Your website is your 24/7 salesman, it is an always-on contact point between your business and customers that acts as a source of valuable information for your consumers to learn about your business and industry, this source of information is also one you can control – making sure you tailor all communications to elevate your products and services. Secondly, it’s an invaluable platform that you need to use to attract potential customers, convert them into leads and then into purchasing customers. Again, this is non-stop, if your store has 9-5 trading hours, your website doesn’t, and neither do your consumers browsing the web looking for your products. Has your web development company provided you with a strong enough web design?
Bad web design can heavily impact the way that users interact with your website and the success of your business. According to research from Stanford University, 46.1% of people say that a website’s design is the top criteria for determining whether a company is credible or not. First impressions really do count for something, it seems, and if your website is badly designed you probably won’t have the opportunity to make a second.
Something else you should consider – over 92% of people visiting websites for the first time are not there to purchase, so you shouldn’t give them any reasons to not want to come back! If your website is unattractive, people will actually leave your site altogether. 38% of people, to be exact.
Have you ever heard of Hick’s Law? If not – Hick’s Law states that the time it takes for an individual to make a decision is directly proportional to the possible choices he or she has. In other words, by increasing the number of choices, the decision time is also increased. Let’s break down some of the factors that affect these ‘possible choices’ and the cure for the common cold of the world wide web: bad web design.
The cure for bad web design comes in a three-part package that every good web design company treats as the holy grail, this being: CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), UX (User Experience) design and UI (User Interface) design. Of course, there are other factors that influence your website, but these are the core of web design that we will be covering. All of these exist to make the user experience enjoyable, seamless, make your product and service communications as salient as possible, guide users smoothly towards converting to a lead or purchasing customer and doing all of this with minimal friction – with as few available choices as possible.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) is the method of using analytics and user feedback to improve the performance of your website. It’s all about figuring out what users are looking for when they visit your website, what they don’t want to see, giving them exactly what they want (in conjunction with what you want from them) and limiting what they don’t want as much as possible.
Why should you care about CRO? Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, you are going to be paying for the traffic coming to your website in one way or another, just your website existing means you have paid for people to visit it, never mind your paid advertising, content production or Search Engine Optimisation – a higher conversion rate means a higher ROI (Return On Investment). Improving conversion rates to, for example, increase the number of visitors converting from 1 of 30 to 2 out of 30 means you have doubled the amount of business, doubling your ROI you receive while halving your cost per customer acquired.
This leads us to the second reason you should care about CRO – it’s much more cost-effective to try and convert a higher percentage of the visitors you are already receiving than to attract more visitors. Let’s use a brick and mortar business space as an example. You own a coffee shop on a busy street, thousands of people walk past your shop every day, most work or live in the area. You have limited space inside your coffee store and don’t have seats outside, so you put chairs and tables outside with fresh flowers on each – the number of people who walk past your coffee shop and come in to purchase doubles. We haven’t given customers more options, we have increased the frequency of an option they already had that they wanted more of, seating.
In addition to improving your ROI, optimization helps to defend against the limited attention span of your average visitor by giving them what they want before they tire of looking for it and move on.
Gearing Your Website for Conversion
Here are a few examples of tactics and techniques you can use to improve your website’s conversion rate.
- Put CTA’s (Calls To Action) in blog posts – do you want your customers to call you or download a brochure? Ask them at the bottom of a well-written blog post.
- Lead flows in blogs – these are simple but high-converting pop-ups on your blogs that offer value. This can be a pop-up that slides onto the web page at the bottom of an article and offers an eBook or asks members to subscribe to your blogs. Hubspot found that they received 192% more click-throughs and 27% more submissions with lead flows as opposed to text CTAs.
- A/B testing is important for you to learn what works to convert visitors and what doesn’t. You can quickly and easily test different website copy, content offerings, visuals and images, form questions, and page design.
- Accelerate leads getting to MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead). Some customers are lower down in your sales funnel when they visit your website and are likely to convert more quickly. These leads are looking to, for example, speak to a sales rep or book a meeting. To increase the rate at which these leads convert to marketing qualified leads, eliminate as much friction as possible from your sales process – using good design, copy and a frictionless process make booking a meeting with your sales rep or requesting a demo as opposed to a free trial as simple as possible.
- Workflows that automate communication with your leads is a great way to increase conversions. For example – you can create an automated email sequence for your sales reps, that sends a series of staggered messages with a link to book a meeting with your sales rep at the bottom.
- Optimise high performing blog posts – if you find you have blog posts, old or new, that receive large numbers of traffic but do not convert well then use techniques, like the ones mentioned above ( CTA’s and lead flows) to offer more value within these articles.
How UI and UX Affects CRO
UX (User Experience) design focuses on the overall feel of your website and how it is experienced by the user, UI (User Interface) design focuses on how the product is laid out, ensuring that the interface (website structure, content structure etc.) compliments the purpose of the user experience (to make navigating the website enjoyable, finding information easy and guiding users towards an action you would like them to take, like submitting to your blog).
A few elements that are included in UX and UI design are:
- Above the fold design – 66% of users time is spent below the fold, however, users only explore content below the fold if the above the fold design is compelling.
- Visual cues stimulate interaction and are instantly recognizable, such as; a video play button for a video above the fold or an arrow that directs people below the fold.
- Navigation must be frictionless and users should be able to find the information they want and information you want them to find effortlessly.
- Website speed being slow will let you down – people’s attention spans are so low and users are reading through so much content that if your website takes too long to load, your website visitor won’t stick around to find out if it was worth waiting for.
- Simplicity is a core practice for both good design and communications – don’t clutter your web pages, streamline the design and communications to align with the most important 20% of the things you want users to read and interact with.
- Colour scheme – all we’ll say is easy on the eyes. Red writing on yellow backgrounds should come with a health warning.
- Emotional triggers are important – you need to combine practical experience and strategic communication with emotional triggers that are linked to users aspirations and key pain points that your product or service can solve for them.
Hopefully, you can see why good web design relies on integrating CRO, UX design and UI design to create enjoyable, highly converting website experiences. Your design must be beautiful and artistic whilst having strategic direction and purpose – your CRO elements help push users towards converting at critical moments.
Remember, your website never sleeps, if you have a bad web design that doesn’t convert the traffic you will both lose customers and potentially damage your brand’s reputations. However, if your website is very well designed according to CRO, UX and UI best practices it will act as an always-on salesman that improves your customers’ experiences, helps them and increases the amount of business and profit you make.
Very simply – implementing good web design and running a well-converting site means increasing the return on your investments and this has a major impact on your businesses bottom line.
To find out where your website stands and if it can be improved take our free website audit here.