How Website Design Affects Your Conversion Rate
There isn’t a company in the world that doesn’t think about conversion rates, and how they can be improved, on a regular basis. Successful marketing is essential to drive consumers to your site, but that’s only the beginning of what can be a very difficult sales process. Smart businesses understand that, while marketing is essential, it truly is only one piece of the puzzle.
Whether you’re attempting to increase your email list conversions or are looking to gain an edge when converting customers to sales, you should be aware of the role that your website design plays in the success of your conversion rate.
The Path to Your Sales Funnel
You have more than likely already created a sales funnel that serves as your system for eventually converting customers. The beginning of that funnel should outline exactly how you would like consumers to initially interact with you so they can successfully go through the funnel.
For example, if your sales funnel begins when consumers join your email list, the ability to join that list should be as easy as possible. Jesse Aaron, a blogging professional, discusses the importance of setting up a ‘path’ for your customers.
One example of setting up a ‘path’ to your sales funnel is shown on the 12 Keys Rehab Center website. If you visit their site, you will see that they tell you what they do in a brief statement and then provide the option for ‘Find Out How’ above the fold.
Once clicked on, you are guided to a section that provides vital information about the facility that will be of interest to potential patients. Within each information page, there is a unique call-to-action that is designed to get the sales funnel started.
While 12 Keys is a great example of how to create a path to your sales funnel, the exact way to create this path will vary based on the product or service that you are selling. The main priority here is that you want to prevent potential buyers from saying, “alright, where do I go from here?”
When a website is difficult to navigate or consumers are confused about the next step, they’re more than likely going to leave your page. And what happens when they leave? They don’t come back.
Importance of Your Layout and Web Writing
One of the things that you undoubtedly already know about consumers is that their attention spans have dropped significantly as technology has increased. Knowing this, it has become essential for the layout of your website and the content that you present to be catered to ‘scanners’.
The Nielsen Norman Group recently did a study about how to turn your webpages into scannable text. In their study, they showed that scannable text should have the following:
- Keywords that are highlighted. This can be through either hyperlinked text or simply bold-facing your keywords.
- Lists that are bulleted. Such as this one.
- Lowered word count. Professional writing that features 3-4 sentences long sentences per paragraph is no longer an effective way to get consumers to read your webpage.
Other must-haves that they mentioned included the need for intriguing sub-headings and making sure that each section or paragraph sticks to a single idea.
As the study went on, a lot of useful information was found about the exact type of text that should be used. For example, when the Nielsen Group developed five different versions of the same website for a control group, they found that usability was over 45% better with scannable and concise text as opposed to promotional text.
The most useful information that they found for your needs is that combining concise text with a scannable layout and objective language made for an improvement of almost 125%. Those are some pretty strong numbers that show you just how important it is to cater to ‘scanners’ if you want to keep people interested in your site and improve your conversion rate.
Where is the Credibility?
Zig Ziglar has said, “every sale has five basic obstacles; no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
While you can do very little about a website visitor having no need, money, or desire, there are several things that you can do to develop trust with a consumer through your website design. And, while trust is something that absolutely needs to be cultivated over time, there are a few ways that you can optimize your website to create an immediate sense of trust with consumers.
The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab recently performed studies through a Web Credibility Project that looked over several factors that either increase or decrease a site’s credibility.
One of the most intriguing statistics that they found is that over 45% of online users assessed the credibility of a website based on its overall visual design (visual design including things like typography, font size, color schemes, and layout).
But web credibility doesn’t just start and end with the visual design of your website. As the Stanford group outlined in their Top 10 List for Increasing Web Credibility, things like showing real people are behind your organization, making it easy for people to contact you, and using restraint within promotional content were all major factors as well.
So, how exactly can you go about creating immediate credibility? First of all, get rid of the generic photos showing some random lady working at a computer.
A professional photo showing you and your team, and even creating individual profiles, is an amazing way to give consumers an idea of exactly who they might be purchasing from and increasing credibility. Online companies like Kickstarter do a great job of this.
Social proof is another great way to instantly increase credibility. Showing yourself speaking at a conference, displaying awards and certification, or having an authority figure in your industry are all highly effective ways to use social proof for enhancing your credibility.
Think of yourself and how you view the credibility of websites when you visit them. Then think of how incredible it would be if you could use these resources to increase your conversion rate by even 1-2%.
Understanding the Mobile Design Aspect
At this point, any conversation about web design and conversion rates also has to factor in the incredible increase in mobile usage that has been seen over the years.
As Smart Insights pointed out recently, mobile devices like Ipads, Kindles, and tablets actually have comparable average sales conversion rates to what is being seen on desktops. Smartphones, however, are still well below where they could be.
This points to a number of factors. For one, optimizing web design for mobile devices has not yet become a priority for most businesses. Another factor is that the mass of consumers may not yet feel comfortable paying through through their mobile device. Desktop purchasing has been going on for decades, mobile purchasing is still a fairly new concept.
Whatever the reason for low conversion rates with mobile devices, it should be noted that getting your business on the forefront of the mobile purchasing movement can and will be valuable. Another useful point that Smart Insights made in their study about mobile and desktop usage was that mobile device usage actually now exceeds desktop usage.
With that in mind, developing a web design for mobile platforms that is consistent with your desktop design can be incredibly useful in increasing conversion rates across the board.
The End Story
Understanding the role that web design plays in the increasing or decreasing of your conversion rate is vital to your future success as a business. Technology is only going to continue to increase, and you want to do everything you can to stay on top of the curve in persuasive web design as those advancements occur.