If you run a business, you need a website. There’s simply no way around it. But have you given any thought as to why?
Most of my clients think it’s enough to simply have a nice looking, current website. You know, something they can point to and say, “We’re on the Internet. We’re official!”
It’s a classic mistake, and a real missed opportunity. Your website shouldn’t simply be treated as a digital business card. No, your website should be working smartly to make your business more money.
This can be accomplished directly, in the case of an eCommerce site. But what if you’re not actually selling anything on your website? In that case, your website should at the very least be getting you solid leads.
And visitors simply coming to your site to browse your offerings won’t do the trick. Your site needs to be proactive and do everything it can to increase these leads, to convert your site users into customers. This can take many forms, including enticing people to make an online reservation, to fill out a form for a consultation, or even just a simple email signup form. Obtaining contact information for prospective customers can be huge, because it allows you to continue to market to them.
Let’s take a look at eight ways you can use the latest trends in web design and user experience to your advantage, and increase those conversions on your own site this upcoming year.
1. Large Images
Studies have shown that when you replace small images with one really large one, it causes people to stop and take notice. It’s exactly this type of disruption that will keep people interested in your site long enough to convert.
You will see the biggest benefits if you use images of people, as it has been shown that people respond favorably to other people in photos. Just be cautious about using any kind of cheesy looking stock photos. Stock can be okay if you choose carefully, otherwise use custom high quality photos.
2. Split-Screen Layout
This won’t work for every type of business, but let’s say you offer several distinct types of services, or you can put your offerings into two categories. Consider the example of a restaurant that is open for lunch and dinner. It helps conversions if you can quickly funnel your audience to whichever side of the website that interests them, where they are most likely to convert. So in this example, those who are interested in dinner can quickly go to the dinner section, where they will find all the information they need to convince them to make the reservation.
3. Monochromatic Color Scheme With Contrasting Call-to-Action
One of the biggest hurdles your site must overcome is making visitors recognize your call-to-action (CTA) in the first place. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, your CTA is simply the action you want your users to take once on your site.
CTA buttons can be hard to see for many reasons, but here is a really actionable way to make sure it doesn’t get lost:
Design your site using mostly shades of one color. Then give your CTA button a pop of contrasting color, ensuring it stands out. Once your visitors notice the button and recognize what is expected of them, they are much more likely to actually do it.
4. Prioritized Navigation
In the past couple years, we have come to understand what makes some websites so successful at converting their users. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to lay out a path you want them to follow.
In the past, you would just lay the entire site out in the main navigation, allowing visitors to aimlessly click from page to page. The problem with that plan, (if you want to call it a plan,) is that given too many options, most people choose nothing at all. In other words, your visitors will just abandon your site altogether. Here is what I suggest instead:
- Identify your top two or three pages people need to see to get them interested in your offering. Place those page links in the top navigation.
- Put all other “secondary” page links in a hidden menu, accessible by clicking on a menu icon.
- Style your main CTA as a button, and place that in the main navigation, next to the other two or three options.
This approach allows you to basically direct your users where they should go, while not distracting them with too many options. And by styling your CTA as a button next to plain text links, it will get more attention, and ultimately, more clicks.
5. Minimal Lead Capture
Remember when I mentioned how important it is to get contact information from your prospects? This is an excellent way of obtaining them: Simply ask for it.
Well, not simply. You must offer a compelling reason, through well-written copy. I recommend using an attention-grabbing headline, paired with a persuasive subheadline, and a simple form field and button. Being direct with a lack of distractions can work wonders here.
With a seemingly endless supply of options on the Internet, how will your business stand out and be noticed? Break out the camera, it’s time to record some video!
Video works because it doesn’t lie. It allows people to see the personalities behind a business, as well as what they do. This is a tremendous shortcut to building trust, which will in turn, lead to increased conversions.
Some fantastic uses for video include:
- Large background videos: This can be used similarly to large full-width images. Just keep the videos subtle to not distract users away from converting.
- Testimonials: While written testimonials can be good to include on your site, they don’t hold a candle to a video testimonial. People are inherently wary of any praise on your site when you control the site. They could be bald-faced lies for all they know. But a sincere video testimonial comes across as true, because there’s no real way to fake it without our B.S. meters going off like crazy. (So don’t try to fake it.)
- Product demos: If you sell products, there is no better way to sell than to show them in action.
7. Sticky CTA
We already know how important your CTA is to your conversion rate. So let’s make it easy on everybody and make sure it’s always visible and in the same place.
I recommend keeping your main CTA button in your header, which should stick to the top of the browser window as you scroll down the page. That way, it is always there, just waiting to be clicked.
8. Single Column CTA
Studies have shown that placing your CTA with a well-written headline and sub-headline in a single column (with plenty of white space around it,) can lead to increased conversion rates.
Even if the rest of your site makes use of multiple columns or a sidebar, it helps to break up that layout when presenting your CTA button. It eliminates distractions, and just begs for a click.
While all of the methods mentioned have been shown to boost conversions, they will only work if they are well-executed and make sense for your site. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions in web design, so a customized plan always works best. But if you use the right methods in the right combination, you can count on a healthy increase, and a new year filled with new prospects.
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