When a business owner thinks about web design there are two things that generally come to mind: that it looks good and that it has their contact information. The importance of these cannot be understated, but there is massive profit being left on the table by not implementing several additional strategies that can get more visitors to contact you for business instead of your competition.
An important concept to understand with web design is conversion rate. This is very simple. As an example, let’s say you have 100 people visiting your website a month. With a poor “conversion rate” maybe 1-2 people contact you. This we’ll call a “website conversion”. They visited the website and either sent you an email, submitted their information on a contact form, or gave you a call on the phone. With certain strategies that you can implement, this can be increased to 5 people, even 10 if you implement these strategies well. This is an increase of 5x at the upper end of the scale. You’re getting more out of the visitors that already come to you, without paying to have more people sent to your website!
The process has been figured out, it’s been split tested and proven. The problem occurs when you do business with a web development company that doesn’t understand these concepts or frankly doesn’t care to put that kind of effort in. We think a win for the customer is a win for us as well. We want our clients to be happy and to tell other people they’re happy.
There are some best practices to implement for effective website redesign, such as having a home page with a clear, concise, and persuasive call to action immediately in the visitors view when they first visit. This is your first opportunity for a conversion. For those that are ready to get ahold of you already, there is no confusion on how they need to move forward. A confused mind always says no.
If you look at JBMD Creations homepage, there are not a lot of options or confusing messages here. We give a clear graphic that explains what we do, and one strongly colored button that draws the eye right away. If they agree that they want new, targeted traffic from all over the internet, they know, hey, all I have to do is click this button and that’s how we move forward. This is the first opportunity for conversion.
If they visitor needs to know more information about us as a company and service, they can then scroll downwards and learn a little more about us.
An absolutely invaluable part of conversion optimization is to have persuasive reviews of people touting the quality of your service. A staggering 91% of people read online reviews about a local business. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. These numbers cannot be ignored, and if we want visitors to follow through with us to be potential customers, it’s a no brainer that we need to have reviews of our products and services front and center. There are many more facets to conversion rate optimization, but this is a clear example of how you produce an effective website that has a purpose to its content and converts more visitors into customers.
Websites from the last few decades have evolved quite a bit, into what is now “Web 2.0”. Before it tended to be just a website, with a bare bones’ navigation menu, and walls of text. When every single website was built that way, well, no one else was getting a leg up on you because people were accustomed to reading large walls of text. In the modern age everything is curated for the user experience and fed information in a nuanced manner.
You can see here we’ve created attractive graphics that give us a professional look and feel, with a message that compliments the headline and text. We’ve broken 3 key messages into boxes. We want the user to get the gist of what we’re saying immediately with the bold headlines. If this captures their attention, we now have a couple sentences to summarize exactly what it is that means. This lets the user digest the most important information you’re trying to share with them in a guided fashion. We are catering to the user experience. We are showing them what messages we want them to see first and foremost with our design strategy, while also giving them more to digest if it appeals to them. You want your website to be designed around the messages you are conveying, with the appropriate amount of white space and small chunking your text so it’s used to emphasize that specific message. This concept is on clear display here with our contact forms. It’s one message, with one purpose, with enough space above and below to ensure they are only getting that one message. It is also important to have consistency among the spacing of your sections, graphics, and texts boxes. Having some sections have no spacing or inconsistent spacing below and above a section does not feel professional. If your site is jarring to the eye visually, they’re not going to feel your presentation of your business has been taken seriously. This is an emotion you don’t want potential customers to feel towards your business.
With the graphic below you can see the heading and sub-heading hierarchy. Previously we’d talked about how it’s important to have the bolded and larger headers be on top of your paragraphs to better capture attention and send the message to the user you want to send to them.
The most important, top of the page headlines should be in an H1 tag and should be the largest sized font on the page.
Subsequent headlines, or sub-headlines should be the next size down and have the next most important messages. This continues on in that fashion so that your page has a hierarchy that is pleasing to the eye and sends the message on how the user should read your page.
One of the critical pieces of the conversion pie is how fast your website loads on someone’s computer. This isn’t something that is generally thought about if you aren’t knee deep in the industry, but different websites load at different speeds - and this is something that you can control. A good deal of our clients that we re-design websites for are hosted on GoDaddy. It cannot be understated how poorly these websites perform. Typically, it is a “shared hosting” package which can cost $10/mo. or so it sounds great, but if you type in their website address and it takes 5 seconds before anything comes up at all, you are losing business.
Studies have shown that when a website takes 4 seconds to load before anything comes up on the screen, 25% of the people that were trying to visit the website will leave. That is astounding. One out of every four visitors will not look at your business online if your website is slow. If your website takes 10 seconds to load, an ADDITIONAL 35% of visitors will leave. At the 10 second mark, 60% of people that tried. Literally tried to take a look at your business online will go away and look somewhere else. At JBMD Creations, this is a critical component for us. We invested a lot of time, money, and effort into the hosting that we use and optimizing the website so that it loads nearly instantaneously. We host on Google Cloud VPS servers, using LiteSpeed technology to serve up our website in the fastest times possible. Simply switching your hosting provider away from something such as GoDaddy can quite literally result in your business making more money.
We intentionally left this part of the article at the bottom not because it’s the last important, but because it’s the most talked about. The title of the article is “Effective Website Redesign”, not “Pretty Web Design”.
It is a given that you want your site to be a modern, stylish, professional looking website and there is no shortage of companies that can achieve this (though sometimes we are quite surprised what comes out when a business owner spends his money for his online presence with the wrong designer).
Up to 60% of web traffic is now done through mobile phones or tablets. If your website doesn’t look just as fantastic as it does on your computer you’re losing a lot of potential customers here.
Illustrations are becoming increasingly popular on websites. They give off a vibe of professionalism and fun that creates a comforting experience for the user.
We touched on this earlier with having real, human reviews coming directly from sites such as Google or Facebook to convey that other people find your products / services to be valuable and trustworthy.
Soft shadowed, and rounded edge design is incredibly popular these days and it is something we recommend you stick with. It used to be all about sharp edges, windows, buttons, and containers but that kind of design (If used exclusively) can make your website look outdated.
Data is an invaluable tool for getting across how important something is, but it can be hard to get people to do the math in their head or take the effort to compute it. Using data visualization illustrations and graphics can be an incredibly important point across with almost no mental effort on the part of the user. If you have some important data to share, get it visualized:
When we talk about “effective” web design, this may have brought up more topics than you ever wanted to think about, but we take effectiveness seriously. Web design is about so much more than just looking professional and it can be such an incredible tool that works for you 24/7/365 and taking the time to go through the process and get this area of your business completely handled once and for all is something that will pay dividends in the terms of more business, sales, and increased reputation for years to come.