Designing Websites to Increase Conversions

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Conversions, signups, and online sales directly impact the bottom-line. That's why many businesses look to increase website traffic.

Makes sense, right? More traffic, more sales. But even better is to target website traffic that converts.

There are plenty of ways to increase conversions: targeting keywords, creating content, and search engine optimization to name a few. But today we’re not talking about acquisition, were talking about conversion rate optimization, i.e. once a user gets to your website, how do you get them to convert?

For starters, create content that’s attractive. Use color palettes that capture the feel you’d like your website to embody and provide users with “tracks” to get them to the right place.

You have to lead them. You may know what they’re looking for better than they do.

What else? Use compelling language. Write to your audience. Use active voice. Keep people engaged with simple, concise writing that enhances their user experience to convey your message and emote appropriate feelings.

Keep paragraphs short. People surfing the web have short attention spans. Cater to their desire to skim and click. With links to deeper content and clear calls-to-action (buttons) you can provide in-depth resources and quick-skim solutions to satisfy a variety of user types.

Get creative. Play around with a variety of ways to display content. Displaying information in new ways that retains efficacy and adds fun or intrigue will keep users engaged with your site.

Create a sidebar. For blog articles, a sidebar provides users a variety of avenues to continue to engage with your site. Link to valuable pages like a product or service page — the ones that put users a little farther down your sales funnel. Link to popular blogs, calls-to-action, or other informational pages that your users find helpful.

Include relevant calls-to-action in key areas of your site, like your navigation bar — many websites link to their contact page. Maybe a call-to-action in your footer. Offer something that provides value, but doesn't mimic the call-to-action in your navigation bar.

Direct users down the sales funnel. Your conversions are at the end of the funnel. Provide simple pathways that lead browsers towards your conversion. Some users will go straight to your contact page. Others may poke around and learn more. Satisfy both users with concise buttons and pathways that lead them to the information they are looking for.

Appeal to our visual senses and augment text with images, icons, and video. Give users something to look. Websites need a balance of images and text to keep users reading and engaged.

Choose color schemes that fit your business. An attractive color scheme pleases the eye and makes it easier to stay on-site. Choose colors that speak to your brand and enhance user experience.

Utilize headers to break up text. Headers should be varying sizes and weights to communicate sections to your users. Take the time to find the right balance of font size and weight. Paragraph text should be a standard size across your website. Choose a size that’s easy to read.

Break lines at the appropriate length. Believe it or not, there are ideal break points for your text; i.e. the width of your text can literally encourage users to keep reading.

Rest assured, media companies like ESPN, the New York Times, and CNN have tested this theory. The result? Their standard text articles are between 550 - 650 pixels wide -- smaller than the full width of a standard website. Why? We can only surmise that shorter lines keep readers reading and sidebars keep users on-site.

Converting customers is central to improving market share and boosting sales. There are numerous ways to improve conversions: search engine optimization, content marketing, paid search, and the list goes on. Design and style is central to improving user experience and increasing conversions for users already on your website.