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By Noah Britton on 26 March 2021

You rely on your website to generate business in some form or fashion. Depending on the type of website you have, that may be through generating new leads, raising your profile and perceived authority, or processing sales. If your website isn’t accomplishing any of this, it’s time to take a look at your business strategy and incorporate steps to optimize your site’s conversion rates.

When you’re looking to convert more of your visitors into customers, starting with your web design can give you some easy wins. If customers are turned off by your website design, that can have a significant impact on conversion. By focusing on website design, businesses can see lots of benefits from conversion, especially in the amount of business they get from visitors landing on their website.

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What is ‘conversion rate optimization’ and why does it matter?

First off, let’s take a second to define some key terms.

“Conversions” are when visitors take a desired action on your website, such as filling out a contact form, downloading a lead-generation PDF, or buying a product.

“Conversion rate” is a mathematical formula that can tell you the percentage of users that are taking a specific, desired action on your website. To calculate your website’s conversion rate, divide the number of users that take the action you want to measure by the number of total website visitors.

“Conversion rate optimization” refers to the systematic practice of increasing the number of website visitors who take a specific, desired action on your website.

The more users that take an action on your website (that you want them to take), the more leads you’ll find and the more business you will get. Converting visitors into customers is usually the number one reason our clients are looking for a new website. Focusing on improving your conversion rate is a great way to improve it without having to invest in a complete website redesign.

9 ways to use web design to improve your conversion rate optimization.

You don’t have to be a conversion expert in order to improve your website’s conversion rate, especially if you are only looking to move the needle a little bit. (We would definitely recommend talking to us, however, if your conversion rate is significantly lower than you want or need it to be.)

You can find success with a conversion rate optimization process that just focuses on small tweaks you can make to elements of your web design.

What is padding

1. Use negative space wisely.

Negative space is the white space on your website. Increasing the padding around elements and increasing the margins of your page will give each element its own breathing space and allows visitors to take each element in before moving on to the next. Websites without a lot of negative space risk overwhelming their visitors which will cause them to click away faster.

2. Use specific calls to action.

Visitors to your website don’t know what you want them to do once they get there. Writing specific, clear, and concise calls-to-action (CTA) will let those visitors know exactly what they need to do to become customers. These CTAs should line up with the actions you want your users to take.

For example, if you want your customers to download a PDF, adding an action button that says “Download now!” is a great way to show people what action to take. Same thing if you want them to make a purchase. Adding an “Add to Cart” or “Click here to purchase” button will significantly increase the number of users who take that action.

Website speed

3. Make sure your website is fast.

Speed is key when you want users to stick around. Not only does website loading speed impact your search rankings according to Google’s algorithm, but it also impacts users’ first impression of your site and whether they stick around or not.

According to recent studies, the average load time for a website is 3.21 seconds on a laptop or desktop. When the page load speed increases from one second to five, the probability of a user “bouncing” off increases 90%. A load time delay of even a second can reduce your conversions by 7%.

Customers landing on your page want the information fast. When you ensure that your website loads fast, you will see a corresponding increase in conversion rate optimization.

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4. Limit visitors’ choices.

Getting your visitors to take the actions you want them to take is easier when they don’t have a million options to choose from. By limiting the number of choices your customers are faced with when they hit your site, you are closer to guaranteeing success with your conversion rate optimization process. While you don’t want to take away all of the choices your visitors see, giving them fewer options gives them a clearer path to conversion.

5. Apply the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds is usually thought of as a photography principle but it can be applied to web design with great success as well.

To apply the Rule of Thirds to your website, first, divide your site into thirds horizontally and then divide it into thirds vertically. This will give you a grid with nine equal squares and four intersections. The four intersections are where your visitors’ eyes will be drawn naturally.

When you put important images, calls to action, or information at these intersections, it can create a more impactful design that gets your visitors to focus more on the important elements. This amount of focus can boost your conversions.

6. Responsive design 

Customers landing on your site through their mobile devices want to have the same experience they would have landing on your site via their desktop. Focusing on responsive design can have a huge impact on your conversion rate.

More and more, consumers are searching primarily through their mobile devices and are more likely to recommend your business if you have a solid mobile website. Google is also incorporating responsive design into the factors they use to determine search rankings. So responsive design is useful for both conversion rate and search engine optimization.

redesigning with a web design agency

7. Use human faces.

Even if the face is unfamiliar to your visitors, having pictures of people on your site will elicit emotional responses that can influence how they feel about your product, service, or call to action. Human faces can also show people where to look.

For example, if you have a picture of someone looking at your headline or call to action, visitors landing on your site will also feel compelled to look at that same element.

8. Make your copy compelling and easy to read.

The biggest factor in whether a website visitor completes the action you want them to and impacts your conversion rate is whether they can comprehend what you want them to do. If you are using a font that is hard for visitors to read, they’re not going to stick around long enough to complete an action.

Additionally, your website copy needs to compel them to take that action by showing them what will happen if they don’t, eliciting emotional responses that move them to act, and persuading them of the benefits they will receive after taking the action.

6 things your website needs to thrive.

9. Use data-driven decision-making.

Your website can only convert so many visitors if you’re not actually offering them things they want or need or you don’t actually know how they’re interacting with your website. That’s where data comes in. 

After you’ve implemented some of these best practices, you can begin to measure user behavior to continue to boost your conversion rates. The best place to begin is with heat maps that can show you how your visitors are consuming your content.

Next, you can start asking your existing customers what they like, what they want more of, what problems they need help solving, and what isn’t cutting it in regards to your products or services. This can give you and your business strategy even more insight into your audience and can help you develop services you may not even have known people need.

Final Word

Taking steps to optimize your site’s conversion rate can have a huge positive impact on your business goals. Adding this process into your business strategy is a great way to begin to see more benefits from conversion.

If you need help, have questions, or need an unbiased eye in looking at your website to improve your conversion rate, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d be more than happy to take a look at your site and help you improve your conversion rate.

Thrive Design is a customer-centric web design company from SeattleContact us today to find out how we can elevate your business online! Find us on Clutch, UpCityLinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

Want personalized advice on how to improve your website's conversion rate?

Noah Britton

Noah Britton is the founder of Thrive with 18 years of experience in the web industry and 10 years with WordPress.