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Five Web Design Tips to Improve Your Conversion Rate
11 Dec

Five Web Design Tips to Improve Your Conversion Rate

(Last Updated On: January 13, 2021)

If I asked you what’s the conversion rate on your website, how would you respond?

Would you be proud of the number? Or would you look away embarrassed?

For many people running websites it would be the latter response.

It’s no secret that the average conversion rate for a website is no greater than 2.35%. That’s why most of us get happy if we see even a 1% growth.

Improving your landing pages isn’t some magic trick only a few elite marketers know. With the right mindset, a proper method, and a few great tips, you can take your website conversion rates to the double digits.

Taking Your Website’s Conversion Rates to the Double Digits

On the surface, things look bleak.

With the standard conversion rate being just 2.35%, it means if a hundred people visit your website, you can expect only two of them to act on your website’s CTA (call to action).

However, according to Wordstream founder Larry Kim, things aren’t as simple (or hard) as they seem:

Across industries, the average landing page conversion rate was 2.35%, yet the top 25% are converting at 5.31% or higher. Ideally, you want to break into the top 10% — these are the landing pages with conversion rates of 11.45% or higher.

If you work really hard to optimize your landing pages, you can increase your website’s conversion rate up to 5X the industry standard.

Let me repeat: 5 times!

And if you don’t work really hard, but just make enough effort to bring your website  performance to the top 25 %, you can still double your conversion rate.

But what does it take to get there?

Tip # 1: A/B Test Your Landing Pages

Disclaimer: before we get into more information about this tip, here are a few essential things to keep in mind about A/B tests:

1. The results you get from A/B testing highly depend upon the sample size (i.e. traffic) you have on your website. Optimizely has a great calculator which shows you what average sample size you need to perform an accurate A/B test on your website audience.

All you have to do is enter a rough estimate of the conversion rate you’re getting now, and the kind of improvement you expect to have from your A/B test. Optimizely will calculate what sample size you need to accurate measure that kind of improvement in conversions.

2. Most A/B tests are extremely boring and won’t yield much difference in conversion rates. Your job is to keep testing as many different variations as you can until you can find a clear winner.

This means don’t strive for a variation that gets you a 2-3% improvement, rather spend time on finding a variation that improves your conversation rate at least 5% or more than 10%.

But you already know that A/B testing is important.

You’re probably testing two variants of your website’s landing page right now. So why did I mention it as the first tip?

Because testing just two variants of a landing page isn’t enough.

Here’s Larry Kim again explaining why:

“On average, you should be testing four unique landing pages – with varying offers, flow and messaging – to find that one awesome landing page. If you want to find a unicorn landing page – that top 10% page that sees your conversions reaching 3-5x the average – you need to test at least ten landing pages.

What this means is you need to test at least four variants of your landing page to find the one that will double, or even triple your website’s conversion rate.

Tip # 2: Place Your Website’s Elements According to the ‘F-Shaped Pattern’

Did you know there’s a pattern in which most internet users scan a website? This means no matter what website they’re on, their eyes will fall naturally onto one spot and move down from there.

Why this this important?

Because this means there are some areas on your website where your visitors look more often, and worse, some areas to which they don’t pay attention at all.  

Here’s what the pattern looks like, according to a research by Nielsen Norman Group:

“We found that users’ main reading behavior was fairly consistent across many different sites and tasks. This dominant reading pattern looks somewhat like an F…”

Here’s the heatmap showing how most internet users’ eyes move when browsing a website:

Image Credit: Nielsen Norman Group

If you look closer, you’ll see that internet users:

  • mainly start by looking at the upper left corner of the screen and scan the website along that first line.
  • then move downwards and scan the next line, although not completely.
  • start scanning the website downwards which creates the ‘F’ based pattern.

From this, we can conclude that your visitors will pay the most attention to the upper left part of your website, while the bottom right portion has all the chances to be overlooked.

Strategic placement of important website elements like headline, text or CTA button, can help you (slightly) increase conversion rate!

Here’s how you can do this.

Tip # 3: Design Your Landing Pages According to the ‘Z’ and ‘F’ Patterns

Based upon the research we just showed you, there are two patterns you can follow when designing your landing page.

The ‘F-Pattern’

The F-Pattern web design layout is based on the research of the same name. Below, you can see how the New York Times website applies it.

In the top part, they display their latest podcast episodes, newsletter, the latest stock numbers and the weather. Along the middle part of the ‘F’, they display the articles they want their readers to focus on the most. And gradually as you scroll down, the content on their website shrinks as per the stem of the ‘F’ pattern.

If your landing page also has a high level of content, you too can design your website in this way, placing the most important elements along the left line, while the less important elements can be placed along the right side.

But, what if you don’t plan to create such a long landing page for your website, and instead, want to create a short, simple webpage for your visitors?

For that, you can use…

The ‘Z-Pattern’

The Z-Pattern is derived from the F-Pattern, and works well for websites with short landing pages, or landing pages that separate ‘above-the-fold’ content from the rest of the page.

Evernote’s landing page is a perfect example of that.

You can see how the most important elements on the page like the primary menu,  heading, and subheading, CTA, and the product image are all placed strategically along the ‘Z’ pattern.

This is done purposely because it’s how the internet users’ eye naturally flows on the website.

Notice that even if you trace the ‘F pattern’ on Evernote’s homepage, you’ll see how the most important elements like primary menu, the ever crucial headline, copy, and the CTA button, all fall within the ‘F pattern’.

It’s important to note that you aren’t limited to implementing your website’s designs based on these two patterns alone.  

The main point of the exercise is to establish a visual hierarchy on your website. This is so your visitors can easily digest your content and understand your message more effectively, resulting in them acting on your CTAs more often.

The result? Increased conversion rates on your website!

Tip # 4: Improve Your Website Content and Its Readability

No matter how great your website design is, it’s useless if the content doesn’t wow you readers. The famous line ‘content is king’ is more true than ever.

It’s important to note that content doesn’t just mean text. Rather, all pictures, videos, and graphics on your website are considered as content.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to improve your website content:

1. Hire a great copywriter: If you’ve hired a cheap content writer to write your landing pages, you’re making a big mistake. The text your visitors read when they land on your website creates the first impression which sets their expectations. That’s why you want to hire a great copywriter to write some kick-ass copy that gets your visitors clicking your CTA buttons.

2. Improve your offer: You want to accomplish a goal with your website. Maybe it’s selling a product, getting a subscription, or a download.

For that to happen, you have to give your visitors a compelling enough reason to give you their money, time, or information. This means simply offering your newsletter or a 14 day trial isn’t enough.

Offer something more exciting and different that none of your competitors are offering. This is the best way to take your conversions through the roof.

3. Use a lot of whitespace: Why does whitespace matter? Because it allows the elements on your website to stand out from each other. With adequate whitespace around your text, images, CTAs, and videos, your readers will find it easier to pay attention to your website.

4. Use better fonts: The fonts on your website play a big role on how your website looks, and whether your visitors find it pleasurable to read your content. Think about your favorite websites on the internet, and you’ll almost certainly find many of them have high quality fonts that dramatically improve the reading experience.

5. Get high quality visuals: If you’re using images or illustrations on your website, it’s important that they are high quality. Don’t forget, people find stock images suspicious and totally fake. Instead of looking professional, your website will look cheap.  

Tip # 5: Increase the Credibility of Your Website with Social Proof

You see, people don’t like to be the first to try something new. They don’t like taking risks, especially if you ask them for something as important as their money (or even their email address).

That’s why the number one thing your website should do is feel and look as genuine and credible as possible.

In tip # 4, we discussed how you can do that by improving content. Here, I’ll show you how you can take things further by adding social proof to your website.

According to Buffer, there are six types of social proof:

1. Expert: This type of social proof happens when an expert in your industry recommends your products and services.

2. Celebrity: This type of social proof happens when a celebrity endorses your products and services.

3. Users: User reviews on the internet are a common form of social proof.

4. Wisdom of the crowd: When you see lots of people using or talking about your products and services, this is also a form of social proof. 

5. Wisdom of your friends: If your friends and family actively use your products and services, this is social proof as well. 

6. Certification: When an authoritative figure gives you their approval, this is social proof as well. For example, being an Google Adwords partner, having a blue tick on your social media profile, having a best-seller tag on your product, etc.

There are many ways you can apply social proof to your website design to improve your conversion rate.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Add testimonials from your existing customers below the products and services on your website. Here’s how a popular writing app, Notion, implements user reviews on their website:

  • Add logos of notable clients using your products and services. Here’s how Helpscout, a popular helpdesk service, does it on their website. In addition to displaying logos, they also include their clients’ testimonials in video form.

  • You can also create an engaging ‘About us’ page which shows who the people behind your company are. Here’s how Coca Cola does this on their website. They show what activities they are doing around the world, what’s happening with them, their history and other cool stuff you might not have seen before:

In addition, you can include reviews from experts, the number of customers using your services, and more to add further social proof to your website.

All this to make people feel they will become a part of your vibrant community when they commit to buying something or subscribing to your website. Social proof is what will make it possible.

Bonus Tip: Listen to Your Website Visitors

You can do as many A/B tests as you like, and you can apply all the tips you can find, but the feedback your website visitors can give you will be more effective than anything.  

Via email or by implementing a tiny form on your website, you can survey your customers and ask them about their experience with your website.

Here’s Help Scout on why user feedback is so important:

“Customer feedback guides and informs your decision making and influences your product roadmap. It’s also essential for measuring customer satisfaction among your current customers.”

Another way you can get feedback from your website visitors is by directly measuring their behaviour using Google Analytics.

There, you can see exactly how many people are browsing your website, which device they are using, how much time they are spending, and more.

Using this information, you can tailor your website design to suit their needs.

Are you applying any techniques on your website to improve conversion rate? Let us know how it’s working for you.

María Bustillos

María is an enthusiast of cinema, literature and digital communication. As Content Coordinator at HostPapa, she focuses on the publication of content for the blog and social networks, organizing the translations, as well as writing and editing articles for the KB.

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