Website Design Optimization – How to Improve Conversions in 2017

So, you’ve built a stunning new website.  You feel proud showing it off, and everyone who sees it’s got something nice to say.

Only one problem: it’s not actually making you sales.

Where have you gone wrong? What can you do to turn those compliments into revenue?

Here’s our guide on how to optimize a website for higher conversions.

Amidst all the swanky designs, killer images, attractive color schemes and stylish font choices, you’d be amazed how many businesses ignore the two most important things:

  • What you sell
  • Why you’re different from the competition

Honestly, focus on those two elements and you’re already more likely to make sales.

  • Maybe you’re a restaurant that uses ONLY local produce
  • Or you’re a cleaning company that offers a total refund if you find ONE missed spot
  • Or you’re a cheese-seller that stocks cheese for ONLY people with lactose intolerance

You get the idea.  Visitors to your website should be able to tell exactly what you offer within five seconds of looking at your homepage.

Sure, you should give them all the extra stuff, too. (Prices, how they benefit, and so forth.) But first things first: what do you do, and why should customers care?

(A good example of this is Unbounce, whose headline is a simple ‘Build landing pages fast & get more conversions.’  Once guess what they do!)

This is more of a marketing and SEO factor than a design feature as such, but it’s still important.

When your user lands on your page, you’d better be sure you’re delivering what they want.

  • If they’ve visited your page through a Google search of ‘Indian restaurants in Boise, Idaho’, you’d better be sure you’re one of those restaurants!
  • If they’ve clicked on a Google ad for ‘overnight courier services in Manhattan’, guess what…yup, you’d better be able to offer them that service, or show them where they can get it.

And so on.

Now, if you know how to optimize your website’s pages organically, this should take care of itself, but ensure you do take the time to learn how to do this.  (For a killer guide on optimizing a website for organic traffic, check out Backlinko’s post here.)

For paid search, ensure you link through to the right page.  If someone’s searched for a specific model of chair, don’t send them through to your category page: send them directly to the product they searched for.

This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many paid search ads just send users through to a generic homepage, rather than a specific landing page.

Give your website visitors exactly what they want, and they’re far more likely to convert.

This follows on from the first point: once your customers know how they’ll benefit from dealing with you and you’ve got them to the right page, you should make it very clear what you expect them to do next.

  • If you want your customer to e-mail you, have a clear e-mail form in place!
  • If you want them to pick up the phone and call you, have your telephone number clearly located on the page.
  • If you want them to follow you on Twitter, have a button that allows them to do this with one click.

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A good rule for landing pages is that you want the customer to have as few options as possible.  If you’ve got a page setup that’s designed to grab e-mail addresses, then add your capture form and remove pretty much every other option.

(Except maybe a ‘go back’ button.)

As with any form of marketing, the more choices a customer has, the less likely they are to make the decision you want: clearly explain what you want them to do, and make it easy for them to do it!  People are click-happy, so don’t give them the opportunity to click off.

Jargon sends most people to sleep: even people that work in your industry!

This is a particularly common problem in B2B websites.  Companies eager to sound impressive reel off a bunch of terms that sound like nonsense. (And often are.)

Don’t fall into this trap.  Remember, your aim is to tell the customer why their life will be better if they use your product or service.

  • Are ‘focused driven revenue and analytics based marketing strategies’ going to make anyone’s life better?
  • Will the ability to ‘sell more products and make more money’ make someone’s life better? You betcha.

Keep it simple.  Remember, even if you are in the B2B sector, you’re still talking to people.  As ever, you should focus on explaining your product or service like you would to a friend.

Jargon doesn’t work. Avoid it at all costs.

More of a technical tip, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant.  By the end of last year, mobile browsing overtook desktop for the first time.  You simply can NOT afford to have a website that doesn’t adapt to the device on which it’s viewed.

(A responsive web design will adapt itself to fit any screen.)

If a visitors to your site can’t browse as easily on their Galaxy S as they can on their laptop, they’ll leave. It’s that simple. What’s more, Google may penalize your site.

(For a comprehensive guide to responsive web design, click here.)

Web users in 2017 aren’t what you’d call patient.  Indeed, a recent study showed that even a one second delay in load time could decrease conversions by as much as 7%!

What’s more, load time is also a key metric in terms of organic search. Yup, it matters to Google how quickly your site loads!

web design optimisation

Fast sites get higher rankings in the search engines

There are a number of different technical things you can do to help speed up your website’s loading time:

  • Use CSS rather than images where possible
  • Minimise how many elements are on your page (which, if you’re keeping things simple, should be part of your design goals anyway!)
  • Reduce your server response time
  • Compress the pages using a tool like Gzip
  • Allow for browser caching
  • Optimize your images in terms of format, size and even color depth
  • Reduce the number of plugins on your website (particularly relevant to WordPress)
  • Reduce the number of re-directs

And so on.  Some of these switches are quite technical, so consult your web design company if you’re unsure how to carry them out.

Oh, and if you’re debating whether it’s really worth the bother, ask Walmart, who improved their conversions by 2% for every second their pages loaded faster!

While social media can be effective in building a brand, the days of prioritizing it are done, and with good reason.

The truth is that social media marketing might build a brand, but there still remains a great deal of doubt over its relationship to direct sales.

So should you ignore social media? Absolutely not. As we said, it’s still an effective way to meet potential clients and build relationships online.

But it shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of your marketing strategy.  Just place the relevant icons somewhere out-of-the way (footers are good), so that anyone looking for your accounts can find them but so the icons don’t distract from the main purpose of your page. (Which is, as we’ve said, the CTA.)

In 2017, many people take ‘copywriting’ to simply mean ‘content’.

In fact, they’re two different things.  Web content – like our blog – is designed to be informative and, as a result, to improve search rankings.

However copywriting is a different thing: in its purest sense, it’s sales in print.

The topic of copywriting is WAY too big for us to cover in-depth here.  (Thousands of books have been written on the subject.)  However, you should take it very seriously when it comes to ensuring your website converts.

Think words don’t matter? Ask the guys who increased their revenues by 45% in the first month simply by changing the words on their CTA button?

Don’t under-estimate the difference good sales copy can make.  A good copywriter understands how to get readers to take action. One sentence can be the difference between making hundreds a week and making no sales at all.

(If you’d like to find out more about copywriting, we’d recommend this brilliant short guide by Neville Medhora.)

Improving conversions on a website is an art, as well as a science. To get results quickly, it’s best to work with experts.

If you’d like a website that makes you more money, give Iconic Solutions a call today.  We’re specialists in creating brilliant responsive websites that get results.