Website design is one of the most rapidly changing parts of the web. When exploring a new site it’s easy to see when it was designed. Is it full of Gifs, word art, clashing text and background colours? Late 90s to early 2000s. Does it have 3D buttons and a lot of stock photos? Mid to late 2000s. Is everything flat, in a 2D style with no shadows or shading? Early 2010s.
What we’re trying to say is that website design is an evolution, and a rapid one at that. With the ever increasing competitiveness that is the online marketplace, site design is no longer just about making you stand out from the competition or look trendy, it’s all about turning the users who access your site into conversions. Be that a paying customer, a regular reader, an addition to your email list or whatever else, every site wants to keep their users on their page for as long as possible.
As online marketers become more savvy and learn the nuances of the net, web design narrows into the designs that have been proven to work. The internet is no longer new, so people and companies are finally working out once and for all what works best. Let’s take a look at the design trends of 2016 that every sensible site should be adding for conversions and search engine optimisation.
This is a great first step. Plenty of research shows that if you want your website to convert, you need to get rid of the clutter. This may involve taking a good hard look at your website and making some serious changes. Taking the time to better organize and consolidate your website and content can help lower your bounce rate, keeping customers on your site longer. Websites, ideally, are meant to be both easy to navigate and interactive. There are a number of things you can do to improve and declutter your website. A helpful way to start is to work backwards. If you already have a website and have recognised a need to trim the fat, work on what you want to achieve by changing things rather than trying to recreate and reconfigure completely.
Opting For Illustrations Not Photos
The end is near for websites that opt for a photo header on their main page. This might be surprising to some as the practice is so prevalent, but when looked at a bit closer it makes sense. The primary purpose of a website is to engage users, and utilising more approachable imagery that engages can be a better, more effective option. So what exactly is ‘more approachable imagery’? Illustrations. The reasoning is thus: using illustrations on your webpage instead of photos can make it easier for the average joe to empathise with the scene shown. For example, most people will have trouble relating to a ridiculously good looking model, whereas an illustration is universally accessible as there are no parallels made by the viewer between themselves and the image. In short, photos will be gradually replaced by illustrations that are more relatable and elicit a better connection from the viewer.
No one waits in this world anymore. The New York Minute has become the worldwide minute, and patience is no longer a virtue. The web designer who ignores this fact is doomed to a low conversion rate and a high bounce rate, because a fast loading website is absolutely essential in this day and age. The times of dial up are long past, and people no longer tolerate waiting for the content to load: they want it now, dammit!
In short, making your website quick is just as important as making it functional, and a degree more important than making it attractive. The data is irrefutable: people would rather use an ugly site that loads in milliseconds than one designed by Da Vinci that loads in seconds. Or worse, tens of seconds!
The best converting sites are those that are mobile friendly – for more than one reason. Not only do they attract the massive mobile market (More than 50% of total internet traffic!), but they’re also given favourable treatment by Google in the rankings when searched for on a mobile device, increasing their traffic out of site compared to those sites that look upon mobile users like Mary Antoinette looked upon the poor. Don’t make your users eat cake: make them eat fast and responsive mobile web pages. Design a site that has mobile user experience in mind throughout the entire design.
Everyone involved in online marketing should know what a landing page is by now, but for the uninitiated here’s a quick recap. A landing page stands alone from your primary site, its primary purpose to funnel a user into a specific action. As such, it shouldn’t link to your main site, as you want to narrow the user’s focus into performing the action the landing page is all about.
You can probably see how this approach can help conversions. By removing distractions and extraneous links, a landing page gets a ser to focus on the task at hand. Data shows that a properly optimised landing page can improve conversion rates by 25%. That’s a huge number that could have very tangible effects on your business’s bottom line.
Putting Together a Winning Formulae
By themselves, all these techniques can have notable effects on your conversion rates, but it’s when they’re put together that the real benefits will be felt. Creating a great website that turns users into conversions will be a subtly different process for each industry: there isn’t really a coverall solution. However, by examining which techniques are most applicable for your own site, you can put together a strategy that works for you and your users.