Websites are generally made to help an organization achieve a goal like allowing people to buy their products or sign up for their service. But, we have some natural tendencies that can make it harder for people to do just that. Learn what those tendencies are and how to overcome them with these 5 tips.
Tip 1: Good design talks about benefits
There's a mental tug-of-war that happens when you're trying to talk about your product or service. Most of us start off wanting to talk about features:
- Our app's task manager has an intuitive notification system.
- Our camera has gimbal stabilization.
- Our produce stays fresh for seven days.
After we talk about features, we tell the user what they need to do to get our product or service (ex: Download the App). A study by CMO found two interesting things:
- "62% of consumers believe the best brands succeed in making their lives easier"
- "[79%] of consumers said that brands have to actually demonstrate that they understand and care about me before they are going to consider purchasing."
We can appeal to this desire by talking more about how our product or service benefits the user, how it makes their lives easier:
- Get notified know when you need to leave for your meeting.
- Easily film movie-like stable footage.
- Enjoy an avocado a month after you bought it.
As I mention on our Web Design Services page, creating user profiles is a helpful way to shift the focus from ourselves and onto the user. Try creating 3-4 user profiles that represent your target audience and ask yourself how your product or service will make their lives easier.
Tip 2: Good design makes content understandable and skimmable
When we sit down to write marketing copy, most of us prioritize full and detailed explanations. But, research shows that users don't read very much on the web. One study written about by Nielsen Norman reveals that website users have time to read at most 20-28% of the words. Instead of reading word for word, most people skim. We read headlines, lists, and bold text to get a general sense for the content. We can play into that dynamic by reducing our content to what's essential and organizing it into bite-size chunks.
Considering how little people read, it's also important to write in a plain and understandable way. Research shows that even industry experts prefer straightforward language. By writing plainly, we let the user spend their mental energy on learning the content instead of trying to understand what is being said.
Tip 3: Good design uses relevant photos
Photos and illustrations are an important part of any website. But, it's important to use photos that relate to the content and connect with the user. Often, websites defer to using stock or generic imagery. An eye-tracking study by Nielsen Norman shows that people tend to ignore these types of photos.
While generic photos are ignored, Nielsen Norman notes that "users pay attention to information-carrying images." If you're selling a product, I recommend hiring a professional photographer to shoot high-quality product images. If you're selling a service, hire a photographer to take original photos of real people that have used your service. And, if you must use stock photos, spend extra time looking for a photo that feels natural, genuine, and relevant to the content.
Tip 3: Good design guides the user to do one thing
A simple rule of thumb is that the more things you ask the user to do, the lower your conversion rate for each of those things. Of course, there will be a number of less important actions you'll want the user to take. Things like signing up for a newsletter, reading a blog, or sharing on Facebook. While those may need to be a part of your website, don't let those compete with your website's ultimate goal. Define what that goal is and create a balanced number of opportunities for the user to do it.
When you do call the user to do that one things, be strategic.
- Show it prominently. The layout of the website should draw attention to your call-to-action.
- Use a unique color. In your site's color scheme, choose one color to use for actions and only actions. The important thing is that it stands out from the other content on the page.
- Use active verbs like Buy, Browse, Download, Listen, Watch, or Contact.
Tip 4: Good design keeps forms simple
For many businesses, the site's ultimate goal is for a user to submit their info on a contact us form. Many of us assume that the more information we get on the front-end, the better. Of course, it would make things easier if I knew more about a client when they submitted a form. But, a study by HubSpot shows that the more complex a form is, the less people will use it. To keep your forms simple, audit them and decide which fields are necessary to move the user to the next step of the sales process. Alternatively, you can use A/B testing to get data from actual users on how they interact with your form.
Tip 5: Good design features powerful testimonials
When I first started in web design, I learned that testimonials are important to most websites. But, I didn't understand how powerful they were until I read this study by WikiJob. An A/B test showed that by adding simple one-line testimonials to their aptitude test page, they increased sales by 34%. Chris Muktar with WikiJob commented:
"I did not think that testimonials would make such a difference (and indeed put off testing them, thinking they were irrelevant). The increase in revenue was very substantial."
Not all testimonials are the same. Optimize them by using testimonials that:
- Include photos. Eye-tracking studies show that people pay attention to profile photos of actual people.
- Are specific. In the WikiJob article, one of the testimonials read, "Almost a carbon copy of the real aptitude test." That gives users reassurance that they are paying for a product that will help them with the real test.
- Are brief. Remember, users skip large blocks of text. Use quotes that are 1-3 sentences.
Get a High Conversion Website with Serve
Thank you for reading this article. If you found the tips helpful, consider using our agency for your web design project. You can learn about how we approach web design on our services page or you can reach out right away.