How to Quickly Increase Conversion Rates With Simple Design Tricks

Few things are more frustrating than having a dissatisfied client – especially after you’ve poured hours of work into carefully designing each individual aspect of their website.

How to Quickly Increase Conversion Rates With Simple Design Tricks

And yet, while the site may be smooth and aesthetically pleasing, it’s still entirely possible that a client could come to you and say, “Why is my conversion rate so low?” Instead of saying, “I don’t know” or “not my problem,” you should attempt to remedy the problem with some simple fixes.

12 Ways to Increase Conversions

So much of web design is relative. Techniques, strategies, designs, layouts, and styles depend on the client, industry, and overarching goals. However, in virtually every case, the following tips will help a business increase conversions over an extended period of time.

1. Incorporate Video into the Homepage

Video sells – there’s no other way around it. It’s one of the few web design strategies that seems to work across a number of different categories and industries. Here’s the increase in conversion rates for some different categories:

  • Gifts: +113 percent
  • Electronics: +101 percent
  • Jewelry: +85 percent
  • Home and Garden: +43 percent
  • Personal Care: +14 percent

Those are incredible statistics! By putting a video on a homepage, you can deliver a dramatic uptick in engagement and conversions. Dropbox did it and conversions soared. inDinero.com did it and saw signups for one of their landing pages double. Vidyard incorporated a homepage video and conversions increased by 100 percent. If you can talk clients into using video, they’ll love the results.

Video is so valuable because the human brain is wired to connect with faces, voices, body language, and movement. It’s the reason your ears automatically perk up when you hear someone say your name from across the room. In the brain, familiar human voices take priority over stale textual content.

2. Leverage Social Proof

Leverage Social Proof

Another good strategy is to leverage social proof. There are a handful of different strategies for doing so, including integrating client and partner logos into the web design, displaying customer testimonials or reviews, and highlighting informative case studies.

While you obviously can’t control what sort of resources a client has access to, you can encourage them to supply you with whatever they have. Sometimes they don’t even think to pass information like this along, but it can make a huge difference in conversions.

3. Remove Social Feeds

While social proof is great, that doesn’t mean you want to overload sites with unnecessary amounts of it. For example, it’s a great idea to highlight a glowing tweet or Facebook comment in a testimonial section, but nobody wants to see your client’s last 25 tweets about their brand.

“When social media was new and fresh, everyone put their social feeds on their websites,” writes Jonathan Long, CEO of an online marketing consulting firm. “Now, consumers know how to connect with your brand on social media if they want to. Placing Facebook and Twitter feeds on your website just draws attention away from your conversion goals.”

Instead, Long suggests integrating social icons and buttons into sidebars, headers, and footers. Everyone recognizes these icons and can click them to learn more. The reality is that most won’t, though. That’s why there’s no sense in wasting valuable design space with newsfeeds that are distracting and intrusive.

4. Bring Numbers to Life

Bring Numbers to Life

Much like social proof, there’s power in numbers. If a client gives you raw data and numbers, find a way to turn those figures into living, breathing design features. For example, 42Floors.com does a great job of transforming otherwise boring data into vibrant bar graphs and charts. Informationisbeautiful.net is a great source for data visualization inspiration. There are plenty of ways to bring numbers to life, so experiment with different strategies and see how they impact conversion rates.

5. Use Bolder Calls-to-Action

Use Bolder Calls-to-Action

Sometimes designers go too soft on calls-to-action because they feel like it hampers the overall feel of a page. When you feel like this is the case, it’s probably because your call-to-action isn’t designed well enough. Here are some key characteristics of good CTAs:

  • Valuable. What does the user get out of the CTA? You obviously benefit from their conversion, but why should the user care enough to follow through? Simply saying something like, “Sign up for a free eBook” isn’t effective. Instead, say something like, “Sign up for a free eBook that will help you become more productive.”
  • Clear and specific. A CTA has to be clear, specific, and precise. Ambiguity kills a CTA and renders it useless. In order for a CTA to be clear, it must tell the user what to do, what they get by doing it, and why they benefit from doing it.
  • Urgent. An effective CTA is backed by urgency. Users need to feel like they must act now or they’ll miss out on the opportunity. You can make a CTA feel urgent by incorporating a countdown clock or simply using targeted words and phrases like now, today, hurry, before it’s gone, only five remain, etc.
  • Correctly positioned. A CTA can be valuable, specific, and urgent, but still be worthless. That’s because you must consider the positioning of the CTA. It needs to be visible. Placing them at the bottom of pages may seem logical – assuming a user has read through the content above it – but how many users will actually make it to the bottom of the page? It may be better to place the CTA at the top, even if the user has yet to read the accompanying content or pitch.
6. Focus on Speed

As a designer, you don’t always have a lot of control over the speed of a website, but you should still consider how you’re impacting it. If you know a certain element – say a flash feature – is killing the page loading time, fix it. A one second delay can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions. Furthermore, the majority of people will not wait any longer than 6-10 seconds before abandoning a loading page. If you can shave a couple seconds off the average load time, the results could be tremendous. You should work closely with the client on any speed issues that arise. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Use PageSpeed Insights. Throughout the design process you should be using Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool. PageSpeed gives every unique URL a score that ranges from 1-100. Anything above an 85 is considered good, while anything below this threshold is underperforming. The tool is constantly being updated, so check in from time to time to see what’s new.
  • Optimize images. On many pages, images account for the majority of the downloaded bytes. By optimizing these images, you can significantly reduce loading times and create a faster site. It’s challenging to say, “Here’s what you need to do to properly optimize your images,” because there are so many unique situations. Instead, reference this helpful guide from Ilya Grigorik and Google. It’s filled with valuable tips and tricks that assist with everything from choosing the right image format to optimizing vector images.
  • Reduce the number of plugins. Plugins are fantastic, but they also slow a site down. Every time you activate a plugin for one of your client’s pages, you’re essentially attaching another weight to the site. There’s nothing wrong with having a few extra pounds, but too many plugins will eventually affect the site’s performance. Whenever you install a plugin, ask the client, “Do you really need this plugin?” Sometimes the answer will be yes, other times they’ll tell you the site can do without it.
  • Compress content. While too many plugins slow a site down, the Gzip compression plugin helps speed a site up by minimizing the size of browser-based HTTP responses – sometimes by as much as 70 percent!

This is one aspect that will take a lot of small tweaks, but you can’t afford to present your clients with slow sites. This is one mistake that can singlehandedly kill a conversion rate.

7. Enable Predictive Searching

Enable Predictive Searching

For ecommerce sites – or sites with lots of searchable content – it’s a good idea to enable predictive searching. Predictive search is a standard feature for sites like Google and Amazon and should be for your clients, too. According to Jamie Appleseed of Baymard Institute, 82 percent of leading ecommerce platforms use auto-complete suggestions or predictive searching techniques.

“When auto-complete suggestions work well they help the user articulate better search queries,” Appleseed writes. “It’s not about speeding up the search process but rather about guiding the user and lending them a helping hand in constructing their search query.”

The beauty of predictive searching is that it allows the website to guide the search process. Yes, you can highlight related search terms, but you can also choose to populate the search box with similar items that may be less known. This gives your clients incredible flexibility and allows them to increase sales without adding any more pages or content.

8. Eliminate Hurdles

When you’re putting the finishing touches on a website, you should look at the site from the perspective of the end user. Are the calls-to-action clear? And are there any hurdles hampering your ability to follow through with a specific call-to-action?

One common hurdle for ecommerce sites involves the checkout process. While your clients definitely want to capture as much information as they can from customers, they shouldn’t do so at the expense of slowing down the checkout process. It’s rarely a good idea to force shoppers to register or create an account in order to complete a sale. Instead, there should be a two or three click process that can be completed in less than 60 seconds.

9. Opt for Simplicity Over Noise

Do you remember years ago when over-the-top animation and flash were staples of progressive web design? Designers saw these neat features and wanted to showcase their abilities by cramming them into as many websites as they could. Well, those days are gone. What internet users really value is simplicity. They want a functional, aesthetically pleasing site that’s simple and easy to use. Not only do clunky animations slow a site down, but most users actually find them annoying.

Help your clients impress their customers by opting for simplicity over noise. They should sell their brand based on the quality of their content and product offerings, not the flashiness of the web design. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these minimalist designs. You’ll quickly notice that simple doesn’t mean boring. It really means sleek.

10. Use the F or Z-Layout Design

Use the F or Z-Layout Design

“Attaining a better grasp of how different layouts can change user behavior is one of the central principles of creating an effective user experience,” says web designer Brandon Jones. With that in mind, are you paying enough attention to the structural layout of the sites you design? While you have to adhere to your client’s wishes and nuances, you must also use design strategies that you know will work.

The majority of internet users are adept scanners. This means they don’t consume or read all of the content they come across. Instead, they scan for certain information and then deem whether or not the page is worth their time. And thankfully, most users follow a similar scanning pattern.

The first page design to consider is the F-Layout, which is backed by various eye-tracking studies. “These scientific studies show that web surfers read the screen in an “F” pattern – seeing the top, upper left corner and left sides of the screen most… only occasionally taking glances towards the right side of the screen,” Jones writes.

Based on this theory, here’s what a typical user experience look like:

  • Quick glance at the top left of the page.
  • Scan the top of the site, looking at the various navigation tabs.
  • Move on to the first full section of content, reading from left to right.
  • Begin scrolling down the home page take only seconds to scan the rest of the content.

Keeping these tendencies in mind, you want to put your client’s most valuable and engaging content in these hot spots.

While the F-design is most commonly used, some designers opt for the Z-Design. It’s very similar, but instead assumes users scan pages in a Z pattern. That is, they start at the top left corner, follow a horizontal path until they reach the top right corner, diagonally transition to the bottom left corner, and then horizontally scan to the bottom right corner of the page.

You don’t have to follow a strict F or Z-layout design, but it does help to understand user tendencies so that you can add some structure to your efforts.

11. Integrate Contact Features

Have you ever visited a website where it was nearly impossible to find the company’s contact information? Or maybe they didn’t even include it? When it comes to conversion rates, this is one of the worst web design mistakes you can possibly make. If a user cannot find a company’s contact information with a swift click of their mouse, they’re apt to bounce and visit a competitor’s site.

As a designer, closely work with your client to emphasize the importance of designing a simple contact page. Here are some quick rules of thumb:

  • Contact information – including phone number, email address, and physical address – should be clearly listed on the header or footer of each page.
  • There should be clear “Contact Us” buttons and calls-to-action on every internal product page.
  • The actual contact page should have no more than three fields. If you give users too many choices or requirements, they’ll opt to forgo contacting you.

This may seem like overkill, but think about the importance of the contact page. It’s the portal for connecting prospective buyers with the brand. Messing up this aspect can seriously harm a conversion rate.

12. Invest in Split Testing

Invest in Split Testing

If you want to make high conversion rates one of your selling points, it’s a good idea to invest in split testing software. Many of the world’s most successful companies – such as Google, Amazon, and eBay – use split testing technology on a daily basis.

If you’re unfamiliar with what it does, split testing essentially allows you to implement two different designs and gather live results from users. For example, you may not be sold on which menu format to use. You could implement two different ones and have half of the visitors see menu one, with the other half seeing menu two. After a predetermined period of time, you then stop the test, review the sample data, and make a decision based on which was more successful. There are endless possibilities with split testing, so it’s definitely something to think about.

Taking Control of the Situation

So many designers simply design websites, deliver the finished product to the client, cash the paycheck, and move on. While this formula may work for some, it’s not the most profitable or sustainable business model. If you want to retain more clients, charge more, and develop a reputation for designing high-converting sites, you need to pay attention to conversion rates and how your websites influence site visitors. Use these twelve tips as a launching point and begin brainstorming additional ways you can improve your work and satisfy clients.

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3 Comments

  1. Strong call to action, website performance and previous work help to increase conversion rate. However your mentioned points helpful for webmasters and marketers to evaluate their struggles in conversion rate increasing.

  2. Very easy your method i like this. Now i try this method. Thanks for sharing……..

  3. Having a strong design with fun and interactive content keeps your audience engaged and happy and boosts conversion.

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