July 14, 2010
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to build a website that converts prospects into buyers, this article is for you. While I’ve seen poorly designed websites make money, those types of sites are more the exception than the rule. It’s been my experience, most successful websites share common design characteristics that make them appealing to prospects.
Following are 14 website design tips that will help you convert more prospects into buyers:
1. Make sure your website loads quickly. Nothing is more annoying to visitors than a website that take forever to load. You may have the greatest website in the world, but if it takes too long time to load, visitors aren’t going to hang around to see it.
2. Have a crystal clear identity. Have you ever landed on a website and didn’t know what it was about? How did you feel? You didn’t like it did you? And I’ll bet you probably clicked out of there pretty quickly. Well, your visitors don’t like it either. Don’t let your visitors have to try and figure out what your website is all about. Make it crystal clear, right from the beginning. Having a big, descriptive headline on your home page is an excellent way to announce what your website is about. Also, choose relevant keywords for your pages, as opposed to trying to trick people just to get eyeballs. Keep your keywords relevant to your web pages.
3. Keep it simple. Don’t worry about trying to impress with all kinds of unnecessary whistles and bells. (Does anyone really need flash?) Focus on usability, sales and conversions. Simple website designs convert.
4. White space is a good thing. Stay away from clutter. Have a clean, user-friendly site that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Remember, white space is a good thing. Also, if your website has a lot of content and/or a lot of pages, add a search box, to make it easier for your visitors to find what they’re looking for.
5. Have compelling copy that sells. Ultimately, conversions come down to sales copy. If you don’t have the ability to write effective sales copy that sells, hire someone that does. It’s well worth the investment.
6. Don’t give prospects too many choices. While variety can be a good thing, giving your prospects too many items to choose from can often backfire. Why? Because giving prospects too many items to choose from can confuse them. And confused prospects don’t buy. Limit product options to no more than three choices.
7. Make it easy for people to subscribe to your content. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. Keep your website in the uppermost of prospects minds with your content via newsletters, RSS feeds, etc.
8. Update your content regularly. Give visitors a reason to return to your site with regularly updated content. Besides, search engines like fresh content also. So updating your content regularly will help with your SEO efforts as well.
9. Use strong call to action language. Tell your visitors what you want them to do. If you want them to subscribe to your newsletter, tell them. If you want them to buy something, tell them. Don’t ever make your visitors have to guess what you want them to do. Tell them.
10. Make your website readable. Do you remember the nearsighted cartoon character, Mr. Magoo? He always walked around with his eyes in a permanent squint, trying to visually decipher things that were right in front of him.
Well, that’s exactly how I feel when I visit some websites. I find myself squinting like Mr. Magoo, because the font size is so tiny. When that happens, guess what? Click…I’m outta there. Do your readers a favor, and stay away from tiny font sizes. Stick with the standard 12-point font size, whenever possible.
Conversely, it’s not a good ideal to use overly large font sizes either. It’s just not reader-friendly. Another thing, use ALL CAPS and fancy fonts in moderation.
11. A picture is worth a thousand words. If you sell physical products, make sure you have clear pictures of those products to help close the deal. People enjoy looking at pictures of things they’re considering buying. More importantly, using pictures ogf products has been proven to increase conversions.
12. Avoid reverse type. I’m absolutely amazed at how many websites I’ve visited that are written in reverse text. What’s reverse text? Reverse text is light colored or white text on a dark or black background. If used correctly, reverse text can produce an impressive visual impact.
The problem is many websites don’t use it correctly. And if you have a whole web page of reverse text, it’s extremely difficult on the eyes. Why? Because according to readability studies, reverse text is not suitable for reading because of its poor legibility even in normal lighting conditions. It’s hard on the eyes, and just not reader-friendly. That’s why newspapers, books and magazines have always been printed on white paper with black text.
When designing your website, it’s best to use black text on a white or light-colored background, for optimum readability. However if you decide to use reverse text, use it in moderation.
13. Make the buying process easy. Make it easy for prospects to get from your home page to the product page or the checkout page. Don’t make your prospects jump through hoops, clicking thru page after page after page to give you their money. Or else you’ll lose them.
14. Display your contact information. The trustworthiness of your website – or lack of will have the greatest impact on your sales conversions, and ultimately, the success or failure of your site. If you sell products directly from your site, it’s important to display your contact information, as opposed to using a contact form. If privacy is a concern, you can use a service like The UPS Store for a physical shipping and mailing address.
David Jackson is a marketing consultant, and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Free, common sense marketing tips to help grow your business. http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com