In today’s day and age, having a website is essential to any business that expects to be taken seriously. Now that the internet has become so prevalent, the reason is obvious: it’s going to be one of the first ways most people will interact with your company. This is especially true for companies that don’t have the resources necessary for more intense advertising campaigns, such as TV commercials or public billboards. Given its affordability and availability, a website is needed for businesses looking for recognition.
Making sure people take your website seriously enough to actually make use of your company’s goods and services is a challenge. Adding to that challenge is the fact that the internet is a huge place, which makes it easy for the voices of smaller businesses to be lost in the surge. However, there are web design techniques that have been proven to boost notability and conversions, and knowing how to use them effectively is a sure-fire to boost your company’s sales.
Grab Attention Quickly
The average internet user actually has a very short attention span. Usually, a decision is made whether or not they wish to remain on a given website within the first five to ten seconds of hitting the landing page, so securing their interest is essential in securing a conversion. Attaining this can be done in a number of ways. When looking at your site, make sure that all the crucial information is visible from the moment the website loads. This means placing things such as contact details, special offers, product lists and taglines within the top third of the page. You should also make sure the right things are prominent to the viewer, but we’ll get to that in a moment. First we’ll look at how you can secure viewer confidence within the first ten seconds of their arrival on your home page.
Use Commanding, Positive Language
One of the most overlooked web design techniques is the use of commanding, positive language. Treat web design like trying to secure a date to the prom or a job at an interview – you must demonstrate that your company is the one the viewer wants, and that it is better than any other rival. After all, if it seems as though your company doesn’t think it’s good enough, then why should any prospective customers think so?
Make use of short, powerful and imperative words. Don’t suggest that your customer should look through your product list, tell them where they can do that. Don’t hint that your staff might have the information your customer needs, tell them that they do. Use words such as “powerful,” “experienced,” “innovative,” “high quality,” and keep the rest of your sentences short.
Positioning is Important
You should also make sure that your company name and logo are in a position where they’re quickly and easily seen. The top left corner is an ideal position, as that’s where people’s eyes naturally drift to when they reach a new page. Make sure it’s able to stand out as well, and isn’t overwhelmed by surrounding text and graphics or fades into the background.
Make sure you have headlines in prominent positions too, and that these headlines are bold and quickly draw attention to themselves. The goal is to get across as much information with as little effort as possible. At the same time, try to avoid obnoxious techniques such as flashing gifs, scrolling banners or loud audio. You want to dominate the viewer, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them either.
Use Pictures of Real People
Humans generally connect better with people than with any other object or species. So when you use pictures in your web design, use pictures of actual people. The reason is partially psychological: people are more inclined to trust other people when they can see their eyes and faces, and this even applies to images in websites. Research conducted by advertising agencies seems to back this up too. The Nielsen Norman Group found that the most effective marketing strategies are plain text, faces, and bodies.
You’ll probably notice that all the landing pages of major websites include photos of smiling faces or groups of people engaged in some sort of activity. This is deliberate, they help improve landing page conversions. See for yourself the next time you visit these pages. Where are your eyes immediately drawn to? Nine times out of ten, it will be towards the photos. It’s also worth noting that the race, clothing or sex of the person doesn’t matter either, what matters is that they’re people.
Keep it Simple
Keep it simple, remember that sometimes less is more. One way to drive down conversions is to overwhelm your visitors with explosive text fonts, too many images and flashing animations. Sometimes the best conversions arise with a single picture and a single commanding message. Sometimes it also helps to leave the visitor with a limited number of choices, such as leaving only one link leading directly to an index page or a sign up form. You want to grab attention, sure, but you don’t want to leave the visitor feeling distracted or confused. Strike a balance between eye-catching and subtle, and you’ll be on your way to boosting conversions in your web design.
Christian Mills, the author, is a web designer, developer and consultant. As a business consultant, Christian is constantly on the hunt for the best products and solutions for his clients. For all ecommerce needs, Fastspring® is currently one of his recommended resources.