Web Design Checklist - Is Your Design Boosting or Sabotaging Your Conversion Rate?
As you create, maintain and promote your website, you are on a mission to convince your site's visitors to act in a specific way. Maybe you want them to sign up for your newsletter or download a free report. If you operate an e- commerce site, you want them to make a purchase. You may even want visitors to call your office or book an appointment for your services. Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take that desired action.
Your marketing strategy will drive targeted traffic to your site, but it is your site's design and content that will determine your conversion rate. An effective web design will encourage visitors to spend time reading your content or browsing your products. The more time they spend on your site, the more likely they are to respond to your calls to action.
Your marketing dollars are wasted if your web design is not ready to convert your visitors. Use this checklist to put your website to the test. Step outside of the admin panel and view your website from the frontend so that your experience of the site mirrors that of your visitors.
1. Each page of your site loads quickly.
You can have the exact product a customer wants at a price they can't resist, but it doesn't matter if they click away from your site before that amazing deal loads on their screen. There are many factors that can slow your load time:
- Large image files
- HTTP compression disabled
- Flash design elements
- Inefficient website code
- External embedded media
- Third-party widgets
2. The most important information is above the fold without clutter.
You want every visitor to experience everything your site has to offer, but you have to convince them that doing so is worth their time. This means placing the most urgent, impressive design features and content at the top of the screen in an easy-to-digest manner.
When you open each page of your site, what attracts your eye first? Is that the design element or piece of content that will best convince a visitor to continue looking at other elements of the page?
If your eye is drawn to bright colors or flash elements, you may want to rethink your design choices. Your visitors are there to find information or products, and many will turn away from color schemes that hurt their eyes, small fonts that make them squint and other distracting design features.
If you feel scattered and unable to focus on important page elements, consider cleaning up your design. You want visitors to easily focus on your content, products and interactive design elements.
3. Your navigation system is easy to identify and use.
An efficient navigation system allows visitors to find products or information they want with as few clicks as possible. Hidden navigation bars are fun, but how long does it take a visitor to discover that bar? Ask yourself how many clicks it would take a visitor to access different parts of your website, and then determine whether that is a reasonable time investment.
4. Your content is easy to scroll and read, and calls to action are well placed.
Break long blocks of text up into smaller paragraphs and include bold subtitles, lists and bullet points. Visitors may back away from large blocks of text because they don't want to commit that much time to your site, but they will end up spending even more time reading the same content if it is presented in a more appealing manner. Subtitles make it easy for readers to scroll to the information they want to read, allowing them to manage their time more efficiently.
Finally, make sure your calls to action do not undermine the value of your content. Tell your visitors what you want them to do next, but don't make them feel like making the sale or getting their email address is your only concern. If your site loads fast and your design makes it easy for visitors to find what they need and read those calls to action, you can feel confident that your design is boosting your conversion rate rather than acting as a saboteur.
Author: Craig Hayes
Publisher: Scribble Creative Group, LLC.
Section: Web Design