As a business owner, the primary goal of your website is to convert visitors — whether the conversion is an email subscription, a lead for email newsletter subscription or a purchase. After all, what’s the point of driving traffic to your website if users don’t really engage with your content and convert? Yet so many marketers focus their attention on SEO, ads, lead magnets and social media that they tend to overlook the power of web design elements. There’s no denying that the aforementioned components play a critical role, but your web design is equally important, as it can actually turn your potential clients into customers!
In fact, a study from Stanford University found that 46.1% of those surveyed agree that a website’s design is the top factor when evaluating a company’s credibility.
The right design can smoothly guide consumers through your sales funnel while the wrong design can leave them confused and uncertain of what to do, eventually leaving your site and thus hurting your conversions and sales.
In fact, 38% of users will leave a website if they find it unattractive, according to Inc. Additionally, given 15 minutes, 66% of users would rather look at a beautifully designed website than a simple or plain one, according to Adobe.
In this article, we’ll tackle the essential web design elements you need to include for a high-converting website. Learn and apply the basic principles, or hire a designer or freelancer — whatever it takes to optimize your site for conversions.
6 essential web design elements
When building your startup’s website and landing pages, make sure you have the following web design elements in place for an immediate and lasting boost in conversions:
Also known as white space, negative space refers to all of the empty space on a web page. It’s a necessary feature in web design because without it, your website can be unreadable.
Negative space is the space between the larger and smaller elements of your page, like the space between your header and content, the space between lines of text, paragraphs and even between letters and numbers. All forms of negative space keep your content scannable, legible and easy on the eyes.
Here are some tips you can use to make the most of negative space:
- Space out elements without using visible dividers
- Improve readability
- Clarify relationships between objects
- Emphasize particular elements on page
Contrast is critical in web design since it helps your readers’ eyes distinguish between any two elements on your page. Use contrast to keep your headlines, text and call to action (CTA) buttons readable and noticeable.
Your font and CTA button colors should be in high contrast with the background of your webpage. Make sure the elements you want to highlight stand out in color from the rest of your website.
Make sure the colors are strategically chosen to convey your company’s brand message, too. Choosing the right color palette plays an essential role in boosting conversions. For example, research shows the best colors you can use for a CTA button are red, green and orange or yellow. On the flip side, the worst colors for conversions include black, white and brown.
Did you know the brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text?
That said, it’s important to use high-quality, relevant visuals throughout your website. Stay away from stock photos, rushed photoshopped jobs and images that simply don’t fit your brand image.
If you plan to publish content on your website, make sure you’re using high-quality images throughout your blog, too. Research shows articles with images get 94% more total views.
So, how can you leverage high-quality images in your web design?
Here are a few tips:
- Appeal to the emotions of your audience through imagery
- Use images that are relevant to your brand
- Avoid stock imagery
- Showcase your startup’s products or services visually
Your visitors should be able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily when they land on your website. Key information should be easily discoverable within one or two clicks.
Potential customers will be more likely to convert if they can quickly find the information they’re searching for on your website. That’s why your website’s navigation should be logical, well-organized and easy to follow.
Follow these steps to streamline your navigation:
- Add a search feature
- Limit the number of links in your main navigation bar
- Use your website traffic data to inform your layouts
The 8-second rule
Humans reportedly have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. That means you have a mere eight seconds to capture a user’s attention when they land on your website.
With an extremely small window of opportunity to engage a visitor when they land on your site, you must do everything you can to make those seconds count.
Implement the following design best practices to capture your audience’s attention:
- Use eye-catching imagery.
- Use power words.
- Use hover effects on your buttons (i.e., buttons that change color when moused over).
- Incorporate multimedia like audio, video or interactive content.
- Make sign-up buttons large and clear.
- Use animated exit pop-ups.
Simple does not have to be boring. A simple design concept ensures your audience understands your brand message instantly at a glance. Clean, functional layouts not only make your website easier to load and navigate, but they also make your website easier to use on different devices and platforms.
In fact, 57% of internet users will not recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
Opt for a simple layout that functions properly on both desktop and mobile. Do not commit these layout design mistakes:
- Confusing colors and themes.
- A misleading CTA.
- Poor use of white space.
- Irrelevant images.
- Hidden navigation.
- Ads in all the wrong places (or simply too many ads).
Every startup brand wants a highly converting website. Incorporating the above web design elements will help you achieve that goal and convert website visitors into sales.
Remember, negative space and contrasting colors will keep your visitors focused on your content, and a simple layout with streamlined navigation makes it more convenient for users to find whatever it is they’re looking for.
Whether you’re building a website from scratch or auditing your existing site, the above insights will help boost your conversion rates in no time.
Originally published Aug. 11, 2021.