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If your website design focuses on your own likes and dislikes, there’s a good chance it’s not converting as well as it should.
Low conversions risks anemic revenue and, unless you’re into self-abuse, you’d probably like to do better.
The good news is that you don’t have to take wild guesses at what the typical visitor to your site wants to find.
What you need to pay attention to is User Experience, or UX for short.
These days, the tactics of manipulating the building blocks (graphics, text, interactive elements) of good site layout and design have become a science easily accessible by any website owner.
Rather than simply making changes willy-nilly, explore the following improvements guaranteed (almost) to improve the bottom line.
Table of Contents:
Pay Attention to These UX Principles
Can we all agree that a website is a business necessity these days?
When it comes to increasing business revenue, there are plenty of administrative techniques worth implementing, but none of these address what might be the real source of financial woe - a poorly-designed site.
Obviously, we can’t cover the entirety of web design best practices in the course of one article but maybe we can get you thinking in the right direction.
Here are the big picture principles we’ll expand on below:
- As mentioned, design should be done according to best UX practices
- Readers scan rather than read
- Clear and simple beats flashy and complex every time
- Understand Visual Hierarchy
- It’s all about the conversion
Design Your Site With Best UX Practices
Here’s the thing. If you don’t follow best UX practices then you are willfully choosing to create a poorly designed site that will likely enrage and confuse visitors so much that they will leave and not come back.
This is not conducive to increasing conversions or revenue. ‘Nuff said about that.
The tricky thing is that web developers can spot bad design easy enough.
It’s harder to get a client to agree to a design with less splash but more impact. For designers, don’t start work until you have a definitive contract that describes how the site will look and function, and leaves no room for misunderstanding.
Explain the UX concept beforehand, emphasizing how appropriate choices on the front end can be the difference between a profitable online business idea and an expensive hobby.
Related Read: Best Web Design Software
We’re a Planet of Scanners
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of creating a great user experience with your site, there’s one important concept to understand. Live it. Learn it. Put it in your pocket and take it home.
People don’t read websites from top to bottom. They scan them. Here’s how it works.
Upon arriving at your site, a visitor will scan down through the headlines and other prominently displayed items.
When something snags their attention, they’ll slow down and start reading. The moment they interpret that the content doesn’t pertain to them or is boring, they’ll bail out and start scanning again.
And so on and so forth…
The bottom line: if they don’t find anything good while scanning, they’ll be gone and likely not return. Thus it becomes incumbent on a designer to build a site for scanning first and reading later. Creating content that visitors actually will read is a major accomplishment.
Clear and Simple Beats Flashy
We are long past the time that people ohh and ahh over a sparkly website presentation. The internet is all about information now and how to find it fast.
How fast? Consider the reality of the “15 Second Rule” which is about how long you have to capture the attention of the average visitor. If you don’t do it by then, chances are you won’t.
This points out the need for a crystal clear, consistent design. Stick with the same colors and element arrangements from page to page so people don’t have to spend time re-learning every time they click.
On the home page especially, rather than a hodge-podge of buttons guaranteed to alienate, strive to have one that leads them to do the thing you want them to do the most.
One of the overarching benefits to simplicity is speeding up your WordPress site, which is a REALLY big deal when it comes to conversions. If you weren’t aware, Google takes loading speed into account in search results now.
Understand Visual Hierarchy
This is an easy concept to understand. It means that a designer should highlight the most important element(s) on a page so that a visitor knows at a glance what they can expect to find there. As already mentioned, it’s better if you only have a single BIG idea for each page of your site, especially the home page.
Check out this home/landing page from super blogger, Ryan Robinson.
Approximately one millisecond after arrival, a visitor knows exactly what lies in store should they continue down the page.
Can you spot the site’s reason for existence?
It’s not subtle and nor should it be. Okay, we’ll tell you. Note the headline high up on the left in the position where eyes generally go first: How to Start a Blog and Grow a Side Business.
If you scroll downward you’ll find testimonials from happy customers, Ryan expounding on his own expertise, etc. But the important part is that a visitor doesn’t have to go through all that ancillary stuff to figure out what the page offers. Want to learn how to blog for money? You’re in the right place
It’s All About the Conversion
Marketers are obsessed with the idea of conversion, and yet only 23% of internet businesses are satisfied with their conversion rate.
If you own a website and want to make (more) money from it, you should be too, and you can find more information about how to optimize your conversion rate in our top CRO tools.
Not to steal from the Police too blatantly, but every decision you make, every element you place, someone is watching you.
The point is that you must figure out what is the conversion that you want to take place and track the mechanism that makes it happen effectively and efficiently. Then just do it. A couple of deceptively simple but important things are good use of white space and typography.
An underutilized technique available for you to find out if your user UX goals are working is to ask for feedback. It’s really that simple.
Offer a modest bribe or nothing at all and simply ask people to send their impressions of your site design. Take an antacid first, if you like, because the responses will probably be brutally honest, but that’s what you want.
Alternatively, you could consider going with a professional UX designer.
It doesn’t make sense to undertake a full-scale redesign on the basis of one comment but if you start to notice a pattern with one element, it might be worth A/B testing to see if you can come up with something - all together now - converts better. Good luck.