Optimizing your website for conversions allows your business to effectively engage with digital audiences.
Today’s customer base skews increasingly digital. The first time a potential customer interacts with your brand will likely be through your website.
Given its role in establishing brand impression, businesses should view their website as a platform to drive conversions. In order to transform websites into an effective sales tool, businesses need to optimize their sites for conversions.
This article outlines six simple, yet effective web design tips to optimize your company’s website to increase conversions.
1. Update Your Company Site Regularly
Regularly updating your site design reflects your company in its current state. On the other hand, since customers are wary of online sales, an outdated site makes your business seem untrustworthy.
Maintaining an updated site signals to customers that your business is diligent in the upkeep of its brand and business, a positive impression to make on a potential business partner.
2. Optimize Site Speed and Load Time
Slow load times kill conversions: 57% of web users exit a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Today’s internet users are accustomed to immediate gratification, thus if they get stuck with the “spinning wheel of death” or an unusually slow connection to your site, they will take their business elsewhere.
The negative ripple effect from slow load times also impacts conversions. Online shoppers are less likely to buy from a site again if they encounter website performance issues. Also, nearly half of online consumers share negative experiences with a site with others.
Oftentimes, when optimizing a website for conversions, we will dedicate the first phase to ensuring the site loads in under three seconds. This nearly always helps increase conversions (and sometimes even search engine rankings) within the first week.
3. Use Responsive Design
Responsive design allows you to cater to users on all different types of devices through providing a consistent user experience. This is important because consumers are heading online on a greater variety of devices than ever before, from Android or iOS smartphones to laptops, tablets, and so on.
In fact, 60% of all searches now occur on mobile devices. This helps explain why businesses enjoy higher visitor retention rates with responsive design. Failing to do so automatically turns off a huge percentage of your potential consumer base.
4. Streamline Site Navigation for Usability
Curating an easily navigable site incentivizes users to stay on your site, seek out your products, and convert on a purchase (or several). If your website is difficult to navigate, it will turn off potential customers. One of the main reasons people shop online is convenience, so if using your site is inconvenient, they’re likely to take their business elsewhere. Thus, it is critical to create a simple and efficient experience for online shoppers.
Suggestions for streamlining your site’s navigation for usability:
- Employ one-click checkout for returning customers and abstain from requiring new customers to create an account
- Ensure your search function is user-friendly
- Ensure all buttons and links on your site are easily clickable on all devices
Amazon's site incorporates all three of these design elements into its navigation in one horizontal plane, making it extremely easy for users to navigate and convert.
5. Incorporate Social Proof
Make forms of social proof, such as client testimonials and reviews, readily available to potential customers. One of the quickest ways to establish trust among your customer base is through transparency, and publicly showcasing customer feedback makes your business feel transparent.
Consider featuring one, or multiple, of the following forms of social proof on your site:
- Testimonials and reviews
- Logos of major brands that your company has partnered with
- Media outlets that publicize your product or services
- Satisfaction guarantees or warranties
Established social proof ultimately puts customers’ minds at ease regarding both the legitimacy of your brand and the value of your product.
6. Scale Back Excessive Design Elements
For a long time, it seemed business websites were in a competition to make the biggest splash in the form of flashy designs and animated gimmicks. However, at a certain point, excessive design de-prioritizes user experience.
It’s both exciting and advantageous to create a unique website design. However, it’s important to focus on user experience, such as easy navigation, as your first priority. In fact, a 2012 Google study found that the sites with the least visual complexity and the most typical designs netted the most impressions.
Use Your Website to Drive Conversions
When it comes to optimizing your website for greater conversions, these six strategies establish a foundation that will allow you to continue building and growing for years to come. When in doubt, keep it simple.
About the Author
Dan Scalco is the founder and director of marketing at Digitalux, a full-service digital marketing company located in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is an SEO, web design, and conversion optimization expert, with experience marketing products and services globally (B2B and B2C). When not helping clients, Dan writes for Inc, Entrepreneur, Business.com, and the Huffington Post. You can connect with him via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.