The design of your website is incredibly important: not only do 94% of a visitor’s first impression of your site relate to the design, but 89% of consumers will shop with a competitor if they had a bad user experience on a site. Good web design leads to more conversions, more sales, and more return on investment.
However, while there are some basic tenets of good web design, certain elements are going to be different depending on the purpose and goals of the site. There are a few different website types, but for businesses, the primary ones are lead generation sites and e-commerce sites.
Let’s explore which elements you should consider when selecting each type of site, and which elements are important no matter what kind of site you have.
Lead generation websites are built to attract and convert customers that are coming into your site from digital marketing efforts, i.e. pay-per-click ads, Facebook Ads, social media, and/or SEO strategies.
The idea is that, if your digital marketing campaigns have worked, your site then has to do the job of turning that click into a customer. After visiting your lead generation site, a user should feel compelled to contact your business, get a quote, make an appointment, or visit your store.
If leads and conversions are your goal, the design for your site should take the following into account:
Fast loading time
Your site should load quickly, preferably in 2 seconds or less. You’ve managed to get that click from your ad or post, but if the user made the decision to click and your site is slow, they will just as easily click away and give up. Holding their attention while you have it is key to a conversion, and for that, your site needs to load as quickly as possible.
There are several ways to speed up your site’s loading time, including compressing your images so they aren’t too heavy, optimizing your code, and reducing redirects.
Add CTAs and contact forms
Once a user gets on your site, they should know immediately how to contact you or what action to take, because, without that action, there’s no conversion. In designing your site, you should include a call-to-action button above the fold (i.e. it’s visible before they scroll) as well as more CTAs spaced throughout each page.
A good CTA button should:
- Have a strong action word or phrase like “Sign Up,” “Download Now,” “Get a Free Quote,” etc.
- Be readable — you should use fonts that are easily readable on websites and that match your brand.
- Be an engaging color — studies show that red is the best color to inspire action.
- Link to whatever action you want them to take, e.g. a download, a signup, a contact page, etc.
You should also include contact forms at the bottom of each page to further encourage conversions and engagement.
An e-commerce site, unlike a lead gen site, is shoppable — website users can explore the business’ catalog of products online and buy them directly on the site through a virtual shopping cart and checkout. Therefore, the design should focus on this experience and facilitate it.
For an e-commerce site, your design should consider:
The shopping experience
An e-commerce website should be easy to navigate, specifically in terms of the shopping experience. Customers should be able to find products, sales, and information easily.
- An intuitive navigation bar. Your menu bar should have clear product categories and subcategories, as well as the shopping cart.
- Scannable product pages. A customer should be able to scroll through well-organized pages with good photos and clear product descriptions.
- Sorting and filtering options and a search bar can help narrow down a sale by helping customers find what they’re looking for.
The checkout experience
The checkout experience is especially crucial for an e-commerce site. A lengthy, complicated, or unsafe checkout experience can and does drive shoppers away, and results in many abandoned carts. To avoid this, checkouts should:
- Be short and simple — long processes alienate customers and make them abandon their carts
- Not require customers to create an account. Most visitors will be unwilling to do so, so a guest checkout is absolutely necessary.
- Have few distractions. One way to do this is to remove the navigation bar from the checkout page entirely.
Every Website Should…
There are elements that, regardless of the type of website you’re designing, will serve you in accomplishing your goals. Every website should:
Use high-quality images
For e-commerce sites, high-quality images show off the product, encourage trust, and make the visitor more likely to buy. For lead generation websites, they are visually appealing, breaking up longer sections of text and illustrating your work or product. Before and after photos can be especially useful, depending on the industry.
Use social proof
Social proof is key for any business’ site. In e-commerce websites, reviews help customers decide which product to buy and helps them trust in your products and your shipping or return policy. In a lead gen website, testimonials (especially videos) support your offering and make the customer more likely to contact you.
Internet users don’t want to use unsafe sites, so securing your site means securing your visits — and sales and conversions. This is especially important for e-commerce checkouts, where customers are inputting their credit card information.
To secure your site, you can:
- Install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
- Back up your site regularly
- Install ransomware for your server
- Use a secure hosting service
Proper branding is important for any website, but perhaps even more for an e-commerce site. Professional-looking branding, including consistent colors/fonts and a professional logo, lets customers know they can trust your business, and this makes them more likely to buy from you.
Visually appealing design is also important. The visual style of your page and the business it represents leave an impression on the customer and let them know what kind of business you are: modern, homey, trendy, serious, etc. A visual style that appeals to your target customers makes them more likely to buy from you on the site and increases sales.
Designing your website with its specific needs and your ROI goals in mind can determine the success of, not just your site, but your marketing efforts in general. That’s why Hyvemark strives to understand those needs and goals before building and designing your site, so your strategy can succeed.