for your text. That’s because sans-serif fonts are easier to read on a computer screen. Limit yourself to no more than three of the standard fonts, like Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana.
- Working with white space. White space is one of the most important elements of Web design. The right amount of white space brings your layout, graphics, fonts, and other design elements together into a cohesive whole that’s pleasing to the eye.
Your users shouldn’t have to struggle to find what they’re looking for. Ads shouldn’t just send users right to your home page — when a user clicks on your ad, they should arrive on a targeted landing page that’s relevant to their needs and that makes it easy for them to meet those needs. With remarketing, you can even bring your lost visitors back to convert using targeted ads that point to relevant landing pages. From there, make sure the most popular navigations are obvious and easy to find. Don’t try to guide your visitors away from navigation that won’t result in a sale; they need find their own way through the site in order to be convinced to buy.
You should also make sure your checkout process is as simple as possible. Include a “shopping cart” and a “buy now” button — allowing users to put items in a shopping cart takes some of the pressure off. But don’t make users jump through a lot of hoops to make that purchase. It should be easy and simple for users to put items in their shopping cart, enter payment information, and check out.
Don’t Get Greedy
Users are coming to your site for its content, so you need to give them content that’s worth visiting for. That can mean written blog posts, videos, images, tutorials, free samples — it’s up to you. Of course you’re trying to make money through this website, but that’s not going to work out for you if users are turned off by your sales pitch. In the same vein, it’s also important to keep ads small and unobtrusive.
Accommodate Different Devices
Thirty-four percent of Internet users almost always use a mobile device to go online, so your site needs to be mobile-friendly. You should have a mobile version of your site that loads quickly and is just as easy to use as the normal version. But keep in mind those users who may be on an older computer, or using an older browser — they deserve and expect optimum performance too. Test your website from a number of different devices and browsers to make sure it’s accessible to the full range of users.
Usability is a huge part of what drives conversions in online sales. Make sure your company’s website is easy to navigate, pleasing to the eye, and simple to use, and soon your online sales figures will be soaring.