What makes a website successful? What metric determines whether a company’s central online representative does the job it was designed to do?
That’s a surprisingly easy question to answer. A successful website gets the visitor to do what the site owner wants them to do.
This is called “conversion.” The term most typically refers to converting a visitor into a paying customer, but there are other types of conversion as well. For instance, if a website offers a newsletter, a conversion also occurs when a visitor subscribes to the mailing list.
There are many ways that smart visual design can improve conversion, and you can implement these without much fuss. In this article, we’re going to take a look at four of our favorite design-based conversion rate optimization strategies.
Just a quick note before we get started: all of these design tips relate to web pages where the conversion call to action (CTA) is placed.
1. Get Rid of Unnecessary Distractions
You want your visitors’ eyes to fall on the UI elements that promote conversion. This means doing away with distractive clutter.
An important part of this trend is embracing negative space. Don’t be afraid to leave large sections of visual real estate empty.
Your primary goals are to:
- Communicate the reasons why a visitor needs to convert.
- Make the CTA mechanism as clear as possible.
Have a look at what Lyft does on their “Sign up to drive” page. Their goal is clear. They want potential drivers to provide their mobile numbers. The page is a textbook case of design simplicity. Visitors instantly know what’s expected of them. They don’t have to wade through walls of text to understand the signup process.
What’s more, Lyft resisted the temptation to show distracting imagery on this page. There’s a message explaining what they want from the visitor, a conversion CTA, and virtually nothing else.
2. Use Multiple CTAs
This tactic is especially useful for affiliate marketing sites, where visitors typically interact with a ton of information.
Most product-review pages use CTAs that redirect visitors to the retailer’s product page, where the actual transaction happens. A design trend that’s becoming increasingly popular is to offer a summarized view of all the products, along with their respective CTAs, at the top of the screen.
This way, visitors don’t have to go through the hassle of reading every line of text on the page before clicking through to a page where you can earn your commission.
BestSpy is a site that nails this tactic. Take a look at this page as an example. As you can expect with an affiliate site, there’s a lot of info on each product being reviewed. In the past, the trend was to follow the introduction with the reviews themselves, each with their own CTA.
What BestSpy did here was to include a handy visual element of five products, each under a heading that differentiates them from one another. They’ve also included a very concise comparison matrix for the same purpose.
Essentially, BestSpy understands that some visitors don’t need to read every single line of text before making a decision. For some, just a quick comparison is all that’s required.
3. Be Very Clear About Value
Telling a visitor about how qualified your staff is or how much research went into developing your product will go a long way towards buying credibility. But is buying credibility the primary goal of your conversion page?
Wherever you have a conversion-focused CTA, you need to communicate what value you bring to your customers. Value isn’t the quality of your support staff. Value isn’t the number of subscription options you offer your potential customers.
Value is how you are going to solve their pain point. If your visitor notices only one thing on your conversion page, this should be it. If someone asks them: “What is it that this company does?” they need to be able to recite the answer without giving it a second thought. The design of your conversion page should support this level of clarity.
OptinMonster is a terrific example of a site that communicates value concisely and clearly. Their homepage has a clear CTA that takes visitors to the signup page. Directly above this CTA is a large headline that simply reads: “Convert and Monetize Your Website Traffic.” How easy is that to understand and remember?
4. Give Credibility to Your Social Proof
Most e-commerce sites understand the importance of social proof. Illustrating that other customers have purchased your product and are happy with it is critical to improving conversion rates.
However, many designers are beginning to realize that shoppers need to see some form of proof that reviews and testimonials are authentic.
One of our favorite ways of generating confidence in social proof is to show the number of reviewers who left a star rating for a specific product. Amazon is undoubtedly the best example of how to do this right. Their star ratings are displayed not only on the product pages themselves but also in category pages and search results.
Wherever a product, or a link to a product, appears, you’ll find its star rating along with the number of people who contributed. The larger the number, the more confidence your visitor will have in the review aggregation.
Web design plays a critical role in driving conversions, whether you’re selling a product or harvesting email addresses. Web pages that want visitors to do something specific must bear this in mind.
On these pages, form is in the service of function. Always think about content and layout from your visitor’s perspective. This is the cornerstone of improving your conversion rates.