Three Design Considerations to Improve Your Website's Conversion Rate
Updated: Feb 17
Small changes to your website can have a major impact on visitor behavior
Most websites have a purpose. For businesses, that purpose might be to drive sales, solicit donations, increase followers, or even just spread brand awareness. Whatever the purpose of a website, there should be actions on that site to allow a user to complete the desired outcome. That outcome might differ website to website, and there might be multiple actions that a site manager wants a user to take.
Conversion rate is a metric that measures the percentage of website sessions that take this desired action. A good website should return a high conversion rate, meaning that the website is doing an effective job of captivating visitors and leading them to take your desired actions.
Understanding your desired outcome is important because the calls to action for your site might vary based on the goals of your organization. If you operate a service-based business that books appointments through the phone, links to your phone number might be the primary call to action on your website. If you are an e-commerce business, your primary call to action is to get customers to purchase online. If you are a non-profit, your primary call to action is likely to collect donations. If you are a blogger, new subscribers might be what you are chasing.
No matter what your website’s primary goals are, the way your website is designed can influence the effectiveness of accomplishing those goals. Small design considerations can go a long way in impacting your website conversion rate. In this article, we will review three design elements of your website where even the smallest changes can have a meaningful impact in terms of the percentage of website visitors who take the desired action.
Prominence & Quantity of Calls-to-Action
As suggested above, a call to action (CTA) on a website is an instruction to the visitor in order to encourage them to take a desired action. It could be a “Subscribe” button to get a user to join a newsletter subscription. It could be a click-to-call button. It could be a banner encouraging a user to “Shop Now”. A call to action is the way to encourage a user to continue down your conversion funnel.
A website can have both a primary call to action and one or multiple secondary calls to action. The primary call to action would be used to emphasize the most important or most prominent conversion funnel, while secondary calls to action can be used to encourage important- but not as important- secondary conversion funnels. An example of this might be a spa business that wants to encourage users to call to book an appointment, but who also sells gift cards online.
When thinking about designing your website, it is critical that your primary call to action stands out for site visitors. You can achieve this through both the quality and quantity of your primary call to action placements. There are a few specific places where you should ensure your primary call to action exists.
The first place where your site should have a CTA is your website header, which is the website menu (usually found at the top of the site) that exists uniformly on each page to help visitors navigate across the site. You should always have a primary call to action on your header, and use design elements to make sure that CTA stands out. You can use color, font size, and spacing to make sure this action stands out above the rest.
The primary fold is the part of your homepage or landing page that the user can see upon entering before they scroll or navigate through the site. This is the most important part of your website because this is what users will see first. Adding an additional CTA on the primary fold is a great way to reinforce the primary goal and generate a higher clickthrough rate. Take a look at the website below as an example.
The bottom section of the page that exists on every page of your website is called the footer. This is one more place that can reinforce your primary call to action because if someone scrolls through to the bottom of any page of your website, it is there to encourage the user down the desired website path. The footer can be a good place to close conversions for users who like to scroll or browse.
While headers and footers exist on every page of a website, there is still benefit in making an effort to include a primary call to action on every page of your website. Even if it is not prominent, creating a clear path of desired flow and reinforcing it consistently across your website can have an outsized impact on clickthrough rate and conversion rate. This is especially the case for pages that generate the most page views on your site.
When considering the prominence and ease of use of your website’s CTAs, never forget to take mobile devices into account. More than half of all online traffic is from mobile devices worldwide, and ensuring your primary actions are easy to find and interact with on mobile devices is critical.
No matter the device, the goal is ultimately to make the desired action the easiest, most intuitive interaction to take on every page. If you want people to call your business, a link to your phone number should be prominent across your website. If you want people to fill out a lead gen form, you should make that form front-and-center. If you have an online shop, push people to browse that shop from every page!
Simplified Conversion Funnels
The name of the game is simple: Create a site experience that requires a visitor to click the fewest possible times in order to make a purchase or conversion. If someone enters an e-commerce website from the home page, can that site get the visitor to a checkout flow within 3 clicks? If a website is built for lead gen, but sales occur offline, can you get the visitor to make that offline connection within 1 click? If you are a blogger, can you get someone to subscribe without having to scroll or navigate to another page? Of course, not all website visitors take the optimal or quickest route to converting, but understanding how to speed up the navigation experience can lead to a significant conversion rate hike.
Your website will lose traffic on every page; No pages retain 100% of visitors without some people exiting the site. By reducing the number of pageviews, clicks, and scrolls a user has to take to convert, you will lose fewer visitors to premature site exits before you have the user in front of the converting decision. Using e-commerce as an example, if you get 1,000 visitors in a month to your “checkout” page, you might only get 500 to convert. If you get another 300 for 1,300 total because getting to this checkout was a simpler flow, you’ll close at least some percentage of those extra 300 visitors, which will lead to an increase in overall sales and website conversion rate.
For websites that offer offline solutions (i.e. air conditioning repair, spas, restaurants), the goal is almost always to make it possible to call you or navigate to a “Book an Appointment” form within one click from any page on the site. For websites that accept payment online, two small adjustments to simplify your conversion funnel that have been proven effective are:
Combining your cart and checkout pages into one page to reduce page views and clicks in the funnel
Adding “Add to Cart” options next to products on your product search pages to allow the user to skip the product description page in the checkout flow if desired
When building your streamlined conversion funnel, don’t forget about mobile devices! On phones, one of the quickest ways to lose leads is by asking them to populate text fields in a form. Phones aren’t as user-friendly as desktop devices when it comes to filling out text forms, and providing the user the choice to select already-populated options makes the experience less arduous. Overall, providing paths to conversion that reduce the need for populating text will increase both desktop and mobile conversion rates. As a general rule, encouraging a user to reach out via a phone call rather than a contact form or similar online funnel almost always leads to an increase in sales.
Strategic Use of Pop-Ups & Limited-Time Offers
A website pop-up is a window that appears without action from the user. Pop-ups can serve many purposes, such as marketing to a user or notifying a website visitor of cookies on the site. One way that pop-ups can be helpful is through promoting conversion actions. A user visiting your site will see a pop-up regardless of their intent, so a pop-up provides a site owner the opportunity to put an unavoidable message in front of the user.
Pop-ups are great for promoting both temporary and permanent calls to action. An example of using a pop-up for a temporary call to action would be raising awareness for an upcoming event or a seasonal deal like a holiday season discount. Using limited-time offers can provide a “scarcity effect” in the sense that people won’t be able to access this forever. An example of using a pop-up for a long-term call to action might be offering a discount code for services on your slowest day of the week to encourage more sales on your slow days.
Pop-ups have a proven track record of increasing customer engagement. Pop-ups generate about a 10% average clickthrough rate on mobile devices and about a 7% average clickthrough rate on desktop devices. This is a very high clickthrough rate on a single website action, and this can be an effective way to encourage users to take the actions you want them to take.
Be careful not to overdo pop-ups and limited-time offers. Limited time offers lose their staying power if they are always available. Overwhelming users with pop-ups can also turn people off and have a negative effect. As a general rule, do not have multiple pop-ups on one page, and do not have the same pop-up appear on multiple pages. A safe bet is to have one pop-up running on your home page and leave it at that!
Small changes to a website can make a big impact. Making a phone number more prominent could lead to a sharp rise in phone calls. Simplifying a cart path for an online purchase can lead to a significant increase in sales. Making a donation form a little bit simpler could lead to a spike in donors. These small changes cost you little to nothing and make a massive difference in terms of website conversion rate.
If you’d like to come up with a few more ideas for design changes to your site that could have a meaningful impact, give this short article a read! If you are interested in making changes to your website, but would like professional help to implement those changes, book a free consultation with Render Analytics!