4 November 2020

by Spark Eighteen

10 Website design best practices to boost conversions

FOR BUSINESSES

According to a Microsoft study, humans have an attention span of a mere 8 seconds. More shocking, perhaps, is the fact that similar studies from Jampp which shows that human attention span decreases by a whopping 88% every year. But the moot point here is, are low conversion rates and higher bounce rates on a website a valid measurement for shorter attention spans? Here, we present 10 website design best practices to boost conversions.

Table of content:

  1. Know the rule of thirds
  2. Boost SEO with an XML sitemap
  3. Keep the color scheme consistent
  4. Use the white spaces effectively
  5. Use more visuals than text
  6. Have clear and strong CTAs
  7. Leverage Hick’s law
  8. Keep it mobile-friendliest
  9. Optimize your images
  10. Include testimonials & reviews

Think about this: During your last few mobile web-browsing activities you might have visited websites that didn’t have a well-optimized user experience.

What did you do?

You immediately exited that website and went elsewhere, right? But does that indicate you have a shorter attention span?

That’s when you understand the importance of website design.

How a Website Design can influence conversions?

When we discuss web designing, most people often focus on the visual aspects of a website i.e., how it looks.

Which is fair enough. One of the many objectives of good web design is to look visually enchanting.

But are the stroking icons, amazing gradients, and eye-catching elements the only important factor that can lead people to buy your products?

Imagine this: You’re in a furniture store and suddenly you got your eyes on the most beautiful sofa set there. You’re all heart eyes seeing the fine craftsmanship and striking features that you swear blind to get this set for your living room.

You go ahead to sit on it and suddenly it isn’t as fabulous as you thought it would be. It turns out quite uncomfortable and you feel a backache while sitting on it.

Will you be still interested in buying it? Certainly not.

product function

That is why website design is more than just a pretty digital visiting card for your business. It rather works as a tool that can help you achieve your business’s ultimate goal – to get conversions.

Good web design can help increase your conversion rate, engagement with your content, and helps push leads down the funnel lane. Here is how:

  • Shaping the visitor’s perspective with aesthetics

The first impression is the last impression, they say.

The worst thing you can do to your business is to give it a stale and unattractive web presence that only makes your prospects run away.

website credibility website design best practices
Source: SWEOR

Website aesthetics are a set of principles that include the color, layout, graphic, and content on the website. Pleasant and smart website design allows users to have a positive experience which can further affect their actions.

  • Creating clear paths for visitors with easy navigation

You’ll probably leave a website instantly if it makes it difficult for you to understand where to find what you want.

Clean and easy navigation is very crucial in increasing usability. Increased usability is when a website allows visitors to find the information they are looking for and complete their actions.

website ux

Simple navigation highlighting the key options with a robust search function clear paths for a visitor.

Do you want to know how you can achieve the above principles in order to create a high converting website? Hold on, as we talk about the 10 best web design practices below!

10 Web design best practices to boost conversions

1. Know the rule of thirds

Have you ever wondered why a grid-like structure appears on your camera whenever you’re trying to take a picture?

The intersections in the middle of the grid where the eyes are drawn naturally to. The point of it is to put your subject in a way so that it appears along the intersections.

This is called the “Rule of Thirds” and is the first thing that beginner photographers and painters learn in their classes.

So how does this apply to web design?

The idea is very similar to that of photography. You place a simple 3×3 grid overlay (divided equally, both horizontally and vertically) on the space used for design. This will give you nine boxes, all of equal sizes.

Something like this:

rule of thirds

The dots in the middle, where the lines intersect, are known as the focal points (or sweet spots).

Since our eyes naturally drift towards this area, you can place your most critical elements (like call-to-action buttons) on this sweet spot to create a pleasing and balanced design.

This type of approach can work on any website.

call to action

As you can see, in the web design example above, our attention is quickly drawn to the two call-to-action buttons and the tagline making the rule of thirds one of the foremost website design best practices.

2. Boost SEO with an XML sitemap

Marketers often find themselves arguing about the necessity of a sitemap. The truth is, organizing and structuring a sitemap is essential for both site navigation and SEO efforts.

The purpose of an XML sitemap is to guide search engines to crawl your website efficiently, find everything they need, and learn about all the new updates.

seo strategy

Having a site that search engines will crawl will make it appear in its index. This is the first step to having your site show up in the all-important search engine results pages.

3. Keep the color scheme consistent

When talking about website design best practices, the color scheme of a website is an important aspect to consider. A website color scheme is the combination of colors that you use on your website. Different color-contrasts make website elements stand-out from the rest.

An important thing to remember here is that when using colors for your website, don’t go overboard with them.

Imagine opening a website and you’re welcomed with a splash of pink on the right, reds in the corners, blue on the top, yellow in the middle – urgh, the only idea of it is giving us anxiety!

Most websites follow a three-color scheme. This means using only three colors and their variations all-over a website – nothing more than that.

But how can colors alter website conversions?

quick decisions website design best practices

The truth is, colors do influence our decision-making process. Some colors bring us joy, others excitement, while some can make us feel uneasy. That is why the color scheme needs to be taken into consideration when discussing website design best practices.

For example, take a look at Squilla Fund’s soft beige tones combined with calming turquoise nuances.

Squilla Fund

In this example, you can clearly see how the main elements of the website (logo, information, and CTA) stand-out from every other element on the page.

4. Use the white spaces effectively

In web design, white spaces are often referred to as the empty spaces between the elements. Although these are empty spaces, doesn’t mean they’re of no use.

By creating spaces between the elements, you’re effectively increasing comprehension and overall user experience – which in turn can increase conversions.

White spaces also refer to the spaces between your header and your content, the sidebar, and your content, or the spaces between paragraphs and even the letters.

More white spaces create less noise, make it easier to focus, as well as help in comprehending texts.

whitespaces 

The best example of using white space effectively is Apple.

They use plenty of white space to guide your attention to the most important element on their page i.e., their products.

apple whitespace website design best practices

 

5. Use more visuals than text

According to Seyens, people remember more than 2,000 pictures with at least 90% accuracy.

This means to really stick your business to your audience’s mind, you need to include more visual content on your website.

Visual content can easily help you keep your audience engaged and move them through the purchasing process. Not only are they easy to understand, but they also get your message across in just a few words.

So why write walls of text to explain something to your audience when you can easily show them an image?

Look at how WinShape Camps fantastically use a video intro on their home-page with a short description on the left.

visuals website design best practices

 

6. Have clear and strong CTAs

CTAs are extremely important when talking about website design best practices to increase conversions, so why hide them?

They should rather be highlighted in a big, bold, and powerful way so that your visitors know what step they’d want to take.

Most websites make some common mistakes when using a call-to-action button. Some of them mentioned below:

  • Using multiple call-to-actions

It’s crucial that you give your potential leads only one path to follow, otherwise, it can create a lot of distraction. Not use more than two CTA buttons on one page!

  • Not using the right colors and contrast to highlight

You would not want your CTA button to get immersed with the rest of your elements on the page. Use contrasting colors for your CTA button to make it look more obvious.

  • Making it too vague

Buttons with text like “Click Here” or “Submit” do not tell users what will happen next. In fact, studies have shown that CTA buttons with “Submit” as a text have lower conversion rates. So instead, you should directly tell your visitors how they can benefit by clicking the button. Use action statements like “Download your free ebook here”, or “Start your free trial now”. The words like “Free” and “Now” can grab a visitor’s attention quickly.

For example, look at this CTA from TeuxDeux.

CTA from TeuxDeux

The simplistic landing page includes two CTA’s saying “Try For Free” and “Change My Life”.

They have also very cleverly used the company colors. The red-colored buttons are perfectly popping out against the simple background.

7. Leverage Hick’s law

Have you ever been in a grocery store just to grab a tube of toothpaste but ended up being stopped by the dozens of options available?

It happens to the best of us.

This is what Hick’s law states. According to the law, the more the number of choices available, the greater the time taken to come to a decision.

In other words, there is a direct correlation between the number of choices available and decision making.

hicks law

Now, what does Hick’s law have to do with website design best practices? The law can be effectively used in areas where the complexity of decisions increases.

For example, hierarchies of options in a menu section, uncategorized drop-down menus, or an unlimited number of columns in a sign-up form.

By using Hick’s Law, we should hopefully create designs that reduce frustration from the user’s end because the information they want can be presented in a more efficient way.

8. Keep it mobile-friendliest

Do you know there are over 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world and more than half (51.95%) of web traffic worldwide comes from mobile?

This doesn’t stop here. These figures are growing year-by-year.

So if your website doesn’t already serve mobile devices, you’re missing out on a huge deal.

Here are some other things to consider:

  •  57% of people won’t recommend a business to others if that company has a mobile site that’s poorly designed. (Source: Moz)
  • 85% of adults think that a company’s website, when viewed on mobile, should be as good or better than its desktop website. (Source: Sweor)
  • Mobile accounts for 65% of eCommerce traffic. (Source: TheDrum)

The reason why bounce rates are 10% to 20% higher than that of desktop devices is that most websites lack the core features that are essential for mobile devices. Some of these include:

  • Larger buttons
  • Smaller images
  • Larger texts
  • Auto-fill form fields
  • Auto-detect location settings
  • Multiple screens instead of endless scrolling

All of these features help reduce friction and the chances of your website visitors to throw their device across the room.

9. Optimize your images

According to Neil Patel, 73% of internet users say that they’ve encountered websites that were too slow to load.

As we already know a human attention span is lower than that of a goldfish. They obviously aren’t going to wait for the website to fully load. They’d rather just exist and visit a similar website.

So, if you really want them to stay, you must find ways to improve page speed. But how?

Experts say that the most common reason behind a slow website is unoptimized images. High-resolution images consume a lot of bandwidth.

What you should really do instead is:

  • Check the file size of your images before using them.
  • Use JPEG instead of PNG. JPEGs are usually much smaller in size.
  • Compress your images. Several WordPress plugins (like Smush) exist for this purpose.

10. Include testimonials & reviews

Lastly, testimonials or reviews on your website have a huge potential to improve conversion rates exponentially.

According to BigCommerce, 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.

Testimonials and reviews provide social proof in letting your website visitors know that you provide something of legitimate value. You just have to place them in the right place.

Just look at how event management software Bizzabo has done it.

testimonial website design best practices

Their testimonial page is amazingly designed and has an awesome feel to it. The best part is that they’ve featured reviews in the form of customer tweets, text testimonials, case studies, and even videos!

A review page like this can easily provide your potential customers with answers they are looking for in terms of your business.

To Conclude

So here it is, 10 website design best practices to boost conversions.

Web design plays an equal role in the success of your business as any of your online marketing campaigns – so it’s vital that you must invest in it in order to drive the best results.

If you’ll implement these 10 best practices in your web design, you’ll be able to generate great results in a twinkling.

So are you ready to build your high-converting website?

Spark Eighteen

Spark Eighteen is a brainchild of innovative young minds and a group of alarmingly out-of-the-box thinkers who happen to see the world of marketing from a new age perspective. With a proven expertise in the field of Brand consulting, Digital Marketing and Website Design and Development, our team of designers, developers, and creative heads work towards delivering maximum results, tailor-made to all your business needs.
Spark Eighteen

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