Read our complete guide on how to create a website using conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and start generating more sales for your business today.
Use our tried and tested web design fundamentals and watch your conversion rates soar.
Our 9-step guide to designing a website that boosts conversions:
- Initial Considerations: site purpose, target audience.
- Choose a User-Friendly Page layout.
- Always Include CTAs.
- Keep It Simple.
- Choose Your Images Wisely.
- Use Easy Navigation.
- Incorporate Page Variations.
- Keep It Consistent.
- Make It Mobile Friendly.
+ a BONUS tip at the end…
What is the purpose of your website?
The purpose of your website should be laser-focused on the objectives of the business behind the website. It should be clear to the user who you are, what your site offers, and the benefits you provide.
A website with clear goals translates better to the user resulting in a site with a more streamlined user experience. You want someone to land on your website and know immediately that they are in the right place.
Your website may be to generate awareness and provide information about your business’s products and services. Or you may be looking to generate leads and convert users into customers. It could be sales focused, a professional portfolio, or review-orientated. There is no right or wrong objective, but it must be definitive.
Before even thinking about design, decide on your primary objective; then you will be able to identify the website’s purpose.
Who is your target audience?
A target audience is a defined group of consumers most likely to need/want your product or service.
It’s important to identify your target audience so that your marketing, branding, and communications can be tailored to increase and optimise conversion rates. Why waste precious time and money on an audience that would never be interested?
Groups can be designated by similarities such as age, gender, income or location. But, the main focus should be on purchase intentions, general interests, and shared subcultures (such as environmental activists, athletes, motorcyclists etc.). You can even create customer personas that represent your target audience to help you get comfortable communicating with your consumers.
Once your purpose is clear and your target audience is identified, simplicity is key.
Not sure how to get started? Get in touch today.
What is the F Layout?
As humans, we are trained to read and scan information in a particular ‘F’ shaped pattern starting from the top left, then across to the right, then dropping vertically and repeating the horizontal scan. It’s an effortless action which allows us to absorb huge amounts of information in a matter of seconds.
Choosing an F-shaped layout helps the user read and absorb your content. It’s the most effective design layout for optimum user experience.
F-Pattern Scan Process:
- We start across the top of the page focusing on headlines, titles, and bold texts.
- Then, we shift down to the left side of the page looking for bullets or important content.
- Finally, we scan horizontally again to read headings, bolded text, or subheadings.
Choose important and relevant headings to block through your content and get to the point with each paragraph. Don’t let the user blindly scan past, give them something useful to read from the get-go.
The right-hand side of pages are the least focussed on and content or visuals placed here require vibrancy to catch the eye and be seen. Utilise this area with bold infographics or relevant calls to action (CTA) in the form of buttons that help draw the eye across.
This structure isn’t necessarily suitable for every webpage but it’s a great place to start.
If you’re not sure what layout is best for your website, we can help.
CTA stands for Call To Action. It’s a prompt you use to guide the user to take the next steps along their buyer’s journey and move further down your marketing funnel.
A few examples of CTAs are:
- Download our E-guide now.
- Request a Call Back.
- Book a consultation.
- Use Code X to get 10% off today.
- Sign up to our email list and get 20% off your first order.
CTAs can appear in many forms; a button, a link, a pop-up, a contact form, or a banner to name a few. It’s best to choose one or two CTAs and give the user something beneficial in return for their information/conversion.
You can then sprinkle your CTAs across all pages to reinforce the user’s next steps.
Make it easy for them to see, attractive to engage with, and simple to complete.
Simplicity is not only beneficial for you in terms of designing and ranking, but it’s also better for the customer.
Did you know, according to Nelson Norman Group research, you only have approximately 10-20 seconds for a user to identify convenient next steps on your website before they leave? Your customers should be able to find what they’re looking for with ease. No confusing layouts, content overload, or poor navigation.
Keeping your design simple means all pages, products, and services are clearly identified, easily found, and the user stays interested.
A simple design is quicker and less effort to build. Not only can you get your website published ASAP, but the site will likely rank higher and display better on mobile devices than a complex design. Load speeds are dramatically faster with simple designs, which minimise bounce rates and maximise website rankings on organic search results.
Key elements to keep simple:
- Layout – Is it clear where to find what you’re looking for?
- Options – Are your options easy to choose or are there too many?
- Language – Does your content read well, without confusing words or acronyms?
- Colours – Are your colours easy to read/see or are they distracting/off-putting?
- Fonts – Are your fonts consistent and readable?
- Graphics – Do your graphics support your content or are they confusing/ overpowering?
Carefully think about each of these elements and make them as direct, understandable, and efficient as possible to achieve a user-friendly website that converts.
There are many reasons why images are so important to a website. They create appeal, draw attention, and reinforce identity (logos) for starters. But what’s more important than using images, is using the right images.
Simply approaching image usage as “one is better than none” is not the way to go. Looking into gaze patterns further, the Nelson Norman Group discovered that users ignore irrelevant images lacking purpose. They also focus more on text depending on the type of page/platform they are looking at. For example, one study showed that users preferred newspaper sites to have minimal images as it’s easier to reorient themselves around the articles. They also said that fewer images enforce credibility. But, users will then read fewer words across non-news pages and be drawn to interesting images.
In general, good image practice is to keep images purposeful, well-placed, and clear. Purposeful images could be graphs, heatmaps, or charts to visually explain data; or products and service photography to show what you offer. Purposeful images allow the user to absorb your information quicker and easier than reading.
Large images can slow a webpage dramatically which will affect your rankings and increase bounce rates. Try keeping your desktop images to 1920 x 1080 px or smaller, as long as it’s still a clear picture.
Don’t be afraid of white space! White space is gaps in content where the background is seen. Web designers can feel compelled to fill space and often throw some images in to bulk out the page. Don’t! Looking back at the F-Layout, users like white space – it helps them complete their normal eye scan of the page easily. Place your images sparingly throughout the text, in line with your layout, or draw their eye across the page by using bolder images over to the right.
A website’s navigation menu is one of the first places a new user will look. It’s an essential aspect to optimise. Research shows that your navigation could be a difference between a good user experience to a bad one.
Starting points for good navigation:
- Design with the user in mind – Answer the questions ‘Where can I go? How do I get there?’ as quickly and clearly as possible. Look at what other sites your target audience visit, and what navigation layouts they’re using.
- Clear menus – The user should be able to spot the menu easily.
- Use categories – Labelled with recognisable, short page names.
- Don’t overcomplicate – It’s easy to put too much into your navigation. Stick to your page titles and filter them into their relevant categories when necessary.
- Use drop-downs wisely – If you have lots of pages on your websites, filtering them into categorised drop-downs is a good idea but not necessary for every website. If you do use them, remember to keep them mobile-friendly!
- Create a footer menu – Users who have reached the bottom of your page are engaged and interested, let them see more of your website with ease.
- Keep continuity – Make sure all navigation links work in the same way across all pages (e.g. if your logo takes you home, make sure it works on every page).
These basics will help you create simple and effective navigation to help your users find what they need with ease. Keep them engaged and directed to encourage conversions, thus increasing your conversion rate.
Depending on your website’s purpose and the industry of your business, page types will vary.
Once your core pages are established, you can then create landing pages. These are tailored to specific promotions and ads where a user will click through and land on this particular page on your website, as opposed to the usual home page. The content is directly related to the advert and should include simple CTAs to prompt the user to convert.
If you’re not sure what pages your business needs, let’s have a chat and we’ll help point you in the right direction.
Consistency is key to reinforcing your brand, building trust, and connecting with your customers. It provides a sense of quality to your site in accordance with your business.
Keep the look and feel of the website themed throughout your pages to avoid the user getting confused or thinking they’ve gone to a different site. Using your logo on every page will reinforce your branding and identity; it’ll establish that the user is still navigating your pages. Consistency will build trust as your site will appear more professional and coherent which users naturally associate with credibility.
This doesn’t mean every page you create needs to look identical, or that repeating content is good.
But it does mean that creating a cohesive experience for the user and maintaining the theme, tone of voice, and language throughout your website will help your users stay engaged. They’ll relate to your business more and recognise your business in the future.
When designing and building your website, most people are working on desktops, creating pages that look amazing. However, what works for a desktop’s landscape screen won’t display properly on a typical mobile’s portrait screen. Mobile-friendly web design displays well on both phones and desktops.
60.66% of traffic comes from mobile users who shop and browse on their phone instead of their desktop. For your website to reach the majority of your audience, it must function and display on mobiles as well as it would on desktops.
On most web development platforms there are options to view how your site looks for mobile. You can use this to develop a responsive design that can transition from desktop to mobile. Some basics to focus on for mobile optimisation are:
- Central, thumb-sized button usage.
- Space out links within any content to avoid accidental clicks.
- Simplify and declutter pages.
- Avoid pop-ups – on a smaller screen, a pop-up is more intrusive than on a desktop.
It can be tricky to find the right balance with a responsive design that will perform well with both desktop and mobile. If you’d like some more information we are always happy to help.
Visit our Website Design page for some further information on how we can support you, or call us on 0333 444 0760 for some personalised guidance.
BONUS tip – Optimise for search engines with SEO.
What is SEO and how does SEO help your new website?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s a process of analysing your website performance before making tweaks and changes which will boost the website rankings.
Search engines like Google and Bing ‘crawl’ or scan websites to monitor how suitable they are for users. They look at page speeds, relatable/useful content, backlinks, and more to determine usability and whether your pages should rank highly.
High-ranking pages are the first to be clicked on which drives traffic due to the optimal visibility on the search engine. The more traffic your site has, the more opportunity there is to generate leads and convert them into sales/customers.
Without SEO, your website won’t be found. But without CRO, your traffic won’t convert. You need both elements to be optimised and continually improved in order to succeed.
What is a good conversion rate for a website?
Optimum conversion rates vary depending on business size, industry, and competition.
The average conversion rate for organic traffic varies across industries, but a safe conversion rate to aim for is between 2 – 5% for small-medium businesses.
By utilising the tips in this guide you’ll be starting off on the right foot.
It’s time to design!
Enjoy creating or revamping your website, and remember to test and track it once it’s live.
Keeping track of your conversion rate is important to understand how successful and useful your website is. Make sure to monitor and improve continuously to stay up-to-date and competitive in your field.
Here at Pivotal Digital Marketing, we are experts in web design, branding, and SEO – all things digital marketing really! We’re here to help you every step of the way with your online business and we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have. Just drop us a message.
Is your website performing as it should? Request a free website review to find out.