Web Design Strategies for Turning Visitors into Paying Customers
By John Unger
If you use software such as Google Analytics to keep track of traffic on your website, you have a good idea of how many site visitors you receive each day, and how long they stay on your website. Chances are, you also have a good idea of the percentage of visitors that actually become customers.
If those numbers are not what you would like them to be, they problem may not lie with your products or services. It may be that your web design that is the culprit. If you believe this is the case, here are some things to consider as you evaluate and remodel your website design.
Ease of Navigation must be at the Forefront of your Web Design Strategy
To put it simply, if your visitors cannot easily figure out how to go where they want to, or how to do what they need to, they are going to click away from your website. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can compensate for this. You can provide your readers with great content and an extremely appealing design, but you will lose them over navigation each and every time. This is a double whammy for your business. First, you’ve lost the customers who have clicked away (most likely permanently).
Second, as part of their process of ranking websites, search engines track bounce rates. This is basically the amount of time visitors spend on a website before they click away. The assumption on the part of search engine algorithms is that, if the customer clicks away quickly, your website wasn’t a valid “hit” for the keywords that they entered. Lower search engine rankings mean that it is less likely that your website will show up on the much-desired first or second pages of results.
If you are unsure whether or not navigation issues are costing you conversions, here is a great article about determining that, and then fixing it. And, because navigation is such an important factor, using a third-party site tester is pretty critical here.
Responsive web design (RWD) is not an option – it is design philosophy that focuses on maximum UX no matter what device and not matter what the screen size. Fortunately, responsive design is not that difficult to implement because it only requires a single front end set of code that responds to the screen size. And, given the fact that new SmartTV’s have become so popular, it will important to ensure that UX is not sacrificed on this new platform. Once responsive design is in place or tweaked in any way, user testing must occur to be certain that there are now flaws. The critical aspect is that the user has the same quality and speed on any device
Are You Trustworthy and Reputable?
Before customers click on the “Place Order” link, they want to know that they are doing business with an entity that they can trust. What can web designers do to foster a feeling of confidence in those who visit their website? It is important to keep in mind that there are three areas of concern that most people have when making a purchase from a website.
- Whether or not previous customers have been satisfied
- That their financial information is not at risk if they conduct a transaction
- That the business has a good reputation and respectable industry standing
This can be dealt with in web design by including logos from and links to any accrediting agencies, licenses, professional organizations, or special certifications. Including a company bio is also desirable. Visitors who can easily access customer testimonials are also more likely to become customers.
You might also have a small banner announcing the number of satisfied customers to day (with a button for testimonials). If you are a B2B company, then incorporate the logos of other organizations with whom you have conducted business. Finally, it is of utmost importance to prominently display evidence that financial transactions are processed securely. Other issues that can impact customer confidence in negative ways include failure to update content on a regular basis, intrusive banner ads and pop-ups, and poorly written content.
Attention from Search Engine Spiders
First of all, you must know a bit of vocabulary to understand this. SERP is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Results Page. This is essentially the list of web pages a search engine returns after a user has conducted a search. SERP will include organic search results (websites that naturally appear on the list), and sponsored results (websites that appear at the top of the results because the owners have paid for that positioning).
Ideally, you want your website to appear at the top of the organic listings. This is an indication that your website design has received “points” from the search engine for very specific things – excellent UX, keywords in your metatags, and rich content in your blogs, that is being shared by others, so you’ll need a professional writer. Most important, however, is the data that is collected based upon speed and navigation, bounce rates, etc. that spiders report.
Having a user-tested site that is loaded within 2-3 seconds, is easily navigated and that has content engaging enough (don’t forget about visuals) for visitors to want to stay will go far in improving your rankings. One key point of this process is understanding how search engine bots and spiders work. Then you must design your website to get those spiders and bots to work to your advantage.
Incorporating social Media
You have to be present everywhere – on every social media site and then some! And every bit of content, every email, every post on your blog, every infographic you include on your site that is shareable, must have buttons prominently placed for such sharing. And get a little creative about the buttons themselves – this will call attention to them and maybe give that visitor the extra push to share, if only because s/he thinks your buttons are pretty cool.
CTA buttons are more important than you think. There has been a lot of A/B testing of buttons with some pretty important results. First, your buttons should have curved rather than squared edges. Why? Because curved edges draw eyes and attention inward, while squared edges draw eyes and attention outward. Second, they must be in the line of sight of the viewer. Third, put a command right on the button. Now, your command can be very common, (Buy now, download, etc.) or it can be more specific. A/B testing shows that commands that are a more specific get more clicks.
Your Contact Info
Some of the “big boys” really don’t want you to find their contact information too easily. But you are not one of them, and it is really important that your customers have multiple methods of getting in touch. They have questions; they have issues; they have comments/feedback. And you want them to find you easily – by phone, by email, by messaging. And in return, of course, you will respond! The thing about well-displayed contact information is this: it gives you credibility and greater trustworthiness.
Use of Color
Use what psychology and neuroscience tell us about brain responses to things, such as color. We now know that certain parts of the brain are activated in different ways when exposed to different colors. While colors may not “make or break” a final decision to stay for a while or to click that button for a “free trial,” certainly, knowing what colors trigger certain emotions or reactions can certainly not hurt.
Having a lot of website traffic is a great thing. In fact, it is the first step in attracting customers. However, if your website is not intuitive to use, if it doesn’t work on all platforms and environments, if it does not appear in search engine results, if it doesn’t have engaging appeal, or your visitors do not feel comfortable doing business with you, those visitors will never become your customers. Fortunately, if you employ the concepts above in your web design, you will see your conversion rate increase.
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